I am a 2021 William Paterson University graduate with a degree in Communication with a concentration in Journalism. My love and passion for writing has granted me the opportunity to get published in student newspapers, “The Youngtown Edition” and “The Pioneer Times.” My hard work and dedication to my current cashier job has allowed me to supervise and train other employees.



The Brit Pack recently took the stage at the Shea Center to play every era of pop music from the Beatles to Amy Winehouse.

But there was no audience in the 922 seats in the auditorium. Instead, the concert was filmed and streamed last night, Saturday, Oct. 17, for what has become the new normal for performing arts at William Paterson and many other universities.

“I don’t think we fear the fact that virtual performances won’t give the same effect, but rather it makes us appreciate the gift of live music that is hard to replace,” the Brit Pack said in a statement. “The downside is that all musicians are struggling to replicate that live energy in the current situation.”

The Brit Pack concert represents the abrupt and challenging shift in virtual programming for the “WP Presents!” series. Tickets for the British invasion band were “pay what you choose,” starting at $10, and the Shea Center said in a statement that the series has been “very popular and well received.” However, sales have been “significantly lower” than in-person events, according to the Shea Center’s director of operations, Al Schaefer.

“Watching a concert or other event on your computer, TV or device is just not the same as attending a live event,” Schaefer said.

Schaefer added that the Shea Center had never before imagined entertaining a remote public.

“Offering these programs gives us an opportunity to reach out to our patrons and let them know we’re still here and that we are trying to serve their needs during the pandemic,” Schaefer said.

Members of the Brit Pack, which features Matt Nakoa on vocals, Mark Johnson on guitar, Bryan Percivall on bass, and Will Haywood Smith on drums, said they had been promoting their performance on social media to help sell tickets.

“We are accepting the fact that things are different at the moment,” the band said.

Original Publication: Pioneer Times


The 13th Hour Haunted House is taking the pandemic seriously: Rooms are sanitized with hospital-grade disinfectants, visitors must wear masks and employees are required to socially distance.

But that hasn’t been enough to convince crowds to return to the seasonal attraction in Wharton, about a half hour from the William Paterson campus.

“We are losing customers because some people are scared to come in,” said employee Justin Mound.

Local residents expressed mixed opinions about visiting 13th Hour during the pandemic.

Claudia Yanez, 21, said she wouldn’t mind spending an hour inside. “I would feel safe if the actors wore a mask and I did too,” she said.

But Miranda Matos, 22, was more cautious. “I probably still would not want to go,” Matos said. “I would simply not feel as safe.”

Mound’s father, Chuck, encouraged potential visitors to download a smart phone app he created named “Haunt Hunters,” which offers information about safety precautions.

“It brings the information you would need about a certain house fast,” he said.


Original Publication: Pioneer Times


My university is foreign to me.

I was excited last year when I transferred to William Paterson from County College of Morris. I want to become a writer, and I hoped that coming here as a junior would help me make career connections in the critical two years before I graduated.

But now, after the pandemic forced classes and activities online, I feel like I never got a chance to learn much about the university that will be my alma mater come May.

I’m sad that I know so little about my university, and I am not alone. Many students transfer from CCM to William Paterson seeking a traditional campus experience at a four-year university.

Leaving a community college only 10 minutes from my house for a university 45 minutes away was a drastic change. This fall marks only my third semester here. But it’s also my second to last. In the year I have been here, all my classes have been in Hamilton Hall. That one building is all I’ve gotten to know.

In-person classes allowed me to talk more openly than in recorded classes. I was looking forward to finding events to attend on campus this semester; now there’s no reason to drive there.

Haley Babus, a physical education and health major, shared similar feelings about transferring here from a community college at such a strange time in the world.

“Transferring in the spring of 2020 proved to be the most abnormal experience,” Babus said. “I appreciate how hard my professors worked to finish our courses online, but it still was disappointing for this to happen at a new college after only a month and a half.”

I transferred a semester earlier than Babus, so at least I had one semester with in-person classes. However, when classes abruptly switched to virtual in March, my hopes for making new friends and joining clubs on campus were snatched away.

I hope that I will be able to return to campus for my final semester next spring.

Maybe then I won’t graduate as a foreigner.


Original Publication: Pioneer Times


Lets Connect