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May 13, 2014

SVSU student Jennica Young, of Saginaw Township, accepted into Ph.D. program at Southern Illinois University

Jennica Young graduated from SVSU in May, 2014.‌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.

May 13, 2014

SVSU student Kerri Vasold accepted to Michigan State University Ph.D. program for kinesiology

Kerri Vasold graduated from SVSU in May, 2014.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."

May 13, 2014

SVSU student Cara Cole to pursue social work degree from University of Michigan

Cara Cole graduated from SVSU in May, 2014.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."

May 13, 2014

Midland native Nicholas Anderson earns full-time job with Dow Corning on eve of SVSU graduation

‌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."

May 13, 2014

SVSU student Marlin Jenkins, of Woodhaven, eyes overseas opportunities after graduation

Marlin Jenkins graduated from SVSU in May 2014.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."

May 13, 2014

SVSU senior Evan Nudi, from Flint, to attend University of Texas at Austin Ph.D. program in behavioral neuroscience

Evan Nudi graduated from SVSU in May 2014.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.

May 13, 2014

Alpena native Hope Bauer to pursue doctor of medicine degree from Michigan State University

‌Alpena native Hope Bauer this fall will pursue a doctor of medicine degree from Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. ‌

Bauer’s latest academic endeavor will begin after she receives her bachelor’s degree in biology from Saginaw Valley State University in May. She joins some 1,000 other graduates earning degrees from the institution.

Bauer said her studies in medicine and her ambition to become a doctor were inspired in part by migraines she’s endured since she was a youth.

“I had to go to the ER a lot,” she said of the migraines that began when she was six. “I wanted to be able to help people the way the doctors were able to help me since I was little.”

As a child growing up in Alpena, Bauer played with toy stethoscopes and faux syringes while many of her friends collected Barbie dolls. With her latest decision, Bauer is one step closer to achieving that lifelong goal of practicing medicine. Specifically, she hopes to work as an orthopedic surgeon in a community resembling her hometown.

“I would love to be in northern Michigan,” she said.

The faculty and staff who have watched Bauer blossom as an undergraduate predict she will achieve her goals.

“She’s a superstar when it comes to medicine,” said Heidi Lang, SVSU’s pre-health professions advisor. “She’s the full package.”

Bauer has proven her value outside of the classroom setting too.

The President’s Scholarship recipient was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, worked as a tutor for biology and chemistry students, volunteered at Saginaw’s Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, and participated in an SVSU Alternative Breaks trip that sent students to mentor youths at a North Carolina YMCA.

Those experiences could have been very different had Bauer followed an initial path after graduating from Alpena High School in 2010. Originally, she was set to attend another university for her undergraduate studies, but two of her SVSU-bound friends and a campus visit convinced her to become a Cardinal instead.

“I am so happy (with the choice),” she said. “I gained a lot here. I really liked the close interaction and doing research with an advisor.”

It was an experience she admits isn’t easy to leave behind.

“I don’t know if it’s hit me quite yet,” Bauer said of the fact she’s soon to graduate from SVSU. “I’m just going into the unknown. That’s what I did when I came here, and that worked out.”

May 2, 2014

Microsoft Internet Explorer Fixed

By Mike Holliday

Tuesday, May 1, 2014, Microsoft released a critical security update for Internet Explorer (IE). Users are encouraged to run Windows Update to patch their system. All versions of IE have a patch issued, including Windows XP.

To run Windows Update

  • Click Start
  • In the Search box, type: Windows Update
            (XP users may find it under Programs-Accessories-System Tools)
  • Choose Check for Updates
  • Install ALL Important/Security Updates (optional are optional)
            - Some updates may require a system reboot to completely finish the installation.
            - Some updates are cumulative, so you may need to repeat the steps above to get all important updates.

To verify that you are patched

  • Click Start
  • In the Search box, type: Windows Update
  • Click on View Update History
  • Sort by Date Installed
  • Look for:  Security Update for Internet Explorer..... (KB2964358)  or  (KB2964444)
           - Look for Installed On date:  5/1/2014 (or since)

If you have either KB update mentioned above - your Internet Explorer is patched and you should feel "safe" to use IE again.

For personal home computers
Make sure your system is enabled to get updates automatically from Microsoft.  For instructions to get security updates automatically from Microsoft, visit:
(NOTE: SVSU managed systems are already set to automatically obtain updates)

For those interested in the technical details about this security bulletin from Microsoft, visit:

For known issues about the security update:

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the I.T. Support Center at 989-964-4225. 

April 29, 2014

Internet Explorer Vulnerability

By Mike Holliday

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with US-CERT (Computer Emergency Readiness Team), have issued an advisory for users of Internet Explorer (IE) to discontinue use of IE until it is patched by Microsoft. The vulnerability is active and is being used to exploit and compromise systems.  Data and personal information are at high risk.

CERT has recommended users switch to another browser (Firefox/Chrome) until Microsoft has issued a fix.  As noted in a previous news article, users of Windows XP are even more vulnerable to this exploit.

Until further notice, SVSU ITS recommends all users switch and use Firefox or Chrome. 

Download Firefox from:

Download Chrome from:

To learn how change your default browser in Windows 7, watch this tutorial we put together:


For more details about this CERT alert:

From Microsoft, their technical details and workaround are posted in the following article:

April 11, 2014

Protect Yourself Against Heartbleed

Posted 4/11/2014

By Holly LaRose-Roenicke

As many of you may have heard, a flaw has been discovered in a common Internet security method. Although no specific security breaches have been identified, the flaw could allow malicious users to steal personal information. The flaw is associated with specific versions of OpenSSL, which is software that is widely used to secure web server traffic. The flaw is known as the "Heartbleed" vulnerability.

Many common websites using OpenSSL have been identified as vulnerable, including Yahoo!, Flickr, NASA and Facebook, among others. A fix for this flaw, which was announced this week, is available, and Internet service providers and website managers around the world are working to implement the patch.

What You Need to Do

ITS is strongly urging all SVSU students, staff and faculty to change your network password. To change your password, please go to and click on "changing your password" below the login box and follow the prompts to change your current password. 

Other Websites

  • For non-SVSU web services that contain sensitive data,  refrain from logging in for a few days while those are servers are patched or until you are certain they are not at risk. Or check a list of 100 most common websites and whether they have been fixed.
  • Confirm that websites you use have checked their systems and fixed them if needed. Once a website has patched the Heartbleed vulnerability, you should change your password for that site as swiftly as possible.
    • The password security firm LastPass has set up a Heartbleed Checker, which allows you to enter the URL of any website to check its vulnerability to the bug and whether the site has issued a patch.
  • If the site or service hasn't patched the flaw yet, contact the company and ask when it expects to push out a fix to deal with Heartbleed.
  • If they have not patched the flaw, avoid logging in to their service until they do. Once they confirm they have fixed the problem, then change your password.

To get detailed information on this bug, you can visit the website.

The safety and security of the Saginaw Valley community is paramount – please use the above resources to ensure your personal information is protected.

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