Last updateSat, 28 Mar 2020 1pm


Christmas on a College Budget

Unique Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Christmas on a College BudgetNow that the annual Thanksgiving madness has come to an end, Christmas is just around the corner. As college students, most of us are short on time and money to shop for everyone on our lists.

Alyssa Gray, first-year student, said, “I do in fact tend to make most of my gifts, not only because I am on a college budget, but because I believe that it means more to make a gift instead of buying one.”

One past present included sneakers that were painted and personalized.

Everyone has that one person on their Christmas list that seems to stump them. There may be no knowledge of their hobbies, no new ideas, or no help from the gift receiver.

Gray said, “For me, it’s definitely Dad. Every year he says he wants ‘nothing’ and I am quite honestly beginning to run out of various socks, ties, and sports memorabilia to give him.”

It’s easy to run out of gift ideas for parents after so many years of Christmas shopping. But the first thing to remember about parents is that they take pride in their kids. Which means, students, get them a college sweatshirt or maybe a mug with the name of the University on it. These are original and easily accessible. This also supports the idea of Bonnie Spain, journalist for Rapid City Journal, that shoppers should buy locally as much as possible rather than online.

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Senior Spotlight: Dharm Patel

New Inductee of Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society

default article imageDharm Patel came from Colonia High School in Colonia, NJ to the University as a Monmouth Medical Scholar in the combined 8 year B.S./M.D. program with Drexel University School of Medicine. In the summer of his sophomore year, he began research with Dean Michael Palladino of the School of Science by participating in the MU School of Science’s Summer Research Program (SRP) in 2009.

“Dean Palladino’s lab seemed the best fit for me,” Patel said, “because his lab had a very successful track record for understanding the fundamentals of basic science research in the field of reproductive biology. There needs to be a solid understanding of how the fundamentals work because you can manipulate that understanding to solve a problem through various techniques and experiments.”

In addition to being the PI (mentor) for Patel’s research, Dean Palladino is also the Chief Advisor for Patel’s Honors Thesis.

Patel’s current research project is entitled “Effects of Lipopolysaccharide-induced Inflammation on Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 Expression in the Rat Testis.” His research in immunology and reproductive biology is aimed primarily at identifying the molecular changes following inflammation of the human male reproductive tract from bacterial and viral infections.

His work explores the crosstalk and signaling pathways between NF-kB and HIF-1, two major transcription factors for inflammation. From his abstract submitted to Sigma Xi, “This relationship may be useful in studying disease states at the molecular level in which hypoxia, [deprivation of an adequate oxygen supply], and inflammation are a feature of the microenvironment.”

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The Simplest Way to Land a Job

Tips on How to Make Your Resume Shine

default article imageAs any job applicant knows, one of the most important keys to obtaining a job, or even an interview, is an impressive resume. According to, “The average employer spends only 10 seconds looking at a resume, yet it is the only contact an applicant has with the potential employer.”

In life, people never get a second chance to make a first impression, and a resume is a person’s first impression to an employer. A resume that is anything shy of flawless can impact job prospects. Unfortunately, when it comes to a job search, there is no room for mistakes.

William Hill, Assistant Dean of Career Services, said, “A good resume clearly communicates the candidate’s career objective, skills, education, experience, and other information relevant to the job for which he or she is applying. Desired qualifications depend upon the employer, but most employers also look at GPAs and the general tone of the resume.”

As the job market becomes more competitive, a resume is all an applicant has to stand out among the many job seekers applying for the same position, according to

Years of hard work go into a resume, so applicants should put effort into ensuring that this document reflects years of life experiences.

“Students should start a resume as soon as they can, even as freshmen,” said Kathleen Kennedy, Director of Cooperative Education. “They should update it every semester.” It is important to have one on-hand for career fairs or other events.

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From Typist to Vice President

Administrator Profile on Patti Swannack

Typist to Vice PresidentIn 1975, the University hired a young woman as a clerk typist in the personnel department at a time when women were not even permitted to wear slacks to work.

Working her way up to Vice President of Administrative Services, Patti Swannack spent the past 36 years pursuing a business career she is passionate about.

“I love what I do,” Swannack said. “I was provided with a lot of great opportunities.” When Swannack started working at the University, she said there was only one woman working in administration at the time.

When bosses left their position, she seized the opportunity to move higher up the ladder. Eventually, she became the Executive Director of Human Resources until 1994, when Swannack moved into the vice president position.

Responsible for campus planning and construction, summer is the busiest time of year for her. Many renovation and construction projects take place while the students are home on break.

Most recently, the new parking lot was completed last summer and ready for students when they returned.

“We’ve done $175 million in construction since I was Vice President,” Swannack said. We built the Jules Plangere building, McAllan Hall, re-roofed Wilson Hall, renovated Oakwood Hall, Mullaney Hall and Redwood Hall.”

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Livin’ it Up in Sin City

Student Spends Her Twenty-First Birthday in Las Vegas

Sin CityLas Vegas is one of the greatest destinations on earth. Who doesn’t love to go away to Sin City for a weekend where anything and everything is possible? The lights, the hotels, the glamour, the rooftop clubs… What’s not to love? They say that “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” And whoever “they” may be, they were not messing around with that statement. There’s a reason it’s so widely recognized, but you can’t understand it until you’ve experienced it.

Las Vegas, Nevada is where I spent my twenty-first birthday this past summer. I was on the plane when midnight struck and that magical birthday fairy granted me permission to drink alcohol (legally).

I ordered a Jose Cuervo from the flight attendant, and sat back, wondering what this vacation would be like. Nothing has ever exceeded my expectations more than Vegas.

When my friends and I landed in Vegas we immediately set our bags down at the hotel and headed out to the strip. It was like New York City’s Time Square, but bigger, better, and brighter.

We went into the MGM Grand, New York, New York, and Mandalay Bay. Everything was huge, everything was colorful and most importantly, everything involved liquor. Everyone was out partying and it was 3:00 pm!

After exploring for what felt like forever, we headed back to our room to prepare for our big night out.

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The Lines Await

default article imageRegisters ringing, credit cards swiping, wallets whining, and parents sighing are sounds that echo through the stores. This is the joy of holiday shopping. Every year shoppers swarm the department stores and battle it out for the best deals on the items that top their gift list.

Extended hours and sales galore draw shoppers to the stores at all hours. Erin Cunningham, a junior, said, “I went shopping a few times on Black Friday, but it is so out of control. I don’t feel like the madness and long lines are worth the discounts. If I do go, it is usually later in the day when all the craziness has settled.”

Holiday shopping estimates for the 2011 season project that each person will spend $403 on gifts for family members, according to National Retail Federation (NRF). The total spending on holiday items is estimated at $704 per person, which also includes gifts for friends, pets, decorations, and various other items. Last year, shoppers spent a reported $45 billion on Black Friday, according to a report from the NRF.

Out of the estimated 212 million shoppers, the amount breaks down to $365 per person this year, some stores are opening even earlier to get shoppers to spend money in their store first. Target, Kohl’s, Walmart, and Best Buy will open at 12:00 am before many other stores to get a head start on profits. Other stores, such as Sears and JC Penney, are opening at 4:00 am.

In a Wall Street Journal article, some retail employees expressed their unhappiness about the midnight openings. Many will need to sleep before going to work and the hours will cut into their Thanksgiving holiday time with family.

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Giving Back to the University and Beyond

default article imageNo community, not even Monmouth County, has a lack of volunteering opportunities. There are many opportunities, both on and off-campus, which students can and should take advantage of.

You can find that some of the best resources for volunteering are right here on campus. Campus resources can take the hassle out of finding opportunities by providing services that can connect you with volunteering programs without you having to step foot off campus.

When it comes to finding volunteer opportunities, Marilyn Ward, Coordinator of Service Learning and Community Programs, is a person to know on campus. She works with individual students as well as clubs and organizations on volunteer opportunities on campus and in the larger community at hand.

She recommends that the first way a student can get involved on campus with volunteering is to join a club that deals specifically with volunteering. At the University, this includes Circle K and the Community Service Club. Other clubs also offer volunteering opportunities, but it may not be their main focus.

If you do not have time to join a club, there are usually many volunteering projects on campus. These include food drives, clothing drives, First-Year Service Project activities, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Relay for Life, Project Linus, letter writing for the troops, recycling efforts, and Greek fundraising events. Tess La Fera, sophomore, said that volunteering is a good activity to preoccupy one’s time. “I participated in the teach-in and relay for life on campus,” said La Fera, “and both were very rewarding experiences.”

Ward said, “We’re heading into the holiday season so there are many opportunities to help the community, especially through the Student Government Association Giving Tree. If groups would like to work with a family in need we have referrals from several community organizations.”

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Here Comes the Teenage Bride, All Dressed in White

The Analysis of the Emerging Problems of Teenage Marriage

Dressed in WhiteThere was once a time when a person getting married at a young age was common. According to the New York Times, the average age for women to marry in the 1950’s was 19-years-old, and the marriage of people between the ages of 17 to 19 was not referred to as a teenage marriage because it was part of the norm. During those times, marriage between young adults was viewed the same way as marriage between 30-year-olds: a common practice.

Oftentimes, when people are told about a teenage marriage today, they usually suspect a pregnancy. In addition to pregnancy, wanting to get away from one’s parents can also be a contributing factor to teenage marriages, according to

“In some cases, teenagers who are without families for numerous reasons, or disconnected from their families may view marriage as a way of creating a family of their own so that they have someone to love and receive love in return,” said Thomas McCarthy, University psychologist.

No matter the circumstances, teenagers should not feel as if marriage is an obligation or something they have to do, nor should they view it as a means to an end. Although marriage may bring a certain level of freedom from one’s parents, it is also accompanied by many complications, expectations, and responsibilities. The pressures of a marriage can also bring about its downfall.

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The Hidden Finds in the Rare Book Collection

George Germek, Rare Book Collection Administrator Shares its Value

Rare Book Collection 1For those who are interested in classic literature dating back to the eighteenth through twentieth century, George Germek, administrator of the Rare Book Collection in the Guggenheim Library, is a golden resource.

“The Rare Book Collection also has older books, like manuscript leaves from about 1300.” These manuscripts, said Germek, are the most popular books in the collection among students. “Some will say that students aren’t interested. They’re born into the computer age and they wouldn’t really be interested in leaves from the thirteenth or fourteenth centuries, but I find that to be completely untrue,” he said.

“They can’t believe that they’re touching something that’s 700-years-old that somebody worked on, that’s still existing, that’s still intact.”

The antiquity of these books is what draws many people to them. Beautiful bindings and cover art attract attention and make them more desirabl e to most collectors.

Many illustrations students see in textbooks today come from originally published editions.

However, it is not only the physical appearance that makes these books rare collector’s items.

“What makes a book rare is really hard to say. Scarcity increases its rarity, as well as how it was produced, like if there were any sorts of problems in production.”

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The Life of a Scam Artist

default article imageFor most people, Christmas is the most exciting holiday of the year. But for Richie Sorrento (his real name has been changed to protect his identity), Black Friday is like Christmas on steroids. All of the stores open at midnight and everything from DVDs to snow blowers are on sale. Richie Sorrento, 39, your typical scam artist, has been taking part in Black Friday festivities since he turned 23.

The 5’6 black haired Italian works as a real estate agent making anywhere from $70,000 to $100,000 a year in Marlboro, NJ. He has been married for 17 years and has three young boys who are too young to take part in the “real” family business yet. Sorrento plans to introduce his boys to his hobby once they reach the age of 16.

The night before Thanksgiving, Sorrento always makes sure to get plenty of sleep. He fills his body with hazelnut coffee, carbohydrates and five-hour energy drinks anticipating the lack of sleep. “At around 7:00 pm on Thanksgiving, I get in line at the Manalapan Best Buy. When they open the doors I am in with my plan already orchestrated perfectly. I find the items that have the best deals running and purchase them as quickly as possible before the line accumulates,” said Sorrento.

Next, he heads to Target. Target always has ridiculously low prices on Black Friday, and he always manages to fill two carts with computer printers, cameras, laptops, toys, and more while he is there. After Target his next stop is Staples, where he buys almost everything advertised on the front page of the flyer.

“I don’t just buy this stuff because I like sales or have a shopping addiction, I do it to make money. This might make you think to yourself that I am crazy,” said Sorrento. He then takes everything from Best Buy that he purchased on sale, and lists it on Craigslist for the full price. “I made a point to familiarize myself with Target and Staples’ return policy, and noted that neither of them requires a receipt for returns. As a result, I am able to return all of my Black Friday purchases that cost me almost nothing, for the full price in the form of a gift card. Last year I turned my $2,000 purchases into $4,500,” said Richie.

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The Next Billion

Next BillionPlanet Earth yet again established a new threshold for its global populace with the addition of the seven billionth human being on October 31. With the forthcoming of this new addendum, a question must be asked. Are our socioeconomic and natural resources truly capable of sustaining yet another billion people, when, according to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), more than half the world lives on less than two dollars a day?

A recent report in The Economist analyzed human population growth in the billions of people. For the human population to reach the first billion, it took roughly 250 million years. More than a century passed before the second billion could be reached. The third billion took only half as long as the second. The following two billions took 13 and 12 years, respectively. And the most recent billion took only another 12 years.

Therefore, before the twentieth century, no person had lived through a “doubling period” of the human population. However, today, there are people that are alive who have seen the world population actually triple.

As the global population grows by about 77 million each year, it becomes a formidable task to remain calm. From common observation, soil is eroding, desertification is looming, glaciers are melting, the fish supply is lessening and millions of people are starving-every single day. Fifty years from now, according to the PRB, there will be two billion more mouths to feed, a great majority of whom will reside in developing countries.

Should the next generation “follow the path blazed by wealthy countries by clearing forests, burning coal and oil, freely scattering fertilizers and pesticides? They too will be stepping hard on the planet’s natural resources. How exactly is this going to work?” asked Robert Kuznig from National Geographic.

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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