College mourns the loss of beloved communication professor Kathi Paluscio known for creating supportive environments – The College VOICE
Communication teacher Kathryn “Kathi” Paluscio, who has taught public speaking at Mercer for the past 21 years, died of cancer on July 6, 2021 at JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. She was 54 years old.
Prof. Paluscio received her undergraduate degree in Speech, Drama and Media from Kean University and obtained her MA in Theater from Villanova. Later, she was selected for the McGraw Mid-Career Fellowship Program at Princeton University, where she studied “guerrilla techniques” or unconventional teaching strategies for connecting with students.
“Her classes were filled with the powerful energy, excitement, motivation and hard work she gave to her students. Every time I came to class, I knew that no matter how sad or melancholy my days were, Kathi would be able to turn them into happy feelings, making me smile and playful, ”says Mykhaylo Yanchyk, a second year in chemistry / biology. , who took Prof. Paluscio’s public speaking class in the spring of 2021.
Professor Paluscio was known for her creative teaching tools. She brought props, got students up from their seats, she was even known to play the guitar and include the names of her students in her improvised songs.
Kyle Goldware, a second year major in communications, who took Professor Paluscio’s public speaking course in the spring of 2021, said: “Every Monday and Wednesday when I walked into his class I was excited. because she made it so fun. She was always happy, hilarious and she sincerely wanted her students to succeed in learning to speak in public. After taking Kathi’s class, I stopped being afraid to speak in certain public situations. She also taught me to step out of my comfort zone.
Another student, Hamza Marzaki, a second year major in business administration who took Prof. Paluscio’s public speaking course in the spring of 2021, said: “What helped me was that she gave us positive energy and motivation just before giving our speeches. ”
According to her colleagues, during her career, Professor Paluscio has examined more than 30,000 student speeches.
According to communication teacher Alvyn Haywood, who has worked with Professor Paluscio for the past 20 years and was a close friend, “She was a traveling actress who brought her theatrical experience to the classroom. ”
Professor Palucsio was a founding member of Mercer’s Rock Salt Theater and she also founded MouthWorks, an improv comedy troupe. In her spare time, unbeknownst to many of her friends and colleagues, she wrote horror novels under the pseudonym JC Raye.
According to Professor Haywood, “JC represents Jesus Christ because Kathi was Catholic and Raye was the light of Christ, something she would aim for, and something that Kathi brought to Mercer for students and faculty to enjoy. . “
Professor Paluscio received the Distinguished Teaching Award from the MCCC in May 2012. Her other accolades include the Human Relations Award and the Student Activites Woman of The Year Award.
According to electrical engineering professor Harry Bitner, who has worked with Professor Paluscio for the past 20 years and was a close friend, “She was so humble, if I tried to give her a compliment, she would do it so quickly. , she was concentrating on the others.
In her acceptance speech when she won the Excellence in Teaching Award, Professor Paluscio told the students, “We have high hopes for what you will accomplish. I believe all of you here today are like an amazing adventure story. My life is pale compared to yours.
Professor Bitner recalls that “Kathi gave so much to Mercer. She treated us like family. She served everyone. She helped everyone… She was so dedicated.
A memorial service will be held on the quad at 12 p.m. on September 28.