Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Alumni Spotlight: Michael Venezia

Alumni Spotlight Michael VeneziaWhen you think of home, it is a place that’s relied on for comfort, equality, and growth. Lifelong Bloomfield resident and a Monmouth alumnus, Mayor Michael Venezia, makes sure his town is prepared for everyone to feel welcomed.

As any newcomer in politics, Venezia had to get his feet wet and work his way up. “I was always involved locally in politics and government in Bloomfield which kind of geared me to run for council in 2010,” said Venezia.

Upon graduating Monmouth University with a political science degree in 2005, Venezia felt prepared to embark on his successful career within politics. To begin this journey, he took the opportunity working for Congressman Bill Pascrell as a way of becoming more involved in politics.

“I started off as a staff assistant, which is the lowest level position. I used to drive Bill and answer the phone; it was a very demanding job because you would always be on the other end of an angry constitute,” Venezia said.

A couple months later, Venezia moved up to Field Representative concentrating on Essex County becoming the link for most of the local government to the Congressman’s office.

Venezia later began working as Projects Director for former U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg for over five years. When Lautenberg passed away, Venezia went on to work for Essex County and the County Administrator’s office as an assistant administrator and is currently the Director of Human Resources for the Essex County Schools of Technology.

Read more ...

Professor Spotlight on Maria Simonelli

default article imageThirty-eight years ago, Maria Simonelli, Ph.D., arrived in the United States for the first time from a small town in the mountains near Naples, Italy.

Her arrival to America began after an earthquake in Naples, but her journey to Monmouth as a lecturer of Italian and Latin, the Department Coordinator of the Italian Program, and the Advisor of the Italian Club took some time.

“I was teaching in Italy— Italian, Latin, and Classical Greek. I came here, and I didn’t teach right away because I didn’t feel comfortable with my accent. I tried so many things but the only thing I really loved was the classroom,” shared Simonelli.

“I was trying here and there, doing different things that didn’t mean much to me really. It was a good experience, though. I got to meet different people, I got to understand the dynamics of society here, and finally I went back to teaching,” she added.

Simonelli’s story of becoming a professor in America is a perfect example of finding what you were truly meant to do.

Gianna Petrone, a junior criminal justice student in Simonelli’s Elementary Italian class, said, “One of my favorite things about Dr. Simonelli is her enthusiasm for teaching. As a student in her class, it’s been a privilege to see her passion for the Italian language and culture.”

Simonelli’s understanding of the American culture was accompanied by her learning of the English language. “I learned how different it was. There’s so many differences in cultures, especially with school,” Simonelli said.

Read more ...

Some of the Best Chanukah Traditions

Chanukah Traditions 1Chanukah, the miracle of lights, is celebrated among many students at Monmouth University. It is a celebration of one day’s worth of oil lasting eight days, when Jewish soldiers thousands of years ago were forbidden by ancient Greeks from practicing Judaism in the holy land. Together, with the warmth of family, the lighting of the menorah each day symbolizes the miracle of how many days the oil lasted.

Chanukah traditions keep the joy of the holiday alive each year. Matthew Cohen, a sophomore computer science student, shared his favorite tradition. “The lighting of the menorah because it’s a visual way to remember history and reenact the story of Chanukah thousands of years later,” he said.

Cohen loves being able to embrace his Jewish heritage at Monmouth with Chanukah. Having this on campus is important to him, “It’s good because a lot of other kids are Jewish here and it’s cool to see a lot of us come together, especially this past Tuesday, for the lighting of the menorah and appreciate and experience our culture together.”

The joy of the holiday is spread on campus with Chabad of Monmouth University, the on-campus organization that provides a tight-knit community for Jewish students.

Rabbi Yaakov Greenberg, adjunct professor of Intro to Judaism and advisor of Chabad, shared his favorite Chanukah tradition. “It’s definitely finding Jewish people who weren’t planning on celebrating the holiday and giving them a menorah enabling them to observe the holiday of Chanukah,” he said.

He encourages students here at Monmouth to get involved with the traditions by “sharing with them the beauty, relevance, meaning, and importance of their Jewish heritage and tradition.”

Read more ...

DIY Gifts? DIY Gifts.

DIY GiftsCollege students do not typically have the luxury of driving to the mall to pick up gifts for their loved ones. While they may not have their car on campus, they may not have the funds either. Gifts are expensive, and your total can quickly accumulate, especially when there are numerous people on your shopping list.

A new trend is DIY gifts. They are convenient, creative and they establish a personal connection to the gift that cannot be mimicked through a store-bought gift. Rebecca Berzins, a freshman marine biology student, stated, “Making your own gifts requires more thought and effort than just buying something.” A quality gift does not have to be expensive nor elaborate, as long as the person you are giving it to will like it.

DIY gifts can be made right from the comfort of your own dorm, because many of them require just a few items that you most likely have laying around anyway.

However, some of them might require cheaper items that help to complemte the gift such as a mason jar, ribbon, or a basket to put everything in. These items can be purchased at any dollar store.

Let’s be honest – we all have some shaving cream lying around in our shower caddies. Shaving cream is the primary ingredient for slime, a rapidly growing trend amongst younger children.

This is the perfect gift for younger siblings or cousins. The other ingredients consist of water, borax and glue, depending on what type of slime you want to make.

Children get ecstatic over slime (college students do too, it’s fine), and it can be made in a variety of different colors. It’s easy to make, not expensive and can be packaged presentably in a container with some ribbon.

Read more ...

Advice from Experience: Study Tips for Final Exams

Advice Experience ExamsTo reach the ultimate success during finals season, it is necessary to have a solid studying plan. The key is to plan in advance.

“Studying for finals, you will catch me at 5 a.m. in my room studying,” said Adham Hasan, a senior health studies student.

Hasan feels that accomplishing class obligations in a timely manner and being rested is a benefit to a successful performance on final exams. “Instead of staying up late at night, go to bed early and wake up early,” said Hasan.

“I usually start studying for finals two weeks prior to my final exams, and I try to average fifteen to twenty hours per week,” said Bryan Ochoa, a senior criminal justice student.

“Meeting with professors is very beneficial, especially during final exams. Although I am doing well in all of my classes, I just need to make sure my average does not get knocked down from to a B+ or B range,” said Ochoa.

Junior political science student Joe Raimondi also believes meeting with professors is an advantage. “I have met with professors before to go over study guides and it has been beneficial,” said Raimondi.

It is crucial to still give yourself breaks to relax. “I would definitely say that free time is beneficial for the process of studying because it just keeps me from getting overwhelmed and takes out my stress during finals week,” added Raimondi.

Ochoa also finds free time to be important during final exams. “I play soccer a lot during my free time, and I started playing basketball more,” said Ochoa.

Read more ...

Gourmet Dining: Saving Lives and the Planet, One Meal at a Time

Gourmet Dining Saving Lives 1As college students realize the influence that their diet has on their bodies, the environment, and animals, it is no surprise that vegan diets were predicted as the largest food trend of 2018.

Vegans consume an abundance of healthful foods such as vegetables, fruits, rice, and legumes. However, they eat the same foods that non-vegans eat: burgers, burritos, pastas, soups, and sandwiches, just vegan versions.

There are even a multitude of vegan ice cream brands sold in local grocery stores. Ben and Jerry’s created seven flavors, including classics Chunky Monkey and Cherry Garcia.

Research firm, GlobalData, reported a 600 percent increase in the number of vegans in the United States over the last three years. Monmouth’s Gourmet Dining, aware of the rising demand for vegan dishes, has implemented a plethora of new options. 

Those who follow a vegan diet discover many benefits that plant-based foods have on their health.

“Vegan plant-based options are healthy additions for anyone’s diet. Eating more plants should be a health focus on college campuses,” said Mary Harris, a specialist professor of communication and Director of Plants for Peace, a vegan organization.

 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States.

Read more ...

Must-Haves for Every Winter Wardrobe

Must Have Winter WardrobeNow that the weather is growing colder, it is time to transition into our winter wardrobes. The key is to not sacrifice style for warmth, and these tips will help you find a balance.

While fall is ideal for lighter layers, like a denim jacket, New Jersey winters require a heavy coat. That being said, the stereotypical ski-coat is not your only option.

Some peacoats are heavily lined, and Old Navy had them on sale for only $25 this past week. Vests are another cute choice of outerwear. Kristine Simoes, a specialist professor of public relations, said, “My Old Navy puffy vest never fails me.”

Overcoats are also trendy right now; it is a great look to pair it with rolled up jeans and boots. You can go for a traditional neutral color, or something a little more fun like pink. H&M has a couple different options set at reasonable prices.

Another new coat trend for women is the teddy coat. It is as comfortable as it sounds – these coats will turn you into a giant teddy bear.

Most of them are made from Sherpa material, making you feel like you are wearing a blanket. Urban Outfitters has a cute style that is colorful and reversible for $79, which isn’t too expensive for something that you are bound to wear all winter long.

While jeans are timeless, if you’re willing to try something new, try a pair of pleated pants. A plaid or houndstooth design is perfect for the season, and it will effortlessly dress-up any outfit. This is a great winter look for both men and women.

Read more ...

Holiday Shopping Survival Guide: College Edition

Holiday Shopping Survival GuideIt’s the most wonderful time of the year — for everything except our bank accounts. You don’t need to spend a month’s worth of college tuition on the perfect gifts for your family and friends. There are millions of other ways to show your loved ones that you care about them without spending an arm and a leg on “the perfect gift.”

Samantha Rosenberg, a junior social work student said, “Holiday shopping can be extremely difficult especially when you’re on a budget because there is a lot of pressure to find the perfect gift, especially for someone that you love.” People get so fixated on finding the perfect gift for their loved one and that’s usually associated with a lot of money. But with these tips, you will soon find out that sometimes, the perfect gift can be found on the sale rack.

A universal gift for anyone, boy or girl, old or young, naughty or nice, is pajamas. You can never go wrong with a soft and cozy pair of pajamas. Plus, there are tons of patterns that are sure to please anyone.

Primark, a British Department store, recently took over for Sears in the Freehold Mall. Their pajamas touch upon life’s greatest pleasures. They just came out with a Friends line (you’re welcome) and they even have cozy slippers to match.

Most importantly, they’re cheap and ideal for a college students’ budget. You can’t argue with $10 pajamas. This store is a hidden gem that can hopefully make holiday shopping easier and cheaper.

Marshall’s- this store is definitely on the nice list. With brands like Michael Kors, Vince Camuto and Ralph Lauren all at discounted prices, shopping here feels as lovely as Christmas morning. This store has practical gifts at great prices and even better quality.

Read more ...

Professor Spotlight on Courtney Werner

Professor Courtney WernerCourtney Werner, Ph.D., is an associate professor of English. Those who have had her as a professor know that she is consistently helpful and affable, but many of her students may not be aware of the research she does outside of the classroom.

Werner’s research specialty is digital writing. Regarding the works that she has had published, Werner explained, “My most important pieces are about how my field defines new media and the practical applications of those terms. Other pieces I have published focus on pedagogy: what does it mean to use this ideology in the writing classroom?”

Another one of her research interests is delving into the importance of writing centers.  “My favorite topic to research is actually the ideology of writing centers like our own writing services, and I have a history of publication that looks at digital writing and writing centers,” Werner shared.

While teaching at Monmouth has lessened the amount of time that Werner has available for research, she does not view that as a bad thing. She loves to teach and is happy that since being hired at Monmouth in 2015, teaching now takes up most of her time.

Werner said, “My emphasis on teaching here also informs my research and allows me to think about new projects. It’s also helped me better manage my time and find like-minded, teacher-researchers, with whom I currently have a great writing group.”

It is likely that you may have had Werner for a first-year composition course. “I love the variety of classes I get to teach, but every semester, I insist on teaching either EN 101 or EN 102,” she shared.

Read more ...

The Great Note-Taking Debate: Laptop vs. Paper

Laptop Vs PaperA laptop is a must-have for all college students; University websites will even give guidelines to what kind of laptops should be purchased. In other words, colleges rely on our ability to have access to technology.

But, this is not a bad thing at all. After all, the internet is chock full of information and as students, we have access to virtually anything at the touch of our hands and the connection to Wi-Fi. Note-taking is quicker and we can make it all neat with just some format adjustments. However, laptops might not be the best way to take notes.

The University as a whole has split opinions on whether it is more beneficial to take notes on a laptop or with pen and paper.

Laptops: many professors will advise against it, some are preforming research on it, and others think it is valuable to have information at students’ finger tips. Frank Fury, Ph.D., professor of English, often lets students have laptops in his classes.

“I think that they can be a distraction sometimes, but it is less about note-taking and more about being a supplement to discussions,” Fury stated.

The old school way to take notes is via pen (or pencil) and paper. Laptops may make note-taking faster, but there is not as much knowledge retention in taking notes with a keyboard.

Physically writing down your notes will spark a mental process that helps you to remember what you have written down. That is why a lot of professors, especially in note-dependent classes, will often advise that laptops are to remain shut.

Read more ...

How to Plan the Perfect Friendsgiving

Perfect FriendsgivingThanksgiving is the time of year where we give thanks to everything and everyone in our lives. For almost everyone, the people we are most grateful for besides our families are our friends.

Friendsgivings are events similar to Thanksgiving dinners, but the guests are our friends. These dinners are always a lot of fun, but for those who have not planned one before, it could be a very stressful event. Here are some tips for those of you who have never planned a Friendsgiving before.

The Host Makes the Roast-- Everyone Else Brings the Sides

When I had my first Friendsgiving with my friends, all our cooking abilities were very different. Some of us could cook but didn’t have the space, and others had the space but could somehow burn boiling water.

We quickly came up with this simple rule: whoever offered up their place as the site for the dinner would have to make the turkey. It doesn’t always have to be turkey; some friends prefer to bake chicken (because it’s cheaper) or a ham (because it’s easier to make).

The guests would then volunteer to bring sides, whether that be mashed potatoes, broccoli or mac and cheese. Assigning tasks like these will not only make the host’s job easier, but will also help make everyone feel like they are involved.

Have a Theme

Sometimes, especially when you are hosting one of these events for the first time, it can be difficult to get everyone comfortable and to get the ball rolling.

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