News & notes about great things happening on campus.
Class of 2022 Senior Gift
Elizabethtown College's Class of 2022's senior gift has left a lasting impression on campus! A 12-by-10 foot canvas Blue Jay wings mural complete with 22 footprints and feathers is prominently displayed on the exterior of Zug Memorial Hall serving as an engaging photo backdrop for the Etown community.
"The goal of the senior gift was to create a sense of unity and identity."
— Nicole Greiner '22
Class of 2022 President
EdOrg Benefit Concert
Elizabethtown College welcomed thousands of alumni and families who traveled from 22 states for the 2021 Homecoming & Family Weekend. It was a wonderful weekend for alumni and friends of the institution to reconnect and enjoy Blue Jay traditions after a year of postponed gatherings. Elizabethtown College student groups performed for a great cause in Leffler Chapel and Performance Center on Jan. 27 as part of the student-run Education Organization's (EdOrg) Ataxia Telangiectasia Children's Project (ATCP) benefit concert. Blue Jay a cappella, dance, improv, and theatre groups used their creative talents to live out the College's Educate For Service motto as proceeds from ticket sales, raffle baskets, and merchandise went toward supporting the ATCP's mission of finding a cure for the childhood neurological disorder.
Reflection, Celebration, Transformation
Elizabethtown College is on the brink of reaching a milestone anniversary—it's 125th to be exact—also known as the "quasquicentennial" anniversary during the 2024-25 academic year. The College community will be reflecting on its history, celebrating the present success, and will look ahead to the transforming times awaiting the institution.
Share Your Moments
As we begin to plan for the record year, we need your help! Send us a moment from your years at Elizabethtown College in the form of a short story, quote, photograph or video and you may be featured in our collection of 125 Moments from Elizabethtown College! A 125th anniversary schedule of events will be shared during the next calendar year.Share Your Etown Stories
"There is so much historical, present, and future significance for Elizabethtown College's 125th anniversary. We are celebrating a legacy that we continue to build upon to transform many more generations to come and create lasting impacts on the lives of others through our knowledge, innovation, and service."
— President Betty Rider
Achieving a Sense of
By Keri Straub
Across the nation, racial inequity, systematic oppression, and social justice are subjects being consistently addressed by students, faculty, and staff on college campuses. Elizabethtown College is no different.
Elizabethtown College President Betty Rider made some early changes in her presidency and has made it a priority to lead the campus community toward continual progress as the College prioritizes creating a culturally vibrant campus community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, and where all community members achieve a sense of belonging (DEIB). Transforming a campus culture is no easy task however President Rider is up for the challenge.
"We have an obligation to ensure every student and employee feels a sense of belonging to pursue their work on campus every day," President Rider shared on a winter afternoon in the President Conference Room in Alpha Hall where many of the administrative offices are housed including the office of the special assistant to the office of the president for diversity, equity and belonging.
This work is about being consistently intentional with DEIB and weaving it into our curriculum, campus programming, physical spaces, trainings, policies—this will help us make movement and determine measures of success.
– Dr. Kesha Morant Williams
In her first few months as president, she hired Dr. Kesha Morant Williams as the special assistant to the office of the president for diversity, equity and belonging. Previously a Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences at Penn State Berks, Dr. Morant Williams, a Lancaster County native, joined the College's senior leadership team in July 2022 aiming to implement an institutional DEIB model. "I wanted to pursue something that continued to move education forward but broadened my reach beyond the classroom," Morant Williams said while reflecting on what drew her to this role with Elizabethtown College. "I knew my individual influence was impactful but I wanted to explore what impact I could have on the collective." The College expanded its DEIB efforts into its Strategic Plan as one of its four primary pillars.
Under Inclusive Excellence, the College aims to:
- Integrate cultural intelligence as a learning outcome throughout all academic, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities and professional development programs.
- Foster a genuine sense of belonging in all members of the college by ensuring policies, practices, and culture will build a diverse, equitable, accessible, and just community.
- Increase the representation and retention of historically marginalized groups among our student body and employee base.
- Collaborate with underrepresented communities as an ally committed to making meaningful social change.
The College will mark its progress through multiple metrics including tracking student enrollment and retention, aligning the curriculum and programming, recruitment and retainment of employees, increased partnerships, and process and structure improvements. "This is a shared responsibility and every person on this campus needs to understand how to foster a sense of belonging," Rider said. "We are a learning community and we must encourage growth, demonstrate empathy, and positively challenge one another in this important journey."
Higher education is more aware of the importance in making sure we see that every student is equipped with the knowledge, skills, and access to resources needed to graduate. Many of us came from a generation where at college orientation; leadership would say look at the person to your left, now look to the person on your right; at least one out of the three of you won't make it to graduation. It wasn't acceptable then, and it is not acceptable today. We should instead lift each other up and say; look to the person to your left and look to the person on your right, because we are all going to be walking together in several years across the commencement stage together when we graduate.
– President Rider
In honor of Black History Month (BHM), during the month of February, Elizabethtown College students, employees, and community partner Crispus Attucks Infamous Unstoppables Drill Team and Drum Squad, launched the month by raising the Pan-African flag, a symbol of liberation and pride that signifies a monthlong celebration of education and social events. The community collaboration also featured BHM events each Saturday of the month at the Crispus Attucks Community Center in Lancaster.
From the Deans' Desk
School of Arts And Humanities
The School of Arts and Humanities has spent this academic year opening creative new pathways to integrate a humanities education with Elizabethtown College's heritage of peace, service, and human dignity.
This year, we launched a Medical Humanities minor, challenging health professions students to embody a humane presence and listen to patient stories of illness and healing. We also thought carefully about Asian-American experiences and belonging as we crafted a new Asian Studies major that enriches our approaches to cultural diversity. And finally, we completed a significant revision of our Graphic Design major, equipping these majors for the challenges of imaging in an increasingly digital field.
As we continuously evolve our programs, I'm energized by the opportunity to connect prospective students with well-rounded educational experiences that will serve them into the future.
– Dean Kevin Shorner-Johnson
School of Business
The School of Business is prioritizing experiential learning more than ever. Starting in Fall 2023, all business students will be required to incorporate an internship experience into their respective curricula, completing at least 120 hours of internship experience prior to graduation. Internships offer students an opportunity to "test drive" a career, taking an exploratory leap before choosing the path that feels right for them while affording them the opportunity to network and build contacts in their field. To support our students in this endeavor, we've hired an Assistant to the Dean for Experiential Learning, who has developed a four-year success plan to help guide them through their time at Etown. This plan includes initiatives like Backpack-to-Briefcase, where students develop the soft skills necessary to succeed in life after college, and partnering with the Career Development Center to nurture employer relations and discover new internship opportunities. I am equally excited for our business partners who will encounter a plethora of unique benefits by opening their doors to soon-to-be Etown graduates including the chance to identify young talent, expand their brand identification, and discover new perspectives.
– Dean Najiba Benabess
School of Public Service
The School of Public Service is grounded in the College's mission of Educate for Service. We have made tremendous strides this academic year in expanding our reach into the community in the name of public service. Our Public Health students and faculty are involved in partnerships with the city of Harrisburg to promote racial equality in health care systems. Our Sociology and Criminal Justice students are conducting survey research for The Pennsylvania Sociological Society, allowing them to apply their classroom learning to meet the needs of a community partner. Our faculty are mentoring students to achieve success, as recognized by a high number of prestigious fellowships and awards. This includes four Political Science students who were awarded James A. Finnegan Fellowships in state government. Two Communications students won first and second place in the Keystone Media Awards for the Best Feature Story (Broadcast) category. Both our Communications and Political Science and Legal Studies programs are undergoing a comprehensive self-study this year, so that we can recognize and retain strengths in these areas while also identifying opportunities for innovation and improvement.
– Dean April Kelly
School of Sciences
This academic year provided many reasons for excitement and anticipation within the School of Sciences. We began the year with a record-level of first-year student enrollment, and we launched the first master's program within the school, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology. Due to faculty retirements and transitions we also conducted multiple faculty searches, and are excited to be welcoming a large cohort of new faculty for the Fall 2023 semester. We are eager to have new expertise, new research projects for students, and new perspectives joining the School. This year, we were blessed by several generous donations to programs within our School. These donor funds will allow for a complete renovation this summer of all laboratory classrooms on the first floor of Musser (which you may read more about on page 30). In addition, a state grant and donor funds will also support renovation and expansion of the Human Anatomy & Physiology classroom and cadaver storage area in summer 2024. These renovations will improve the spaces in which we provide students with hands-on learning experiences and allow for more innovative and engaging curriculum.
– Dean Jodi Lancaster
School of Human and Health Professions
As I reflect on the various programs we as the School of Human and Health Professions offer, I consider the idea of relationship-building and connectedness to one another. Whether in the classroom, the clinic, the community, the healthcare setting, or in schools and training centers, there is a fundamental aspect of the practitioner knowing how to engage, connect with, and care for one another. Granted, this is what is often so very hard to do when dealing with major life events, illness, family conflict, bullying, and other forms of harassment experienced in daily life work that practitioners and educators attend to. Connectedness in professional life needs to be cultivated and include the ability to know oneself, honor others, and seek collaboration. This way of knowing and being, sometimes called "the art" of the profession, is vital to our programs. It is seen and facilitated through our scholarship and projects, through listening to other's narratives, and through the life experiences offered as a part of internships and community partnerships. Our collective work this year has continued to expand on these ideals and will continue to part of our School moving forward.
– Dean Tamera Humbert
School of Engineering and Computer Science
The School of Engineering and Computer Science has spent this academic year building national partnerships which will foster innovation and creativity amongst our students and our faculty. We received a $1.2M grant from the National Science Foundation to launch the Greenway Center for Equity and Sustainability in Engineering, an innovation campus implementing project-based and mastery-assessed curricula located at a partner site in Vermont. We also were invited to join the Kern Engineering Entrepreneurship Network alongside approximately 50 institutions across the country. We have also spent time refining our academic offerings. In Computer Science, we've updated our curriculum, launched new concentrations in Data Science, Hardware, and Web and App Design, and created an industry-focused professional development seminar and team-based software engineering capstone. We're also developing a cybersecurity concentration and revising the Information Systems curriculum. In Engineering, we continue to establish ourselves as leaders in mastery-based education, integrate DEIB into our curriculum, and serve our growing enrollment.
– Dean Sara Atwood
"Etown Blue Print is more than just a program, it is a visual representation of the experience the Student Life Division is committed to providing our students."
Dean of Students
Designing a "Blue Print" For Student Success
In the fall of 2023, Elizabethtown College's Student Life Division launched a new co-curricular model which would serve as a plan for students to build a well-rounded Etown experience. The Etown Blue Print program is a new way for students to track and log participation in a variety of initiatives from leadership development, to service, to relationship building.
"Etown Blue Print is more than just a program, it is a visual representation of the experience the Student Life Division is committed to providing our students," Dean of Students Nichole Gonzalez said. "It is simultaneously our set of goals by which the division measures our own success, and a way of incentivizing student engagement outside of the classroom by rewarding participation in activities, programs, and leadership opportunities."
Students are encouraged to participate in the Etown Blue Print by inputting their involvement in programs which fall within four distinct "domains" which include:
Civility and Curiosity
Equity and Diversity
Leadership and Service
Well-being and Connectedness
Programs and initiatives offered both on- and off-campus are assigned one or more domains as well as a "unit" value, which students can log using the Jay's App, a mobile app that all Etown students have free access to. Examples include attending lectures, holding leadership positions, and student employment.
Students who amass 100 units in one domain receive a certificate of completion and are recognized at the annual Student Award Ceremony each spring. Students who complete at least 400 total units prior to degree completion, with at least 100 units being completed in each domain, will earn the Blue Jay Blue Print Award and be recognized during the College's annual spring Commencement Ceremony. Learn more about the Etown Blue Print program.
Awards & Achievements
James MacKay, A. C. Baugher Professor of Chemistry, has been named the recipient of the 2021-22 Honors Program Outstanding Professor Award. "Dr. MacKay uses organic chemistry to help the community, including high school students and children. His courses incorporate the motto of the Honors Program: Learn, Serve, and Lead," remarked the Honors Program Student Council. "He is an all-around passionate and helpful professor who wants to see his students succeed."
MacKay shared, "Last year, the goal was to incorporate the Honors Program motto of ‘Learn, Serve, Lead' into my Organic Chemistry course and in doing so have students use their immense creativity to do a project that met all three ideals of the model. What resulted was beyond my expectations with students doing such things as writing songs, building furniture, creating games, and much more. Each of these projects incorporated organic chemistry and more importantly reached an audience beyond the walls of my classroom."
Jeffrey A. Rood, Professor of Chemistry, has been named the recipient of the 2021-22 Polanowski Prize for Excellence in Faculty-Student Advising and Mentorship. The Faculty Professional Development Committee and a representative group of current students chose Dr. Rood from the list of faculty members who were nominated by at least three of the following constituencies: alumni, current students, faculty, and administrators/staff.
The selection committee noted that Dr. Rood's positive impact on Elizabethtown College students through his mentoring and advising deserves recognition and celebration. "I appreciate the students and my colleagues for thinking of me for this award and I am grateful to them and to the review committee for selecting me," Rood said.
Oya Dursun-Özkanca, Director of the Honors Program and Professor of Political Science/Professor of International Studies, has been named the recipient of the 2021-22 Ranck Prize for Research Excellence. The Professional Development Committee chose Dr. Dursun-Özkanca from nominations submitted by faculty peers.
Dursun-Özkanca is a globally recognized expert in the field of International Relations and in Turkish-NATO and Turkey-EU relationships. She is commended for her outstanding scholarship record, including numerous books, high-impact articles, book chapters, invited talks, and presentations. Dursun-Öskanca impressed the selection committee with both the volume and caliber of her academic work. In addition to traditional academic work, Dursun-Özkanca has been invited to numerous interviews with BBC, Voice of America, and a sizable number of additional outlets.
Michael Roy, Professor of Psychology, has been named the recipient of the 2021-22 Kreider Prize for Teaching Excellence. The Professional Development Committee chose Dr. Roy from nominations submitted by alumni, current students, faculty, and staff.
Nomination letters portray Roy as an impactful and thoughtful mentor to many. Students find him approachable, knowledgeable, and committed to their success and growth. In addition to his dedication to mentorship, students noted his ability to connect and develop meaningful relationships, stating, "He has shown us kindness, warmth, and understanding through his mentoring and teaching. Roy deserves recognition for his powerful impact on our campus and program. He is funny, knowledgeable, and an overall amazing human being."
Visit the Dean of Faculty Page to read faculty backgrounds and learn more about faculty milestones.
Building Partnership Pipelines to Enhance High-Demand Workplace Skills
Elizabethtown College's School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) is in high demand, offering transformative graduate and online programs as well as micro-credentials across a variety of flexible platforms.
Most recently, SGPS formed its 32nd affinity partnership with regional businesses and organizations as the School aims to build pipelines through these dynamic relationships.
"At a time when all industries are being disrupted with technological advances, we must offer relevant and applicable programming for employees to learn skills and take them directly into their workplace environments," Elizabethtown College Vice President for Enrollment Management John F. Champoli said.
SGPS adult learners' levels of satisfaction beat the national average in seven out of eight measures of quality for effectiveness in serving adult learners in higher ed programs including Institutional Effectiveness, Campus Climate, Registration Effectiveness, Academic Advising, Admissions and Financial Aid, Service Excellence, and Safety and Security.
"The School is staying grounded in its commitment to providing access and flexibility lifelong learners and business affinity partners desire."
– John F. Champoli
Vice President for Enrollment Management
SGPS, High Center Launch Family Business and Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate
Elizabethtown College's School for Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) launched a Family Business Graduate and Entrepreneurship Certificate in 2022. The new 12-credit certificate aims to foster students' entrepreneurial spirit through developing their skills in business ideation, leadership, strategic planning, management, and more.
Through a partnership with the High Center for Family Business, a coach is available upon request throughout the completion of the certificate.
These experienced individuals will provide students with expertise in developing business growth with actionable outcomes including:
- Evaluate the steps to start, innovate, and grow a business.
- Analyze the strategies involved in running a successful business.
- Articulate leadership skills and practices to optimize business performance.
- Critique governance structures and succession planning as a vital component of a business model.
- Develop a business plan on a new entrepreneurial business idea or possible innovation.
The certificate can also be stacked into Etown's 36-credit Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Strategic Leadership (MSL) or our 32-credit Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD).
"The program places a unique focus on family business by incorporating elements of governance, group dynamics, and succession planning."
– Mike Mitchell
Executive Director For The High Center
View more information about the Family Business and Entrepreneurship Graduate Certificate.
Alumni & Faculty
Kimberly Lipsky Weidman '91
This sweet story takes your little one on a journey of discovering what love really means. Full of stunning watercolor illustrations, animals, and beautiful scenery.
The Big Book of Interoception Games
The Big Book of Interoception Games includes 53 fun activities that invite practice noticing, connecting, or regulating body signals. Each game provides several variations–making for hundreds of playful interoception learning ideas.
Dario Mescia '98
Ruby Reindeer and the Magic Antlers
A young female reindeer named Ruby is told that only boy reindeer have the magic to pull Santa's sleigh. Join her on her courageous journey of self discovery as she sets out to prove them wrong.
Brianna Wiest '13
When You're Ready, This Is How You Heal
Weist shares 45+ pieces that will help you find your inner sanctum and embark on the path of true transformation. Wiest's words are a balm for any soul on the journey of their own becoming.
The First Populist: The Defiant Life of Andrew Jackson
A timely, solidly researched, and gracefully written biography of President Andrew Jackson that offers a fresh reexamination of this charismatic figure in the context of American populism.
Ryan Kiscaden '07
The Water Came To A Stop
The Water Came To A Stop is the first book of the Next Up Trades series, set in a residential plumbing application. The book utilizes rhyming word structure to teach children that skilled trades work is noble, necessary, and appreciated.
Emergence in Context: A Treatise in Twenty-First Century Natural Philosophy
Science, philosophy of science, and metaphysics have long been concerned with the question of how order, stability, and novelty are possible and how they happen. This book introduces a new account, contextual emergence, seeking to answer these questions.
Student-Centered Literacy Assessment in the 6-12 Classroom: An Asset-Based Approach
In this practical and accessible book, you'll learn how to create equitable and meaningful assessments in your instruction through an inquiry-based approach.
Stories of Resiliency
From the class of 2023
By Austin Crull and Brad Weltmer
While typical first-year cohorts take advantage of their spring semester as an opportune time for growth by experiencing all that Etown's vibrant campus has to offer, in the spring of 2020, the Class of 2023 was forced to face an uncertain future brought on by an unprecedented pandemic. Despite the subsequent obstacles and challenges they faced, this class of Blue Jays persevered. They went on to make an impact in the classroom and the community, achieving their lofty academic and professional goals to walk across the Dell stage as accomplished graduates.
A desire to help others has always been in Eric Schubert's DNA. It's the motivation that has guided the Elizabethtown College senior and genealogy expert through the busiest times of his Etown experience.
It is what pushed him when Schubert was working up to 25 hours a week on genealogy research cases, juggling 20 clients, multiple press requests, and balancing a full college course load. It was the driving force behind his decision to mentor countless first-generation College students as a Kinesis Peer Academic Advisor in Etown's Momentum program—an aspect of his college experience that Schubert is most proud of.
An emphasis on service is also what compelled him to attend an institution that lives and breathes its Educate For Service mission.
"I think service plays a role in every student's Etown experience, whether they know it or not," Eric shared. "Our professors are saying it all the time. Your work reflects it. The events we have on- and off-campus reflect it. It's a huge part of the campus identity."
As a History major, Eric has combined his passion for service with a passion for genealogy work that began as a hobby when he was only 10-years-old. Through a tireless pursuit for answers and using his knowledge, energy, and talents, Eric estimates that he's solved thousands of cases over the years, ranging from traditional family tree research to helping police crack decades-old cold cases.
In early 2022, Eric was thrust into the national spotlight after helping Pennsylvania State Police solve the murder of 9-year-old Marise Chiverella. By using DNA to run down genetic leads, his efforts eventually helped the Pennsylvania State Police close the book on the 57-year-old cold case.
The story of a then 20-year-old college student playing a key role in solving such a prominent murder case immediately grabbed the nation's attention as Eric was featured on ABC News' Good Morning America, along with national publications such as People Magazine, The New York Times, and Newsweek.
"I never expected my work on the Chiverella case to get the attention that it did," Eric said. "So having opportunities to share more about everything that went into solving the case, and getting justice for Marise and her family, is an honor."
"Service-oriented work has made up a huge portion of who I am. So, attending an institution where service is directly in the mission and is woven into the overall theme of courses and programs was important to me when deciding on a college."
"COVID showed me how much I valued Etown and gave me a better appreciation for the campus community. My classes were still great. We persevered and we managed to evolve and adapt to the times. But it made me realize how much I missed being here and how much I missed the people here. It showed me how much I appreciated this place."
For Eric, the smallest cases that he solves are just as important as the most renowned ones.
Eric's impact has spread in other ways as well. In fall 2022, he brought his skills to Etown Edge, Elizabethtown College's online platform for offering self-paced micro-credentials through the College's School of Graduate and Professional Studies, to share his genealogy expertise by designing a pair of online courses. He aims to provide novice researchers with foundational steps that provide a basis for genealogical searching and family tree building.
"The response that I've gotten from the campus community and the College's leadership has been wonderful," Eric said. "I'm proud of being able to create a unique course that is not offered by many institutions - especially with someone from my background. It's a great example of the incredible opportunities that Etown has provided for me and shows what students like me can accomplish at the College."
Eric's accomplishments during his time at Etown are as extensive as they are impressive. He's completed a multitude of internships ranging from museum curatorial work to historic preservation and research. On campus, he's served as a student assistant in the Office of the President, along with the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies and the High Library's Hess Archives.
He helped to establish and grow the History Club and has taken great pride in serving as a mentor for first-generation students at Etown through his role as a Kinesis Peer Academic Advisor & Co-Captain of the Kinesis Peer Academic Advising Team for the Momentum program, where he led a team of over a dozen student advisors.
It was Eric's way of giving back to a program that helped serve as a launching pad during his first year on campus and was instrumental in his success at Etown.
"The Momentum program was a huge building block at Etown that helped me on day one, the second I got here," Eric explained. "Immediately being involved in Momentum allowed me to forge strong relationships."
One of those relationships was with Professor Jean-Paul Benowitz, who was influential in Eric's pursuit of a Public Heritage Studies Certificate. Eric's involvement with the program has allowed him to hone his research skills and has led to impactful community-based fieldwork, including raising awareness for preserving the history of nearby Marietta borough through the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "This Place Matters" campaign.
"The opportunities that have been provided to me in terms of scholarship, oral history interviews, research, and engaging with stakeholders and community members, has been second to none," Eric said. "There are no other public heritage studies and public history programs on the undergraduate level anywhere that offer students that kind of support."
Eric's accomplishments are especially impressive considering that his Etown experience was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic during the spring semester of his first year on campus.
With graduation on the horizon, what's next for Eric? "I'm looking forward to the next big project, the next big adventure," Eric said. "Whether that's graduate school to continue my public heritage studies coursework or another opportunity. I always say that I'm going to stop my genealogy work, and I've gotten close, but it never happens. I always get pulled back in. It's too fun of a hunt."
The notoriety that comes along with his genealogy work will play a role in his future as well. He continues to get media requests, especially concerning the Chiverella case. Television opportunities also continue to develop for Eric. He was featured on Investigation Discovery's "On The Case With Paula Zahn" in the fall of 2022 and more appearances are on the horizon later this year. Eric may soon add "best-selling author" to his growing resume as well as he has aspirations of writing a book.
No matter what the future holds, Elizabethtown College will always be in Eric's DNA.
"My formative years were spent at this institution and I definitely will never forget them," Eric said. "Being able to work in small class sizes, being able to work with professors who care about me, care about my work, care about my success. The support that you receive from people all across campus is unique here at Etown. The College truly sets students up for success and it has set me up for success, too. Blue Jays. Always!"
The move to remote learning came as a shock to Caitlin Henning. The news came just a week after spring break of her first year at Etown, and just days before she was to set out on a service trip working with children in Philadelphia as a part of her Occupational Therapy (OT) courses. It also meant participating in volunteer opportunities, a major reason she came to Etown to become an Occupational Therapist, was nearly impossible.
One way that Caitlin found she could still give back to the community and connect with others was by becoming a Blue Jay Ambassador for the Office of Admissions. It helped her to get to know other students outside of her major, while also serving as a source of information, comfort, and assurance to prospective students who were exploring Etown.
Now, as she completes her bachelor's degree and embarks on her fifth year at Etown to pursue her master's in OT, she is looking forward to making up for lost time with service opportunities through organizations like the Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA), continuing to share her experiences with prospective students as an Admissions Student Supervisor, and conducting research on treating complex vision deficits in adults, which she'll complete next spring and present as a part of Etown's annual OT Graduate Research Symposium.
"I'm very much a hands-on learner and the pandemic took that away for a long period. Learning remotely gave me a whole new appreciation for just how important in-person classes and working together can be."
When the pandemic forced remote learning during Jason Nazarenus' first year, it kept him from his passion of working with his hands in the engineering classroom and playing the sport he loved as defender for Blue Jays Men's Lacrosse team. However, he optimistically reflects that it prepared him for a highly digital world of remote work and virtual job interviews.
Jason landed an internship at Volvo Group Trucks, located Hagerstown, Md. during his junior year. He credits earning the internship offer to Shaun Martin '13, a fellow Blue Jay student- athlete and engineering major (swimming) who interviewed him and immediately connected over their shared Etown experience.
The internship allowed Jason to work directly on the assembly line at the truck manufacturer, offering the return to working with his hands that he enjoyed so much, while applying the theory he learned at Etown to the job. It even allowed him to develop a tool using CAD software was put into use and now saves the company $40,000 annually in repair costs.
Jason has accepted a position as a Manufacturing Engineer at STULZ Air Technology Systems in Frederick, Md. and will take the foundation of knowledge and experiences he gained while at Etown to do what he loves, albeit in a much different world than when he started.
"For me, the pandemic brought about the need to pivot. It meant learning more theory rather than practical concepts in my engineering courses, and it caused student-athletes and teams to come together in unusual ways, like virtual hangouts and book clubs."
The pandemic put a lot of things on hold for Jalen Belgrave. As a Student Senator, it brought a halt to the campus programs and events he had been planning. As a member of the Men's Track and Field team, it cut short his spring season. However, he looks back at that time as a critical moment in his Etown experience. The disruption it brought provided him the opportunity to step back and focus on how he could advocate for others.
In 2021, Jalen was awarded the Humanity in Action Fellowship, a prestigious and highly selective international award which gives college students the tools and training to develop an Action Project - an independent venture focused on promoting democratic values within the students' own communities. In collaboration with the Office of Admissions, Jalen began developing a summer program for underrepresented high school students, where they could strengthen their leadership skills while also gaining exposure to what college is like through connecting with faculty, staff, and student mentors.
After a year of planning, the Social and Civic Leadership Academy launched successfully in the summer of 2022. The most rewarding outcome from the program was that going in, roughly 25% of the campers had an interest in attending college. Upon completion, that number grew to 75%. The Academy will return to Elizabethtown College during the summer of 2023.
Jalen has been accepted to the University of Pennsylvania where he will pursue a Master of Science in Social Policy. His goals are to work in the private sector, working for a corporation where he can focus on policies centered around equity and belonging.
"COVID-19 helped me to refocus on what was important to me as a college student. It offered a reset, for me, where I could look back at what I'd done so far and pick out the things that I cared most about, which for me, is advocacy."
As a first-year student, studying abroad was a goal of Laura Cardona. She had applied to and was named and alternate for a Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) in Persian with the plan of learning Farsi in Tajikistan. However, when the COVID-19 became serious that spring, the program went virtual and meant she would not be able to participate. Instead, she pursued a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Internship program where she gained perspective on the importance of language cultural exchange with China.
That internship led to her reapplying for a CLS, this time in Mandarin, and earning the award. In her senior year, she participated in CLS Spark, a program designed during the pandemic to allow American students to study critical languages virtually when they may not have access to language learning on their campuses or the ability to travel overseas. Mandarin is now the fourth language she has studied. She is also proficient in French and fluent in English and Spanish.
Laura has accepted an analyst position at BlackRock, a multi-national investment firm based in New York City with an eye toward applying to law school to study international law.
"Looking back, the pandemic had a ripple effect in the direction I'm headed in my career. It took away an opportunity for me to study abroad due to travel restrictions, however, that allowed me to complete several internships which put me on the career path I'm on today."
As the United States and institutions like Elizabethtown College began to ramp up COVID-19 protocols including lockdowns and remote learning, Camilo Arenas' home country of Colombia had already closed its borders to protect against the spread of the virus. So, while most Etown students returned home, he was one of a few who stayed, along with many other international students who didn't have that option. Eventually, several weeks after the closure of campus, he was able to secure an emergency Humanitarian Flight home in April of 2020.
Since high school, Camilo knew he wanted to work in the field of biotechnology but it wasn't until he arrived at Etown that he realized majoring in the sciences didn't allow for many opportunities to work on his communication skills, particularly in his second language of English. That's when he decided to take advantage of Etown's Individualized Major option where he could build his own unique major, Biomedical Research and Communications. This program would incorporate his passion for science while also developing his writing skills. This decision led him to working with Professor of Biology, Jane Cavender, who he credits as a mentor and for getting him involved in the College's Summer Creative Arts and Research Program (SCARP). His summer research focused on developing nuanced ways to target harmful cells while avoiding healthy cells during cancer treatment.
Upon graduation this spring, Camilo is looking to translate his education and experience into a job in the U.S. where he can continue to work in a lab and conduct research in service to others.
"COVID-19 forced us to be fighters. It taught me to be resourceful as options became more limited, to find new ways to connect with those that I care about, and it showed me what the important things are in life that are worth fighting for."
The pandemic taught Emily Ward a great deal. As an Engineering and Fine Arts double major, adaptability is a large part of both of areas of study. Whether it's taking on complex engineering problems with an adaptive mindset or taking on new and different art mediums, it's a very important skill she took away from her last four years. She also saw it as an opportunity to help.
As the pandemic peaked in the summer of 2020, Emily partnered with faculty in the Engineering Department to fabricate face shields using her personal 3D printer and assembled cloth masks which were added to the College's supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) available to students during the fall 2021 semester.
Since adding on her Fine Arts major in her sophomore year, Emily has enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to intertwine her perceived contrasting majors. The summer after her junior year she took on a Summer Creative Arts and Research Program (SCARP) Project working in both the Bollman Fabrication lab and the Steinman Art Studio, researching laser cutting technology with ceramic, sculpture, printmaking applications.
Upon graduation, Emily wants to pursue a Ph.D. in Fine Arts with the ultimate plan to become an art professor.
"The pandemic brought about the need for adaptability. Going from in-person instruction to online classes, figuring out how to work on group projects with classmates who all live in different time zones, and learning in socially distant engineering labs or art studios forced me to learn to adapt almost immediately."
Men's Basketball At the Palestra
The Elizabethtown College men's basketball team had the special opportunity to play at the historic Palestra on January 15, 2023. Known as the "Cathedral of College Basketball," The Palestra opened its doors in 1927, making it the oldest major college arena still in use today. It has hosted more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other facility of its kind. It is currently home to the Philadelphia Big 5, which consists of the University of Pennsylvania, Villanova University, Temple University, Saint Joseph's University, and LaSalle University.
In an all-day affair, all eight Landmark Conference schools had the opportunity to be represented at The Palestra. The day featured two women's conference games and two men's conference games. With their Blue Jay rally towels in hand, nearly 200 Etown faithful packed the stands to cheer on our student-athletes.
Etown faced Juniata in the third of four games on the day. The Blue Jays battled after being down by just five points at halftime but ultimately fell to Juniata, 66-53. Dylan Rowe '23 led the game with 20 points and seven rebounds, Rance Russo '25 totaled nine points and six rebounds, while Tyreke Herbert '24 added seven points.
"Traveling to the Palestra for a Landmark Conference game was a great experience for our team, program, and the College as a whole. There was a palpable energy around the game and the significant number of alumni, from all different eras, that came out to support us proved how invested people are in Elizabethtown College basketball."
– Britt Moore
Elizabethtown College Head Men's Basketball Coach
Advances To NCAA Division III Tournament
The Elizabethtown College women's basketball team's 2022-23 season showed early signs of being one for the ages. The Blue Jays began the season 13-0, the program's best start since 1986-87, with 13 of those wins occurring by double digits and an average scoring margin of +22.3 points per game.
The Blue Jays went 11-1 at home during the regular season, with all 11 home wins by at least 10 points. Those wins included a pair in mid-December as part of the Yonnie Kauffman Blue Jay Tournament, where Etown defeated both Delaware Valley (Dec. 17) and Washington & Lee (Dec. 18) to earn the tournament title.
Etown's success could also be measured on a national scale. The Blue Jays broke into the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll at the beginning of January, where remained ranked nine weeks in a row and reached as high as No. 15. Etown also cracked the D3hoops.com Women's Top 25, at No. 24, for the first time since the early 2000s.
The Blue Jays won their Landmark Conference Semifinal matchup against Catholic on Feb. 22 to advance to their second championship game, before coming up short against No. 3 Scranton. Etown's impressive resume, however, resulted in an at-large bid for the NCAA Division III Tournament, marking the first-back-to-back appearance for the Blue Jays since the 1994 and 1995 seasons. Despite facing an early double-digit deficit to No. 21 Stevens in the NCAA First Round, the Blue Jays rallied for a 79-68 victory, their first NCAA Tournament win since 2001.
A hard-fought, 65-55 loss to No. 1 Christopher Newport in the Second Round marked the end of the road for Etown, but a final season record of 23-5 (.821) was good for the program's most wins and best winning percentage since 1998-99.
Etown was also among the nation's best in several categories, both team and individual. The Blue Jays spent much of the season ranked among Division III leaders in field goal percentage and three-point field goal percentage while also leading the Landmark Conference in both areas.
Leading With Service
Albert Granger '83, DDS
Leading with service has long been in the Granger family genes. "My grandparents, parents, and siblings were very involved in the community, so it's what we do," Albert "Al" Granger '83 said. "Etown was a perfect fit in that way."
Following in his father, Richard Granger's '42 footsteps and enrolling in Elizabethtown College, Al, did not realize (at first), how clear his college choice would be.
"I saw [Elizabethtown] College representatives at a college fair and remembered my father went there," Al shared. "When I went to visit, I was convinced. It was a beautiful campus with small classes and everyone seemed friendly. It was an easy choice."
Another easy choice for Al was pursuing his dental degree post-graduation from Etown. Coming from a successful line of dentists, Al followed his father and grandfather, to pursue the family passion in Dentistry. Al opened Premier Endodontics of Long Island, PLLC in 1998, and today the practice has grown to five locations throughout Long Island.
"The biggest thing I learned that has helped me the most was to be on time and prepared. That has carried me a long way," Al shared.
Al's emphasis on leading to serve has also contributed to his success. Having served as on City Council in his hometown for 11 years, Al is currently a Trustee at Northwell Health System in New York. Having previously served on the board of his region's YMCA of Glen Cove, as well as a Trustee at his daughter's school, Friends Academy, and Elizabethtown College, Al's volunteerism runs deep.
"In our family, we don't complain, we get involved," Al said. "Actions speak louder than words."
In 2007, Al was recognized by Elizabethtown College, receiving the Dr. Charles S. FarverApgar and Dr. Bessie D. Apgar Biology Alumni Award for his outstanding contributions and commitment to Etown students and their future success.
Leading to serve doesn't have an end point either. Most recently, Al has been giving his time and energy to helping admissions for the Touro School of Dental Medicine, a newly launched dental school in New York.
"My idea of success is enjoying what I do, and to help as many people reach their life goals as I can."
– Al Granger '83
A Powerful Day At Elizabethtown College
An Elizabethtown College education equips students with the power of knowledge, has the power to inspire and create real impact, and instills the power of service. The Blue Jay family came together in support of these ideals for Power of One Day, the Etown's annual 24-hour day of giving on Tuesday, March 21.
Campus was buzzing with fun social events including a timelessly popular Bingo night for students, and alumni came together for several virtual satellite socials to renew their Etown connections. The record-breaking day featured 1,891 gifts by alumni, students, faculty, staff, friends, and families from around the world, raising a total of $601,815 in support of current and future students.Power of One Day
Celebrating Scholarship Support
The annual Scholarship Luncheon is a celebration of the best that Elizabethtown College has to offer—the donors and friends who give selflessly of themselves and the deserving Blue Jay students who are using the gift they've been given to better themselves and their communities. It is an opportunity for students to meet the individuals who are contributing to their success, thank them for their support, and showcase what removing financial barriers to education can mean.
This year's Scholarship Luncheon, held on Friday, March 24, honored 70 scholarship donors and 80 student recipients. The event featured a keynote by Joe DePippo '76, co-creator of the Joseph A. '76 and Nancy Z. '79 DePippo Scholarship Fund which to supports a student(s) of color at Elizabethtown College who are citizens of the United States with demonstrated financial need.Support Etown Scholarships
"Supporting scholarships can change the trajectory of students' lives for generations to come."
– Joe DePippo '76
Generous Gift Supports Chemistry Lab Renovations
A generous gift from A.C. Baugher Professor of Chemistry Emeritus Dr. Charles D. Schaeffer Jr. is helping to support renovations to Elizabethtown College’s chemistry laboratories in Musser Hall.
"We are sincerely grateful to Dr. Charles D. Schaeffer Jr. and his incredible philanthropic efforts to further the educational experience for Elizabethtown College students so they may lead productive and purposeful careers," Elizabethtown College President Betty Rider said. "His support will provide students with meaningful and innovative opportunities in a real-world learning environment to further their knowledge and skills as they pursue their degree."
The $2.4 million Musser Hall project will completely overhaul laboratories used for courses such as Organic Chemistry, General Chemistry, and Quantitative Analysis and also improve laboratory support areas.
"We are so thankful for Dr. Charles D. Schaeffer Jr.’s generosity, which allowed the needed Musser renovations to begin this May," Elizabethtown College Dean of the School of Sciences Jodi Lancaster said. "These updates will enhance the hands-on teaching and learning for both current Etown students and many, many future students."
The Musser Hall renovations will provide aesthetically pleasing and modernized facilities designed to facilitate the extensive research- and discovery-based learning activities that are the core of Etown’s chemistry and STEM curriculum.
Dr. Schaeffer is a beloved member of the Etown community and a passionate teacher, mentor, and researcher. He joined the chemistry faculty as an assistant professor in 1976 and was promoted to full professor in 1991. Dr. Schaeffer served as department chair from 1989-93. He is the first holder of the A.C. Baugher Endowed Chair in Chemistry, earning emeritus status in 2009.
"I thought it appropriate to use this opportunity to acknowledge in a tangible way the countless personal, professional, and social interactions during my 47 years at the College," Dr. Schaeffer said. "I particularly wanted to recognize those interactions involving students who have been in my classes and/or have conducted undergraduate research with me."
The project, which began in late spring 2023, is also supported by contributions from the George I. Alden Trust and individual donors.
A&P Classroom and Cadaver Laboratory (far distance) showing the movable divider that will allow these spaces to support both smaller and larger classes while also expanding and improving the cadaver storage and viewing area, and creating a decontamination area.
Musser Hall Laboratory Renovation rendering, Quantitative Analysis Lab.
Elizabeth A. Rider
Ally Bonicker '23
Mark A. Claper '96
Francesca Creavey '23
Wyatt Eaton '10
Karlie Fromm '23
Zach Klinedinst '19
Dr. Susan Mapp
Photos by staff or courtesy, except as otherwise noted.
ETOWN magazine is published annually, with occasional special editions. The views expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of the College. Visit etown.edu for more information about the College and its history.
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