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July 11, 2014

Six Great Lakes Bay Region nurses honored at SVSU awards ceremony

Saginaw Valley State University recently honored six regional health care professionals during the fourth annual Nursing Excellence Awards event Wednesday, May 28.

The ceremony recognizes the dedication, service and leadership shown by local nurses in clinical practice, education, leadership and community service. Recipients earned a $300 prize and a Waterford crystal bowl.

A selection committee comprised of regional health care leaders and SVSU faculty chose this year's recipients.

Awards and recipients include the following:

Acute Care Nursing Awards
•    Mary Haley, staff nurse at St. Mary's of Michigan, was recognized for her efforts in patient safety and quality of service. “Mary cares for each of her patients as if they were a grandparent,” her nomination letter reads.
•    Steve Laporte, staff nurse at MidMichigan Medical Center, has worked with the medical center's cardiothoracic surgeons in initiatives decreasing the number of surgery-related blood transfusions.

Nursing Education Awards
•    Hall Hewett, nurse educator at Covenant HealthCare, was nominated in part for leadership in the campaign to raise awareness about sepsis, a whole-body inflammation caused by severe infection.
•    Mary Gay Showalter, nurse educator at McLaren Bay Region, was recognized in part for her role in developing the McLaren Bay Region Preceptor Program. The initiative helps retain nurses in the region.

Community Nursing Award
•    Cindy Thornton, a nurse with MidMichigan Home Care, was honored for her work in aiding patients. "She is dedicated to the profession, her patients, her colleagues and her professional role," her nomination letter reads.

Long-term Care and Rehabilitation Nursing Award
•    Kelly Miceli, a nurse with St. Mary's of Michigan, was nominated in part for her initiative in improving the hospital's rehabilitation unit. She added furniture, decorations and signage with inspirational quotes to rooms there.

In all, 88 people attended the ceremony honoring the nurses. The event's keynote speaker was Carol Stoll, vice president for patient services and chief nursing officer at Covenant HealthCare.

July 11, 2014

SVSU Students Select Charity Partner for annual ‘Battle of the Valleys’

Saginaw Valley State University's Student Association has selected its charitable partner for the 12th annual “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising competition. SVSU students will raise funds for the Cory Rivard, Jr. Promise Foundation when they compete against their rivals from Grand Valley State University during the weeklong challenge in November.

The selected charity has ties to both schools.  It was created in 2012 by the Rivard family of Algonac, Mich., in memory of Cory Rivard, Jr., who committed suicide in January 2011. Cory attended GVSU, while his younger brother Josh was a very active student during his years at SVSU; Josh graduated in May.

The Cory Rivard, Jr. Promise Foundation seeks to educate college students about depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses by working directly with college campuses to increase suicide awareness and prevention. Using the tagline “A Hug From Above,” the foundation encourages students to show their love and gratitude for those around them as Cory did: with a hug.

The SVSU Student Association hopes the selection will remind students at both schools of the importance and true meaning of “Battle of the Valleys,” which began in 2003 to capitalize upon the schools’ football rivalry by raising funds for deserving non-profits. Over the past 11 years, the competition has generated $432,963 in charitable donations between the two schools.  SVSU students have raised a total of $275,498, winning eight of the 11 annual competitions, including the last six.

The 2014 “Battle of the Valleys” fundraising campaign will be held November 9-15. For more information, visit

July 11, 2014

Future nurse and student leader attends two national conferences

Bethany ThrunAfter visiting two national conferences in a 9-day span, Saginaw Valley State University nursing student Bethany Thrun has grown particularly fond of a quote from one of her heroes, 19th century nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.


The line goes, “I never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.”


Thrun said attending both the National Association of College and University Residence Halls, and the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders has provided her the sort of inspiration Nightingale was speaking of.


“Throughout these conferences, as an enthusiastic Cardinal, I was thinking on that quote and how these conferences were my mustard seed,” the Garden City native said.


“I’ve been able to take advantage of learning about something bigger than myself,” Thrun said. “I learned a lot of lessons and have the power to pave the way for my mustard seed, and power others to find their mustard seeds.”


Thrun, who plans to graduate from SVSU in December 2015, said she hopes to gain some clinical nursing experience before pursuing a postgraduate degree. Her ultimate goal is to become president of the American Nurses Association, a national group that fosters high standards in nursing practice and advocates for the rights of nurses in the workplace.


For now, Thrun is a resident assistant for SVSU’s student housing complex, Pine Grove Apartments. Her association with the university’s residential housing led to her inclusion in an 11-student delegation that traveled to the National Association Of College And University Residence Halls annual conference at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, from May 30-June 2.


“It was a chance for residential hall leaders to combine and network, and see what we could do for each other,” Thrun said.


Over 2,600 people attended the event.


One day after Thrun returned to SVSU, she boarded a flight headed toward the University of Maryland. There, she was among 1,000 students to attend the National Conference For College Women Student Leaders, from June 5-7. The event’s agenda featured a number of leadership-geared seminars from public figures — including Chelsea Clinton — along with networking opportunities.


“It was fantastic,” Thrun said of the experience. “An amazing conference.”


Thrun’s trip there was funded entirely by two scholarships from both the Midland and national branches of the American Association of University Women, a group that organizes the conference along with Student Affairs Administrators In Higher Education.

July 10, 2014

SVSU’s Roberts Fellows share memories of changed outlooks, overseas experiences

SVSU's 2013-14 class of Roberts Fellows in May traveled to Asia, where they visited sites including the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.There is no such thing as a “former” Roberts Fellow.

Andrew Swihart, a faculty adviser for Saginaw Valley State University’s Roberts Fellowship Program, is quick to make that point whenever asked about those who have participated in the student leadership development initiative over the years.

The lifetime Roberts Fellow rule also holds true for “The 15s,” a moniker he gives those involved in the program’s 15th class picked during the initiative’s 15th year of existence. The 15s aren’t “former” Fellows, he insists, even though their year-long training — a mix of seminars, projects, adventures and misadventures — came to a close this May.

Instead, Swihart simply considers the first phase of The 15’s fellowship complete. Now the 2013-14 group has graduated to become established leaders, dependable SVSU ambassadors to the world, and mentors to future Fellows. But never “former” Fellows.

There’s no such thing.

“Every class has a different personality,” said Swihart, an SVSU professor of psychology. “The 15s are an incredibly cohesive group. More than most classes, they became very good friends with each other.”

A compass for life

That bond began to form when the group of 12 first met as a unit in spring 2013. It strengthened during the program’s weekly Friday seminars in the fall, their sessions with inspiring leaders in the winter, and all the off-the-calendar fun that happened in between. The chemistry was solid by the time the dozen embarked on the program’s 3-week capstone journey to China, Taiwan and Japan in May.

Roberts Fellow Audrey Sayles recalled that camaraderie between her classmates, Swihart and Brian Thomas, the SVSU associate professor of sociology who served as the group’s second faculty adviser.

The Roberts Fellows visited a number of sites in East Asia including the Great Wall of China.“Many of us would get together for dinner the night before our Friday morning classes and we would hang out for hours in Bennigan's, singing karaoke and just enjoying the conversations,” said Sayles, a psychology major from Jackson.

“Over the year, we became closer and closer as a group, which was evident by one of the classes near the end of the winter semester, when we decided that we should celebrate Andy Swihart's birthday,” she said. “We brought in cake and party hats — which we did get our professors to wear.”

The program created more than friendship. For some, the initiative provided a compass for life.

This was the case for Nancy Lackey, who credits the program for steering her in new directions, both professionally and philosophically.

The biology major from Beaverton was pursuing a research-based career in the biological sciences, but her Roberts Fellowship involvement inspired her to pursue an avenue in the field she’s more passionate about: conservation education and ecotourism development.

And Lackey credits a change in her worldly perspective to the group’s tour of the atomic bomb detonation site in Hiroshima. The experience challenged her “intellectually and emotionally” more than any other moment in her life, she said.

“During my education, I thought I had developed a pretty firm view on that matter, but when I actually went there in person and saw the structures, the artifacts and read the stories, my previous beliefs shattered,” Lackey said.

“I am still trying to put the pieces back together in a way that makes sense to me, but it serves as a humbling reminder of why strong intercultural relationships are so important, and of the consequences of what happens when they fall apart.”

Lackey wasn’t alone in her broadening outlook. The East Asia trip — where students visited historic sites and SVSU sister institutions alike — provided the team a number of opportunities for personal growth.

Never 'former'

Swihart said one of the trip’s assignments flexed a muscle many didn’t realize they had. The 15s were asked to travel in small groups to designated locations in Beijing without using their cell phones and without assistance from faculty advisers.

“It’s a leadership activity,” Swihart said. “It develops self-confidence.”

Roberts Fellows participated in a number of activities in 2013-14, including this English Camp with Shikoku University students in Japan.Everyone passed the test, and the exercise came in handy later in the journey when political science major Samantha Jackson was separated from the group in Hiroshima.

“She beat us back to the hotel,” Swihart said of the Goodells native. “The other students were upset, but I wasn’t anxious at all. I thought, ‘She’ll solve this,’ and she did.”

The Roberts Fellowship Program was designed to build leadership within students already considered solid leaders. The 15s accomplished that feat, Swihart said. Their triumph was illustrated in part by the service projects they completed.

This year’s class split in two groups to work on separate projects. One initiative was geared toward helping Saginaw’s Houghton Jones Neighborhood Association while a second team created an educational program marrying traditional curriculum with exercise. As an example, participants engaged in a spelling exercise would simultaneously perform workout routines.

Roberts Fellow Kate Nankervis, of Saginaw, was part of the latter group. They worked with Pulse3 Foundation, a Saginaw organization that develops educational and community initiatives that promote healthier lifestyles, to design the hybrid educational coursework.

“This was my favorite memory because it is something I am very passionate about,” said Nankervis, an elementary education major. “One of the highlights for this class was that we were able to give back to the community. Each member of the group brought their own unique skills, and when we worked together, we pulled off something pretty amazing.”

Sayles agreed she and her fellow 15s will never be “former” Roberts Fellows, and the bond they forged will last a lifetime.

“It was so hard for all of us to leave on our last day in Taiwan,” Sayles said. “It is something that is not easily explained. Rather, it needs to be experienced to be understood completely.  It was — as cliché as it is — life-altering.  I don't think I will ever forget this program, or this year.“

About the Roberts Fellowship Program

The 2013-14 Roberts Fellowship Program class also includes Cara Cole, a social work major from St. Louis; Marissa Geyer, a political science major from Auburn; Shaya Jewani, an economics major from Fort Gratiot; Rachel Katch, an athletic training major from St. Charles; Jeremy Killion, a history major from Clio; Abigail Seamon, an elementary education major from New Lothrop; Trent Varva, a political science major from Saginaw; and Kerri Vasold, an exercise science major from Shepherd.

The Roberts Fellows blog is available here:

Established in 1999, the program is named in honor of Donna Roberts of Midland, who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to SVSU through her personal generosity and prior service on the Board of Control and the Board of Fellows. A respected attorney, business leader and philanthropist, Roberts retired from The Dow Chemical Company, where she was Secretary and Assistant General Counsel. She is an honorary director of the SVSU Foundation Board.

July 8, 2014

SVSU nursing student Jessica Asaro wins ‘best paper’ at international conference

The Ira native’s paper compared the medicine of the United States to that of Indonesia and Nepal

Jessica AsaroSaginaw Valley State University nursing student Jessica Asaro’s honors thesis recently was selected “Best Student Paper” at the Global Science and Technology Forum’s 2nd Annual Worldwide Nursing Conference in Singapore.


Health care professionals from about a dozen nations including the United States attended the conference June 23-24, when Asaro presented her thesis paper titled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Usage Across Nations.”

The Ira native’s paper compared the medicine of the United States along with Indonesia and Nepal, two nations she visited during study abroad trips sponsored by SVSU in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Asaro, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing this August, visited villages in both countries to study the various methods of health care practiced abroad.

The Singapore-based Global Science and Technology Forum earlier in the year selected Asaro’s work as a candidate for “Best Student Paper.” About 30 other students presented papers at the conference.

“It was neat I could turn this into an opportunity,” said Asaro, who called the starting point of that award-winning honors thesis — joining SVSU’s honors program — “one of the best decisions I made” at the university.

“Even though the classes are challenging, they prepared me for the nursing program, which is writing intensive,” she said. “The professors who taught honors classes expected more out of their students, which helped me to develop the skills I needed to succeed in the nursing program and throughout the rest of my career at SVSU. I would not be the person I am today without the support from the honors program.”

Asaro has been invited to publish her paper in the Global Science and Technology Forum’s Journal of Nursing and Healthcare. The publication features peer-reviewed scholarly articles selected from conferences.

Asaro, a 2010 Marine City High School graduate, said she was motivated to pursue nursing after helping her mother cope with rheumatoid arthritis.


July 1, 2014

Updating the Software for Your Devices

Originally Updated 04/02/2012 © 2012 ePlace Solutions, Inc.

By Jennifer Paradise

Wondering what to do with emails that suggest you download new or updated software? What about those annoying update messages that appear on your device’s screen from time-to-time? You probably understand that updating device software is a key part of maintaining security. But, you also know that downloading and installing software can be dangerous. What to do? This training bulletin provides guidance on how to safely keep your device(s) updated.

Why is this important? Cyber thieves are constantly discovering software vulnerabilities to attack. Through such holes, malware can be inadvertently installed on a device – YOUR device - simply by visiting an infected webpage or opening a malicious file. The installed malware can then be used to compromise computer systems. In response, developers publish software updates, also known as patches, to close the holes and prevent such attacks. Keeping device software updated has become a key part of computer system security.

Sounds easy enough - install updates when available. But, cyber thieves are clever and try to fool users into installing bogus updates that contain malware. Separating the good from the bad is tricky business. Following the guidance below can help you learn to install updates safely. It will take practice, but regular software updating is an important habit for all device users to develop.

  1. Pay attention to what software is on your device. Notifications about software you don’t have are likely fraudulent. If you don’t recognize it, don’t install it. 
  2. Over time, learn to recognize the normal update process for your software. Only respond to notifications that fit the usual pattern. 
  3. Some programs deliver updates via software already installed on the device. These notifications generally appear when the application is launched. Installing these is normally safe. 
  4. Other continuously running programs (e.g. anti-virus and anti-spyware) may automatically scan for updates and notify via pop-ups when updates are available. This is a great example of why it’s important to know what software you have, and what update notice they normally provide. 
  5. DO NOT install software or “updates” directly from e-mail links or attachments. To check the legitimacy of an e-mail update notice, go to the vendor’s site directly - don’t click on the link in the e-mail!! If the site has an update for software that you use, download it yourself directly from the vendor site.

Keeping your device updated can seem like a daunting task. How to begin? First, it is critical to update antivirus and anti-spyware programs as soon as new definitions are available. Applications most prone to attack should be next. Focus first on the parts of your system that thieves normally target. These include operating systems (e.g. Windows XP, or 7), web browsers (e.g. IE, Firefox, Chrome), helper programs used to run applications and read/play files (e.g. Java, Adobe PDF Reader, Flash, QuickTime).

If in doubt, the safest way to check for and install updates is from within each program. To do so, start the program you want to check, click on the “Help” pulldown menu, click the “Check for Updates” menu item, and follow the instructions.

June 27, 2014

SVSU educator earns award from American College of Healthcare Executives

A Saginaw Valley State University faculty member has earned recognition for her role in health care administration education and community outreach.

Marilyn Skrocki, SVSU associate professor of health sciences, received the Great Lakes Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) 2014 Regent Distinguished Faculty Member Award during a Michigan Health and Hospital Association conference on Mackinac Island Thursday, June 26.

The ACHE is an international organization with more than 40,000 health care executives as members. The Great Lakes Chapter covers Michigan and northern Ohio.

“I am humbled by receiving this award, knowing the individuals who have received it in the past,” Skrocki said.

Kyle Grazier, chair of the University of Michigan School of Public Health's Department of Health Policy and Management, earned the accolade in 2013.

Christina Freese-Decker, the regent for the ACHE's Great Lakes Chapter, said Skrocki earned this year's award based in part on her success growing SVSU's master of science in health administration and leadership program.

“Marilyn's engagement with ACHE is exceptional,” Freese-Decker said. “Her active promotion of the networking and career services through ACHE has benefitted her students.”

Skrocki joined the SVSU faculty in 2010.  She completed a law degree at Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

June 25, 2014

SVSU co-hosting sustainability conference with India’s top business school

Saginaw Valley State University will host an international conference on business sustainability Tuesday, Sept. 23 through Friday, Sept. 26. SVSU’s College of Business and Management is partnering with Shri Ram College of Commerce, the renowned business school of the University of Delhi, India in organizing this conference on SVSU’s campus.
The news magazine India Today recently named Shri Ram the No. 1 commerce college in India for 2014, a position the school has attained nine of the past 10 years.

The conference features several high profile speakers including Linda Kennan, vice president for corporate stewardship at Dow Corning; Debashis Kanungo, global head of talent transformation and management for Tata Consultancy Services; and Bo Miller, global director of corporate citizenship for The Dow Chemical Company.  The conference is expected to draw presenters and attendees from the Great Lakes Bay Region, throughout the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to the distinguished keynote speakers, this event will include two multi-session tracks, one for academic scholars and another for business professionals.  For the academic track, scholars will present original research on a broad range of business sustainability issues. For the practitioner track, business leaders will share their case studies and cautionary tales about implementing sustainable business practices in a variety of industries.

Individual sessions in each track will focus on sustainability topics in a wide range of sectors including agribusiness, the automotive industry, construction, entrepreneurship, energy, family business, information technology and doing business in India.

The conference will combine the expertise of two business schools with industry expertise in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region to provide valuable insights to practitioners, academics and students. This distinctive global conference is open to all business professionals and community leaders with an interest in sustainability.  For more information, or to register for the event, visit

About SVSU College of Business and Management:
Saginaw Valley State University’s College of Business & Management provides a distinctive business education by integrating academic and experiential learning while challenging students to develop as professionals, leaders, and entrepreneurs in a dynamic, global environment. The college is among of the less than 5 percent of business schools worldwide that are accredited by AACSB-International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. SVSU offers undergraduate programs in accounting, economics, finance, international business, management, supply chain management, and marketing as well as an MBA program. The college also hosts the Stevens Center for Family Business which offers resources for the unique needs of family-owned businesses. For more information, visit

About Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University
For more than 75 years, Shri Ram College of Commerce has been a distinctive destination for those aspiring to pursue careers in business and economics. The college offers undergraduate degrees as well as a Post Graduate Diploma in Global Business Operations, similar to an international business MBA.  SRCC alumni occupy distinguished positions in government, banking, finance, academia and business. For four consecutive years, the school has been recognized as the No. 1 commerce school in India through a multi-faceted rating process conducted in partnership between India Today, the leading newsweekly in India, and Nielsen Company. For more information about SRCC, visit

June 20, 2014

SVSU graduate and Ubly native Nicole Franzel cast on CBS reality show ‘Big Brother’

The first episode airs Wednesday, June 25, at 8 p.m

Nicole Franzel, a 2014 SVSU graduate, is a contestant on the CBS reality TV show, A recent Saginaw Valley State University graduate from Ubly will compete for $500,000 this summer in the popular CBS reality show, “Big Brother.”

Nicole Franzel, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing in May from SVSU, is one of 16 contestants selected from across the nation. The first episode airs Wednesday, June 25, at 8 p.m.

“Big Brother,” now in its 16th season, is a reality show where housemates compete in challenges and campaign to stay in the show’s house. Typically, the housemates vote out one contestant weekly until two remain. Then a panel of ousted contestants selects a winner to receive the half-million dollar prize.

“Big Brother” has released video interviews of Franzel ahead of the first show.

In one interview, Franzel describes one of her favorite activities as studying, “because that is what I do most often.”

Watch her “Big Brother” introduction video here:

June 20, 2014

SVSU student Amanda Gettgen chosen from 850 for Challenge Detroit project

The Clinton Township native will move to Detroit in September

Amanda Gettgen was one of 33 students chosen for an initiative aimed at improving Detroit.Saginaw Valley State University senior Amanda Gettgen, a Clinton Township native, was chosen as one of 33 people charged with helping re-energize metro Detroit’s creative and professional core.

Gettgen, a marketing major, was selected as a Challenge Detroit Fellow. The initiative — now in its third year — tasks participants with living in Detroit for one year while helping to attract and retain a creative and professional class in the city.

The initiative funds her downtown Detroit stay, which begins in September.

“I’ve lived the whole suburban Detroit life,” said Gettgen, whose hometown of Clinton Township is about 20 miles north of downtown. “I really want to fully immerse myself in Detroit. I want to be right where everything is happening.”

Gettgen, who expects to graduate from SVSU in August, was selected from 850 who applied for Challenge Detroit. Each person submitted an application video earlier this year, and since then, 40,000 votes were cast online to narrow that pool of candidates down to 33.

The initiative pairs each participant with a sponsoring organization. Gettgen will work with Detroit-based Marketing Associates, a community-engaged marketing firm. She will spend her Mondays through Thursdays collaborating with the company’s creative, project management and event management departments.

On Fridays, she will work with Challenge Detroit’s other 32 participants on yet-to-be determined projects.

“I, too, want to be part of the revitalization movement that shows my fellow Detroiters, city boosters and the world that Detroit can’t be beat,” Gettgen says in her 90-second Challenge Detroit application video.

“As a Challenge Detroit Fellow, I will seize the opportunity to encourage the spirit of Detroit and unlock new opportunities for change through increasing community engagement, empowering Detroiters and promoting positive perceptions of the city.”

Viewers can watch Gettgen’s online video here:

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