Student Spotlight Archive

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School of Health Sciences students are shaping their futures by participating in research and contributing to positive change in the community. Please browse the stories below to see how our students are shaping the future and to see the variety of opportunities available for interested students.

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Congratulations to Erica Iannaco, a Public Health major, who recently completed her internship with Paul M. Sarnese, CHPA at Virtua in Marlton, New Jersey. In that pursuit, her manuscript "Best Practices for Preventing Violence in Home Health" was recently published by the IAHSS (International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety) Foundation. The foundation promotes and develops educational research into the maintenance and improvement of healthcare security and safety management as well as develops and conducts educational programs for the public.

 The article highights the many risk factors affecting the security and well being of the home healthcare worker. The article presents some staggering figures concerning the dangers and health risks facing home healthcare workers.  Some of those include: patients who live in high crime areas that can be dangerous, patients and their families can present danger through physical and verbal abuse, illegal weapons and illegal drug use in homes, and dangerous pets. However, the article explains how training, security prevention, and technology are combatting these potential dangers. Please click here to read the article in full. A special thank you to the Public Health faculty, and especially  Dr. Tara Crowell who oversees the program's internships, on their excellent mentorship. 


The Graduate Student Council awarded the 2015-2016 Graduate Community of Scholars Award to the Graduate Physical Therapy Club. This award is presented to a person or group that demonstrates dedication to academics and community service. Some examples of the many events sponsored by the Graduate Physical Therapy Club include dodgeball and quad rugby tournaments that benefit designated charities as well as food and clothing drives to benefit the Atlantic City Rescue Mission and the Mental Health Association.

Amy Higgins, President of the Graduate Physical Therapy Club, said, "This award is a reflection of the excellence and dedication that is necessary of a Doctor of Physical Therapy student. The amount of time and effort donated by these students is remarkable, as all of the club members are full-time students enrolled in the DPT program. It is an honor to be recognized by Stockton University and a reminder that we are truly making a difference in our community. We are appreciative that we have been blessed with the ability to commit to our profession while serving the community." 

Graduate Physical Therapy Spotlight

Graduate Physical Therapy Club members with their club advisor, Dr. Mary Lou Galantino


Alexandra Hay was awarded a Stockton Board of Trustees Fellowship for Distinguished Students to conduct her research project assessing whether VitalStim therapy paired with Biofeedback techniques improves swallowing ability compared to only VitalStim therapy in elderly dysphagia patients. In the project's summary, Alexandra clearly indicates the relevancy of her proposed project by stating, "Dysphagia, or difficulty with swallowing, impacts as many as 15 million Americans. One in 17 people will develop some form of dysphagia in their lifetime."

Dr. Kelly Dougherty serves as Alexandra's faculty advisor and stated, "The ideas contained in her student-initiated undergraduate research project are entirely novel and completely her own. This is extremely impressive for someone at her stage of training. She is an outstanding, hardworking student who very much deserves this honor." Both Dr. Dougherty and Alexandra were recognized at the Board of Trustees meeting on May 4.

Alexandra is a BSHS major with a pre-communication disorders concentration and gerontology minor. In her future, she plans to pursue a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology and work with many diverse clients.


This Spring 2016 semester, BSHS student Anthony Loteck represented Stockton University at the Shriver Cup, a basketball tournament hosted by Unified Sports (a division of the Special Olympics). Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities (called athletes and partners, respectively) on the same team; Anthony's team consisted of 8 athletes and 4 partners. This year, the Unified Sports Shriver Cup was held at Princeton University, and Stockton was one of 11 participating universities.

Anthony's initial involvement with Unified Sports was to complete a service-learning based group project. Throughout this semester, he and his group members spent time on Saturdays volunteering for Unified Sports. Due to Anthony's enthusiasm working with the athletes during this time, Unified Sports reached out to him to request his participation in the Shriver Cup. 

"My favorite part through the whole experience was honestly everything. From helping these athletes stay healthy in playing basketball, to building relationships with them, it was honestly a heart touching experience from start to end. The look on their faces when they made a shot, or every time I gave them a high five from doing a good play, the list goes on and on. I actually am even now looking forward to continuing helping Unified Sports in participating in soccer during the fall semester.

What I gained from this experience is something that is hard to put in words. If you would have asked me a year ago if I would do something like this, I probably would have not thought about doing it. Now after it is all said and done, I am now thinking about incorporating this experience into my future goals after I graduate from Stockton. Working with these athletes who have such huge hearts really inspired me to help out more."

 Anthony Loteck with team.

See more pictures by visiting the Stockton University Unified Sports Facebook page.

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) alumna Sarah Jacobsen was recently selected as Educational Services Professional of the Year for 2015-2016 for the Gloucester County Special Services School District. This annual award is given to one person among five campuses.

Sarah graduated from the MSOT program in 2011 and has worked with students with physical, mental, and behavioral disabilities since her graduation from Stockton. 

It is clear that Sarah is dedicated to her profession and passionate about helping students. "I have started many different programs to help better serve our population. One example is a walking program to get our students physically active. I also started teaching classes with other disciplines (speech, PT, social worker) to various classrooms that really needed a more integrated approach to help increase and develop many of the skills our students have difficulty with. I have created sensory rooms and programs to help students with difficult behaviors. I enjoy my job immensely and love being creative and helping others reach their goals. It was an honor to receive this award from my peers and even more of an honor to hear all the wonderful things they said about me."

Doctor of Physical Therapy student Mark Daitol and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy Lauren DelRossi administered baseline ImPACT IDD concussion testing to Special Olympic athletes participating in the winter games at Stockton. They worked specifically with the athletes participating in street hockey. This special version of ImPACT testing was developed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Special Olympics is rolling out this testing for all athletes, and this was the first time ImPACT IDD was utilized. Mark and Dr. DelRossi tested 10-15 athletes.

Mark Daitol

Dr. Lauren DelRossi (left) and DPT student Mark Daitol (right)

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (MSOT) alumna Erika Librizzi is now an occupational therapist at The Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was recently featured on a news program talking about safety and older drivers.

BSHS Senior Gianna Pezzano presented at the 2015 annual meeting for the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, IL. Her work was part of a team that included recent graduates from the biology and biochemistry/molecular biology programs. Their poster was titled "The Akt-mTOR Pathway is a Key Regulator of Neurogenesis in the Subventricular Zone".

The Society for Neuroscience annual meeting is the largest neuroscience conference in the world. This year, nearly 30,000 people attended over 5 days. According to Dr. Nathaniel Harman, Assistant Professor of Biology, "Gianna did a wonderful job presenting her work and engaging in conversation with scientists from the US and around the world."

In Fall 2015, three students majoring in Public Health completed internships with Paul M. Sarnese, CHPA at Virtua in Marlton, New Jersey. During this time, the students researched security system monitoring in health care facilities.

In March 2016, their research was published by the International Association for Healthcare Security and Safety (IAHSS) Foundation, which was established to foster and promote the welfare of the public through educational and research and development of healthcare security and safety body of knowledge. The students' publication, titled Security System Monitoring in Health Care Facilities, is available here