Last updateMon, 29 Apr 2019 1pm


LBGTQ+ Friendly Safe Spaces: Are Schools Doing Enough?

LGBTQ Friendly SpaceAccording to Reuters Health, a growing number of United States schools are increasing school safety and accommodations for LGBTQ+ students. The study, which addressed high schools and middle schools in the United States, found that there was an increase in anti-harassment policies and designated safe spaces for those who might be in need of counseling or help. 

The study, which looked at data collected nationwide from questionnaires in 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014, found that in general, school policies were trending toward the support of LGBTQ+ students. 

While colleges are not the subject of the study, researchers indicated that higher education facilities were also increasing their support of LGBTQ+ students.

Monmouth University has worked to support LGBTQ+ students on campus, including the rollout of gender-neutral bathrooms in 2016 and the presence of Sexuality, Pride, Education, Community, Truth, and Unity at Monmouth (SPECTRUM), an LGBTQ+ organization, on campus. Many professors and administrators also have stickers on their doors marking their office as a ‘safe zone’ for LGBTQ+ issues, and the office of counseling and psychological services is also available to students. 

Johanna Foster, Ph.D. Director of Sociology and assistant professor of political science and sociology said, “We do have individual staff and faculty committed to creating and protecting safe spaces for all students, including folks working in the Office of Equity and Diversity, the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, and faculty that are part of Professors United for a Safe Haven (PUSH), and the university has made important strides against heteronormativity in the 15 years that I have been here.”

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Tell Me Your Story: All About Tony Lombardo

Tony LombardoTony Lombardo of Forked River, NJ, is the epitome of a fighter. Lombaro is the son of immigrant parents and lived in Brooklyn, NY for a large portion of his life. However, his life changed when he was diagnosed at age 28 with multiple sclerosis (MS), right after the birth of his daughter.

“The first symptom was double vision, followed by dragging my left foot and leg as I walked. Eventually I started using a cane, and then a walker. I have been using a motorized wheelchair for 18 years,” he said.

MS is a nervous system disease that has the potential to affect the brain and spinal cord. It took doctors seven years to diagnose Lombardo, which was “emotionally taxing,” as one would imagine. 

Even though Lombardo was affected by this life altering illness, his story is one of strength and courage. Rather than letting MS hold him back, it instead propelled him to inspire others with his words of courage.

Lombardo learned from others’ challenges and tales of how they overcame obstacles and used them as “a means of paying it forward.” He established the social impact organization, “Let’s Hear Your Story” which takes in stories of courage and conquering setbacks and shares them on his website.

Lombardo is also the author of On Both Sides of the Fence…How to Successfully Lead a Fulfilling Life Despite the Presence of Any Physical Challenge, to share his story and convey the message to never let life’s obstacles hold you back. He has many plans to expand his initiative as well, and many other ideas with which he hopes he can inspire others.

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Read This: How to Take Something Away From Your Textbooks

Take Something From TextbooksRanger Halt once said, “It’s only impossible if you make it impossible.” I remembered this line from John Flanagan’s book series, The Ranger’s Apprentice, during every moment I have faced a challenge since I read it at the age of ten. It made me realize that books of any kind should be treated like milk for the mind: prefer the whole on the shelf as opposed to the skim on Sparknotes.

Edward Palluzzi, a junior health studies student, said, “Personally, I find myself using my textbooks for my major classes more than I do my health electives, although sometimes the books from my elective classes are great references for major classes. Either way, I pretty much get good use out of all of my textbooks in one way or another.”

Your textbooks do not have to be just an essential tool to help you walk on graduation day. While they help you fulfill academic needs, they give you something else in return for spending nights with them until three in the morning. In some cases, students can walk away from a class with more than just knowledge on energy forces, the stock exchange, or feminism. They walk out of the classroom with inspiration to pursue a field of practice.

I tell anyone who asks about my future goals, “The ultimate goal is to write a novel and teach a class how to do the same.” Admittedly, I have seldom drifted onto my phone during readings to check out Clash of Clans or to tag my friends in dog memes. Sometimes as students, we read so much that we end up craving a brief release from the duty of soaking up different authors’ ideologies and stories.

The Ranger’s Apprentice series follows a young man named Will who must be assigned a role in a medieval-like society. He wants to join Battle School, but he is assigned one of the rarest apprenticeships in the land, which is the Ranger position. Halt, a member of the Ranger Corps, becomes his master and whips him into the shape of a cloaked spy. While the apprenticeship is difficult for Will to manage, Halt drops helpful advice on how to survive in life. Halt’s lesson regarding impossibility is a simple one. The more you decide to quit, the less chances you give yourself to achieve your goals.

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Senior Fine Art Show Presented in DiMattio Gallery

Senior Show: Fine Art and Animation

Senior Show Art Animation 1Senior fine art students gathered their work together to be displayed in Rechnitz Hall’s DiMattio Gallery at the Senior Show: Fine Art & Animation that took place on Friday, March 23. 

As students, faculty, and families alike leisurely strolled around the gallery, they were able to see the seniors’ hard work and dedication to the arts on full display; each student being showcased had their own section of the gallery walls. The event started at 7 p.m. and ran until 9 p.m; throughout the night, both the first and second floor of the gallery were packed.

Amanda Green, a senior fine art student whose work was on display at the event, said, “I've always been passionate about trying to capture a person that's why many of my drawings and paintings are portraits. Everyone sees the world differently, but sharing artwork is a great way to share your view of it.”

“I love to hear what people see when they look at my artwork even if it's not what I was going for. I don't just share my art, but I share pieces of me and want to move people to feel something as well,” she continued.

Of course, these students have their own inspirations as well, Michelle Toscano, a senior fine art student and one of the many students who had their work displayed at the event, said, “I have always been inspired by the work of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. I find the surrealist movement of art to be so interesting and playful. I enjoy the juxtaposition that these two masters use in their work and I try to emulate that in mine as well by incorporating color and thought provoking elements.”

Art fanatics were able to cycle through the gallery to view art students’ paintings, animations, sculptures, etc. Some displays were interactive, asking passersby to sign a booklet, leave a note, and one student even left cameras out to take pictures with her to go in a scrapbook.

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Women Helping Women: My Experience in Guatemala

Women in GuatemalaI have been wrong about feminism. As a student enrolled in Guatemala Public Health, taught by Chris Hirschler Ph.D., Department Chair and associate professor of Health and Physical Education, I have been required to learn Guatemalan culture and, more specifically, the plight of the women who live there.

Before traveling to Guatemala as part of the service-learning component of this course, I read articles, watched videos, and engaged in discussions with my classmates. I came prepared to help with what I thought was a mind free of preconceived notions. With the utmost cultural sensitivity, my classmate, Sneha Bupathi, a junior health studies student, and I developed the lesson we would have to teach to victims of domestic violence.

Bupathi said, “We decided on art therapy because we wanted the women we worked with to relax, express their feelings, and create something that they could keep.” Knowing that we needed an expert opinion, we consulted Jennifer Gottshall, an adjunct professor of health and physical education, who approved of our plan and added that “Art therapy also has the ability to enhance confidence,” a trait that any victim of domestic violence is likely lacking.

Needless to say, I knew I would be working with women throughout the course of this trip, but no article, documentary, or class discussion could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. 

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A Conversation, A Decentralized Brotherhood

Decentralized BrotherhoodThere is a beautiful home in Manasquan, New Jersey; if you were to walk into this home it would look just like any other, but if you were to stroll down to the basement, you would enter a small home studio.

A computer monitor sat on the right, a microphone to the left of it, and keyboards surrounding it. The walls were poster-ladened with images of different bands, artists, and influencers.

Casted into the corner was perhaps the most pertinent frame: a t-shirt with Recess Radio’s name and logo much like the first ones they sold, perhaps this was the one that got the ball rolling for Recess Radio, because now, “Nothing is a joke,” according to producer/artist Blake Foster.

 Recess Radio carries the age old narrative of a music group that started back in high school. According to the three members I spoke to, the group formed around September of their senior year, and eventually became a collective of eight people: Daniel Harmon, a.k.a Skyeboii; Seamus Higgins, a.k.a ShaeBoro; Blake Foster, a.k.a Lakeblake; Martin Terry, Sean Ferguson, Eddie Destefano, Andrew Cosenza, and Justin Hetzle.

The year 2016 seems about a lifetime ago when Recess’ success is taken into account, but that is when the high school friends got together, made beats, and created tracks that no one knew about. At that time it wasn’t at all serious, but Eddie Destefano stated passionately that, “nothing starts serious.”

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Mattel Introduces Line of ‘Shero’ Barbies; Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Chloe Kim to be Included

Mattel Shero BarbiesMattel’s Barbie dolls have been around since 1959, when Co-Founder, Ruth Handler designed the original Barbie figure and debuted her at the New York Toy Fair.

Since then, the dolls have transformed over the past 55 years; Barbie has become a nurse, teacher, astronaut, game developer, and most recently, a president. The newest addition to the collection of dolls is the design of the Inspiring Women series.

This series includes influential women figures throughout history portrayed as Barbie dolls such as Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, and soon to come Chloe Kim, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and many other women both past and present.

The idea of a ‘Shero’ or a female hero is not unheard of in today’s society.

Michael Chattalas, Ph.D., a specialist professor of marketing and international business said, “Society’s stereotype of a ‘hero’ is adjusting to changing gender roles. My own research on cultural stereotypes, suggests that an ideal ‘hero’ figure should exude both competence and warmth, which could be a perfect fit for Barbie’s Shero image.”

According to Mattel’s website, “86 percent of moms surveyed are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to [according to a 2018 online survey].”

“That’s why Barbie continues to showcase examples of inspirational women. From Sheroes to Inspiring Women, meet our latest Barbie role models–all extraordinary women we’ve honored with a doll in their likeness.”

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Inspiring by Aspiring: Natalie Newbold

default article imageBold, Talented. Newbold, New Natalie.

This 28-year-old virtuoso has been drumming since she was 10 years old, playing guitar since she was 14, and has been song writing as long as she’s had a journal. The longevity of her dedication serves as a standard of what passion is in the music industry.

Having been a dedicated member of dollys, from 2013 to 2017, and a touring drummer and backing vocalist in Green Paper while at Rutgers New Brunswick, Newbold has become renowned in the music scene for her pleasant vocals and drum playing, equaled only by her kindness and support for others in the scene.

Natalie is currently the front-man of Well Wisher, where she sings lead vocals and plays guitar.

At the front of the stage, the shield of her kit has been removed, and her vulnerability is seen not just from her standing, singing body, but in her sincere expressions as she reveals her heart live for those in the audience to enjoy, relate to, and be moved from.

“As a performer, the thing that magnetized me and seemingly so many people to Natalie is how candid and honest everything she does FEELS when you watch her.  Every musician knows how hard it is to constantly be connected with the music you are trying to convey,” said Erik Romero, close friend of Natalie’s and former band member of dollys.

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Student Spotlight: Will Jones

Student Spotlight Will Jones 1Junior computer science advanced computing, software engineer student with a double minor in mathematics and informational technology, William Jones is enrolled at Monmouth University but has some interesting life experiences that set him apart from his peers. Not only has Jones served in the United States’ military, he also is married with a son and a daughter and about ten years older than the average college undergraduate.

William Tepfenhart, Ph.D., a professor of computer science and software engineering (CSSE) commented about Jones, “He’s a great guy and good role model for the other students. He demonstrates that by helping others, interacting with new students to make them feel welcome, and [Jones] helps bring a level of maturity to the classroom. He’s active in the Monmouth University Chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).”

Jones is the president of IEEE and organizes many events with the group and continues to find ways to keep the organization active and involved with the community. “Professor Kretsch advises IEEE and Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) and Upsilon Pi Epsilon (UPE), which is the honor society for computing,” Jones said.

Jamie Kretsch, Chair of the CSSE department and specialist professor said, “He is known by a wide range of students, from freshmen through graduate students, because he is always involved in department-related events, always there to help others, and always in the middle of activities to further our department on campus.

“Will is known by all faculty because of his dedication and enthusiasm for learning, and the strong sense of responsibility he brings to Monmouth and our program. As a U.S. veteran, Will is an inspiration to all in his patriotism and commitment to serving Monmouth and the United States with pride and honor.”

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Doing it for the Art: Abstract vs. Traditional

Abstract Traditional 1Slap some color on a canvas, step back, call it a day, and sell it for $50,000. To an untrained artist, this is the process they believe professionals such as Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt, and Mark Rothko practiced as a means of arriving at a valid statement.

This narrow-minded approach as to how abstract art is observed as opposed to traditional art, is what has haunted abstract artists for decades; artists as such receive a great deal of criticism today from the young urban professionals in museums.

Abstract Traditional 2To an artist, nothing is more insulting than a blank canvas. Scott Knauer, Director of Galleries and Collections for the University’s Art Department said, “It may take hours or even days to start to see something develop, but time goes by quickly after you get the painting started.” The sustained burden of wonder hovers over the artists and demands a specific outcome.

Producing a work of art from the heart and having it rejected is detrimental to the artist’s mindset and future creations; they present their work for the purpose of receiving feedback and gratification. The artist relies on the viewers’ impressions in order to improve; benefits sometimes include a potential buyer, although, this is not always the case.

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Nothing but Respect for Our [SGA] President: Nick Verzicco

Respect Nick VerziccoIt’s true that the energy we harvest within ourselves, has a direct impact on those around us. For junior business administration/finance student and Student Government President, Nicholas Verzicco, this impact is nothing but positivity and enthusiasm for Monmouth University.

Verzicco recalls, “I decided to come to Monmouth because of the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) program which has helped me tremendously in my Monmouth career. The extra support I was going to receive was very appealing to me. Also, the beauty of this campus really made me feel at home. In the sculpture garden by the Koi pond is where I decided that if I get into the EOF program I would come here.”

It was during the summer of 2015 five week EOF program where Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, Mary Anne Nagy first met Verzicco. Nagy said of Verzicco, “I’ve been here 32 years and have worked with a lot of student leaders, and I have to say, I think Nick is a pretty amazing young man.”

Nagy recalls her first impressions of Verzicco saying, “He’s funny, outgoing and he makes you feel good because he feels good and that’s important.”

As Student Government President and a Student Ambassador for the University, Verzicco knows he has the ability to influence his peers and other students.

Verzicco said, “Being a student leader on campus means that you are a familiar face that students can go to for advice or direction. I take pride in being a student leader and I want my fellow peers to take pride in Monmouth.”

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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