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April 2, 2015

SVSU's Crainer named top student adviser in the Great Lakes

Saginaw Valley State University's Bryan Crainer recently was recognized for being an outstanding adviser to student organizations. He received the Outstanding Adviser Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for District 5, which includes higher education institutions in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

 Crainer, SVSU's associate dean for Student Life and Leadership Programs, was recognized for his work as adviser of Forever Red, an SVSU student organization that coordinates activities and helps raise funds for a variety of SVSU programs.
SVSU student and Forever Red member Kimberly Salwey was one of the members of the campus community to write a letter of recommendation nominating Crainer.
“Bryan, being the founder of Forever Red, has put his heart and soul into this organization,” wrote Salwey, a management major from East Tawas.
“Bryan's integrity does not go without notice. Students respect and look up to him. Bryan directly affects members' paths everyday as well as the student body of SVSU.”
The award took Crainer by surprise.
 “Honestly, I was shocked when I got the notification that I was selected for this honor,” Crainer said. “I had asked the group to submit a nomination for an outstanding program that they facilitated this year called 'Stop the Clock.' I never expected that they would take the time to nominate me for Outstanding Adviser.”
“Stop the Clock” was an event designed to draw students’ attention to the moment in the academic year at which public funding for SVSU “stops.” One purpose of the event was to increase awareness of the importance and prevalence of donors’ contributions to SVSU and how students benefit from them.
CASE fosters student involvement in areas of advancement including alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing.
Merry Jo Brandimore, SVSU associate provost for Student Affairs and dean of students, also wrote a letter of recommendation.
“Because of Bryan's capacity to develop and apply student leadership, Forever Red has become a significant force at Saginaw Valley State University,” she wrote.
“So many students are passionate about their affinity with SVSU. Forever Red gives them the platform to channel their feelings into action that contributes to the strength of the university. Bryan's leadership is critical to continuing this legacy.”
Crainer said he enjoys providing leadership to Forever Red.
“Advising this group for the last four years has been one of my most enjoyable SVSU experiences,” he said. “As a proud and dedicated alumnus, advising a group that is dedicated to, among other things, connecting current students with alumni, makes it a natural fit for me.”
Crainer received his master's degree in educational leadership from SVSU, along with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. He was first hired in SVSU as a resident director in 2007.
A graduate of Whittemore-Prescott High School, Crainer resides in Bentley with his wife Kelly, a fellow SVSU graduate, and their two sons.

March 27, 2015

Novelist Larry Watson to speak at SVSU as Dow Visiting Artist

Author Larry Watson will hold a fiction reading Monday, April 13 at Saginaw Valley State University. His presentation, titled “Fiction and Families”, will begin at 7 p.m. in SVSU's Founders Hall. This event is part of the university's Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists series; it is free of charge and open to the public.

 Watson is author of several novels, including “Orchard,” “White Crosses,” and “American Boy,” with a new book tentatively titled “A Cowboy in the Basement” to be published next year. His novel “Let Him Go” is currently nominated for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and “Montana 1948" was nominated during the award's first year.
Many of Watson's novels are also published in foreign editions, and he has received prizes and awards from numerous associations, including the Friends of American Writers, New York Public Library, and Milkweed Press. He also is a writer of poetry and short stories, with many of his works appearing in various literary journals and quarterlies.
A resident of Milwaukee, Watson teaches writing and literature at Marquette University. He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of North Dakota and his Ph.D. in creative writing at the University of Utah.

March 26, 2015

SVSU to host program to encourage women to seek elected office

Saginaw Valley State University will host the Ready to Run Michigan conference Friday, April 17 and Saturday, April 18.

Ready to Run is a nonpartisan campaign program aimed toward training and encouraging women to run for political office at local, state, and national levels.

The conference will feature a panel with elected representatives from around the state, and training sessions on how to run for office. These sessions will give participants the skills, knowledge, and confidence needed to promote a successful campaign and race. The workshops will focus on topics such as media training, fundraising strategies, and building political leadership.

March 26, 2015

Best employer turn-out in 10 years for SVSU employment and networking fair

Saginaw Valley State University will host more than 120 employers during its spring University-wide Employment and Networking Fair Friday, March. 27. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall banquet rooms.

“This is our largest employment fair since before 2005,” said Mike Major, director of career services.  “We have 127 organizations that will be in attendance this Friday.”

Numbers are up from last year's spring employment fair, where there were 110 organizations represented.

Participating employers this year include Chemical Bank, Dow Corning, Garber Management Group, H&R Block, Northwestern Mutual, Quicken Loans and Verizon Wireless. A complete list of employers is available online through the SVSU Career Services website at

Sponsoring the event are Morley Companies and Independent Bank. Next year's sponsor, Saginaw Bay Underwriters, will also be in attendance.

Professional attire must be worn by all job seekers. The event is open to the public. Advanced registration for SVSU students is available on Cardinal Career Network. Those who pre-register will receive printed ID tags, and will also be the first allowed to enter the fair.

March 25, 2015

SVSU chemistry student accepted for elite Notre Dame research program benefiting poor nations

A Saginaw Valley State University student will conduct chemistry research at one of the leading research institutions in the nation this summer, the University of Notre Dame.

Bailey F. McCarthy Riley will receive a $3,000 stipend as well as full room and board in South Bend, Ind. for Notre Dame’s Analytical Chemistry REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) 10-week program that develops low-cost, robust technologies aimed at helping people in poor nations.

“I was very excited when I found out I was offered a spot,” said McCarthy Riley, a chemistry major from West Branch. “I'm excited to conduct research that will work to help other countries grow and develop.”

McCarthy Riley will work on the program's 3-D printed instruments project with Notre Dame faculty during the initiative that spans June to August. She was grateful for a letter of recommendation that helped her clinch the spot, authored by Kyle Cissell, SVSU assistant professor of chemistry.

“This opportunity at Notre Dame is a culmination of Bailey’s excellent work in research,” Cissell said. “This will give her the opportunity to perform research - at one of the leading research institutions in the country - that will be available for people in economically distressed countries and people who would not have access to health care or analytical technology.”

McCarthy Riley has assisted Cissell in developing tests that would detect specific nucleic acids.

“Bailey is very inquisitive by nature,” he said. “She is always up for trying new things.”

The methods and instruments developed as part of the Analytical Chemistry REU are intended to help detect environmental contamination or food adulteration, discover and manage bacterial drug resistance, test pharmaceutical quality, and diagnose human and animal diseases. McCarthy Riley’s experience will include seminars on topics related to global development and analytical chemistry, as well as a series of courses.

At the end of the summer, McCarthy Riley will present her findings at the Analytical Chemistry REU's symposium.

McCarthy Riley plans to graduate SVSU in 2016 and begin studying for a Ph.D. in chemistry.
Eventually, she hopes to merge her passion for chemistry and art by pursuing a career as a conservation scientist who analyzes chemicals in art pieces in an effort to identify its authenticity, origins and chemical makeup. McCarthy Riley had applied for summer positions at a number of museums before she received a notice of acceptance at the Notre Dame program.

“This was an unexpected opportunity,” McCarthy Riley said. “I couldn't pass it up.”

March 24, 2015

SVSU Receives Senate Tribute for Community Engagement

State Senator Ken Horn presented Saginaw Valley State University President Don Bachand with a special legislative tribute Monday, March 23.  

SVSU received the recognition for meeting criteria for the 2015 Community Engagement Classification by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching.

“This achievement showcases SVSU’s outstanding tradition of being extremely engaged in our community,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “It’s always been a pleasure to work alongside SVSU students, faculty, staff and alumni, whether it be in my office in Lansing or while volunteering across the Great Lakes Bay Region.”

SVSU students are actively engaged in field-based learning and volunteer service throughout the region and Michigan as a whole. By their senior year, 84 percent of students have engaged with community employers and agencies in internships, field placements or some other component of their academic preparation, and more than 60 percent of students have engaged in co-curricular service outside of academic course work.

About 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities have earned the Community Engagement designation.

In addition to Senator Horn, the tribute was signed by Governor Rick Snyder and state representatives Ben Glardon, Vanessa Guerra, and Tim Kelly.

March 19, 2015

SVSU, Delta alumna Christal Ross found calling in mathematics; Ph.D. program up next

Some second acts are worth the wait.

Christal L.S. Ross’ first stint in higher education had its share of promise. The onetime theater major scored leading roles in Saginaw Valley State University productions from the early 2000s such as “Cat On A Hot Tin Roof” and “The Comedy Of Errors.”

But the curtain closed on that first act when she was married and had her first child before she finished her degree. Today — while raising two sons, 10 and 14 — she has completed two degrees with more expected.

“My life totally changed when I went back to school,” said the 1998 graduate of Heritage High School in Saginaw Township. “I’m really busy and I never sleep, but I find myself loving every minute of it.”

Her second act in college proved different than the first. Leaving theater behind, Ross discovered a passion for mathematics.

“I love math,” Ross said of her rediscovered interest in the subject. “The weirder math gets, the more I like it. They’re like little puzzles you have to solve.”

After receiving her associate’s degree from Delta College in 2008, she returned to SVSU. Along with adding a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from SVSU to her résumé in 2013, she earned a spot on the school’s dean’s list, and a position as secretary of the university’s Math Club.

An aspiring professor, some of the faculty Ross hopes to emulate supported her at SVSU including professors of mathematics Steven Sepanski and Thomas Zerger, as well as Tony Crachiola, associate professor of mathematics and acting assistant dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.

“Tony was my teacher during my first semester after my transfer from Delta,” Ross said.

“I was intimidated, fearing that I would not be successful in math, especially since I started in developmental math classes when I was almost 30. I approached Tony after class one day, expressing my concerns, and he was very encouraging. I will always appreciate that pep talk, as it came at a time when I really needed a boost in my self-esteem.” 

Now she hopes to pay forward the support received from Crachiola and his colleagues.

“I’ve had wonderful professors everywhere,” Ross said. “I really feel like they’re cheering for me, and encouraging me to apply for new things. It’s been a very supportive environment.”

In August, she expects to earn a master’s degree in math at CMU, where she works as a graduate teaching assistant and is a member of the American Mathematical Society Graduate Student Chapter at CMU.

Her education will be far from finished when that master’s degree arrives. In fall 2015, she will begin CMU’s Ph.D. program for mathematics.

Eventually, Ross hopes to start a career not unlike that of the staff and faculty who helped her succeed during her second act in higher education.

March 19, 2015

SVSU program to improve literacy, writing education at regional K-12 schools

Teachers from three K-12 school districts this year will receive professional development from Saginaw Valley State University faculty in literacy and writing across the curriculum.

The news comes after SVSU secured a $220,000 Michigan Department of Education grant for the one-year program, which kicks off in August.

The professional development will benefit 30 to 35 educators in Standish-Sterling Community Schools, International Academy of Flint and Marlette Community Schools. That professional development will impact their teaching approach for underrepresented students in grades 5 to 12.

Deborah Smith, SVSU professor of teacher education, said the initiative will mirror a professional development project she oversaw five years ago. In 2009, the Michigan Department of Education provided SVSU with a $184,830 grant aimed at supporting teachers’ literacy integration and community building skills at SVSU-supported charter schools.

“This new project is built on what worked from that grant, so I am hopeful that it will go even better,” she said. “We plan to collaborate closely to be sure that we are responsive to the changing needs of the teachers involved,” Smith said.

Smith said Helen Raica-Klotz, SVSU's Writing Center director, and Paul Hernandez, an outside consultant for SVSU, will help her coordinate the project. Hernandez is chief academic officer of The Future Project, a national nonprofit organization focused on education.

March 17, 2015

SVSU Rhea Miller Concert Series features pianist with global résumé

Saginaw Valley State University will showcase internationally acclaimed pianist May Phang during its next Rhea Miller Concert Series installment Saturday, March 21. The performance is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall.

Phang has performed on three continents including solo recitals and chamber music concerts in Singapore, Montreal and the Netherlands. Her résumé includes performances with the Singapore Symphony, the Banff Chamber Players, the Montreal Symphony, and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Phang was a finalist in the 2007 Iowa Piano Competition and won the Chopin Young Pianists' Competition in Buffalo, the Canadian Music Competition, and Pontoise International Young Artists Competition in France. She began piano studies in her native Singapore.

An active music educator, Phang serves as an assistant professor of music at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind. She is a graduate of McGill University in Canada and earned her Ph.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia. Phang also is a teaching artist of Young Audiences of Indiana, the state's oldest and largest provider of professional arts education programs for children; and conducts master classes at institutions such as Idyllwild Arts Academy in Idyllwild, Calif., and Interlochen Center for the Arts in Interlochen, Mich.

Phang’s Rhea Miller Concert Series program will include selections from musicians such as 19th century's Franz Schubert and Frédéric Chopin, as well as contemporary musician Roberto Sierra.

The Rhea Miller Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from Rhea E. Miller, a longtime friend of SVSU. Her gift, administered by the Miller Trust for Music Education, has provided the university with the opportunity to offer outstanding performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed musical artists at no cost to the audience since 1993. For more information, call (989) 964-4159 or email

March 17, 2015

SVSU Student Association seeking charity benefactor for Battle of the Valleys 2015

The Saginaw Valley State University Student Association is once again seeking a charitable partner for the 13th annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising drive.

Each fall, students at SVSU and rival Grand Valley State University host a week-long fundraising competition that culminates at the Saturday football game. This philanthropic tradition at each university encourages not only school pride, but gives students the opportunity to give back to their community through non-profit fundraising efforts.

Over the past 12 years, SVSU students have raised more than $300,000 for local organizations. SVSU students have won this fundraising competition nine out of twelve times, including the most recent seven “Battles.”

In 2014, SVSU students raised $32,000 for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation, a Michigan-based non-profit that had ties to both schools that exists to raise awareness about depression, suicide, and anxiety among college students.

For more information or to apply to be this year's Battle of the Valleys charitable partner for SVSU, please visit or contact SVSU Student Association's BOV coordinator, Emily VanFleteren, by email at The deadline to apply is Friday, April 10.

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