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      Faces of Widener

      Stephanie Ottino, Assistant Dean College of Arts & Sciences

      By Diamond Schuler, communication studies, '18

      stephanie ottino

      Stephanie Ottino

      Stephanie Ottino takes on many different roles as assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

      As assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Stephanie Ottino wears many hats. She does much of the behind-the-scenes work with faculty to ensure that the curriculum, programs and activities in the College of Arts & Sciences run smoothly.

      One of her main responsibilities is advising, including personally advising undergraduate students and overseeing the transfer advising program. In addition, she oversees the art gallery, including the student workers and any events that take place there.

      Ottino works closely with the dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. She helps put together materials for meetings, oversees logistics for graduate certificates and manages the college’s related webpages.

      “Trying to explain my job to people who don’t work in higher education, I say ‘I am the college project manager and firefighter,” Ottino added. “If there’s a problem, people can come to me, and I find the solution.”

      Ottino went to the University of Delaware and earned a Bachelor of Science in organization and community leadership with a minor in political science. She was heavily involved on campus and was a member of the women’s rugby team.

      She also traveled abroad to Ethiopia, Egypt, Jordan, Indian and Thailand during her junior year – an experience that pushed her out of her comfort zone and sparked her love for education while doing group research.

      Before coming to Widener University, Ottino was a production planner for LaFrance Corp., where she interacted with many Widener students who were doing co-ops at the company.

      Ottino decided she wanted to pursue further education at Widener. She graduated in 2015 with a master of education in student affairs leadership.

      During her time as a graduate student, she did a master’s practicum where she worked with the former College of Arts & Sciences dean, Sharon Meagher. After completing the degree, Ottino joined the college full-time.

      As with most positions in higher education, there is no such thing as a typical day.

      “I never know what I’m going to walk into every day,” Ottino said. “But, there is always something to do.”

      Ottino loves that at her job she gets to work with faculty who are passionate about teaching and their students.

      “I tell prospective students that when you come to Widener you have a whole army of faculty that will help you in any way, and it’s just not like that at every institution,” Ottino said.

      Ottino is passionate about civic engagement and works closely with the city of Chester on projects, such as Chester Made, an initiative to recognize and promote arts and culture in the city and to harness that power as a force for community revitalization. Ottino enjoys working with external organizations and being a positive representative for Widener.

      The assistant dean said she often has moments where she realizes how proud she is to work at Widener.

      “I get to leave my office and sit in on a lecture for a faculty member who is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about their field,” she said. “There’s no other place you can do that. It’s inspiring being on a college campus and being around so much knowledge and eagerness to learn.”

      Born and raised in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Ottino still lives there. She has been playing rugby for over 11 years and currently plays for a women’s team based out of West Chester.

      Ottino also still has the travel bug – and travels every chance she gets.

      In her rare moments of free time, Ottino has a good book in her hand, and tries a different genre every month.


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