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Letter from the Editor

Hello! My name is Miller Huertgen and I am currently a junior at Delaware Valley University. This year, my goal was to find an internship that involved a lot of writing in the media. This is because my hope for after graduation is to write for television or to go into publishing and editing. I was honestly really stressed about finding an internship, especially now in the middle of a pandemic. I ended up asking a few local publishing companies if they were hiring interns, but none of them were because business is so slow right now. But luckily for me, I got offered to be co-editor of a new blog for DelVal by one of my professors, Katie Carnevale! She told me about the blog and her ideas to feature student’s experiences with their internships, research projects and travel abroad trips and I thought it was a great idea. I figured this would be a perfect way to help DelVal recruit incoming students by having current students share their cool internship experiences and even have some helpful articles for all students at DelVal on how to get an internship or job that would suit them best!

When I started this internship, I was a bit nervous because I thought it would only be me and my professor working on everything about the website but I was ready for the challenge that would bring. Even so, Professor Carnevale then told me that this internship would be going hand-in-hand with my Elements of Blogging class (Yes, that’s us in the picture!). I’d have a whole class to help with all the different parts of the blog. So far, the class has been very fun and all the students are so creative and great at coming up with different ideas for the blog. I didn’t have to do this alone after all! We have editorial style classes a lot of the time and are constantly coming up with new ways to improve the blog, even before it officially launched! We still have the better part of a whole semester of this class and lots of time to write articles, interview students and staff and improve the blog. I’m so glad to gain the experience of editing other people’s writing, especially when it’s a whole class full of creative students who are working towards the same goal as me. 

My hope for this blog is to pass it on to students who are younger than me in order for it to keep growing. Even after I graduate from DelVal, I hope it can flourish under the creative minds of writers after me. The Full360 blog will be a really valuable resource for students who are searching for internships or other ways to fulfill their E360 credits. We will be sharing articles about tips and tricks on how to get an internship that suits you, how to navigate the E360 website, interviews with the E360 staff, student-written articles about their experiences, and so much more than that. Aggies share their experiences here to give you the Full360 of how it’s done! Thank you for reading!

Your Editor,

Miller Huertgen

Student Spotlight: Brandon James

Meet Brandon James. Brandon is a senior biology major at Delaware Valley University and has enjoyed just about every minute of being on campus. He knew DelVal was the school for him before he even got here.

“What really attracted me to DelVal was the small class sizes and the overall feel of the campus,” James said. “It really felt like a warm community, where I knew I’d be safe and welcome”.  

As part of the E360 program, James completed both DelVal Experience I and II as a freshman and found it to be helpful in getting him adjusted to the university and in offering guidance and great tips and tricks for interviewing and building his resume.  In addition, his DelVal Experience class helped him take steps toward landing his first internship. 

As a biology major, James was interested in doing Independent Student Research projects in order to gain valuable experience in his field. “My E360 experience allowed me to get exposure to techniques that I wouldn’t have been able to learn in the classroom because of how research intensive it is.”

Some of the experience that James gained in his E360 experiences involved studying photosynthesis in plants and how global warming affects stress on plants possibly leading to extinction of certain species.  He also measured growth rates of cervical cancer cells in a laboratory and conducted important research regarding genetic editing.  Because DelVal offered James this lab experience through E360, he received a fellowship at Jackson Laboratories in Bar Harbor, Maine, during the Summer of 2021.  This experience not only furthered his knowledge and education, it also gave James the opportunity to broaden his network and meet professionals in his field. 

When asked what his views overall on the E360 program, James didn’t hesitate. “What’s really awesome about E360 is that I got credit for learning new techniques and getting experience in my field of Biology before I graduate.”

If that’s not a ringing endorsement of E360, I don’t know what is!

Written by: Brian Saglimben

Student Spotlight: Miranda Keefe

What are you passionate about? This is not really a question that is commonly asked, but more one that is more rhetorical. After speaking with senior Restaurant and Foodservice Management major and Business Administration minor, Miranda Keefe, she explained that you can be passionate about more than one concept or life skill. You can’t go through life without any experience, especially if you want to create a name for yourself. By adding in a little bit of personality, passion, and practice a person can get far, especially when it comes down to starting on your career path and Keefe is on the right trail!

Baking has always been a hobby and passion for Keefe. During her time in high school, she was enrolled in culinary school, which allowed her to complete high school as well as enjoy something that she likes participating in. From there she found herself applying to DelVal because of the merit scholarship she received as well as the fact that they had a well-known food science department and program. Keefe has learned numerous new key concepts from her classes like Food Distribution, Food, Culture, and Cuisine, and even Supervision and Management. What is truly amazing is that she can apply the skills she learned in classes and labs to the real world. However, on top of the knowledge gained from classes, one piece of advice that Keefe mentioned that should be taken into account is “the more hands-on experience the better”, which luckily is something every DelVal student will receive due to the Experience360 Program.

In her last year before graduating this coming May 2022, Keefe has completed two internships through the E360 program to fulfill her requirement. Her final internship at Le Macaron French Pastries in Doylestown is where she made a positive impact on the business and herself. She used her hardworking mindset, business knowledge, and determination to get her to where she is now; a manager for that specific location. She explained that her internship “started [her] career on the management side of the food industry”, and now she is thinking of potentially pursuing this path. Additionally, she learned professional communication skills through her internship, as well as being a member (Co-Food Executive) of the A-Day committee. A-Day is a three-day student run fair that takes place on DelVal’s campus. From her experience so far in A-Day, Keefe has communicated professionally with potential food vendors, DelVal staff and faculty, and has even learned how to format and send out professional contracts. Students can earn .5 credits for being involved with A-Day, which can be put towards E360. Being a member of the DelVal community gives students the chance to learn what they are passionate about and opportunities to establish who they are and want to be.

Besides her academics and professional experiences, Keefe is an extremely well-rounded individual. She is involved in numerous clubs and organizations on campus like A-Day, Food Industry Club, Impact Club, Delta Tau Alpha (a national agricultural honor society), and FeelGood. When she is not managing Le Macaron French Pastries in town or attending club meetings, she enjoys baking, kicking around a soccer ball, and just enjoying the outdoors. One of the many reasons she loves DelVal is because the campus is so green and the agriculture emphasis. It would be pretty impossible to create food without growing the ingredients… right? One tip that Keefe wants all students to know is that you need to create a balance between school and your social life. While keeping your grades up is important, if you don’t give yourself a break it can cause a negative effect on your schoolwork. With her time at DelVal, she has developed friendships that she sees lasting a lifetime and has made connections through networking with individuals in her department, DelVal alumni, and on LinkedIn that have helped her to get to where she is now and where she may want to go in the future.

People can change their minds about what they want to do in the future; Keefe certainly has. Through her experiences inside and outside of the classroom, she has figured out her strengths and weaknesses, her passions, and what she may want to do after graduating. Currently, she plans to work in food safety auditing, quality assurance, or conducting health inspections in food facilities. With her combined background knowledge and personal experience, Keefe has plenty of potential options for what she will do after her time at Delaware Valley University.

Written by: Brooke Farber

Blogging advice from “The Breakfast Club”

On Thursday, December 2, the Elements of Blogging I and II classes had their last full staff meeting of the year. This was a bittersweet time for all of the members because we knew it would be our last time in an official blogging class. Each student in the Elements of Blogging class II was an original founder and editor of the Full360 blog and have seen it grow since the very beginning with our ideas. We spent so much time together and worked so closely, we dubbed ourselves “The Breakfast Club”. This semester we saw the blog grow even more with our experience and ideas from the newest class of blogging students. In addition, each student in Elements of Blogging I creates and manages a personal blog with the topic of their choice. As we were all talking about the Full360 blog and just having a good time in our last class, Professor Katie Carnevale suggested that we go around and give some advice to future bloggers who will be taking Elements of Blogging in the upcoming semesters. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take some notes and write a blog about it. So here is some advice from the founding Full360 bloggers to future bloggers at Delaware Valley University!

Founding members of the Full360 blog., AKA “The Breakfast Club”.

One of the first things we talked about, which came from Brian Saglimben, is how you should be writing about what you’re passionate about. This makes writing so much easier and more fun for the blogger. Writing within boundaries, like we did for the Full360 blog, is always hard because there are only so many things you can write about one topic. But we all discussed how our personal blogs were really able to balance the topics out because we had themes outside of DelVal to write about, but also themes that would benefit our DelVal community that we enjoyed writing for as well.

Eric Hitch then brought up how it really helped him to plan ahead when writing blogs. Things can really pile up when you have deadlines and topics to write about and it can easily get overwhelming when you’re writing for the Full360 blog, but also your personal blog as well. He always thought that having those deadlines for class and planning ahead helped in order to not procrastinate.

The Elements of Blogging class worked hard to launch the Full360 blog during the spring 2021 semester.

Izzy Gisondi mentioned a similar point that helped her as well. She said that she likes to keep self-imposed deadlines when working on her blog posts. Whether it’s for the Full360 blog or her personal blog, she likes to plan out chunks of writing to do in order to space out the assignments and not overwhelm herself. I think this would be really helpful if you want to keep up with your own personal blog when over summer break and even after the blogging class is over. Just because you don’t have anyone giving you set deadlines for posts, doesn’t mean you can’t continue writing! You’ll just have to create some kind of calendar in order to keep up with posting on a regular basis.

Another thing we talked about today was how the Elements of Blogging classes aren’t just for media majors and can be beneficial for so many more majors and people. Hannah Seltzer was the one to bring this up and she mentioned that blogging and just refining your writing style can be so helpful for so many different people. This class allows you to reach out to people and make connections that you may have not made before and increase your chances of meeting new and interesting people. Hannah suggested that anyone take this class and really keep an open mind when writing the posts. We all couldn’t agree more!

Another piece of advice I would give to blog writers is to rely on your classmates! They are there for you and you should also be there for them when you’re all doing a project in class. Don’t be afraid to give ideas to them or offer a contact or connection to them because they will likely have ideas and contacts for you in return. I’ve never been in a class before where I relied this heavily on my classmates or got along with them this well.

Being in the Elements of Blogging class has been so rewarding and so much fun. I got to know so many great people and made amazing connections in the class as well as outside the class. I hope this list of advice helps! Happy blogging!

Written by: Miller Huertgen (Full360 founding student editor)

“Your Greatest Weakness”: Answering One of the Toughest Interview Questions

The interview process can be terrifying and can easily lead to overthinking. You never know which questions you’ll be asked or how the interviewer expects you to respond. That said, there is one question I have been asked in every single interview I have ever been a part of, and it’s also one of the most difficult to answer: What would you say your greatest weakness is? You don’t want to come across as having a lack of confidence by describing things you aren’t good at, nor do you want to appear overconfident by not having an answer at all. So, how do you answer this?

Choose something that can be turned into a positive – but not in an insincere way.

Things like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I work too hard” are overused at this point and seem very forced and scripted. Think about something related to the position that you’re eager to learn more about, and mention that you’d like to gain more experience. This shows the interviewer that you’re not only self-aware but willing to learn.

Find a weakness that is not directly related.

For example, if you are interviewing for a social media management position, you wouldn’t want to say that you have never used a social media platform or that you aren’t familiar with certain content creation sites. You might want to say something pertaining to understanding the mathematical side of the analytics on social media instead. Then, you can add that you are taking courses or other measures that will help you to better understand these things. It’s important that the interviewer see the lengths you are willing to go to improve your skills, and there’s no better way to do that than being one step ahead.

Choose something that does not interfere with your ability to succeed at the position.

These weaknesses include organization skills, public speaking, patience, etc. Sure, it can be annoying, but having a messy desk is not going to make you the world’s worst architect. Not being able to deliver a perfect speech in front of a massive audience is not going to be detrimental to your chances of being a veterinarian technician. These are all things that can easily be improved upon. It also shows that you can be honest with the interviewer which is super important!

This can be one of the most intimidating interview questions you are ever asked. It’s vital to be honest with both yourself and the interviewer, without being so hard on yourself that you come across as not having the necessary skills to succeed in the position. Many students have been taught to use things like perfectionism or working too hard, but those responses have quickly become overused. Try not to overthink your response too much – find a skill you’d like to improve upon and run with it. Your interviewer will appreciate the honesty and self-awareness you display! Good luck!

Written by: Brynn Miller

The Winter Break Withdrawals

As I shut my laptop finishing up the last assignment for the semester, I am filled with relief. It won’t take much time to get comfortable laying in my sweatpants with a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace. As the first week melts away, the feeling of wasted time has already sunk in. As any college student who has an extensive winter break knows it can be hard to manage that time wisely. I am here to help you deal with this feeling and advise you on how to stay on track.

The First Week of Break

I strongly recommend taking a whole solid week to intentionally relax. Whether that means taking less hours at work or sleeping until noon, taking this time will benefit you. Spending time with family and friends is important when you have been going strong for such a long time. Taking the time to mentally reset will benefit you much more in the long run. It may be interesting or helpful to you to grab a journal and write down some lessons learned from the semester or goals and objectives you may have moved forward. Having a physical list will help you begin to feel accomplished and that you are making progress.

Using Your Time Wisely

It is so helpful to set goals for yourself for break and the spring semester before it arrives. For some, taking a winter course is extremely useful to stay in the school-mode without wearing yourself out. This can help you feel less overwhelmed and not jump into panic mode when school starts again. Once you begin to get lost in your time and spend it hiding away it makes the process to go back so much more difficult. What I have found helpful is writing down assignments in my planner the second that the syllabus for each class is available. Looking ahead at expectations I have for myself helps prepare me for what is to come. If you are the type of person who needs an entire month to absolutely nothing, then do it. At the end of the day, you know what works best for you and your own personal work ethic.

First Week Back

Break always flies by and we find ourselves back in the classroom like we never left. The temptation is to do nothing during the first week back is real and strong. I am guilty of this myself but if you start small with assignments and looking ahead at projects you won’t be surprised when your professor announces that the due date is a week away. Trying to keep the fire ignited that you practiced burning over break will be so worth it when school starts. Rather than feeling rusty and overwhelmed, you’ll feel warmed up and ready to go!

Written by: Isabel Gisondi

Planning Not to Plan

As a college student you get sick of hearing the age-old question:

“What are your plans for after you graduate?”

And after answering this question an uncountable number of times over the years, sick is actually an understatement.

Most people that ask expect us to have an answer even before we’ve even stepped foot in our first college course and also expect that same answer when we step out of our last one. I can tell you as a college senior that as good as it is to have a plan, it can be just as good not to have one. Above that, it is totally fine not to have one.

This is not to say that having a plan isn’t helpful or sometimes important to certain scenarios. But the pressure of getting a job right out of school, getting a job in your field of study, or knowing exactly what you want to accomplish can hold much less power over you. How many people do you know have a job in a completely different field from what they studied are satisfied where they ended up? How many stories have you heard of students that get jobs right out of school and end up hating them? 

There is a give and take here but, in my experience, letting go of certain stressors where you can will only help you to accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. A job right out of school in your field of studied doesn’t have to be one of them. So, the next time someone asks about your after-school plans, remember it is okay if:

  • You want to pick-up part-time jobs for awhile
  • You don’t have a plan
  • You want to work a random job just to save enough to travel
  • You want to accept the first job offer you get
  • You want to turn down the first job offer you get
  • You want to go back to school
  • You are just excited to graduate

No matter how many times you may be asked, and how many times your answer changes, there is nothing wrong with changing your path. I think that because this pressure is all around, it can be hard to make decisions that benefit us. For example, you are two years into a biology degree when you decide your heart isn’t in it. The choice to switch career paths takes longer than it should because there is a fear surrounding realizing that what you had originally planned is not the plan anymore. Or perhaps you figure out that you have no idea what you want to do. The fear is there because you know how many times you’ll be asked about it and feel like you don’t have an answer.

It is okay not to have an answer.

It is okay if your plan is not to have a plan.

It is okay if you just don’t know.

When preparing for your next interview, or searching for jobs as a senior in college, remember that it is never too late to change your mind, make a change, turn down a job, or accept one. The only path that matters is the one that you make for yourself!

Written by: Hannah Seltzer

Student Spotlight: Natalie Ratzke

Here at Delaware Valley University, there are plenty of connections and resources available for students to utilize in order to find an internship. The Experience360 program requires all students to have some kind of hands-on experience that relates to their major and the career they want to pursue. I recently spoke to DelVal senior Natalie Ratzke about her experience as an intern at the local Elmwood Park Zoo.

As part of their E360 requirements, Zoo Science majors at DelVal participate in one animal care and one animal education experience. Though many of these students get internships at Elmwood Park Zoo, DelVal also has connections to the Adventure Aquarium, Lehigh Valley Zoo, Philadelphia Zoo, and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel. Natalie was originally accepted into the Academy of Natural Science at Drexel, but that opportunity was ultimately canceled in the Summer of 2020 due to COVID. But lucky for her, she had a connection through her job at the Barn Nature Center, where her boss knew one of the hiring staff members at the Elmwood Park Zoo, Natalie was able to submit her resume and get an interview because of this connection. She was also able to secure the Elmwood Park Zoo internship in a different way than her classmates.

Natalie has been primarily working in the zoo’s ambassador education and conservation education departments. She works a lot with the show animals and is able to show them to the visitors who come through the zoo. She especially liked working in the “breakfast with the giraffes” area, where visitors can pay to have breakfast next to the giraffe enclosure and feed them as well.

Elmwood Park Zoo is one of DelVal’s most solid connections for zoo science students. They have been taking student interns for a long time and many of the interns get lined up for jobs right after they graduate. Natalie explained that other students in different majors at DelVal also have internships at Elmwood Park Zoo, as the zoo has a number of different departments including business and advertising. This allows for even more opportunities within DelVal’s community to gain experience and have fulfilling internships.

Written by Miller Huertgen

DON’T Lose Yourself – Managing Presentation Anxiety

Presentation and public speaking anxiety are things many college students know all too well. Speaking in front of a group of people is an incredibly daunting task, especially when it comes to subjects that you might not know a ton about or be very interested in. I have dealt with a severe anxiety disorder for the majority of my school years and have dealt with every terrible presentation outcome you can possibly imagine. I’ve completely blacked out, had panic attacks, spilled water on my notes, and even panicked and began to speak about something that was completely unrelated to my designated topic. If you’re anything like me, when you get in front of a class you might start to feel like those first few lines in “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy, and maybe even a little bit of vomit on your sweater already. If that sounds familiar, these tips are for you.

  1. BREATHE – SERIOUSLY. Easier said than done, I know. As you make the treacherous journey to the front of the room, try to take a few deep breaths. Inhale, hold for three to five seconds, and exhale the same way. As someone with severe anxiety, I can assure taking the time to focus on your breathing for a few seconds will make a massive difference. You will feel much worse about the delivery of your presentation if you pass out as soon as you get up there, so we want to avoid that at all costs.
  1. STAY HYDRATED. Say it with me now: Hydration is the expectation when doing a presentation. Drink plenty of water before you present, and if circumstances allow it, always bring a water bottle up with you. Dry mouth is no joke! It’s not easy to speak loudly and clearly when your lips are sticking to your teeth, so don’t feel bad if you have to pause for a second and take a drink. Not only will it help a dry mouth, but it will give you another second or two to calm down and pace yourself.
  1. SLOW DOWN! Chances are you will zoom through your presentation in record time once that adrenaline hits you. When you practice your speech, speak as slowly as you can. You will definitely speed up once you find yourself in front of an audience but practicing slowly will help make the nervous timing difference less obvious to those watching.
  1. FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. Practicing confident body language is a must. When we get anxious or scared, we tend to do things that make us appear smaller and closed up – slouching, holding your arms, looking down, etc. That makes it incredibly obvious to everyone how nervous you are. It has always helped me to practice speeches in front of a mirror and correct myself when I’m not standing up straight or fidgeting with my hands too much. Straighten up, move your hands and arms around as you speak, make eye contact, smile! Just like Slim Shady himself said – “he’s nervous but on the surface he looks calm and ready.” If you can manage to “act” confident even though you might be a nervous wreck on the inside, I guarantee no one will have any idea. A little acting goes a long way.

There are many ways to feel more confident when presenting or giving a speech in a class, but these are a few of my favorites and the ones I have utilized the most throughout my four years in college. It takes a lot of practice to get better at public speaking, but if you’re willing to put the work in it’s 100% worth it. Good luck!

Written by Brynn Miller

Studying at Delaware Valley University: Winter Edition!

As our semester ends and the temperatures outside continue to drop, it is essential to find a cozy and consistent place to study on campus! If you’re struggling to find a spot that’s just right for you, here’s a quick guide to the best spots with pros and cons all listed out!

As finals season approaches, do your best to keep your body warm, and your grades and spirits high! Good luck!

Produced by: Dustin Childs

Full Plate: Stress vs. Burnout

Completing internships as a full-time student or while working can be hard. Some college students may not realize how stressful it can be to juggle work and school and often take on too much.

Our mental health fluctuates on a daily basis depending on what we have going on. Sometimes students experience a period where they start to feel something beyond stress. Before I knew the term myself, I didn’t know how to describe what I was feeling, but I knew it went deeper than everyday stress. A “burnout” is a physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress and it can look different depending on the situation. In a school environment we may chalk it up to stress, but it is important to always keep a close eye on our mental health through the process. Burnouts are recognizable by their symptoms and are different or sometimes more extreme than with stress.

Here are a few tell-tale signs that you may be or about to be experiencing a burnout:

  • Assignments and tasks that usually seem easy are more time consuming and/or become mentally exhausting.
  • You might be a little extra tired, replace quality work time with naps, and choose rest more often than usual.
  • You might start accepting lesser grades or lower quality work.
  • You might allow more cracks in your self-confidence.
  • Stress can sometimes make doing work harder but may not always lead to a full mental collapse.

Burnouts can be avoided by learning how to better manage school, work, and any other responsibilities while also managing your mental health. Sometimes when we focus on multiple things at once it can be hard to center ourselves and prioritize where we need to. For example, if you have multiple assignments due over the course of three days while but also have to go to work for two of those three and soccer practice at the end of each day, it might be helpful to better organize your thoughts and responsibilities before those next few days get started.

Making lists, mapping out your busy days on a calendar, and even journaling are ways to manage and organize your thoughts and prioritize your responsibilities. Other important ways to manage your mental health and avoid burnouts include:

  • Saving time to get good sleep.
  • Eating healthy and making sure to eat multiple meals per day to maintain energy.
  • Learning to say “no” when you know you’ve taken on too much.
  • Taking time for yourself to do nothing, relax, and unwind.

By prioritizing yourself and making sure to organize your thoughts and responsibilities you can be more aware of burnouts. Keeping an eye out for some of the symptoms, or just paying attention to yourself and your mental health can be the best way to prevent a full mental shutdown and keep you going strong through a rough time.

Written by: Hannah Seltzer