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October 6, 2014

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

By Jennifer Paradise

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. At the end of the month, we have an FBI specialist coming to campus to talk about cyber security and how to keep yourself safe with technology. The presentation will be

Tuesday, October 28

from 1-2pm

in the Ott Auditorium

The entire campus community is invited to attend this interesting and informative event. We hope to see you there!

Leading up to the presentation, we will be posting articles in the ITS Newsroom and on the mySVSU Portal about technology-related security issues and how to protect yourself. Technology is such a big part of our lives now that we often don't think twice about what we are really doing when we install a new app or use a wireless network.

So what can you do this month to be a better cyber citizen? Keep an eye out for technology announcements and plan on attending the presentation on cyber security!

Flyer advertising the Cyber Security Presentation coming to campus on Tuesday, October 28 from 1-2pm in the Ott Auditorium.

Print and post the Cyber Security Presentation Flyer (134KB) in your office.

October 3, 2014

SVSU student from Petoskey turns Credit Union internship into full-time job

Cara Deschermeier can be described in many ways. Wife, Saginaw Valley State University student, musician, events coordinator, dancer, leader. Soon, working professional will be added to the list.

The Petoskey native has accepted a full-time position as a junior instructional designer at United Federal Credit Union's headquarters in the southwestern Michigan community of St. Joseph. She plans to begin the job once she graduates from SVSU with a bachelor's degree in communication in May 2015.

Nabbing a full-time job before graduation is a rare accomplishment for any college undergrad. Deschermeier said she was able to secure the post because of the impression she made at the credit union this summer, when she worked as an intern.

"I'm very excited," she said. "I loved my boss and my team, and I can't wait to go back."

The 2010 Petoskey High School graduate said the opportunity arose in part thanks to SVSU's Career Services office, whose staff connected her with the credit union when it posted an opening for the internship earlier this year.

"I might not have even looked at the opening without them," she said.

When she begins the new job, Deschermeier said she expects to inhabit many of the same responsibilities that helped catch the company's attention when she was an intern.

This summer, she helped build online learning courses for the company's new employees. The role involved a lot of planning, writing, graphic design and web design work. Before beginning her internship, Deschermeier considered herself a novice when it came to graphic and web design. Learning new skills, though, became part of the job's appeal.

"I learned so, so much," she said. "I can't wait to go back and learn more."

Cindy Swigert, chief human resources officer at United Federal Credit Union, said Deschermeier during her internship displayed "a well-developed learning agility" that impressed supervisors enough that they extended the full-time offer.

"What we're looking for are folks who are able to learn on the fly, who are resourceful, because so much is changing all the time," Swigert said. "Her ability to digest new information and respond to it and use it is what we were looking for."

Despite her eagerness to return to St. Joseph, Deschermeier plans to enjoy her final academic year; she has SVSU in her DNA.

Her mother, Karen Mazzoline, earned a bachelor's degree in music education from the school. Deschermeier herself started out as a music education major during her freshman year - she is trained as both a vocalist and flutist - but changed her tune eventually to the communication degree program.

"It's taught me a lot," she said of the program. "It's amazing to sit down and think about what's going on around the world, and how we communicate through technology."

Deschermeier is involved in a number of extracurricular programs. She works in the Student Life Center office, where she serves as coordinator of the after-hours campus event planning group, Valley Nights. She also is president of ENCORE, an SVSU student organization that coordinates singing- and dancing-geared events, and is a member of the SVSU branch of Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association's honor society at 4-year colleges and universities.

Deschermeier said her entire collegiate experience has prepared her for her next role at United Federal Credit Union ... and beyond.

"This has put me in a great situation," she said.

October 3, 2014

SVSU Literacy Center offers fall clinics

Saginaw Valley State University's Literacy Center is offering reading, writing and math tutoring for students from kindergarten age to adult learners.

The clinics takes place Monday, Oct. 20 through February 2 at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Mondays in the Literacy Center, located in SVSU's Gilbertson Hall, formerly known as the Regional Education Center. The cost is $350 per clinic for thirteen 50-minute sessions as well as pre- and post- assessments.

Students must complete a 1-hour assessment prior to the clinic to determine their strengths and needs in reading, writing or math. Assessments for fall 2014 are scheduled Monday, Oct. 6 and Monday, Oct. 13 at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Contact Laurie Ann Haney, assistant director of the Literacy Center, at (989) 964-4982 or to schedule an assessment.

All clinic tutors hold master's degrees in literacy, certification in reading recovery and/or the appropriate degree in a related field. They use a research-based tutoring system to design individualized lessons and use data-driven instruction correlating with state standards. Tutors work collaboratively with parents and guardians.

Tutoring occurs in a state-of-the-art facility that fosters motivation for reading and utilizes the latest technology. All tutoring is directed by Haney and Gretchen Owocki, SVSU professor of teacher education.

For more information, visit

October 3, 2014

SVSU named Military Friendly for 4th straight year

Saginaw Valley State University’s commitment to veterans and military personnel has been recognized by being named to the Military Friendly® list of schools for the fourth consecutive year. Selected by Victory Media, the list honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America's military service members, veterans, spouses and dependents as students, and ensure their success on campus.

“We are proud of SVSU's continued inclusion on this list and fully expect to keep improving as the University’s already immense support of our department grows even stronger,” said Denise Berry, director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation and list by Victory Media is in its sixth year. Military Friendly provides service members and veterans data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities.

The methodology for making the list has changed the student veteran landscape to one more transparent and has played a significant role in recording and advancing best practices to support military students across the country. The survey captures over 50 leading practices in supporting military students and is free of charge to more than 8,000 schools approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding.

“We have worked very hard to provide the types of programs and services our military students need and deserve,” Berry said.

For more information about SVSU's commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit SVSU's Military Student Affairs website at

The Military Friendly® Schools media and website, found at, features the list, interactive tools and search functionality to help military students find the best school to suit their unique needs and preferences.  

Victory Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 2001. Victory's free, data-driven, Military Friendly ® lists can be found online. Victory's lists are also published in G.I. Jobs, Military Spouse, Vetrepreneur magazines, republished in national and local periodicals and are frequently cited on national and local TV stations.

October 3, 2014

SVSU’s Carolyn Wierda to discuss worldwide education trends in annual Rush Lecture

The delivery of education near and far will be examined by Carolyn Wierda when she gives the 2014 Rush Lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Thursday, Oct. 9 at 4 p.m. in Founders Hall. An executive-in-residence and interim associate dean in the College of Education, Wierda’s talk is titled, “From Other Hemispheres to Our Home: National, State and Local K-12 Educational Trends.”

As co-director of SVSU’s Gerstacker Fellowship, a leadership development program for K-12 educators, Wierda has traveled to visit classrooms in China, Finland and elsewhere. This fall, she is leading a project that will bring 24 education students from China’s Shanghai Normal University – which prepares 85 percent of teachers for that city of 24 million – to campus. They will participate in a week-long exchange with SVSU education faculty, and will be paired with teachers from the Saginaw Township and Swan Valley school districts for field experience.

Prior to SVSU, Wierda enjoyed a distinguished career in K-12 education.  Following five years as a classroom teacher in Ohio and Michigan, she served as an elementary school principal for a combined 11 years in Merrill and Saginaw Township schools before moving into other administrative roles.  

After serving as an assistant superintendent for Saginaw Township and Bay City Public Schools, Wierda concluded her K-12 career as superintendent in Bay City, a post she held for five years. She currently serves as chair of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance’s education council and is one of three leaders for its STEM Impact Initiative.

Wierda completed a bachelor’s degree at Bucknell University, a master’s degree at Michigan State University, and additional graduate course work at SVSU.

The Rush Lectureship recognizes and rewards SVSU faculty and staff who, by their creation or development of significant scholarly or artistic work, have distinguished themselves and brought recognition to the University.

Thomas and Hilda Rush of Midland created the Rush Endowment as part of SVSU's Campaign for Distinction.  Thomas Rush served on the Board of Control from 1991 to 2000.  A retired orthopedic surgeon who served in several leadership roles as a physician in Midland, he also was a member of the SVSU Foundation Board of Directors.

Hilda Rush has had a long and distinguished career as a professional office and business manager in the health care field.  She was a founding member of the Midland Practice Managers' Association and the Michigan Orthopaedic Group Management Association.

October 3, 2014

SVSU Theatre Presents ‘Grapes of Wrath’

Saginaw Valley State University will produce the play, “The Grapes of Wrath,” to celebrate the novel’s 75th anniversary.

The play won a 1990 Tony Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award. It follows the Joad family in their journey from the dust bowl of Oklahoma. Almost 40 SVSU students from a variety of majors make up the cast.

After losing their farm, Ma Joad and ex-convict Tom Joad lead their family to California to look for work. The Joads deal with death and deprivation along the way and are disappointed by the realities of the Great Depression upon reaching their destination. The show exhibits the essential goodness and strength that reside in the hearts and minds of the "common man."

“I think the story is extremely relevant for today's audience and will strike a chord with them,” said David Rzeszutek, director of the play and an SVSU assistant professor of theatre.

John Steinbeck published the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in 1939. The story was adapted for Broadway by Frank Galati in 1990, starring Gary Sinise. The 1940 film was directed by John Ford and starred Henry Fonda.

Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15 through Saturday, Oct. 18; a matinee is planned for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19. All shows are held in SVSU’s Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. Tickets cost $13 for the general public and $10 for senior citizens and students.

For more information or to order tickets, contact the Box Office at (989) 964-4261 or visit

October 2, 2014

SVSU gives science award to Vassar student with plans to own family farm

Saginaw Valley State University sophomore and Vassar native Landon Zwerk recently received the school’s S.K. Yun Science Award, given annually to one or more SVSU students showing enthusiasm for studying natural science.

“I knew it would be cool to win, but I didn’t understand the magnitude of it until I received the award,” said Zwerk, who earned a $500 check as part of the accomplishment.

Holly Little, SVSU lecturer of biology, nominated Zwerk for his work on an assignment given during her fall 2013 plants and civilization course. Zwerk was tasked with presenting a report on the journey of a crop from its roots in the soil to its role economically, nutritionally and culturally.

Little, in her nomination letter, described Zwerk’s efforts as “beyond my expectation.” His report centered on how sugar is extracted from sugar beets. The assignment led him to tour a Michigan Sugar plant for research.

Zwerk, a management major, was familiar with the crop before his assignment. His father and two other relatives own Vassar-based Zwerk & Sons Farms, a 7,000-acre operation that farms sugar beats, wheat, corn and beans.

Zwerk has worked multiple jobs at the family establishment. “I like going to work every day,” he said of his outside-of-school activity. “There’s always something to do there, even in the winter.”

While Zwerk describes himself as “the lowest guy on the totem pole right now,” one day he plans to own the family business. He would become the fourth generation in his family to manage the company.

Zwerk expects his SVSU education will help him achieve that goal. The S.K. Yun Science Award and its $500 check, meanwhile, will help him pay for tuition, books and other fees associated with that education.

The S.K. Yun Science Award is named in memory of S.K. Yun, an SVSU physics professor from 1969 until his death in 1994. Yun was known for his research in theoretical high-energy physics.

“I was very grateful,” Zwerk said about receiving the award. “It was an honor to represent the Yun family and the university.”

October 2, 2014

Consumers Energy Donation Promotes STEM Education to SVSU Students

Saginaw Valley State University has received a gift from the Consumers Energy Foundation to support academic programs with an emphasis on adding engineering talent to the STEM pipeline. Consumers officials presented the check to SVSU Friday, Sept. 26.

“Our Promise is to care for the Michigan communities we serve,” said Dennis Dobbs, vice president of generation engineering and services for Consumers Energy. “That starts with having a ready workforce with the skills and talents needed to deliver on our Promise. Our partnership with SVSU will assure that the talent pipeline remains full and can connect the dots between high school students interested in a STEM curriculum with SVSU and ultimately Consumers Energy.”

The $25,000 donation will fund the Consumers Energy Engineering Talent Development Program at SVSU. The initiative is intended to develop a pipeline of electrical engineers to meet the region's energy industry needs. It will involve recruiting potential engineering students out of high school, promoting energy design projects by SVSU students, and connecting those students with opportunities at Consumers Energy over two years.

“We are committed to preparing highly qualified graduates to meet the needs of employers in the Great Lakes Bay Region and throughout Michigan,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand. “We are highly appreciative of this gift from Consumers Energy, as it will assist our students as they pursue degrees in our very demanding engineering programs.”

Consumers Energy also contributed $25,000 to support the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at SVSU. Both gifts are part of SVSU's “Talent. Opportunity. Promise” fundraising campaign; for more information, visit

The Consumers Energy Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Consumers Energy. It provides funding for a variety of areas including education, community, civic and cultural development, social services, the environment, and emerging issues. For more information, visit

October 1, 2014

SVSU pianist joined by clarinetist in concert

Saginaw Valley State University’s Carl Angelo, artist in piano and organ, will perform a piano recital Wednesday, Oct. 8 in SVSU's Rhea Miller Recital Hall. He will be joined by clarinetist Kip Franklin for the concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Winner of the 1987 American Guild of Organists Young Artist Competition in Indianapolis, Angelo has worked as a soloist and collaborative musician on piano and organ across the United States.

Angelo is the organist at First Presbyterian Church of Flint. He has performed with soloists and chamber ensembles, including a 2-piano concert with Saginaw pianist Catherine McMichael and as guest pianist with the Valley Winds woodwind quintet. Angelo has also appeared with violin virtuoso Elizabeth Pitcairn and with opera tenor Paul Spensor. Angelo has accompanied choruses featuring conductor Vance George, director emeritus of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus; and Craig Jessop, former director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

For more information, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

October 1, 2014

SVSU Hosts Gilbertson Hall Building-Naming Ceremony

SVSU Hosts Gilbertson Hall Building-Naming Ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University will host a building-naming ceremony for Eric. R. Gilbertson Hall Monday, Oct. 13 at 10 a.m., as the facility previously known as the Regional Education Center is formally re-named.

The building serves as an example of the dramatic growth seen at SVSU during Gilbertson's presidency.  It opened in August 2003, having cost $28 million to construct the 130,000 square foot facility.

The ceremony will include remarks by Gilbertson’s two children, Sara and Seth, who both are SVSU graduates. Other speakers include Jerome Yantz, who has served on SVSU’s Board of Control since 2001; In-Soo Lee, president of the University of Suwon in South Korea, and Chuan Lee, president of Ming Chuan University in Taiwan; Elyse Ledy, a 2013 graduate of SVSU; and Donald Bachand, president of SVSU. Jeff Martin, chair of the Board of Control will serve as master of ceremonies.

When Gilbertson arrived in 1989, SVSU's enrollment stood at 5,915 students; it increased to 10,245 at the time he retired.  The number of students living on campus rose more than fourfold, from 616 residents in 1996 to more than 2,700 in recent years.

SVSU's physical campus saw perhaps the most dramatic transformation under Gilbertson's leadership, tripling in size to more than 1.5 million square feet of building space. In addition to student housing, major new construction projects during his tenure included Curtiss Hall and the Performing Arts Center in 1996, the Doan Science East building in 2001, the Student Center and Fitness Center in 2003, and the Health and Human Services building in 2010. In addition, Zahnow Library and Pioneer Hall saw major expansions.

Private fundraising advanced under Gilbertson, as well; the market value of SVSU's endowment increased more than twenty-fold and currently stands at nearly $77 million.

Following a sabbatical, Gilbertson returned this fall as an executive-in-residence to teach courses in leadership and administration, and in constitutional law; he also serves as an advisor to SVSU’s moot court program.

The ceremony is open to the public. A reception will follow. Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP online at

A number of parking restrictions will be in place throughout the day of the ceremony, Monday, Oct. 13.  A tent will be erected over parking lot G-1, so no parking will be available in that lot.  Some parking will be available for faculty, staff, students and visitors in parking lots G-2, G-3 and H. University Police will be present at the entrances to the parking lots to direct traffic. Should those lots become full, overflow will be directed to the J parking lots.

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