ESU Graduates First Class From Its Philadelphia Center; 12 Students Receive Undergraduate Degrees in Public Health

Posted by: admin on January 14, 2013, No Comments

Twelve students were the first to graduate from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania’s (ESU) extended learning site in Philadelphia. The students received bachelor of science degrees in public health at commencement ceremonies on the ESU campus in East Stroudsburg, Pa. Pictured at a celebration luncheon on campus following the ceremonies were: Front row: Sará Fleming-Donley, graduate; Shikha Ahuja, graduate; Arbesa Hyseni, graduate; Miriam White, graduate. Next row up: Adrijana Zidarevic, graduate; Marja Leaks, graduate; Raymona Williams, graduate; Stephanie Whetts, graduate; Lauren Brooks, graduate; Jeremiah Laster, graduate; Justine Lattany, graduate. Next row up: Leah Posivak, former instructor of health studies; Alberto Cardelle, ESU professor and chair of the health studies department; Sheila Handy, ESU associate professor and chair of the business management department; Jen Serowick, ESU director of extended learning; and Steven Shive, ESU professor of health studies. Top row from left to right: Mark Kilker, dean, ESU College of Health Sciences; Van Reidhead, ESU provost and vice president, academic affairs; Elaine Rodriguez, ESU instructor of health studies; John Kraybill-Greggo, ESU associate professor of sociology; Leslie Raser, ESU enrollment services representative; Tyra Condé, ESU health services administration student, expected class of 2013. Not in picture: Channtoo Chhean, graduate.

Twelve students from Philadelphia and surrounding areas earned their bachelor’s degrees in public health from East Stroudsburg University (ESU) of Pennsylvania during commencement exercises in December 2012.  These graduates were part of the first cohort of students who attended ESU’s extended learning degree completion program offered at the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Philadelphia Center, located at 701 Market St., Philadelphia, Pa.

Graduates of the Philadelphia cohort were: Shikha Ahuja, Channtoo Chhean, Sará Fleming-Donley, Arbesa Hyseni, Jeremiah Laster, Justine Lattany, Marja Leaks, Stephanie Whetts, Miriam White, and Raymona Williams, Philadelphia, Pa.; Lauren Brooks, New Castle, Del.; and Adrijana Zidarevic, Allentown, Pa.

“Health care is at a critical juncture in the U.S.,” said Alberto Cardelle, Ph.D., ESU professor and chair of the health studies department. “There are a growing number of retirees, an increasing number of people with chronic diseases, and the implementation of health care reform, all of which will dramatically increase the demand for quality health care. These first graduates of ESU’s public health program in Philadelphia are now ready to become part of the ever-increasing health care workforce. We are very proud of these graduates, and know that future graduates will continue to strengthen the region’s health care system.”

Established in 2011, ESU’s Extended Learning program at the Philadelphia Center enables students to apply existing earned college credits and complete a bachelor’s degree in two years of evening and weekend study in convenient Center City Philadelphia. The fast-track program leads to the public health degree and, depending on the number of existing credits held by a student, can be finished within two years.  Credits earned from other institutions and programs are easily transferred into the ESU public health degree program. Academic advisers work with students to prepare individual transfer credit evaluations so students will know exactly what they will need to graduate with a bachelor’s degree.  Concentrations in health services administration and community health further allow students to choose paths that are the most applicable for their experience and goals. All classes are held at a convenient Center City location in a secure, accessible, and comfortable environment which is operated by the PASSHE for partner universities.  It is PASSHE’s goal to extend additional options for public higher education to Philadelphia residents through this location, which will offer undergraduate and graduate degree options.  ESU’s program offers affordable tuition, financial aid for eligible students, small classes, and educational assignments and experiences that enable students to make use of Philadelphia’s many public health resources.

Admission to the program is rolling.  Applications are still being accepted for a March 2013 start.  The program consists of five eight-week sessions, and students can take up to 30 credits per year over three semesters each year.  Class meets two evenings per week, 6 – 9 p.m., and on Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the convenient Center City location. The interdisciplinary program consists of coursework within the ESU departments of health studies, business management and political science.

This degree provides the educational foundation for careers in health services administration, delivery, and policy and community health. Graduates could work in health care delivery and education settings (hospitals, clinics, home health agencies); public health settings (county and state health departments or community-based organizations); in other allied health settings (nursing homes) or in the insurance segment (insurance companies and HMOs).

Students in the public health program have the opportunity to complete internships with major health care facilities in Philadelphia or with their own employers if they are already working in the field. Student internship sites include government agencies; federal state and local health departments; medical centers, hospitals and other health care institutions; community coalitions and health improvement programs and worksite wellness and health promotion programs for employees.

“This program was simply amazing,” said graduate Miriam White.  “At first I was unsure if I was going to be able to keep up with an accelerated program, but the entire staff was very helpful in our success. When we had questions they were available. If we needed tutoring they were available. And all of my classmates made this journey memorable. We were there for each other.”

Another graduate, Sará Fleming-Donley, also was pleased with the program.

“ESU has given me the opportunity to not only further my education, but embark on a new life path,” said Fleming-Donley. “The class size, flexibility of our instructors, and adult learning format made it possible for me to complete my degree, and still work full-time and care for my family. ESU has prepared me for the inevitable challenges that life brings, as well as opened my eyes to all that is possible and a new career path.”

With an enrollment of more than 7,000 students, ESU’s main campus is located in northeastern Pennsylvania, 90 miles from Philadelphia on the border of New Jersey and adjacent to the scenic Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in the Pocono Mountains.  Founded in 1893, the university is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is dedicated to providing students with a comprehensive university education distinguished by innovation and tradition.  ESU’s new extended learning degree completion programs are offered in Philadelphia, Bethlehem and at the main campus in East Stroudsburg.

For more information about the public health degree in Philadelphia and other extended learning programs, please contact Millie Román-Buday, ESU extended learning transfer admission representative, at 610-419-2516 or by email at