CHSS grads to discuss role liberal arts education plays in career success

During "CHSS Career Connections: Our Alumni Today," Rowan's College of Humanities & Social Sciences will join with the Career Management Center and the Office of Alumni Relations to present an evening in which Rowan liberal arts alumni will discuss how their humanities and social science studies prepared them for successful careers.

Liberal arts degrees have a place—an important place—in the workplace. Just ask Cindy Vitto, dean of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences (CHSS) at Rowan University.

“So many of our majors don’t have what others may perceive as a clear path to a definite career,” says Vitto. “Yet, our majors land really good jobs.  We are making it clear to our students that they can have a leg up on the job market.”

To that end, CHSS, Rowan’s Career Management Center and the Office of Alumni Relations are sponsoring “CHSS Career Connections: Our Alumni Today,” an evening in which Rowan liberal arts alumni will discuss how their humanities and social science studies prepared them for successful careers. The event on Tuesday, Nov. 12, begins at 5 p.m. in the Eynon Ballroom of the Chamberlain Student Center.

As Vitto notes, intense studies focusing on topics ranging from race and gender to mythology and romanticism to aesthetics and existentialism to contemporary world problems and American political thought have helped CHSS grads land some terrific jobs.

Take Kristen Brozina, who earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Rowan in 2010. Under the penname Alice Ozma, Brozina wrote the best-selling book, The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared (Grand Central Publishing). The book tells the story of her remarkable, 3,218-night reading streak with her father. Brozina’s success in the publishing world led to her current position as manager of sales media and reading programs at Scholastic Book Fairs.

Brozina will be the keynote speaker at the event and will stress to students the importance of striving for academic excellence.

“As an English major, each piece of your writing is judged individually, so every essay needs to be one of your best,” she says. “My book deal came from an essay I wrote for grad school which I never realized would be read by editors, publishers, agents, etc.”

Brozina will joined in the program by other CHSS alumni, who will chronicle the role their liberal arts educations have played in their professional success.

They include:

William Moen, Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Rowan in 2009. Moen, who also earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, today works as a legislative aide for New Jersey’s Fifth Legislative District. His work allows him to use the active listening, critical thinkingand persuasive speaking skills he honed at Rowan. Moen serves on the Board of Directors for the Rowan University Alumni Association.

Carolyn Gribbin, a 2004 sociology graduate and director of multi-systemic therapy (MST) at the Center for Family Services, Inc. in Camden. In her role, she directs an intensive, in-home family counseling program that connects parents with the tools and resources needed to improve communication and strengthen the family unit. Gribbin is a licensed social worker. She earned her master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University.

Alyson Dagen, who graduated, with honors, in May with degrees in history and secondary education. While a student, Dagen worked as a grant-funded research assistant with CHSS, studying the arts education of children of different age, gender, ethnic, class and racial backgrounds during the 20th century. Today, she puts her scholarship to work as an admissions recruiter at Rowan.

Jyi Peterson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in Law & Justice Studies in 2001. He used his degree as a springboard to his work as a youth counselor at the Camden County Resource Center and as a speed, agility, strength and sport specific trainer at Generation Xcel, an organization that helps students attain professional and personal goals. He has dedicated his career to working with juveniles, at-risk youth, and young adults in the community.

Laura Neeld, an English major who graduated with honors in 2009. After short stints at other jobs, she found her niche in her current position as deputy court administrator for Stone Harbor Municipal Court. With the borough, she puts to good use her excellent skills in communication and organization to keep the court running smoothly.