Meet Our Students

Meet Our Students

USJ students succeed on so many levels!

Undergraduate Women’s Program


diaz_janay_2011x133.jpgJanay Diaz ’18

Major: Business

After a positive experience with student leaders during her freshman year, Janay Diaz ’18 was eager to join the Student Affairs team as a sophomore. Currently in her second year as a Resident Assistant, Janay has also taken on the role of Orientation Leader for incoming first-year students. Her contribution to campus life, combined with her academic achievements and tradition of exceeding expectations held by her superiors, earned Janay the Region I NASPA Catch a Rising Star award at the region’s conference in November.

Janay’s work in Student Affairs has helped shape her experience at USJ, making it meaningful and memorable. For this, she credits the USJ community – from the faculty and Student Affairs professional staff to her fellow students and residents. This support has led to the success of Janay’s on-campus initiatives that fall outside Student Affairs as well, such as the Breast Cancer Walk she established with a fellow Resident Assistant.

“The most rewarding part of student leadership is making connections with everyone on campus,” said Diaz. “The people and the close-knit community definitely make USJ special. You’re able to see people on a daily basis and know what’s going on in their lives. We always have each other’s backs.”

rowland-michelle-200x133.jpgMichelle Rowland ’16

Major: Art History/Business Management minor

Working side-by-side with curators, Michelle Rowland is learning firsthand what goes on behind the scenes at an internationally renowned cultural institution through her internship at the Wadsworth Athenaeum Museum of Art. Provided with the valuable opportunity to apply her rigorous academics in a “real world” setting, Michelle is doing independent research, assisting curators with research, and editing online virtual sources. This internship experience has affirmed her passion and career choice — to spend time researching and being surrounded by art. This fall, Michelle will have the opportunity to delve deeper into the art world as she begins her candidacy in the prestigious Master's Program for Art Business at Sotheby's Institute of Art in New York.

"I am honored to have been accepted into the Master’s Program for Art Business. The University of Saint Joseph has prepared me to excel in my field and has given me the opportunity to continue my education. I aspire to work in the art business field as an art dealer, or work for a museum/non-profit institution in Manhattan, New York."

pascal-alison-200x133.jpgAlison Pascale '16

Major: Art History

A Surprise Ending

Alison’s Pascale’s love of theater and the world of acting reached a new level when, as a member of USJ’s theater group, Queenes Companye, she was asked to write a stage adaptation of the play Return of the Soldier. She accepted and took on the project as her Honors Independent study in the spring of her junior year. When the group selected her play for their fall production, the Art History major unexpectedly discovered a new way to explore her love of art — as a playwright. Alison will pursue her dream this coming fall as a candidate in the MFA Playwriting Program at the Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University.

Alison is grateful to her professors and the USJ community for their role in making her time here such a positive and affirming experience and for the many opportunities that she was afforded along the way.

"The arts and humanities at USJ has paved the way for my acceptance to the MFA Playwriting Program. I am so thrilled to be taking this next step in my journey and I will represent USJ proudly on my way — I know I’ll always be better for having come here.”

huong_lam.jpgHuong Lam ’16

Major: Nursing; Chemistry/Biology Minor
Career Goal: To be a nurse

"I appreciate the opportunities that have been provided by USJ throughout my educational career."

The Value of Art and Science

“Recently, I attended the Northeast Regional Honors Conference where I submitted my artwork, “Sanguine Passage: Anticipation in Ambivalence,” for the Student Art Show. It was an honor to receive the Advisor's Choice Award for best artwork as well as having my piece displayed throughout the conference. My picture was also chosen to be included in the 2015 issue of Interpretations, USJ’s literary/art publication.

christina_damico.jpgChristina D’Amico ’17

Major: English/Art History; Religious Studies Minor
Career Goal: To be a children’s book author/illustrator; poet; creative writing or art teacher

"I am grateful for the opportunities that USJ has given me to explore my passions in the Liberal Arts. With the support and guidance of caring faculty and professors, I know that I have the courage, confidence, strength, and intellect to succeed in whatever path I choose to follow."

Endless Possibilities

As a sophomore with a double major in both English and Art History, as well as a minor in Religious Studies, Christina has not only been able to pursue her love of writing as an undergraduate writing tutor in the Center for Academic Excellence, but has also discovered an intense appreciation for the history of art and all that it has to offer. She also never imagined that she would get the chance to live her dream and travel to Ireland on the 2015 spring break trip with Campus Ministry.

2014-2015-usj-swim-team.jpgUSJ Swimming and Diving Team

Congratulations to the Blue Jays Swimming and Diving team for achieving Scholar All American Status! The team earned this title from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America based on its cumulative GPA, which is greater than 3.0.

christine-ahoussi.jpgChristine Ahoussi '18

Major: Social Work/Criminal Justice (concentration)
Career Goal: To be a social worker in a prison or juvenile facility; to earn an MSW

"I love the sense of security and empowerment that USJ provides its students, along with opportunities to grow. I volunteer with a program on campus that helps fifth grade students with their homework — we mentor them and spend time together, which helps them develop positive feelings about their education. To me, the experience taught me that not only can I be a leader, but I can help create future leaders."

Christine was born in Ghana, Africa and is the first in her family to attend college. She loves to write and has written several articles about her life for Teen Ink.

signore_j.jpgJanine Signore ’15

Major: Nutrition
Career Goal: To become a clinical pediatric dietician; to earn a Ph.D. in Nutrition and teach at the college level

“I love USJ’s caring professors who go the extra mile to help me succeed. They make themselves available for everything from providing extra help in courses to reviewing my resume as I prepare for graduation.”

Favorite Internship

At End Hunger CT: “It was really rewarding to work on the Child Nutrition Programs in the State of Connecticut.”

ligus_k.jpgKaleigh Ligus ’15

Major: Public Health
Career Goal: “To become a research assistant working with the public on various health endeavors and eventually become a professor of Public Health.”

“I love USJ for the sense of independence I gained while pursuing my bachelor's degree. As a student working towards your major, it is imperative to take all that you have learned and develop your own ways of thinking. This school has not only fostered my education, but has led me to be a confident, independent thinker.”

Working in the Field

Kaleigh completed 3 internships, at:

  • Eastern Highlands Health District as an Environmental Health Intern;
  • University of Connecticut Health Center in the Center on Aging Department as research assistant
  • Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection as a Municipal Facilities Intern

“Overall, my favorite internship was the Environmental Health internship at Eastern Highlands Health District, in which I collected water samples over the summer season testing for e.coli bacteria in bathing (swimming) waters. This internship required about 90% independence, which I appreciated because of the responsibility and trust that the Director of Health must have in the intern. I was lucky enough to present the research I did at the Connecticut Public Health Association's annual meeting.”

garcia_j.jpgJenny Garcia ’16

Major: Social Work/Latino Community Practice (LCP)
Career Goal: “To earn a graduate degree, work as a social worker for Department of Children and Families, and someday become the commissioner of DCF.”

“At USJ, my voice is heard as a facilitator for Latina Talk (an event for undergraduate students), in my role as a student worker for the Institute for Latino Community Practice, and as a representative of LOOP, a committee that organizes LCP activities.”

Developing Her Leadership Skills

Jenny is determined to change the world for the better and is honing her leadership skills through her involvement in campus and community organizations:

  • Latina Alliance Student Organization, President
  • Class president, sophomore year
  • Student Government Association, member
  • Intern at the Police Athletic League
  • Member of “Porticus Thinking Team,” a multi-stakeholder group partnering USJ with local churches to enhance skills of Latino youth

baez_k.jpgKatelyn Baez ’17

Major: Psychology/Social Work
Career Goal: “I am keeping my options open, but am interested in the field of criminal justice.”

“I love the opportunities USJ has provided for me, such as traveling to Japan my freshman year, majoring in both Psychology and Social Work, and working as a Psychology content tutor for the Center for Academic Excellence. USJ is helping me grow as an individual.”

ames_a.jpgAudrey Ames ’16

Major: Psychology/Family Studies
Career Goal: To work at a college/university as a member of the student affairs team, overseeing the treatment center for eating disorders and self-harm.

‪"Throughout my undergraduate career, I've had so many different experiences that I don’t think would have been as meaningful at a different university or college — opportunities like working as an orientation leader, a resident assistant, and attending the Student Affairs Leaders of Tomorrow conference this past fall! I love the support from all of the faculty and staff on campus. Because of them, I feel ready and able to take on whatever comes my way after I graduate.”

dezhbod_melina.jpgMelina Dezhbod ’17

Major: Social Work/Religious Studies minor
Career Goal: To earn an M.D. or Ph.D.

“USJ has helped me grow as a person. The faculty and staff are so supportive and have opened my eyes to the many opportunities I have as a young woman. Through creating the True Beauty Celebration (with the help of many other students), and becoming an RA, I have become more than just a student; I have become a confident young woman who is sure she will succeed and make a difference in the future.”

perez_j.jpgJocelyn Perez ’16

Major: Public Health/Nutrition minor
Career Goal: “To serve as a service member with Food Corps and to continue to advocate for access to healthy foods for all.”

"I love that my professors help me to succeed with my education in order to achieve my goals and dreams. I work with Dr. Katie Martin as a research assistant and help her on a project that she received funding for through the federal government. We are building a collaboration between two state agencies, WIC and Head Start. I send out monthly surveys to the staff, and then analyze the data.”

moran_t.jpgThalia Moran ’16

Major: Nursing
Career Goal: “To work as a Registered Nurse and pursue my education to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.”

“USJ has become my second home. I have made great connections and friendships here that will last a lifetime. USJ has given me the opportunity to become a student leader and develop into the young woman I am now. It not only provided me with a great education, but it taught me how to succeed as a woman in society.”

Lending a Helping Hand

One of Thalia’s favorite USJ activities has been participating in Alternative Spring Break, where she worked with other students and staff to assist Habitat for Humanity with affordable housing.

sciglimpaglia_m.jpgMary Sciglimpaglia ’16

Major: English/Psychology
Career Goal: Writer

“Being surrounded by strong, independent, intelligent women, empowers us to strive for greatness. That's what I love about USJ. Whether it's in the classroom or on the field, I know I have reliable women pushing me to become a better person everyday.”

A Star On and Off the Field

Mary is captain of the USJ softball team. She was named Second Team All-GNAC in 2014 with a .346 batting average, and was second on the team with 24 RBI.

Program for Adult Learners


michael-andrews-200x133.jpgMichael Andrews ’16

Major: Nursing
Program: Accelerated Second Degree Program

Michael Andrews, a student in the University of Saint Joseph’s Accelerated Second Degree (ASD) program, will begin his nursing career after he graduates with his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in August 2016. However, he has already received recognition in the field as a dedicated caregiver who exceeds expectations, winning one of the five scholarships given to nursing students from the Nightingale Awards for Excellence. This program, which works to bring public attention to outstanding nurses and the nursing profession at large, honored Michael for his accomplishments both in the classroom and in the community at a gala in May.

“Being nominated and selected for the Nightingale scholarship was a memorable accomplishment. It was satisfying to have the opportunity to attend the ceremony with several members of the nursing faculty, while recognizing the accomplishments of nurses and fellow nursing students,” said Michael. “The University of Saint Joseph was my first and only choice when selecting an accelerated nursing program for those with a previous bachelor’s degree. I would recommend the ASD program at the University of Saint Joseph to any student who values mentorship, autonomy, and personal accomplishment.”

Graduate and Professional Studies


chmura_a.jpgAlyssa Chmura, ’12, M ’17

Degree: B.A. English
Major: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
Career: Suite I (Fourth Grade) Teacher at Talcott Mountain Academy

Alyssa, who was in the Honors Program at USJ, is a Suite I (4th grade age) teacher at Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon, a private school for the gifted. She teaches social studies, language arts, and math to her class and Spanish to grades 2-5. She is also the advisor for yearbook and has helped with student council as well.

“I would definitely say that the School of Education at USJ prepared me well for a career as an educator, both in the classroom and during my student teaching experience, as well as in my current classes for my Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. I gained valuable insight into the world of education from knowledgeable faculty and through authentic learning experiences. Also, the leadership opportunities I was afforded at USJ helped prepare me for being a leader at my school.”

lindsey-atkins.jpgLindsey Atkins M'16

Major: Early Childhood/Teacher Certification
Career Goal: Teach

As an undergraduate Psychology major, Lindsey Atkins' original goal was to be a child psychologist. Ironically, her internship at the Creative Child Center at UConn Health Center was the catalyst for her change of plans. "One of my students called me 'teacher Lindsey' and at that moment, I knew I had to teach. My experience working with a large group of children at the Center solidified my decision, but at that point, it was too late to change majors. After receiving my B.A. in Psychology, I looked into options for a teacher certification and master's degree program. That is what brought me to USJ."

A Valuable Opportunity

This past summer, Lindsey had the opportunity to work with USJ graduate student, Jaclyn Clarke, and local children's book author, Martha Ritter, who wrote: The Nearly Calamitous Taming of PZ: A Novel. The book, chosen as a Massachusetts Children's Book Award for 2015-2016, will be included in the Massachusetts school curriculum this year. Ritter, who needed to provide teachers with a supplemental guide for the book, reached out to USJ's School of Education for assistance. Lindsey and Jaclyn collaborated with Ritter and developed discussion questions for teachers that align with the Common Core requirements.

Lindsey is grateful for the experience: "I feel more prepared to teach because of my involvement with this project and what I have learned at USJ. This experience will help me come up with relevant lessons and connect with the Common Core."

Lindsey is formatting the supplemental book and both graduate students will be credited in Ritter's acknowledgement. Lindsey is currently student teaching in a second grade classroom.

angel-guevara.jpgAngel Guevara MSW

Major: Social Work

MSW student and veteran Angel Guevara was featured in the Middletown Press for his field work at St. Luke’s Community Services Center. Congratulations!

“For my fieldwork location, I wanted to work with veterans to help them and their families receive the right information in order to overcome obstacles. With the help of my advisor, Dr. Aguilar, field director, Dr. De Jesús, and MSW professor Dr. Battle, I was placed at St Luke’s, which I enjoy. Dr. De Jesús explained to me that this site would benefit veterans, as well as me. St. Luke’s assists the elderly, veterans, and family caregivers living in Middlesex County. They work to help them remain safely at home and to be independent in the community.”

Read the full article.

bugella-nicole.jpgNicole Bugella MSW '16

Major: Social Work

“I am honored and so excited to have been chosen for the Council on Social Work Education Student Travel Scholarship to attend the annual program meeting in Denver, Colorado. I am looking forward to learning outside the classroom and engaging with social work professors and professionals at the conference on their areas of interest within the field. I could not have done it without the support and guidance of Dr. Hardy and the other MSW faculty at USJ. “

jalbert_s.jpgSara Jalbert ’15

Major: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Career Goal: To become a Licensed Professional Counselor, working with victims of trauma, and to pursue my Ph.D.

“As an undergraduate student at USJ, I accomplished so much and expect to do so again as a graduate student. The amazing and supportive faculty has shown me that I can succeed in so many ways, including: conducting my own research studies and presenting my research at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference. As an undergrad, I was able to intern at a private counseling practice, and at a school with children who have special needs. With that being said, I can’t wait to see what my graduate studies at USJ hold for me! What they don’t tell you in our commercials is that at USJ, you are able to turn ‘I will’ into ‘I am.’ I am fulfilling my dreams because of my experiences here and I could not be more grateful.”

berthiaume_s.jpgSusan Berthiaume

Major: Clinical Mental Health
Career Goal: Counselor

“I love that as a graduate student in the Counseling program, my professors challenge me to not only master class content, but to truly begin to understand my own values. My beliefs about service were shaped through my own challenging experiences which taught me we all face difficult challenges, and deserve the same opportunities to receive help. Community service is important to help change communities, save lives, and transform the world. If people don't care, there is no change.”

hughes_m.jpgMiranda Hughes

Major: Marriage & Family Therapy
Career Goal: To become an accredited sex therapist in order to treat sexual minorities and abuse/trauma survivors

“I love the faculty's willingness to let me explore my interests beyond the classroom, which creates a culture that breeds success. The school supports my efforts, and is invested in helping me reach my goals, which opens doors to opportunities that I have not had access to in other educational experiences.”

Engaging with Professionals

Miranda served as representative on the student committee for the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.

romanik_t.jpgTracie Romanik

Major: Education, History, Secondary Education
Career Goal: High School History Teacher

“During both my undergraduate and graduate careers at USJ, the faculty have been instrumental in my academic and personal success. With their guidance, support, and the occasional push, I have become more focused and have developed the necessary tools to achieve my goals and dreams."

A Meaningful Graduate Assistantship

Tracie co-facilitates the Leadership Excellence in Academic Programs (with Amanda Greenwell, Academic Success Coordinator) and worked with Hartford high school students to assist them in writing their college essays.

toney_s.jpgStephanie Toney

Major: Education Elementary School Teacher

“USJ has been a home away from home for me for more than 10 years, as I worked on two master’s degrees. The flexibility, small class sizes, convenient locations, and the true love of learning that the school fosters, are all reasons that I keep coming back. The preparation I received through USJ has helped me to become a capable and knowledgeable teacher who can employ cutting-edge techniques and technologies to push my students and colleagues to achieve even greater success.”

west_k.jpgKimberly West

Major: Secondary Education

“I am exceedingly grateful for the experiences with my off-campus master's program. My peers — the fellow educators in the cohort — enlightened, inspired, and enriched my experience more than words could ever fully express. Specifically, two of the courses within the program were extraordinarily meaningful; these classes triggered significant changes in me academically, professionally, socially, politically, and personally. For these reasons, I am forever grateful for USJ.”

j_bishop.jpgJon Bishop

Major: Education

“The strongest accolades I can provide for the University relate to my continued positive experiences as I built relationships with other students in my cohort. This has truly been a learning experience which will last a lifetime; imparting good not only for me, but for my students as well."