Last updateWed, 21 Apr 2021 3pm


Volume 92 (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Chemical in Sunscreen Harming Coral Reefs

Chemical CoralBeneath the surface of the oceans, the Florida Keys Reef system is struggling to stay alive due to a chemical used in sunscreens, The New York Times reported. 

According to the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, the reef is the third largest living coral barrier reef system in the world. 

Oxybenzone, a common chemical found in sunscreen, is toxic to the symbiotic algae of coral reefs. Gregory Moehring, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Chemistry, said, “[It is] a petroleum-derived chemical with an arrangement of electrons within the molecule that allows for it to absorb ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight. Its solubility properties make the molecule effective in topically applied sunscreens.”

Jim Nickels, a Marine Scientist for Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute (UCI) said, “Corals have been under threat from a variety of sources, the ingredients in some sunscreens are having a direct affect causing bleaching, damaging their DNA, and causing deformities and death.” 

An ecosystem once vibrant with colors is now going white, in the process Nickels mentioned as “bleaching.” If you are having trouble picturing bleached coral think of the way a tree appears in the winter: without life, barren, and brittle.  

Jason Adolf, Ph.D., Monmouth University’s first endowed Associate Professor of marine science and a member of The Urban Coast Institute, explained what bleaching means for coral reefs. During bleaching, “Corals lose their symbiotic zooxanthellae, which are small algal cells living in the tissue of the coral animal, resulting in a white, 'bleached' appearance. Sometimes corals recover from these events, but sometimes the coral is lost and the ecosystem transitions to something totally different,” said Adolf.  

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Political Science Hosts First Alumni Networking Event

Alumni AdviceThe Political Science Alumni Association hosted its first alumni networking event in the Center for Active Citizenship on the second floor of Bey Hall on Friday, Nov. 1.

Alli Matz (’12), a corporate strategist for McKesson, a $215 billion American healthcare company in London, spearheaded the initiative to bring this event to campus.

 “I wanted to create a forum for students to learn about career paths that alumni have taken from Monmouth's Political Science program,” she said. “I'm hopeful this initiative can help current students bridge the gap between their time at Monmouth and their early careers or ongoing academic pursuits.”

The event brought eight political science alumni under the age of 30 with careers spanning law, international finance, lobbying, technology and academia, to network with and advise current political science students.

Matz explained that the first part of the event was designed to gather feedback and encourage informal discussion. Another exercise included students writing down what they want to do after Monmouth, and what questions they have for alumni so that they could provide feedback. Alumni then broke-out into small group sessions catered to specific interests.

“Monmouth is at its best when it prioritizes students…political science thrives at Monmouth University because our students are so successful,” said Ken Mitchell, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Political Science and Sociology and an Associate Professor of Political Science who worked in tandem with the group of alumni to organize the event.

Esther Wellman, a senior political science student, said that the event was insightful for everyone who attended, especially for senior students who are in the process of considering post-graduation possibilities and potential career paths after Monmouth.

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Lockheed Martin Info Session

LockheedAerospace technology corporation Lockheed Martin showcased available jobs, internships, and co-ops in the global security and aerospace industry to students in Bey Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

Opened to only computer science and software engineering students, representatives from Lockheed Martin aimed to present students with information regarding their company, products, and possible available positions, according to an informational press release for the event.

The presentation began with a video titled “Integrated Air & Missile Defense Solutions,” which previewed developing security and defense technology through CGI. Innovations shown in the video are examples of the company’s holistic approach to what they call a “Complex Threat Problem,” the video detailed. This includes new developments in artificial intelligence and autonomous defense units designed for the US Military.

A key point of the presentation was a discussion about internships and career opportunities for up-and-coming computer scientists and software engineers. As Edison Perez, an engineer for 18 years at Lockheed Martin, explained, the company is “a solid, quality-focused company.”

Regarding the application process, Perez continued, “Yes, the resumes are important, but we’re more concerned with the quality of the person.”

Representatives emphasized good leadership and a group mentality as key character traits of their ideal candidate. “We’re looking for leadership experiences; things like athletics or pep band,” said Tom O’Hara, a software engineer at Lockheed Martin.

The information session also included a look at internships and co-ops offered by the corporations for current undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the perks that come with them. These perks include student loan refinancing for undergraduates, Master’s degree reimbursement for graduate students, and comprehensive healthcare benefits from the outset. 

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Monmouth Invests in Flashing Stop Signs

Stop SignsMonmouth University’s operations team arranged the installation of new light up stop signs on and around campus property in the end of August.

 “There is no negative aspect to light- up stop signs other than funding, so the more the merrier,” stated Cesaer Monterroso, a Criminal Justice Graduate Student from Monmouth University.

Due to excessive faculty and students breezing through stop signs on campus, Monmouth University police department decided to investigate purchasing solar stop signs.

The stop signs were placed to increase the safety of pedestrians and emphasize which roads are one way only. There were four stop signs installed with a total cost of $1,140 which was funded out of the universities operating budget.

They were added specifically at areas that are heavily used and where traffic regulations are frequently overlooked, Patricia L. Swannack, Monmouth Universities Vice President of Administrative Services said. 

Not only are the solar stop signs on campus, but they are in the community surrounding campus as well. These solar stop signs are not just affecting the campus community, but the local community as well.

By implementing the solar stop signs throughout campus, the goal is to minimize the number of drivers who disregard the stop signs and roll right through them. 

The new solar stop signs are all over campus however some were strategically placed at busier places on campus. “We definitely need them at certain parts on campus, for example I noticed they are at the campus entrance, and at places where there is a lot of traffic.” Olivia Santos a student stated.

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Model UN Team Brings Back Four Awards from OXford

UN Team OxfordThree students from the University’s Model United Nations team took home four awards at the Oxford University Model UN Contest (OxiMUN) in Oxford, England last weekend Oct. 25 through Oct. 27. 

Kristen Gomez, a senior English student, won an individual speaker award and an award for best delegate in the International Press Corp Committee; Payton Collander, a junior criminal justice student, and junior political science students Mackenzie Ricca and Nick Boice, won three individual speaker awards.

Individual speaker awards are granted to delegates who demonstrate superior speaking skills in the competition, and the best delegate award is granted to a delegate who showcases the best research, speaking, writing, and debating skills in a committee. 

Team captains Ricca and Matt Gruhler, a senior political science student, were joined by the following additionally Monmouth delegates to Oxford: Paula Echeverria, a senior criminal justice student; Alexis Vasquez, a senior political science student; and Dan Gerdon, a junior political science student. 

Committees consist of 20-30 students and are convened around the various colleges of Oxford University. They cover topics ranging from climate change, water rights on the Nile River, economic development, food security, sex trafficking, border disputes, education, refugee crises, post-war reconstruction, female entrepreneurship in Asia, and regulations of space, among others. Three individual speaker awards are given to each committee, including overall Best Delegate.

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Millennial Student Debt on the Rise: Monmouth Analysis

Debt RiseOver the past 30 years, the average tuition and fees for public four-year universities tripled, and more than doubled at private nonprofit four-year institutions, according to College Board. Nationally, student loan debt as a whole has accumulated to $1.52 trillion during the Millennial lifetime.

Millennials are defined as those born between 1981 and 1996, according to The Pew Research Center. With the oldest Millennials around 40 years of age and the youngest around 23, current college-age students are categorized either directly as Millennials or on the cusp of qualification.

LendEDU, an organization which publishes an annual report detailing student loan debt per state, ranked New Jersey within the top 10 for highest student debt post-graduation, last August. The study found that the average student loan debt per borrower for New Jersey was $33,593, and 64 percent of New Jersey college students graduate with student debt.

Although the report goes into detail regarding the average student loan debt per borrower and the percent of graduates with student debt of other New Jersey schools, specific Monmouth University numbers were not listed.

Claire Alasio, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Director of Financial Aid, explained the logistics behind scholarships available to Monmouth undergraduates.

“The University spends roughly $66.1 million in scholarships to 4400 undergraduate students,” Alasio said. “That’s around 17k per student, which is a pretty significant commitment on the University's part. That's a significant way that we’re hoping to reduce student debt.”

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Criminal Justice Hosts Parolee Reentry Simulation

Reentry SimulationThe University hosted a reentry simulation to educate students, faculty and professionals in the community on the experiences of individuals trying to reintegrate into society after prison on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The reentry simulation is an activity where participants assumed the role of parolees and performed tasks in 15-minute sessions with each session representing a week. By the end of the activity, participants will have simulated a month in the life of a person recently released from prison. 

Speakers included Samuel Plumeri, Chairman of New Jersey State Parole Board; Kimberlynn Reeves, spokeswoman for the United States Attorney Office in the District  Delaware; Richard Viet, Associate Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences; Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs; and Nicholas Sewitch, J.D., Chair of the Criminal Justice Department and Specialist Professor. 

The event began with opening remarks from Sewitch. He referenced Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird which revolves around a black man who was wrongfully accused of raping a white woman and quoted a specific passage. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb in his skin and walk around in it.” He found parallels in this historic book to the experiences of incarcerated individuals. 

Parsons-Pollard added, “[Reentry] is not about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps when it comes to being released from prison, instead it is much more than that.” During one exercise, Parsons-Pollard had participants remove their shoes as a metaphor for immersion in someone else’s life, in this instance a former convict. Reeves, expanded on the metaphor and said, “You need to have boots and straps before you can pull them up,” referring to the prison population reentering society. 

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Aggressive Driving on Campus

Aggressive DrivingChief of the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD), William McElrath, sent out an email to all current staff members and students regarding the issue of aggressive driving on campus on Tuesday, Oct. 22. 

Recently there has been an increase in the number of accidents on campus, and MUPD has received multiple complaints entailing aggressive driving. 

This year, there has been a 25 percent increase in accidents from September 1st through October 24th as compared to number of accidents during the same time period last year. Twenty accidents have been documented so far during the fall 2019 semester, while there were only 16 accidents at this time in 2018.

McElrath explains that most of the accidents have been minor. Even so, the University is still receiving a variety of complaints about vehicles driving too fast and vehicles disregarding stop signs. 

In the email, McElrath writes “Please remember that the speed limit on campus is 15 mph that drivers are required to obey all traffic signs, and that drivers must always yield to pedestrians.” 

Although drivers are expected to obey the speed limit and stop for pedestrians that has not always been the case this school year.

Many of the accidents were a result of speeding and the avoidance of both traffic and stop signs.

While some students are responsible for the aggressive driving, other students have encountered it on campus. Julia Mianowski, a freshman social work student, explains how sometimes it can be dangerous to be a pedestrian in the school parking lots. As an employee at the school store, she has witnessed aggressive driving various times while on her way to work.

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Interdisciplinary Panel on White Terrorism

White TerrorismThe Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted their annual forum event, White Supremacist Terrorism: A Multidisciplinary Roundtable Discussion, where Monmouth faculty from various disciplines discussed white supremacist history and culture on Thursday, Oct. 17.

The panel was moderated by, Heidi Williams, Ph.D., a Professor of History and Anthropology.  Panelists included Claude Taylor an Advisor-in-Residence for Academic Transition and Inclusion in the Office of Transformative Learning; Johanna Foster, Ph.D., Helen McMurray Bennett Endowed Chair in Social Ethics and an Associate Professor of Sociology; Walter Greason, Ph.D., Chair of Educational Leadership and an Associate Professor of Education; and, Jamie Nappi, an Adjunct Professor of Social Work.

Panelists discussed the engagement of race and racism from a variety of perspectives. They also shared and referred to resources that are beneficial for educational enhancement on the subjects of race, racism and white supremacy.

Greason was shocked how this event revealed particular educational institution’s attitudes toward embracing change, innovating programs of equality, and incorporating diversity enrollment. “Most universities started the process of these discussions decades ago. They are long overdue here at Monmouth University,” Greason said.

Greason believes that a global economy has a direct impact on people’s attitudes towards racial, ethnic, and sexual equality. “In a global economy, every person needs to be competent enough to engage in productive relationships with people from different backgrounds. We fail as an institution when our community members lack this preparation,” he said.

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Springsteen Honored with Campus Exhibit

default article imageMelissa Ziobro, a Specialist Professor of Public History, in collaboration with Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) Curator of Collections, have formed Springsteen: His Hometown, a historical exhibit that will be displayed through Fall 2020. 

The exhibit was originally a class project for Ziobro’s Fall 2018 museums and archives course. “Their capstone project was to create an exhibit at our university library using materials from the archives. It was getting so much positive attention that I thought a bigger exhibit, over at the Monmouth County Historical Association in Bruce’s hometown of Freehold, could be a wonderful thing for the archives, Historical Association, and Bruce’s many fans. I had recently curated a super-storm Sandy exhibit for the Historical Association, so we had a rapport,” she said.

Ziobro believes this exhibit can be an asset for students who want to gain opportunity through the promotion and recognition of a diversity of cultures. “This being here brings a lot of positive attention to our university and provides many wonderful opportunities for our students- like this project,” said Ziobro. 

Each archive is a portion of former Backstreet editor, Chris Phillips collection which began in 2001. An organization named The Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, Inc. partnered with Phillips to form the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. 

Both groups ran out of storage space and were offered by Monmouth University to be given a new home in 2011. When the collection arrived on campus, it included over 10,000 items from around the globe, ranging from books and concert memorabilia, to articles and promotional materials.

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ESPN Interviews Former SGA President on The Nest

ESPN InterviewsMehdi Husaini, former Student Government Association (SGA) President, was interviewed by ESPN about The Nest, Monmouth’s food pantry, to grow its’ exposure and continue conversation about food insecurity during half-time at Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 19. 

Husaini explained that the interview will benefit The Nest by not only continuing conversation with the general public but addressing food insecurity nationally. “It’s really important at this stage in the development of our own food pantry to have a good presence in the public eye to show that our campus culture promotes caring and compassion.” 

According to Husaini, the Department of Athletics was instrumental in arranging the interview.

Greg Viscomi, Associate Director for News Media and Communication, said, “I’m always trying to find positive stories to put out there, and I talked to our Marketing Director who mentioned the food drive on campus that two of our football managers were involved with as well.”  

“The food drive is a great thing for the university and I like that students are helping students, so I started to think about diffent ways we could spread the message  using relationships within  [the] department,” he continued.

Viscomi had commercial inventory time that was used to highlight student efforts.  

Monmouth’s ‘Hawks Helping Hawks’ program, which collects non-perishable food donations to help aid food insecurity issues on campus, is hosting a month-long competition against Kennesaw State (KSU) to see who can raise more money for their respective food pantries. 

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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