A Saginaw Valley State University alumna with a handle on several world languages recently was honored for her mastery of French.
Alexis Chavarria, who earned an SVSU bachelor’s degree in Spanish earlier this month, received the French Award from The American Association of Teachers of French.
The award is presented annually to a graduating senior who demonstrated excellence in the study of French as well as exceptional commitment to French language and the many cultures where it is spoken.
Recipients must have completed at least three years of French study at the time of graduation and be non-native speakers of French.
The American Association of Teachers of French was founded in 1927 and has its mission as “the promotion of the study of French language and French-speaking literature and cultures of all levels.”
For more information on the organization, go to www.frenchteachers.org.
Heights don’t bother Riley Hupfer much. Growing up, he helped out at his family business, Freeland Bean and Grain Inc., which sometimes meant climbing ladders to the top of nearly 100-foot-tall grain silos.
So the prospect of rappelling 85 feet down the side of a 6-story building is no cause for concern for the assistant director of Saginaw Valley State University’s Center for Community Engagement, he said. In fact, considering it’s a stunt meant to benefit and celebrate one of the region’s most supportive nonprofit organizations, Hupfer can’t wait to get his bird’s eye view of the community he himself loves to bolster.
“It’s going to be a thrill,” Hupfer said of his planned participation in the United Way of Saginaw County’s Over The Edge fundraising event Saturday, June 8, at Covenant HealthCare’s Mackinaw facility in Saginaw Township.
There, participants such as Hupfer — along with two others representing SVSU — plan to rappel down one of Saginaw Township’s tallest structures to raise awareness and funds for United Way of Saginaw County as part of a celebration of the nonprofit’s 100th year as a community booster.
“The opportunity to support such an incredible organization that is celebrating 100 years is something I do not want to miss,” Hupfer said. “We are proud to stand together to support the United Way of Saginaw County’s message. That change does not happen alone.”
Hupfer will represent SVSU along with Bethany Alford; the director of Military Student Affairs at SVSU; and Coop the Cardinal, the university’s mascot. SVSU’s team fundraising goal is $10,000.
Alford, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, said she is looking forward to supporting the fundraiser, particularly because of United Way of Saginaw County’s efforts to connect military veterans with resources in the community.
“Having been on three deployments myself, I know that transitions back into community, higher education or even back into your family can be difficult to navigate,” she said. “When the opportunity arose for me to do something to help the United Way’s cause, I was immediately onboard.”
Over The Edge will feature games and family-friendly entertainment in addition to the rappelling. For more information about the fundraising event or to register to rappel, go to United Way of Saginaw County’s website at www.unitedwaysaginaw.org/OTE.
Those interested in supporting SVSU’s team at the fundraiser can click here.
Shayla Krygier’s passion for graphic design soon could earn her accolades from the nation’s oldest advertising trade association.
Krygier, who earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from Saginaw Valley State University last Saturday, recently turned a pet project into a contender at the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards scheduled June 7 in Hollywood.
The Bay City native months ago created a mock marketing campaign proposal for a faux company called "Gray Dog Grooming,” which appears to cater to animal lovers looking to keep their canines clean. While both the business and the marketing materials were products of Krygier’s mind, the passion for graphic design work that inspired those creations was very real, she said. Krygier began the project for fun from home and later utilized the work in a portfolio assignment for one of her final SVSU classes earlier this year. She eventually entered "Gray Dog Grooming" into the American Advertising Federation’s awards circuit, skeptical of its chances at success.
Its chances for success turned out to be excellent.
The entry was honored first by the American Advertising Federation’s Great Lakes Bay chapter, winning a top prize in February at the regional organization's event known as The ADDY Awards. That successful turn advanced the entry to the awards competition for American Advertising Federation’s District 6, which covers 13 regional chapters from Michigan, Illinois and Indiana. Krygier received accolades at that level too, moving her creation into contention for the organization’s final contest featuring the best work from across the U.S.
Krygier’s project will be among 22 entries up for the top prize in the Integrated Brand Identity Campaign category at the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards.
"Making it to the national level in the competition was something I never imagined when I was developing this campaign,” she said. “I am excited for what the future holds and grateful for such an amazing platform and opportunity to showcase my work.”
The “Gray Dog Grooming” entry features several graphic design elements including a company logo, marketing language and layouts for a proposed pamphlet — all of which are punctuated by images of dogs being groomed. Krygier's inspiration for the project was simple, she said.
"I'm a big dog person,” she said. “I was trying to think of a business I could create that would cater to dogs. I decided to pick a grooming company and then chose a name that was fun. I thought that the incorporation of a color into the title would give me a good basis for creating a cohesive feel."
Krygier was a marketing minor at SVSU. She said the skills learned in those classes worked hand-in-hand with her graphic design abilities while creating the marketing campaign.
"Marketing is something that can simultaneously flow with design,” she said. “With graphic design in particular, a brand that one creates does not mean much if can't be marketed toward an audience. You need the two — working together — to make a campaign successful.”
A website featuring some of Krygier's work is available at
For more information about the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards, click here.
A strong arm and a passion for competition helped a Saginaw Valley State University student recently earn a spot on the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s All-American Team.
Kyle Bruce, a mechanical engineering major from Macomb Township, said the All-American distinction was among his favorite highlights since joining SVSU’s dodgeball club in 2015.
“Playing on this team, you become like a family,” said Bruce, who plans to graduate in August. “I made a lot of friends in dodgeball, and this was a great way to end it.”
Bruce said he joined the team four years ago as a fun distraction from studies but quickly found joy in the highly-competitive nature of the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association.
“I remember traveling to our first tournament at Grand Valley State University, and realizing how seriously these teams approach the game,” he said. “I loved that competitiveness.”
Prior to his joining the club, Bruce’s experience with the sport involved a handful of games played in high school gym classes. His lack of familiarity with dodgeball was balanced out by his experience as a baseball pitcher in high school, though, and he quickly developed into a valuable player after joining SVSU's club sport.
“Having that baseball background gives you an advantage in dodgeball,” he said, pointing out that both sports rely heavily on throwing and catching. “There are a lot of other skills you need for dodgeball, but you can pick those up over the years.”
The National Collegiate Dodgeball Association plays its season over the course of the college academic year, spanning fall to spring. In total, 39 teams from universities and colleges across the nation compete in the association. Each roster features between 12 to 18 people.
While the league is not affiliated with the NCAA, SVSU lines up against students from much larger schools such as Michigan State University, University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, and University of Kentucky.
SVSU’s dodgeball club finished its 2018-19 season in April after placing sixth in the national tournament hosted at GVSU.
The tournament marked Bruce’s last appearance in an SVSU dodgeball club uniform, but he isn’t finished with the sport. Already, he has joined the Detroit City Notorious, one of more than 100 teams that constitute the league known as Elite Dodgeball.
An unyielding desire to excel by the students on Saginaw Valley State University's Cardinal Formula Racing rocketed the team to a top 15 against the top college and university race teams from around the world.
“It blows me away, the amount of work this team puts in,” said Brooks Byam, an SVSU professor of mechanical engineering and the team's adviser since 1998. “They earned this.”
SVSU’s Indy-style race car placed 15th overall at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series May 8-11 at Michigan International Speedway. They finished ahead of institutions such as Michigan Tech, Penn State and Purdue.
For the fifth consecutive year, the program placed highest among teams that exclusively featured undergraduate students.
Over the last two decades, increased participation from teams with graduate students as well as institutions outside the U.S. have gradually raised the level of competition at the Collegiate Design Series, making a high finish for SVSU more difficult with each passing year, Byam said.
But a determined core of students - and a history of success - helped boost Cardinal Formula Racing to its best performance in more than a decade. Before last weekend, the program's top four finishes of all-time were 6th place in 2002, 8th in 2005, 14th in 2008 and 18th in 2010.
This year's team finished 15th overall both because of the students' strong work ethic and Cardinal Formula Racing's legacy of success, Byam said.
“We've been developing and carrying over a checklist of items – for over a decade now – that helps our students prepare for some of the goofy things that have happened to our teams over the years,” he said.
The failure of a 10-cent oil line part considerably dropped Cardinal Formula Racing's overall placement in the 2015 Collegiate Design Series. A blown backup engine that nearly cost the team dearly on the eve of the 2018 competition. Experiences such as these became entries in the checklist – now nearly four pages in length – that students utilize to ensure they are better prepared to overcome the challenges faced by their predecessors.
While the checklist helped avoid potential setbacks last weekend, this year's team likely will add some items for future generations of Cardinal Formula Racing team members, said Jared Greshow, a mechanical engineering major and team captain. One month before the Collegiate Design series, the car experienced engine problems. Then, about one week before the competition, a vital sprocket broke.
“For some teams, these problems would have been reason to call it quits,” Greshow said. “We were prepared for these problems and had solutions ready to go when they happened.”
The Bay City native said his teammates were stubborn... in a positive way.
“Nothing could have happened which would have made us quit,” he said. “This year couldn't have gone better.”
This year's team was sponsored by a number of companies and organizations including the Alro Steel, the SVSU chapter of the American Foundry Society, DeWitts Radiator, Fullerton Tool Co., General Machine Service Inc., Means Industries, Merrill Technologies Group, MolyKote, Nexteer Automotive, and PF Markey. Other supporters include R&M Machine Tool, Rowleys Tires and Automotive Services, Teamtech Motorsports, TNT EDM Inc., Saginaw Welding Supply Co., and the William Parth Endowment for Cardinal Formula Racing.
For more information on SVSU's Cardinal Formula Racing program, please visit www.svsu.edu/cardinalformularacing/.
The Saginaw Valley State University Board of Control approved granting degrees for nearly 1,100 graduates during the Board’s regular meeting Friday, May 10. SVSU will host Commencement exercises at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11 in O’Neill Arena.
The May 2019 graduating class includes 921 students expected to complete bachelor’s degrees and 177 who will receive master’s or other advanced degrees. Consumers Energy president and CEO Patti Poppe will deliver the Commencement address at both ceremonies. Nearly 1,000 graduates are expected to don regalia and participate in their respective ceremony.
The Board also approved granting a posthumous degree to the late Joseph DuCharme. When he passed away in October 2018, he had nearly completed requirements for a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering; his family will accept the posthumous honorary degree.
In other action, the Board:
Saginaw Valley State University will continue its commitment to community-minded educational opportunities by hosting a literacy clinic to improve students' reading skills for three weeks this summer.
The clinics will be held Monday through Friday, June 24-28; Monday through Wednesday, July 1-3; and Monday through Thursday, July 8-11, with sessions occurring each of those days at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
These lessons will be held in The Literacy Center in SVSU's Gilbertson Hall, Room GN 117.
The entire tuition for the program is $300, including a $50 non-refundable deposit. Participants must complete a reading assessment before the clinic begins; sessions are available Monday, June 17 and Tuesday, June 18 at 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. or 6 p.m.
To track their progress, all participants will also have a final observation provided by a tutor to measure progress.
Every tutor is a certified teacher with extensive classroom experience. They will be utilizing a research-based tutoring system to design individualized lessons for each student.
To enroll in the clinic, contact Laurie Ann Haney, assistant director of SVSU’s Literacy Center, at 989-964-4982 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizers of a Saginaw Valley State University program aimed at inspiring the next generation of leaders recently selected 10 students eager to develop their leadership skills.
The Roberts Fellowship Program, established in 1999, inducted its 21st class of participants during a May 5 ceremony at SVSU. The ceremony marked the beginning of a year-long journey for the newest members that will involve learning from leaders of communities and industries from across the world while also engaging in service projects regionally. The program culminates in an overseas trip to Asia in May 2020.
A new group of students is selected each spring for the program. The latest members hail from communities across the state and study in a variety of academic programs offered at the university.
Members of the 21st class of Roberts Fellows include Mia Berlanga, a biology major from Midland; Tyler Boylen, a supply chain management major from Gladwin; Joshua Cianek, a political science major from Auburn; Imani Clark, a communication major from Saginaw; and Alina DeVoogd, a Spanish major from Algonac.
Other members are Vincent Frank, a music major from Greenville; Joseph Harvey, an accounting major from Sault Ste. Marie; Arianna Jones, a professional technical writing major from Kentwood; Tyler Sadilek, a biology major from Chesaning; and Justin Weller, a political science major from Bay City.
The program’s advisers are Julie Foss, SVSU associate professor of modern foreign languages, and Brian Thomas, SVSU director of global engagement and presidential liaison to Ming Chuan University.
The Roberts Fellowship Program is named in honor of Donna Roberts, a Midland resident 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.
For more information about the Roberts Fellowship Program, please visit www.svsu.edu/robertsfellowshipprogram.
A year’s worth of hard work, dedication, late nights and early mornings will culminate with the literal and metaphoric rubber meeting the road this week for Saginaw Valley State University’s Cardinal Formula Racing team as it faces the world’s top collegiate talent in Indy-style racing.
And team members have high expectations when competition gets underway at the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series May 8-11 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.
“We’re expecting a top-10 finish,” said Jared Greshow, a mechanical engineering major from Bay City who serves as Cardinal Formula Racing’s team captain this year. “That’s been the goal since we started this last year, and I’m feeling good about this car now that we’re ready to compete. It looks good and it feels good.”
A top-10 finish would be the program's third in its history. The 2002 team placed sixth and the 2005 crew finished fifth. Each year, a multidisciplinary team of SVSU students design and build an Indy-style race care to compete against colleges and universities from around the world.
For four consecutive years, SVSU’s team has recorded the highest finish of any exclusively undergraduate program. Brooks Byam, an SVSU professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s adviser since 1998, said this year’s team has possessed an advantage in its preparation.
“We had an inexperienced team last year, which led to an experienced team this year,” Byam said. “They know when to be an engineering team, and then when to be a race team.”
Among those experienced students was Greshow, who was involved in the 2017 and ’18 teams. The 2019 model will benefit from at least one important lesson learned from earlier builds, he said.
“We wanted to spend less time in the theoretical design phase and more quickly move to building the car,” Greshow said. “We wanted to be able to test it earlier. In this contest, being able to test your work can really help.”
Last year’s team scrambled in the week leading up to the FSAE competition after an engine failed. Greshow said a similar complication challenged this year's team, but because the vehicle was built sooner, the problem was resolved well before the event.
The team applied the first component to the car's frame in early July 2018 and began test-driving the vehicle in January. Both milestones arrived relatively early compared to previous years, he said.
“We’ve pulled a couple of all-nighters in the past few months to get to this point,” he said. “All the hard work is worth it.”
This year's FSAE field features 119 teams from countries across the world including Austria, Brazil, Germany, Poland and Venezuela. The level of participation from outside the U.S. has increased the level of the competition's talent immensely in recent years, Byam said.
Still, Cardinal Formula Racing consistently performs well. Twice SVSU has built the fastest college race car in the world, winning the event’s acceleration category in 2008 and 2014. The team placed No. 24 overall out of 120 competitors last year.
For more information on SVSU's Cardinal Formula Racing program, visit www.svsu.edu/cardinalformularacing/.
For more information about the FSAE Collegiate Design Series competition, visit www.sae.org/attend/student-events/formula-sae-michigan/.
Saginaw Valley State University graduates will hear from Patti Poppe, president and CEO of Consumers Energy, during Commencement exercises Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11.
Through their hard work and commitment, nearly 1,100 students are expected to complete degree requirements, and 992 individuals have indicated they plan to don regalia and participate in their respective ceremony. SVSU has 921 students expected to complete bachelor’s degrees and 177 who will receive master’s or other advanced degrees.
Students graduating in the colleges of Business & Management and Health and Human Services will participate in the Friday ceremony at 7:30 p.m. Students graduating in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering and Technology will take part in the Saturday ceremony at 11 a.m. Both ceremonies are held in O’Neill Arena of the Ryder Center.
As is tradition, SVSU President Don Bachand will congratulate each graduate as they cross the stage.
Poppe is president and chief executive officer of Jackson, Michigan-based CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility and the nation’s fourth largest combination utility. Consumers Energy provides electricity and natural gas to 6.7 million of Michigan’s 10 million lower peninsula residents. She was named to this position in July 2016.
Poppe held a variety of automotive management positions and served as power plant director at Detroit, Michigan-based DTE Energy before returning to her hometown of Jackson to join Consumers Energy in 2011.
Poppe earned a master’s degree in management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. She also completed a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Purdue University.
As president and chief executive officer, Poppe has focused on the company's triple bottom line commitment to people, the planet and Michigan's prosperity.
The Consumers Energy Foundation supported the Consumers Energy Talent Program for SVSU engineering students, as well as high school students who enrolled in SVSU’s Engineering Careers and Concepts course. Senior electrical or mechanical engineering students at SVSU applied for funding from Consumers Energy for senior design capstone projects focused on alternative energy. To qualify, students were required to propose a novel idea, plan the time line, budget for supplies and conduct research and development activities accordingly for a two-semester project.
For those unable to attend Commencement exercises, SVSU will provide a live video stream of each ceremony. The link and additional information can be found online at svsu.edu/commencement.