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May 24, 2023

SVSU celebrates excellence in student writing

Man in blue jacket flanked by women holding award certificates

In a celebration of excellence in writing, 20 Saginaw Valley State University students and one faculty member were recognized for their writing achievements during the 2023 University Writing Awards ceremony in April. The University Writing Awards has a long history at SVSU, spanning nearly 25 years with nearly 400 students recognized for their creativity, clarity and effectiveness in writing. 

The Braun Awards for Writing Excellence at SVSU were established through a gift from Hugo E. “Ted” and Ruth Braun to create incentives for outstanding student writing and opportunities for student writers to be recognized and published.  

The Braun Awards for Writing Excellence celebrated five students: 

  • Jack Glonka, an economics major from Shelby Township. 
  • Amelia Corne, a teacher education major from Birch Run. 
  • Jordan Purchase, a finance major from Bay City.  
  • Emily Kuch, a nursing major from Bay City.  
  • Hanna Schroeder, an exercise science major from Essex, Canada.  

The Diane Boehm Writing Award for e-Portfolios are presented annually to outstanding students to recognize the creative and effective integration of writing and multimedia. Diane Boehm, director emerita of the SVSU Writing Center, established and funds the award.  

  • The graduate-level award was presented to Jenna Mandernach, an occupational therapy major from Saginaw. 
  • The undergraduate award for classroom portfolio was presented to Mia Michalski, a graphic design major from Bay City.  
  • The undergraduate award for work portfolio was presented to Taylor Hart, a professional and technical writing major from Essexville.  

Gabrielle Bourgeois, a marketing major from Macomb, won the Seitz Creative Writing Scholarship, which is awarded to juniors or seniors with a major or minor in creative writing. The scholarship was established and is supported through gifts from Jim and Melissa Seitz.  

The Tyner Prizes for Writing Excellence are presented annually in three categories ― fiction, poetry and nonfiction ― to work nominated by faculty in the humanities: art, communication, English, modern foreign languages, music and theatre. This year’s winners were:  

  • Nonfiction ― Garrett Lewis, a history major from Marquette. 
  • Fiction ― Megan Draper, a creative writing major from Marne, east of Grand Rapids. 
  • Poetry ― Lita Weekley, a professional and technical writing major from Mason.  

The Robert S.P. Yien First Year Writing Awards showcase outstanding work by first-year composition students in ENGL 080 and 111. Yien served as SVSU’s vice president for Academic Affairs for 27 years prior to his retirement. This year’s winners were: 

  • ENGL 111: Research ― Sofia Giulianelli, a pre-nursing major from Washington, in Macomb County. 
  • ENGL 111: Analysis ― Jack Yaek, an accounting major from Richmond, northeast of Detroit. 
  • ENGL 111: Narrative ― Emily England, a graphic design major from Marion, between Clare and Cadillac. 
  • ENGL 111: Argument ― Charleze Oliver, a pre-health professions major from Millington. 
  • ENGL 111: The Wolff-Harmon Award ―Trinity Greer, a general business major from Alma. 
  • ENGL 111: Narrative, Honorable Mention ― Travis Thurlow, a cell, molecular, and biomedical major from Birch Run. 
  • ENGL 111: The Wolff-Harmon Award, Honorable Mention ― Muhammadi Sayid Kabiito, a neuroscience major from Kamapala, Uganda.  

The Ming Chuan Endowed Multilingual Writing Award is presented to an SVSU student whose native language is not English. The award’s purpose is to recognize outstanding undergraduate writing. This year’s winner was Evangeline Cruz, a communication major from Detroit. 

In addition to the student awards, one faculty member was honored. Warren Fincher, an SVSU professor of sociology, won the Innovative Writing in Teaching Award, which recognizes outstanding teaching of writing across SVSU’s campus. 

Writing submissions were judged by members of the University Writing Committee and other SVSU faculty: 

  • Emily Beard-Bohn, associate professor of English. 
  • Daniel Cook, professor of English. 
  • Judith Cox, assistant professor of nursing. 
  • William DeHerder, director of the SVSU Writing Center.  
  • Micah DelVecchio, associate professor of economics. 
  • Carol Essenmacher, assistant professor of nursing. 
  • Sherrin Frances, professor of English. 
  • Sylvia Fromherz, assistant professor of biology. 
  • Ellen Herlache-Pretzer, professor of occupational therapy. 
  • Tim Kenyon, lecturer of English. 
  • Kim Lacey, associate professor of English. 
  • Tamara Migan, lecturer of English.  
  • Vincent Samarco, professor of English. 
  • Kavi Senanayake, assistant professor of physics. 
  • Conor Shaw-Draves, associate professor of English. 
  • Deborah Smith, professor of teacher education. 

The University Writing Program at SVSU provides students with resources to develop their writing and critical thinking skills, and it encourages both faculty and students to value the art of writing by creating activities and programs across campus.