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March 14, 2018

SVSU forensics team captures multiple awards at state tournament

The Saginaw Valley State University forensic team continued to reap the rewards of its hard work, winning several honors at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League State Tournament at Eastern Michigan University Saturday, March 10.

SVSU students claimed four of the 11 top novice awards, given to the student who places highest in an event and has participated in fewer than six competitions. SVSU was one of eight Michigan colleges and universities who competed at the event.

Darious Henry, a communication major from Chesterfield Township, earned second place in prose speaking, along with being the top novice in that event.

Jrew Brickel, a criminal justice major from Midland, finished in sixth place and took home the top novice honor in the extemporaneous speaking event.

Jayla Gaskins, a communication major from Detroit, earned sixth place in dramatic interpretation along and was named top novice for the competition.

Jill Castle, a communication major from Standish, earned the top novice award in the after
dinner speaking event.

Gina Kearly, a communication major from Midland, earned seventh place award in the poetry category.

In all, eight SVSU students have qualified during the 2017-18 season for the National Forensic Association National Championship tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh that will be held April 19-23. They are: Brickel; Jenna Brown, a secondary education major from Saginaw; Castle, Andrea Garner, a communication major from Westland; Gaskins, Kelley Gray, a communication major from Sandusky; Henry, and Tiler Jewell, a creative writing major from Essexville

Amy Pierce, SVSU associate professor of communication, serves as the team’s faculty adviser.

For more information regarding the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League State Forensics Tournament, please visit

March 14, 2018

SVSU seeks to inspire future teachers in “Heart of Teaching” event

Saginaw Valley State University will welcome leading educators from the Great Lakes Bay Region to provide insight and motivation for students and others seeking education careers during “The Heart of Teaching” forum Friday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. in Gilbertson Hall.

“Now is a great time to become a teacher, in terms of job prospects. There is a shortage of candidates reported all over Michigan,” said Craig Douglas, dean of SVSU’s College of Education. “We hope hearing from current educators will inspire and motivate individuals considering a teaching career.”

The event will feature a panel discussion in Ott Auditorium designed to share the motivation and challenges behind becoming a teacher. The following educators are scheduled to appear:

  • Adele Martin, superintendent of Frankenmuth Public Schools
  • Will McDonald, an elementary teacher at Frances Reh Academy in Saginaw
  • Rebecca Meredith, a special education resident teacher in Saginaw Public Schools
  • Mike Newman, a principal for Saginaw Township Community Schools
  • Jesse Place, a high school teacher for Saginaw Township Community Schools
  • Matt Schmidt, superintendent of Bangor Township Schools

Prior to the panel discussion, SVSU will present the 2018 Harold W. Peterson Award for Excellence in Teaching to Jenna Perez, a second grade teacher at Loomis Math, Science and Technology Academy in the Saginaw Public School District.

March 14, 2018

Theatre group re-imagines Shakespeare classic for SVSU stage

A Chicago-based theater troupe will visit Saginaw Valley State University to perform a hip-hop musical adaptation of a Shakespearean dark comedy.

The Q Brothers, which has performed its unique style of theater in venues from New York City to London, will treat SVSU audiences to a reimagined production of "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts. The event is free and open to the public.

The play, titled "Q Gents," put a modern-day spin on the William Shakespeare classic. The characters of Valentine and Proteus are star players on the Verona College Prep football team. Their popular status in the school, though, is threatened when Proteus becomes smitten with the dark and artsy Julia.

The play's 20-plus characters all are played by two actors who are brothers, and whose theatrical and physical performances are aimed at keeping audiences on the edges of their seats.

Beginning in 2012, The Q Brothers gained international acclaim for their “add-RAP-tation” of another Shakespeare classic. "Othello: The Remix" has been performed in nations such as Australia, Germany, Scotland and South Korea. In the United States, the group frequents cities such as Chicago and New York City.

The Q Brothers visit to SVSU is supported through the Dow Visiting Scholars and Artists series, a program at SVSU established through an endowment from The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation to enrich our region's cultural and intellectual opportunities.

March 7, 2018

SVSU art gallery to display works of high school artists

Talented high school art students will display their works for the community to view during a special exhibition in the University Art Gallery at Saginaw Valley State University.

SVSU's art department is hosting the High School Invitational Exhibition Monday, March 19 through Friday, April 13. A reception for the artists featured in the exhibition will be held Thursday, March 22 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“The art department at SVSU strongly supports this stage of creative development by high school students,” said Tisch Lewis, coordinator for the University Art Gallery. “This exhibition honors and celebrates the great creative work being done through the efforts of local high school teachers and their students.”

Students representing several high schools in the Great Lakes Bay Region will have art on display. Those schools include: Freeland High School, Hemlock High School, Heritage High School, H.H. Dow High School, Midland High School, Nouvel Catholic Central High School, Swan Valley High School and the Tuscola Technology Center.

There will be a variety of creative works displayed during the exhibition. The pieces include ceramics, paintings, photography, drawings and mixed media.

The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public.

The University Art Gallery is located in the Arbury Fine Arts Center at SVSU. The gallery is open Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the gallery re-opens from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. On Saturdays, the gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about the exhibition, contact the SVSU University Art Gallery at or (989) 964-2291.

March 6, 2018

Pianist MiJung Trepanier to perform at SVSU

Musician MiJung Trepanier will perform a solo piano recital Thursday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. in Saginaw Valley State University’s Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The performance is free and open to the public.

Trepanier’s planned musical selections include the work of 19th-century German composers Johannes Brahm, Robert Schumann and Clara Schumann.

Trepanier is a soloist who has performed globally in locations such as Puerto Rico, Bolivia and South Korea. She serves as an adjunct faculty member at SVSU and as a member of the Michigan Council Performance Touring Program. She received a doctorate degree in music from Michigan State University after first earning a bachelor's degree in music from Kyungwon University in Seongnam, South Korea. 

For more information about the recital, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

March 5, 2018

SVSU seeking charity partner for 2018 Battle of the Valleys competition

Saginaw Valley State University students have shown an incredible passion to support their surrounding community over the past 15 years, raising more than $350,000 to support numerous worthy causes and charitable organizations during the annual Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition.

In 2017, the SVSU community raised $32,000 in one week for The Mustard Seed shelter, a Saginaw organization that provides a safe housing option for women and their children in need. The SVSU Student Association hosted a luncheon on campus Friday, Feb. 9 to express appreciation for the many people who volunteered for Battle of the Valleys and to formally present the funds to Amy Roe, director of The Mustard Seed and an SVSU alumna.

The SVSU Student Association is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations interested in serving as SVSU's charity partner for 2018. The deadline to apply is Friday, April, 20. 

For more information or to request an application, please contact Caitlin Coulter, Battle of the Valleys coordinator, at

The 2018 Battle of the Valleys will take place Sunday, Oct. 21 to Friday, Oct. 26, leading up to the football game at SVSU Saturday, Oct. 27.

For more information on Battle of the Valleys, please visit

March 2, 2018

SVSU students inspired to serve during Alternative Breaks across the country

For more than 50 Saginaw Valley State University students, spring break will not be a typical vacation. They will be traveling across the U.S. to volunteer as part of the student-run Alternative Breaks program.

Five teams of students are traveling to volunteer for community organizations throughout the country during SVSU’s spring break March 5-11.

Karah Hoch, a business management major from Marine City, will be taking her first Alternative Break trip. She will be working with Champion Athletes of the Ozarks, located in Springfield, Missouri, is an organization designed to help children and adults with special needs. SVSU students will help with daily activities and to help individuals develop life skills through sports and education.

“It’s something I wanted to get involved in because I've heard nothing but good things about the organization and how it can have a huge impact on you as a leader,” Hoch said. “I hope to gain a new perspective on those who have special needs. I look forward to my experience and hope to put a smile on some peoples’ faces.”

Other SVSU students will be volunteering for:

  • Appalachian South Folklife Center, located in Pipestem, West Virginia. SVSU students will help perform housing repairs along with other community service projects.
  • Arkansas Children's Hospital, located in Little Rock, Arkansas. SVSU students will assist with daily activities needed throughout the hospital.
  • Kingdom House, located in St. Louis, Missouri. SVSU students will assist in after-school programs where children eat healthy meals and focus on their academics.
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation, located in Annapolis, Maryland. SVSU students will help to keep the Chesapeake Bay clean and educate others about the importance of keeping such natural resources safe.

SVSU's Alternative Breaks program sends students on community engagement-geared trips during both the traditional college winter and spring breaks each December and March. You can learn more at

February 26, 2018

SVSU plans candlelight vigil for slain student


Saginaw Valley State University students are organizing a candlelight vigil on campus to remember a student who was recently killed. 


The vigil for the late Katie Bonini will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in the campus courtyard. In the event of inclement weather, the vigil will be moved indoors to the Thompson Student Activities Room in the Student Life Center.


“We wanted to host this event to let Katie's friends and family know that they aren't alone and that we as a community are here to support them through this difficult time,” said Nik Berkobien, a psychology major from Saginaw. “We also wanted to host this event to promote awareness of domestic violence, the thing that ultimately led to this tragedy occurring in the first place, so we can work to prevent tragedies like these from occurring in the future. But most importantly, we wanted to pay tribute to Katie.”


Bonini was killed in an apparent murder-suicide in Sebewaing that also claimed the life of her mother and father. She was a psychology major.


Organizers have created a Facebook event page for the vigil at


February 23, 2018

SVSU soprano to perform senior recital

Saginaw Valley State University student vocalist Rachael Parr, a music major from Pinckney, will perform a soprano recital Thursday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Parr will sing musical selections are from the 17th to 20th centuries. Notable pieces include "Ave Maria in E," by French composer Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns, and "The Sound of Music," by American composer Richard Rodgers.

Parr expects to graduate in May. She plans to continue her academic career by pursuing a master's degree in liturgical music.

Pianist Amanda Stamper will provide musical accompaniment. She completed a bachelor's degree in music at SVSU and a master's degree in music at Illinois State University.

For more information about the recital, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at or (989) 964-4159.

February 23, 2018

SVSU professor of nursing earns prestigious Fulbright award to study health care in Ireland

‌Sally Decker, professor of nursing at Saginaw Valley State University, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar to support her teaching and research in Ireland.

Decker will work with inter-professional teams at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin. She also will also teach health education courses and work with faculty members on simulation.

"I am looking forward to working with health care providers in Ireland," she said. "I hope I can share some of what I have learned as I work with the inter-professional teams at the Royal College of Surgeons."

Decker plans to design and create an interactive workshop on simulation with faculty members, work with students in groups or individually related to the pedagogy of education in healthcare, and help create, facilitate and evaluate an inter-professional simulation with students and faculty members.

Decker is familiar with educational settings overseas. She has led SVSU students on study abroad experiences in England, Australia and Nepal. Those experiences focused on the differences in health care in different nations and cultures.

"These experiences — in addition to my personal travel experiences — have increased my sensitivity to cultural competence and the need to review evidence with consideration for the context from which it was created," she said. "Context relates to cultural, environmental, genetics, and health care system differences."

Her interest in the topic started when she served as a member of the Army Nurse Corps.

"The system of health care and specifics of interventions in the military setting — followed by the transition to civilian health care — created a striking awareness for me of the importance of contextual understanding and teamwork," she said.

Decker has presented on research related to educational pedagogy at international venues. In June 2017, she presented on the use of visual metaphor in concept-based education at the International Congress of Nurses in Barcelona.

Decker has received SVSU's highest faculty honors, winning the Landee Award for Teaching Excellence in 2002 and the Warrick Award for Excellence in Research in 1991. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Each year, this international educational program of the United States Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awards about 8,000 grants for research, study, and teaching opportunities in over 160 countries.

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