Shine bright like the Pirates

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Hilario

Photo Courtesy of Victoria Hilario

The recipients of the 2016 Experiential Education Awards have officially been selected.

Since 2001, Seton Hall University has been celebrating the achievement of students in experiential education. These include internships, nursing students on clinicals, student-teaching and students who are in service-learning classes.

“Seton Hall places a high value on experiential education,” Reesa Greenwald, director of the Career Center, said. “The experiences that take students out of the classroom and into the workplace to develop skills, to begin their professional network, and to test their career choices.”

Greenwald added that the selection process is very competitive and students are nominated by either a faculty member or an administrator. Once nominated, they are asked to write a short essay and get a letter of support from their supervisor. The winners are selected by a committee outside of the Career Center. Generally, two students are chosen from each college.

This year, there are 14 recipients and 12 honorable mentions.

According to the Career Center, from the class of 2015, 81 percent of students had engaged in some kind of internship program.

“There are ways student leaders are celebrated, there are ways people are celebrated for their academics, so this is a way to celebrate the achievements of students on their internships, clinicals and much more,” Greenwald said.

Christopher Colomier, a senior double-major in chemistry and chemical engineering, is being recognized for his internship as an analytical lab technician at the Catalysis Headquarters of BASF Corporation in Iselin, one of the largest producers and marketers of chemicals and related products in North America, according to their site.

“I am most grateful for the technical experience I was able to acquire during the internship. Jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math field place an overwhelming emphasis on technical prowess and accumulated experience,” Colomier said.

During his internship, he worked to find the most efficient ways to obtain data and solve real problems within the company. The data he gathered was so well-processed that it was held by the company’s analytical department for further research.

Students said they have gained tremendous professional and personal skills through their experiential education.

“I gained a much greater understanding of our legal system and constitutional law. Many of the things I learned and saw I would not have if I did not have this amazing experience,” Mallory Finch, a junior diplomacy and international relations major, said. Finch interned at the U.S. Supreme Court, where she delivered important documents to the justices and served as a representative that the public spoke with via mail, phone and in-person.

Brittany H. Rockenfeller, a senior public relations major, who took a communications/development internship at the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, said she has grown not only as a professional, but as an individual.

“I have had the honor of working with an amazing organization that does incredible work to cure spinal cord injury. Working under the legacy of Christopher Reeve has honestly changed my life, all while helping me expand my professional skills,” Rockenfeller said. The students recognized with Experiential Education Awards have contributed immensely to their workplace. During his internship with Private Health Management, Joseph Keppler, a junior double major in business and biology, designed an algorithm that increased the Bloomberg market research by 200 percent. He also founded the Finance/Wealth Management Apprenticeship and a course at Seton Hall.

“Students enroll in the course, I teach algorithm, manage them and they use it to generate reports that I analyze and review,” he said.

Eman Tadros, a sophomore marriage and family therapy major, said she has gained a lot from her internship at Community Education Centers in Newark, as a marriage and family therapist. “I learn from my clients every session and I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with such diverse, extraordinary people,” Tadros said.

Ana Santoliquido, a senior nursing major, also believes her experiential education was a very fulfilling experience.

“I was able to hone valuable nursing assessment and clinical skills,” Santoliquido said. At Clara Maass Medical Center, she worked with a variety of patients in the Labor and Delivery, Pediatric units and the Newborn Nursery.

The award recipients said their experience has taught them many things about their career field.

Anthony Bertoldi, a junior sports management and marketing major who interned with
the New York Jets and New York Red Bulls, said he has learned all aspects of sponsorship and its importance in sports as well as how to formally present a sales pitch to a potential sponsor or consumer.

“I have learned client relations and how to deal with consumer needs as it pertains to ticketing, payment inquires, events,” Bertoldi said. He interned with the consumer sales and service department of the New York Jets and the marketing partnerships department of the New York Red Bulls.

Victoria L. Hilario, a senior education and English honors major, is being recognized for her work with the New Jersey Student Education Association (NJSEA). She serves as a chapter president, state ambassador and social media chair.

She has also served as N.J. Delegate to the National Education Association Student Leadership Conference. Through Hilario’s experience, she was able network with active and retired professionals in education.

Also, Hilario engaged in professional development workshops and conferences in which she said she gained multiple perspectives in the education profession not really seen or understood by general public.

The award ceremony will take place in May, where the recipients, their employers and guests will have a breakfast program to give out the awards.

Macarena Solis can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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