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April 28, 2015

Emily VanFleteren

Major: physical education

Next up: full-time teaching position, Swan Valley Middle School

Career prospects: middle school teacher, high school athletic director

Fun fact: Emily’s sister, Megan, also attends SVSU. She is a mechanical engineering major and is involved in many of the same campus organizations as her sister.


Emily VanFleterenStar student. Prospective teacher. Active volunteer. Homecoming queen. Red Pride incarnate.

All of those titles could apply to Emily VanFleteren, one of Saginaw Valley State University’s more active students in recent years. In May, the Troy native will add the title “graduate” to that list. Those familiar with her expect VanFleteren will continue building a fine reputation — and stellar résumé — for herself once she begins her professional career as a teacher.

“Emily is one of the most dynamic students I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Bryan Crainer, SVSU’s associate dean for Student Life and Leadership Programs.

“Her passion for SVSU cannot go unnoticed. It's all over her. It's what she talks about. It's how she lives her life. It's what she wears.”

And she wears it proudly.

“My big thing is Red Pride,” VanFleteren said of the moniker for SVSU’s school spirit. “I’ve had that instilled in me by my two biggest mentors, Bryan and Merry Jo Brandimore (associate provost for Student Affairs and dean of students), and I try to encourage that in newer students.”

VanFleteren’s love of SVSU began almost at first sight. While she was still a junior at Bishop Foley Catholic High School, she — along with her mother, aunt and sister — embarked on a 2-day, 7-college tour in search of the best fit for VanFleteren.

When she arrived at SVSU, she was greeted with an energy and campus community that seemed close-knit and comfortable.

“Afterward, it was the only school I could remember in detail, and the only school I was interested in,” she said.

VanFleteren returned for five more campus visits before attending her first class. She didn’t apply to another institution.

Her outstanding involvement at SVSU began right from the start and will continue after graduation. She was a member of the Foundation Scholars Program, which brings together exceptional incoming freshmen. And, today, she remains part of the Roberts Fellowship program, a student leadership development initiative that will send her to Asia in May.

She is an avid sports fan with the distinction of claiming victory in consecutive years on the SVSU football field, with neither honor requiring her to wear gear or a helmet.

In 2014, as the campaign’s coordinator, she accepted the Battle Of The Valleys trophy for spearheading a 1-week fundraiser that collected $32,294 in charity for the Cory Rivard Jr. Promise Foundation. Battle Of The Valleys is an annual fundraising competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University that concludes with the top campaign receiving a trophy during the rivals’ football game.

A year earlier, she was crowned SVSU Homecoming Queen during a football halftime ceremony.

“It was very rewarding as well as extremely humbling,” said VanFleteren, who also has been involved in campus organizations such as the National Residence Hall Honorary, the Residential Housing Association and Orientation Programs.

VanFleteren said other rewarding experiences include serving as a peer academic adviser to the student-athletes on SVSU’s football team — a role she hopes to continue as a graduate — and her work as president of Forever Red, a student-alumni networking organization that raises funds for student scholarships. 

“Emily did just about everything a student could do at SVSU,” said Crainer, VanFleteren’s advisor for Forever Red.

“When talking about her SVSU legacy, there may not be anything more significant and long-lasting than her contributions to Forever Red. Emily served as president of the organization for its first four years, and took the group from an idea to an organization of prominence.”

So, what’s next? VanFleteren has been hired for a full-time teaching position at Swan Valley Middle School in rural Saginaw County.

Eventually, she hopes to also become a high school athletic director.

After graduation, VanFleteren doesn’t anticipate she will miss SVSU much, as she doesn’t exactly plan on leaving.

“I don’t expect to miss a football game this fall,” she said. “I hope to participate as an active alum and I’m really excited to come back and help Forever Red from the alumni side of everything. I have had an awesome experience as a student and I can't wait to stay involved.”

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April 28, 2015

Samantha R. Jackson

Major: political science

Next up: The University of Michigan Law School

Career prospects: attorney

Fun fact: At SVSU, Jackson has lived with roommates from Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Tunisia.


samanthaSamantha R. Jackson arrived at Saginaw Valley State University unsure of her place or what to expect. She departs having earned admission and a scholarship to a leading law school.

“I came to SVSU undecided on what I wanted to do, but eventually my goals became clear,” said Jackson, a first-generation college student from the small town of Goodells, near Port Huron.  “I’m going to law school the same way: with an open mind to see what path best fits me.”

Jackson’s list of SVSU accomplishments is lengthy, and it impressed admission officials at the University of Michigan Law School where she will attend in the fall.

That speaks volumes about Jackson’s academic ability and pedigree, said Julie Keil, SVSU assistant professor of political science, adviser to SVSU’s moot court program and a mentor to Jackson.“It’s one of the top 10 law schools in the country,” Keil said. “She was competing against students from U of M’s undergrad programs, students from Yale and Harvard, to get in there. That she was accepted is a good sign of her ability. She will excel there.”

Jackson, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in political science, didn’t begin her SVSU life knowing what subject she wanted to study. One of the experiences that inspired her to follow a path leading to law was her participation in SVSU’s moot court team, where students act as attorneys in teams of two and make arguments to a panel of judges by drawing from constitutional law and Supreme Court cases.

Jackson joined moot court during her sophomore year, winning a coveted Orator Award during her first regional competition. It was the first of many honors, which included twice qualifying for the American Collegiate Moot Court Association national championships in 2014 and 2015 in Phoenix and Miami, respectively. In January, she placed in the top 6 percent nationally with her moot court partner and fellow SVSU senior Rachel Stocki.

“One shining moment happened in a moot court regional (competition) during my junior year, when a judge told me I would be an excellent advocate,” said Jackson, a 2011 Memphis High School graduate.

“Hearing that from people in the field gave me the confidence that I could succeed in a difficult career.”

Jackson also was a member of SVSU’s forensics team, which tests students’ public speaking and debate abilities, as well as the university’s Model United Nations group.

Her campus involvement reached beyond competitive groups. She was the recipient of two Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Student Research and Creativity Institute grants that supported research projects. One of those projects analyzed politics in religion, while the second project explored tutor training at SVSU’s Writing Center, which assists students in writing.

Jackson served as a tutor in the Writing Center. She also was a global resident assistant in SVSU’s Pine Grove apartments, where she was responsible for building community among 72 international and domestic students.

Jackson also was selected as one of 12 members of the Roberts Fellowship Program, a year-long student leadership development opportunity that includes a trip to Asia.

“It was life-changing,” she said of the program. “I thought it would train me to be a better leader and that I would have an awesome trip in Asia, but it was so much more personally challenging. They encouraged me to think independently and push myself farther than I was comfortable.”

Jackson said now she’s ready to transplant that leadership into law school studies.

“I’m excited for this,” she said.

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April 27, 2015

SVSU grad to attend esteemed public policy school

Saginaw Valley State University alumnus Joshua Fleming will attend the University of Michigan's prestigious Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy this fall on a full  scholarship.

“I've always been driven by public service,” said Fleming, who graduated from SVSU in May 2013 with a bachelor's degree in political science and public administration. “Everything I've ever listed on a résumé is somewhat related to the idea of public service and giving back to the community.”

The Gerald R. Ford School, named after the former U.S. president who attended the University of Michigan, is a consensus top 10 public policy program.

“I'm looking forward to challenging myself intellectually,” Fleming said. “I will be going to class with some of the best students in the world, who already have a lot of real world experience. I'm looking forward to working with them.”

The Bay City native hopes to turn the experience into a career, shaping public policy related to health care. Fleming became interested in the subject during the national debate that preceded President Barack Obama signing into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - often called “Obamacare” - in 2010.

Fleming will pursue his graduate degree having earned the University of Michigan’s Rackham Fellowship, which provides for Fleming's full tuition, health insurance and a $38,000 living stipend. He credited his experience at SVSU in part for preparing him for success with the program.

“Attending SVSU allowed me to work intimately with members of the administration, faculty and my fellow students,” he said.  “Not only did those working relationships create many opportunities for professional training and advancement, but the mentorships and friendships that culminated from those experiences constantly provided me advice and clarity when I applied to the Ford School and, I’m sure, will continue to do so during my graduate career and throughout the rest of my life.”

Fleming said he was accepted at several notable public policy schools but chose the University of Michigan based on a number of factors. Those include an alumni base with contacts in local and state government; a 10-week internship program that tasks students with seeking solutions to social issues for nonprofit organizations, municipalities and private practices; and an academic program that focuses on practical experience.

“They bring in policy experts to talk about different issues,” he said. “The fact that I'll be working with people in the field was a major draw.”

The 2009 John Glenn High School graduate has practical experience of his own when it comes to both public policy and service.  Some of his initial experience happened at SVSU, where he served on the Student Association (SVSU's student government) during his entire 4-year undergraduate stay.

Upon graduating, Fleming served in the Peace Corps, which sent him to Swaziland, a nation near the horn of Africa that is comparable in size to Connecticut.

Beginning in June 2013, he lived there for 18 months in a 2-bedroom hut with no plumbing and, initially, no electricity. He was sent to teach residents about HIV and AIDS, but after realizing they already had access to helpful resources relating to such subjects, Fleming instead focused on helping citizens with financial planning.

"I worked with them to help them keep records,” he said. “Everything was on paper, and there was no office, so we met under a tree and I taught my lessons using a flipchart.”

Fleming said the experience allowed for plenty of time for introspection. It was in Swaziland where he decided to apply for public policy colleges upon his return home.

Since last February, Fleming has worked as an outreach and enrollment specialist at Saginaw's Health Delivery Inc., a nonprofit organization providing medical and dental care to underserved individuals across the Great Lakes Bay Region. He also has served as a field organizer with the Michigan Democratic Party and as an intern with the 2010 campaign that helped current Rep. Charles Brunner's election to office in the Michigan House of Representatives 96th District, which covers a large portion of Bay County.

With his mid-August Ann Arbor move-in date approaching, Fleming said he is anxious to begin the next chapter in his life.

“I have a countdown calendar on my laptop, for the days left until classes start,” he said. “I'm very much excited.”

April 27, 2015

Survey shows majority satisfied with SVSU campus climate

Students, faculty and staff at Saginaw Valley State University reported high levels of general satisfaction with SVSU’s campus climate during a survey conducted last November and December.


Campus climate is defined as “the current attitudes, behaviors, and standards of faculty, staff, administrators, and students concerning the level of respect for individual needs, abilities, and potential.”            


The level of comfort experienced by faculty, staff, and students is one indicator of campus climate, and 82 percent of survey respondents reported they were “comfortable” or “very comfortable” at SVSU.


The survey also explored attitudes and experiences related to a number of issues, including academic success, diversity, work-life balance, and pathways to promotion.  Members of historically under-represented groups (women, ethnic minorities, LBGQ individuals) expressed lower levels of satisfaction in certain areas.  Consistent with national data, 24 percent of SVSU respondents said they personally had experienced exclusionary, intimidating, offensive or hostile conduct.


Based on the findings, SVSU’s campus climate team will develop recommendations and action items to make SVSU more welcoming for all members of the campus community.


Participation in the survey was high among all three employee groups, administrative/professional staff (55 percent), faculty (51 percent), and support staff (93 percent). SVSU also saw 17 percent of undergraduate students participate. In all, 2,358 members of the campus community completed the survey.


Rankin and Associates, a firm that specializes in assisting campuses and organizations in assessing their environments for learning and working, worked with SVSU on administering the survey and analyzing the data. Sue Rankin led three presentations on the findings: Thursday, April 23 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Curtiss Hall seminar rooms, and Friday, April 24 at 9 a.m. in the Ott Auditorium in Gilbertson Hall.  


Copies of the executive summary and the full report are posted

April 24, 2015

SVSU, mascot deliver needed supplies to Saginaw elementary school

Students at Saginaw's Jessie Rouse Elementary School received 10 boxes full of school supplies after a collection drive organized by Saginaw Valley State University students, staff and faculty.

No. 1 Fan, one of SVSU's Cardinal mascots, helped deliver the boxes full of notebooks, pens, chalk, children's books, poster boards, rulers and markers to the school campus on Wednesday, April 22.

The supplies were collected during the “SVSU Cares For Kids School Supply Drive” that kicked off in February. 

“I thought it went very well, especially since this was our first time doing this,” said Jenny Jimenez, whose idea sparked the campaign.

Jimenez, SVSU's assistant director of graduate and international admissions, said she pitched the idea to university officials after a conversation with her friends in Saginaw Public Schools turned to the need for supplies at some facilities.

“We have such a great student body, faculty and staff, and so I thought, we could put something together for the schools,” Jimenez said. “It was a natural fit.”

The drop-off was the first of the campaign, but organizers plan to continue the tradition on a regular basis, dropping off needed supplies to schools in the Saginaw, Bay and Midland areas in the future.
In 2015, SVSU received the Community Engagement classification from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, a distinction achieved by only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities. For more on SVSU’s community engagement, visit

April 24, 2015

SVSU, Delta College offer joint program in nursing

A new dual enrollment program between Saginaw Valley State University and Delta College will allow nursing students chasing both a bachelor’s degree and a career in healthcare to achieve those goals more quickly.

Andrea Frederick, SVSU coordinator of the initiative that kicked off in fall 2014, said the program is “a wonderful opportunity” both for prospective nurses and the community’s healthcare partners.

“Recently, there has been increased pressure to have more BSNs (nurses with bachelor’s degrees) providing patient care,” said Frederick, an SVSU assistant professor of nursing. “This is one intervention that will help our area to achieve that goal.”

The new program fast-tracks the process by offering classes for associate’s and bachelor’s degrees concurrently. In some cases, SVSU classes are offered on Delta’s campus in an effort to centralize attendance.

Students who enrolled in the program during its inaugural semester are expected to receive an associate’s degree from Delta College in spring 2016 and a bachelor’s degree from SVSU that same December.

Jarrod Givens, a student in the joint program, already sees the advantages of the initiative.

“Most people who go the regular route would work as an RN (registered nurse) and go to school at the same time,” said the Linwood native who hopes to become a traveling nurse one day. “Right now, we’re not working, so it’s easier and it gives us more time to study.”

One of his classmates, Katheryn Howden, said the initiative creates a more efficient learning process. The collaboration synchronizes the academic requirements of the SVSU and Delta College nursing programs while also eliminating the challenges experienced when students attempt to juggle a nursing position with baccalaureate schoolwork.

“Because we are going year-round, we won’t lose our skills,” Howden said. “It’s nice to be able to keep your skills and refresh them. It’s a great program.”

Howden, who is pursuing a career as a neonatal intensive care nurse, said the program offers relevant coursework, coordinated instruction and supportive faculty.

“It’s been great,” the Ypsilanti native said. “They really want you to succeed, and everyone has been so helpful.”

SVSU and Delta recruit students for the concurrent program from the Delta Nurse Scholar Program, which typically selects 30 Delta students per semester, based on academic criteria and other factors, including work experience related to nursing.

April 22, 2015

SVSU students explore alternatives to the handshake in ‘Ban the Hand’ presentations

Thursday, April 23, 2:45 to 5:30 p.m.
Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts, SVSU

Saginaw Valley State University students will share what they have learned in examining alternatives to the traditional handshake in an academic exercise across the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences and Business & Management. They will present their ideas Thursday, April 23.

Students in the Vitito Global Leadership Institute, a program for business students, were required as a leadership exercise to devise and implement a social initiative. The project, “Ban the Hand” aims to reduce the number of germs exchanged during a handshake, by instead using a “fist bump.”

Meanwhile, sociology students developed posters that highlight the results of a social experiment associated with their implementation of different alternatives to shaking hands.

The sociology students will present from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.; the Vitito Fellows will present form 4 to 5:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held in the Malcolm Field Theatre for Performing Arts on the SVSU campus.

April 20, 2015

Registration open for SVSU Literacy Center summer clinics

The Literacy Center at Saginaw Valley State University will offer tutoring in math, reading, and writing to students ranging from kindergarten upward through 12th grade, and adult learners during the upcoming summer.

Participating students attend 1-hour small group or one-on-one tutoring sessions Mondays to Thursdays from June 15 to July 2, and can choose between sessions starting at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., and 12:30 p.m. The Literacy Center is located in SVSU's Gilbertson Hall.
All students undergo a 1-hour assessment to determine their strengths and improvable areas in math, reading, or writing prior to tutoring. Assessments take place June 1-2, at 4 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. A $50 non-refundable deposit is due at the time of, or before, the assessment.

Tutors then create individualized lesson plans based on the students' assessments and a research-based tutoring system to help students maximize their potential. All of the Literacy Center's tutors are certified teachers who hold master's degrees in literacy and/or certification in reading recovery, or a bachelor's or master's degree in a related field. The Literacy Center also offers resources and provides collaboration opportunities to parents and guardians who wish to be involved in the learning process.

Tuition for attending the Literacy Center is $360 per subject, with an additional $30 fee for the initial assessment.

For more information, visit or contact Laurie Haney at 989-964-4982.

April 20, 2015

Visual Hacking: The Eyes Have It

By Jennifer Paradise

Someone looking over your shoulder is not a comforting feeling. Think about where it can happen. You can be on a plane flipping through a magazine, at a coffee shop reading the news on your laptop, or at the office reading emails. Wait a second. At the office reading emails? Absolutely! If this has happened to you then you've been visually hacked. Another person's wandering eye is one of the most common yet one of the most overlooked forms of gaining access to personal information.

How do we protect ourselves from visual hackers?

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Educate yourself and others.
  3. Keep a "clean desk" policy. When you leave your workspace, remove documents on your desk from view and lock or turn off device screens.
  4. Set screen savers and timeouts on computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices.
  5. Require the use of privacy screen protectors on device screens.
  6. Identify at-risk employees who travel frequently or work outside of the office, and discuss rules for working on sensitive information when away from work.

If you have questions about visual hacking, please contact the Support Center at,, or x4225.

April 17, 2015

Skype for Business to Replace Lync

By Jennifer Paradise

In recent months, Microsoft announced that Skype would be replacing Lync as the collaboration product in Office. Branded as Skype for Business, it will soon be coming to a computer near you.

What does this mean for SVSU?

The Skype for Business update will only affect users currently running Lync 2013. If you are running Lync 2010, then nothing will happen. Lync 2010 users can still communicate with Skype for Business users.

Software-wise, most collaboration products function the same so the change should be fairly smooth. When your workstation is updated, you will see a new interface that's a combination of Lync and Skype. Users can still chat, share files, and communicate just like before with most of the improvements being behind the scenes.

If you have questions about the update to Skype for Business, please contact the Support Center at,, or x4225.

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