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Many Dreams

Meet Alumni Making a Difference


“Because I attended FDU at such a young age, a lot of molding occurred there. And it provided me with a good foundation for medical school, in terms of developing critical thinking skills and learning to be more personable. I met Photo of Dr. Brian Templepeople from all over the world while I was at college.”

Dr. Temple, whose family immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone when he was nine, graduated from high school at 16 and earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from Fairleigh Dickinson. He is now the infectious disease physician and chair of the Infection Prevention Committee at the Aurora Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Dr. Temple has looked at the way that other emergent viruses have impacted populations in order to try to extrapolate what we might expect from a second COVID-19 wave. But there is little on which to base those kinds of predictions. “The way this one is acting is different than anything that we have seen before.” 


“I give back to FDU in the form of student scholarships to express my gratitude to the University for the gifts it has given to me. As a student, I was fortunate to be the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship and understand the impact scholarships have on students, both in the short and long term.”

Mary Beth Forte, human resources leader, executive leadership coach, and certified compensation professional, credits the start of her career journey to the dedication of Valerie Adams, a career counselor on the Florham Campus. Through Adams' efforts on Mary Beth's behalf, she secured an interview at Schering-Plough, joined their compensation team and, with that position as a starting point, has since had the opportunity to grow her career across a number of human resources disciplines at a variety of organizations. Now the exectuvie director, total wellbeing, at a large pharmaceutical company, Mary Beth hopes that her contributions provides current students with similar opportunities. She supports FDU students both financially and as a mentor and enjoys connecting with the students as they learn the field of human resources. She looks forward to being a resource as they prepare to launch their careers.


“I teach because teachers get to participate in crafting the most precious resource this world has to offer — our children."

Angel Santiago BA, MAT'12, an elementary school teacher at Loring Flemming Elementary school in Blackwood, NJ, is the 2020-2021 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year. His passion for education is rooted in fostering strong relationships with his students, their families, his colleagues, and the Camden community in which he serves.Angel believes that finding educators who represent the students of color is the key to closing equity gaps in our schools. Community service is a great way to teach empathy to our students so they can be good citizens now and eventually become the leaders of tomorrow.


“When your purpose is bigger than just opening a restaurant in your community, when your purpose is actually to be a beacon of hope, to ease other people’s burdens, the decisions you make take on a bigger meaning.”

When restaurateur and entrepreneur Adenah Bayoh '01 moved back to Essex County after graduating from Fairleigh Dickinson BayohA-200pxUniversity, she saw a disparity between the reality of urban communities and the perception of those areas. Now she owns IHOP franchises in Newark, N.J., Paterson, N.J., and Irvington, N.J., with a fourth under construction in Newark. She’s also a co-founder of Cornbread, a soul food restaurant with locations in Maplewood, N.J., West Mifflin, Pa., Greensburg, Pa., and Tarentum, Pa. Bayoh is also involved with residential and commercial urban redevelopment projects in the state. “Right up the street from the Teaneck Campus, there’s an IHOP on Cedar Lane. We used to go there, stay there late at night, just chatting. I’ve always loved the pancakes and the brand. It was just a natural fit,” says Bayoh. Nearly fifteen years later, Bayoh has established an inclusive brand and a long-term community presence.


“Working in a hospital with many patients suffering from COVID-19 really represents a change in mentality. You have to be hyper-aware.”

Veronica Prisco and her husband Jason Prisco, both of whom earned their Doctors of Pharmacy as members of the first graduating class of Fairleigh Dickinson’s School of Pharmacy in 2016, have a new routine when they get home from work. The couple, who spend all day with the looming threat of potential exposure to COVID-19 and with only limited means of reducing their risk of infection, have had to reconsider almost every part of their day-to-day lives. “When we get home, we put our clothes in plastic bags and immediately shower,” she says. “No one really knows how long the virus stays on clothing and skin, so, while we are home, we try not to continue that exposure. We have different days off; we are taking turns going to the grocery store; we constantly clean high-touch surfaces.” Prisco says that she is not blind to the risks involved in working at a hospital filled with COVID-19 patients. “I’m probably not alone in this,” she says. “But some of us know we are eventually going to get it. Right now, tests are only approved if you are showing symptoms, even for hospital personnel. I just have to protect myself the best I can and do my job.”



“Education is the best weapon to combat poverty around the world. Younger me took it for granted that I was able to go to school everyday.”

Marie Renee Thadal MS ’05 hadn’t been back to Haiti in 30 years. Over that time, her family had spread out across the globe to the United States, France, and Canada. But she still found a piece of herself in the country she’d left as a teenager. After earning a graduate degree in cosmetic science at FDU, she found her niche by combining nonprofit service and cosmetics.
In 2018, Thadal traveled to Montrouis, a coastal town in Haiti, with three other women, including her daughter, to teach women how to make basic skin-care products, such as scented moisturizers, using essential oils. The goal was to encourage sustainable self-sufficiency through entrepreneurship. Ultimately, the trip gave birth to the Beauty Project Initiative.
Then Thadal founded a nonprofit, ITIAH Angels For Learning (IAFL), to support students in need. The mission of the organization is to transform lives by providing educational tools to communities to foster readiness to learn. Itiah is “Haiti ” spelled backward.