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June 7, 2021

SVSU’s Student Association invites Great Lakes Bay Region nonprofits to apply for support

One nonprofit organization from the Great Lakes Bay Region stands to benefit from the fundraising efforts of Saginaw Valley State University’s Student Association. The student government is now accepting applications for beneficiaries of Battle of the Valleys, one of SVSU’s proudest and most meaningful traditions. Applications will be accepted through June 11 and can be found at   

“Battle is a huge part of the Cardinal culture and it shows just a little bit more about the kind of people we have on our campus,” said

Student Association Member and Battle Co-Chair Madeline Lowry. The rehabilitative medicine major from Lake Orion added, “One of my favorite sayings about battle is ‘half the size, twice the heart.’ Our campus is half the size of Grand Valley, but we have twice the heart with each year we win.”   

Battle of the Valleys harnesses the friendly rivalry between SVSU and Grand Valley State University to raise funds for charitable organizations in each university’s respective community. The 2021 Battle of the Valleys – the 18th – kicks off on Sept. 26 and will culminate with the presentation of a check to the selected beneficiary during the SVSU-GVSU football game on Oct. 2. This year’s game will be held at SVSU. 

“One of our traditions is bringing SVSU’s attention as to why we battle,” said SVSU Student Association Battle Co-Chair Josie Koenigsknecht, a communication major from Fowler. “This awareness allows students and faculty to recognize that we battle for many more reasons other than simply raising funds. We battle to support, to serve as a friend, to engage in community involvement, and to bring SVSU and the community together.” 

Since 2003, the SVSU Student Association has donated more than $464,000 to Great Lakes Bay Region nonprofits. The annual fundraising competition is held the week preceding the SVSU-GVSU football game. Between 2003 and 2018, SVSU won the Battle challenge 13 out of the 16 years. In 2019 and 2020, SVSU’s Battle fundraising efforts were unrivaled; GVSU’s student government had decided to suspend participation in the competition. Grand Valley is back in the competition for 2021. 

“Student Association is proud to serve charitable organizations throughout the region, but Battle of the Valleys is so much more than a fundraiser," said Koenigsknecht. "Maddie and I are eager to lead Battle of the Valleys 2021, but it would not be possible without the support from SVSU and the community.”  

June 4, 2021

SVSU students honored for foreign language achievements

Saginaw Valley State University celebrated the achievements of several students by inducting them into two foreign language honor societies. The virtual induction ceremonies were held April 23. 

“Our new members in Alpha Mu Gamma-Theta Omicron and Sigma Delta Pi-Omega Kappa Chapters at SVSU have demonstrated excellence in their academic achievements and remarkable interest not only in learning a language and improving their language skills, but in understanding its cultural practices and perspectives, which provides them with a rich experience to share with others beyond the classroom,” said Maribel Colorado-Garcia, SVSU assistant professor of Spanish. 

Membership in both societies is by invitation. 

Seven students at were welcomed into Alpha Mu Gamma-Theta Omicron chapter on April 23.  

The students are: 

  • Karah Brown, an accounting major from Elsie, Mich., was honored for her achievement in Spanish 
  • Jeffrey Gilbert, a history major from Saginaw, was recognized for achievement in German 
  • Madison King, of Au Gres, is majoring in medical laboratory science and was honored for excellence in Spanish 
  • Scott Rutherford, of Freeland, has a French major 
  • Alaina Short, of Flushing, is majoring in international studies and was honored for achievement in Japanese 
  • Brendan Trenkle, a literature major from Byron, was recognized for excellence in French 
  • Lily Zamora, a creative writing major from Saginaw, was honored for achievements in Spanish   

Alpha Mu Gamma is the first and largest national collegiate foreign language honor society of the United States. Its primary purpose is to honor students for outstanding achievements during their first year of foreign language study in college. The Theta Omicron chapter was chartered in 1976. Since then, more than 800 student members and 40 faculty members have been inducted into SVSU’s chapter. 

Members of AMG’s executive board for 2020-2021 also attended and participated in the ceremony. They include Jessica Fehrman, president, a history major from Saginaw; Samantha Endres, officer, an elementary education major from Brighton; and Nicole Rhein, officer, a mathematics major from Lenox, Mich. 

Three students were inducted into Sigma Delta Pi - Omega Kappa chapter, the national collegiate Hispanic Honor Society that recognizes and supports students and educators of the Spanish language and culture. They are: 

  • Harley Mordarski, a Spanish major from Madison Heights 
  • Nicole Rhein, a mathematics major from Lenox, Mich. 
  • Hayley Rivera of Saginaw, a social work major 

Sigma Delta Pi executive board members Jessica Fehrman, president, and Samantha Endres, officer, also participated in the ceremony. 

Sigma Delta Pi was founded at the University of California, Berkeley in 1919.  

Students in SVSU’s Department of Modern Foreign Languages immerse themselves in new cultures, languages and ideas. The department offers majors and minors in French and Spanish as well as a minor in Japanese.  

May 27, 2021

SVSU students supported students and families during pandemic - Roberts Fellows provided materials, educational resources and information

Four members of SVSU’s Roberts Fellowship Program responded to the educational and emotional needs of the Saginaw community’s school-age children and their families by providing materials and resources to help them manage at-home learning and other challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“We began our project in fall of 2020 when many schools had just begun their fall semester of entirely virtual learning,” said Kennedy. “After talking to our community partner, Child and Family Services of Saginaw, we identified that this switch to online learning was difficult for not only students, but also parents who had to deal with the increased stress of balancing their children's at-home learning and their own busy lives.  

The participating students were:

  • Elizabeth Kennedy, Maybee, Mich., a recent graduate who majored in professional and technical writing 
  • Carly Luptowski, Pinconning, a recent graduate with a bachelor’s in sociology 
  • Nitish Nishtala, an economics and finance major from Pune, Maharashtra, India 
  • Lauren Richardson, Grand Ledge, a recent graduate with a major in biochemistry 

From November through April, the Fellows worked with a number of community partners to design and implement the project, with a goal of providing resources to help families manage at-home learning during the pandemic. The team hand-assembled 250 “COVID packs,” filling reusable tote bags with school supplies, art kits, children’s activity books, and parental emotional health resource packets. Materials and supplies were provided by the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at SVSU, Child & Family Services of Saginaw and Walmart. The packs were distributed at Old Town Christian Outreach, Good Samaritan Rescue Mission, Underground Railroad and SVSU’s Cardinal Food Pantry.  

In addition to distributing the packs, the Roberts Fellows created a website ― ― where parents and families can find information about free online and community resources to help them during the pandemic. Resources included links to online learning sites and listings of food distribution locations and Wi-Fi hotspots. 

“We decided that these packs would be most beneficial if they included activities and supplies to supplement children's at-home learning and also mental health resources for parents struggling to tackle these new challenges and the stress and anxiety that many suffered due to the pandemic,” said Kennedy. 

She added that the website “was more specifically aimed at parents who needed resources locally (or virtually) to help themselves and their school-age children function.  

“We wanted to provide online learning tutorials to assist with the increased challenge of having to learn from home as opposed to a classroom, and the food distribution list was created in the hopes of addressing food insecurity that may have worsened due to the financial stress caused by the pandemic.”  

Parents who responded to the Fellows’ post-project survey expressed appreciation for the packs and found the materials helpful. The project team intends for the website to remain active and accessible to the community.  

The Roberts Fellowship Program was established through a gift from Donna Roberts, who served as corporate secretary and assistant general counsel of Dow in the 1990s.  

May 27, 2021

SVSU students win Tyner Prizes for writing excellence

Three SVSU students have been awarded Tyner Prizes for excellence in writing. Tyner Prizes are presented annually in three categories ― fiction, poetry and nonfiction ― with a fourth prize, for creative nonfiction, awarded when appropriate. Each of the 2021 Tyner Prize winners won a monetary award of $200 and a plaque. Their names will also be added to a plaque listing past winners, which is located on the third floor of Science West. 

Jordan Williamson, a Toledo, Ohio, native received the Tyner-Roethke Award in Student Poetry for his collection, “Sad Dracula.” His work was nominated by Arra Ross, professor of English. 

One judge said of Williamson’s work, “This collection struck me as clever and innovative [because of the] author’s play and willingness to take some risks here.” 

Williamson recently graduated with a bachelor’s in creative writing. 

Todd Graham won the Tyner Prize in Fiction for “Straight to my Core,” which was nominated by Professor of English C. Vincent Samarco. “I feel that ‘Straight to My Core’ [is] nuanced in the language and gives me a strong sense of place and character,” said one of the Tyner Awards judges. 

Graham is a psychology and creative writing major from Alpena.   

Gabrielle Krieger, of Saginaw, won the Tyner Prize for Nonfiction for her paper “Sylvia Plath’s ‘Thalidomide’ and Twentieth-Century Attitudes Towards Disability,” which was nominated by Daniel Cook, professor of English. According to one judge, “The writer here has a clear command of the text.”  

Krieger is pursuing a double major in sociology and literature.  

Tyner Prizes recognize the best writing produced in English Department over the previous academic year. Works are submitted anonymously by faculty in the department and are reviewed by a panel of judges.   

May 20, 2021

SVSU students help revitalize Saginaw neighborhood Wolohan Fellows partner with Mustard Seed Shelter and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity

Ten SVSU students, members of the university’s Richard V. Wolohan Fellowship in Service and Leadership, are leading an effort to rehabilitate the exterior of a 127-year-old home in Saginaw as part of a neighborhood revitalization effort in the area surrounding the Mustard Seed Shelter.  

The project includes scraping and painting the 2,300 square-foot two-story home, which was built in 1894. The home is located at 1323 Janes Ave. The project is being done in collaboration with the Mustard Seed Shelter and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity. Work began Friday, May 14 and is expected to be completed Sunday, May 23. 

The 2020-2021 Wolohan Fellowship cohort includes: 

  • Joseph Bartels, an accounting major from Saginaw 
  • Matthew Bartels of Saginaw, who recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in nursing  
  • Savannah Bruske, a biology major from Saginaw 
  • Alejandra Fulgencio, a biology major from Saginaw 
  • Katelynn Jacob, an elementary education/special education major from Freeland  
  • Micaela Lewis, a business major from Freeland 
  • Alisha Moore, a creative writing major from Saginaw  
  • Alyssa Rivera, a literature major from Saginaw  
  • Alexandra Schultz, a music major from Saginaw 
  • Emily Vogelpohl, a social work major from Saginaw 

Matthew Bartels, one of the SVSU Wolohan Fellows leading the initiative, said the idea for the project came from a discussion he had with his aunt, Amy Bartels Roe, executive director of Mustard Seed Shelter. One of Mustard Seed’s guests was raised in the house, which has been in her family for generations. Mustard Seed Shelter has been actively working to help revitalize the neighborhood. 

“We just completed a major expansion and renovation project in 2020 that more than doubled our capacity to serve women and children experiencing homelessness,” said Bartels Roe. “From the beginning of that project, our hope was to use it as a catalyst in our neighborhood to improve the quality of life for those we serve, as well as our neighbors and other nonprofits in the area. This initiative represents progress toward achieving the dream of making our neighborhood a beautiful, welcoming place for those who live, work, play and visit here.” 

“We chose this house for two reasons,” said Bartels, the SVSU student. “First, this house was built in the late 1800s and is one of very few houses in this area built during this time period still in livable condition. Refurbishing this house will add years to its lifespan and allow it to maintain its place as a piece of Saginaw history.  

“Second, refurbishing this house is part of a larger neighborhood revitalization project occurring in this neighborhood. The impact that recent projects such as establishment of the Rufus M. Bradley Community Park and the Mustard Seed Shelter Expansion have had on this neighborhood have been tremendous. Our work on this house will continue the mission of the revitalization project, and we hope that our work will encourage others in the neighborhood to take pride in their own homes and community.” 

In addition to providing labor, the Wolohan Fellows sponsored funds for the paint, primer and other materials and supplies, including rental of a scissor lift. Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity also made available materials at very reasonable rates or through loan. Mustard Seed and Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity helped the Wolohan Fellows navigate countless project details. 

Work on the project will continue May 21-23, with shifts of varying lengths. Volunteers of all skill levels are needed. Visit for more information and to sign up. 

The Wolohan Family Foundation created the Richard V. Wolohan Fellowship in Leadership and Service at SVSU to encourage students to demonstrate the kind of community leadership that characterized Mr. Wolohan’s life. SVSU students may apply for the program at any stage of their academic career.  

More information about Mustard Seed Shelter can be found at For information about Saginaw-Shiawassee Habitat for Humanity, visit

May 14, 2021

SVSU hires new dean for business school

Saginaw Valley State University has hired an experienced leader in business education to serve as the new dean of the institution’s Scott L. Carmona College of Business. Jayati Ghosh will head SVSU’s business school after devoting more than two decades to a career in higher education, most recently at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania. Ghosh said she was excited for the opportunity to join an institution with SVSU’s strong ranking among top business schools worldwide.

I am honored and excited about the opportunity to lead the Carmona College of Business in its upward trajectory of academic excellence,” Ghosh said. “I am impressed by the commitment of the college towards the professional and personal development of students and looking forward to working with the faculty and staff, centers of excellence and engaging with the community.”

Deborah Huntley, SVSU provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said Ghosh brings impressive leadership experience to SVSU as an administrator as well as a strong record of professional service, research and teaching.

The arrival of Dr. Ghosh comes at a very important time for our Carmona College of Business,” Huntley said. “She brings extensive leadership experience as a dean, and we are counting on her experience and innovative thinking to enhance business education for our students and to collaborate with regional businesses to support the vitality of our region. We have outstanding faculty and a world-class facility, and I know she is excited about the opportunities at SVSU.”

SVSU opened the doors to its new $25.4 million business facility in spring 2020. The 38,500-square-foot addition includes data analytics labs and Bloomberg Trading terminals, which track stock data in real time. Upgrades include cutting-edge equipment used by Fortune 500 companies, providing students with hands-on experience utilizing resources adapted to match global business trends.

Ghosh has over 25 years of higher education experience at public and private institutions. As dean of the School of Business Administration at Widener University, Ghosh led program development, AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education accreditations, Widener University’s Small Business Development Center SBDC, Environmental Management Assistance Program and worked with alumni and business leaders

Prior to joining Widener University, Ghosh held leadership roles including associate dean, director of the Honors Program, director of faculty development and founding executive director of the Global Education Office at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. She held teaching positions at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada.

Ghosh serves on AACSB peer-review teams as a member and chair and serves as mentor to a school going through initial accreditation process. She has served on the Steering Committee of the Small Schools Network Affinity group of AACSB and is a member of Women Administrators in Management Education, an AACSB affinity group.

Ghosh is a strong advocate of high impact practices such as internships, cooperative education, global experience, faculty-led research with undergraduate and graduate students, and service learning.

Ghosh completed her doctorate at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) and earned an M.A. from Wilfrid Laurier University (Ontario, Canada). She also earned an M.S. from University of Calcutta (India).

SVSU provides access to tools and technology fine-tuned for the next generation to strengthen an academic college already honored with an AACSB-International accreditation, a gold standard distinction earned by fewer than 5 percent of the world’s business colleges. For more information about SVSU’s Carmona College of Business, visit

Ghosh will join SVSU Monday, June 28.

May 10, 2021

SVSU Board approves granting degrees in advance of outdoor Commencement ceremonies

The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved granting undergraduate and graduate degrees during the Board’s regular meeting Thursday, May 6. More than 1,000 students are expected to complete degree requirements.

SVSU is holding three outdoor Commencement ceremonies Friday, May 7. The university normally holds the ceremonies indoors but moved them outside this year to allow graduates to celebrate safely.

The Board also approved granting two posthumous degrees. Students Tyra Chapman and Alissa Bunnell died in separate vehicle accidents during the academic year. Family members of Chapman and Bunnell will be present at the 10 a.m. Commencement ceremony to receive the degrees.

In other action, the Board:

  • Elected officers for the 2021-22 fiscal year. Vicki Rupp will serve as chair; Raj Weiner will serve as vice chair. Bhushan Kulkarni will serve as secretary, and Lindsay Eggers will serve as treasurer.
  • Passed a resolution thanking Thomas Metiva and elected representatives of the SVSU Student Association for their service during the 2020-21 academic year.
  • Approved the reauthorization of 7 previously authorized charter schools: Cesar Chavez Academy; Chatfield School; Flat River Academy; Genesee STEM Academy; Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts; Pontiac Academy; and Woodland School.
  • Approved the renewal of SVSU’s partnership with Barnes & Noble to manage the retail bookstore through June 30, 2026.
  • Received the federal awards audit for the 2019-20 fiscal year.
  • Approved two capital projects totaling $4.8 million. The Board authorized renovations to the Student Center and Curtiss Hall totaling $2.2 million; these renovations will include expanded space for the Multicultural Student Services Center and the Mental Health and Wellness Center. The Board also approved spending approximately $2.6 million for various technology upgrades.
  • Granted emerita status to Gretchen Mooningham, who is retiring from the math faculty after 38 years of service.
  • Granted emeritus status to John Mooningham, who is retiring from the math faculty after 38 years of service.
  • Granted emeritus status to Kerry Segel, who is retiring from the English faculty after 35 years of service.
  • Granted emerita status to Marcia Shannon, who previously retired from the nursing faculty after 23 years of service.

May 6, 2021

SVSU graduates to celebrate Commencement in person Friday; first outdoor ceremonies to be held in Wickes Stadium

More than 700 SVSU graduates have registered to participate in Saginaw Valley State University’s three outdoor commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 7. The ceremonies, SVSU’s first-ever outdoor commencement celebrations, will be held in the Harvey Randall Wickes Memorial Stadium. Relocating the ceremonies outdoors provide a safer venue and allows more people to participate in person. 

“I have spoken with a number of our May graduates, and I know how much it means to them to don regalia and hear their name called as they cross the stage,” said SVSU President Donald J. Bachand. “They have overcome much to earn their degrees.” 

The schedule of ceremonies is: 

10 a.m. ― College of Health & Human Services 

1 p.m. ― College of Arts & Behavioral Sciences and College of Education 

4 p.m. ― College of Business and College of Science, Engineering & Technology 

Each graduate may bring two guests who have registered in advance. Health and safety protocols will be observed. SVSU also is providing a live video-stream of each ceremony. Details are available at

Editor’s note: Members of the media are welcome to cover any of the Commencement ceremonies and speak with graduates and their guests. Please follow SVSU health and safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask when coming within 6 feet of others.  

Prior to or during each ceremony, please call/text Justin Engel at 989-284-4087 for assistance. Following each ceremony, you may call/text J.J. Boehm at 989-295-8225.  

In the event of mild to moderate rain, the ceremony will continue. In the event of severe weather, a ceremony may be postponed until later in the day, or if necessary, rescheduled for Saturday, May 8. 

May 6, 2021

SVSU Department of Nursing recognizes excellence in nursing

The SVSU Department of Nursing has recognized several area registered nurses and three nursing units for their contributions to the regional community and extraordinary dedication to public health over the past year. Recipients of the 2021 Carleen K. Moore Nursing Excellence Award are: 

Acute Care Nursing 

  • Amber Alaniz, oncology unit, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland 
  • Heather Kinney, operating room/post-anesthesia care unit, Ascension St. Mary's Hospital at Towne Center 
  • Jessica Kleinfeld, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers 
  • Sue Lennon, employee health and wellness, MidMichigan Health 
  • Jaime Makela, medical intensive care unit, MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland 
  • Jennifer Sajdak, COVID unit at McLaren Bay Region 
  • Three Covenant HealthCare nursing units: Surgical Intensive Care, 6 North and 5 East 

Nursing in the Community 

  • Joyce Hardy, Helen Nickless Volunteer Clinic of McLaren Bay Region 
  • Public Health Nurses at Bay County Health Department 
  • Tawnya Simon, Saginaw County Health Department 

Nursing Education 

  • Robin Begick, Covenant HealthCare  

Each winner received a crystal bowl, one dozen roses and a check for $800. 

“This award meant a lot to the nurses, their organizations and their work units,” said Andrea Frederick, associate professor of nursing at SVSU, who presented the awards with Judy Ruland, dean of the Crystal M. Lange College of Health & Human Services. “2020-2021 was a hard year for nurses working on the COVID units. This was a nice slice of good news and an affirmation of the value of their loving work and dedication to the community.” 

Multiple recipients are SVSU graduates. Begick earned her Master of Science in Nursing from SVSU in 1999. Kleinfeld is a 2011 graduate of SVSU, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Simon graduated from SVSU in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.    

Through the Carleen K. Moore Nursing Excellence Awards, SVSU’s Department of Nursing acknowledges and honors the valuable contributions registered nurses make in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Recognized nurses work in four service areas: acute care, community/public health, long-term care/rehabilitation, and education.  

This award is possible due to the generous support of Terry Moore and his wife Carleen K. Moore, RN. The Moores believe in the importance of recognizing and encouraging nurses who demonstrate excellence in their field and in promoting the reputation of Saginaw Valley State University and its nursing program. The awards have been presented since 2011. 

May 3, 2021

SVSU graduating seniors: Kathy Perez


social work major

Detroit native


Kathy’s story

As a student, Kathy Perez challenged herself to help people see beyond negative stereotypes too often associated with too many populations in the United States.

As a student program coordinator in SVSU’s Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, Kathy took on this challenge when she organized a Lowrider Display event as part of SVSU’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations in 2019.

Committed both to honoring Hispanic heritage and fighting negative stereotypes often tied to the lowrider community, Kathy arranged for vehicles to be displayed at SVSU in a setting that allowed attendees to learn about the culture surrounding the lowrider communities.

The event invited guest speakers including a state representative and a lowriding icon, all while attendees enjoyed food and music that were provided. The event was free and open to the public.

Kathy remains proud of the awareness she helped raise at an event that celebrated the lowrider culture that was part of her upbringing.

We asked Kathy a series of questions about her overall experience at SVSU. Here are her responses:


What was your favorite memory at SVSU?

“My favorite memory at SVSU was moving into the dorms my freshman year. It was such a bittersweet moment for me that I will always remember. It was the day I started a new chapter of my life and the day I got to leave my parent’s ‘nest.’ I was part of the Public School Academy Scholar Program so I was able to move in a week before everyone else, meaning I had extra time to explore campus before everyone else started to move in.”


What was your proudest accomplishment at SVSU?

“My proudest accomplishment at SVSU was being able to plan and host the Lowrider Display for Hispanic Heritage Month in 2019. Being a student program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, I was able to make this event happen after wanting to do it for so long. I grew up in the lowrider community and it was a part of who I am that I wanted to bring to SVSU. There are many negative stereotypes tied to the lowrider community and I wanted to show that there is more to it than just the negative stereotypes you hear.”


What advice would you give an incoming freshman at SVSU?

“Advice I would give incoming freshman at SVSU is to organize and manage your time and do not be afraid to ask for help! The first year in college takes some adjusting, managing your time and having a to-do list really helps. Another thing is to ask for help when you need it; professors and tutors are there to help you. Lastly, have fun and enjoy your college experience. Time flies by!”


What are your plans after graduation?

“After graduation, I will be attending Wayne State University to pursue a Master’s in Social Work (MSW). I was accepted into the Advanced Standing Program, meaning I will be graduating in May 2022, if all goes as planned. There is so much that can change from now until then. However, it is in my life plan to move out of state after receiving my MSW.”


The following are clubs, organizations and accomplishments that highlight Kathy’s SVSU experience:

  • Latino Awareness Association, including a 2-year term as president
  • E.M.E., where she was a founding member, vice president, and cultural awareness chairperson

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