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May 11, 2018

SVSU honors alumnus, family for lead gift to College of Business campaign

Late nights, early mornings, a determined spirit and a supportive family carried Scott Carmona to success as a businessman starting in the late 1970s. Back then, the Bay City native – who married his wife Nancy at age 19 – was pursuing an education at Saginaw Valley State University, using wages earned operating small business ventures built with sweat equity.

Forty years later, some things have changed for Carmona. Other things have not. His tenacious work ethic turned fledgling entrepreneurial experiments into prosperous business enterprises that grew along the I-75 corridor, even as far south as Florida. Despite his far-reaching interests, though, he never forgot his roots in the Great Lakes Bay Region or the role his alma mater played in providing an educational foundation for his success.

Carmona and his family have pledged the lead gift for the fundraising campaign for SVSU's business school. The SVSU Board of Control approved naming the college the Scott L. Carmona College of Business & Management at the Board’s May 11 meeting. (Carmona is a member of the Board; he abstained from the vote.)

"I am thrilled to have this academic college named in honor of my family," Carmona said. "This is an honor, since my family is from the Great Lakes Bay Region, and we have SVSU alumni in our family and businesses, and we embrace that entrepreneurial spirit."

Carmona is the owner of Sunrise National Distributors Inc., a Bay City-based distributor of automotive aftermarket products. He owns and manages several real estate developments in Michigan and Florida. He also has remained active in community organizations including the Bay County Growth Alliance, the Dow Bay Area Family YMCA and the McLaren Bay Special Care Hospital board of directors. A member of the SVSU Board of Control since 2011, Carmona and his family have contributed financially to SVSU scholarship funds and academic ventures.

Carmona's entrepreneurial acumen, philanthropic vigor and tireless work ethic represent a shining example for students enrolled in the business college, said Donald Bachand, SVSU president.

"Scott and his family showed great determination and creative thinking to build successful businesses, and they continue to work hard for the successes still in front of them," Bachand said. "We thank the Carmona family for their outstanding generosity and committed support of our students and our university.

"Their story resonates with so many of our students who are driven to complete their degrees, even as they juggle work and family demands themselves. I hope our students find inspiration in the Carmona family's story, and we are proud to have the Carmona name forever associated with our institution."

Andy Bethune, executive director of the SVSU Foundation, said the Carmona family's gift is a statement that will positively affect the region for generations.

"We are grateful to the Carmonas for their generous support of our College of Business & Management campaign," Bethune said. "Their commitment is a major step forward in the growth and development of the college, and sets the tone for the importance of private philanthropy and the long-term success of our institution and the region we serve."

While the College of Business & Management has been a part of SVSU since 1972, the legacy of Carmona and his family is being attached during a turning point in its history. A $25 million, 38,500-square-foot building expansion – expected to open in January 2020 – will house the academic college's classrooms, faculty offices and business programs. Those elements are spread across SVSU's campus today.

The new space will include state-of-the-art technology such as analytics labs and a Bloomberg Trading Room, which tracks stock data in real time. Planners say the upgrades will provide hands-on learning opportunities for students while also encouraging members of the business community to visit campus and engage with students.

Carmona said his family is excited to invest in the project.

"With the success of this university's alumni and how they have spread SVSU's influence across the world, we decided we wanted to support the continued success of future generations of students from here," he said. "This expansion will give students a leg up in the business world. We want to help future generations find success."

Carmona knows the value of an SVSU education. He completed a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1981 and his son, Ryan, received a bachelor's degree in finance in 2008. Shannan Weston, the current president of Sunrise National Distributors Inc., started with the company as an intern, completing a bachelor's degree and an M.B.A. at SVSU as she climbed the ranks.

Carmona learned persistence from his father, who emigrated to the U.S. from Egypt at age 17. While attending SVSU in the late 1970s, the just-married Carmona made ends meet at first by developing a swimming pool maintenance company. It was a gritty job that required him start his days early. During his senior year, he was contracted to perform service work for Coca-Cola USA. The new opportunity led him to create a small business that specialized in repairing and remanufacturing dispensing equipment used in restaurants across the country.

"I would show up at Coca-Cola's office in Dearborn – with my shirt still dirty from working on pools – to pick up equipment to work on," he said. "I was driving all over the place, sometimes waking up at 4 in the morning and working throughout the night."

Carmona's company, National Equipment Refurbishers Inc., flourished, employing up to 50 people at one point. After 15 years, he sold the business to create and develop other companies, largely in the commercial real estate and automotive aftermarket distribution industries. Over the decades, he also pursued business interests outside of Michigan, including Texas, New Hampshire and Florida, where he developed an industrial park in the 2000s.

The entrepreneurial spirit remains strong in Carmona, who would rather talk about new opportunities than reflect on past accomplishments.

"It's hard for me to look back, because I'm always looking forward and asking, ‘What are we going to do tomorrow?,'" he said. "It's the same with education. The exploration for education is endless. Let's always look ahead and learn something new."

For SVSU and its College of Business and Management, the vision for its future is clearer thanks to the generosity of a family who is helping future generations of business professionals.

May 11, 2018

Graduating SVSU student to pursue medical degree and fulfill military service

A strong desire to serve and outstanding performance in the classroom will see one Saginaw Valley State University student take an unorthodox route to earn his Doctor of Medicine degree through a commission in the U.S. military.

Freeland native Phillip Markey came to SVSU with a passion for the sciences. The son of an engineer and a science teacher, Markey spent his high school years actively exploring his interests in the field.

“In high school, the more I learned about chemistry, the more I started to really enjoy it,” Markey said. “Then, when I had A.P. biology my senior year, I just wanted to see how the two fields would relate.”

Markey has long had an interest in military service.

“Back in high school, I thought about enlisting in the Army right after I graduated,” he said.

After talking to his family about the decision, he was motivated to earn his degree and then re-visit the option of serving in the military. While at SVSU, he volunteered at the Aleda E. Lutz Veterans Affairs Medical Center; that reinforced his interest in serving his country.

Markey passed the rigorous screening process to be admitted to the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland to pursue his M.D. this fall. He will be the third generation within his family to serve in the U.S. military.

“Here I am now, joining the military and I realize that SVSU helped get me to this point,” Markey said. “This is what I've wanted to do for most of my life and the guidance I've received here really helped push me toward this goal. I'm excited to see what's next.”

Markey was active on campus and in the surrounding community during his four years at SVSU. A member of Phi Delta Epsilon, a pre-medical fraternity on campus, and the Health Professions Association, he remained engaged with students and professionals in the medical field. A college co-op student at The Dow Chemical Company, Markey had the opportunity to work in biochemical research while there.

His status in the Honors Program also meant that Markey would need to pursue an area of research relating to the field of biochemistry. Working with Jason Scott, associate professor of biology, Markey conducted research relating to liver health and cardiovascular disease and how diet plays a role in the development of heart disease.

“It was clear when Phillip came into my lab that he wasn't an ordinary student,” Scott said. “He was, and is, very intelligent and passionate about the medical sciences. He was a very quick study in the lab, quickly gaining knowledge and proficiency in the research area and with the laboratory techniques.

“Phillip has all of the qualities and skills needed to become a successful medical student and physician and I am confident he will become a valued member of the Uniformed Services and medical community.”

Upon the completion of Army basic training this summer, Markey will be a commissioned officer holding the rank of second lieutenant. He will also complete his residency at one of nine Army hospitals across the U.S. and Germany.

“I would really love to travel more,” Markey said. “The first year or two of school are going to be very book-heavy, but after that, I start my clinical rotations, so I would have the opportunity to do a six-week rotation in D.C., a six-week rotation in Hawaii, a six-week rotation in Germany, which is really exciting.”

Already an experienced traveler, Markey participated in an SVSU study abroad trip that took him to Ireland, Scotland, and England. 

“Being in the Honors Program gives me a stipend for study abroad,” Markey said. “That – together with a study abroad scholarship – allowed me to spend a week and a half in Ireland hopping from Galway, to Sligo, to Knocknarea, and ending up in Dublin."

Markey also visited Edinburgh and London while abroad.  “It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life,” he said.

Markey will graduate from SVSU with a degree in biochemistry. He will be joined by the 1,083 individuals expected to graduate from the university this month. Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 12 at 11 a.m. Each ceremony will be held in O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center.

May 11, 2018

Graduating SVSU student shines in internship, earns job with Dow accounting department

Mallory Fisher has wrapped up her last round of final exams and is about to pack her bags for her  job in Texas. Within weeks, she will begin a full-time position in The Dow Chemical Company’s Finance Development Program for Accountants in Houston, where she spent time as an intern last summer.

A Midland native, Fisher began her journey at SVSU in 2014; she graduates Friday, May 11. She quickly became an active member of the campus community and earned a number of accolades during her time as a student. Most recently, she was named the Outstanding Accounting Student Representative by SVSU's chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants.

“Honestly, being singled out by such an outstanding organization for work in my field was the perfect bookend to my time as a Cardinal,” Fisher said. “These past four years have been filled with endless studying and self-motivation to succeed in the field of accounting.”

Fisher parlayed that self-motivation into a position with Dow as part of their college co-op program in 2015. As a tax department co-op, she had the opportunity to travel to Lake Jackson, Texas in May 2017 to participate in a summer internship with Dow's Texas Operations Controllers.

There, Fisher was actively involved in several projects that would span the length of her 12-week internship including one that required her to analyze data that would then be used by the Texas site controller and the vice president of Gulf Stream operations to make management decisions for the Dow sites in Texas.

Lowell McLaughlin, associate director of Dow Chemical's department of U.S. State and Local and Canadian Property Tax, spoke highly of Fisher’s attitude and aptitude.

“Mallory has been a standout college co-op and intern at Dow,” said McLaughlin, Fisher's supervisor. “She has a great work ethic and positive 'can do' attitude that has allowed her to grow and flourish in her roles.”

Fisher explained that it was the support of McLaughlin and the Dow team based in Midland that gave her the confidence to take such a huge step in her life.

“Moving 1,400 miles from my family, friends, coworkers and community was a huge step for me, personally and professionally,” Fisher said. “When Dow asked me if I would be willing to work in Texas, I immediately knew that this was a perfect opportunity to be daring, challenge myself, and step outside my comfort zone.”

Her professors noticed the difference. Betsy Pierce, assistant professor of accounting and faculty advisor to Beta Gamma Sigma, feels confident Fisher is headed down the right path as she continues to gain momentum in her career trajectory.

“After her internship last summer, she came back completely energized and excited about the idea that she might be able to go back to Houston for a full-time job,” Pierce said. “As it turns out, that's exactly where she's going. It's just so clear to me that she has a true love for working in the corporate field and we couldn't be more excited for her.”

Fisher is among the 1,083 individuals expected to graduate from the university this month. She will participate in Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences, Education, and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday, May 12 at 11 a.m. Each ceremony will be held in O'Neill Arena of the Ryder Center.

Drive and determination were not limited to Fisher’s work with Dow. She is the outgoing president of SVSU’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society recognizing those who have achieved academic excellence in business-related programs, and the outgoing vice president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Fisher also completed Cardinal Business Edge, a program that aims to strengthen the business and leadership skills of a select group of high-performing incoming freshmen.

Fisher hopes to inspire others to step out of their comfort zones to find success. She recently was invited to co-host the College of Business and Management's Best in Business Awards Night, and thought back to the days when such an opportunity might have passed her by.

“During my freshman year, I admittedly hated public speaking,” Fisher said. “I remember my professor told me that, as an effective communicator, I'd be invited to speak frequently because people know that I have something important to say. Co-hosting the awards ceremony in front of my professors, administrators, mentors, local business leaders, and my peers was such a great example of how much I've grown as a Cardinal and a businesswoman.”

As Fisher embarks upon her professional career, one goal remains at the forefront:

“I like being known as the girl who always has a smile on her face and finds joy in life,” Fisher said. “That's the person I strive to be in and out of work.”

May 9, 2018

SVSU student receives outstanding senior in French award

Kelsey Hyde started his undergraduate career at SVSU studying science and graduated with a chemical physics degree in 2015. Now he is completing a second bachelor’s degree, this time in French, earning accolades for his impressive dedication to his current field of study.

A Grand Blanc native, Hyde recently received an Outstanding Senior in French Award from the American Association of Teachers of French. The award goes to those who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to the study of French through their academic achievements and participation in related extracurricular activities.

Julie Foss, associate professor of modern foreign languages and advisor to SVSU's French Club, nominated Hyde for the award.

“Kelsey's language proficiency and intercultural competence have grown tremendously during his time in the program,” Foss said. “He started in Intermediate French classes, and has since progressed from being able to communicate in a limited number of contexts about a limited number of topics to being able to use French to express himself in nuanced and sophisticated ways at a level that would permit him to use his language skills professionally.”

Hyde will pursue a master's degree in speech-language pathology this fall at Eastern Michigan University with an assistantship in their writing center.

Feeling it was important to follow his interests in language studies the second time around, Hyde now feels confident that this route is the right one.

“Initially, I chose the hard sciences route,” Hyde said. “I don't think I was necessarily listening to myself and asking myself who I wanted to be.”

After taking French 111 in his early years at SVSU, however, Hyde had re-discovered a passion.

“I took two years of French in my first two years of high school but I wasn't able to start studying the subject again until college,” Hyde said. “I started to fall in love with language and linguistics and started to wonder how I could translate abilities in these fields to help others.”

Hyde has studied abroad twice, investing his summers in intensive language training at both the Université Laval in Québec and La Sorbonne in Paris.

An active member of SVSU's campus community, Hyde worked in the Writing Center and previously served as the vice president of the French Club.

Hyde credits Foss and Ann De Corte, an adjunct instructor at SVSU, for helping to guide him as he struggled to find a career field that was right for him.

“Without their guidance and encouragement, I'd probably be looking at a lifelong position that would have made me unhappy,” Hyde said. “They opened my mind to something I was truly passionate about. Language and proper communication opens so many doors, which excites me greatly.”

May 8, 2018

SVSU Cardinal Formula Racing Team overcomes obstacles in advance of international competition

Students on the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinal Formula Racing team have been burning the midnight oil to get their Indy-style race car ready to compete in the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Collegiate Design Series May 9-12 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

The annual competition features the top college racing programs from around the world; this year’s field features 116 teams. 

This year’s SVSU squad has been hard at work overcoming last-minute challenges. The team worked late Monday night – past 1 a.m. – and were back in the Carmona Family Performance Racing Lab by 7 a.m. Tuesday morning to replace an engine on the car and get a new back up engine ready for competition.

“There was a problem with our first engine,” said team co-captain Kameron Carey, a mechanical engineering major from Saginaw. “We have had professionals look at it, and even they can't figure out what is wrong with it. We have another engine – a backup – that we swapped in Sunday night. We just have to chug along.”

Carey and his teammates are committed to upholding SVSU’s proud tradition of doing more than chugging along. Each of the past three years, SVSU has recorded the highest finish among exclusively undergraduate programs, including last year when the team placed 45th overall, ahead of schools such as Michigan Tech, Penn State and Purdue.

Cardinal Formula Racing has placed in the top 20 four times overall: 6th place in 2002, 8th in 2005, 14th in 2008 and 18th in 2010. Twice SVSU built the fastest college race car in the world, winning the acceleration category in 2008 and 2014; the 2017 team posted the 6th fastest time.

Despite the late setback, Carey remains optimistic about this year's team, due to their willingness to work together and their individual knowledge.

“Compared to last year's team, we have more overall know-how with this year's group,” he said. “We still have a young team, but there is a lot of experience among us. This year, we have a better understanding of everything.”

Students gain valuable practical experience that supplements what they learn in the classroom, including how to respond to difficult situations.

“The more you put into the team, the more you get out of it,” Carey said.

The team benefits from the guidance of Brooks Byam, SVSU professor of mechanical engineering, who has served as the team's advisor for 20 years. He was the 2013 recipient of the Carroll Smith Mentor's Cup from the Society of Automotive Engineers, the top honor given to faculty who advise college formula racing programs.

For more information on SVSU's Cardinal Formula Racing program, please visit

For more information about the FSAE Collegiate Design Series competition, visit

May 2, 2018

SVSU student newspaper a top 3 finalist for best college newspaper award

The hard-working journalists of Saginaw Valley State University’s student newspaper, The Valley Vanguard, have earned high praise for their writing, photography and design, and have been judged to be among the state’s best college newspapers.

The Michigan Press Association, an organization with a membership of more than 300 media organizations, named The Valley Vanguard a top three finalist for its 2017 College Publication of the Year Award. The paper competes in the Better Newspaper Contest Division II category, which represents higher education institutions publishing on a weekly basis.

Connor Doyle, the publication's editor-in-chief for the past two academic years, said the recognition was a credit to his staff's journalistic acumen. With a passion for telling SVSU's story to the campus community and the ability to work within the fast-paced environment of a newsroom, the Vanguard staff was able to operate at an award-winning level, he said.

“I am very proud of our staff and the amount of work that went into last year's publication,” said Doyle, a Midland native with a double major in finance and economics. “We made a big step this year, and it makes me very excited for next year.”

The Vanguard staff will learn whether the newspaper placed first, second or third during the 2018 Michigan Press Association Annual Convention May 10 in Lansing. Several staff members earned individual awards, as well.

Kyle Will, a graphic design major from Rockwood, received the first-place award for best sports photo. Steven Bryant, a history major from Bay City, was awarded a second-place honor of best writer. Doyle won a second place award for best news story, and Dylan Powell, a communication major from Owendale, received a second-place award for best column/review.

The second-place award for best non-front page design was awarded to Doyle; Josh Sampson, a political science major from Auburn; and Will. Doyle, Sampson, and Will also earned third place for the best front page award. Sampson received honorable mention in the best writer category.

The Valley Vanguard creates a weekly print edition while operating a website and social media accounts that keep students updated on breaking news. Reporters cover campus topics and issues relating to SVSU through news stories, opinion pieces, reviews and – among Doyle's favorite elements of the publication – feature profiles.

“When we do feature stories, you get an opportunity to tell some really cool stories that would normally not reach the student body,” Doyle said. “I have personally enjoyed the connections I have made with students, faculty and administration by telling their stories.”

To read The Valley Vanguard online, visit

May 2, 2018

SVSU to help brighten downtown Bay City with new murals

Downtown Bay City will receive new colorful murals just in time for summer. Saginaw Valley State University students have produced 10 painted panels depicting notables from the history of Bay City.

The murals are being installed on the exterior of the Bayshire Building at the corner of Saginaw and 4th Streets in Bay City. A public dedication event is scheduled for Wednesday, May 2 at 2 p.m.

The project is funded by the Bay City Downtown Management Board; the Studio23 Art Center assisted with coordination. 

“Community murals are the highest form of painting in our time,” said Mike Mosher, SVSU professor of art/communication and multimedia, “because they probe the question: how can art and democracy interact and progress together?”

The subject matter for the murals was inspired by an informative talk to Mosher’s SVSU art class, community murals, during the winter by Eric Jylha, a retired broadcaster and noted Bay City historian.

The panels depict Civil War soldiers, fire rescue, local athletes and eccentrics, lumber industries, and rock music associated with the city are all honored in creative contemporary interpretations by SVSU art students. Visitors are likely to notice pop music star Madonna, a Bay City native, leading the Tall Ships.

The nine SVSU students who created the murals are: Zainab Al Mahdi, Nyesha Clark, Eric Kroczaleski, Jocelyn Lewis, Matthew Massey, Carly Peil, Anna Slavin, Breonna Smith and Kyle Will. Each student designed and produced an individual panel, as did Mosher.

The SVSU art department is committed to providing students with opportunities in community art research. SVSU students have produced a number of murals that can be seen in Saginaw, Bay City and Midland. For more information, and to view examples of past murals, visit

April 30, 2018

SVSU honors teaching, research and contributions to community at awards banquet

Saginaw Valley State University honored one of Saginaw's most active community leaders, as well as faculty and staff who display extraordinary enthusiasm and dedication, during SVSU's All -University Awards Banquet Friday, April 27.

The Distinguished Service Award, SVSU's most prestigious award for a community member, was given to Dave Abbs.

Abbs served on the SVSU Board of Control from 2005 to 2013, including two years as chair.

After completing his term on the board, he accepted perhaps his most significant SVSU assignment: serving as chair of the presidential search advisory committee during 2013 and 2014. Abbs continues to support SVSU through his volunteer service on the board of directors for the SVSU Foundation, where he currently serves as secretary. He also has served on SVSU's Board of Fellows and the Alumni Association board.

In the community, Abbs has supported numerous philanthropic causes and organizations. He is a past board chair of the Saginaw Community Foundation, and he has served as board president for the Bay City Noon Optimists, the Saginaw Valley Rotary club, the Saginaw Art Museum, and the One Hundred Club of Saginaw County, which provides financial support to the families of first responders killed in the line of duty. In business circles, Abbs has served on the boards of the Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce and the Kochville Township Business Association.

Abbs graduated from SVSU in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in marketing and management. He is the owner of Abbs Retirement Planning Advisors in Saginaw; he is also a certified financial planner.

Several SVSU faculty and staff members also received recognition for outstanding achievement and dedicated service during the 29th annual ceremony.

Andrea Frederick, associate professor of nursing, received the prestigious Franc A. Landee Teaching Excellence Award. She has spent years cultivating a career in nursing, nursing management, health care administration and nursing education. After retiring from MidMichigan Medical Center, Frederick joined the SVSU nursing faculty in 2010. As an instructor, she strives to enhance curiosity, tenacity, compassion and accomplishments that inform lifelong learning. Frederick enjoys the energizing atmosphere of an academic setting because it links experienced professionals with passionate novices that are eager to make an impact.

Kaustav Misra, associate professor of economics, received the Earl Warrick Award for Excellence in Research. His research interests are in the fields of public economics, international economics and family business. Misra has authored more than 20 scholarly articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals such as "Economics of Educational Review," "Journal of Socio-Economics" and "Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice." He also has presented at more than 70 national and international conferences. Among his honors, he received the Best Doctoral Paper in the Entrepreneurship/Information Technology/Innovation track for 2011 for the Southern Management Association.

The House Family Award for Teacher Impact was presented to Warren Fincher, associate professor of sociology. Since joining the faculty in 2012, he has served as the faculty adviser for the Sociology Club; he has organized three student trips to the annual Michigan Sociological Association meeting and he led a month-long study abroad trip to India. A recent alumna headed to graduate school nominated Fincher. She wrote: “Dr. Fincher saw my potential as an excellent student and scholar way before I began to believe in myself. He has supported my insight as well as challenging certain ideals. He was one of the reasons I was excited to continue at SVSU in the sociology program.”

Roberto Garcia received the Mary H. Anderson Adjunct Faculty Award for his part-time teaching role in the English department. He aims to inspire his students to think differently about modern culture. To do that, Garcia’s course, titled "Rethinking the Dominant Culture: Jay-Z and Modern America," teaches students about the history of hip-hop and rap in order to examine the genre's impact on modern society and culture. His nominator wrote: “Roberto is an outstanding adjunct faculty member. He has taken a step to create a general education course that is relevant to urban culture and society that students have really enjoyed.”

The Thomson Award for Empowering Learning in Community Engagement was presented to J. Blake Johnson, professor of art. He dedicates a great deal of his time to SVSU and the surrounding community through Cardinal Solutions, which was started by Johnson and others to support community businesses and organizations while offering students the opportunity to build their résumés and portfolios by completing real projects for clients. A student nominator wrote: “Since arriving at SVSU, Blake has been a mentor to me and has pushed me to produce my best work. By working with local businesses and organizations in a real-world studio environment, I have seen my design, communication and project management skills grow by leaps and bounds.”

Jennifer Bridges, professor of kinesiology, received the Excellence in Online Teaching award. In the field of kinesiology, there is an expectation that each course will offer a high level of interactivity and hands-on learning. To accomplish that through her online courses, Bridges developed Motor Development Day in Kinesiology 372, a hybrid course in which students are presented with the primary theories of motor learning and motor development throughout the lifespan. In the course, infants, children and older adults volunteer to work with the students to assess various aspects of their motor milestones.

The Ruben Daniels Community Service Award was presented to Kevin Schultz, director of alumni relations, who is active on the SVSU campus and in the community. He lends his time to the Saginaw Children's Zoo where he serves on the board of directors; he is a past president of both the Fordney Club of Saginaw County and the Saginaw Sunrise Rotary Club. His community involvement also has included volunteer service for the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus, Leadership Saginaw County and the Saginaw County Republicans, among others.

Two recipients were given the Terry Ishihara Award for Outstanding Co-Curricular Involvement: Ava Lewis, professor of nursing, and Sharmee Gloss, public school academy transitions coordinator.

Lewis aims to serve both students and the larger community. She is a nurse practitioner at the Bay Community Health Clinic in Bay City and at the Saginaw Health Clinic. Lewis shares these experiences with her students through course lectures and student volunteer opportunities. Her care for others extends beyond the region, as Lewis has led study abroad trips to Zambia in 2010, 2013 and 2016 where students worked to provide nursing care and HIV education in schools, villages, clinics and through home health visits.

Gloss dedicates a great deal of her time to the success of students of SVSU; she advises 87 undergraduate students and cultivates their confidence, independence, curiosity and passion through support and engagement. To give students the opportunity to learn about the history of surrounding communities, Gloss organized a two-day program for students in 2017 in which they viewed the film "Detroit," participated in a discussion on the impact of the movie, traveled to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and spent an afternoon in downtown Detroit.

Monica Reyes received the Roosevelt Ruffin Diversity Award. She dedicates a great deal of time to community causes, developing organizations such as the Great Lakes Bay Hispanic Leadership Institute, for which she currently serves as director. The program, designed to address a lack of Hispanic representation on community boards within the region, aims to identify potential leaders who may not normally be recognized through traditional channels. Reyes also was appointed to the Governor's Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan in 2016. The commission recently selected Saginaw for the state's annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration.

The Outstanding Performance Award for Administrative Professional staff was given to Cara Shaw, accounting supervisor. She contributes a great deal to the Controller's office through her technical, organizational and communication skills. Shaw's responsibilities encompass a range of tasks, including accumulating and providing the annual grant reporting for the university, a task she completes flawlessly, according to her colleagues. In addition to her many other duties, she devoted countless hours with SVSU's Information Technology Services department during the initial setup of the university's new financial reporting software and installation phase, making her the resident expert for her colleagues.

Donna Helmreich-Lopez, faculty secretary and office coordinator, received the Outstanding Performance Award for Support Staff. She is highly-respected for her dependability, attention to detail and positive attitude in all the roles she fills. Though her duties are time consuming, colleagues note that Helmreich-Lopez consistently offers her assistance to those who need it, completing tasks efficiently and accurately. One nominator wrote: “We are continually amazed at both the quantity and quality of the work she accomplishes. She is a dynamo of energy and gets things done very quickly.”

April 27, 2018

SVSU director of Orientation Programs honored for making new students feel welcome

Providing a friendly, welcoming and confidence-building experience for incoming freshmen is the goal of Rachel Florence-Spaetzel, director of Orientation Programs at Saginaw Valley State University.

Her peers in the profession believe she achieves that goal, selecting her to receive the Outstanding Orientation, Transition and Retention Professional Award for Region VII of NODA, the association for orientation, transition and retention in higher education. Professionals from Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Ontario were considered for the award.

“To be recognized by these peers – who I so greatly admire – was such an honor, and I am still so moved by their choice to present me with this award,” Florence-Spaetzel said.

Florence-Spaetzel was nominated by two colleagues: Dan Strasz, director of the Academic Advisement Center, and Janna Kern, assistant director of the Academic Advisement Center.

“Rachel has done an excellent job with our orientations programs, which require coordination across multiple divisions and staff and faculty from numerous departments,” Strasz wrote. “Her creativity and innovations have led to a better experience for our new students when they start at Saginaw Valley. Multi-term registration, the implementation of Schedule Planner, and the new degree-mapping software were all piloted at orientation programs. These innovations have had a positive impact on our overall student population.”

Florence-Spaetzel trains and oversees a team of about 40 student employees who serve as orientation leaders during the summer months when new students are introduced to SVSU, register for classes and prepare to begin college in the fall. The orientation leaders work with small groups of students to help them bond and become more familiar with campus and each other.

Florence-Spaetzel received the award at the NODA Region VII Conference at McMaster University in Ontario.

For more information on the Orientation Program at SVSU, please visit


April 25, 2018

Carrollton students invited to give national presentation on SVSU-run Chief Science Officers Program

Two Carrollton High School students traveled to Washington, D.C. to present on the work they have been doing to increase interest in math and science among their peers. During the academic year, Hudson Holm and Emily Jaremba have been participating in the Chief Science Officers program organized by Saginaw Valley State University.

Earlier this month, they shared lessons they have learned through the program at the STEM Ecosystems 2018 Spring National Community of Practice Convention – in conjunction with the U.S. News & World Report STEM Solutions Conference – in Washington, D.C.

The Carrollton students were joined by Adrianne Cole, SVSU director of STEM, and Craig Coopersmith, a Carrollton high school science teacher and SVSU alumnus. They presented on two topics: “Growing Significant Business-to-Student Partnerships” and “Fostering Cross-Sector Collaborations.”

The Chief Science Officers program is a student-led initiative to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Middle school and high school students are selected for the program and are then empowered to influence a wide range of STEM opportunities in their schools and communities.

SVSU received a $40,000 grant from The Dow Chemical Company Foundation to run the community-minded pilot program at middle schools and high schools in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties for the 2017-18 school year. It is modeled after a similar program that has proven successful in Arizona.

While they were in Washington, D.C, Holm and Jaremba visited the NASA Headquarters met with Sandra Cauffman, deputy director of the Earth Sciences Division. They also had a chance to collaborate with students participating in chief science officer programs in Arizona and Oregon.

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