August 11, 2014

La Salle University Professor and Student Conducting Research Using “Mini” Drones

 

William Weaver, a La Salle University professor of Integrated Science, Business and Technology (ISBT), and John “Jack” Meeker, a senior ISBT major, are doing a summer research project aimed at developing an algorithm-based control process for drones, which could have implication for driver-less cars or pilotless airplanes.

“Most of the commercial flying ‘drone’ remote-control vehicles are delivered with electronics that help to stabilize their flight and performance, but are still remotely controlled by a human pilot who is using a control device, which is often a game controller,” said Weaver.

With the aid of La Salle’s Frank P. Palopoli Endowed Professorship Award, Weaver and Meeker were able to purchase “mini-drones” – they fit into the palm of your hand – and are using these six machines for their research. They also received a grant from an annual faculty and student research program sponsored by the Dean’s Office at La Salle’s School of Arts and Sciences

“Developing an autopilot capable of allowing the drone to fly autonomously is a challenging project, and one that involves the integration of control theory, artificial intelligence, and sensor fusion,” said Weaver. “All of these topics are concepts that are studied within the ISBT curriculum; however, proof-of-concept algorithms are currently deployed within a virtual environment.”

“Having actual flying hardware allows us to adjust these algorithms for real-world problems, such as interference, noisy environments, wind currents, and other unexpected challenges that are not present in a virtual system,” said Weaver. “These types of real-world challenges are those that are faced by working engineers as they develop autonomous flying and driving vehicles,” Weaver said.

With this research project, he and Meeker are attempting to add an auto-pilot flight mode to the existing manual controls. “After that has been accomplished, we will then develop the software necessary to have a swarm of the drones fly in formation and solve problems autonomously using position technology and communication protocols that we are developing.”

While drones known primarily for use in the military, Weaver says they have many civilian applications outside of combat, such as search and rescue missions in dangerous situations (a fire or a natural disaster); monitoring traffic; conducting wildlife surveys; measuring crop growth; and performing environmental studies.

Meeker, who is in the University’s Honors Program, said his interest in drones grew out of his ISBT capstone project. “I asked Dr. Weaver if he would be my mentor, and he said yes, and he suggested the field of quadcopters.  We had never worked with them before, so we took this project from its birth and it has grown ever since.”

“I enjoy very much the hardware side of the project – building the Nano Quadcopters – and seeing them fly is very rewarding,” said Meeker, who is from Malvern, Pa. “We are now working on the software side of the project, and our ideas for the future are very exciting.”

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.

August 11, 2014

La Salle University Student Andy Augustin Receives McLean Scholarship; Says He Didn’t Choose Nursing, Nursing Chose Him

 

La Salle University sophomore Andy Augustin has received a McLean Scholarship from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP). Only seven students statewide received the scholarship, which is for those studying in nursing and physician assistant programs.

Each of the 88 colleges within AICUP can nominate only one student for the $3,000 scholarship, which is presented through AICUP and a generous endowment from the McLean Contributionship. Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

“When I first heard I received the scholarship, I was speechless, but overwhelmed with joy at the same time,” said Augustin. He plans to be a critical care nurse.

Pamela Ramanathan, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at La Salle, nominated Augustin. “I nominated Andy for a few reasons: He has a 4.0 GPA. He already has a solid path planned for his nursing career, and he actively participates in community service.” She said Augustin also received an excellent recommendation from one of his chemistry teachers.

Augustin, a resident of Northeast Philadelphia, had to submit a 500-word essay with his application, and wrote about why he decided to pursue nursing.

“While attending Central High School, I always had a passion for science, especially anatomy and pharmacology. Living in a poverty afflicted family and my fervor for science made me open to the possibility of working in healthcare,” he wrote. “However, I didn’t’ know if I wanted to be a physician, pharmacist, chemist, nurse or nutritionist. I knew that if I was picking a major it would have to be something I would love doing for the rest of my life. After months of research and shadowing, I wanted to major in nursing, because it was the only one of these jobs that really involves comprehensive, elongated, empathetic care with every patient. I can think of nothing more satisfying and rewarding than helping people recover from illnesses and increasing their quality of life. Providing exceptional care to people of all ages is what I would like to center the rest of my life around. I didn’t exactly choose nursing. Nursing chose me.”

Augustin has a 4.0 GPA and last year tutored classmates in a chemistry class. He’ll tutor again this year.

“I will help students who have difficulties learning chemistry enjoy the learning process and do well on exams,” Augustin wrote. “This will be exciting for me because I love to tutor, and help my peers understand hard concepts.”

In his recommendation letter for Augustin, Stephen Paul, Ph.D., who teaches in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at La Salle, wrote, “Once in a great while you are fortunate to get a student like Mr. Augustin. He is the rare gift that blossoms into an academically talented student that gives an educator a tremendous feeling of personal fulfillment and accomplishment. Mr. Augustin will not only excel as an academic scholar, he will be a positive role model for other students to follow and benefit from.”

In addition to having a 4.0 GPA, Augustin in his spare time enjoys reading Plato, Mary Daly, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sigmund Freud. He also volunteers with neighborhood trash cleanups, food kitchens, the city of Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run and the March of Dimes. “I particularly like serving in food kitchens because I enjoy interacting with and feeding those less fortunate than me. This helped me overcome prejudices I was taught regarding the less fortunate which will aid me as a future nurse,” he wrote.

Coming from a working-class household made Augustin realize the value of education. “My mother immigrated to the United States from Haiti years ago, and hasn’t received a college education,” he wrote. “As a result, she works long hours and is undercompensated. To prevent this incessant cycle from befalling me and to make a better life for myself and my family, I made the decision to attend La Salle University. I will continue to stay on the right track to fulfill my dreams of becoming an RN so I can make a better life for myself and my mother, who went through so much to put me in college.”

AICUP is the only Pennsylvania statewide organization that serves exclusively the interests of private higher education within the Commonwealth, exists to complement and support the work of campus leaders. The Association provides a variety of services and programs tailored specifically to the needs and situation of independent higher education.

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.

August 5, 2014

Money Magazine Ranks La Salle University as the Eighth Best College for Value and Among the Top Quarter of All Universities in Country

 

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Money magazine has named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education in its recent college rankings.

The magazine also ranked the University in the top quarter of all American colleges for educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings.

“We are very pleased that Money magazine has recognized La Salle’s long-held value of providing personal attention and mentoring to our students,” said Joseph Marbach, Ph.D., Provost of La Salle University. “This student-centered focus results in their success at the University and throughout their lives.”

In the category of 25 schools that are “Value All-Stars,” the magazine factored in the percentage of students who complete college and the average alumni salary. This category was to “determine which schools actually add the most value, taking into account the economic and academic profiles of the incoming students and, in the case of earnings, the mix of majors at each school,” according to the magazine.

Factors considered in the value ranking included the percentage of students who complete college and how much alumni typically earn. These colleges also “turn out graduates who exceed the averages for their peer groups by the widest margin,” the magazine reported on its Web site.

The magazine reported that colleges whose graduates earned more than would be predicted, given their student body, appear to be creating more opportunity and thus are ranked higher.

In the subcategory of “earnings outperformance,” La Salle graduates earned an average of $10,270 more than predicted than those at peer colleges. The University’s graduation rate was 18 percent higher than predicted than at peer colleges.

The magazine stated that the graduation rate outperformance represents the percentage by which the school’s graduation rate exceeds the average for schools with student bodies from similar socioeconomic and academic backgrounds; the earnings outperformance represents how much more the average graduate earns than would be predicted (measured by the percentage of Pell Grant recipients and average standardized test scores and, for earnings, the mix of majors at the school).Also considered were student-loan default rates.

To see the rankings, visit: http://time.com/money/3025341/colleges-that-add-the-most-value-moneys-best-colleges/

For overall rankings of colleges that offer “the most bang for the (tuition) buck,” Money screened out those with a below-average graduation rate and then ranked 665 colleges on 17 factors in three categories: educational quality, affordability, and alumni earnings. La Salle was tied with two others for 166th, placing it in the top quarter of American colleges.

To see the full ranking of schools, visit: http://ti.me/UFuLeL

On Money’s Web site, it stated the survey “wanted to find colleges that did what education is supposed to do—help hardworking students from any background break into a good career. So (the magazine) calculated the impact of test scores and of coming from a low-income family on graduates’ earnings.” Then, using federal data on the test scores and economic background of each school’s student body, the magazine calculated what the expected earnings would be for each school.

In a press release, Money stated it would take “a new approach to ranking colleges that uses unique measures of educational quality, affordability, and career outcomes to help families find the right school at the right price.”

The press release went on to state that “among the rankings’ distinctive analyses: The list provides a more realistic way to price colleges, taking into account the complete cost of a degree rather than a single year. It is also the only ranking to evaluate which schools add the most value given the academic and economic background of the students who attend, and to level the playing field on majors, to show whether graduates of a particular college earn more (or less) than average, whether they got degrees in engineering or English.”

The result, said Money senior writer Kim Clark, who created the rankings, “is a list of colleges—some famous, some surprising—that, according to the best data available, provide real value. College is expensive, but the highly rated colleges on our list are the most likely to do a great job of educating your student and helping to launch him or her into a well-paying job.”

To develop the new rankings, Money partnered with Mark Schneider, former commissioner of the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, and his company College Measures, which collects and analyzes data to drive improvements in higher ed. Major contributions also came from Payscale.com, which provided the earnings data. One of the most important findings to come out of the rankings, Schneider notes, is that you don’t have to pay a lot to get a high quality education that really helps in the job market. “The published price of a college doesn’t tell you very much about what you’ll actually pay or of students’ later life success,” he says. “There is zero correlation with most of our measures.”

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.

 

July 29, 2014

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.

 

July 28, 2014

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.

 

July 28, 2014

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.

 


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June 16, 2014

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.

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June 3, 2014

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

 
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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.

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Complaint Resolution

La Salle University is committed to providing high quality educational opportunities. If a conflict arises, the University wishes to resolve student grievances, complaints and concerns in an expeditious, fair and collegial manner. Students attempting to resolve any issues or complaints with the university should follow the university’s policies and grievance procedures contained in the University Handbook or in the Student Guide to Resources, Rights and Responsibilities.

If an issue cannot be resolved by the university’s internal processes, Pennsylvania residents may choose to contact the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Higher Education. Out of state students may choose to file a complaint with the appropriate authority in their state of residence.  The Student Complaint  Information by State and Agency provides additional information regarding the complaint process and contacts for each state.

The university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

 

 

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