Websites and social media channels say a lot about an institution, but there’s nothing like experiencing the culture firsthand.
To help, Widener University allows shadow opportunities for high school students who are interested in two of its biggest programs.
For over a decade, Widener’s School of Engineering and the School of Nursing have invited prospective students to spend time on the Widener campus shadowing the people who know the university best—its students.
The prospective students receive insight on classes while the Widener students act as welcoming ambassadors, instilling the school’s sense of community to the high schoolers.
Dozens of future nurses and engineers come to campus each year to learn firsthand what a typical day at Widener is like.
They attend a class and/or simulation lab, have lunch with their student guide, tour campus, and meet with a department chair or advisor.
“This experience is really up to the prospective students, so we try to tailor the day to fit their needs and answer their questions,” Dan Kiers, assistant dean of the School of Engineering, said.
What makes the most difference is the direct interaction the visitors have with current students who talk about what student life is like, Kiers said.
It’s that firsthand look at the daily life of a nursing student that set first-year student Gyanna Carrasquilo on a path to a Widener education.
“That day solidified my choice in Widener because I was able to see how professors truly help their students achieve academic success and how welcoming the Widener community is,” she said.
Beginning this semester, prospective nursing students will be able to shadow a more advanced Medical Surgical Simulation Lab, giving them even more insight into what their Widener education would have in store.
Sharing the Shadows
The Widener campus shadowing is an opportunity for the Widener student guides to provide insight into campus life and what it means to be part of the Widener community.
Marlaina Pappero, a junior nursing major, first visited Widener during a time of strict COVID-19 restrictions and so opted for a self-guided tour. But right away, she was welcomed to campus by some kind students.
“My family and I weren’t sure where Founders Hall was when we started our tour, but some current nursing students saw us and took the time to point us in the right direction, tell me more about their experiences, and answer my questions,” she said. “That interaction left a lasting impression on me and my parents about the temperament of Widener nursing students and their willingness to help others.”
Pappero enrolled at Widener, and when she was invited to become a shadowing guide for prospective nursing majors, she jumped at the chance.
“I was very eager to take this opportunity so I could leave those same impressions that I got when I first visited on potential future students,” she concluded.
Some students who attend shadowing days have already enrolled at Widener and come to learn more about what to expect from the beginning of the semester.
Emma Castellano chose to join Widener’s class of 2027 for the unique robotics engineering program after her shadowing day, which included eating lunch with her student guide, walking the hallways with robotics engineering academic secretary Suzanne D’Alleva, and shadowing a robotics lab to see what upperclassmen were working on.
“Seeing the classrooms and talking more with the staff cemented my choice to come here and backed up all the great things I’d heard about Widener,” she said. “I left my shadowing day more excited to experience and learn in this robotics engineering program.”