Last updateWed, 04 Dec 2019 3pm


Professor Spotlight on Dean John E. Henning

Professor John HenningJohn E. Henning, Ph.D., is the University’s Dean of Education. He joined the Hawk family in 2015 and has since been recognized with a wide-range of awards and notable mentions. Being a part of the University’s most recognizable field of study, Henning has both influenced and assisted in the success of future teachers.

As a student at Penn State, Henning was never one to picture himself at a desk with students referring to him as “Dean.” Surprisingly, the educational field was not his plan. He was an agriculture student, due to his passion for organic food and conscious eating. One of his many mantras is, “Eat things that promote life.” This goes back to his ideology of taking care of your personal body in order to implement more widespread changes.

When the opportunity arose to become an agricultural educator at a high school, he took it. He wanted to stick with agriculture and teaching seemed like the best way to do that.

After nine years of teaching agriculture, he switched to his other passion: writing. Henning has published four books, and over fifty journal articles. He went on to teach high school English for 12 years because of his combined love for reading, writing and learning.

Over time, he said, “I got more and more involved in motivating students to learn and read more, and I became more successful as a teacher.” He enjoyed the positive feedback that he received from students, as well as winning Teacher of the Year and other awards. He knew that he could do the same at a university. Consequently, he received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at Kent State University after 21 years of teaching.

Henning is an astounding support system for each and every student that he serves; whether he is a professor or dean, he makes sure that everyone who comes to him leaves with success. He stated, “Every interaction with a student is different so there is always a challenge.” This speaks volumes to his position as a dean and while it seems like your typical desk job from the outside, it is so much more than that. Each day varies and speaking to different students aids in learning more from other perspectives. 

Read more ...

Do Midterm Grades Have You Feeling Down?

Midterm GradesOne of the most suspenseful and terrifying things is watching the loading screen on your MyMU portal as you wait for your midterm grades to load. If the anticipation did not hurt enough, sometimes seeing that C or B- may make you feel uncertainty about the future of that class.

This should not prompt you to “give up;” midterm grades are meant to give students an idea of where they are at in a course. These are not permanent; in fact, they are often not correct since they are only factoring in half of the semester’s coursework.

Luckily that C is not far from an A, in perspective. It is easy to bring your grade up, but it takes dedication and time outside of class.

First and foremost, look at your syllabus. Usually professors offer extra credit, which normally is an extra assignment or attendance at an event that reflects the concepts in the course.

Always take advantage of extra credit, regardless of your academic stance in the class. You can never be too safe in securing your high letter grade. Extra credit is an amazing safety blanket, in that the assignments tend to not be graded harshly and are usually smaller, more lax projects.

If you are worried that an essay is subpar and lacks a central focus, make an appointment on Accudemia. You have the ability to pick the writing assistant based on your own time and the type of class you have.

Appointments range from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Center for Student Success in the lower level of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. If those times are extremely inconvenient for you, there are also extended hours offered at the library from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Read more ...

Classic Halloween Movie Recommendations

Classic Halloween Movie RecommendationsIt’s officially Halloween. The night of the ghouls, ghosts and grouchy gremlins has finally arrived.

If you don’t have a costume or plans to go out tonight, gather up your favorite spooky pajamas and snacks for a night full of classic films.

Whenever someone is asked about Halloween, a scary horror film is one of the things on their mind.  

For Heidi Bludau, Ph.D.,  lecturer of history and anthropology, her favorite film is 28 Days Later. Not being a fan of traditional horror movies, Bludau has chosen a more mind-twisting film.

“It’s not a classic but I watched it on Halloween once; it’s scary so it did the job,” Bludau said. Trying to survive after a virus took out majority of the world? Yeah, I’m not sure how well that’d go.

While I’m slightly on the same page as Bludau, I do like scaring myself because of the adrenaline rush. I feel like it’s almost necessary to watch a scary movie on Halloween or leading up to it; it just puts you in the holiday’s spooky spirit.

A go-to of mine that isn’t absolutely terrifying would have to be Scream. While some of the later films in the franchise are slightly iffy, the original is a cult classic. With comedy, a serial killer, and Shaggy from Scooby Doo making an appearance, it’s kind of hard not to love it.

The director of Scream, Wes Craven, is a legend in the film industry. Films of his like A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Hills Have Eyes, and My Soul to Take are ones that are perfect Halloween films. Not only did he direct and write a lot of these classics, he also stars in them.

Read more ...

How to Fight Against Fall Allergies

Fight Against Fall AlergiesSome University students are suffering from fall seasonal allergies and are feeling sick. It is very common to brush off the symptoms of allergies and say, “It’s just allergies.” But allergies can have a major impact on our health.

Fall seasonal allergies usually begin to flare up at the beginning of the fall semester. Polina Amburg, specialist professor of nursing, said, “The symptoms usually worsen around September and October.” So, if you’re suffering from allergies right now, you are not alone.     

Carol Huggler, a nurse practitioner at the Health Center, said, “There seems to be the same amount of patients exhibiting fall allergy symptoms this fall semester as last year. Because we are having warm weather without a killing frost in October, we may continue to see allergy symptoms longer this fall.”

According to Huggler, the Health Center has had patients come in with viral infections, such as cold or upper respiratory infections. These illnesses could have begun with seasonal allergy symptoms.

“If your runny nose persists after trying your allergy medication daily and following the tips above, come to the Student Health Center on campus to be evaluated by one of our nurse practitioners,” Huggler said.

Amy Czerepak, a senior nursing student who has done clinical work at Monmouth Medical and Community Nursing, said, “A key sign that it’s seasonal is that the symptoms are worse in the morning when you wake up.”

Read more ...

Professor Spotlight on Randall Abate

Professor Randall AbateRandall Abate, J.D., is the inaugural Rechnitz Family Urban Coast Institute (UCI) Endowed Chair in Marine and Environmental Law and Policy, and a Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology.

He teaches courses in domestic and international environmental law, constitutional law, and animal law. Abate joined the University’s faculty this year, with 24 years of full-time law teaching experience at six law schools in the U.S.

Abate has taught international and comparative law courses, and delivered lecture series, on environmental and animal law topics in numerous countries around the world.

In April 2013, he taught a Climate Change Law and Justice course at the National Law Academy in Odessa, Ukraine on a Fulbright Specialist grant. Since 2014, he has delivered invited presentations and courses in several countries worldwide.

Early in his career, Abate handled environmental law matters at two law firms in Manhattan; however, he explained that teaching has always been his passion and purpose. “For me, the practice of law was never something that I saw as a long-term goal for my career. I knew I wanted to teach; I knew I wanted to do scholarly writing. But [working with those law firms provided] valuable exposure to the practice of environmental law,” he said.

Abate explained that the ability in his new position to both teach and apply his research, and still work with students, provides him with greater time to be involved with the University and community, something that he said would otherwise not be possible as just a professor of law at a law school.

Read more ...

Professor Spotlight on Raffi Manjikian

Professor Spotlight Raffi ManjikianRaffi Manjikian, an adjunct professor of chemistry and physics, is one of Monmouth’s most adored professors by students. Many, whether they are majoring in the sciences or not, struggle to completely enjoy or even just understand the material in their science classes. But after taking Manjikian, almost all students change that outlook into a positive one.

Manjikian has been well-known by students as funny, captivating, and fully enveloped in helping students in any way that he can. He alters the misconception that part-time professors are not as good as full-time professors.

Attending Seton Hall University, Manjikian was never one to picture his future as a college professor. He said, “[I did not know I wanted to be a professor] until I turned 25 years old, the age at which I taught my first college class.”

From this opportunity, Manjikian found such joy from educating others that he decided to pursue higher education teaching. “I found immense fulfillment in helping and guiding students,” he said.

Before teaching at  Monmouth University, Manjikian taught at another university, but realized that he wanted to expand his knowledge. “I needed a greater challenge and an additional opportunity to improve my teaching skills and methods,” he said.

After this realization, Manjikian has had the opportunity to teach at many schools with students of various backgrounds and with different ranges of specialties. This has allowed him to absorb new ways of teaching and helping his students through hands-on experience.

In terms of working at Monmouth, Manjikian has clearly expressed to his students that Monmouth University is his favorite place to teach. Manijikan credits “the remarkable students” and “the notable leadership present,” Manjikian has fallen in love with working here.

Read more ...

The Perks of Creating Your Own Blog

Creating Own BlogWhen people hear the word “blog,” they think of a place to put someone’s opinion. However, the dictionary defines it as, “a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.” One thing that I think both are missing is the fact that blogs are basically an online portfolio for the writer/creator, and it can serve as a platform where they can find their writing voice and style.

Nicole Notar, a senior communication student, started her blog ( as a simple one that she didn’t keep up with routinely. Once she got into her Social Media in Public Relations course with Mary Harris,  a specialist professor of communication, she was forced to keep on it to help it grow. “Then, I started my freelance business little by little and added my own work to it,” Notar said.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes; a push from someone to create something that they know we’re capable of. There are people in our lives that know we can do more than we let on or credit ourselves with. If you listen to them, something pretty amazing can come from it.

“Now, it’s bigger than I thought, but I love it and I’m so proud of it,” Notar said. Through her blog that displays her freelance work with companies, press releases she’s worked on, along with beauty and fashion related posts, she’s been able to receive products to review. Her blog is an extensive online portfolio of work that she has done over her college career, and it’s very impressive.

She credits Harris with how her freelance business and blog has turned out. “Without her I don’t think I would even have my freelance business,” Notar added.

This whole experience has been one giant hands-on experience for her. It is important that we all put work into our interests beyond the classroom.

Read more ...

The Health Benefits of Drinking Coffee

Benefits Drinking CoffeeYou wake up a little later than you wanted for your 8:30 a.m. class. You rush to get ready, but there is one thing in your routine you cannot miss -- a warm (or iced) cup of coffee to get you through the day.

Whether it is a stop at Dunkin Donuts, Rook Coffee or you brew your own at home, coffee is an essential part of many people’s day. However, for years, we have heard about the dangers of drinking too much coffee. And while caffeine is addictive, there are many positives to coffee that will make you feel a little less worried when reaching for that coffee cup.

The Harvard Medical School published an article which claimed that people who were avid coffee drinkers have reduced risks of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and liver cancer, among other diseases.

Maria Ruiz, a senior biology student with a concentration in molecular cell physiology, said that she loves her morning cup of coffee and the health benefits it provides. “Being Colombian, coffee is just a part of the culture. But the antioxidants in coffee are great for your skin,” she said.

In Colombia, she recalls seeing first-hand accounts of the workers that worked with their coffee. “Coffee is great for your skin, which is why a lot of people use it in face masks. In Colombia, the people who pick the coffee have sun damage in their faces, but their hands are incredibly smooth. It’s an amazing sight.” Adding a bit of coffee to your daily routine could not only keep you awake in class, but possible improve your complexion too.

According to Heathline, “Many controlled studies in humans show that coffee improves various aspects of brain function — including memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels, reaction times and general mental function.”

Essentially, coffee can help improve memory, which is why it really is a great friend during study sessions.

Read more ...

Cameron Oakley’s Blessing Bag Brigade

Cameron Oakley BrigadeA passion stems from our experiences, our wishes, and our skills. For health studies sophomore Cameron Oakley, her passion for helping the homeless has led her to the path of directing Blessing Bag Brigade NJ, a nonprofit organization that distributes blessing bags to the homeless.

A project of compassion and humanitarianism, Blessing Bag Brigade makes a difference in the lives of the homeless who can’t obtain basic necessities.

“A blessing bag is a bag that contains essential items for the homeless such as socks, soap, shampoo, snacks, lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and miscellaneous items people will donate such as combs, hair ties, tissues, and wipes,” Oakley explained.

Oakley, along with the organization’s staff and volunteers, distributes blessing bags around Monmouth, Ocean, and Middlesex counties, as well as New York City a few Wednesday nights a month.

“We drop off to places like soup kitchens, churches, and The Center in Asbury Park, which is an AIDS center. We drop off anywhere; if they need our help and we can get to them, we’ll help them,” she said.

As the director of Blessing Bag Brigade, Oakley has watched the organization grow as a result of the power of the community. Beginning in December 2016 as a holiday project, donations kept materializing, resulting in an expansion from 150 bags distributed a week to 1500 bags a week almost two years later. The exponential growth of the organization leaves lasting impressions on Oakley, the volunteers who help out, and especially those who receive the bags.

“I have always had a passion to help people, but I never really had a way until I heard about Blessing Bag,” she said.

Read more ...

Alena Graedon’s Dystopian World

Alena Graedon's WorldAn apartment fire that burned her books inspired the theme of Alena Graedon’s first novel, The Word Exchange. A dictionary gifted by her parents influenced the first scene. A family of readers and a mother who read aloud stories gave her an appreciation for science fiction and fantasy. These are just some of the life experiences that shaped Graedon into the writer she is today.

Graedon, an assistant professor of English and creative writing, shared her journey as an author. She published The Word Exchange in 2014. The science fiction novel centers around a futuristic alternate reality where a virus spread from machines to humans makes communication impossible.

“It’s sort of an allegory, but it’s also meant to be really represented in the novel in practical terms,” Graedon said.

“I got the idea for it because I watched this shift from the way we used to interact with text and language and communicate with each other, and then it changed and became heavily influenced by new digital technologies, and it made me think about what would happen if it was possible to actually manipulate language,” she continued.

Graedon’s appreciation and expertise in the craft of writing not only has the power to drive an allegorical novel, but it also has the power to inspire students in her creative writing classes. The way she structures her class is especially impactful for students; she engages the class in workshops that allow students to share their input on others’ stories.

“There’s so much value to her teaching style. It gets myself thinking about things; I find it eye-opening to see people’s different responses to my work,” said Melissa Lauria, a sophomore English, creative writing, student.

Read more ...

How to Get the Most Out of Your Fall Break

Fall BreakAs the semester begins to feel hectic, with everything seemingly being due at the same time, we naturally begin to countdown the days until fall break. We will have no classes Oct. 15 and 16, giving us all some time to destress.

This four-day weekend is a great opportunity to have a mini vacation. With cities like Philadelphia and New York close by, a couple days of adventure is in reach. If you’re willing to extend the duration of your road-trip a little bit, Washington D.C. is about four hours away.

Sara Sikora, a senior communication student, said, “I’m spending my fall break in Washington D.C. On Saturday, I am going to the Maryland vs. Rutgers football game, and the rest of the break, I plan on exploring the nightlife in D.C.”

If you would rather just stay local, there is plenty to see near campus. Sometimes we become so overwhelmed with school and our extracurriculars, that we forget to appreciate all the cool sights that we have in our area. “A great local spot for a day trip is Pier Village. They have plenty of great shops and restaurants to try, and you’re right by the beach,” Sikora said.

If you don’t want to make any plans, you can still have a great fall break. Relaxation is key during fall break, and if a trip feels like too much stress, then it may not be the best option for you.

Nicole Notar, a senior communication student, said, “I don’t have any big plans for fall break, but I think everyone should just enjoy some free-time post midterms. A nice way to relax would be to have a spa day at Ocean Resort and Spa in Long Branch.”

Read more ...

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151