May 16, 2017
High school: Howell High School
Future: full-time position in The Dow Chemical Co.’s accounting department
Cameron Pratt didn’t need a math equation to discover his professional trajectory. But the math didn’t hurt.
The Howell native discovered his love for accounting during his sophomore year at Saginaw Valley State University, where he enrolled in an introduction to financial accounting course. He spent much of his remaining time at SVSU capitalizing on opportunities that empowered him to grow and take on new challenges.
After graduating from the institution in May 2017, Pratt’s dedication and hard work will pay off when he begins a full-time job working in the accounting department at The Dow Chemical Company in June.
“I found a purpose in the numbers of accounting that I couldn’t find in any other academic program,”
he said. “I fell in love with the business.”
Pratt accepted the job offer 10 months earlier, contingent on his graduation. The combination of factors leading to that opportunity included classroom studies, outside-of-classroom university organizations and a Dow internship Pratt discovered through SVSU’s Career Services.
Hired as an intern with Dow’s accounting department in the summer of 2016, Pratt spent much of his 3-month stint on a single project that involved collecting and analyzing data relating to a pricing policy that affected the company globally.
“I was using a (computer) system that only 11 people in the world knew how to use,” Pratt said. “It was a great opportunity.”
His complex analytics and thoughtful conclusions caught the attention of his employers.
“The rest is history,” said Pratt, who shortly thereafter was offered a full-time position that will begin June 12.
Pratt’s path to Dow started at SVSU with that introductory accounting class, and included one of the university’s competitive programs for business students: The Vitito Global Leadership Institute. The initiative develops leadership abilities for students enrolled in SVSU’s College of Business & Management, while exposing them to international business environments.
Kaustav Misra, an associate professor of economics and chair of the Vitito program, described Pratt as “dedicate, passionate and hard working.”
“He is definitely one of our best students in the college,” Misra said. “He is modest, respectful and has a very high level of people skills, which will definitely help him in the long run to grow as a leader. His sincerity, work ethic and team spirit are really commendable.”
Pratt was selected as one of 12 Vitito Fellows in the winter of 2016. The program heightened his understanding of international commerce while also providing him with a new network of friends.
“The Vitito Fellowship connected me with 11 amazing individuals who I still keep in close contact with,” he said. Recently, when a family member of a Vitito Fellow died, Pratt and others with the group attended the funeral and offered support.
“The camaraderie involved in that program is one of the big things I will remember fondly when I think of my experience at SVSU,” he said.
Pratt also spent time as a student tutor for accounting.
“When you work with students on that level, it helps you better understand the subject you’re teaching,” he said. “It instills confidence. It’s really fulfilling to work with people and help them in that way.”
Pratt said the experience as a mentor also exposed him to another role he one day could pursue: an accounting professorship.
“Something like that could be way down the road, but I feel like working as a tutor showed me that I could enjoy teaching the subject,” he said.
Pratt also served as president of the SVSU College of Business & Management’s Dean’s Student Advisory Council, exposing him to more opportunities to sharpen his leadership skills.
“It gave me confidence in myself that I could be a leader,” he said. “I had to be accountable for my actions and push people to reach their potentials. You’re never truly done learning how to lead, but that was a good start for me.”
Pratt defies the stereotype that accountants have no sense of humor. His varied interests led him to pursue another of SVSU's multifaceted opportunities. During his junior year, Pratt was a writer for an on-campus sketch comedy troupe called Cardinal Night Live, based in part on NBC’s Saturday Night Live program.
“That was a unique departure from my normal activities,” he said. “That really helped me broaden my horizons. It was a great experience.”
“A great experience” is the same phrase Pratt used when recalling — and running the numbers — on his years as an SVSU undergraduate.
May 11, 2017
From: Harbor Beach
High school: Harbor Beach High School
Major: Criminal Justice & Marketing double major
Future: graduate school, SVSU's Masters in Business Administration
Sloan Klaski looks to the future with excitement and a smile on his face as he describes his goals in the years to come. Many Saginaw Valley State University graduates share his positive outlook; few have faced as many obstacles.
A standout football player at small Harbor Beach High School in Michigan's Thumb, Klaski was featured on the front page of The Detroit Free Press sports section in November 2012, but not for making plays on the gridiron. "Klaski leads from the sidelines," the headline read, a reference to how he supported his teammates through an injury that denied him nearly all of his senior season.
Klaski came to SVSU to play linebacker while majoring in both criminal justice and marketing. He recorded 47 tackles in each of his first two seasons before injury struck again, forcing him to miss the 2016 season.
Life has taught Klaski a lesson or two about determination, so while he graduated in May, he is not finished in the classroom or on the football field. Due to his injury, he has two seasons of college eligibility remaining and a graduate degree in his sights.
When Klaski completes his football career, he plans to serve his country.
"I'll be getting my M.B.A. through SVSU," he said. "My goal is to end up getting into a federal law enforcement agency, whether that's the FBI or DEA, something like that."
For his senior seminar, Klaski took a class with Joseph Jaksa, SVSU associate professor of criminal justice. Having worked closely with Klaski, Jaksa has confidence that he is moving forward with a good head on his shoulders and a highly desirable skill-set.
"There are a lot of students in the United States who have good grades in the criminal justice program," Jaksa said. "Sloan has the benefit of outstanding grades in criminal justice plus the successful rigors of a student-athlete. That's going to show any federal law enforcement agency that this young man is going to be capable of taking on the stresses and rigors of their agency."
Though many students struggle to identify their field of study within their first few years of college, Klaski wasn't one of them. He described the desire to go into the field of criminal justice as a family business.
"Multiple members of my family were in the military including my dad, grandpa, two cousins and an uncle. That's part of the reason why the job I wanted to pursue was a service-related job."
The connection didn't stop there. Klaski explained that he also has a cousin who went the route of law enforcement, working as a police officer, as well as a close friend who works as a border patrol agent.
"All of these people have helped influence my journey and helped to steer me in the direction I'm headed," he said. "Ultimately, I would like to join the FBI and eventually become part of their special forces on the hostage rescue team."
Klaski has refused to let injuries stand in the way of helping others. While sidelined, he actively worked with young people through SVSU's Community Youth Days and Special Olympics.
"Sloan is one of those rare exceptions where he does everything 110 percent," Jaksa said. "A lot of people say they do it but Sloan really does. Between his grade point and knowing the amount of work he has to put into his classes to get that and being a football player: That's not an easy thing to do. There's no doubt in my mind that anything Sloan decides to do, he's going to be outstanding at it because of his mindset."
SVSU offered Klaski the chance to not only pursue his career goals and follow in the footsteps of so many of his family members before him, but it also gave him the opportunity to step out onto the field in a Cardinals uniform and play the game he loves every fall.
For this and so many other reasons, Klaski is grateful to SVSU.
"It just felt like the right place for me," he said.
Four years after arriving -- with degree in hand -- it will remain his place for a little while longer.
May 1, 2017
May 1, 2017
The College of Business and Management at Saginaw Valley State University honored and inducted 14 students to Beta Gamma Sigma, the honor society serving business programs accredited by AACSB International.
Membership in Beta Gamma Sigma is the highest recognition a business student anywhere in the world can receive in a business program accredited by AACSB International. Less than 5 percent of the 13,000 collegiate business programs worldwide are so accredited.
The SVSU students inducted are:
• Alyssa Ableiding, an accounting major from Hillman;
• Shafayatul Alam, a management major from Bangladesh;
• Ray Altoft, an accounting major from Lake Odessa;
• Mikayla Ballor, a management major from Freeland;
• Jenna Brown, a management major from Saginaw;
• Sara Cramer, an accounting major from Munger;
• Ingrid Hannevig, an international business major from Norway;
• Spencer Leach, a finance major from Bay City;
• Megan McGarry, an accounting major from Eaton Rapids;
• Michael Miller, an accounting major from Dewitt;
• Yiliang Quian, a master of business administration student from China;
• Trevor Thomson, a finance major from Essexville;
• Gan Xie, a master of business administration student from China;
• Xuefei Xu, a master of business administration student from China.
The top 10 percent of junior and senior students as well as the top 20 percent of master's students are eligible for membership to the organization. Since 2003, 238 SVSU students and 23 SVSU faculty and staff have been inducted. This year’s ceremony was held Friday, April 7.
For a list of students inducted in 2016 and in previous years visit: http://www.svsu.edu/collegeofbusinessmanagement/studentopportunities/betagammasigma/.
April 24, 2017
The vice president of a Michigan energy company will deliver the keynote address to graduates during Commencement exercises next month at Saginaw Valley State University.
Shaun M. Johnson, an SVSU alumnus who is the deputy general counsel for CMS Energy and its principal subsidiary Consumers Energy, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 5, and again at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 6, in O’Neill Arena.
Commencement exercises for graduates in the colleges of Business & Management and Health & Human Services will be held Friday evening. Students completing degrees in the colleges of Arts & Behavioral Sciences; Education; and Science, Engineering & Technology will take part in the ceremony scheduled for Saturday morning.
The graduating class consists of 1,146 students who are expected to complete degrees, including 1,022 individuals who have indicated they intend to don regalia and march in the ceremonies. The class includes 987 who will receive bachelor’s degrees and 159 who will receive master’s or education specialist degrees.
As is tradition, SVSU President Don Bachand will congratulate each graduate as he or she crosses the stage.
Johnson’s path to his position with CMS Energy began at SVSU, where he served as president of SVSU’s student government and was a member of Sigma Pi fraternity. Representing and advocating for his fellow students was an interest of Johnson’s since his teenage years, when he was the president of the student government at Sanford-Meridian High School for three years. With a goal of getting students more involved on SVSU’s campus, Johnson was the Campus Events chair for Student Association, the student government, before ascending to president.
An Edenville native, Johnson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from SVSU in 2002 and then completed a law degree at Michigan State University, graduating with Summa Cum Laude honors. Johnson served on the SVSU Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2005 to 2008.
Johnson formerly was a partner for the law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC, serving as the director of the firm’s energy industry group and specializing in public utilities, energy, and taxation. In his director position, he served as an attorney and lobbyist for several public utility and energy clients throughout the United States, helping develop cost-effective business strategies and goals. Johnson also represented elected public officials, political action committees, and constitutional ballot question committees.
In his position with CMS Energy, Johnson oversees all litigation, general practice, and federal energy regulatory issues. He also provides legal oversight for business development activities, including mergers and acquisitions. A Dewitt resident, Johnson also serves as the chair of the Michigan Bar Association’s Administrative Law Section.
For information about Commencement exercises at SVSU, visit www.svsu.edu/commencement/.
April 18, 2017
April 17, 2017
Four Saginaw Valley State University students capped off a year of determined study and preparation with a strong showing at a national moot court tournament at the University of Chicago.
Two SVSU teams of two students each competed in the National Invitational Tournament on April 7 and 8. The tournament, which consisted of 18 teams, is designed for teams that did not qualify for the American Moot Court Association's national tournament, which was held in January.
The team of Danielle Musselman, a communications major from Mancelona, and Jacquob Littlejohn, a political science major from Auburn, delivered effective oral arguments and finished third overall, falling to a team from the host school.
Musselman also received a sixth place orator's award, making her the first student from SVSU's moot court program to win the award at the National Invitational Tournament. The honor marks the first time SVSU won an orator’s award at both the national and national invitational tournaments.
Meanwhile, the team of Alex Partridge, a history major from Vassar, and Hayley Tomich, a pre-law major from Chesterfield Township, advanced to finish in the top eight.
The four students' performances in the tournament were the culmination of the best year of competition that the SVSU moot court program has had. In addition to the orator award success, the program had six of its eight teams compete in the national tournament or national invitational tournament.
“That was by far the best finish we’ve had,” said Julie Keil, an assistant professor of political science and the advisor to SVSU's moot court program.
Each year, the American Moot Court Association organizers create a single fictional U.S. Supreme Court case - often based on actual cases heard in lower courts - that competitors must address when participating in the regional and national tournaments. The students make arguments to a panel of judges by drawing from constitutional law and Supreme Court cases. Judges then decide winners based on public speaking ability, knowledge of cases and of law, and the ability to answer questions.
This year's case study concerned voter rights. The AMCA will announce a new case study on May 1.
Keil said SVSU's moot court program, now in its sixth year of existence, continues to grow. There are now three assistant coaches who work with the students, whereas the program started with just Keil helping the students.
"Having a lot of one-on-one attention really helps," Keil said. "And we're getting some really good students."
April 6, 2017
Four Saginaw Valley State University students are hosting a dinner to recognize local Vietnam veterans for their military service. The event will take place Friday, April 7 at the Kochville Township Veterans Hall from 5-7 p.m.
The event will see SVSU students serving meals to 50 Vietnam veterans in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The dinner is free of charge for all veterans in attendance.
In order to recognize and honor all of the military branches, representatives from the SVSU marching band will present a medley of the military branch songs following dinner.
The Veterans Affairs Medical Center will be presenting a signed proclamation commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War as well as pins for all the veterans in attendance.
The students are part of SVSU's Vitito Fellowship, a program for students who are driven to pursue leadership roles in business organizations that operate in an increasingly global setting.
Vitito Fellows Lauren Miller, a marketing major from Byron; Anthony Bodeis, an accounting major from Mayville; Tyler Newell, an international business major from Saginaw; and Bijesh Gyawali, a finance major from Nepal are raising funds for the event.
Sponsors for the dinner include Farm Bureau Insurance - John Aird Agency, Greenstone FCS,
Hammer Restoration, Independent Bank, Team One Credit Union and the Wirt Rivette Group.
March 16, 2017
Saginaw Valley State University business students are organizing an event in the spirit of service. Home Runs for Heroes will honor local military veterans in partnership with the Great Lakes Loons Thursday, April 6 for the team’s home opener at 6:05 p.m. at Dow Diamond.
The participating students have been selected for SVSU's Vitito Global Business Leadership Institute, a program for students who are driven to pursue leadership roles in business organizations that operate in an increasingly global setting.
The game will be free of charge for the first 100 veterans who register.
Additional tickets have been reserved that can be purchased for spouses or other guests who wish to attend the game with a veteran. The Loons have also generously agreed to let veterans have early access to the game so that they can watch batting practice. If attendees wish to do so, they need to arrive by 3:30 p.m.
“We are looking to have as many SVSU students as possible come out to the game, represent our school, and show their appreciation for our veterans,” said Carter Mazur, a business management major from Saginaw and one of the four SVSU students organizing the event.
Aranya Biswas, an economics major from the Asian country of Bangladesh; Kara Brunk, an accounting major from Southfield; and Mitch Kennedy, an accounting major from Bad Axe, have been working with Mazur to plan and promote the event and raise the funds needed. They have a GoFundMe page set up and are accepting donations through that channel, https://www.gofundme.com/homerunsforheroes. All donations will be used to offset the cost of tickets, food and t-shirts.
Any veterans interested in being a part of this event are asked to register online at https://goo.gl/forms/sXp4riulI20DwFso1.
SVSU has received multiple awards for its commitment to supporting veterans. Military Times recognized SVSU as part of its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings, as SVSU was rated No. 34 nationally by the independent media organization dedicated to news and information about the military. This was the highest ranking for any Michigan institution.
The Best for Vets rankings evaluate many factors, such as university culture and academic outcomes, in evaluating what makes a school a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. For more information on the rankings, go to http://www.militarytimes.com/bestforvets-colleges2017.
February 3, 2017
Eleven Saginaw Valley State University students passionate about global business will receive leadership development and travel abroad after being selected for the 5th class of SVSU’s Vitito Global Leadership Institute.
Vitito Fellows are selected on the basis of academic ability, character, leadership experience or potential for leadership, and a community-minded commitment to learning and service.
During the 18-month program, SVSU business students learn the importance of leadership to organizational success in a global context, and develop the knowledge, skills, and perspectives that distinguish great leaders. The class also travels internationally during the final semester of the program; past destinations have included the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Portugal.
Nine students from Michigan and two from abroad have been selected to begin their Vitito Fellowship during 2017 winter semester. They are:
• Aranya Biswas, an economics major from the nation of Bangladesh
• Anthony Bodeis, an accounting major from Mayville
• Kara Brunk, an accounting major from Southfield
• Bradford Duke, a management major from Coldwater
• Bijesh Gyawali, a finance major from the nation of Nepal
• Mitchell Kennedy, an accounting major from Bad Axe
• Chase Martin, a finance major from Applegate
• Carter Mazur, a management major from Saginaw
• Lauren Miller, a marketing and management dual major from Byron
• Tyler Newell, an international business and supply chain management double major from Kingsley
• Charity Warren, a management major from Pinconning
The 11 selected students each wrote an essay explaining their personal and professional goals, as well as their performance and potential as a leader. To be eligible, students in SVSU’s College of Business and Management must have completed at least 45 credits to apply the program. The candidates must commit to three consecutive semesters of course work, co-curricular activities, and global travel experience in order to be admitted.
The program is named in honor of Bob and Bobbi Vitito, who have donated generously to support and empower SVSU students through leadership and service opportunities, and study abroad experiences. Bob served as chair of SVSU’s Board of Control and Foundation Board of Directors; professionally he served as president and CEO of Citizens Banking Corporation (now part of Huntington Bank). Bobbi enjoyed a distinguished teaching career in Saginaw schools. Their exceptional dedication to developing the next generation of leaders culminated in the establishment of the Vitito Global Leadership Institute in 2013; it is supported through a $2 million endowment.
Scott L. Carmona College of Business
Saginaw Valley State University
7400 Bay Road
University Center, MI 48710
Acting Assistant Dean