Saginaw Valley State University’s Cardinal Formula Racing team sped to its fifth-best finish ever during the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series competition.
The May 14-17 event at the Michigan International Speedway featured 120 schools across the globe competing in categories including design, cost, acceleration and endurance.
SVSU’s team finished 36th overall, including first in the acceleration category.
Last year’s group finished second in the acceleration category.
“We have fast cars year after year because we have a great team of students, faculty, staff, administrators and sponsors,” said Brooks Byam, SVSU professor of mechanical engineering and Cardinal Formula Racing advisor since 1998. “The great support we have is why we go fast.”
SVSU’s Cardinal Formula Racing team has only finished better four times in its history. The top four finishes were sixth in 2002, eighth in 2005, 14th in 2008 and 18th in 2010.
Byam said he is already looking forward to next year’s competition. He estimates 12 of the 2014 team’s 16 students will return to design next year’s Indy-style car.
“The students did a great job and I am very proud of them,” he said. “I'm a very competitive person and so are my students. We left MIS wanting more. We all believe we left a lot of points out there on the track. We'll be back next year.”
The 2014 team featured a mix of students from various fields of study.
The mechanical engineering students on the team are Jarred Felt, of Muskegon; Alex Fullerton, of Onaway; Zach Haveraneck and Brandon King, both of Saginaw; Matthew Kline, of Jonesville; Clayton Piechowiak and Logan Shelagowski, both of Bay City; Zachary Putnam, of Hale; Brandon Stanhope, of Dearborn; and Brandon Verhun, of Ann Arbor.
The group’s two electrical engineering majors are Justin Dolane, of Davisburg, and Shane Oberloier, of Beaverton. There are two Saginaw graduate students studying for a Master of Business Administration degree: Henry Shin and Joey Wisniewski. Scott Stanford, of Novi, is an accounting major. Samuel Dantuma, of Pinconning, is a fine arts major.
Related: SVSU's 2014 Cardinal Formula Racing team gears up for international competition (from May 16, 2014)
Michigan International Speedway will host the event from May 14-17.
Brooks Byam, SVSU professor of mechanical engineering and Cardinal Formula Racing adviser since 1998, said the 2014 team features an eclectic mix of 16 students designing an Indy-style vehicle distinct from previous incarnations.
“What's unique about this year's team is how multidisciplinary it is,” he said.
For instance, “this is the strongest contingent of electrical engineering students we've had,” he said.
As a result, the Cardinal Formula Racing team has built its first vehicle with a touch screen dash where drivers can control the race car's systems.
The group - largely comprised of mechanical engineering majors - also features students studying marketing, accounting and fine arts.
“The really unique part is having the artist on the team,” Byam said of Pinconning native Samuel Dantuma. “He's fantastic.”
Dantuma has helped design elements for the vehicle with artistic flair, including a shroud that covers the car's shocks.
“The parts are very functional and very attractive,” Byam said of Dantuma's contributions.
Byam didn't offer predictions for the team's performance at the upcoming event, which will test teams in categories that include design, cost, acceleration and endurance.
“The car has the basics to be very fast - not a lot of mass, a lot of horsepower - but it's hard to tell how we might do right now,” he said. “We have to have things go our way.”
Byam has led SVSU to four top-20 finishes, placing sixth in 2002, eighth in 2005, 14th in 2008 and 18th in 2010. Several past team members have continued to engineering careers in NASCAR and other racing series, as well as leading automotive manufacturers.
Last year, Byam won the competition's Carroll Smith Mentor's Cup, given to one outstanding faculty mentor each year since 1999.
Erich Heuschele, an adjunct instructor of engineering, serves as the team's industry advisor.
The mechanical engineering students on the team are:
• Jarred Felt of Muskegon
• Alex Fullerton of Onaway
• Zach Haveraneck of Saginaw
• Brandon King of Saginaw
• Matthew Kline of Jonesville
• Clayton Piechowiak of Bay City
• Zachary Putnam of Hale
• Logan Shelagowski of Bay City
• Brandon Stanhope of Dearborn
• Brandon Verhun of Ann Arbor
The group's two electrical engineering majors are Justin Dolane of Davisburg, and Shane Oberloier of Beaverton.
In addition, there are three business students. Two from Saginaw are graduate students studying for a master of business administration degree: Henry Shin and Joey Wisniewski. Scott Stanford of Novi is an accounting major.
Saginaw Valley State University recently met the criteria for two key initiatives leaders say will help the university’s recruitment, retention and support of military veterans looking for a college education.
SVSU now is recognized as meeting the requirements for the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Veterans Affairs’ “8 Keys To Veterans’ Success” initiative, which designates institutions providing outstanding services to active and reserve service members, veterans and their dependents.
Additionally, SVSU has become a “Yellow Ribbon” school - a Veterans Affairs program that guarantees eligible veterans’ tuition will not exceed the cost of the highest tuition at a public institution of higher learning in Michigan.
Denise Berry, SVSU's director of Military Student Affairs and special assistant to the vice president of Student Affairs, said veterans shopping for higher education institutions are now often including both initiatives on a list of must-have items.
“Participation in these national initiatives helps get the word out that SVSU is committed to supporting veterans and their families,” Berry said. “We want them to know if they come here we're going to take care of them.”
Formal inclusion in the “8 Keys to Veterans' Success” on the Department of Education’s website means that SVSU has become just the 6th college or university in Michigan to join a select group of educational institutions fulfilling the standards initially outlined by President Obama. Those standards are as follows:
1. Create a culture of trust and connectedness across the campus community to promote well-being and success for veterans.
2. Ensure consistent and sustained support from campus leadership.
3. Implement an early alert system to ensure all veterans receive academic, career, and financial advice before challenges become overwhelming.
4. Coordinate and centralize campus efforts for all veterans, together with the creation of a designated space for them (even if limited in size).
5. Collaborate with local communities and organizations, including government agencies, to align and coordinate various services for veterans.
6. Utilize a uniform set of data tools to collect and track information on veterans, including demographics, retention, and degree completion.
7. Provide comprehensive professional development for faculty and staff on issues and challenges unique to veterans.
8. Develop systems that ensure sustainability of effective practices for veterans.
Military members and veterans seeking more information about SVSU's programs and services specific to them can contact Berry in the Military Student Affairs office at (989) 964-2462.
In Broadway terms, some might call Pit and Balcony Community Theater’s “Spring Awakening” an “off-SVSU production.”
Nearly half of the play’s cast and production crew are affiliated with the university, including director Tommy Wedge, an adjunct instructor in SVSU’s theatre department.
The adaptation of the Tony Award-winning coming-of-age musical set in 1891 Germany kicked off its 2-weekend run May 9 in the Saginaw theatre, 805 N. Hamilton. The final weekend includes showings on Friday and Saturday, May 16-17, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, May 18, at 3 p.m.
“It’s going really well,” Wedge said of the production. “’Spring Awakening’ is a little bit of a controversial show that deals with a lot of adult themes, but we had an almost sold-out Friday night and a great talk-back session on Saturday night.”
Wedge said six SVSU students are among the 14 cast members and seven students — along with one alumna and an SVSU staff member — are on the 20-person production team.
SVSU student cast members are Brianne Dolney, a theatre major from Bay City; Dakotah J. Myers, a theatre major from Saginaw; Carly Peil, a communication major from Auburn; Randy Robinson, a theatre major from Saginaw; Kale Schafer, a health science major from Freeland; and Alice Vanston, a pre-nursing major from Saginaw.
SVSU students in the design crew are Taylor Ackerman, a theatre major from Montrose; Alexis Alexander, a theatre major from New Lothrop; J. Cullen Humphreys, a theatre major from Saginaw; Lucy Kalinowski, a theatre major from Grand Rapids; John Little, a theatre major from Saginaw; Blake Mazur, a theatre major from Saginaw; and Amanda Moths, a theatre major from Jenison.
Sara Taylor, a 2002 SVSU graduate, is the play’s music director; and Gerald Dennis, SVSU technical director, is the set designer.
General admission tickets for “Spring Awakening” are $22. Those with student IDs can pay $10 if they purchase tickets up to 15 minutes before the show starts.
For more information, visit Pit and Balcony's website at www.pitandbalconytheatre.com.
Saginaw Township native Jennica Young this fall has been accepted into a Ph.D. program in psychology at Southern Illinois University's Brain and Cognitive Science program.
Young's next academic challenge will follow her graduation from Saginaw Valley State University, where she is set to receive a bachelor's degree in psychology in May. She will join some 1,000 classmates earning degrees from the institution.
Young's passion for studying traumatic brain injury is about more than academics and career ambitions, she said. It's personal.
Seven years ago, her sister sustained such an injury when she hit the back of her head on a large metal pole, and has been on the road to recovery ever since.
"She's just now seeing improvements," said Young, who hopes her contributions to the science one day will help speed up such recovery times.
Eventually, the 2008 Heritage High School graduate wants to work in a research facility at a medical center such as the Mayo Clinic, advancing the world's understanding of conditions including traumatic brain injury.
Charles Weaver, an assistant professor of health sciences at SVSU, was Young's instructor in four classes. Weaver recognized in her both a knack for science and a genuine empathy for the human condition -- two qualities he believes makes her an invaluable addition to neuroscience studies.
"Jennica displayed a unique ability to systematically apply subject matter from one class to the topic presented in another," he said. "It was wonderful to behold.
"She also never gave the impression that her schooling was just about getting the highest grade," Weaver said. "Jennica is a public servant. She cares about human suffering, and wants to alleviate it. Graduate school, and a career in neuroscience pain research is her way of getting to do just that."
Early on, she eyed a major in SVSU's pre-health professions curriculum.
"After a lot of shadowing and thinking about it, I didn't know if I wanted to work as close to people," Young said. "I wanted to do more background work. Eventually, I found the neuroscience lab and liked research a lot more."
That lab -- SVSU's Brain Research Laboratory -- exposes students to neuroscience research and offers opportunities to present findings at conferences and seminars across the nation.
Young is also one of a select number of students to receive funding from SVSU's Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute, a program supporting student research projects. Her project involved studying the effects of an enriched environment -- stimulation via physical and social surroundings -- on traumatic brain injuries.
Young's SVSU journey extends beyond classrooms and laboratories.
She participated in two trips for Alternative Breaks, an SVSU program sending students to volunteer for causes across the globe. Her first excursion involved building houses for Habitat For Humanity in West Virginia. The second trip allowed her to volunteer at a substance abuse clinic in Atlanta.
She's also volunteered at the Special Olympics event SVSU hosts annually.
Shepherd native Kerri Vasold been accepted to the Michigan State University Ph.D. program for kinesiology. She begins this fall.
Vasold is one of some 1,000 students set to graduate from Saginaw Valley State University this May. Not long after collecting her bachelor's degree in exercise science, Vasold will prepare for the next academic step in her pursuit of becoming a kinesiology educator at the college level.
The 2010 Shepherd High School graduate is a capable candidate for such a profession, says one of her mentors.
Jeremy Knous, SVSU associate professor of kinesiology, assigned Vasold the moniker "Mama Duck" because of her outstanding leadership abilities, often displayed in the way she organizes gatherings and makes sure her student peers are in the best position to succeed.
"She takes charge of things so it's run in proper fashion," Knous said. "She has an absolute passion to reach her goals, and while she's doing that, she has a kind heart to take care of others."
Her leadership skills, smarts and devotion to the study of exercise science have made her a star student at SVSU, Knous said.
"From an academic standpoint, she is one of the brightest people I've worked with," Knous said. "She's intelligent, humble. She'll do very well in graduate school."
And beyond, Knous predicts.
"She has the potential to be a great professor," said Knous, who tasks Vasold as a teaching assistant in several of his classrooms.
"I see her being a game changer in the field of kinesiology. She's going to be a very good asset to us or another university."
Vasold credits SVSU for equipping her for that next step.
And SVSU nearly never happened for her. Before graduating from Shepherd High School, Vasold had applied to eight colleges. When a friend suggested SVSU as a destination, her curiosity led her to tour the campus.
"I absolutely fell in love with it," Vasold said of the springtime visit. "The people here were relatable. I wanted to be here."
She began as a biochemistry major, but by the end of her freshman year, Vasold had developed an interest in kinesiology that hasn't waned since. Her studies in the subject have propelled her toward a number of opportunities.
Vasold, for instance, is a member of the university's Student Exercise Science Association, a group dedicated to raising health awareness in the campus and community.
Last year, she and fellow student Elizabeth Groendal were selected to receive $5,200 in research funds as part of SVSU's Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute. Their project resulted in findings that show people who exercised sparsely were more likely to increase their physical activity if they wore fitness wristband monitors, also known as Fitbit technology.
Vasold also is a member of the institution's Roberts Fellowship Program, a year-long initiative that involves leadership development sessions for a dozen students. The opportunity finishes with a visit to Asia in May.
"I'm really excited but really nervous at the same time," she said of the coming trip abroad. "It's going to be a bit of a culture shock."
Knous said, after she's gone from the university, her accomplishments as a student there will make her a shining example for prospective Cardinals.
"She's a great representation of what students can achieve at SVSU," Knous said. "She came here from high school, achieving, and she will continue to do that."
Cara Cole, a St. Louis, Mich. native this fall plans to begin work toward a master’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
She will begin this latest endeavor after graduating in May from SVSU -- along with some 1,000 other students -- with a bachelor's degree in social work.
Cole said quite a bit changed for her since arriving at SVSU after graduating from St. Louis High School in 2010. At SVSU, she discovered a new niche that both defined her stay at that school and sent her with a mission to the next.
"My entire life, I was convinced I wanted to go into medicine, but I changed my major in my freshman year to social work," she said.
"I feel like it found me," she said of social work, a field that allowed Cole to turn a passion for helping people into a love for volunteerism that already has spanned the globe.
As a freshman, Cole was a member of the Foundation Scholars, a competitive program at SVSU that selects 60 first-year students yearly to engage in academic and social opportunities. The sociology classes required for the program grabbed Cole's attention, and the social work courses she studied as a result changed her life.
"I just loved it," she said of the classes. "The topics we talked about -- like social equality and social justice -- I got really fired up."
Soon, Cole began volunteering for the Houghton-Jones Neighborhood Association, a group aimed at improving the lives of those residing in the northeast Saginaw district. Cole served as a tutor for youths in the association's after-school program.
"I loved the mission," she said. "That was an amazing experience. They're amazing people."
During her SVSU life, Cole continued to volunteer, matching her love of helping others with a desire to see the world. Last summer, she traveled to Peru, where she volunteered at an orphanage for youths aged 3 to 17.
Her goodwill has been felt both far and near. Cole was a tutor at the SVSU Writing Center, which helps students in the writing process. Her work there connected her with the center's director, Helen Raica-Klotz, who praised Cole.
"I think she's amazing," Raica-Klotz said.
Raica-Klotz said she was impressed with Cole for accomplishments including her volunteerism with AmeriCorps, her efforts in support of a clothing supply and food pantry for SVSU students in need, and her membership in the university's Roberts Fellowship Program. The latter initiative engages 12 students yearly in leadership development seminars and, to cap off the program, a trip to Asia. Cole's visit happens in May.
"She does all this work very, very well, and she does it all with a sense of grace and humility," Raica-Klotz said.
Cole plans to continue volunteering. While she loves helping others abroad, she said it's likely most of her future work will take place closer to home.
"I need to stick around the U.S. and work on some things here," she said. "My passion, as far as social work goes, is in community organizing and empowering the community to make positive changes. I love that environment."
Ultimately, she envisions a future where she teaches social work. Her experience at SVSU, she said, taught her the value of awakening that passion in others.
"SVSU is a great place to challenge yourself and grow, knowing you have the people there to support you," Cole said. "The social work faculty here has been amazing. I'm so inspired by what they do."
Earning a full-time job straight out of college isn’t an everyday occurrence, but Midland resident Nicholas Anderson isn’t an everyday student, his professors will tell you.
Before Anderson graduates from Saginaw Valley State University in May, he was promised a full-time job as an accountant at nearby Dow Corning Corp., one of the world's leading manufacturers of silicon used in next generation technology.
"Landing a job (right out of school), that's not easy to do at all," said Mark McCartney, an SVSU professor of accounting who has instructed Anderson in four classes. "He's a very bright young man.
"He works hard and catches on to things quickly. He has a good head on his shoulders."
Anderson, who will receive a bachelor's degree in accounting, is familiar with Dow Corning. A little over two years ago, he joined a co-op program in the multinational company's treasury department.
"I'm so grateful," Anderson said both of the job and the opportunities at SVSU that helped him secure the position.
The 2010 Dow High School graduate enrolled at SVSU knowing he wanted to join the business world in part because his family owns a Midland company, Quick Reliable Printing.
"During my sophomore year, I declared as an accounting major," he said. "I realized doing something in money was the direction I wanted to take."
Anderson's smarts and hard work exposed him to a number of opportunities at SVSU. He admits joining the campus as a "timid" person, but praised his experience at the university for developing his leadership skills.
As a freshman, he was one of 60 students annually picked to participate in SVSU's Foundation Scholars Program, which offers study abroad or community service opportunities to students. In that program, he volunteered at the Good Neighbors Mission, a homeless shelter in Saginaw.
"It was great to give back to the community," Anderson said.
During his junior year, he was selected in the inaugural class of SVSU's Vitito Global Leadership Institute, a nearly 2-year leadership development initiative for students in the College of Business and Management. Anderson and the group traveled to Prague in March to visit the sites of top businesses there.
"To be chosen as one of the best leaders in the business school was great," he said.
The experience, he said, could also help him as he sets his sights on opportunities beyond mid-Michigan. Anderson pointed out that Dow Corning has operations across the world, and he has ambition to some day work in a large city.
"The career path there looks great," Anderson said. "I'm happy with where I'm going."
When Marlin Jenkins arrived as a freshman at Saginaw Valley State University, he was a Woodhaven native looking for a campus with “a small community feel.”
Four years later, as he prepares to exit the school after receiving his bachelor's degree in May, the creative writing major says his ambition now is to become part of a community no smaller than the world itself.
"I'd like to live overseas, in West Africa or East Asia, maybe teaching English or doing missionary work," Jenkins said. "I think of myself as a global citizen now."
Jenkins said his horizons were expanded by his SVSU experience -- most profoundly by his time spent as a member of the Roberts Fellowship Program last year. The SVSU initiative yearly provides a dozen students with leadership development opportunities, including a trip to East Asia each May.
"I was skeptical of the program before I applied, but I really loved it," he said. "It was a great opportunity to be pushed and stretched and challenged. It helped me to think much larger."
The program was one of many avenues Jenkins explored that helped him become a better leader.
Jenkins, a 2010 graduate of Michigan Health Academy in Detroit, said his move to SVSU was partly inspired by a desire to pursue a career in professional and technical writing. Eventually, that ambition changed. The part-time poet said now he wants one day to help others by becoming a teacher.
"I went from something that was more of a hobby to something I wanted to become my career field," he said. "I also added on a black studies minor, and that's really helped me to get a better idea of race and culture and intercultural studies from a scholarly standpoint."
Outside of the classroom, he's leveraged his way with words into participation in SVSU-based organizations including Cardinal Sins, a campus literary magazine; Music N' Motion, a West Coast swing dancing organization; and Standing In The Gap, a non-denominational campus Christian group.
He also has sharpened his leadership skills -- and carved out a legacy of sorts -- while serving as a tutor in SVSU's Writing Center, where students assist their peers in writing.
Helen Raica-Klotz, the center's director, praised Jenkins' work there.
"When he was first hired, he told me he wanted to be one of the tutors featured in our cut-outs -- the life-size cardboard images of tutors that serve as advertising for the Writing Center on campus," Raica-Klotz said. "Currently, you can find Marlin on a cut-out on the second floor of the Zahnow Library, but Marlin is actually a three-dimensional advertisement for our Writing Center at SVSU every day."
She said "everyone knows Marlin" now.
"The one quality that sets Marlin apart is his leadership -- in every activity he pursues, he wants to not only be successful," she said, "but lead other people to success as well."
Flint native Evan Nudi will head to Texas this fall with plans to pursue a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin's behavioral neuroscience program.
He will continue the sort of research he began at Saginaw Valley State University, where Nudi graduates along with some 1,000 other students in May. He'll receive a bachelor's degree in psychology.
The 2007 Flushing High School graduate hopes one day to be able to oversee his own research lab studying traumatic brain injuries and strokes.
His work in SVSU's Brain Research Laboratory helped shape those aspirations.
"I've always been interested in the brain and brain functioning," he said. "At first, I went down the clinical psychology route, and I knew it wasn't for me."
While working at the laboratory, Nudi was charged with overseeing two projects studying traumatic brain injury and recovery. The second project was funded by SVSU's Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute, a program supporting student research projects, up to $10,000.
Charles Weaver, an SVSU assistant professor of health sciences who worked with Nudi in the laboratory, said his student possesses the wherewithal to succeed at the next level. And the level after that.
"He is methodical and confident in his skills, and intellectually, is graduate school-ready," Weaver said. "Because of his ability to problem-solve, he was given many responsibilities, and managed and completed them efficiently. Evan is one those students who truly understands the necessity of learning the fundamentals of basic neuroscience.
"His vision of becoming a research scientist is within his grasp, and he is ready to seize it," Weaver said. "The effort is there and the heart is there."
Nudi praised the opportunities that opened up for him, including several trips where he presented his research to others -- including professionals -- in the field.
Nudi has presented twice at the Society for Neuroscience Conference, including once in New Orleans and again at San Diego; at the National Neurotrauma Society symposium in Nashville; and at the Michigan chapter of the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting. He plans to attend a second conference for the latter group when it convenes May 30.