A Conversation with. . . 

Evona Mozulay Panycia, BA'10, MAT'11

What are your best memories of your student days at FDU?

Some of my best memories come from the jobs I had on campus. As a Student Ambassador in the admissions office, I was able to develop relationships with both the staff and student employees, who I would probably never have known otherwise. 

I also learned some great fun facts about the campus that I will always remember due to the number of times I restated them on tours! One fun fact that stuck with me is that the landscape of the estate was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also was the designer of New York City's Central Park. Another historical fun fact is that the campus library used to be the Orangerie where the Twombly's grew their citrus fruits! As a Student Ambassador, it was great to provide prospective students with tours and to be available to answer their questions.

I also worked in the biology department as a lab assistant with Professor Dale Levine. She is AMAZING! I am so lucky to work with her now since I am an adjunct but I also benefited from pre-service teaching experience as an undergrad when I served as her lab assistant for three incredible years. She served as an unofficial mentor and now I am fortunate to work with her as a colleague and consider her a good friend.

What was special about being a student at FDU?

Being a student at FDU allowed me to become familiar with the surrounding area - Madison is such a beautiful community in New Jersey!

I also became more globally aware of the greater community around me. The courses I took influenced me to adopt a global perspective and to emphasize the impact we all have on the future as it relates to our responsibilities, both environmentally and civilly. Now as the lead teacher of the Eco-Schools Club at my school, I am able to pass these ideas onto 6th, 7th and 8th graders each year which is great!

What impresses you about the University today?

As I switched roles from student to adjunct professor, I couldn't help but notice how much the University is a community where learning is valued so much. It is wonderful that I can contact a former professor, now as a colleague, for support and guidance. I now work alongside former professors of mine in the biology department, after having them as professors only some short years ago.

Would you like to share a defining moment in your life?

I don't know if there really is only one defining moment in my life. Over the course of my 27 years, there have been many moments that have shaped the person I am today. I have a had a lot of positive, influential people inspire me to be the best version of myself. 

Last year, I was nominated to attend a national event provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation called Elevating and Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) in Seattle, Washington. 

The nomination came as a such a complete surprise, that at first, I doubted its validity. When I first got the email explaining the nomination, since I had never heard of this, I questioned what I had could have possibly accomplished in my four short years of teaching. The nomination came complete with a video created by Steve, one of my most revered colleagues, explaining the impact I had on the school community as a teacher and leader. It was a hugely exciting and humbling experience! 

The goal of the convening is to "celebrate effective teachers and to build a strong network of teacher leaders working together to elevate the practice and profession." It was certainly an empowering three days last summer, when I convened with 450 educators across the nation. 

As I boarded on the plane in Seattle to head back home to New Jersey, I was thrilled to know that I would be able to stay in touch with everyone. Every Sunday at 8 p.m.on Twitter I keep in touch with these new friends in a weekly chat dedicated to celebrating educators - #ECET2. The convening truly was a defining moment in my teaching career, propelling and motivating me more to proudly do what I do everyday - teach. The convening also made me realize that I have come so far and yet can still go so much further as a life-long learner.

[Click here to see highlights from Seattle ECET2]

What's your philosophy on life? 

I truly believe that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner. 

During the Elevating & Celebrating Effective Teaching and Teachers (ECET2) convening in Seattle, Washington, Lauren Maucere, a high school English, ASL, Theater Arts and Health teacher from Los Angeles Unified School district gave a keynote address reflecting on her call to become an educator. In her keynote address, Maucere said "We must not only teach inside the four walls of our classroom, but also to educate others about what our students are capable of doing and ultimately accomplishing." 

In a world of seemingly ubiquitous negativity, I have learned that it is so important to share the positive things you are doing both in your personal and professional life. Have a positive outlook. Period. It can change the way you approach a new task, handle a difficult situation and work through the tough times. Spend time on your relationships with people, not so much with your electronic devices. 

Do as much as you can, while you still can. Have a dog in your family. Find a good balance between doing too much and not doing enough with your gifts and talents. Ask for help when you need it. And finally, count your blessings!

About Evona Mozulay Panycia, BA‘10, MAT‘11

Evona Mozulay Panycia is a seventh grade Life Science teacher at William Annin Middle School in Basking Ridge, New Jersey. She is also an adjunct professor in the biology department at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus. 

She graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with honors and in 2011 with a Master of Arts in Teaching. 

While at FDU she was a Florham Science Scholar (honors program) and a recipient of the Colonel Fairleigh Dickinson, True Value and Charter Day scholarships. 

Her many memberships included Student Volunteer Association (SVA), Omicron Delta Kappa (OΔΚ) Greek Honor Society, Phi Zeta Kappa (ΦZΚ) Academic Honor Society, Order of Omega Greek Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta (BBB) Biological Honor Society, and Zeta Tau Alpha (ZTA) sorority. In addition, she is the co-founder of Colleges Against Cancer through the American Cancer Society on the Florham Campus. 

She worked in the University's admissions office as a Student Ambassador, as well as in the Academic Support Center and biology department as a lab assistant. She currently lives in northern New Jersey with her husband, Daniel, and their black labrador, Lexi.