CPS News

College of Professional Studies News

Our College's faculty and alumni are engaged in ongoing scholarly and applied research. We publish regular newsletters to inspire collaboration and curiosity as well as inform our faculty, students, and alumni.

Fall 2023 Newsletter

Marvin Walker headshot

Greetings From Dean Walker

Welcome to the latest issue of the College of Professional Studies Newsletter.

This edition highlights the many amazing accomplishments of faculty, staff, students, and alumni over the last several months; from faculty publications and awards to expanding the reach of our departments through successful recruitment events. As we continue to serve our university community, we look forward to providing you with more stories of student and alumni success in the new year. Thank you for continuing this journey with us.

Dr. Marvin C. Walker
Dean, College of Professional Studies

In This Issue

- Congratulating Drs. Shanda Johnson and Barabara Blozen
- School Nursing attends NJAAP 32nd Annual School Health Conference
- Alumni achievement: Sara Teplitsky

- Congratulating Dr. Manuela Caciula

- Alumni achievement: Fire Chief Ed Mullen

- Mock Trial Team Has Amazing Season
- Congratulating Drs. Esther Nir and Venessa Garcia

- President of Republic of Georgia's Caucasus University visits NJCU
- Dr. Abdullah Al Hayajneh represents the department at recruitment events
- Faculty publications & presentations: Dr. Abdullah Al Hayajneh, Dr. Michael Wiltsey, Dr. Scott Fisher, Dr. Kutub Thakur, Dr. Jonathan Rosen, Dr. Juste Codjo

In Memoriam: Antoinette Austin Jackson

multiple lit candles

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Antoinette Austin Jackson.  Antoinette graduated NJCU with a B.S. degree in Fire Science and M.S. degree in Criminal Justice.  

After graduating she became a Fire Inspector with the East Orange, NJ Fire Department.  She always had a smile on her face and was happy and willing to help others.

She will be greatly missed.

Student Success

Sakshi Chauhan portrait

Sakshi Chauhan
The College of Professional Studies welcomes Sakshi Chauhan, an international student from India, as a new student assistant. 

Sakshi is a senior NJCU student pursuing a BSc. in Public Health Education, reflecting on her enriching four-year experience in the U.S. and at NJCU. 

“NJCU is more than a learning institution for me; it's my home in the U.S., providing unwavering support and kindness throughout my journey.”

Currently, Sakshi serves as the President of the Health Science Student Organization (HSSO) at NJCU and previously served as the Junior Class President from Fall 2022 to Spring 2023 and as a Student Senator. Additionally, she was a dedicated Student Ambassador at the Office of Global Initiatives from 2019 to 2023. 

“These roles have given me a lot of opportunities to grow professionally and personally, I’m surrounded by great teams.”

Coming from a rural part of India and an underprivileged community, Sakshi expresses gratitude for the opportunities she has come across at NJCU. She is grateful to have received a scholarship from the institution, allowing her to pursue her dreams of a higher education. 

“My journey is best reflected with my school's motto ‘From the village to the world’. Now, inspired by NJCU's motto ‘Enter to learn, exit to serve’, I aim to serve the community and make a meaningful contribution. 

Pinki Rajput headshot

Pinki Rajput
We would also like to spotlight Pinki Rajput, a senior NJCU student from India majoring in Health Sciences/Public Health Education, who has also joined the College of Professional Studies as a student assistant.

Pinki joined NJCU in 2019 and her remarkable academic journey is not only a testament to her dedication but also a celebration of her achievements. 

Pinki has worked as a student assistant in various departments including Undergraduate Admissions, Housing and Residence Life, and the Global Initiatives Department. Currently, she serves as a student assistant in the Dean's Office for the College of Professional Studies, exemplifying her dedication to both academics and campus service.
As a board member of the Health Science Student Organization, Pinki plays a pivotal role in fostering a collaborative and enriching academic community. 

In Pinki's own words, "Education is not just about acquiring knowledge; it's about creating a future that reflects our commitment to making a positive impact on the world." 

Join us in congratulating Pinki Rajput on her journey and wishing her continued success in shaping the future of Public Health.

Department News

Shanda Johnson small headshot

Congratulations, Dr. Shanda Johnson
Dr. Johnson to be awarded the 2023 President’s Award at Rutgers School of Nursing Alumni Association Scholarship and Awards Gala on November 30, 2023. Dr. Johnson is also a family nurse practitioner.  She received a B.S. in Nursing, an M.S. in Nursing, and a Ph.D. in Nursing Science from Rutgers University. 


Graduate School Nursing Exhibits at NJAAP 32nd Annual 
School Health Conference
On October 18th, Dr. Nelda Ephraim and Ms. Emily Alequin hosted an exhibitor table for the Graduate School Nurse Program at the 32nd Annual School Health Conference held by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP). 


The conference hosted over 400 attendees and featured workshops which provided educational opportunities for expanding and improving health services in New Jersey schools. Dr. Ephraim and Ms. Alequin’s table was visited by many conference attendees, including current and prospective NJCU School Nurse Certificate Program students as well as alumni of the program.


Dr. Nelda Ephraim presents at the International Association of Medical Science Educators (IAMSE) conference in Cancun Mexico.
Dr. Nelda Ephraim, Assistant Professor in the Nursing Department, presented a poster on the Effectiveness of a Residency Advising Program for medical students entering the National Resident Matching Program’s Match® 2023. She presented alongside international and interdisciplinary colleagues, promoting interprofessional collaboration for shared learning and professional socialization.


Congratulations, Dr. Barbara Blozen
Dr. Barbara Blozen, EdD, MA, RN, BC, CNL elected by her peers to the Board of Directors at The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). The purpose of the NCSBN is to provide an organization through which jurisdictional boards of nursing act and counsel together on matters of common interest and concern affecting the public health, safety, and welfare, including the development of licensing examinations in nursing.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s mission is to empower and support nursing regulators across the world in their mandate to protect the public, NCSBN is an independent, not-for-profit organization. As a global leader in regulatory excellence, NCSBN champions regulatory solutions to borderless healthcare delivery, agile regulatory systems and nurses practicing to the full scope of their education, experience, and expertise. A world leader in test development and administration, NCSBN’s NCLEX Exams are internationally recognized as the preeminent nursing examinations.


Alumni Achievement: Sara Teplitsky 
NJCU’s Sara Teplitsky RN-BSN 2022 Graduate is awarded the New Jersey Consortium of Sigma Theta Tau’s Chapters’ Rising Star Award for Leadership

Kappa Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, representing the Nursing Department at New Jersey City University congratulated our own Sara Teplitsky, BSN, RN, CEN for the Rising Star Award for Leadership. 

Sara earned an associate degree in nursing from Brookdale Community College in 2020, graduated with a BSN from NJCU, with the distinction of Magna Cum Laude, and is presently a graduate student in the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Chamberlain University. Sara’s accomplishments for the Kappa Eta Nursing Honor Society include managing our partnership with a Jersey City homeless shelter, being secretary to communications for the chapter, and being a known webmaster; having created a Facebook page and Instagram to communicate with all segments of members. Kappa Eta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, representing the Nursing Department at New Jersey City University congratulated our own Sara Teplitsky, BSN, RN, CEN for the Rising Star Award for Leadership. 

Sara is an Emergency Department nurse at Old Bridge Medical Center, and was chosen to represent her nursing unit at the Emergency Nurse Association Convention in Denver, Colorado. Under her leadership, the Emergency Department was awarded the 2023 Lantern Award. The Emergency Department Lantern Award recognizes the demonstration of exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy, and research. It allows ED’s to showcase accomplishments by incorporating evidence-based practice and innovation into emergency care, and a visible symbol of quality, safety, and a healthy work environment. Congratulations Sara! You make us proud!


Congratulations Dr. Manuela Caciula
Dr. Manuela Caciula wins best presentation award at International Conference on Physical Activity, Exercise, and Physical Fitness on work titled Physical Activity, Mental Health, and Body Composition in College Students after COVID-19 Lockdown Manuela Caciula, Luis Torres, Simion Tomoiaga.

Alumni Achievement: Perth Amboy Fire Department’s Fire Chief Ed Mullen named New Jersey Fire Chief of the Year!


Congratulations to Perth Amboy Chief Mullen ‘05 (B.S. in Fire Science) on receiving the 2023 Fire Chief of the Year Award at the annual meeting of the NJ State Fire Chiefs Association held during the Annual NJ State Firefighters Convention this past September in Wildwood, NJ.  The Convention is the largest annual fire service event in New Jersey, so it was an honor for NJCU Fire Science faculty, staff, and alumni to be there for the presentation of the award. The award recognizes and honors Chief Mullen for his dedication and service to the community.

Chief Mullen started his career as a volunteer firefighter with the Perth Amboy Fire Department in 2002. In 2004, he was appointed as a career firefighter with the PAFD.  Moving up the ranks quickly, he was promoted to Lieutenant in 2010, Captain in 2011 and Battalion Chief in 2013. He then served as Provisional Chief in 2017 until being promoted Chief in 2019 after passing the Civil Service Chief exam. Chief Mullen holds numerous certifications and has been the recipient of several awards including an IAFF Valor Award and the St. Barnabas Valor Award. He is also the grant writer for the PAFD and has written and been awarded nearly $8 Million in Grants, including three separate SAFER Grants that have increased staffing overall by 40% since 2013. His ultimate goal is to have the Perth Amboy Fire Department become an ISO Class 1 Fire Department.

Pictured above are New Jersey Deputy & Battalion Chiefs Association, President Charles Lind, Chief Edward A. Mullen, and his father, NJ State Firefighters Association, Treasurer Edward R. Mullen.


Fire Science Attends NJ State 


NJCU Mock Trial Team Has Incredible Season
Coached by Dr. Esther Nir and led by an outstanding student leadership team - Stella Bajor-Gil, Cesar Romero, and Leandra Alexander – our students have competed at several university invitational tournaments including Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Rutgers University. The team has also hosted Farleigh Dickinson University’s mock trial team at NJCU’s own Gothic Lounge. Many of our students placed first or second in our practice rounds. The team was even honored to have the opportunity to conduct a practice trial in Judge Jablonski’s courtroom! 


We would like to congratulate Isabella Pietroski for earning the AMTA Outstanding Witness award at both invitational tournaments! 

We’d also like to congratulate and thank our terrific team for an amazing season: Stella Bajor-Gil, Cesar Romero, Leandra Alexander, Andrea Izaguirre, Yasmin Guardarrama, Ryan Caley, Isabella Pietroski, Ariana Garro-Chavez, Iris Gonzalez, Ivanna Ramirez, Abdulbasit Junaid, Daniel Martinez Vargas and David Jaipersaud.

A special thank you to our Mock Trial alumna Fiona Moore for judging!

Congratulating Dr. Esther Nir
Dr. Esther Nir presented her research titled, “Operating outside the spirit of the law: How police employ “legal” standards to justify questionable searches and seizures” at the American Society of Criminology Conference in Philadelphia this month.


Congratulating Dr. Venessa Garcia
Dr. Venessa Garcia, Associate Professor, just completed an elected three-year term as Executive Counselor for the American Society of Criminology. She also served on the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Ad Hoc Committee and helped to write the first DEI statement for the organization. After presenting her research at the annual conference, she was invited to write another book on women in policing, an international comparative approach. 

man at podium

President of Republic of Georgia’s Caucasus University Visits NJCU to Report on Academic Partnership
Caucasus University (CU) President Dr. Kakha Shengelia visited New Jersey City University (NJCU) on August 14 to report on the on-going international academic partnership in cybersecurity and computer science between NJCU and CU, an institution located in Republic of Georgia.

6 people seated and facing camera

Representing NJCU at the discussion were Dr. Marvin Walker, Dean of the College of Professional Studies, along with faculty members Dr. Michael Krantz, Dr. Abdullah Al Hayajneh, and Dr. Kutub Thakur from the Professional Security Studies department, who offered insights into the program’s mission. Millie Peralta, Chief of Staff in the Office of the President, was also in attendance.

man seated at table in gsub

Dr. Abdullah Al Hayajneh Represents Professional Security Studies Department at Recruitment Events
September 25, 2023: Dr. Al Hayajneh attends NJCU Major/Minor Fair. 
October 11, 2023: Dr. Al Hayajneh exhibited at the Passaic County Community College Transfer Fair
October 17, 2023: Dr. Al Hayajneh and NJCU Admissions exhibited at the Passaic County Community College Open House and Information Session. 

michael wiltsey headshot

Dr. Michael Wiltsey Conducts Resilience and Mental Health Study
Dr. Wiltsey continues to conduct cross-institutional research and ongoing data collection concerning resilience and mental health wellness among New Jersey Law Enforcement Officers with his colleague, Dr. C. Gabrielle Salfati from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.  Baseline data has been collected on approximately 4,000 police officers and is currently being analyzed. Multiple publications and presentations will be forthcoming from this research.   Dr. Michael Wiltsey also presented the following: 

  • July 13, 2023: Dr. Wiltsey presented an overview of the above research at the NJCU 2023 Annual National Security Symposium
  • September 28, 2023: Resiliency Training [Presentation]. New Jersey Division of Children and Families (DCF) Wellness Office, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, United States. 
  • September 29, 2023: Resiliency and the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Officer [Training]. New Jersey CIT Training, Burlington Township Police Department, Burlington Township, NJ, United States.
  • October 25, 2023: Dr. Wiltsey provided a guest-lecture for the New Jersey City University Honors Program Forensics Course on Crime Scene Investigation. 
man stands in front of classroom with large monitor

Dr. Kutub Thakur Presents Series of Workshops on Cyber Security
Dr. Thakur conducted a series of Cybersecurity Workshops and Marketing events in summer 2023 at Ocean country community college. Over 50 students from OCC attended the event and explored the academic and professional opportunities in the field of Cybersecurity and the Cybersecurity B.S. program at NJCU.

man stands at large podium

Dr. Jonathan Rosen Talks & Presentations
Dr. Jonathan Rosen gives talk about fentanyl trade and the role of organized crime and the US-Mexico connection at the Mexican Senate in Mexico City, Mexico on July 6, 2023.
Talks: Jonathan D. Rosen, “Challenges and Perspectives in the International and National Trade of Illicit Fentanyl,” Mexican Senate, July 2023 (in Spanish).

man at podium looks away

Dr. Juste Codjo Presents at University of Kentucky Conference
Dr. Juste Codjo, an assistant professor and coordinator of the Doctor of Science in Civil Security Leadership, Management and Policy at the Department of Professional Security Studies, was recently invited to the University of Kentucky to speak at a conference on Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Hosted by the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in Lexington, Kentucky, the conference gathered experts on African geopolitics, security, development, and trade relations. Speaking on the security panel, Dr. Codjo offered an assessment of recent trends in political violence in Sub-Saharan Africa and provided evidenced-based policy recommendations toward lasting peace in the region. Other speakers include, among others, faculty members of Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the National Defense University.

Dr. Scott Fisher Works & Achievements
Dr. Fisher continues to work on grants, as part of NJCU’s DEFcon Mellon Award, and has completed the first draft of his book written to help teachers incorporate data skills training into their courses. Dr. Fisher also continues his work managing NJCU’s portion of our Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence (IC CAE) grant. His research interests in East Asia, open-source intelligence, and big data analysis led to invitations to serve on dissertation and research committees for Marine Corps University, Georgetown University, and National Intelligence University. His recent presentations are listed below.

  • “Tableau and Data Skills for Future Intelligence Practitioners,” Fisher, Scott, Intelligence Community Centers of Academic Excellence (IC CAE), October and February 2023
  • “Understanding Authoritarian State Reaction to Foreign Policy and Deterrence Tools,” Fisher, Scott, Codjo, Juste, et al.; Homeland Defense Awareness Symposium: ‘Homeland Defense 24/7’, NORAD/NORTHCOM, Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 2023
  • “Big Data Analysis and Visualization,” Fisher, Scott; United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) CPX-F 23, Ft. Leavenworth, KS, July 2023
  • taught two-day introduction to open-source data analysis and visualization course to U.S. Army soldiers
military men stand at awarding event

Alumni Achievement: Dr. Travis Eddleman, NJCU D.Sc. Graduate
In October 2023, Dr. Travis Eddleman, a graduate of the Doctor of Science in Civil Security Leadership, Management and Policy was awarded a medal for “meritorious achievement” by the United States Border Patrol. A Deputy U.S. Marshal in the U.S. Marshals Service and a Battalion Commander in the Army National Guard, Lieutenant-Colonel Eddleman graduated from the D.Sc. program in 2022. When asked about the value of his experience in the program, he offered the following testimonial:

“The D.Sc. program at NJCU ultimately changed the way I go about thinking. I've become much more critical of ideas and challenge myself, and others, to prove their positions with quality research, going beyond the way we feel. Since graduating, I've been surprised at how many senior leaders tracked my doctoral progress and reached out when I completed the degree. Since earning my D.Sc., I have been promoted in the Army National Guard and selected for additional tasks outside my normal duties. I've also been surprised to find how many of my senior leaders also held doctorate degrees and now reach out to me much more often with questions, advice, and guidance. It has opened numerous doors allowing me to network and build relationships at higher levels within my agency.”

We are very proud of Dr. Eddleman’s impressive achievements in academia and in the armed services. We are confident that he will exceed every expectation we have of him. 


Dr. Wiltsey (Co-Author)
- Wiltsey, M. T., Sheganoski, T., & Hood, I. (2023). Recovering Fingerprints from Decomposing Human Remains Encased in Concrete. Journal of Forensic Identification, 73(3), 235-240.
- Sheganoski, T., Wiltsey, M.T., Hood, I., Horne, T. (2023). A Concrete Identification in a Dismemberment Case. Journal of Forensic Sciences.  Accepted for Publication October 12, 2023. 

Dr. Al Hayajneh published the following paper at a prestigious IEEE conference:
- Thakur, H. N., Al Hayajneh, A., Thakur, K., Kamruzzaman, A., & Ali, M. L. (2023, June). A Comprehensive Review of Wireless Security Protocols and Encryption Applications. In 2023 IEEE World AI IoT Congress (AIIoT) (pp. 0373-0379). IEEE.

Dr. Scott Fischer
- Identity Narratives of Self and Other and Sentiment Shifts: Russian Rhetoric on Ukraine, Klein, Graig, Pupcenoks, Juris, and Fisher, Scott, Demokratizatsiya, August 2023 [Under Review]
- Teaching with Data, Fisher, Scott, short book written to fulfill requirements of Digital Ethnic Futures Consortium (DEFCon) Faculty Fellowship, DEFCon-NJCU Mellon Award, January-August 2023
- Identity Narratives of Self and Other and Sentiment Shifts in Conflict: Russian Rhetoric on Ukraine, Klein, Graig, Pupcenoks, Juris, and Fisher, Scott, Return of the Inter-State War or New Hybrid Reality? The Impact of the Russian Invasion of Ukraine on Conflict Research and Practice, Conflict Research Society conference, King’s College London, September 2023
- “Understanding Authoritarian State Reaction to Foreign Policy and Deterrence Tools,” Fisher, Scott, Codjo, Juste, et al.; Homeland Defense Awareness Symposium: ‘Homeland Defense 24/7’, NORAD/NORTHCOM, Colorado Springs, Colorado, July 2023

Dr. Kutub Thakur 
- Textbook: Emerging ICT Technologies and Cybersecurity (From AI and ML to Other Futuristic Technologies) Kutub Thakur, Sadia Ismat, Al- Sakib Khan Pathan. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-27765-8 Publisher: Springer ISBN: 978-3-031-27764-1 
- Dynamic routing approach for enhancing source location privacy in wireless sensor networks, G Kumar, RS Rathore, K Thakur, A Almadhor, SAA Biabani, S Chander Wireless Networks, 1-17 Publisher: Springer US 
G Kumar, RS Rathore, K Thakur, A Almadhor, SAA Biabani, S Chander Wireless Networks, 1-17 
Publisher: Springer US 
- The following paper was published with our Professional Security Studies Graduate Assistant: A Comprehensive Review of Wireless Security Protocols and Encryption Applications HN Thakur, A Al Hayajneh, K Thakur, A Kamruzzaman, ML Ali 2023 IEEE World AI IoT Congress (AIIoT), 0373-0379 
Publisher: IEEE 

Dr. Jonathan Rosen 
- Jonathan D. Rosen and Sebastián Cutrona, eds., Mano Dura Policies in Latin America (New York, NY: Routledge, 2023). 
- José Miguel Cruz, Jonathan D Rosen, and Yemile Mizrahi “The Long Arm of the Gang:  Disengagement under Gang Governance in Central America,” Criminology Vol 61 Issue 4 (2023): 1-28.  
- Jonathan D. Rosen and José Miguel Cruz, “Dancing with the devil: Intervention programs under criminal governance in Northern Central America,” Criminology & Criminal Justice (2022): 1-18. 

Department Updates and Upcoming Events

Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Civil Security Leadership, Management, and Policy students recently completed their Fall 2023 Residency #2 classes at our NJCU main campus.

The Department of Professional Security Studies recently activated a business track in the Bachelor of Cybersecurity Program.

Cybersecurity Club Weekly Meeting: Dr. Al Hayajneh leads the Cybersecurity Club with the PSS Department Graduate Assistant every Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. 

Send in your news & success stories!

We'd love to hear from our faculty, staff, students, and alumni! 

If you have any news or accomplishments you'd like us to share in our newsletter and on our CPS News webpage, we encourage you to submit your stories to cps@njcu.edu

CPS alumni are especially encouraged to submit their stories to be featured in future editions of the CPS Alumni Spotlight.