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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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
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.
Saginaw Valley State University students continued their tradition of improving their surrounding community by raising $32,115 in the annual “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. The funds will help the Mustard Seed Shelter double the occupancy of its Saginaw facility that moves women and children from homelessness to self-sufficiency.
The rich bonds of friendship forged during the campaign, however, could not be measured in dollars, the nonprofit's director said.
"Our world is in good hands with the leadership of these students," said Amy Bartels Roe, the Mustard Seed Shelter's director since 2014. "I'm overwhelmed and truly thankful for the care and concern of these students for the homeless, and their ability to have fun while raising money for an important cause."
The $32,115 was raised during the annual fundraising competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University. Each year, each institution selects a nonprofit partner, then spends one week collecting donations for those respective organizations.
This year's Battle of the Valleys week began Sunday, Sept. 24 at SVSU with a kickoff celebration - featuring food and games - attended by some of the women and children housed at The Mustard Seed Shelter.
"I was touched by how the students welcomed our guests," Bartels Roe said. "This was about so much more than the check."
Caitlin Coulter, the SVSU student who serves as philanthropy chairperson for the SVSU Student Association, felt that same immediate connection between her peers and the Mustard Seed Shelter guests.
"It was very heartwarming to see them come out and have fun," said Coulter, a pre-medicine major from Clio. "Their children were playing on a Slip 'N Slide and having such a blast with us."
That interaction continued throughout the week between SVSU students and The Mustard Seed Shelter during fundraising outings at Buffalo Wild Wings and Stardust Lanes in Saginaw Township.
The competition concluded Saturday, Sept. 30 when the final tallies were announced during halftime of the football game between SVSU and GVSU at Lubbers Stadium in Allendale. SVSU students won the contest for the tenth consecutive year.
"It was great to see the sheer excitement of the students when it was announced," Bartels Roe said.
The funds will support a 3,500-square-foot expansion to the Mustard Seed Shelter facility in Saginaw. The growth will double the existing structure's 12-person capacity, Bartels Roe said. She expects to break ground on the addition in the spring.
Coulter said Battle of the Valleys exceeded her expectations. She and fellow student leaders began organizing the week-long initiative four months ago, with the goal of exceeding the $26,000 raised during the 2016 Battle of the Valleys campaign benefiting Hidden Harvest, which helps the hungry in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
"I'm very proud of everyone who helped this year," Coulter said. "It's bittersweet that the week is done."
GVSU students collected $17,017 for their charity partner, Laker Children's Fund, which contributes to organizations that promote health and wellness for children.
Between SVSU and GVSU, the universities have raised a combined total of $601,282 since the competition started in 2003. SVSU has contributed $389,444 of that total.
The university raising the largest sum of money during each Battle of the Valleys competition claims ownership of a 3-foot-tall trophy known as "Victoria" until at least the next year's rematch. Victoria has remained at SVSU since 2008. Of the 15 Battle of the Valleys competitions, SVSU students outraised GVSU during 12 of those years.