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President’s Weekly Update - Week of Monday, May 18

National Honors for SVSU


I love receiving and sharing good news.  Never hesitate to send it my way.  Recently, we received two top national awards from the National Society of Leadership and Success, a leadership honor society with more than 475 college chapters nationwide. Our SVSU chapter was selected as Chapter of the Year while Crystal Gwizdala, a biology major from Auburn, was named Executive Board Member of the Year.  It is wonderful to see SVSU not only represented but winning such honors at a national level. Congratulations to all involved.

Nursing Excellence Awards

We also hosted the fifth annual Carleen K. Moore R.N. Nursing Excellence Awards this week, and I was pleased to attend. My thanks to everyone who worked to put together this program, particularly those on the selection committee:  Ellen Talbott, an SVSU alumna and vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer for McLaren-Bay Region; Terry Moore, retired CEO for MidMichigan Health; Judy Ruland, dean of the College of Health and Human Services; and nursing faculty members Karen Brown-Fackler, Sally Decker, Andrea Frederick, Ava Lewis and Suzanne Savoy.

Six registered nurses from the Great Lakes Bay Region were recognized:

  • Tami Best of McLaren Bay Region, who received an Acute Care Nursing award.
  • Bethany Corner of MidMichigan Medical Center, who received Acute Care Nursing award.
  • Nancy Dole of Covenant HealthCare, who received a Nursing Education award.
  • Diane Hogan of Marlette Regional Hospital, who received a Long Term Care/Rehabilitation Nursing award.
  • Bonnie Khabir of MidMichigan Urgent Care-Clare, who received a Community Nursing award.
  • Ashlee Knoll of St. Mary's of Michigan, who received an Acute Care Nursing award.

International Connections


I marvel at our international opportunities and relationships.  Our students and faculty have safely returned from their medical mission to Nepal. Our Roberts Fellows are currently in Japan (follow their blog). Ten of our occupational therapy students recently returned from a study abroad trip to Ecuador, where they worked with Crecer, a non-profit organization that provides occupational therapy services to children and adults. They were accompanied by field work coordinators Jill Innes and Julie Jacob, and even made the news in the local newspaper, El Norte (photo credit). Meanwhile, we currently are hosting four students from the University of Guanajuato in Mexico as part of a new exchange program that grew out of a February visit to their campus by several of our faculty, staff and students. These are but a few recent examples. I would like to express my appreciation to all who encourage our domestic students to expand their international horizons and those who make our international visitors and students feel welcome. Having international exposure and understanding is increasingly important in many, many professions, so these relationships are a great service to our students.

Delivering the Mail

The summer relocation for many of us in Wickes Hall to Living Center Southwest has gone remarkably smoothly, all things considered, and that is a testament to the pride so many people take in their jobs. It occurred to me the other day that I continue to receive my mail each day, and that means Jerry Wallaert, executive director of mail distribution, and his staff have made the necessary adjustments to make this possible. I actually enjoy reading some of my mail, so thank you, Jerry.

Strong Showing by Race Team

Our Cardinal Formula Racing team fared well, placing 26th out of the 110 colleges and universities from around the world at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series held over the weekend at Michigan International Speedway. It bears noting that this was the highest finish of any team comprised exclusively of undergraduates. If not for a broken oil line during the endurance competition, they would have finished even higher.  We have a committed group of students on this squad – I see them working in the shop on nights and weekends – and adviser Brooks Byam has more than a passing interest, too. My compliments on their performance and my best wishes for their preparations for next year.

Best wishes to Student-Athletes at Track and Field nationals

We have two student-athletes who qualified for the NCAA Division II national track and field meet this week. Andrew Mudd, an accounting major from Auburn, is competing in the men’s decathlon, and Taylor Stepanski, a marketing major from Alpena, will race in the women’s 800-meter run. Best wishes to them both. Go Cards! more...

Summer schedule

With the holiday weekend upon us, I hope everyone enjoys Memorial Day and takes a moment to reflect upon the freedoms we enjoy and remember those who have given their lives to preserve them.  This also serves as a reminder that the Weekly Update will continue to appear on an as-needed basis during the summer months, but it will not live up to its name and appear weekly. I know Michigan summers can seem all too short, but I hope yours is pleasant and offers an opportunity to refresh and recharge, while also attending to the important work that continues while most students are away.

Undergraduate Research Program projects awarded funding

Finally, my appreciation to all the faculty who submitted proposals for the initial round of research projects to be funded through the recently established Undergraduate Research Program, and especially to those 18 faculty whose projects were approved. I would also like to express my gratitude to everyone at the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation; it is their generosity and confidence in SVSU that has made this possible. Each of these projects will advance faculty scholarship while also providing undergraduate students with valuable research experience that will serve them well as they pursue careers or graduate school. The list is long, but I know many of you will want to congratulate your colleagues, so here it is:

  • Cal Borden, assistant professor of biology, for “ Colonization routes from glacial refugia of smallmouth bass into central Michigan”
  • Stephanie Brouet, associate professor of chemistry, for “Development of New Antibiotic Synthetic Methods of b-lactam Compounds”
  • Jennifer Chaytor, assistant professor of chemistry, for “Synthesis and Structure-Activity Relationship Studies of Bioactive Cyclic Peptides,” and “Preparation of C-Glycosides as Potential Anti-hyperglycemic Agents for the Treatment of Type II Diabetes”
  • Mark Giesler, associate professor of social work, for “From Concern to Care and Back Again: An Assessment of Michigan Public Libraries' Response to Homeless Patrons”
  • Jane Girdham, professor of music, for “Children's Choir Research”
  • Dennis Gray, assistant professor of biology, for “Identifying the genomic sequence of MBO synthase in Pinus attenuata & Pinus contorta,” and “Expression and characterization of two terpene synthase enzymes”
  • Curtis Grosse, lecturer of mathematics, for “Investment Model Program: Application of a Hedge Fund Long/Short Strategy for Risk-Adjusted Returns”
  • Rosina Hassoun, assistant professor of sociology, for “Taking Refuge in Michigan: Arab American Women's Health Needs Assessment Continued”
  • Ken Jolly, professor of history, for “The NAACP’s Fight Against Lynching and State Violence in the Black Freedom Movement”
  • Khandaker Abir Rahman, assistant professor of computer science and information systems, for “Manipulation Pattern based User Authentication for Smart Mobile Devices”
  • Timothy Rowlands, assistant professor of criminal justice, and Sheruni Ratnabalasuriar, assistant professor of criminal justice, for “Justice and Diversity in the Digital World”
  • Rebecca Schlaff, assistant professor of kinesiology, for “Evaluation of a lifestyle intervention to improve health behaviors among older adults,” and “Understanding the Barriers to and Physical Activity Program Needs of Pregnant Women”
  • Agnes Simon, instructor of political science, for “The Benefits of Using Board Games to Teaching International Politics”
  • Danilo Sirias, professor of management, for “The development of a scale to measure the degree of coordination when managing patient flow in Emergency Departments”
  • Jeff Smith, Malcolm and Lois Field Endowed Chair of Health Sciences, for “Does Long-term Enrichment Impact Therapeutic Efficacy of Pharmacological Interventions Following Traumatic Brain Injury?”
  • Adam Warhausen, assistant professor of chemistry, for “Synthesis, Characterization, Electrochemical, and Spectroelectrochemical Investigation of Grubb's Catalyst and Analogs”
  • Yu Zou, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, for “Research and Innovation in Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Manufacturing”

In addition, six student research proposals received funding. My congratulations to them and my thanks to their faculty mentors.

  • Biology student English Haught will work with Jay Scott, assistant professor of biology, on “Characterizing the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) pathway in bone marrow-derived macrophages.”
  • Biology student Adriane Miller will work with Dennis Gray, assistant professor of biology, on “Identification of the isoprene synthase gene in Phragmites australis.”
  • History student Gwen Miller will work with Melissa Ford, archivist for the Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum, on “Saginaw YMCA Preservation Project.”
  • Chemistry student Bradley Ross will work with Adam Warhausen, assistant professor of chemistry, on “Synthesis, characterization, electrochemisty, and spectroelectrochemistry, of iron SALOPHEN hydroxamate.”
  • Chemistry student Morgan Snider will work with Tami Sivy, associate professor of chemistry, on “Analysis of Organic vs. Conventional Produce: Diphenylamine and Kresoxim-methyl in Apples and Genetically Modified DNA Found in Frozen Corn.”
  • Biology student Martin Weaver will work with Gray on “Exploring the evolution of methylbutenol synthase through reduction of the Picea sitchensis linalool synthase active site.”

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