From across the street to across the goal line, John Maldonado’s journey from Glassboro High School to Rowan University proves that a great college experience might be in one’s own backyard. “I definitely think that Glassboro High School students overlook Rowan just because it’s across the street,” says John, but his own Rowan experience has proven otherwise. A recent graduate of Rowan University, John earned his bachelor’s degree in finance within the Rohrer College of Business. As a student-athlete he played wide receiver on the football team for all four years of his college career, where he received prestigious accolades such as being named to the All-NJAC First Team Offense in both 2021 and 2022. He has also been honored for his work in the classroom, and was named to both the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team and the PhillySIDA Academic All-Area Team during his career.
Born and raised in Glassboro, along with his two older brothers, John was always a talented athlete. A three-sport athlete at Glassboro High School, playing football, basketball, and baseball, he found success in all three sports, winning multiple Glassboro Bulldog awards. He was even named to the All-Conference first team for football. Like most three-sport athletes who want to continue at the next level, choosing that one sport you love can be tough. “I originally thought I was going to be a college baseball player, you know baseball was bigger than football in high school for me, but it turned out to be football.”
Picking a sport to continue throughout college would end up guiding John in his decision to attend Rowan University. Like most seniors out of high school, it’s tough to know exactly what you want to do with life at that point. As John faced the pivotal moment of choosing where to continue his football career, Rowan stood out to him. “I wasn’t 100% ready I guess to move an hour or two away and live on my own so I was like if I’m going to go to an NJAC school or D3 to play football, why not just stay right here.”
John recognized there is a less-than-great perception among Glassboro High students about attending Rowan. Despite the proximity of Rowan to Glassboro High School, John believes that many students disregard the university as a potential option, failing to realize the abundance of opportunities and resources it has to offer.
Reflecting on his time at Rowan, John is filled with gratitude for the endless opportunities and resources that helped shape his college experience. “My best advice would be to use the resources,” he emphasizes, “because there’s a ton. There’s a million different things going on at one time with a bunch of people that are trying to help you.” John’s academic advisors played a crucial role in his success off the field. Student-athletes sometimes need additional supports to balance their academic responsibilities with their athletic goals, to maintain their work-life balance and their academic performance. With the support of his academic advisors, John was able to stay on track and ultimately decide on a major in finance after entering as an undecided major (exploratory studies).
John continued his studies at Rowan, now pursuing a master’s in finance, while he simultaneously trains in hopes of making a professional football career a reality. John’s story is a testament to the university’s ability to offer a one of a kind college experience, even for those who already live in Glassboro.
He recognizes the challenges that lie ahead of him. “The windows are short with this type of stuff, trying next-level football.” With the resources and opportunities available at Rowan, John is poised to make the most of every opportunity, both on and off the field.
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Sean Humphrey, senior public relations major
Valentina Giannattasio, sophomore dance and marketing double major