October 17, 2017

SVSU announces 2017 Homecoming king, queen and court

Saginaw Valley State University students elected Mikaela Ashton, a senior management major from Grayling; and Mitchell Kennedy, a senior accounting major from Bad Axe, as the university's 2017 Homecoming queen and king. Ashton and Kennedy were crowned Saturday, Oct. 14 during the halftime festivities at SVSU's football game against Ferris State University.

The two campaigned together by handing out treats to students while asking for their vote. They also engaged with their fellow Cardinals through social media as part of their campaign strategy. Alongside Ashton and Kennedy, eight other students were selected to be on the Homecoming Court earlier in the month.

On campus, Ashton is heavily involved in both Forever Red, a student-alumni networking organization that raises funds for student scholarships, and her coed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. She is also a Foundation Scholar. On campus, Ashton works for both the Academic Affairs and Admissions offices. She previously completed a study abroad trip to Seville, Spain.

Kennedy is also a member of Forever Red and remains dedicated to his fundraising efforts during I Heart SV Week, a fundraising campaign put on by Forever Red to celebrate student engagement and philanthropy. He is also a member of the Delta Sigma Pi, a coed business fraternity, a Foundations Scholar, and has been selected for the Vitito Global Leadership Institute, which provides networking, international travel, and leadership opportunities for SVSU business students.

The students joining them on the 2017 Homecoming court were

•                    Maddy Donahue, an exercise science major from Sterling Heights

•                     Jack Duly, a nursing major from Midland

•                     Kacey Flintoft, an occupational therapy major from Caro

•                     Nancy Haddad, a communications major from Saginaw

•                     Gabe Kasper, a marketing major from Clare

•                     Pedro Marin, a marketing major from Grand Blanc

•                     Billy Nichols, a marketing major from Mt. Clemens

•                     Sydney VanPetten, a communications major from Sterling

October 17, 2017

SVSU alumna takes stage as educator at top children's theatre

Karli Jenkins’ love of theatre began as a youngster attending summer camps at Saginaw Valley State University, where she later completed her degree. Now she is sharing that love with other children at one of the nation’s leading children’s theatre companies.

One of the first times Jenkins was exposed to theatre was at SVSU’s Fine Arts Day Camp, which still runs today. There, the Saginaw native gained experience as an actress, beginning in fourth grade. Ric Roberts, SVSU professor of theatre, gave Jenkins multiple opportunities to perform on stage, with college-aged students, while still in middle school.

Now Jenkins is translating what she learned in SVSU's classrooms and stages into a career educating thousands of students who annually visit the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, considered by many to be the top children's theatre in the U.S. As a school engagement coordinator, she welcomes over 70,000 students a year on their field trips to the theatre. Jenkins also works with teachers on theatre-based curriculum that connects the plays on stage to content in their classrooms.

"The strong work ethic SVSU taught me and the range of skills I was able to cultivate made me ready for a professional career in a non-traditional education setting," she said.

Jenkins completed her bachelor's degree in theatre in 2013, and felt well-equipped to start her career.

"While attending SVSU, I was exposed to every aspect of theatre: administration, instruction, working at the same fine arts camp I attended as a kid. It wasn't just about acting," she said.

That exposure is where she found her true calling: teaching.

Torn between teaching and directing, Jenkins approached her professor, Roberts, about potential internships. Their discussion led her to conclude that she wanted - and frankly needed - more experience in teaching to really know if it was a suitable option for her. She applied to multiple internships that revolved around teaching and finally landed one in Minnesota.

Jenkins spent nine weeks of the summer before her senior year at the Children's Theatre Company learning to teach. She spent the entire time in classroom settings, gaining the knowledge needed to succeed in this career path and slowly realizing her passion for teaching.

After her internship, Jenkins knew exactly what she wanted to do. During her final year at SVSU, her theatre professors helped shape her curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities to align with her career goals. Jenkins worked with professionals in the field, became more involved in the fine arts day camp, and spent time in classrooms teaching theatre. SVSU cultivated a close-knit community of theatre students, so even during her time outside of SVSU classes and extracurricular activities, Jenkins said she was always gaining valuable experience.

"When I look back at my time at SVSU, I never a see a moment where the learning stopped," she said.

October 17, 2017

Musicians will recognize 100th anniversary of Russian Revolution during SVSU concert

It has been 100 years since the Russian Revolution in 1917. This historic moment and its aftermath are being recognized on Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. during a musical performance in Saginaw Valley State University's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. A trio of musicians with experience on international stages will perform pieces composed in the early-20th century Russia using instruments such as the piano, cello, and violin. 

In 1931, the Soviet state decided that the only music that could be produced was the "mass song." This music typically had a march-like tempo and revolutionary text. The communist government strictly regulated the music during this time period, ensuring that all compositions met the standards of what they considered to be "authentic proletarian genre."

Both composers Shostakovich and Prokofiev, featured in the recital at SVSU, were denounced in 1934 and 1948, respectively, for creating music that did not meet the guidelines set by the Soviet state. However, their music is still played today. Their unusual tempos, difficult-to-play harmonics, and somber notes set them apart from other musicians during this time. This recital will showcase two pieces from Shostakovich, "Sonata for Cello and Piano in D minor, op. 40" and "Piano Trio No. 2 in E minor, op. 67" as well as Prokofiev's Sonata for "Violin and Piano in D major, op. 94a."

MiJung Trepanier, adjunct instructor of music at SVSU, will perform these historic works on the piano, alongside Jamie Fiste, a professor from Central Michigan University, on the cello, and Takeshi Abo, instructor of violin and viola at Albion College on the violin.

Trepanier has performed with the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and participated in a solo recital at Grove Music Festival, among many others. She is an active educator across the Midwest, not only teaching piano but lecturing to music teachers and their local communities.

Fiste has been featured on stages in Hungary, Budapest, Germany, France, Spain, and across the United States. He has been a prize winner in the Rolland Competition, Cello Society Completion, and the University of Illinois Concerto Competition.

Abo's music and performances throughout the United States and Japan have been deemed "breathtakingly beautiful" and "angelic" by critics. Along with teaching and performing, Abo maintains his own private studio where he educates young violinists.

Admission to the concert is free of charge. For more information on concerts and music programs at SVSU, visit www.svsu.edu/music.

October 17, 2017

Congressman Kildee to speak on bipartisanship and civil discourse in SVSU lecture

U.S. Representative Dan Kildee will discuss the state of modern politics during a lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday Oct. 19. He will discuss "Promoting Civil Discourse and Fostering Bipartisanship in Today's Politics" at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts.

Born and raised in Flint, Kildee’s accomplishments include securing federal funding to demolish blighted properties across the state, including Great Lakes Bay Region communities. Kildee was instrumental in working to free Amir Hekmati, a U.S. Marine and Flint native, who was detained as a political prisoner for four years in Iran.

Elected to represent Michigan’s 5th Congressional District, Kildee also was at the forefront of supporting families affected by the Flint water crisis. His other priorities include preventing a Canadian company from burying nuclear waste less than one mile from the Great Lakes.

Kildee comes to SVSU to give the annual James E. O’Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture at SVSU. The series was established in 2003 to honor the late Saginaw educator, legislator and community servant. Co-sponsored by SVSU and the Field Neurosciences Institute of Saginaw, the series is intended to dynamically reflect O’Neill’s passion for excellence in government, education and the neurosciences, and to provide opportunities for people to learn about public service from individuals who have unselfishly contributed to the betterment of the human condition.

For more information, please visit svsu.edu/publiclectures.

October 12, 2017

SVSU receives top certification from Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Saginaw Valley State University has earned certification as a Veteran-Friendly School from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency for the third consecutive year.

This certification is the highest award a Michigan university can earn on the state level, said Bethany Alford, SVSU director of Military Student Affairs.

While SVSU has received the award in the past, the university continues to expand the services it provides to military-affiliated students.

"We just started a new program that will really personalize the help we give our students," Alford said. "We have hired four veteran students to work for this office as peer academic and career advisors."

These positions provide specific, one-on-one advisement to SVSU's military-connected students from their peers who have been through the process themselves.

The SVSU Military Student Affairs Office reaches over 300 military-connected students across campus, helping them achieve success in the classroom as well as the community.

"We offer help all the way from a student's initial admission in the university, helping them choose their classes and acclimate to college life, all the way to graduation and everything in between," Alford said.

This award reflects SVSU's Military Student Affairs office dedication to ensuring their military-affiliated students are equipped with the tools necessary to succeed in higher education and in the surrounding community. 

This is the first year SVSU met all seven criteria established for the certification:

                     identification of current student veterans,

                     a veteran-specific website,

                     active student-operated organization,

                     a veteran-centric career services/advising,

                     on-campus coordinator/staff point of contact,

                     evaluation/awards based on prior military experience,

                     and evaluation of veteran academic retention and graduation rates.

"It's our duty to serve those who have served," Alford said.

For more information about SVSU's Military Student Affairs office, visit www.svsu.edu/militarystudentaffairs.

October 11, 2017

SVSU job fair to feature record 140 employers

Saginaw Valley State University will host a record total of at least 140 employers during its annual Fall University-Wide Employment & Networking Fair. The event - free and open to the public - is scheduled Friday, Oct. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. in SVSU's Curtiss Hall. 

“Our job seeker attendance has been up, and the positive word-of-mouth from recruiters leads to more interest,” said Mike Major, SVSU director of Career Services. “It could also be a sign that the economy is doing well.”

The fair will give prospective employees the opportunity to meet and network with employers representing both regional and national businesses and organizations. Volunteer opportunities also will be available. In addition, the event offers an opportunity for attendees to strengthen communication and interviewing skills as they interact with potential employers.

"Employers report the No. 1 skill lacking in new hires is 'interpersonal communication,' regardless of industry," Major said. "Employers want to meet candidates face-to-face and witness their ability to communicate. It's easier for them to judge this important skill at an employment fair rather than trying to read a résumé."

The event is sponsored by Chemical Bank, Independent Bank, Magliner, MidMichigan Health, Morley Companies, Nexteer Automotive, Quicken Loans, Saginaw Bay Underwriters, Walmart.  Among the additional companies and organizations scheduled to attend are American Red Cross, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), The Dow Chemical Company, Saginaw Spirit, Stardust Lanes and United Way of Saginaw County.

A complete list of employers is available online at www.svsu.edu/careers.

The fair will also offer attendees free professional portrait opportunities, courtesy of Dynamic Focus Photography.

October 9, 2017

SVSU alumnus and STEM partner honored as Teacher of the Year by Carrollton Public Schools

Craig Coopersmith, a two-time Saginaw Valley State University alumnus and an adjunct instructor of chemistry, has been named Carrollton High School's Teacher of the Year for the 2017-18 school year. Coopersmith will be honored with a plaque as well as funding for classroom supplies.

Tim Wilson, superintendent of Carrollton Public Schools, chose Coopersmith for the honor.

“In the classroom, he creates unique learning experiences for his students,” Wilson said.

“He also creates many hands-on projects — both inside and outside the classroom — that engage students deeply in the learning process. He has revived our greenhouse and students are excited about it. He's enthusiastic about teaching and his enthusiasm is contagious. He cares for kids and he helps them to succeed. He is respected by both students and staff for his dedication to teaching and helping our students learn about science.”

Coopersmith completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees at SVSU; he also completed the Dow Corning Foundation/SVSU Community STEM Partnership program. He first participated in the program during the 2015-16 academic year, when he and his students studied how pollutants enter the region’s watershed.

Coopersmith has a unique way of connecting with and motivating his students to get involved. When interviewed about his involvement in the watershed project as part of the Dow Corning Foundation initiative, he explained that he wants each student to take ownership of their work on the projects they are involved in.

"I think the best way to teach them science is to let them experience it," Coopersmith said.

Practicing what he preaches, Coopersmith has served as a teacher in SVSU’s Dow Science and Sustainability Education Center Summer Research Program for four years. The program focuses on collaborative partnerships between high school students, teachers, SVSU students and faculty. The projects are chosen based on needs in the community.

Coopersmith said his K-12 students have gained academic advantages through other resources available at SVSU, including the Arnold and Gertrude Boutell Greenhouse, and Saginaw Bay Environmental Science Institute, along with the university’s scholarship opportunities and STEM-based camps. 

“My students have benefitted greatly through these experiential learning opportunities,” he said.

For more information about programs in science, technology, engineering and math at SVSU, visit http://www.svsu.edu/stem/.

 

October 6, 2017

SVSU hosts kick off for Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute, Friday, Oct. 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Curtiss Hall

Saginaw Valley State University will host 91 students from 30 regional high schools Friday, Oct. 6 for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Youth Leadership Institute. Students from across the region will learn from each other, SVSU mentors, and invited guests over the course of the program.

Today’s session include a performance by the Mosaic Youth Theatre company from Detroit.

The institute is an academic year-long community outreach program facilitated by SVSU’s Office of Diversity Programs. It provides a leadership development experience for youth focused on issues related to the intersection of diversity and leadership.

This youth leadership institute is the only one of its kind in the Great Lakes Bay Region and the only initiative of its type developed by a Michigan university. 

Sponsors for the institute include:

•                     the Bay Area Community Foundation

•                     the Bridge Center for Racial Harmony

•                     The Dow Chemical Company

•                     Isabella Bank

•                     the Midland Community Foundation

•                     Nexteer Automotive

•                     the Saginaw Community Foundation

•                     Team One Credit Union

October 4, 2017

SVSU’s first all-female cast to stage WWII drama, 'Decision Height'

Saginaw Valley State University will soar into new territory this October with the theatre department's first production with an all-female cast, "Decision Height."
 
Set in World War II, the play follows a group of women who form a bond of sisterhood while serving together in the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), a wing of the United States Army Air Forces.
 
The main character, Virginia Hascall – played by Brianne Dolney, an SVSU political science major from Bay City – joins WASP and meets kindred spirits who also left their homes in pursuit of helping the world defeat the Axis powers. During the course of the drama, the team learns much about each other - and themselves - as they learn how to fly an airplane.
 
Ric Roberts, SVSU professor of theatre, is directing the empowering play.
 
"We wanted to not only highlight the actresses in our program, but we also wanted to highlight a young new female playwright, Meredith Dayna Levy," Roberts said of his motivation for bringing "Decision Height" to SVSU. 
 
The play revolves heavily around the theme of the bonds formed between women. This theme has carried over into the actresses’ rehearsals and off-time, said Alicia Russell, a business major from Marlette. She plays the role of Rosalie Hartson.
 
"It's so much fun being in an all-female cast, especially when you have this particular group of ladies," Russell said. "The rehearsal conversations are a little different than a normal show. Since we're all girls, we talk freely about some things we might not always discuss when guys are present."
 
SVSU's tech, sound, and lighting teams have come together to create the illusion on stage of a WWII-era warplane. The behind-the-scenes crew will utilize video clips and pictures, sound effects, costumes, and theatrical lighting to help this show take flight, Roberts said. 
 
"Decision Height's" showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday, Oct. 4-7, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8, in SVSU's Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets are $13 for the general public and $10 for students or attendees 60 and older.
 

October 3, 2017

SVSU to host lecture on free will

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome a guest speaker and professor who will speak on the topic of "Free Will and Neuroscience." The presentation will take place Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in SVSU's Ott Auditorium.

An expert in his field, Alfred Mele, the William H. and Lucyle T. Werkmeister Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University, comes to SVSU as part of SVSU’s annual Beutler Forum on Ethics and Practice, and Visiting Scholars and Artists Series.

While teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses at Florida State, Mele has authored 11 books and more than 200 articles covering a range of topics including free will, motivation, self-deception and more. His most recent publications include "Free: Why Science Hasn't Disproved Free Will," and "A Dialogue on Free Will and Science," both published in 2014. He has also edited several books.

Between 2010 and 2013, Mele acted as the director of the Big Questions in Free Will Project in which scientists and philosophers aimed to improve understanding of free will in three areas: science, philosophy and theology.

Mele is currently the director of the Philosophy and Science of Self-Control Project which began in 2014. The project provides incentives and opportunities for collaborative philosophical and scientific research on self-control.