Abbe Rosenthal can speak fluently about nearly every aspect of Rutgers Professional Science Master’s (PSM) program—a program she’s helped grow since 2017—as well as Rutgers PSM’s Master of Business and Science (MBS) degree. One thing you will never hear her say? “That is not in my job description,” which is a big reason why Rosenthal was nominated for, and honored with, Rutgers School of Graduate Studies (SGS) Excellence in Student Support Award, which recognizes Rutgers staff members “who have made significant contributions to SGS graduate students and programs…demonstrated commitment to graduate education at Rutgers University [and] who work in a sustained, meaningful way with SGS graduate students and/or programs.”
The award ceremony, which was held on Thursday, May 12, recognized Rosenthal and select colleagues across the university who have demonstrated extraordinary evidence of dedication, service, and support to students and programs. Fitting, since—without exaggeration—there is likely no student (or alumni) nor program that Rosenthal and her efforts haven't impacted in some way. Rosenthal was only one of two staff members to win the award universitywide.
From organizing and establishing the MBS Alumni Group in 2018 to the MBS Alumni-Student Mentoring Program, which matches current students and alumni to further enrich the student experience, Rosenthal has ensured that the MBS experience that starts at new-student orientation continues well beyond students’ graduation.
Additionally, Rosenthal joined and scaled one of Rutgers PSM’s signature offerings: the MBS Externship Exchange—serving as a program advisor while forming partnerships with more than 100 organizations across industries and functions, as well as connecting MBS with entities across Rutgers, including the Honors College at Rutgers–New Brunswick, the Rutgers University School of Engineering, and the Food Innovation Center at Rutgers University.
Rosenthal also incorporated highly structured professional development sessions into the Externship Exchange, with topics including teamwork, leadership styles, conflict management, self-branding, and presentation skills that mirror and prepare students for the real world.
In 2019, Rosenthal formed a partnership with the New York Society of Cosmetic Chemists (NYSCC), through which students enrolled in Rutgers PSM’s Personal Care Science concentration could volunteer with the organization, which ultimately led to students being honored and awarded scholarships for their work year after year. In Fall 2021, Rosenthal assumed leadership of MBS’s Internship Program—all while continuing to provide one-on-one executive coaching and group coaching sessions to MBS students.
By far, however, Rosenthal’s most significant impact is shaping MBS’s “Designing Your Life (DYL)” component—a design-thinking-based philosophy that Rutgers PSM executive director Deborah Silver introduced and began incorporating into MBS curricula in fall 2019. DYL is now a cornerstone of a Rutgers PSM education. "I immediately fell in love with DYL philosophy and concepts. I instantly connected how the DYL process could help students gain empowerment in both their academic and professional lives, as well as their personal lives," says Rosenthal. "I so clearly saw DYL's purpose in alignment and in relation to what we teach at MBS." Rosenthal ultimately pursued formal training to become a certified DYL Coach, and has used her training and skill to coordinate and lead workshops that teach students how to apply design thinking concepts to career exploration as well as personal and professional development.
Rosenthal said she was honored and humbled to receive the award. However, “Helping students design careers fueled by their curiosity, values, and purpose is a reward and motivation in and of itself,” she says. “It sounds cheesy, but I truly love doing what I do for the PSM program—this award is icing on the cake.” As for what’s next in propelling the PSM program forward, Rosenthal says, “There is definitely more to come!”