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October 27, 2017

SVSU music students to showcase their talent at senior recital

Saginaw Valley State University music education majors Katie Mueller and Shane Billingsley, who are both Saginaw natives, will perform the clarinet in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 7:30 p.m. for their senior recital.

Mueller is in her fifth and final year at SVSU, where she has been awarded the Rhea Miller Scholarship for her exceptional clarinet performance abilities. Mueller has spent the last two summers as a counselor at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. This semester, she is interning with the Saginaw Bay Youth Orchestra. In the past, this musician has won SVSU's first Concerto Competition. She will also play with SVSU's wind ensemble during the first movement of Weber's concerto this fall.

Billingsley is finishing up his music education degree at SVSU. In his five years attending the university, he has participated in the marching band, wind ensemble, and concert band.  In 2014, Billingsley was awarded the Distinctive Scholarship in Music, which is awarded to students who bring distinction to the music department by performing exceptionally onstage and in the classroom.

Their recital will include alternating solo performances from each student, as well as one duet to close the show. Mueller will feature works from famous composers Francis Poulenc, Wilson Osborne, and Carl Maria Von Weber. Billingsley will perform pieces from woodwind composer Camille Saint-Saëns and clarinetist Bêla Kovâc. The two students will perform a Mozart piece for their duet.

Admission for this recital is free of charge. For more information about this recital, please visit or call 989-964-4159.

October 27, 2017

During SVSU lecture, Georgetown historian to discuss legacy of 1623 'massacre' on Indonesian island

A 17th century "massacre" that impacted European relations and shaped global influences will be the focus of a lecture at Saginaw Valley State University Monday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Founders Hall.

As part of SVSU's Barstow Lecture as well as the Visiting Scholars and Artists series, Alison Games will deliver her address, titled "The Invention and Legacy of the Amboyna Massacre." The event is free and open to the public.

Games is the Dorothy M. Brown Distinguished Professor of History at Georgetown University. Games teaches courses on topics including early America, the Atlantic world and European expansion, and global interaction.

The title of her Monday address refers to the execution in 1623 of 20 men involved in the English East India Company by Dutch representatives on the island of Amboina, now known as Ambon Island in the Maluku Islands of Indonesia.

When merchants with the British East India Company became interested in Amboina's commerce, it escalated tensions between the traders and their rivals at the Dutch East India Company. On accusations of treason, a Dutch governor on the island ordered the torture and execution of the men associated with the British East India Company. Historians say the executions impacted where each nation concentrated its influence globally for generations.

Games authored three books, including texts that explore those centuries-old global influences. "The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560-1660" was published in 2009. "Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World" was published in 2001.

Games also participated in fellowships with the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Huntington Library, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. 

The Barstow Excellence in Teaching Humanities Seminar at SVSU was created to promote excellence in teaching and recognize scholarship in the humanities.  The seminar was established through a gift from The Barstow Foundation, which supports education, health and human services agencies and humanitarian causes with emphasis on the greater Midland area.

October 27, 2017

Critically-acclaimed violinist set to perform at SVSU

Award-winning violinist Hal Grossman will perform in concert at Saginaw Valley State University on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall as part of SVSU’s Rhea Miller Concert Series.

Critics have praised Grossman’s "vibrant tone" and "superb technique." He is a  first prize award winner for International Cleveland Quartet Competition and the National Fischoff Chamber Music Competition.

Grossman's debut performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City received high praise from a review in The New York Times. The violinist was also invited to play for Prince Charles and Princess Diana in a CBC television and radio broadcast. He has appeared on stages throughout North America and Europe, where he has held the position of concertmaster in five orchestras.

In addition to performing, Grossman has also spent time teaching violin at the University of Miami, the University of Oklahoma, and the Interlochen Arts Academy. He is the founder and creator of “The Grossman Method,” pedagogy that incorporates stretches in young violinists to promote healthy string playing.

Accompanying Grossman on stage at SVSU will be Norman Boehm. Specializing in music from the 19th and 20th centuries, this skilled pianist has performed in numerous single-composer recitals. Boehm composes his own work and arranges larger symphonic works for chamber ensembles, as well. 

The Rhea Miller Concert Series is made possible by a generous gift from Rhea E. Miller, a longtime friend of SVSU. Her gift, administered by the Miller Trust for Music Education, has provided the university with the opportunity to offer outstanding performances by nationally and internationally acclaimed musical artists at no cost to the audience since 1993. For more information, call (989) 964-4159 or email

October 27, 2017

FIRST Robotics scholarship recipients bring their work ethic and talents to SVSU

Bryce Stevens knew he was headed to college. His experience competing in the FIRST Robotics state finals at Saginaw Valley State University, coupled with a new SVSU scholarship for FIRST in Michigan robotics competitors, convinced him to choose SVSU.
After spending three days on campus in April – his Jacktown Vectors FIRST Robotics team advanced to the semifinals – Stevens said he could not imagine himself going to any other school.
“SVSU felt homier,” Stevens said.
The graduate of Hanover-Horton High School had scholarship offers elsewhere, so when John Riedeman, Stevens' mentor and team advisor at the Jackson Area Career Center, approached him with information on SVSU's FIRST Robotics Scholarship opportunity, Stevens was sold.
A mechanical engineering major, Stevens was one of three students to receive the renewable $4,000 scholarship, available to students who competed on FIRST Robotics teams in high school. He and fellow scholarship recipients Waliul Matin and Kiley Mowry - now all SVSU freshmen - learned about the scholarship opportunity while competing with 4,800 other students in the FIRST Robotics state championship hosted on SVSU's campus April 12-15.
All three recipients see the scholarship as a chance to advance more easily beyond the challenges - academic, financial or social - that college freshmen sometimes endure.
The FIRST Robotics Competition combines the excitement of a varsity sport with hands-on training in science and technology to help high school students discover how rewarding a career in engineering or technology can be. Remote-controlled robots, piloted by students and cheered on by thousands of screaming fans, go head-to-head in short games on the floor of a sports arena, battling it out to earn points during a two-minute round.
As an exchange student from Bangladesh, Matin said he had very little pocket money to spend on the admission cost to join the Royal Oak robotics team, The RoboRavens. However, his advisors saw his potential and waived the entrance fee so he could join the team, and ultimately, compete in the state championship.
This small act of kindness gave Matin the opportunity to travel to SVSU with his team, which advanced to the quarterfinals of its division. An electrical engineering major, Matin estimates he built about 40 percent of his team’s competition robot.
Attending college in the U.S can be quite costly for international students. Matin said that if he wanted to study in this country, he would need as much financial freedom as possible. SVSU was able to give him the peace of mind he needed to pursue his love of robotics, and hopefully land him his dream job with NASA. (SVSU alumnus Tony Ceccacci served as lead flight director for NASA’s space shuttle Atlantis mission STS-125/HST SM4 to repair and upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope, and he arranged to have an SVSU pennant fly aboard. The pennant is on display in SVSU’s Pioneer Hall.
Competing on a FIRST Robotics team teaches you about overcoming challenges. For Kiley Mowry, she sometimes had to fight a little harder to make her voice heard. Her team from Midland’s H.H. Dow High School, The Charge, consisted of more females than most, but at times, she still had to work hard to get the attention of some of the team’s male members.
Mowry started working on the team as a sophomore, doing odd jobs, but eventually worked her way up to become a co-captain her senior year. In this position, she oversaw a group of over 50 high school students.
A mechanical engineering major, Mowry said that the FIRST Robotics Scholarship offers valuable support for students, giving them more opportunities to pursue what interests them. She has joined SVSU's Cardinal Formula Racing team, which twice (2008 and 2014) has built the fastest college race car in the world.
"The scholarship has helped take pressure off me as a student not just financially, but also it helps to know that there are people that believe in me," she said.
As for Stevens, he is using the money he received from the scholarship to pursue his aspirations of becoming a mentor to other students, just as Riedman had been to him.
"If I had to choose a dream job, I would choose to be in charge of my own Robotics team at a career center like Mr. Riedman," Stevens said.

October 25, 2017

Flutist, pianist to perform classical music during SVSU recital

On Friday, Oct. 27, Saginaw Valley State University will showcase the talents of two musicians with experience performing in venues across the nation. The recital, taking place at 7:30 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall, is free and open to the public.

The concert will feature flutist Townes Osborn Miller, associate professor of music at Mott Community College and a flute instructor at SVSU; and pianist Carl Angelo, director of music and fine arts at First Presbyterian Church in Flint and a former SVSU faculty member.

Miller is an active performer in the Flint and Saginaw areas while also making appearances with North Carolina's St. Matthias Chamber Orchestra, Tennessee's Oak Ridge Civic Music Association Guild and the Kansas City Flute Choir. She received her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Kansas School of Music.

Angelo performed across the United States as both a soloist and a collaborative musician, served as the pianist for the Saginaw Choral Society, and conducted several clinics for the American Guild of Organists. He received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Indiana University.

The concert will feature selections from the 18th to the 20th century, including music by composers Franz Schubert, Claude Debussy, Paul Hindemith and Francis Poulenc.

For more information, please contact the SVSU Department of Music at (989) 964-4159 or by email at

October 24, 2017

SVSU conference to address challenges, solutions for individuals with disabilities

Saginaw Valley State University is hosting the C of IDEAS Summit 2017: Enhancing Lives, Creating Community  Saturday, Nov. 4, starting at 9 a.m. in Gilbertson Hall. The focus of the summit is to advance interdisciplinary education and develop solutions that enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities.

The day will include a presentation on motivation from nationally recognized speaker Richard Lavoie, author of the book “The Motivation Breakthrough: Turning on the Tuned-Out Child.” He has delivered keynote addresses for the Learning Disabilities Association, Council for Exceptional Children, and Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

The C of IDEAS is a collaboration with SVSU and community partners including individuals with disabilities and family members, educators, and community organization representatives from Arenac, Bay, Genesee, Midland, and Saginaw counties. Presenters will cover topics including evidence-based strategies, policy and practice, post-secondary education opportunities, assistive technology, working with agencies, and more.

Lavoie comes to SVSU as a Dow Visiting Scholar; he will begin the day with a presentation in the Ott Auditorium based on his book. This discussion will begin by describing the common misconceptions surrounding motivation and ineffective strategies and practices currently used to motivate children, such as competition, reward systems, and punishment. Then, Lavoie will outline specific approaches that focus on motivation strategies designed to inspire children to reach their fullest potential.

The day also will feature a lunch presentation from SVSU student Luke Drumright, who has Down’s Syndrome. He will outline his SVSU story and how the university has welcomed and supported students like him. Ted Lind, SVSU associate director of admissions, and Erin VanHavel, an SVSU student and peer mentor, have worked closely with Drumright during his time at SVSU and will help tell his story.

For a more information on the conference, including details on the breakout sessions, please visit and click on the conference flyer.

To register for this free community event, visit Because the event is limited to 250 attendees, registration is only available online. You may register for Lavoie's presentation exclusively, or you can also sign-up for the presentation and the breakout sessions.  No food will be provided at the event, but boxed lunches can be purchased in advance on the registration site for $12. The deadline to order a meal is Friday, Oct. 27.

October 20, 2017

SVSU hosts lecture on effects of domestic violence

Dr. Stephen R Guertin, medical director at Sparrow Regional Children’s Center and associate professor at Michigan State University’s College of Medicine, will be hosting an informative conversation about the effects of domestic violence on children at Saginaw Valley State University on Wednesday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. in the Ott Auditorium.


Guertin will outline the long- and short-term effects of domestic violence on children. He will also explain how a child’s brain is structurally and developmentally influenced by domestic violence. Lastly, he will discuss the consequences of exposure to domestic violence during childhood on an adult’s physical, social, and mental health.


Heidi B. Lang, pre-health professions advisor at SVSU, said that even though this conversation is presented by a physician, she believes the topic is wide-reaching and extends to audiences outside of the medical field. Any and all members of the community and the university are welcome to attend this informative conversation.


To RSVP for this free community event, visit or call 616-234-2694.

October 18, 2017

Open house to reintroduce community primary care health clinic in Bay County Health Department

Open house to reintroduce community primary care health clinic in Bay County Health Department, noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Bay County Health Department building, 1200 Washington Ave. in Bay City. 

Saginaw Valley State University, the Bay County Health Department and Bay-Arenac Behavioral Health are hosting an open house event to introduce a new name for a primary care health clinic available to the public.

Leaders have re-branded the health clinic as Bay Community Health Clinic - replacing the previous name, University Clinic - in hopes that the new name will clarify the clinic's role in serving the health care needs for all community members.  

SVSU and the Bay County Health Department partnered in 2015 to open the health clinic inside the health department building in downtown Bay City. Staff there hoped to attract underserved clients unlikely to seek primary care at traditional facilities. Later, Bay-Arenac Behavioral Health joined the partnership.

Patients can receive treatment ranging from routine care to chronic disorders. Nurse practitioners lead the interdisciplinary team at the Bay Community Health Clinic, a group that includes social workers, occupational therapists and pharmacists. Since the clinic is affiliated with SVSU, some staff members are students preparing for work in their communities and disciplines. These students use the opportunity to work in the community, honing their professional skills while providing top-notch care to patients.   

The philosophy of care is holistic; community members have access to all of these services under one roof - and often in one visit. The clinic serves insured patients and those who face economic or cultural barriers to medical care.

“The clinic has been in operation for two years, and we are thrilled to have a new look,” said Kathleen Schachman, SVSU's Randall Wickes Endowed Chair in Nursing and one of the clinic's coordinators.

The Bay Community Health Clinic had help in the rebranding effort from Cardinal Solutions, an interdisciplinary team of SVSU students and professors specializing in marketing solutions for local businesses. 

"They helped us with a complete redesign of our look and our name so that people in the community would better understand who we are and what we have to offer," said Sherry Kaufman, program manager for SVSU's Department of Nursing. 

In addition to serving Bay County, the clinic also acts as a base of operations for an outreach initiative to provide health care to northern lower Michigan communities. Earlier this year, SVSU won $1.4 million in federal funding to improve health care delivery for residents in the counties of Arenac, Gladwin, Iosco, Ogemaw and Oscoda. In partnership with Sterling Area Health Center, this innovative approach places graduate students in SVSU's nurse practitioner program into the field to provide patient care.

The Bay Community Health Clinic is open Mondays through Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is located at 1200 Washington Ave. in downtown Bay City. For information or to schedule an appointment, call (989) 895-2035.

October 17, 2017

SVSU announces 2017 Homecoming king, queen and court

Saginaw Valley State University students elected Mikaela Ashton, a senior management major from Grayling; and Mitchell Kennedy, a senior accounting major from Bad Axe, as the university's 2017 Homecoming queen and king. Ashton and Kennedy were crowned Saturday, Oct. 14 during the halftime festivities at SVSU's football game against Ferris State University.

The two campaigned together by handing out treats to students while asking for their vote. They also engaged with their fellow Cardinals through social media as part of their campaign strategy. Alongside Ashton and Kennedy, eight other students were selected to be on the Homecoming Court earlier in the month.

On campus, Ashton is heavily involved in both Forever Red, a student-alumni networking organization that raises funds for student scholarships, and her coed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. She is also a Foundation Scholar. On campus, Ashton works for both the Academic Affairs and Admissions offices. She previously completed a study abroad trip to Seville, Spain.

Kennedy is also a member of Forever Red and remains dedicated to his fundraising efforts during I Heart SV Week, a fundraising campaign put on by Forever Red to celebrate student engagement and philanthropy. He is also a member of the Delta Sigma Pi, a coed business fraternity, a Foundations Scholar, and has been selected for the Vitito Global Leadership Institute, which provides networking, international travel, and leadership opportunities for SVSU business students.

The students joining them on the 2017 Homecoming court were

•                    Maddy Donahue, an exercise science major from Sterling Heights

•                     Jack Duly, a nursing major from Midland

•                     Kacey Flintoft, an occupational therapy major from Caro

•                     Nancy Haddad, a communications major from Saginaw

•                     Gabe Kasper, a marketing major from Clare

•                     Pedro Marin, a marketing major from Grand Blanc

•                     Billy Nichols, a marketing major from Mt. Clemens

•                     Sydney VanPetten, a communications major from Sterling

October 17, 2017

SVSU alumna takes stage as educator at top children's theatre

Karli Jenkins’ love of theatre began as a youngster attending summer camps at Saginaw Valley State University, where she later completed her degree. Now she is sharing that love with other children at one of the nation’s leading children’s theatre companies.

One of the first times Jenkins was exposed to theatre was at SVSU’s Fine Arts Day Camp, which still runs today. There, the Saginaw native gained experience as an actress, beginning in fourth grade. Ric Roberts, SVSU professor of theatre, gave Jenkins multiple opportunities to perform on stage, with college-aged students, while still in middle school.

Now Jenkins is translating what she learned in SVSU's classrooms and stages into a career educating thousands of students who annually visit the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, considered by many to be the top children's theatre in the U.S. As a school engagement coordinator, she welcomes over 70,000 students a year on their field trips to the theatre. Jenkins also works with teachers on theatre-based curriculum that connects the plays on stage to content in their classrooms.

"The strong work ethic SVSU taught me and the range of skills I was able to cultivate made me ready for a professional career in a non-traditional education setting," she said.

Jenkins completed her bachelor's degree in theatre in 2013, and felt well-equipped to start her career.

"While attending SVSU, I was exposed to every aspect of theatre: administration, instruction, working at the same fine arts camp I attended as a kid. It wasn't just about acting," she said.

That exposure is where she found her true calling: teaching.

Torn between teaching and directing, Jenkins approached her professor, Roberts, about potential internships. Their discussion led her to conclude that she wanted - and frankly needed - more experience in teaching to really know if it was a suitable option for her. She applied to multiple internships that revolved around teaching and finally landed one in Minnesota.

Jenkins spent nine weeks of the summer before her senior year at the Children's Theatre Company learning to teach. She spent the entire time in classroom settings, gaining the knowledge needed to succeed in this career path and slowly realizing her passion for teaching.

After her internship, Jenkins knew exactly what she wanted to do. During her final year at SVSU, her theatre professors helped shape her curriculum and extra-curricular opportunities to align with her career goals. Jenkins worked with professionals in the field, became more involved in the fine arts day camp, and spent time in classrooms teaching theatre. SVSU cultivated a close-knit community of theatre students, so even during her time outside of SVSU classes and extracurricular activities, Jenkins said she was always gaining valuable experience.

"When I look back at my time at SVSU, I never a see a moment where the learning stopped," she said.

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