Student Spotlight: Billie-Jo Dowling

Billie-Jo Dowling

As a Media and Communication major, I have interviewed a lot of people inside the community of Delaware Valley University. Some of the interviews have been very interesting, some have been life-changing, but this particular interview was very new to me. Last semester, I had the pleasure of interviewing Billie-Jo Dowling, a recent DelVal graduate, who majored in Small Animal Science. Billie-Jo said a big draw for her coming to DelVal was the Experience 360 Program, which prepares students to solve problems by integrating classroom knowledge with real world experience. This program helps you explore your interests to figure out the best career path for you.

During the interview, I asked Billie-Jo how E360 benefited her. She said the program has changed her for the better and she gained so many new experiences while working. She learned a lot of new skills and was able to improve the skills she already had. The beauty of this program is that it helps students to enhance their skills before they even start their career. By challenging students to try different things in E360, they get better insight on their goals and interests.

While interviewing Billie-Jo, we got personal about how working with animals has impacted her life. She said that animals have always been a part of her life and that she has loved them since she was a little kid. Billie-Jo said that the biggest challenge she has dealt with is the unpredictable nature of each animal, though that adds a lot of fun to it because you get to learn new things about what animals don’t like. Sometimes it can be frustrating when working with animals that don’t want to cooperate or are being aggressive but that’s something you must learn to adapt to. Animals behave differently for different people so you have to remain calm and patient so you can earn the animals’ trust.

When I asked what the best experience E360 program was, she said if she had to choose one it would be giving a baby opossum a bath after feeding it.

“They just wrap their little paws around your thumbs and don’t mind the water hitting on them,” she said. “It’s probably the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Cute animals aside, Billie-Jo said going through the E360 process was overwhelming at times, but once everything was set and she started her internships she was super excited to learn and gain additional experience.

***Career update: Billie-Jo was just hired by Charles River Laboratories where she will be a Research Technician beginning in mid-October. She also continues to volunteer at the Barn Nature Center where she completed her E360 experience!

Written By: Tom Godwin

Student Spotlight: Eric Hitch

Recently, I had the opportunity to spotlight my fellow blog writer, Eric Hitch, for the Full360 blog. Eric is a Media and Communication major here at Delaware Valley University, and will be graduating Spring of 2022! He is a self-proclaimed sports fan and it was his love of sports that drove him to select Media and Communication, seeing it as the path to be able to work in the sports industry. “We’ll see where time takes us, but that’s the dream.”

 He is currently interning at the Doylestown Township building, which is conveniently close to Delaware Valley’s campus! It’s one of the things that Eric likes about it – “it’s easy to get from internship, to class, to internship, to class,” he noted during our interview. Eric has been working with the special projects coordinator at the township to write the summer newsletter! It gets mailed out to all registered addresses in the Doylestown area. Additionally, Eric got to work with the social media team for the township to create and organize the social posts, advertisements, and events for the area.

Going into the internship, Eric wasn’t sure how it would tie to his major or his career goals. It didn’t give him much exposure directly with what he’d like to do with sports, but he believes it was still a valuable experience. “It did give me a little bit of experience with programs such as Indesign. That’s a program I never used before. That’s an Adobe program that really utilizes newsletters, magazines, print advertisements or anything like that. Which nowadays isn’t really the popular way of getting our media and information, but it’s still utilized and overall I think using new programs has opened my eyes to different programs that companies use.” Eric also got his first experience of working in an office environment, and has developed a new respect for those who can work the 9 to 5 lifestyle. It was also his first time working with people older than him, and seeing what they value in social media information was an interesting experience for him.

When asked what his biggest takeaway from the experience was, Eric admitted something that I think many people struggle with.

 “I’ve always been someone who’s been very scared to ask for help when it comes to independent projects, I’ve always been the kind of person who likes to do everything on my own,” he said.

When he ran into a problem with one of the first social media projects at the township, it was his site advisor there that supported him and encouraged him to ask for help, even when it’s a solo project. Knowing that he can rely on other people even on a social media team for second opinions and help, even if it’s something he’s supposed to do on his own, is going to help him out in the future. “You can always ask for second opinions, you can always ask if ‘this makes sense’,” even when it seems like you’re the only one writing the social media posts.

Eric is a transfer student from Bucks County Community College, and one of the things that drew him to DelVal was actually the Experience360 Program experience! “DelVal’s whole memo is getting yourself out there!” says Eric. He spent his first semester here at DelVal just getting his feet on the ground and making the adjustment from a two-year college to a four-year university. It was this semester when he really started to try and get the internship. Eric wanted to get the chance to have hands-on experience in his degree, and it was via Professor Katie Carnevale that he was able to find the internship program. He said the whole experience of finding it, getting in contact with the township, and getting the interview all happened in about a week!

Looking to the future, Eric is glad he was able to get experience with working with people who are older than him, and to get the perspective of what other generations are looking for, what they like and dislike, and value in social media posts. Between that and the Indesign program, he feels the experience has given him a head start for his future career. “That won’t be the last time I see that program,” he said.

Eric has some advice for students who haven’t gotten to start E360 yet – transfer or not – “Talk to your professors! They want what’s best for you.” Reach out to your professors, and do some digging online – whether it’s sports or writing or teaching – do some online searches and talk to your local schools and businesses to make yourself known and available. Don’t be waiting for the opportunities to come to you, go get them! Eric and I both believe that sentiment: good thing those of us who haven’t finished our E360 credits have the Full360 blog to help us along the way!

Written by: Maggie Driscoll

Student Spotlight: Sarah Young

Sarah Young

Background

Recent graduate Sarah Young made quite the name for herself at Delaware Valley University. Some of you might know her as the Student Athletic Advisory Committee President, a soccer player, Amazon College Tour actress, Rambassador, and student worker for athletics. She graduated this past May with a bachelor’s degree in counseling psychology and plans to continue her education and eventually become a guidance counselor at an elementary school. 

While talking to Sarah, I learned that, like many students, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to major in right away. All she knew was that she wanted to work with people and learn how to help them. Sarah actually started at DelVal as a Biology major and hoped to eventually major in Physical Therapy. As her freshmen year went by, she found herself enjoying the mental aspect of science over the physical side of it. Sophomore year she officially changed her major to Counseling Psychology and fell in love with it. 

Sarah Young on the field

E360 Activity One

While COVID has thrown a notch in many students experiential learning plans, Sarah did not let that stop her. She has completed three Experience 360 Program activities in the span of four years. Her first activity took place at the YMCA in Doylestown as a summer camp counselor. “I was in charge of creating five days of eight-hour long schedules for children, ages seven to thirteen,” she said. “I oversaw the soccer camp in the mornings and then the afternoon sports. This experience helped me narrow down which age groups I hope to work with in the future.” 

E360 Activity Two 

Her second experience came from being a SAAC member (Student Athletic Advisory Committee). Sarah was involved in SAAC for three years, two of them she held the title of committee president.  Her leadership development for E360 was completed during her time as president.

“I am in charge of planning and executing events and meetings as well as being a voice and liaison between student-athletes and their representatives and the athletic staff,” said Sarah.

She also attended monthly meetings with all the presidents and advisors in the MAC conference. Sarah handed the title of SAAC President down to committee member, Sadie Strober, as the 2020-2021 academic year came to an end.  

E360 Activity Three

Sarah completed her final E360 activity as a volunteer for a graduate class at Delaware Valley University. In order to complete the activity, each week Sarah played the role of a client for a mock counseling session.

“I was given a background story and I had to pretend to be a fifteen-year-old girl with a variety of teenage problems,” said Sarah.

Some of the issues she had to portray were issues with racism, alcohol abuse, and bullying. Along with playing the role of the client, she was also required to give the students (counselors) in the class feedback on what they did well during the session and where they could improve. 

Post-College Plans

Sarah explained that she fully intends on attending graduate school in the future, but right now she is planning on taking a year off in order to save some money and take a much-needed break from school. She plans on branching out with one of her close friends where they will be moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, this summer. During this time, she plans to continue nannying in North Carolina and getting her mixologist license. She will be looking into her options for graduate school to help determine what she will do when her year break is over. Sarah explained that the E360 program has really helped her narrow down her interests in counseling psychology and is very excited for what the future will bring her in this field of work. 

E360 Requirements 

According to the Delaware Valley University website, Counseling Psychology majors must complete a total of three E360 academic credits in order to complete the program. Students are also required to complete a minimum of two activities from Group A and Group B. Sarah completed a career exploration experience, student research, and the leadership development program. 

Counseling Psychology at DelVal

DelVal prides itself for its interactive and personal classes, especially the counseling psychology program. In order to enhance education, the DelVal Psychology department teaches “in-depth training and practical, relevant skills” in order to prepare you for the future. You can also participate in mock counseling sessions, like Sarah did for one of her E360 activities, and participate in professional conferences like the Association for Women in Psychology, Pennsylvania Counseling Association, and the Association for Psychological Science. You will also be offered opportunities to conduct research that will be presented at the conferences. This research can be either independent or you can assist a faculty member in their studies. By the time your four years of studies at DelVal are completed, the Counseling Psychology department feels you will be 100 percent ready to take on the next step in becoming a certified psychologist. 

Written By: Sydney Paz

Delaware Valley’s Experiential Learning Photo Gallery

Compiled & written by Edie Bradley; designed by Miller Huertgen

Student Spotlight: Christine Lambert

Written by: Isabel Gisondi

Christine Lambert, a junior at Delaware Valley University, started out as an Animal Science major because she always wanted to be a veterinarian. She wanted to work with animals and “have a career where I feel like I am making a difference.” However, the number of hours that vet school required was a drawback for Lambert.

Through her time and experience at DelVal she soon discovered a similar career working with animals that did not require as much time and stress as veterinarian school that was a better fit for her. Working with wildlife was a better option for Lambert and she believes she can help bring about positive change.

“With the direction our world is going in now,” said Lambert, “wildlife is impacted negatively as we increase our population.”

Lambert explained that the Wildlife and Conservation Management major is not always focused on zoos and fairs. In fact, it’s more focused on rural or “back-country” settings. The right approach is to recognize that students are entering into other species’ natural habitats. Students within the major focus on questions like “Are humans impeding on this species? If so, in what way can we reverse or elevate it?” In addition, the major explores climate change, as well as issues that might stem from human consumption that could lead animals out of their habitats or affect their needed spaces or ability to breed properly. 

“Sometimes you cannot reverse the effects, but you can think of ways to help so that this animal can live as naturally as possible. In more practical terms, that can look like international trading and traveling that introduces new species including plants or insects to new areas,” she said.

As part of her learning journey, Lambert participated in DelVal’s Experience 360 Program. The E360 Program “prepares students to solve problems, integrating classroom knowledge with real-world experience”.

In fact, all students participate in some type of real-world experience before graduation. For Lambert, it was an opportunity to work at a local non-profit organization called Last Chance Ranch, which is dedicated to rescuing neglected and unwanted equines, farm animals, and pets. Despite her time there, Lambert found her coursework to be more helpful towards her goals. Sometimes experiencing something first-hand is a great way to rule it out if it’s not a good fit.

“It did help me in the sense that I was like, ‘Yeah, this is not the route I want to go in.’  I was more passionate about working with wildlife animals that aren’t domesticated. It brought up thought-provoking questions of what I was doing and learning and how that could apply to my future,” explained Lambert. “Working with different species that are so important, but no one cares about because they are not fluffy and cute is super important to keep an ecosystem rich in its diversity.”

Lambert shared her personal thoughts about the E360 program saying “I support and I really like the DelVal E360 program and I think without it, I wouldn’t have felt as motivated to venture out of the University for more experience to really apply what I’m learning in my classes to a career field or set myself up for success after I graduate,” said Lambert. “I think E360 sets DelVal apart from other colleges in the way that they advocate and push their students to venture outside of the university for hands-on experience, or even within the university.”

After graduation, Lambert’s priority is to keep her options open because wildlife field jobs are very competitive. Some are seasonal and short because one works with the wildlife on an as-needed basis.

“You have to be willing to travel and to be flexible with your time and the location where you’ll be assigned,” she said. “Ideally, in the long run, I see myself being a wildlife biologist, I just need to figure out what direction I want to go with that. I have a really awesome internship with the PA Commission lined up as a wildlife management intern.”

Like so many students approaching graduation, Lambert hopes her internship experience will help give her more career direction and help build connections so she will be able to answer more confidently about her future.

“I’ll be doing something different every day. I will be working alongside different biologists and doing some work with habitats as well. Not every day will deal with wildlife. It could be removing invasive shrubs or vegetation to plant native vegetation that supports wildlife in that area,” said Lambert.

Out of 25 applicants, five were interviewed, but Lambert landed the internship. She was nervous during the process, but offered good advice: “If something scares you, that should fuel you even more to try it. In our 20s we are the freest we will ever be in our lives, learning independence, how to pay rent, cook meals, and just everything we will spend the rest of our lives doing,” Lambert said. “So, if something scares you, do it. Ask yourself why it scares you and then go after it anyway.”

Student Spotlight: Emily Yatron

Emily Yatron is currently a returning student senior here at Delaware Valley University, getting her second degree in Landscape Architecture with a minor in Environmental Science. She already has a degree from Kutztown University in Graphic Design and decided to further her education in Landscape Architecture at DelVal. Emily has been here for three years and has done a lot at DelVal when it comes to the Experience 360 Program credits. She has done a Global Studies trip, one internship that counts for credits and two for her own personal experience, and she has also completed the leadership portion of E360 as she is now the president of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). 

Emily describes the Global Field Study she did as a “mini study abroad”. She and the members of the ASLA club went to San Diego for 10 total days to attend an architecture conference that lasted four days and spent the rest of the time sightseeing in an educational way. She said that this trip counted towards the E360 credits that she needed to complete and she also took a semester-long class doing research and writing papers. During the conference, she and her club got to meet other students from different ASLA clubs around the country and gain networking experience in the landscape architecture industry. 

“We got to talk to a lot of professionals and attend really fascinating lectures and conferences,” Emily says. She also said they saw a few botanical gardens in the San Diego area and had some connections to get them private tours, during which they were told all about the different plants they saw and other educational landscape information. She said that the conference part of the trip “was incredibly useful… and great to tell a future employer that I’ve been to the ASLA conference,” as it was able to zero her in on the types of landscape architecture she wants to do in her career. It is such a broad industry, but this conference and Global Field Studies opportunity was very useful for her.

Photo taken at the San Diego Zoo

Emily also has done a few internships while she was a student at DelVal. Only one of them counted as part of her E360 credits and that was an internship at a local landscape architecture firm in Norristown. It was a small firm where she was able to do some graphic design work and some landscaping work alongside her coworkers. She also worked at Burpee Farms during the summer where she was doing a lot of hands-on work with plants and the landscape. 

“It was very physically demanding and I wasn’t prepared for how much work it was going to be,” she said. But she had some of her best experiences there when she was weeding, planting fruits and vegetables and flowers and harvesting them at the end of the season. Emily is currently doing an internship now at Castle Valley Consultants, an engineering firm where she helps design wastewater systems for local areas. She is really enjoying this internship because she is very into sustainability and this opportunity allows her to learn about both the technical side of landscape architecture and environmental sustainability has been a great experience. 

DelVal has a ton of opportunities to fulfill the E360 requirement if you are able to take advantage of your connections and ask the school to work with you and that’s exactly what Emily Yatron did. She had some great experiences that furthered her college career and life goals here at DelVal while also completing required credits to graduate. It’s simple to do both so be like Emily and get the Full360! For more information about pursuing a Global Field Studies or internship opportunity, you can reach out to the Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) at cspd@delval.edu

Written by: Miller Huertgen