Monthly Archives: June 2013

On Her Way: Mariah Iapicco Joins Mercy Volunteers

A Job, A Journey, An Education

GCU education graduate Mariah Iapicco recently accepted a teaching position at a school on a reservation in Arizona. She will spend the 2013-14 academic year as a member of the Mercy Volunteer Corps, a group associated with the Sisters of Mercy. The Monitor of Trenton, our diocesan newspaper, published a story about Mariah.

Below, Mariah talks about her decision and how GCU prepared her for the future:

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

AT THE BEGINNING OF MY SENIOR YEAR, I realized that I wanted to enter into a volunteer program to give back so much that has been given to me.  I wasn’t sure what program to apply for, or if I even would follow through with my idea, but luckily my wish came true: I applied to Mercy Volunteer Corps and got accepted.

I had heard about MVC when 2011 GCU grad Brynn Walzer applied and went to California  when she graduated, but I still was unsure what it truly was. Then GCU Provost Evelyn Quinn had a representative come and speak to students, specifically to those of us involved with GCU’s Mercy Collegiate Society, about the program. That presentation inspired me to want to apply.  After conversations with Evelyn Quinn, Dean of Students Karen Goff, Dean of Student Success Kathleen Boody, and recent GCU graduate Sally Santiago (who is now in law school in Charlotte, N.C.), I decided to follow through and apply for the program. I will be placed in St. Michael’s, Arizona at their high school and I will be teaching math.  I was very lucky with this because this is exactly what I went to school for.  I had the choice of going to Connecticut to teach in an all girls middle school, but I chose to be brave and go farther away.  I will be living on the reservation with them, so I will be a part of their community. I know it will be a wonderful experience. 

For student teaching I was placed at Middletown High School South. I had 3 honors geometry classes, 3 Algebra 2/ Pre-calculus honors courses (two classes condensed into one year), and one Algebra 2 class (lower level students).  Student teaching truly helps us grow as teachers because there is only so much you can learn through textbooks, but being in the field for 15 weeks help you feel comfortable in the classroom and understand how to be an effective teacher.

The GCU School of Education: Always Learning, Always Improving

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A word from the GCU School of Education:

Georgian Court University is extremely proud of its teacher preparation program, which is rigorous and accredited. We use multiple measures to assess the quality of our teacher education program and formally monitor program effectiveness annually (Teacher Education Accreditation Council Report – TEAC). The Teacher Education Program at GCU has received full continuing accreditation from TEAC each year since its initial accreditation, and its next site visit is scheduled for AY2013-2014. TEAC is the professional accrediting body for colleges and universities, recognized by the U. S. Department of Education. (Note- CAEP merger in progress- Council for Accreditation of Teacher Preparation)

Georgian Court does and will always support aspiring teachers and the pursuit of academic excellence. We are open to sound, credible standards and want to be challenged by such standards that will help the University better prepare its graduates for tomorrow’s diverse classrooms, aid school districts in knowing where they should target hiring efforts and assist education leaders and policymakers in determining best practices.

In determining the quality of our graduates we use multiple measures:

• Standardized tests (Accuplacer, Praxis I, Praxis II)

• GPA’s

• Course Grades

• Embedded course artifacts, rubrics, portfolios (Taskstream)

• Rating scales (clinical supervisors and cooperating teachers)

• Alumni survey (check satisfaction and preparedness)

Our students know their content. Measured by the scores on Praxis specialty tests; the portfolio of lesson plans in their content area; and the monitoring of their GPA’ as they move through our Gateways.

Our faculty ensures that in all our courses there is a strong focus on learners. Our graduates are dual certified- trained in working with students with special needs; they learn the research based strategies to insure that they practice culturally responsive teaching; they learn to plan instruction effectively for diverse learners; there are multiple field experiences (60 hours; 90 hours; and 15 weeks of student teaching). During these field experiences, cooperating teachers and clinical supervisors comprehensively observe them.

At Georgian Court University, we believe that all students have a right to quality education; that all students are capable of learning, and that all students learn best in classrooms that reflect the social, ethnic, racial, religious, and ability dimensions represented in our society. As a result, all of GCU’s pre-service teacher education integrates the knowledge and skills needed for teaching in general education and special education and leads to eligibility for instructional certificates in both. Our graduates meet the “highly qualified” criteria to teach in general education, inclusive classrooms, and in special education settings. The programs in instruction and educational services are guided by the NJ Professional Standards for Teachers. By the time they have completed their programs, candidates are able to present evidence that they have achieved all standards successfully.

In addition to other evidence and more formal evaluations, we maintain professional connections and relationships with practitioners at all levels, in both public and private schools regionally. We receive solicited and unsolicited feedback about our graduates and program completers frequently. It is overwhelmingly positive. This year alone, we have three student teacher finalists who will represent GCU for the 2013 New Jersey Distinguished Student Teacher Award.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Mariah (right) recently completed her student teaching and earned her degree in math and education.

Read more about the Georgian Court University School of Education and discover more about the success of our graduates. If you’re an alumnus, leave a comment—we’d love to hear more about your own successes in and outside of the classroom as well.

“The Final Lesson: Khristie Caola”
“Making a Difference: Katie Laurino”
“On Her Way: Mariah Iapicco”

An Exercise in Preparation: Georgian Court and Lakewood F.D.

Emergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court University
Emergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court University
Emergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court UniversityEmergency fire drill at Georgian Court University

Fire drill_Maria Hall, a set on Flickr.

ON WHAT SEEMED TO BE A CLEAR, SUNNY SUMMER MORNING at Georgian Court, all of a sudden there was commotion. And then fire trucks and medical personnel—-all in preparation for disaster on campus.

About 45 firefighters and first responders participated in a June 9 emergency drill, which simulated a residence hall fire on the second floor of Maria Hall, home to about 210 sophomores and juniors. The 9:40 a.m. general alarm drew a GCU security officer to the scene, who was unresponsive by the time firefighters arrived.

There were multiple live victims who needed oxygen and first aid, and at least one burn victim who had to be evacuated by a helicopter; two other victims were discovered unconscious in a bathroom and in a dormitory room, and one firefighter was trapped when a ceiling collapsed. This activated the FAST team rescue unit from nearby Brick—the unit that is responsible solely for rescuing fire personnel.

After 45 minutes, the “fire” was contained and everyone was removed safely from the building.

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Making a difference: Katie Laurino



Katie Laurino with some of her students.

During her years as a Girl Scout, Katie Laurino befriended a girl who was deaf. Even as a child, she felt that no matter our differences, all people should be treated with respect and kindness.

Fast forward a few decades and the 30-year-old founder of The Creative Arts Project (CAP) still feels the same way. Everyone deserves decency and acceptance, especially the children with special needs who are enrolled in her music, dance and movement program in Point Pleasant.

“The parents are very appreciative,” said Katie, who launched CAP in September 2011. “With schedules that typically center around doctor visits and therapy appointments, the parents love that the Creative Arts Project offers their kids a place to just be themselves. “CAP offers children facing different life challenges the same quality instruction that typical children access on a daily basis.”

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Lakewood, Georgian Court U. Practice Response to Residence Hall Fire in Emergency Drill

For Immediate Release

Media contacts:

Gail Towns, 732.492.6957 or       

Tara Strickland, 732.987.2291 or

Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department & Georgian Court Plan Disaster Drill

Lakewood, N.J., May 28, 2013—On Sunday, June 9, Georgian Court University and the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department will hold a disaster drill. The drill, which will simulate a residence hall fire situation, is one of LFD’s two required annual drills, and will include personnel from GCU, the LFD, the LFD Ladies Auxiliary, the Lakewood Township Emergency Medical Services Department, the Lakewood Volunteer First Aid Squad, and Station 24 of the Brick Township Fire Department. Members of the media are welcome to watch the drill, which will begin at 9:00 a.m. and be repeated several times to train multiple personnel, as well as listen to radio transmissions of emergency personnel. LFD will hold a debrief for media and all involved personnel in GCU’s North Dining Room at noon, after all of the drill rotations have been completed.

During the drill, Maria Hall, one of GCU’s three student residences, will be filled with smoke to simulate an actual fire. GCU students will be present in the hall as “victims,” and the drill will start with staff from GCU’s offices of Security, Residence Life, Student Life, Conferences and Special Events, as well as facilities personnel practicing response procedures. Once LFD and other emergency services agencies are on site, they will practice incident command. About 100 active participants will take part in the June 9 drill.

“Our firefighters will set up a command post and rehearse fire suppression techniques and searching and clearing the hall,” says LFD Assistant Chief Stephen McNamara. “First Aid and EMS will also be on hand to practice injury assessment and transport of ‘victims’ for further medical treatment.”

He notes that drills like this keep everyone involved prepared in the event of an actual situation like a residence hall fire.

“Georgian Court and the Lakewood Volunteer Department have always enjoyed a mutual coordination of efforts in any emergency situation,” says GCU Security Chief Thomas Zambrano. “This drill will only enhance cooperation with all involved.”



About the Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department

The Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department was founded in 1888. There are currently 69 active firefighters and fire police members in the volunteer fire department. The Lakewood Volunteer Fire Department consists of five fire companies: Station 64, also known as Engine Co #1, 119 First Street; Station 65 also known as Rescue Co #2, 1350 Lanes Mills Road; Station 66 also known as Jr. Hose Co #3, 976 New Hampshire Avenue; Station 66-1 also known as Jr. Hose Co #3 170 Lafayette Blvd.; Station 67 also known as Reliance Hose Co #4, 300 River Avenue; Station 68 also known as Hook & Ladder Co #1, 733 Cedarbridge Avenue; and Department and Fire Police Station, 40 Clover Street. Volunteers are always needed.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court announced in May 2012 its transition to a fully coeducational university in 2013. Today, the university serves nearly 2,500 students of all faiths and backgrounds in both undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court’s main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at the New Jersey Coastal Communiversity in Wall.

Positive Spaces at Georgian Court

Positive Spaces: Zsa Zsa StacklesPositive Spaces: An Alumni ExhibitionThe M. Christina Geis Gallery at GCUBarnegat Bay at DuskPositive Spaces: Ryan MitchellMarc
African SunsetPositive Spaces: Taryn StevensPleiadesLavenderCounting Sheep

‘Positive Spaces’ Evokes Peace, Happiness and More

A playful kitten paws at the curtains on a window ledge. The purple and orange hues of an African sunset beckon. And the sight of sailboats dotting the Barnegat Bay invites art lovers to pause—if only for a few mintues—to enjoy Positive Spaces, the June 1-28 mixed media installation on display in the M. Christina Geis Art Gallery at Georgian Court University.

“Being creative provides me with an incredible source of adventure, self-discovery, connection, spirituatlity, awakening….and power,” writes Zsa Zsa Stackles, whose displayed pieces include oil paintings, gel transfers, photography and more. “I believe that my life as a creative artist and educator is simply an ordinary life that is choreographed to support ongoing creativity in myself and in those around me.”

The entire collection evokes a certain sense of calm that has the power to take the edge off of a harried day packed with insane deadlines to meet or too many places to go. Positive Spaces, which is an alumni exhibit, gives art lovers a chance to slow down for a few minutes, breathe, and take in the simple pleasures—a starry sky, the sight of a full moon at high tide, or even the presence of 22 (yes, we counted them) sheep grazing peacefully in a lush, green meadow.

One of the most inviting pieces in the exhibit is a gorgeous watercolor, rendered in multiple shades of pink, gray and brown, of GCU’s own Japanese Garden. Alumni and students are often drawn there to relax and wander or to find inspiration.

“It has been my goal since I was young to reproduce my vision of the world through art and to portray nature and existence through my own lens,” Mitchell says.

Another piece, Taryn Stevens’ vividly detailed painting of an empty wooden picnic table surrounded by tall grasses in the woods, tempts viewers to go there—to escape—if only in their minds.

“My current style takes realism and warps it ever so slightly,” Stevens writes in her artist’s statement. “All of the objects or colors that I use can be found in reality; it is the way in which I use them that creates a whole new world.”


Georgian Court hosts Eden Energy Class

Georgian Court University
Holistic Health Studies Program Presents
Eden Energy Medicine 101
Friday, June 14, 2013
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
900 Lakewood Avenue
GCU McAuley Heritage Center, Lakewood, NJ

Join members of the GCU Holistic Health Studies program as Donna Eden Energy Medicine Certified Siobhan Hutchinson, MA (’09) leads this course. It introduces Eden Energy basics, plus many topics that are important for self-care and healing. A quick Daily Energy Routine (just over five minutes) is taught that will have your energies humming in no time, plus ways to feel more grounded and centered are explored. EM101 also teaches a mainstay of Eden Energy, ways to work and balance meridians, the rivers of energy that bathe and vitalize our body and its systems. This is a great class for beginners and nurses and massage therapists can earn CEU credits.

Fee: $155 (lunch and refreshment included)
Add $10 if continued education credit is needed

Seating is limited and pre-registration is required.

Need more information?
Please contact Holistic Health Studies program director Sachiko Komagata at 732-987-2663
or You can also reach Siobhan Hutchinson at 609-752-1048 or