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August 29, 2018

Two SVSU club hockey players selected to represent U.S. at tournament in Russia

Two Saginaw Valley State University club hockey players have been selected to serve as members of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division III Select Team.

Guy Soulliere, a graphic design major from Gladwin, and Steven Roberts, a general business major from Beaverton, have made great impacts on SVSU's team and on the national stage, leading to them having the opportunity to compete at the international level.

“When I found out, I was ecstatic,” Roberts said. “I went to Europe two years ago with the same team, and we traveled a lot. We got to play good hockey, and it was a great learning experience. I enjoyed traveling and learning about the different cultures over there.”

As members of this team, they will travel to Albany, New York for team training camp from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4 to prepare for the Student Hockey Challenge in Krasnoyarsk, Russia from Sept. 28 to Oct. 8. They will play teams from both Europe and Russia.

Only 22 players were selected from the 158 Division III club hockey teams in the nation, with SVSU being one of 14 colleges and universities represented this year.

“When I found out I was selected along with another team member, I was very excited,” Soulliere said. “It's an experience only few get to have, and I am honored to be selected.”

Both athletes are entering their fifth and final year of competition at SVSU. Last season, Roberts played center and was the scoring leader of the team. Soulliere was the overall point leader while he played forward and defense.

The two hockey players said they are eager to vie for a tournament championship across the world.

The teammates are eager to travel and compete, but Soulliere said that they will not be taking this opportunity for granted.                   

August 23, 2018

SVSU collaboration empowers Saginaw arts community

Helen_Raica_KlotzSaginaw Valley State University leaders say a new partnership between the institution and a national organization will bolster the positive influence of the arts community in Saginaw.

The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, a grassroots organization not affiliated with a government agency, recently designated Saginaw as one of its “outposts” for encouraging interaction within the arts community. SVSU was selected as the home base of that “outpost,” now known as The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost.

“The goal is to provide individuals a platform and resources to help them be active and engaged in their communities,” said Helen Raica-Klotz, director of SVSU’s Writing Center as well as coordinator of The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost. “We want to improve the lives of the community.”

New York City, Baltimore, Denver and Berkeley are among the other “outposts” designated by the national organization.

Raica-Klotz said The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost’s goals involve connecting regional artists, activists and leaders, then encouraging them to engage the larger community in dialogue relating to issues facing Saginaw. The arts will be used as a way to spark those conversations.

The first project associated with The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost is a short documentary, “A Body of Work,” that details the highs and lows of Saginaw’s automobile manufacturing industry. The film premieres Saturday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Pit & Balcony Theatre, 805 N. Hamilton in Saginaw. A panel discussion about the state of the automotive industry and its impact on Saginaw will follow the showing, which is free and open to the public.

The film was produced by Elisa Urtiaga, a community artist, in collaboration with members of SVSU’s staff and faculty. David Rzeszutek, an SVSU associate professor of theatre and one of the film’s collaborators, said the production exemplifies the spirit driving The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost.

“Hopefully, our interview-based film will inspire a reaction and allow people to open up about their personal experiences during this conversation,” Rzeszutek said.

Another goal of The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost involves improving participants’ access to resources. Raica-Klotz said The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture provides information on grant opportunities available to arts and cultural leaders seeking collaboration. Individuals can learn about those opportunities by signing up for the organization’s email newsletter at https://usdac.us/saginaw. Information also is available on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SaginawUSDAC/.

Raica-Klotz said SVSU is a natural fit to serve as a center for such community interaction.

Because of the university’s culture of outreach and collaboration in the Great Lakes Bay Region, SVSU in 2015 received a Community Engagement Classification designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university also recently established the Center for Community Engagement, which centralizes many of SVSU’s outreach programs. The new center helped the university earn its designation as The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost. And many of the artists and cultural leaders likely to collaborate through The Saginaw Community Arts Outpost programs are members of the university’s student, staff, faculty or alumni populations.

“We have a number of artists who are on our campus and in our region that are very engaged politically, socially, and are very community-minded,” Raica-Klotz said. “This is a great platform for artists in the community and the university to come together to do work to benefit the region.”

August 21, 2018

SVSU earns grant funds to support addiction recovery services for seniors at community health clinic

Health professionals at Saginaw Valley State University are determined to secure resources to improve health for people living in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

SVSU recently received a 2-year, $352,574 grant from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund to establish an addiction recovery support team specializing in patients 60 and older at the Bay Community Health Clinic in downtown Bay City.

The SVSU-supported regional health clinic will bolster its staff and resources in an effort to save lives and treat a demographic left especially vulnerable to the nation's deadly opioid addiction crisis.

The health clinic was established in January 2015 through a partnership between the Bay County Health Department and SVSU, which provides much of the staff and resources for the clinic. The facility largely caters to clients less likely to seek treatment at more traditional medical facilities. Beginning in January 2019, the clinic will begin adding services for the growing number of senior citizens suffering from addictions to alcohol and drugs, including opioids.

“The older adult population is really under-recognized in this opioid epidemic,” said Kathleen Schachman, SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing and a nurse practitioner at the clinic.

The medical and mental health needs of the older population are far more complex, and substance use disorders are often under-recognized, she said.

“Health care providers often attribute their symptoms to aging or to other co-occurring health conditions,” Schachman said. “Due to stigma or a lack of age-appropriate services, older adults fail to get the help they need. This calls for addictions care that is tailored to the unique needs of the older adult, and that's what we want to provide.”

The grant in part will fund additional staff for the clinic including health care-trained professionals from both Ferris State University and Recovery Pathways, an Essexville-based outpatient rehabilitation program for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.

The Bay Community Health Clinic is no stranger to helping those with substance use disorders, but the staff largely has been limited to treating those clients for mental health issues. To treat physical dependence relating to substance use, the clinic has referred individuals to other facilities. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund's support will change that.

By January, the clinic will staff a specially-trained nurse practitioner who will be certified to prescribe buprenorphine, one of three medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Health care professionals equipped with that type of certification are rare in the region, Schachman said.

“And some of the rural areas we hope to impact – like Arenac and Oscoda counties – have zero prescribers of buprenorphine,” she said.

The grant will allow the clinic to add a nurse practitioner to prescribe medication-assisted treatment, a substance use counselor and a peer addictions recovery coach. The clinic utilizes an integrated approach – teaming professionals in nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and social work – to address physical and mental health issues on multiple fronts.

The funding also will support the clinic's educational component.

Since its founding, the clinic has been staffed by faculty members with experience as medical professionals. They have been supported by students – largely from SVSU but also Michigan State University and Wayne State University in previous years – who provide help while receiving hands-on training from the faculty. The new grant will allow SVSU and Ferris State to embed opioid addiction recovery material in the classroom curriculum.

“This isn't just about how we can help here and now,” Schachman said. “We're preparing the next generation of healthcare providers to more adequately deal with this crisis.”

As January approaches, clinic staff will prepare for the new resources and advertise the facility's expanded service – known as The GRACE (Gaining Recovery in Addiction for Community Elders) Project – to community members who one day could be saved by it.

The Bay Community Health Clinic is located within the Bay County Health Department building at 1200 Washington in Bay City. The clinic provides primary care medical services for patients of all ages. Those in need of such services can contact the facility at (989) 895-2035.

August 21, 2018

Newest SVSU fraternity makes a difference locally; student and advisor receive national award

A Saginaw Valley State University student and staff member were recently recognized as national leaders by Alpha Kappa Lambda (AKL) fraternity.

Gabe Kasper, a marketing major from Clare who served as the SVSU chapter's president until recently, won The Clarence E. Brehm Leadership Award at the fraternity's conference in the Bahamas August 1-4.

“When I received the Brehm Award, I was completely dumbfounded,” Kasper said. “As they were reading, I slowly put the pieces together that they were talking about me, and I was in complete shock that I - out of thousands of other AKL undergraduate members -  was the one the National Executive Council chose.

“To me, what I do in AKL isn't something extraordinary. The people who won that same award in the past have gone and done amazing things in their life, and I still cannot believe that my name will be in the same category.”

It has been a very busy year for the fraternity that was only recently chartered on SVSU's campus on March 16, marking the first time a fraternity had been chartered at SVSU in the past decade.

The chapter's advisor, Riley Hupfer, an SVSU alumnus and assistant director of SVSU's Center for Community Engagement, was awarded the Henry T. Moon Outstanding Chapter Advisor award for his outstanding work while advising the fraternity.

During the past school year, members of the SVSU chapter of Alpha Kappa Lambda promoted causes such as sexual assault prevention and alcohol safety education.

The fraternity collects pledges for These Hands Don't Hurt, a national philanthropic organization aimed at preventing domestic or sexual violence. In 2018, the SVSU chapter added a bike-a-thon to raise funds for to local women's shelters. For every $1 raised, members rode an exercise bike for 1 minute. In the past two years, they have raised over $500.

SVSU’s Alpha Kappa Lambda chapter also worked with others to introduce a Glo-Hard Paint and Foam Party in 2017 to provide alcohol safety education as part of Welcome Weekend, which marks the start of a new academic year. Partnering with SVSU’s offices of Student Life and Student Wellness Programs, among others, students who attend the party get party-safe and alcohol-safe tips from our trained students and professionals while foam cannons and luminescent paint cover attendees dancing to music from top local DJs. The first-year event attracted more than 750 people and resulted in donations of $250 to Hurricane Irma relief efforts; this year they hope to draw more than 1,000 students.

While the national awards were given to individuals, Kasper said the 22 fraternity members worked hard to accomplish the recognition received. He looks forward to watching the chapter continue to grow.

“The most rewarding thing was the realization that our leadership and dedication will now lead to a legacy of people to grow as men under the foundation we set,” Kasper said. “AKL really changed my idea of what a fraternity is. Fraternity is so much more than what the media portrays. Greek letters – especially at SVSU – do so much more for the campus and the community, and make a true impact.”

August 15, 2018

SVSU students develop solutions for local companies, see them at summer engineering symposium

Saginaw Valley State University engineering students will display their senior projects during the Summer Engineering Symposium Friday, Aug. 17. Over the past year, the students have worked with a variety of engineering industry partners to develop fully working prototypes.

All SVSU mechanical engineering majors are required to collaborate with outside clients or university organizations as part of their senior projects.

There will be 37 students – all mechanical engineering majors – presenting their projects for six different companies: Duro-Last, Huhtamaki, Kremin, the Millet Center (part of the Saginaw Intermediate School District), Motiv and Nexteer Automotive.

The eight teams of students' projects include a wheelchair basketball shooter, a bowling automated ball quality control check, a plastics cup stack dispenser, an auto electric home gym and a roofing automated pull tester.

From 10 a.m. to noon, the students will present posters on their projects and show live prototype demonstrations in Pioneer Hall. The symposium is free and open to the public.

For more information on SVSU's College of Science, Engineering and Technology, please visit www.svsu.edu/collegeofscienceengineeringtechnology/.

August 15, 2018

SVSU to host debate focused on environmental issues facing Saginaw

Students involved in a six-week-long summer program that involved cleaning up local parks will culminate their experience in a debate competition at Saginaw Valley State University that will focus on environmental issues affecting Saginaw.

A mix of high school and SVSU students will debate each other on topics including air pollution, water quality and climate change. The event - free and open to the public - is scheduled Wednesday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. in the Thompson Student Activities Room in SVSU's Doan Center building. Community leaders will judge the competition.

Professors from SVSU's sociology department mentored and guided students involved in this summer's park clean-up program, which was funded by a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“It's a part of our department's mission to engage with the community to create positive change,” said Rosina Hassoun, an SVSU associate professor of sociology who served as one of the program's mentors. “Through this program and these debates, we want to change lives and educate the community.”

Dawn Hinton, professor of sociology, also served as a mentor to the 25 students involved in the clean-up program.

While not all of the participants will engage in Wednesday's debate competition, all individuals involved in the clean-up effort will be honored for their work.

August 14, 2018

SVSU hosts program empowering middle and high school students as leaders in STEM studies

 

With demand expected to rise in STEM-related jobs across Michigan, Saginaw Valley State University and regional partners are continuing a collaboration aimed at developing and growing the next generation of leaders in the sciences.

 

This week, SVSU is hosting a program — now in its second year — that will train 66 Bay, Midland and Saginaw county middle and high school students as “chief science officers.”

 

Modeled after a similar program that has proven successful in Arizona, middle and high school students are elected by their peers to be a “chief science officer” and then are empowered at the workshops to influence a wide range of STEM opportunities in their schools and communities. The goal is to have students take an active role in increasing student interest in the STEM fields, ultimately creating a diverse pipeline of STEM leaders.

 

“It’s so impactful to have students become a voice for STEM in our region,” said Adrianne Cole, director of STEM at SVSU.

 

“When we gather people around the table to talk about how we are engaging students in STEM, too often there aren’t students at that table. We want to put them at that table.”

 

The two-day session — planned for Tuesday and Wednesday, Aug. 14-15 — will include workshops, team-building exercises and fun activities led by STEM industry professionals from SVSU, The Dow Chemical Company, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, Hemlock Semiconductor and MidMichigan Health.

 

The students will lead individual presentations based on their experience at the program from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, in SVSU’s Gilbertson Hall, rooms GS 221 and GS 222. The public is invited to the free and open session. The presentations will include demonstrations showcasing how the students plan to engage their peers in STEM-related activities.

 

Last year, 50 students participated in the program. Of the 66 involved in this year's initiative, 22 are returnees from that inaugural class.

 

SVSU received a $40,000 grant from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation to start the community-minded pilot program last year. The foundation donated another $40,000 to fund this year’s initiative.

 

August 9, 2018

SVSU welcomes business delegation from Ghana

A leader and educational expert from Ghana will grace the Great Lakes Bay Region, offering ambassadorial greetings focused on culture and economic partnership potential.

Nana Osim Kwatia II, a leader from Ghana, will attend a number of festivals and events while touring Michigan attractions next week. At SVSU, he will participate in a session aimed at identifying opportunities for Michigan businesses to invest in Ghana during a gathering with the region's economic leaders Friday, Aug. 10.

He will be accompanied by his economic adviser, Oheneba Mercy Akosua Yeboah.

"This is an important visit for a lot of reasons," said Amy Hendrickson, an SVSU associate professor of law and one of the officials coordinating the visit. "These guests have a lot to offer culturally and, given the fundamentals of their market, they have a lot to offer us as economic partners too."

Hendrickson said she expects both guests from Ghana will surprise local entrepreneurs with the business opportunities available in his region.

"If you look to see where a lot of the smart money is at globally – in terms of where the next opportunities will be – Ghana is in the middle of that," she said.

"They have so many things going for them: A young population, emerging middle class and an economy predicted to grow at a rate that rivals China. This visit represents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to think about what their next step will be."

The group from Ghana also hopes to learn from their trip, Hendrickson said. They are interested in developing Ghana's appeal as a tourist destination, and plan to discuss ways to create such an environment with community leaders here.

SVSU's Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management is organizing part of the delegation's visit to the region. The guests' appearance is due in part to their familiarity with Joseph Ofori-Dankwa, SVSU's Harvey Randall Wickes Chair in International Studies and a native of Ghana.

Other community and business leaders plan to address Friday's meeting at SVSU. Friday's speakers include:

                     Victor Atiemo-Obeng, a retired Dow Fellow with Dow Chemical Co.

                     Ric Olson, co-founder and president of Gantec Inc., and Joseph Affholter, co-founder and chief innovation officer of Gantec Inc.

                     Jacob Schroeder, an international trade manager with Michigan Economic Development Corp.

                     John A. Tsaras, value delivery leader for Diamond Systems Analytics

The public also can meet the group from Ghana when they serve as guests of honor at the 50th annual Saginaw African Cultural Festival at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the site of the former Morley Elementary School, 2533 Lapeer Ave. in Saginaw. They plan to discuss the importance of a community's elders.

The cultural festival also features an SVSU connection. Dawn Hinton, professor of sociology, serves as the event's chairperson.

During their week-long stay, the group from Ghana will receive a ceremonious key to the City of Saginaw and meet 1-on-1 with business leaders from across the state.

Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, the king of Akyem Abuakwa in Ghana, was scheduled to join the delegation but he canceled his plans to travel to the United States due to health issues.

August 6, 2018

SVSU history professor authors book on Cold War-era polygraph use

John Baesler, associate professor of history at Saginaw Valley State University, has written his first book, examining the topic of polygraph use during and after the Cold War.

The book, “Clearer Than Truth: The Polygraph and the American Cold War (Culture, Politics, and the Cold War),” is based on how the use of polygraph technology – often referred to as the lie detector – greatly increased after World War II and the ramifications of the increase in usage by the U.S. government.

“The book is a history of the polygraph and particularly the role that the polygraph has played in U.S. national security policies since the second World War,” Baesler said. “Polygraph technology had been around since the early 20th century, but it was really only after World War II that American government agencies began using it on a large scale to test the loyalty of applicants for federal jobs and employees in the federal government, as well as to establish the bona fides of sources working for U.S. intelligence services.”

The book is for sale at vendors including Amazon.com. It tracks the history of polygraph use, justifications for using it, as well as protests against it by citizens and civil liberties groups, from the Cold War to the present.

He said he wrote the book due to his interest in how the U.S. used the polygraph technology compared to other government systems.

“To me, the history of the polygraph exam was presented by its defenders as a scientific, objective and therefore fair procedure, while at the same time it was seen as hard-nosed – almost like torture – and therefore suitable to smoke out communist spies and so forth,” he said.

“In short, I chose to write about this topic because there is a fascinating, complicated history there that has a larger significance.”

A native of Germany, Baesler earned his undergraduate degree in history and philosophy from Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg in 2001 and earned his Ph.D. in U.S. history and cultural history at Indiana University-Bloomington in 2009.

He joined SVSU's history faculty in 2009, and was promoted to associate professor in 2014.

The process to write this book began as his dissertation project at Indiana University, but he continued to work and expanded the research to make the nonfiction book that is on sale today.

“It took me almost 14 years to research and write this book,” he said. “It's been a long journey, but I am very proud of the result.”

August 6, 2018

SVSU student with Down Syndrome to receive surprise visit, scholarship news

Jessica Day with her parents and Ruby, Tim, and Liz Platcha Jessica Day, a Saginaw Valley State University student, will receive a surprise visit - and scholarship news - Friday, Aug. 3 from the namesake of Ruby's Rainbow, an Austin, Texas-based nonprofit that supports adults with Down syndrome.

Day, a Midland native with Down syndrome, applied for a Ruby's Rainbow scholarship last spring. Her mother learned in July that Day earned the scholarship, and in coordination with Ruby's Rainbow and SVSU officials, they organized an event on campus where the 25-year-old will learn about the scholarship in a surprise setting.

The news will be delivered personally by Ruby Plachta, a 7-year-old girl with Down syndrome and the inspiration behind her mother's creation of Ruby's Rainbow. The Austin, Texas-based nonprofit presented $213,000 in scholarship funds to college-bound individuals with Down syndrome last year and $643,000 total since the organization's founding in 2010.

Day and her family – which pays completely out-of-pocket for Day's tuition and fees – will not know the amount of the scholarship until Friday's reveal.

“I don't know how she will react when she finds out, but this will be a big deal to her,” said her mother, Julie Day. “She submitted the scholarship application herself, so she really owns this accomplishment.”

The reveal will coincide with SVSU's Cardinal College Day event introducing high school students and transfers to SVSU. Jessica Day is a student worker in the university's Admissions office, where she is scheduled to work Friday. The Ruby's Rainbow scholarship reveal is scheduled to take place within the first 10 minutes of a Cardinal College Day program at 10 a.m. in SVSU's Curtiss Hall seminar room. Day will be present, at first under the impression she will be working.

Day is a third-year student expected to complete a certificate of attendance from SVSU in May 2019, thanks in part to her involvement in the university's ThinkCardinal program. The SVSU initiative – an offshoot of the national organization, Think College! – provides opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to attend classes there as non-degree seeking students. Day is one of six students attending SVSU as part of ThinkCardinal.

Ted Lind, associate director of SVSU's Admissions, oversees ThinkCardinal and helped coordinate Friday's reveal event.

“I'm excited for Jessica,” Lind said. “She and a couple other students really helped us pioneer this effort to create a more inclusive environment through ThinkCardinal.”

Day's mother was grateful for the hard work put forth by officials such as Lind in helping her daughter pursue one of her life goals of attending college.

“Whenever we would drive by campus, for years Jessica would tell me, ‘I will go there one day and you will cry when you have to drop me off,’” her mother said.

“SVSU and Ted have been great in helping her succeed. Ted really has a compassion for her and worked hard to get her involved on campus.”

Day became involved in the cheer team in November 2016. During the 2018 winter semester, she lived on campus, marking her first time not living at home with her family.

“She loves life, people and school,” Day's mother said. “This has been a great experience for her.”

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