Thursday, January 31, 2013

10 tips to reduce stress in your everyday life

STRESSED OUT: Use these 10 tips to reduce stress and
keep your body healthy
Have you been reaching for the stress ball lately? How about feeling overworked or overwhelmed by everything on your plate, including your school, career, and family responsibilities? These are all signs that you might be stressed! And while stress might feel like it's a constant part of your life, it doesn't have to be.

Stress is the basic cause of more than 60 percent of all human illness and disease, according to The American Medical Association. That's why it's imperative to keep your body healthy and stress-free, for the benefit of you and your family.

We recently had the pleasure of welcoming AVA Wellness, whose headquarters are just a few short steps from campus, to Peirce for a workshop on how we can all reduce stress in our everyday lives. Owner of AVA Wellness and lead therapist Vernell Alexander and Reiki specialist Ilia Stranko provided tips and advice for small, easy ways to relax and keep our bodies healthy, and we wanted to share them with you! We hope these tips will benefit everyone in the Peirce community, so read on for 10 easy tips for students to reduce stress.

Announcing organizational changes at Peirce College

To better serve our students, we recently developed a new leadership structure at Peirce that has shifted duties for some of our key staff members. We're very excited to share these changes and wanted to highlight some of them on the blog today.

Uva Coles is now Vice President, Student Services. She'll be overseeing several student-based services and programs including Academic Advising, the Walker Center for Academic Excellence, GPS (Guided Peirce Services), the Registrar's Office, and Career Development Services. Uva has always said she has a passion for helping students and alumni progress personally, academically, and professionally, and her new position helps her do just that.

Rita Toliver-Roberts is now Vice President, Academic Advancement. Rita is now responsible for leading and overseeing the Academic Division here at the College. She's charged with maintaining the quality delivery of Peirce's undergraduate and graduate programs, including partnerships that expand Peirce's academic footprint.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The family that studies together succeeds together

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Marketa and Carlos Johnson are attending
Peirce to improve their lives through education 
Many of our students find out about our programs through friends and family who've decided to come to Peirce, and we like to share some of their referral stories here on our blog. Today, we're highlighting the stories of mother and son, Marketa and Carlos Johnson.

Carlos decided to come to Peirce first. He always loved science and wanted to attend college right after high school to fulfill his dream of becoming a chemist. He entered our Healthcare Information Technology associate degree program in August 2012 as a full-time student.

His mother, Marketa, always wanted to earn a college degree. She had completed a year of college out of high school, but left because she needed a full time job to support her family. When Carlos chose to come to Peirce, Marketa took an interest in the College as well. She knew it was time to pursue her dream of earning a degree, giving her children the confidence they need to get their own degrees, while also doing something to make herself more marketable to potential employers. Marketa decided to enroll part time in our Business Administration program just a few months later.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Philadelphia’s Papa Playground gets a makeover on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

GIVE BACK: 39 members of the Peirce community
helped beautify Papa Playground in West Philadelphia
Every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Americans are encouraged to honor Dr. King's legacy by giving back to their local communities through the Martin Luther King Day of Service. While it's a nationwide initiative, some of the biggest celebrations happen right here in Philadelphia.

We wanted to join our community in this year's efforts to give back. So on Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 39 Peirce students, alumni, and faculty and staff members, including our President and CEO Jim Mergiotti, volunteered at Papa Playground to give back to the community.

The playground is located in West Philadelphia, and offers many programs for community members beyond the playground equipment, including Girl and Boy Scouts, summer camps, after school programs, and senior citizen events. It's a centerpiece of the community, but was in need of some repairs and general maintenance.

Peirce College in FOXBusiness: Tips for finding jobs, filing the FASFA, and more

We're always happy to share advice on a wealth of topics in education and business. Recently our thought leaders were tapped by FOXBusiness to shed light on a few of these subjects, including the benefits of aligning your job with your degree program, tips for filing your FASFA forms, and more. Read on for what we had to say!

"Where Students Can Find Part-Time Jobs." FOXBusiness reporter Emily Driscoll spoke with Uva Coles, Vice President, Student Services, about why maintaining a full- or part-time job that is relevant to your degree program can be beneficial to the overall learning experience. Uva noted the importance of obtaining transferable skills from that job, which you can apply across a variety of disciplines in your educational journey.

"Four Ways to Prepare for the FAFSA." Chanel Greene, the Manager of the Office of Financial Aid, also spoke with Emily Driscoll at FOXBusiness about preparing for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA). Chanel stressed the importance of submitting your FASFA application early, even if you're not sure if you'll attend school, as well as knowing what types of forms you must submit for what type of aid you're looking for.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating the launch of graduate education at Peirce College

GRADUATE RECEPTION: Steven Rodriguez, pictured above,
spoke to the crowd about our graduate degree program. 
Last Tuesday, we hosted a reception on campus to celebrate the launch of Graduate Studies at Peirce -- a milestone in the history of the College. Trustees, alumni, staff, faculty, and members of the extended Peirce community came together to learn more about the program and to meet faculty and staff members. We were very pleased with how the event turned out and wanted to share some snapshots of the night here on the blog.

Of the 93 attendees, we were pleased to see 52 alumni members and their guests; many members from our Board of Trustees; three former Board chairs; four students already accepted to the program; and a host of faculty, staff, and friends of the College. Many of our guests hadn't had the chance to visit campus for a while, so the reception gave them the opportunity to see the physical improvements we've made and celebrate a new chapter in our history.

Jim Mergiotti opened up the night's program by speaking about the master's degree program and what it means for the College. Pat Rucker then provided insights into how this program represents the College taking the next steps in higher education. I was honored to speak as well, and covered the academic nature of the program and how a master's degree in Organizational Leadership & Management can benefit students in their current career, or in the future. We then heard remarks from Steven Rodriguez, an alumnus of the College and one of the first accepted into our graduate program, and concluded the evening with time for discussion. We caught many of these moments on camera, so flip through the slideshow to see some photos.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Broaden your knowledge and enhance your personal development with new workshops from the Walker Center

New workshops from the Walker Center have just been announced to help you strengthen your academic skills, expand your personal development, and broaden your technical knowledge in Session 3. These workshops will provide you with the resources you need to succeed in your classes, as well as add to your marketability in your professional career.

Session 3 workshops include information on academic skills, time management, professional speaking, and how to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. Click on the flyers below to get details on specific workshops, dates, and times.

To register for any of the workshops listed, contact the Walker Center at 888.467.3472, ext. 9251, or email

Monday, January 14, 2013

The aha moment that led a Philadelphia native to go back to college

READMIT PROGRAM: Stephanie Ricchini-Egan came back to Peirce
after withdrawing because she was determined to earn her degree.
For some, going back to college means resuming a degree program they had to put on hold. Many of our students fall into this category, and are part of our readmit program. This program is dedicated to helping people continue their educational journey after they've taken a break from school for any reason.

We believe everyone should have a chance to earn their college degree, even if it takes six, eight, ten or more years! One story we'd like to highlight is Stephanie Ricchini-Egan, who took advantage of the Peirce readmit program.

Stephanie grew up in Southwest Philadelphia and went to West Catholic High School for Girls. She attended community college for a semester and then technical school to get certified in Office Administration. After she graduated, she got her first job at Jefferson Hospital as an Executive Secretary and stayed there for 18 years.

When Stephanie got her next position at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), she heard about Peirce College and our support services for adult learners. She'd always wanted to work in human resources, doing recruitment or employee relations, but needed a college degree to make that dream a reality. So Stephanie decided to enroll at Peirce while working at CHOP full-time.

Friday, January 11, 2013

How Pell Grant eligibility guidelines are impacting adult learners in Philadelphia

CHANGES IN PHILADELPHIA: Changes in Pell eligibility guidelines
 have meant that fewer students are receiving these grants each year
Need-based grants, such as Pell Grants, can make educational aspirations a reality for many students who attend Peirce. But recent changes in Pell eligibility guidelines have meant that fewer students are receiving these grants each year, causing some to put their schooling on hold.

These changes are occurring because Congress is working to balance the budget for the program. According to an article by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Susan Synder, costs in the Pell Grant program have more than doubled in four years, to $35.6 billion in 2010, because of an increase in recipients and a rise in the maximum award.

Susan tapped us to give insights on how changes in Pell Grants are affecting those in the Peirce community. We were happy to share our thoughts, including how these cuts are impacting adult learners. Peirce student Tyease Chesson also shared with Susan the difficulties he faced after the changes were implemented. You can read her article on

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Philadelphia Inquirer highlights our graduate degree program in Organizational Leadership & Management

Have you flipped through The Philadelphia Inquirer or today? If so, you might have seen Susan Synder's write up about our inaugural master's degree program in Organizational Leadership & Management. Susan spoke with Peirce President Jim Mergiotti about our hopes for the first graduate degree program, and our plan for future programs. In case you haven't seen it, check out page B2 of your paper copy of The Inquirer, or click over to the website.

EXCITING NEWS: The Philadelphia Inquirer featured our inaugural master's degree program

Thank you to Susan for sharing the news of our graduate degree program with even more Philadelphians. We're excited to offer a practical, career-focused program that will help adult learners move into leadership positions and be eligible for new job opportunities in their careers.

We'll be covering more news surrounding our master's degree program in the coming weeks, so check back often. For more information about our graduate degree program, visit our website.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A warm welcome to Dr. Adrian Zappala, our new Dean of Graduate Studies

INTRODUCING: Dr. Adrian Zappala, our new
Dean of Graduate Studies
I'm very excited to introduce Peirce College's new Dean of Graduate Studies, Dr. Adrian Zappala. He will oversee our first master's degree program in Organizational Leadership & Management and comes to Peirce with nine years' experience in higher education, focusing on working with adult learners.

To learn more about Adrian's background and his role at Peirce, you can read the press release we issued today. But we wanted to let you get to know him a little bit better here on the blog, so we asked him a few questions about himself and how he feels about coming to Peirce. Here's what he had to say.

Q: Adrian, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

A: Sure. I've lived in New Jersey my entire life and I've been working in K-12 and higher education for the past 16 years. During this time, I've been a faculty member and an administrator. Right now, I live in Ocean County, N.J., with my wife and three daughters.

Q: How do you think your background has prepared you to be the Dean of Graduate Studies at Peirce?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Tips for managing your student loan payments

PAY SMART: Our advice for managing student loan payments 
If you have taken out student loans to pay for your education, there is some important information you should know about the repayment process. writer Erin Arvedlund recently asked me to share my expertise about the repayment process, especially for students who are behind or have defaulted on their payments.

One of the crucial tips I told her about was to look into "income-based" repayment plans, where monthly payments are capped at 15 percent of your income after basic living expenses, to help mitigate expensive fees. I also explained that students shouldn't consolidate their debt unless they have no other choice, as it can increase interest rates considerably.

To get more of the information I offered Erin, read her article in full. If you have any more questions regarding student loan payments, feel free to leave a comment here, or reach out to me directly via email.