Saginaw Valley State University's Danielle Slonac continued her accomplished undergraduate career by presenting her research on the geography of innovation in the autonomous vehicle industry at Oxford University in England during The Institute for Global Business Research conference in May.
Growing up only 60 miles from the Motor City of Detroit in St. Clair, Michigan, she said her interest in the auto industry led to researching how the industry will continue to evolve.
“The research I conducted looks at national competitiveness and intellectual property in the autonomous vehicles industry,” Slonac said. “I focused on how various factors influence autonomous vehicle patents by nation and how this impacts which nations will likely become the leaders in this emerging market as it continues to develop.”
George Puia, the Dow Chemical Company Chair in Global Business at SVSU, served as Slonac’s research adviser and traveled with her to Oxford.
“When I found out that I would get to present my research at Oxford University I was incredibly humbled, honored and excited,” Slonac said. “Oxford is such a prestigious and influential university, and to be able to present my research there was an incredible opportunity. I was really grateful for everyone who helped me get there and proud of the hard work it took to make it happen.”
Slonac, a triple major in management, finance and supply chain management, recently completed her four-year career on the SVSU women’s tennis team. Throughout all of these responsibilities, she has maintained a 4.0 grade point average.
Slonac expects to graduate in December; she plans to attend graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in order to become a business professor.
The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved a contract with the SVSU Support Staff Association (MEA/NEA) during its regular session Monday, June 18.
The three-year agreement covers the period from July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2021. Terms call for wage increases of 2 percent in the first year, 1.05 percent in the second year and 1 percent in the third year.
“We appreciate the fine work our dedicated support staff employees provide on a daily basis,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “Making a good first impression is so important, and these are the people who keep our campus looking its best, who greet students and families and help them when they have questions, and who do important work behind the scenes to ensure campus operations run smoothly.”
The deal also provides increased flexibility in health care coverage options. As part of the contract, members will be offered a new health insurance option that features a health savings account and lower premiums, in addition to the medical plans previously offered. The agreement includes modest increases in the capped contributions the university makes to employees’ health care coverage under existing plans.
“Overall, we think this is a fair contract,” said Tish Yaros, administrative secretary for Information Technology Services and president of the Support Staff Association. “The new health plan option will take some education to make sure our members understand it, but at the level the university is backing it, that could be a valuable benefit for our employees.”
Yaros said the union is pleased to have the new contract in place.
“We’re here to support the students, and we want them to be served well. We love working here.”
The Support Staff Association represents 168 employees, including secretaries, clerks, and campus facilities personnel. Union membership ratified the contract Tuesday, June 12.
The Saginaw Valley State University Board of control approved a tuition increase of $489 for in-state undergraduate students as part of the 2018-19 general fund operating budget adopted during the Board's regular meeting Monday, June 18.
A Michigan undergraduate student taking 30 credits will pay $10,308 for the upcoming academic year. SVSU students were charged $9,819 during the 2017-18 academic year.
“All budget decisions are made with students and families in mind, and this budget maintains our priorities of providing outstanding opportunities for our students and ensuring access to a high quality education,” said Donald Bachand, SVSU president. “We have significantly expanded our scholarship and financial aid offerings to support students and families, and we continue to work hard to sustain our longstanding commitment to affordability.”
SVSU will continue to have the lowest tuition among the 15 Michigan public universities for 2018-19, even after the increase of 4.98 percent takes effect.
In other action, the Board:
Saginaw Valley State University police officer Matthew Meissner was selected as a 2018 Police Officer of the Year by the Police Officers Association of Michigan.
Meissner formally received the award during the association’s annual convention Thursday, May 24 at noon at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids.
Meissner completed a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from SVSU. He has served as an officer for University Police since 2012.
At a time when Michigan is seeing a growing demand for teachers, Saginaw Valley State University will hold a job fair for positions in the education industry Tuesday, June 19 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.
The 2018 Education Employment Fair, sponsored by Meemic Insurance-Thomson Agency, is organized by SVSU's Career Services. School districts and other agencies are looking for K-12 teachers, substitutes, principals, assistant principals, teachers for special needs students and other positions.
“I’m hearing from superintendents and principals with openings nearly every day,” said Craig Douglas, dean of the College of Education at SVSU. “We are sharing those opportunities with our students and alumni, but this fair also is a great chance to meet with people face to face and make a connection that could lead to an opportunity now or in the future.”
The employment fair is open to the public.
Mike Major, director of SVSU's Career Services, recommends those who attend be prepared prior to attending the fair. By visiting www.svsu.edu/careers, candidates can view the registration list to research the various districts that the candidate is interested in.
“Candidates who demonstrate specific knowledge of the district to recruiters are well received; it means they are genuinely interested in the position,” Major said.
More than 30 school districts and organizations – nearly all of them in Michigan – have registered in advance for the fair. Some districts already registered include Bay City Public Schools, Detroit Public Schools, Millington Public Schools, Port Huron Area Public Schools, and Saginaw Public Schools.
SVSU alumni and students can pre-register online at the Cardinal Career Network at www.svsu.edu/careers.
For more information about the event, contact SVSU Career Services at (989) 964-4954 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
University Center, MICHIGAN – The Michigan Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (MACTE) has elected Anne Tapp, Ph.D. as president of the Board. She begins her term in June 2018. Tapp, who has served on the MACTE executive board, has worked in education for 27 years. She is currently the assistant dean and professor of Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Education.
“I am honored to be elected president of the MACTE Board during this critically important time for education and educators. We promote the learning of all P-20 students through the promotion of high quality teacher preparation, and Michigan needs outstanding teachers if we are going to be the prosperous state we want to be. We have a great team, and we are ready to roll up our sleeves and put in the work necessary to help teachers and students succeed,” Tapp said.
Betty Kirby, Ph.D., senior associate dean at Central Michigan University states, “The MACTE organization is where educator preparation institutions throughout the state come together as collaborators (not competitors) and advocate for policy and best practices in teacher education. We value the uniqueness of each institution and partner around common concerns and needs that impact us all. Most importantly, we are committed to high quality and rigorous preparation for the next generation of teachers in Michigan.”
MACTE is the state chapter association of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the leading voice on educator preparation. AACTE represents more than 800 postsecondary institutions with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are ready to teach all learners.
MACTE represents all institutions of higher education that prepare educators within the state of Michigan. Chapters provide a vehicle for teacher educators to take a unified position on state-specific issues and to meet as partners or as responsible adversaries with the state departments, teachers' organizations, and other stakeholder groups. Chapters can also provide networking, service, and professional learning opportunities for teacher educators across the state.
The presidents from these chapters are members of AACTE's Advisory Council of State Representatives (ACSR). The primary purpose of ACSR is to serve as a collaborative network for chapter leaders across the states and to bring state-level perspectives to all AACTE activities.
A self-proclaimed family man with a baby on the way – and who worked his way through college – Sean Suitor is no stranger to hard work and responsibility.
Suitor completed his bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory science at Saginaw Valley State University in May and began a new job with Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw as a microbiologist in June.
“I'm excited that I get to continue to be a part of the Covenant team after three years working there as a lab assistant,” Suitor said. “It's really just an exciting time in my life and I'm happy to be adding this career to my list of accomplishments.”
Getting there wasn't always an easy road. On top of his studies and family commitments, Suitor worked the night shift at Covenant, attending classes in the mornings and afternoons, often on little sleep.
“It was a lot to handle sometimes,” Suitor said. “I have ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]. That was one of the biggest things I struggled with throughout both high school and college. It made focusing difficult, and some days, it was a real challenge.”
Suitor said that his experience with ADHD is best explained by using the visual of a train track.
“For someone without ADHD, their track – or their thought process – is usually pretty straight. There may be a few curves thrown in here or there but they usually get to the point in a timely manner. My train track encounters a few more intersections, some sharp turns, and a few kinks and I never really get that straight narrative that someone else might have. It's not that I never get to the point, it just takes me a little longer to get there sometimes.”
Suitor used his personal struggle to help those he meets on campus and in the community. While a student at SVSU, he served as the president of Ability First, a registered student organization geared towards helping students with disabilities become more acclimated to college life through campus engagement. The group aims to be a welcoming environment to all students, those with and without disabilities.
SVSU’s medical laboratory science program prepares students to work in a clinical laboratory setting. It has a 98 percent job placement rate; graduates of the program often find employment in clinical pathology laboratories in hospitals across the nation.
“It's a competitive process,” said Kay Castillo, SVSU associate professor of medical laboratory science. “Sean was just one of those students that stood out from the start because he knew what he wanted to do and he was determined to get there. That's just who Sean is.”
A Saginaw native, Suitor married his high school sweetheart, Robyn; both participated in Commencement exercises in May. Robyn is finishing her coursework this summer to complete a degree in exercise science.
“It really means a lot to me that she and I have been able to do all this together,” Sean Suitor said.
The couple coaches cross country at Swan Valley Middle School in their spare time.
Sean was an orientation leader at SVSU for three years. He credits that experience for helping him to break out of his shell and become more confident in his own abilities as a student leader.
“I don't think there will ever be a way for me to fully express how grateful I am for the opportunities SVSU has given me,” Suitor said. “I'm so thankful for this school, the professors who helped guide me along the way, and for Covenant for making me a part of their team. I couldn't be happier with where I am right now and I'm excited to see where this journey will take me.”
Saginaw Valley State University will host a camp created to enhance literacy skills in students from kindergarten to adulthood.
The three-week program will run Tuesday through Friday, July 17-20, and then Monday through Thursday, July 23-26, and July 30-Aug. 2.
Prior to attending the clinic, participants must take an assessment, available on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 26-27, at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. The assessment requires a $50 non-refundable deposit that will go towards the $270 tuition fee for the literacy camp.
The program consists of 50-minute sessions featuring small group or 1-on-1 instruction; classes meet four times per week for the duration of the clinic. To track each student's progress throughout the camp, they will be given an assessment before and after completion of the program.
Utilizing the latest technology, certified teachers will conduct the tutoring sessions that are designed to foster motivation for reading. Each tutor has specialized training in reading that will allow them to create individualized lesson plans for participants.
To enroll, please contact Laurie Ann Haney, assistant director of the Literacy Center, at 989-964-4982 or email@example.com. For more information, visit svsu.edu/literacycenter.
Jessica Schafer-Thomas started tossing T-shirts. That action sparked an interest in sports marketing that has landed the recent Saginaw Valley State University graduate one of the most coveted internships in the industry.
A Clio native who earned a bachelor's degree in marketing, Schafer-Thomas is headed to New York City to participate in a coveted internship with the Manhattan Sports Business Academy, starting June 10. With only 25 spots available for the summer, Schafer-Thomas is among the select few to earn the highly competitive opportunity.
“I've never been to New York City so it's going to be a big change of pace for me, but I'm absolutely ecstatic,” Schafer-Thomas said. “I feel like this is what I'm supposed to be doing and SVSU definitely helped to set me on that path.”
The program runs eight weeks and requires participants to work full-time at their internship placement while also attending a weekly speaker series, receiving one-on-one mentorship with established sports industry professionals, and participating in weekend outings. Past internship providers include Madison Square Garden, the NFL, Red Bull, and the New York Mets among other prominent names in sports.
As the first SVSU student ever to be admitted to the prestigious program, Schafer-Thomas is grateful for the three years she spent as a sports marketing and promotions intern for SVSU Athletics. Responsible for all in-game promotions at football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball events, Schafer-Thomas earned herself a reputation around campus.
“I'm kind of known as the t-shirt girl,” Schafer-Thomas said with a laugh. “If you went to a basketball game over the past few years, chances are you saw me shooting T-shirts into the crowd. After my first year working with the athletic department, people started to recognize me around campus. It always made me smile.”
Jim Dwyer, SVSU executive director of alumni relations and a former SVSU men’s basketball player, served as a mentor to Schafer-Thomas.
“It was clear to me that Jessica was very driven to make her way in the sports marketing field,” Dwyer said. “She knew the value of experience outside of the classroom and that positioned her to get this opportunity. She took her weaknesses and parlayed those into strengths and then was relentless in making it happen.”
Beyond her internship, Schafer-Thomas was a member of the coed business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi. She also dedicated a great deal of her time to IMPACT, a Christian-based student organization. Schafer-Thomas volunteered for SVSU Athletics, as well, working at events such as SVSU's Community Youth Days clinics for grade school children.
Each year, SVSU students compete in a charitable fundraising competition against their counterparts from Grand Valley State University, known as Battle of the Valleys. A chance encounter helped lead Schafer-Thomas down her current path.
“I remember attending my first Battle of the Valleys event,” she said. “One of the students working the event asked me to participate in one of the promotions and I was on cloud nine. That was a surreal moment for me. It made me feel like I belonged and it helped to point me in the direction of what I really wanted to do.”
Schafer-Thomas feels prepared for her move to New York.
“SVSU has taught me to stay true to myself and trust my own abilities,” Schafer-Thomas said. “I love what I'm doing and, although getting here wasn't easy, I'm really proud of the fact that I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try.”
For more information on the Manhattan Sports Business Academy, visit https://gomsba.com/.
Saginaw Valley State University is stepping up its efforts in sexual assault prevention with help from a $25,044 grant from the State of Michigan.
The funds will support SVSU's Bringing in the Bystander program, which is based on an initiative created by the University of New Hampshire. SVSU has participated in the program since 2015. The recently-awarded $25,044 grant from the State of Michigan Campus Sexual Assault Grant Program funded training for more students through the Bringing in the Bystander initiative.
The program's impact will reach beyond SVSU's campus, said Michele Gunkelman, SVSU's director of Residential Life and one of the program's campus coordinators.
“It's not just here at SVSU where we have an impact,” she said. “Our campus is the main focus, but we also have a responsibility to our students to give them skills to take into the workforce and the community.”
Using the funds, 30 students and staff were trained during an 8-hour workshop. These trained facilitators in return plan to train other program participants. Campus leaders say at least 1,000 students will receive the training by December 2018.
The grant also will be used to launch a "Know Your Power" poster campaign - also designed by the University of New Hampshire - and a video contest for SVSU students. Videos submitted will demonstrate good pro-social bystander behavior to reduce sexual assault and stalking.
The project at SVSU is led by Gunkelman and Cortney Heileman, SVSU's assistant director of Student Wellness Programs.
For more information on the Bringing in the Bystander campaign at SVSU, visit www.svsu.edu/titleix/trainingeducation.