La Salle Student Marina Hansen Interning with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives


Obtaining an internship with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) proved beneficial for La Salle senior Marina Hansen even before she started: “If there’s one thing that I have learned going through this application process, it would definitely be patience, which is a good thing considering I have none!” she said.

At the end of February, Hansen was interviewed at the ATF’s Philadelphia office, and a week later learned she had been selected as an intern pending background investigation and position availability. The required background check was extensive, and took several weeks to complete.

Hansen is assigned to the ATF Violent Crimes Task Force and the ATF Arson and Explosives Task Force as part of her summer internship.

Hansen had grown up wanting to help people and planned to be a doctor. She entered La Salle University as a biology major, but a few weeks into her first semester she wasn’t sure if she had selected the right path. She reflected on what she wanted to do, and realized the answer was already there – law enforcement.

“One of my best friends’ father was a police officer, and I had family who were officers, too,” said Hansen, who lives in Franklinville, N.J. “I always thought what they did was so fascinating. I took forensics in high school and this helped me come to the decision that I wanted to become a criminal justice major. I began taking classes and fell completely in love with the criminal justice system and how it works. With wanting to help people, growing up with police, and loving the classes I was taking, I realized I was finally doing what was right for me. I plan to become a special agent working in federal law enforcement upon graduation, and I can’t be happier with my decision.”

When she decided on her new career path, she started majoring in criminal justice.

“I’m ecstatic to start my internship with the ATF to gain the necessary experience to achieve my goals. I will be going back to school to get my master’s in criminal justice once I start working after graduation,” she said.

Before deciding on law enforcement, Hansen changed her major from biology to chemistry, a topic she had enjoyed in high school.

“Being a chemistry major is no walk in the park. It involves self-discipline, endless hours of study, and if I were a coffee drinker, probably a great deal of caffeine. While it may seem like torture to someone else, chemistry has helped me grow as a person. It allows people to think in ways that other majors don’t,” she said. “The analytical way of thinking that I have learned at La Salle will definitely be an asset in my career.”

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives is a principal law enforcement agency within the United States Department of Justice dedicated to preventing terrorism, reducing violent crime, and protecting our Nation.

The men and women of ATF perform the dual responsibilities of enforcing Federal criminal laws and regulating the firearms and explosives industries. ATF protects our communities from violent criminals, criminal organizations, the illegal use and trafficking of firearms, the illegal use and storage of explosives, acts of arson and bombings, acts of terrorism, and the illegal diversion of alcohol and tobacco products.

ATF partners with communities, industries, law enforcement, and public safety agencies to safeguard the public we serve through information sharing, training, research and use of technology.

Interns serve as a student volunteer in the ATF Philadelphia Field Division. Interns interact with Special Agents on a daily basis, providing case support related to on-going criminal investigations.  Interns are exposed to the investigative process that leads to the prosecution of individuals and organizations that violate federal firearms and explosives laws.

ATF encourages students to take full advantage of this opportunity to learn about ATF’s commitment to public safety and federal law enforcement.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.


La Salle University Sophomore Matthew Fritz Selected for Kemper Scholars Program, Which Helps Prepare Students for Leadership and Service


La Salle University sophomore Matthew Fritz has been selected for the Kemper Scholars Program, which helps prepare students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of organizational administration and business.

For the next three years, Fritz will receive a scholarship from the program. This summer, he will attend a Kemper Scholars conference in Chicago to learn about research done by Kemper Scholars who are college juniors and seniors and participating in internships. In 2015 and 2016, Fritz will participate in internships. The first will be with a non-profit organization in Chicago. The second can be with a nonprofit or for-profit organization in the United States or overseas.

Recent La Salle Kemper Scholars interned at the Department of Homeland Security in Washington, D.C., at WorldChicago, a non-profit organization that welcomes foreign diplomats, journalists, and students to the United States, and in the office of a Pennsylvania State Representative.

“I saw the Kemper program as an opportunity to better my education in hopes of learning more to help my community,” said Fritz, who is from Millersville, Pa. “I was surprised and humbled I received it. The best piece of advice I received was from my stepfather, who told me once someone gives their all, they must await the results in peace, knowing they did their absolute best. That carried me through the long waiting period. I was so fortunate and lucky to receive such an honor. The other candidates are friends of mine, and I know they were just as capable.”

Fritz said he plans to apply to law schools after he graduates from La Salle.

The Kemper Scholars program has been sponsored by the James S. Kemper Foundation of Chicago, since 1948. Each year the foundation selects students from 16 exemplary liberal arts colleges around the country.

Its mission is preparing students for leadership and service, especially in the fields of organizational administration and business. The Foundation believes that undergraduate study of the liberal arts represents the best preparation for life and career.   The program aims to promote education in the liberal arts while providing students opportunities for career exploration and practical experience. The Foundation’s experience shows that students learn the value of their liberal arts education for leadership by seeing how they use what they have learned when they work in a professional environment.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.


La Salle University Student Matthew Roche Named a Newman Civic Fellow for His Dedication to Community Service


La Salle University senior Matthew Roche has been named a Newman Civic Fellow for his dedication to service and outreach. Presented by Campus Compact to inspiring college student leaders, only 197 students nationwide were designated as fellows for 2014.

“When I learned about the award, my first reaction was surprise, but then I had a feeling of satisfaction and closure,” said Roche, a double major in secondary education and history. “I feel like there were definitely times when the service I was doing required a great deal of time and effort, and to balance it with being a student was a challenge. Receiving this award really helped to make everything that I do seem important and gave it a purpose.”

“I think the major reason I work so hard and continue to push myself to do community service is because it’s something that doesn’t require any extraordinary skills or talents, but instead is something that anyone can do,” he said. “The service I do helps give me fulfillment, that I am truly making a difference in the world even if it isn’t on a global scale. Service is a part of what it means to be human, and I use the gifts I have been blessed with and the opportunities available to me to try and help other people, because that is what needs to be done. Service is something that everyone should strive to do.”

Some of the activities Roche is involved with at La Salle are the Peer Ministers, a group that works to promote justice on campus and gives students the ability to explore their faith; Aids Outreach, the Philadelphia Police Athletic League and Pheed Philadelphia.

This is the third consecutive year a La Salle student has been named a Newman Civic Fellow. Emily Plummer, a communication major from Tampa, Fla., received the honor in 2012, and Daniel Bowers, a secondary education and mathematics major from Philadelphia was recognized in 2013.

Roche is from East Brunswick, N.J. and graduated from Bishop George Ahr High School in Edison, N.J.

Newman Civic Fellow awards are made in memory of Frank Newman, Ph.D., a co-founder of Campus Compact, which seeks to foster students’ involvement in public service and as democratic change-agents. Campus Compact has grown to represent more than 1,100 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education. The Newman Civic Fellow awards are made possible through the generous support of the KPMG Foundation.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.


That’s the Spirit! La Salle Senior Kasey Haines Called ABA Team Owner to Procure Internship This Summer


La Salle University senior Kasey Haines dislikes applying for jobs and internships by e-mailing resumes, so she obtained the phone number for the owner of the Philadelphia Spirit, a new team in the American Basketball Association, and called him. The strategy worked, and she’s now interning this summer with the team.

“How I came to work for the ABA Philly Spirit is kind of complicated, and seems like fate,” said Haines, who oversees social media projects and assists with Web design work.

“I called team owner Troy Oglesby and said I saw internship opportunities on the team’s website,” recalled Haines, who is a Digital Arts and Multimedia Design major at La Salle. She said she doesn’t remember exactly how she got his number.

“I was really lucky to talk with him. I absolutely hate sending in applications to jobs because I feel like they get lost in an internet vortex never to be reviewed by anyone,” said Haines, who is from Burlington Township, NJ. “He wasn’t necessarily seeking young interns on his team, but I was persistent with telling him what I learned at La Salle. We spoke several times, and he was interested in what I knew when it came to web design and social media, and he filled out the forms to get my internship finalized.”

Haines’ father knew Darryl Gladden, the Spirit’s head coach, who played college basketball at La Salle.  She called Gladden, and thinks he might have given her Oglesby’s cell phone number.

“When I talked on the phone with Oglesby, we both were on the same page when it came to passion about this new franchise, and we got along very well. I already felt like I knew him,” said Haines.  “Eventually, I had a few phone interviews and then conference calls with the team’s IT director Byron Gray, and they chose to add me to the team before (having) an in-person meeting.”

Oglesby said he didn’t know Haines’ father was friends with the Spirit’s coach until after she began her internship.

“Right now I am the social media coordinator for the Spirit, and I also work on their web design with Gray,” said Haines. “Much of this is new to me, but it is so important to me that I work at a professional level.”

“Problem solving is a major part of this job, so I am glad I took an interest in philosophy and critical thinking at La Salle,” she said.

“She’s done an outstanding job,” said Oglesby, who talks with Haines once a week about the team’s social media projects. “She adapts very well. We had a pixel problem that she fixed right away, and she’s already conducted one webinar,” he said.

“At our player tryouts, she had twitter posts go out immediately to our sponsors and followers,” said Oglesby, who is Managing Member of Troy’s Treasure LLC, which operates a fast-food franchise, manages Grammy Award-winning music groups, produces TV shows, and is a marketing and booking agent for several NFL players.

Growing up, Haines thought she would like to be a traditional artist. She taught herself to draw, and still does, but wondered if art could be a viable career.

“I always thought I would end up as a starving artist, but I like applying my design skills in this way so much more,” she said. But after messing around with video editing and Web design in high school, I realized that those natural art skills can be applied in any medium. Just to make art in general is something I am fortunate to be able to do and am very passionate about.”

Haines works primarily from home, but when the season starts she will attend games and document the team’s progress on social media. Other duties will include taking pictures and creating flyers. She has met with Gladden, the team and other Spirit employees.

“I will be at every home game and if they want me at an away game I would be glad to go. I will follow where my responsibilities take me,” she said with a laugh.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.


Two La Salle University Students Receive Fulbright Scholarships


2014 La Salle University students Marc Vallone and Christopher Mayers have received Fulbright Scholarships and will spend a year overseas.

Vallone, who earned an MBA in May, will travel to Brazil where he will teach college-level English and conduct research at how local organizations provide for at-risk youth. Mayers, who is student in La Salle’s M.A. in Central and Eastern European Studies (CEES), will teach English in Pernik, Bulgaria, and teach English to high school students. He will graduate from La Salle in August and begin teaching in September.

Since the Fulbright program began, more than 60 La Salle students have received Fulbright Scholarships.

Vallone said, “I think when I come back I want to be engaged with at-risk students who are habitually fighting the uphill battle, who are thought of as lost causes.” He is Director of International Admissions at Camden Catholic High School and will leave for Brazil in February, 2015. “At the end of it all, I just want to help facilitate a non-profit organization helping those in need to succeed, whether as a consultant or manager.”

His success with the Fulbright application followed his rejection for one after he earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Scranton.

“In 2010, I applied to go to Korea on a Fulbright,” he said. “I became a National Finalist and all I heard from everyone, from friends who knew nothing about the process to those who knew everything about the process was I was ‘a lock.’ I lost.”

“Instead, I ended up working with the street population of Quito, Ecuador for a human development project called The Working Boys Center. Every year, I return to Ecuador to check up on the kids and see how they are doing,” Vallone said.

When he returned from Ecuador in July of 2013, he had a meaningful breakfast with his brother.

“In a deep discussion, we talked about how I would finish my MBA in the spring of 2014 if I took five classes (at night) between fall, spring, and the intersession (between semesters). My brother then mentioned about the ‘unfinished business’ with the Fulbright,” Vallone said.

His commitment to helping those in need, he said, “is a reflection on my upbringing, having two parents committed to nonprofit organizations, but also from La Salle’s Laura Otten (Director of the Nonprofit Center) and Karen Reardon (assistant professor of business law) and their ability to engage me in and out of the classroom, challenging me to think about nonprofit management.”

Vallone’s father founded the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden in 1976. “It started with handing out bologna sandwiches out of the back of a van and now has grown to dishing out nearly one-quarter of a million meals annually to those who are hungry,” Vallone said. “My mother does inspirational work as well in her role as a physical therapist for students with severe mental and physical disabilities. Her work gives her literal scrapes, cuts, scratches, and bruises.”

Karen Reardon, who teaches in the Management and Leadership Department at La Salle, said “Marc is passionate about his chosen profession: — education. He said, ‘Education is the vehicle that drives social and economic mobility.’”

Reardon oversaw Vallone’s independent study project on volunteerism, and she said, “He has grit. Initially, he fell short when he first pursued the coveted Fulbright Scholarship, but he did not take no for an answer. Rather, he simply worked harder, taking what he learned from the process to groom himself and his application so that he would be chosen next time.”

With all that work, Vallone said the application for this year’s Fulbright was difficult. “I can unequivocally say that August to November of 2013 was the busiest time of my life — balancing a full-time work load with my MBA schedule and the Fulbright application was incredibly stressful,” he said.

He was interviewed by a panel of seven full-time faculty members at the University of Scranton who were also former Fulbright Scholarship recipients. “The interview included any question about Brazil, literally anything that came to mind,” Vallone said. “The Fulbright Committee came from a wide background of studies — biology, philosophy, economics, language — and they were not afraid to grill you on the topics of their interest.”

Christopher Mayers will be an English teaching assistant for ninth- and tenth-grade students. He said he wants to teach “aspects of American culture, explaining our holidays and traditions, providing language instruction, and coordinating extra-curricular activities associated with English.” Mayers will live in the city of Pernik, located outside Bulgaria’s capital of Sofia.

Mayers is fluent in Russian, and said he has a working knowledge of spoken and written Bulgarian.

“The Fulbright application process is a project within itself,” said Mayers. “There are rigid guidelines for writing personal statements and the Statement of Grant Purpose. Applicants need extensive, multiple references, and so much time is devoted to detail.”

He was interviewed by La Salle faculty members on the University Fellowships Committee. “It was nerve-racking, but it is necessary so that you can prepare for what the final Fulbright Committee is looking for,” he said. Mayers cited assistance from Richard Nigro, Ph.D., and Preston Feden, Ph.D., of La Salle’s Honors Program, La Salle alums who had been Fulbright Scholars, and Leo Rudyntzky, Ph.D., and Oksana Chubok of the CEES program as instrumental to his successful application.

Mayers said his interest in the region began with his grandmother, who was from Ukraine. “She was most of my inspiration that made me want to go to Russia in the first place,” he said. “Her stories, her cooking, her love for the country — Ukraine was a part of the Russian Empire and then the USSR – made me want to learn more about the culture.”

He also hopes to share with his students what the United States is really like. “Another big reason I want to go there is to share my culture with Bulgarians and show them how Americans truly are, and not just how we are perceived in the media, or as tourists, or in the movies,” he said.

While a junior in high school, Mayers lived for a year in Moscow.

“I barely knew any Russian at all, so they put me in classes with little kids, which was funny because they would all stand up from their desks when I walked in as a sign of respect,” he said. “I decided not to speak any English, and learned Russian within a few months of immersing myself into it. It was a hard adjustment, especially the weather – there was no sun for three months and in winter the temperature was minus thirty degrees Fahrenheit. It was a life-changing experience to see how other countries live compared to our lifestyle in the United States. I matured from it and learned many things in life.”

Despite the initial culture shock, Mayers said, “I loved the language and culture, and became quite good at the language and wanted to learn more Slavic languages. I loved the people and their mentality, the Russian character, the culture, the history, and even the food. If you’ve been to Russia you’ll find it quite captivating.”

After earning a B.A. in International Relations at Salisbury University in Maryland, Mayers thought La Salle’s CEES program would be a good way to learn more about Russia and Ukraine.

Mayers said he’s thinking about a career in government, such as the CIA, FBI, NSA, or State Department, or he might stay in Bulgaria to work as a teacher or at the U.S. embassy there.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.



La Salle University Nursing Professor Gerry Altmiller Receives the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching


Nursing Professor Geralyn Altmiller (center) receives the Lindback Award from La Salle University Provost Joseph Marbach (left) and La Salle University President Br. Michael McGinniss, F.S.C. (right) at Commencement.

It was the moment a large group of La Salle students at the University’s recent commencement waited for, the presentation of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. When the word “nursing” was mentioned, they cheered. When they heard, “she is the nurse I want to become,” they roared, and the noise exploded when the winner was announced: Geralyn Altmiller.

A nursing faculty member at La Salle for 11 years, Altmiller said, “I really was happy about receiving the award, and it was very humbling, but I have to tell you that I did not expect the reaction of the students at graduation. What a thrill that was.  I am usually happy for them and to see them so happy for me was overwhelming.”

Armand Campos, a 2014 nursing graduate, said, “When I saw the nominations for the Lindback Award, I submitted mine and emailed my classmates and the other seniors to nominate Gerry for all she has done for us. Interestingly enough, I got more than enough emails back saying that they were way ahead of me and already nominated her, which gave me the hunch that she might win this because probably more than 100 of us nominated her!”

Campos, who was president of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania chapter while at La Salle, also said, “Professor Altmiller is the epitome of what a Lindback teacher stands for; when I first read the qualifications, which are: ‘Superior knowledge of the subject matter, vitality and inspiration in its presentation in class, and devotion to helping students realize their potential.’  Her mastery of nursing knowledge was evident from the very first day of senior year, with her perfectly organized lectures and her clarity with all subject matter from the simple to the demandingly complex. Her classes were not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but she was always there for you, before class, after class, during office hours, and even on the weekends via email. She is really a model of what an award-winning professor should be, and even more so, a Lasallian professor.”

The Lindback Award, created through a grant from the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, has been awarded annually to a full-time faculty member since 1961. Faculty members and graduate and undergraduate students nominate professors, and then the recipient is selected by a committee that includes representatives from the faculty, student body, and administration.

In early May, Altmiller received a call from La Salle’s Provost Joseph Marbach, Ph.D., asking to meet with her. “I wondered if I offended someone or was in trouble for something,” said Altmiller. “It was funny to me afterward.”

Marbach presented Altmiller with the Lindback Award at Commencement, and said, “Nominations from both colleagues and students have described this year’s award winner as:

  • “Her ability to help students grasp complex material while maintaining inspiration for whatever topic of the day is what distinguishes her from other outstanding faculty I’ve had the pleasure of learning from at LaSalle.”
  • “Students understand the medical concepts discussed in class.”
  • “She has challenged me to study harder and has inspired me to become the best nurse I can be.”
  • “She is truly the definition of a teacher.”

Marbach also mentioned how a student said of Altmiller, “she makes herself available outside of class in person and through email.  On the weekends she is always there to answer questions. She is very helpful.”

Altmiller said she constantly monitors her La Salle e-mail to see if students have questions.

“The students feel I am available on the weekends because I answer their emails at night and during the weekend.  If they take the time to write to ask me to explain something, then I answer them back.  Sometimes they write that they are sitting in a group studying and ask if I can explain something.  I reply right away to catch them while they are working.  I am very fortunate to have a job I enjoy,” said Altmiller. “I like teaching, I like the students.  I want them to be successful and happy in their career and to be a person that makes a difference to someone that is suffering or is scared. It’s a great thing to watch them grow into that.”

Altmiller teaches advanced level medical-surgical courses to undergraduate nursing students and core courses for graduate students. Prior to joining La Salle’s faculty, she worked as a critical care nurse.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.




La Salle University Alumnus Brother Robert Schieler, F.S.C., Elected Superior General of the Brothers of the Christian Schools


La Salle University alumnus Brother Robert Schieler, F.S.C., has been elected Superior General of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools during the order’s 45th General Chapter in Rome. He is the 27th successor of St. John Baptist de La Salle, who founded the order in 17th-century France. A Philadelphia native, Br. Robert also formerly served as a La Salle University Trustee.

Br. Robert now leads the Catholic Church’s largest order of religious Brothers dedicated to education. He follows Brother Álvaro Rodríguez Echeverría, F.S.C., who served as Superior General for 14 years.

A Philadelphia native, Br. Robert earned a bachelor’s degree in history from La Salle University in 1972. His first assignment was as a teacher at La Salle College High School from 1972 to 1975.

‘We could not be more pleased with Brother Robert’s election as Superior General,” said La Salle University President Brother Michael J. McGinniss, F.S.C. “Brother Robert is extremely well-respected here at La Salle University and by Christian Brothers around the world. We have seen his faithfulness and dedication at work in our own community, and I have no doubt that he will be an excellent leader for the worldwide Lasallian community.”

For the past seven years, Br. Robert served as General Councilor for the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN) in Washington, D.C. Before that post, Br. Robert was the Director of Education for the Brothers’ United States-Toronto Region. In that capacity, he developed, coordinated, and directed national educational formation programs for teachers and Brothers in the 104 Lasallian schools across the country. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Regional Education Board and the Lasallian Association of College and University Presidents. Prior to those roles, Br. Robert served for seven years as Auxiliary Visitor and Director of Education for the Baltimore District. He served in the Philippines for 11 years in a variety of administrative positions, from Assistant Principal to Superintendent of Schools.

Br. Robert joined the Christian Brothers on Sept. 1, 1968, in Ammendale, Md., and professed his final vows in 1979. He was first introduced to the Brothers as a student at West Catholic Boys High School (now West Catholic Preparatory High School) in Philadelphia. He holds master’s degrees in European history from the University of Notre Dame and in Asian studies from the University of the Philippines, as well as a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

He is the third American Brother to serve as Superior General. Brother Charles Henry Buttimer, F.S.C., became the first American Superior General in 1966. Brother John Johnston, F.S.C., became the second in 1986.



La Salle University Senior Mariah Snead Gives New Meaning to “Being On Your Own”


One minute, Mariah Snead was at a job supervising children on a playground. The next thing she remembers is waking up in a trauma ward, unable to feel her arms and legs and with her vision blurred.

Doctors told her she might be paralyzed, but Snead has been beating the odds for most of her life, by regaining mobility, by supporting herself for the past seven years, and now by completing her college education at La Salle University.

Snead’s father died when she was 14. Later, Snead’s mother, who had not been a part of her life for many years, approached her about living with her, but Snead said that situation did not work out.

At the suggestion of an attorney, Snead “emancipated” herself from her family, a process that took two years.

When the process was completed, Snead had papers that showed she was on her own and did not have a legal guardian. Even with these documents, Snead had to persevere when she wanted to enroll at a Catholic school and had to convince school officials that she was responsible for herself.

When she went for her driver’s license at age 17, officials at the testing center thought her documents were false.

“Not many people take you seriously at that age,” said Snead, who is double majoring in English and criminal justice and has been accepted into two law schools.

Snead has worked several jobs simultaneously, in retail, for the YMCA, and a print shop. She lives in Northeast Philadelphia.

In August of 2012, Snead was overseeing a group of children at one of her jobs when she fell and hit her head on a concrete floor. While she regained the use of her limbs, she still needs physical therapy.

“The most impressive thing about Mariah is not only that she is graduating from college despite the various hardships she has faced, but equally impressive is that she doesn’t make a big deal about those obstacles,” said James Jesson, an assistant professor of English at La Salle who is Snead’s adviser. “In fact, even though I’ve had Mariah in two classes, I didn’t know about those hardships until I was reviewing a draft of her personal statement for law school. Only then did I find out about the health problems and busy work schedule that she had to deal with on top of her full class schedule.”

Snead isn’t sure where she’ll study law, but being an attorney has been a goal of hers for several years.

“Just the thought of having the ability to help others who do not have the means to help themselves motivates me” said Snead. “I’ve interned with the Public Defenders Association of Philadelphia, and it helped me realize that our youth need more guidance. I believe obtaining my J.D. would allow me to help children or others with similar stories to mine, who might be headed down the wrong path.”



Pursuing Passion for Science at La Salle University Adds Up to a Great Experience for Virginia Dow


Security or passion? At first, Virginia Dow chose the former by switching her major from science to accounting, and she worked for several years as a bookkeeper. Then:

“I think I fell into a similar sort of ‘trap’ that it seems a lot of others my age did upon realizing we were going to enter the work force in an economically unpredictable time,” said Dow, who graduated from West Chester University with an accounting degree five years ago. “Outside influence from older family members and, honestly, some fear, led me to stay on a road towards accounting for the security it would likely provide.” But, she went back to her passion.

She left her job and enrolled at La Salle University in 2012 to become a scientist and has completed her degree in geology. Dow also was named the top graduate in the Geology, Environmental Science  and Physics Department.

“The motivation I felt to choose a career that would be more fulfilling to me, financial stability aside, is something I notice a lot now in my friends and in other 20-somethings,” Dow said. “Had I not felt this uncertainty or fear as a younger student, I likely would have remained an environmental studies major at West Chester.”

“I’ve always had a greater interest in science in general than in business. I am curious to learn how things came to be, how things work,” she said. “Geology is the perfect discipline because it has allowed me to understand what I see outside every day—how it was created, how it got there, and how it changed through the enormity of time are all questions I find very interesting. I now have a base upon which to continue asking questions about what is physically in front of me, and that feels much more valuable to me than my knowledge of tax rules.”

Because she already had a college degree, Dow needed to only take science classes to earn her B.S. in geology at La Salle—and she received As in every course. But it was a big adjustment after studying accounting.

“It was a huge change for me, going from accounting to taking all science classes,” said Dow. “I took biology at West Chester, but it had been years since I had to write a lab report,” Dow said. “Just the amount of time required for a science class was shocking to me. The fact that most semesters I was taking all science classes at once was definitely a challenge. There’s no comparison between the amount of work I put in here on labs and on trying to catch up with my fellow students on just basic science knowledge, versus working toward my accounting degree. Working hands-on in the labs and in the field has been so much more exciting than anything I’ve experienced in accounting.”

Dow had saved enough money from her accounting job to support herself while finishing her degree, and she was the recipient of the University’s Dr. Bruce MacLeod Scholarship, given to “high achieving” geology students. She also worked part-time for the Geology Department.

“She’s a wonderful person,” said Department Chair Hank Bart, Ph.D., “She’s hard-working and an inspiration to all. She’s done some of the best work in lab that I’ve seen in all my years here!  It wasn’t easy for her to make the transition from accounting to geology, but she did so very well, maintaining a 4.0 GPA.”

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.



At National ENACTUS Competition, La Salle University Team Has Its Best-Ever Showing



At the recent ENACTUS National Exposition in Cincinnati, Ohio, La Salle University’s team finished second in its bracket during the quarterfinal round and was ranked among the top 40 colleges participating in the event.

Thirty-five La Salle students are involved with the squad, and 19 travelled to Cincinnati.

“I am extremely proud of the team. After all of our hard work and dedication, we had success,” said Chelsea Degroff, team president. “We were able to create sustainability and profit for growing businesses. This was the most successful (ENACTUS) competition yet for La Salle.”

ENACTUS is an international nonprofit that works with student, academic, and business leaders on community empowerment projects around the world. According to its Web site, ENACTUS college teams collaborate with businesses, nonprofits, and campus and community organizations on business plans, projects, and strategies to positively affect the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. In addition, the teams are required to demonstrate that all their projects are sustainable and will continue to have impact after their involvement has ended. (The name is a combination of Entrepreneurial, Action, and Us; the organization changed its name from Students in Free Enterprise last year.)

The La Salle ENACTUS team presented four of its projects in Cincinnati:

For its Green Expansion Project on La Salle’s campus, the team raised awareness of green initiatives by selling shirts with the green Explorer logo, and they then used the proceeds to purchase new recycling and composting receptacles. The team also helped launch a new community garden on La Salle’s campus and contributed cost-savings strategies for the University’s new School of Business building. This presentation was made by team member Kasey Ober.

For Adaptations, a social service agency, the team helped adults with autism find employment. During this project, the team conducted workshops that highlighted resume construction, cover letter setup and interview etiquette. After working closely with the team for several weeks, several of the clients were able to find employment. This presentation was made by team member Deirdre Rice.

For Partnership for Families (PFF), an organization that assists low-income families with child-care, education, and employment opportunities, the ENACTUS team revamped PFF’s marketing strategies and Web site. Since the launch of the new Web site and the introduction of the new marketing strategies, PFF has more than doubled its client base, and its donations increased by 243 percent. This presentation was made by Mary Voss.

The final project presented showed how the team assisted La Salle economics professor Richard Mshomba raise funds to build a library in his native Tanzania. So far, the team has raised more than $12,000 in two months. Its goal is to collect $15,000 by May 6. This presentation was made by team member Josh Colton.

“The judges were very impressed with our presentation (for the library),” team member David Comberiate said. “They asked us questions about the sustainability aspect of the library, which we were able to answer, as we have been working with the Mshombas to start putting together fee-based services once the library is built.”

The lead presenter for the team was John Ballough Sneh. The audio-visual presentation was prepared by Ballough Sneh, Comberiate, and Carmelo Gaudite. David Howard-Dean played the violin to accompany the presentation.

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. The University is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 30 schools in the North Region and among the top 10 Catholic schools in the region.