A national organization honored one of our own for her dedicated work empowering our students to help their peers make healthy decisions. Cortney Heileman, program coordinator and assistant director of Student Wellness Programs (and a 2011 alumna), earned the 2017 Outstanding Advisor Award from the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA at the organization's recent national assembly in Denver. Among her duties, Cortney is in charge of a team of 27 peer health educators: students trained on how to educate their peers on topics such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; sexual responsibility; environmental sustainability; and sexual assault prevention. Several of them recently attended the Denver assembly as well as a sexual assault prevention conference in Ann Arbor. I am proud of Cortney's commitment to leading them as well as our students' dedication to spreading awareness about these important subjects among their peers.
Today, we are hosting 125 prospective Cardinals participating in a competitive selection for thep President's Award scholarship. These are high school seniors with the highest GPAs and SAT/ACT test scores. To earn the scholarship – our highest merit award – they must complete a written essay as part of the competition. Thank you to the many faculty who are participating in this event, spending time with these students and their families. These prospective students are interested in a range academic programs, and at least one faculty representative from each of those disciplines plans to be in attendance. Meeting their future professors makes a big impression on students and reinforces the value of an SVSU degree.
High school students are not our only guests today. Our campus also will host about 100 fourth graders participating in an Hour of Code event, where they write a computer program using programming language. Hour of Code is part of a nationwide initiative to increase diversity in computer science and introduce coding to students at an early age. The students are arriving from elementary schools in St. Charles, Chesaning and Bridgeport. My thanks to our colleagues involved in this event.
That group includes George Corser, assistant professor of computer science and information systems. He has an extensive understanding of the role computers play in our lives. This week, he spoke with NBC 25 about ways individuals can protect their private information online. It is an especially timely discussion during the holiday season, when many consumers are purchasing gifts on websites. You can hear George's advice here: http://nbc25news.com/features/holiday-gift-guide/profitt-report-practical-ways-to-protect-your-finances-while-shopping-online.
I was honored and pleased to be a part of the Senior Class Toast for our December graduates Wednesday evening. This can be a stressful time for seniors finishing the last of their undergraduate exams, essays and projects. But it is also time to begin celebrating all that they have accomplished during their time at SVSU and the lives and careers they have ahead of them. I look forward to the celebrations yet to come, including Commencement in just two short weeks.
Several student-athletes earned accolades for the sports seasons that recently finished. In women’s soccer, sophomore defender Jennifer Muana was named to the 2017 United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division II Women's All-Midwest Region Second Team while Molly Vanderhoff earned a spot on the Third Team.
Five members of the men's soccer team also were honored after the season. Among the United Soccer Coaches All-Midwest Region honorees were junior midfielder Connor Rutz on the First Team; senior defender Dom Hart and freshman forward Michael Hamilton on the Second Team; and sophomore goalkeeper Connor Keane and junior defender Omar Sinclair on the Third Team.
A 2009 alumnus also made headlines this week. Matt Black helped clinch the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup - the Canadian Football League's equivalent of the Super Bowl - with an end zone interception with eight seconds remaining in the game. Congratulations to Matt and his daughter, Ava, who requested her daddy win the championship earlier in the season on CBS Sports.