First ProfTalk tells transitioning students to get involved

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The first Rowan ProfTalk of the fall semester featured a discussion about transitioning to Rowan University.

The audience consisted of 14 students who sat down in The Owl’s Nest in the Student Center to listen. With a conference room setting and trays full of chicken fingers and mozzarella sticks, students were able to relax from their busy day between classes and hear personal stories from their peers.

“We try to align all of our ProfTalks to different things that are happening on campus,” said Leadership Rowan Program Assistant Ashley Nichols. “Our first ProfTalk is transitioning because it’s a phase that a lot of people on campus, specifically freshmen and transfers, are sort of getting used to.”

Nichols, a 20-year-old English education major, is in her first term as program assistant. Her job involves organizing the ProfTalks, and student group Leadership Rowan hosts them.

The talk featured a group of five volunteer speakers: students Lauren Bitzer, Plaban Das, Ashley Nichols and Mason Weems, as well as faculty member Drew Tinnin.

The audience of students listens to speaker Pablan Das at ProfTalk - Staff Photo/Eric Conklin
The audience of students listens to speaker Pablan Das at ProfTalk – Staff Photo/Eric Conklin

All five speakers presented their speeches in different manners. Pablan Das, a graduate student at Rowan, used a video about his home country of Bangladesh to illustrate his point to the audience.

While the speeches varied in content, “getting involved” appeared to be the common piece of advice from the speakers to their audience. All the speakers were involved in campus activities, three of them members of First-Year Connection Leadership.

Before the event concluded, four students shared their thoughts on transitioning during an open discussion.

Lauren Bitzer, a 19-year-old marketing major, spoke first. Bitzer discussed how she had to adjust to a new lifestyle in college. She eventually joined First-Year Connection Leadership, ultimately leading her to join a sorority.

Bitzer wanted to try speaking at this ProfTalk because of her experiences with the transition into college.

“I had Ashley Nichols reach out to me,” Bitzer said. “I’m one of those people who likes to attend a lot of Leadership Rowan events. I want to be a big role model at Rowan.”

After Bitzer finished speaking at her first ProfTalk, she felt the program offered students the opportunity to discuss topics that affect them.

“ProfTalks is a good way for a lot of people to open up about experiences,” Bitzer said. “I like that this is more of a safe space, too, so a lot of people can relate and talk about issues, like disabilities that you may not want to open up to other people about.”

ProfTalk has more speech nights available this semester, including one regarding “Prof Pride” on Oct. 5, and a disabilities topic on Oct. 26. All ProfTalks are held in the Owl’s Nest at 6:30 p.m.

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