April 29, 2016
Two Saginaw Valley State University students have been awarded scholarships to attend a national conference in June.
Mallory Rivard, an elementary education major from Bay City, and Mikaela Ashton, a management major from Grayling, were each given scholarships from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the AAUW Midland Branch to attend the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. The conference will be held at the University of Maryland June 2-4.
Both recipients earned the awards with strong academic and volunteer backgrounds.
Rivard has served as a program director for the Youth Volunteer Corps of Bay City, the SVSU Dean's List and the Foundation Scholars Program. She has also been a member of National Society of Leadership and Success and the SVSU Lions Club, and as the current Miss Saginaw County 2016.
Like Rivard, Ashton has had numerous work experiences that have honed her desire to excel in leadership roles. In addition, she is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a local service fraternity that focuses on projects in Saginaw, Bay City and the SVSU campus.
The National Conference for College Women Student Leaders, attended by more than 1,000 young women, will offer the opportunity to be inspired by women in leadership roles, to honor Women of Distinction, to attend workshops offering leadership skills, to network with young women from across the country, and to explore Washington, D.C.
AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. There are AAUW branches in Midland, Saginaw, and Bay City.
Two students from Central Michigan University, Delta College, Northwood University or SVSU are awarded with the scholarships from AAUW each year.
SVSU has been represented frequently at the national conference, with Kimberly Salwey attending in 2015 and Bethany Thrun attending in 2014.
April 21, 2016
SVSU students to present "Saginaw Revitalization: Drawing on Our Different Strengths"
Thursday, April 21, 5:30 to 8 p.m.
Dow Event Center, downtown Saginaw
Saginaw Valley State University students in the disciplines of business, art, theatre and sociology will share their ideas for advancing the revitalization underway in downtown Saginaw during a special program Thursday, April 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Dow Event Center.
These students have devoted a semester to developing strategies for urban redevelopment. One visible reminder of past programs is the 50-foot-tall mural - titled “I Just Like To Make Marks” - affixed along the exterior of the Dow Event Center's parking garage.
In addition to exploring revitalization, community outreach has included SVSU working with the First Ward Community Center in Saginaw to bring students in the center’s after-school programs to campus for art and theatre workshops. The United Way of Saginaw County and Saginaw High School also are partners in the project.
In addition to the presentations, SVSU will honor Charles McNair with the 2016 B.A.T.S. award for Excellence in Community Service. He is a long-time educator for Saginaw Public Schools, and the primary coordinator of the Saginaw African American Cultural Festival.
April 12, 2016
Saginaw Valley State University students Mallory Rivard and Natalie Schneider were honored for their community-minded actions during the Michigan Campus Compact Awards Gala in East Lansing Thursday, April 7. Each received a Commitment to Service award for her extensive community involvement.
Rivard also received the prestigious and highly competitive Outstanding Community Impact Award, which honors up to five undergraduate students in Michigan who have made service an integral part of their college experience by their significant contribution to community resources. There are 37 colleges and universities who are members of Michigan Campus Compact.
An elementary education and early childhood major from Bay City, Rivard has been involved with several service projects and community engagement activities. She has spearheaded initiatives with a number of local agencies including Special Olympics, food pantries, and local schools.
Within SVSU, Rivard is a founding member of the university's chapter of Lions Club, a service club; she also is a Kantzler Fellow, part of a select group of Bay County students that participate in community engagement initiatives to improve the Bay Area. Rivard is an inducted member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, a member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, and a host of other organizations.
Rivard also has volunteered for multiple Alternative Breaks trips, performing community service in places such as Grand Rapids and Nashville, Tennessee. Active in scholarship pageants, she was crowned Miss Bay County in 2015 and is the current Miss Saginaw County.
Schneider, a business management major from Saginaw Township, has a passion for improving her campus and community. She coordinated SVSU's Battle of the Valleys fundraising competition in 2015, collecting more than $24,500 in one week for Get Outside For A Healthy Inside, an affiliate of the Saginaw Community Foundation dedicated to increase physical activity in Saginaw, focusing specifically on building parks and maintaining trails.
SVSU received an Innovations in Community Impact award from Michigan Campus Compact for Battle of the Valleys at the same ceremony. This is the first year for the award.
Schneider serves as the philanthropy chair for SVSU’s student government and is a Wolohan Fellow, part of a select group of Saginaw County students working to improve the image and quality of life for their hometown.
March 22, 2016
When Chris Roekle first stepped onto the Saginaw Valley State University campus, he didn't have a Twitter account. Now, he makes his living in the social media realm, and that ability to adapt in a rapidly changing environment has led to an extraordinary opportunity.
Roekle will be coordinating all social media efforts on Twitter and Instagram for the NCAA during the Division II men's basketball Elite-8 in Frisco, Texas March 23-26.
“It's extremely humbling,” Roekle said. “It's kind of like a break … How cool is it that I get to run all of the creative content for the NCAA Division II Elite-8?”
Roekle will find himself posting about his alma mater and Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) member, SVSU. The Cardinals men’s basketball team defeated GLIAC rival Ferris State to win the Midwest Region and advance to the NCAA Division II Elite 8. They are scheduled to play Wednesday, March 23 around 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.
After coordinating the social media efforts during last year's NCAA Division II women's basketball tournament, Roekle said he is up for the challenge the men's basketball tournament presents.
“This is a bigger animal with a bigger spotlight, so it's a really good opportunity,” he said.
After graduating from Michigan Lutheran Seminary High School in Saginaw, Roekle graduated from SVSU in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in finance and then received his M.B.A. in 2013. He is currently the director of strategic communications for the GLIAC, where he operates much of the conference's social media.
After receiving his master's degree from SVSU, Roekle went to the University of Nebraska where he spent a year as a graduate communications intern and covered the 2013 Big Ten champion Nebraska women's soccer team.
While at SVSU, Roekle was an intricate part of SVSU Athletics' social media growth, which allowed for more attention to be garnered by the university. He also worked closely with the baseball, cross country, golf, track and field, volleyball, and women's basketball teams.
Looking back, Roekle credits his time at SVSU for developing the determination required to succeed in the field of intercollegiate athletics.
“I learned that hard work pays off,” he said. “I really felt like I paid my dues, and kind of went above and beyond which is always a good way to go about things. You don't want to just be content with how things are. You want to put your own spin on things.”
Roekle has developed a formula for social media success. He has successfully brought attention to the GLIAC by more than doubling the conference's followers on Twitter.
Roekle’s calling card has been employing creative graphics in his tweets, instead of “just posting text.”
“I have found that posts with multimedia – photos, graphics, video – take more time to generate, but they also produce a lot more interest,” he said.
March 9, 2016
Saginaw Valley State University's College of Business & Management recently honored outstanding regional business leaders as well as SVSU students, alumni and faculty as part of the university’s third annual Academia Awards: Best in Business.
Several committees featuring SVSU faculty, staff and students — along with members of the business community — chose the awards recipients. They will be recognized during a dinner ceremony on campus Friday, March 18.
The recipients include the following:
David Dittenber received the Outstanding Entrepreneur award. Dittenber has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial experience, working extensively in sales and marketing, including national sales management and leadership roles. He is the owner and CEO of Downtown Restaurant Investments, which operates three restaurants in downtown Bay City. He also is the president and owner of both Facilities Management Consultants International as well as DLR Development, a design-to-build solutions firm that works with the healthcare industry.
Annette Rummel, CEO of Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, received the Outstanding Business Leader award. Rummel also has served as the president and CEO of the Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce. She has worked in the Michigan travel and tourism industry for more than 30 years.
Scheurer Healthcare Network received the Outstanding Business award. The Pigeon-based organization aims to provide a variety of healthcare services to mid-Michigan communities and has established a continuum of care with Elder Care Services, which include an independent living facility, an assisted living facility and a long-term care unit.
Zehnder's of Frankenmuth received the Outstanding Family Business award. Zehnder's of Frankenmuth is a popular destination in Frankenmuth, offering a restaurant, golf course, waterpark and café. The business has served customers for more than 150 years.
Thomas Braley, who graduated from SVSU in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in management, received the Outstanding Alumnus award. The Saginaw resident is a financial advisor and a managing director of investments for Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC in Saginaw Township. He also has served on a number of boards including the SVSU Board of Fellows, Saginaw Promise Zone and the Child Abuse and Neglect Council of the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Kayla Bischer received the Outstanding Undergraduate Student award. The Harbor Beach native will graduate from SVSU in May with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. With a 4.0 GPA, she has been a member of SVSU’s President’s List for eight semesters. She works as a payroll generalist for Bad Axe-based Gemini Group, a plastic and metal products supplier where she hopes to advance her career after graduation.
Michael Stackhouse received the Outstanding Graduate Student award. He has more than 25 years of experience working in information technology, including areas ranging from software development to hardware. Stackhouse also serves as an adjunct faculty member in SVSU’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.
Robert Chadwick, an adjunct faculty member in SVSU’s Department of Management & Marketing, received the Excellence in Teaching: Adjunct award. Chadwick was chosen for his passion for giving back to students.
Stacie Krupp, SVSU assistant professor of accounting, received the Excellence in Teaching: Faculty award. The Chesaning native spent 21 years as a public accountant before trading her calculators for syllabi when she joined SVSU and the higher education world in 2012. Part of her academic approach involves challenging students with projects that mimic tasks faced by employees in the public and private accounting sector.
Betsy Pierce, SVSU assistant professor of accounting, received the Excellence in Service award. She has served on SVSU’s Vitito Global Leadership Institute selection committee since joining SVSU in 2013. The institute is a leadership development program for students studying within SVSU’s College of Business & Management. Pierce is a member of a number of other committees such as the Faculty Association Banquet Committee, Workplace Culture Committee and the Indian Student Association Holi Festival Committee.
February 29, 2016
A community-minded marketing class at Saginaw Valley State University hopes to help the Village of Chesaning reinvent public perception.
After the loss of the popular Chesaning Showboat Festival in 2013, leaders in the small town located in largely rural in southwestern Saginaw County are hoping to strengthen the village's image.
Gary L. Clark, SVSU professor of marketing, and 26 students in his marketing research course plan to provide a blueprint that empowers the community of about 2,000 residents.
“The Village of Chesaning is primarily interested in four things,” Clark said. “What is their current image, how can they increase their population, what does their population want to be offered that the village council can provide, and how should they brand Chesaning?”
The collaboration began when Chesaning Village Administrator Troy Feltman sought out Clark, whose previous classes have led marketing-related projects for approximately 130 businesses and organizations.
“The reason the village engaged the marketing class was to help us with a branding process we're going through,” Feltman said. “We're trying to create a new identity for the community.”
Students will survey the community's residents, teachers, municipal leaders, business owners and members of the Chesaning Chamber of Commerce.
At the end of the semester in April, Clark and his class will present their findings to Feltman, who will then decide what to do with the information.
“We will give them data on what the surveyed people think, and they will make their data-driven decisions,” Clark said. “We will suggest certain things they should do, but they'll have to make their own decisions based on the information.”
Zackary Gibson, a marketing major from Davison, has enrolled in several classes with Clark that worked on marketing projects with other organizations. Gibson said collaborating with a community such as Chesaning has presented a unique challenge not put forth by the companies and organizations they've worked with in the past.
“It's going to be a challenge,” he said. “We're used to businesses, where it's easy to look at what your strengths and weaknesses are. But, with a community, there are so many things you can do. You can deal with the council, the school system, the downtown, the businesses or the residents.”
Brittany Lentz, a communication major from Applegate, has been a part of the website analysis team that compares Chesaning to other communities of similar size to see where the village measures up. This process includes comparing municipal websites, school systems and opportunities for growth.
For Lentz and her classmates, the project offers a hands-on learning experience that will strengthen their résumés.
“It's really good real-world experience,” Lentz said. “The assignments you do apply to real-world jobs.”
Gibson echoed his classmate's sentiment. He said students will not only know how to do a job, but they'll be able to show it as well.
“As a marketing student, this real-world experience is something I can discuss in a job interview,” he said. “You have something tangible you can take into an interview. This is something you can't get from other classes because it's beyond theory. You've applied it, and that's what employers really like.”
February 3, 2016
A New Lothrop native once again will join one of the world's leading Super Bowl advertising experts in analyzing the trends and consumer impact of the ad lineup planned for this year's big game.
Saginaw Valley State University student Courtney Seamon and nine of her classmates will participate in a Super Bowl ad research project with Rama Yelkur, dean of SVSU's College of Business and Management.
Yelkur's work has been published in leading scholarly journals and has been cited widely in popular media, including Advertising Age, CNN Money, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal. Seamon, a marketing major, has collaborated with Yelkur on the research since the dean began hosting student focus groups examining the Super Bowl commercials at SVSU in 2014.
“The critical thinking behind why some commercials score well and others not so much - and if our previous theories will still apply to the changing world of Super Bowl advertising - is really what intrigues me,” Seamon said.
This year - as with the previous two years - Seamon and her classmates will watch and analyze the Super Bowl commercials on the SVSU campus when the game starts at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 7.
The stakes are high this year; a 30-second commercial during this year's broadcast costs $5 million.
Yelkur's research over the years has shown there are certain “likability factors” that can predict whether an ad will appeal to viewers. Some of those factors include the presence of humor, animals, celebrities or children. The SVSU focus group will analyze the advertisements during the game, predict how consumers will react to the marketing based on those likability factors, then research consumer reaction in the weeks following the Super Bowl to track whether those factors have changed.
Seamon also plans to co-author a research paper with Yelkur, which they plan to submit for publication in a peer-reviewed academic journal. Seamon presented an earlier research paper co-authored with Yelkur at the Marketing Management Association annual conference in Chicago in March 2015.
Seamon already has begun preparing for Sunday's focus group, analyzing the Super Bowl commercial information that has been released before the game.
“Personally, I'm always interested to see what Anheuser-Busch comes up with; especially, since they are expected to have bought 3.5 minutes of air time this year,” she said.
Seamon also is looking forward to BMW's MINI vehicle commercial.
“They have posted several inspirational celebrity teasers online which will be interesting to see how they tie them all together,” she said. “I'm thinking it could be an encouraging, pull-at-the-heartstrings ad similar to Always' ‘Like a Girl’ 2015 commercial, which scored very well in terms of ad likability.”
Seamon will be joined in the research by fellow SVSU marketing majors Daniel Hill of Harrison, Valerie Klein of New Lothrop, and Kyle LaPine of Troy.
Other students participating in the study are Kevin Finley, an accounting major from Flint, Michael Hensley, a criminal justice major from Warren, Andrew Jarmon, an accounting major from Ortonville, Daniel Newton, a mechanical engineering major from Warren, Gerard Lefebvre, a biology major from Dearborn Heights, and Erica Seamon, a finance major from New Lothrop.
Courtney Seamon said participating in the Super Bowl ad research has been fulfilling, both academically and personally.
“Even after I graduate in May, and my research with Dr. Yelkur ends, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to watch a Super Bowl game without analyzing the ads,” she said.
“Personally, this experience has been life-changing because of the knowledge and advice I've received from Dr. Yelkur, not only as a mentor in marketing research, but also as a woman in business.”
EXTRA: Read about Rama Yelkur reflecting on Super Bowl commercial history by clicking here.
October 27, 2015
Born in 1980 in Poland, Izabela Szymanska witnessed the birth of the country’s Solidarity movement, and though young during its flourishing decade, was awestruck by its impact. She saw this movement transform her country’s peoples as it empowered them to take responsibility for their lives. Notable were economic changes, as citizens went from being government-supported to owning businesses.
Family business and entrepreneurship were fledgling opportunities that motivated a young Szymanska to dream that one day she would study business and entrepreneurship in the U.S. because, as she asks, “Who does it better?”
So it is no wonder that the assistant professor of management chose a case study of family business and innovative changes for her recently-defended doctoral dissertation.
And it’s equally no wonder that Szymanska felt that when she arrived at SVSU in fall 2014, she had found a “perfect fit.” That’s because she is teaching entrepreneurship classes as well as working with the Dow Entrepreneurship Institute at SVSU, the Stevens Center for Family Business, and SVSU students.
She is quick to point out that SVSU’s focus on family business was not only very attractive to her, but that such a program affiliated with a university is not very common. That, she says, is great for both students and the region.
It is in the role of teacher that Szymanska makes her greatest impact. “I work with students on independent studies, take them to business events, and bring speakers into the classroom, all to enrich the student experience. “
And in the very brief time she has been at the university, she has led a student team to the University of Vermont’s Family Enterprise Case Competitions held each winter. She is already planning a return trip in 2015-16, noting the value of this competitive experiential learning for her academic college’s students.
Szymanska especially enjoys teaching Introduction to Entrepreneurship, a semester-long course where students create a comprehensive business plan. “Some love it and some learn that entrepreneurship is not for them. That’s not a bad thing; rather it’s invaluable for students to participate in that discovery process,” Szymanska said.
And some students are excited about becoming an “intrapreneur,” an employee within a company charged with bringing new products or innovations to market. “This can be very appealing to students who don’t necessarily want to start a business, yet who want to bring that entrepreneurial energy to a company.”
Szymanska’s enthusiasm and efforts must be paying off, as an influx of student interest in entrepreneurship has led to adding another section of the course this academic year.
May 1, 2015
Sarah Klammer will become one of Saginaw Valley State University’s younger graduates this spring, when the 19-year-old earns a bachelor's degree in economics at the same time she earns a high school diploma from the Academic and Career Education Academy in Midland.
She was accepted into the program as a high school sophomore at age 15 after spending her freshman year at Frankenmuth High School.
Klammer served as a tutor at SVSU's Center for Academic Achievement and was selected as vice president of the school's recently-founded Economics Club. She also was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, an international college honor society for business students.
At a Career Services fair on campus, Klammer connected with organizers for the Frankenmuth Farmers Market, where she now serves as the market activities coordinator.
Klammer isn't the only member of her family to participate in the dual-enrollment program. Her older sister, Leahana, is a member of the program and will complete her bachelor's degree in communication at SVSU in December. Her younger sister, Rachel, is currently enrolled in the program and is expected to graduate from SVSU in spring 2016.
April 30, 2015
Next up: master’s program, Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs
Career prospects: watershed environmental management
Fun fact: Before attending SVSU, Linskey had never visited a nation outside the U.S. “Not even Canada,” he said. Since then, Linskey has traveled to 12 countries. They are Sweden, the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy and India. This summer, he will add Canada and Peru to that list.
Evan Linskey’s travels have taken him to 12 countries, but what was in his own backyard may have had the heaviest influence on his career aspirations.
The Prudenville native was raised alongside Houghton Lake, and now he is pursuing a profession in environmental management, analyzing data collected from watersheds across the world.
“I’ve always enjoyed water,” said Linskey, who will graduate from Saginaw Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in economics in May.
“There’s a lot of information coming out of the environmental sector. Someone has to interpret it.”
When he begins his master’s program at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs in the fall, Linskey already will have logged plenty of hours in environmental management research in his own home state. At SVSU, he worked as a research assistant for the geography department, helping the community by studying the water quality of the Kawkawlin, Pigeon and Pinnebog rivers, analyzing how each affected the Saginaw Bay.
Linskey’s passion for scientific research as well as community engagement and service learning became a heavy theme of his SVSU undergraduate experience.
He has participated in several opportunities with SVSU’s Alternative Breaks, a program that sends students to volunteer in destinations across the world during the winter and spring breaks. He traveled to Atlanta to help children living in poverty; to Murphy, North Carolina to remove invasive species from the Hiwassee River; and to New York City to provide meals for the terminally ill.
Linskey also took advantage of SVSU’s Study Abroad connections, living in Prague for a semester in fall 2013 while studying economics and intergovernmental organizations at the University of Economics.
“I wanted a new challenge, and so I decided to go to a country with a language I don’t speak,” said the 2011 Houghton Lake High School graduate.
“It was a challenge. And I loved every minute of it.”
Linskey also stayed active on SVSU’s campus.
Along with his classwork, he was involved in the university’s Honors Program, served as the first president of the newly-founded Economics Club, and worked as an economics and statistics tutor in SVSU’s Center for Academic Achievement. He recently finished his Honors Program thesis on how higher education, religious and other social institutions impact secondary school performance.
One of Linskey’s mentors, Kaustav Misra, SVSU assistant professor of economics, described the student as a quiet, motivated “explorer.”
“His academic work has been recognized by many faculty members in the Department of Economics, and as a result, they recommended him as our outstanding econ graduate for this academic year,” Misra said.
“I do believe that he will reach his goal to become a geospatial researcher and solve various rural problems in Michigan. I am sure Evan will represent SVSU well.”
[Return to We Are 2015 Page]
Scott L. Carmona College of Business
Saginaw Valley State University
7400 Bay Road
University Center, MI 48710
Acting Assistant Dean