Monthly Archives: April 2016

UM-Flint’s 2016 Engineering Design Day

Each year, graduating UM-Flint Engineering students design, fabricate, and present Senior Design Projects as a culmination of all they have learned. This year they were able to present their work to the campus during Engineering Design Day and also to their Industrial Advisory Board later the same week.

To decide on projects, each student in the capstone course presents an idea relevant to their personal interests and skills. The class votes and the winning ideas are adopted as final projects. The students break into teams based on project choice.

The projects can be inspired by academic competitions, improvements to existing industry equipment, and social or community needs. Two of this year’s projects were responses to needs or issues at the students’ jobs.

With the projects, the students gain experience in working with clients, staying on budget and schedule, and managing both test results and expectations—all in addition to demonstrating their considerable knowledge of engineering practices and equipment use.

Dean Susan Gano-Phillips of the College of Arts & Sciences attended Engineering Design Day and spoke with students from each of the project teams. She noted, “Engineering Design projects are the culmination of students’ experience in the Engineering Program. It is exciting to see the innovative and creative ideas of our students brought to fruition in these collaborative projects.” Gano-Phillips was impressed to learn that all of the graduating students who were ready to enter the workforce already had jobs lined up.

Following are the 2016 Senior Design Projects:

Gear Test Fixture

UM-Flint Engineering students discuss their senior design project.

UM-Flint Engineering students discuss their senior design project.

Students: James Pung and Brendon Stokes

This project was directly related to student work at Nexteer Automotive. Much of the product development was done on site in Saginaw, MI.

According to the students’ abstract, “The scope of this project is to develop a gear test fixture that will test strength of a weld joint to attach a worm gear to a drive shaft. The worm gear and shaft assembly are used to drive an electric power steering system at Nexteer Automotive. The fixture must be capable of evaluating the reliability and strength of the weld joint to avoid failure. The fixture was designed to apply load on the gear assembled on the shaft. In the event of weld failure with an applied load, the load will decrease and the gear will stop rotating. The applied load and displacement of the gear will be recorded throughout the test in order to compare the load and number of cycles at which failure occurred.”

They concluded that the “new test fixture was able to perform the test efficiently and was able to meet the requirement specified by Nexteer Automotive.”

Portable Water Filtration System

Professor Mojtaba Vaziri of UM-Flint Engineering examines a senior design project.

Professor Mojtaba Vaziri of UM-Flint Engineering examines the portable water filtration system.

Students: John Gagnon and Nathan Calvert

This group set out to create a water filtration system that was suitable for a wide variety of users, from hikers trying to lighten their loads to children in developing countries who need clean water. The group considered “ease of use, weight, size, rate of flow, capacity, and FDA approval” in their design decisions.

The group notes, “Engineering analyses were performed to determine pressure drop, sterilization time, power consumption, and stress due to impact. Most of the components were designed and developed using a 3D printer technology with ABS plastic materials. The filtration system was tested using environmental protection agency guidelines for drinking water quality.”

To meet all of the standards proposed, the project underwent several adjustments during the design process, including material changes, choosing a different pump, and overall design modifications.

Human-Powered Vehicle (HPV)

Members of the Human Powered Vehicle group pose with the UM-Flint Engineering Senior Design Project

Members of the Human Powered Vehicle group pose with the UM-Flint Engineering Senior Design Project

Students: Xingyu Chen, Aleah Pavlicek, Terence Staples, and Brandon Walker

This project was inspired by the Human Powered Vehicle Challenge, an annual competition held by the the American Society of Mechanical Engineering. The competition challenges students to think of new ways to provide feasible transpiration options to rural, underserved, or developing populations.

The UM-Flint students considered maneuverability, stability, load-bearing and cargo space, and speed/stopping in their design choices.

Five Speed Manual Transmission System

Dr. Quamrul Mazumder, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, operates the transmission project.

Dr. Quamrul Mazumder, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, operates the transmission project.

Students: Kenneth O’Brien, Liwei Zhao, and Yang Zhou

Per this group, “The objective of this project was to design, develop, manufacture and test a five-speed transmission system that could be used for teaching and modeling in engineering classrooms. The gearbox was designed with several clear plastic viewing panels to observe the operation of the system. Furthermore, the components were designed for visual demonstration while running at lower speeds. Finally, a flywheel was added to the gearbox to measure rotational speeds. Most of the gearbox components were designed and manufactured using a 3D printer and computer aided design software. Material properties were verified using a tensile tester, the prototype assembly that was tested has met design specifications and required performances.”

This educational model will “demonstrate features, such as shaft, gear, keyed shafts, bearing, and the interaction of different components in the transmission system. Students will be able to measure the input power, input speed and output speed by using speed sensors or tachometers. The transmission model will also aid classroom labs, as students will be able to make predictions and test maximum speeds of the output shaft.”

The group declared the project a success and a “great learning experience.”

Inspection and Rescue Robot

One of the Rescue Robot group members speaks with Dean Gano-Phillips about their final product.

One of the Rescue Robot group members speaks with Dean Gano-Phillips about their final product.

Students: Erik Leaske, Joshua Wakefield, and Yufei Fan

Students in this group wanted to address the number of employee deaths each year that result from the need to inspect confined or hazardous spaces. Their answer came in the form of a small robot that could traverse pipes and other closed environments like heating or ventilation ducts and sewer pipes.

The robot was built on an aluminum frame with consideration given to protecting the camera and electrical components in places that may be wet. The group explored both Wi-Fi and autonomous capabilities as they tried to prepare for the wide variety of uses for their project. Although future improvements could include a plastic frame, “the robot was successfully tested for mechanical performance and design criterion.”

Tugger Cart for Powder Coating Process

UM-Flint Engineering students pose with their tugger cart project.

UM-Flint Engineering students pose with their tugger cart project.

Students: Dan Larson, Zach Stevenson, and Sandeep Solanki

According to this group, “There are many hazards associated with the industrial powder coating process. Powder coating operations require the use of curing ovens at high temperatures. The high temperature environment exposes employees to many hazardous situations when they remove carts from the oven. The objective of the project was to develop a system to eliminate the need for an employee to enter the oven. The previous system wasted large amounts of energy due to repeated heating and cooling of the oven to allow employees to enter the oven. A remotely controlled tugger cart would eliminate the need for cool down resulting in an increase in productivity while reducing employee risk. The cart was designed to travel under the racks to move the rack out of the oven. Critical performance requirements included safety, reliability, ease of operation and long battery life. The cart design used a modular concept that is versatile for use in different applications. Additional tests were required to test for the robustness of radio communication to ensure reliability. The proposed cart also had to be cost effective compared to similar systems available in the market.”

As with other projects, this one answered a real-world issue at a student’s employer and also has the potential to greatly increase safety for workers.

For more information on the UM-Flint Engineering, visit

Alumni Spotlight: Asadullah Siddiqui, B.S. Biology, 2014

Asadullah Siddiqui, B.S. Biology, 2014

Asadullah Siddiqui, B.S. Biology, 2014

Name, field of study, & year of graduation:
Asadullah Siddiqui, B.S. Biology, 2014

What is your current program and/or occupation? Please include graduation year.
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, 2019

What classes at UM-Flint best prepared you for this career?
Human Gross Anatomy with Dr. Morey was an awesome introduction to the body and the coursework you’ll see in medical school. Biology Senior Seminar was also really helpful in giving the foundation to read and understand scientific papers/studies. Also any class taught by Dr. Sanders; his coursework helps make many classes look like extended review nowadays.

What has been your favorite part of your post-UM-Flint studies and/or work?
Simply learning the subject matter and all about the body. It has always been incredibly interesting to me and it confirms I’m in the right field.

What do you recommend to current UM-Flint students looking to follow in your footsteps?
Get involved. Research, volunteering, tutoring; anything to make your application stronger and give you things to talk about in interviews. I even recommend getting a non-academic job to empathize with others; this drove me to work harder for my goals. Also, try your best to make it to a game in Ann Arbor, you won’t regret it!

For more information on Asadullah Siddiqui’s program, visit


CAS Alums Present Spring Career Panel

UM-Flint alumni speak to current students about career options and lessons they've learned.

UM-Flint alumni speak to current students about career options and lessons they’ve learned since graduation.

In April 2016, two College of Arts & Sciences alumni returned to the UM-Flint campus to discuss their careers and share what they’ve learned since graduation. Those attending were treated to a great conversation, lunch, and raffle prizes.

Life After Graduation

Dawn Demps, 2008 alumna of Political Science and Africana Studies, and Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the MPA program, sat with Alumni Relations‘ Brent Nickola on the third floor of the UCEN for the informal chat with gathered students. They took turns answering questions like “What is life like after graduation?” “What do you wish you would have known as a student?” and “How do you turn passion into success?”

Demps, who is currently running a non-profit focused on community advocacy, spoke first.


Dawn Demps, graduate of UM-Flint’s Political Science and Africana Studies departments.

After talking about some of the the specific work she’s been doing in the community she noted, “you have to have a passion for the area you go into. You really have to believe.” She also mentioned the importance of flexibility within your job, adding that in her case, her job is “never a 9 to 5 thing.”

Demps also spoke about the skills she felt were most important to her career: the ability to prioritize, being able to communicate effectively with “people on so many levels,” having cultural competency, being open to learning and collaboration, and “putting your pride aside, because someone always knows more than you.”

She noted all of these skills are vital to being successful, and that it’s also important to be clear about your goals, because “passion without any sort of a plan is chaos.”

Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the UM-Flint MPA program

Henderson Allen, a 2011 alumnus of the UM-Flint MPA program

Henderson Allen came to UM-Flint for his Masters in Public Administration after earning an undergraduate degree in criminal justice from Ferris State University. He currently works with a diverse group of detained youth, ages 12 to 21.

Allen agreed with Demps on the skills needed out in the world, noting “communication is number one.” He also added that one should “be open to new methods; see what’s changing in your industry.”

When asked what he wished he would have known as a student, Allen answered, “take advantage of every opportunity presented to you. Go to seminars, gain knowledge. Network—don’t be afraid to reach out and introduce yourself, be proactive!” He added that students should enjoy the time they have in school and appreciate it for what it is, “have patience; be in the moment.”

Rewarding Careers

In their careers, both Allen and Demps have had a chance to implement what they gained at UM-Flint, but they’ve also been learning new lessons.

When asked about what’s been especially rewarding, Allen said, “Seeing your work and being part of at team; interacting and being effective.” He noted that as a state employee he has excellent benefits, but “there is more than just pay” and that students should be prepared to “put [their] time in.”

Demps added that she enjoys “working with young people, parents, and the community; seeing the change as you build trust and relationships… having your expertise recognized.” She noted an especially rewarding moment came when a group of young men she’d been working with reached graduation. She’s especially passionate about her on-going work in the Flint school system focused on “unpacking the prison pipeline.”

Demps emphasized to the audience that work in non-profits is important to the community, stating, “non-profit work is needed. A lot of times what lies between what the state provides and what people need is non-profits.”

Henderson Allen (left) and Dawn Demps (right) talk about their time at UM-Flint and their careers.

Henderson Allen (left) and Dawn Demps (right) talk about their time at UM-Flint and their careers.

Questions from the Audience

Audience members were given a chance to ask Demps and Allen questions.

One student wanted to know their biggest initial challenges after graduation.

Allen noted the challenge of companies wanting new employees to come with experience, and of new employees needing jobs to get experience. He reassured the students that the skills they learn at UM-Flint will play a part in answering that issue. He added that often volunteer work or an internship is “just as good as work experience in that particular field.”

Demps seconded the value of volunteering, noting, “I created opportunities for myself to build up my portfolio. If there wasn’t something for me, I created it.”

Advice for Students

In closing, the alums were asked for one piece of advice to give to current students.

Said Allen, “The main thing is never lose contact with your UM-Flint instructors. They are resources, vital, and connected to your field. Check in. Say hello.” Demps agreed, noting “your professors today are your letters of recommendation tomorrow.”

She closed by saying, “Never be afraid.”

For more information on the alumni of the College of Arts & Sciences, visit our Alumni Resources page. If you’re a CAS alum, please be sure to update your information so we can feature you in future stories!

CAS Staff Spotlight: Lacey Faulkner of UM-Flint History

Meet Lacey Faulkner of the UM-Flint History Department. Not only is she a dedicated part of her department’s mission to serve their students, but she’s soon to be a world traveler!

Lacey Faulkner of the UM-Flint History Department

Lacey Faulkner of the UM-Flint History Department

Lacey will accompany the History Department’s Wyatt Exploration Program students and faculty on their trip to London, England, in May 2016. While there, Lacey will be blogging and posting information on Facebook and Instagram so the UM-Flint campus and community can follow the students’ journey. Their trip will include stops at the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Globe Theatre, the National Picture Gallery and the National Archive, Kew Gardens and Palace, and a variety of museums including the Museum of London, the Maritime Museum, and the Imperial War Museum. The students will also have a free time to explore on their own.

When asked about the trip, Faulkner said, “I am so excited for this amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to see how the students grow from this experience!”

Learn more about Lacey below, and keep checking the UM-Flint History pages for updates on this year’s Wyatt trip.

Name: Lacey Faulkner
Title: Administrative Assistant
Department(s): History

Degree(s), Education, or Certification(s):
Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from UM-Flint. I am starting my last year in Fall 2016 for my Master’s in Public Administration. I expect to graduate in April 2017.

Ways in which I support or interact with UM-Flint students:
I interact on a daily basis with our students in person along with interactions on our department facebook, twitter, and Instagram. I support the History Club as much as possible along with our interns. I am a main contact for all our Wyatt Travelers before, during, and after their trip.

Ways in which I support or interact with UM-Flint faculty:
I support faculty daily to make sure that they can provide the best education for our students.

Ways in which I am involved with my department or program’s community engagement
I assist in the planning and organizing of our department’s community engagement projects. One of our larger projects that I assist with is Lumber City Base Ball.

What I feel my department or program does best for students:
One thing that I believe my department does best for our students is give them many unique opportunities to learn through the Wyatt Endowment. This amazing endowment has allowed us to offer scholarships and amazing internship opportunities for our students that will help them build their resumes. We also have an unbelievable opportunity for our students to travel with the Wyatt Exploration Program. This program allows our students to put knowledge they have learned in the classroom to practical use. It also gives the students a chance to experience the history and culture on a first hand basis by being submerged in it.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
From my time at UM-Flint, I hope to make a difference for my students. I hope to be a source of knowledge when they don’t know where to go in our big system. I hope to be a motivating figure that keeps them going when they feel they can’t anymore and I hope to be that calming person when the stress is closing in on them.

What I hope for students from my department or program:
I hope for the students from my department to get the best education possible and to be successful in their careers!

Three things you should know about me:
1. I will be traveling abroad for the first time this May to London with our Wyatt Exploration Program. I am very excited and very nervous all at the same time, but it will such a great experience. Also I will be blogging for the first time on this trip, so make sure to watch for it!

2. I have only been an official University Employee since January 2013, but I started working in the History Department as a workstudy student in Fall 2008. Never take for granted those jobs that you thought would not get you any where. They may actually be the best thing that ever happens to you!

3. In my office all of my plants have names. My faculty even talk to them sometimes!

For more information on the UM-Flint History Department and all they offer to students, visit

Spring 2016 Dance Concert Program Announced

dance image

Join our Department of Theatre & Dance students and faculty, April 15-17, 2016, for the annual Spring Dance Concert. This year’s theme is the Five Elements: ether, water, air, earth, and fire. The pieces feature both classic and original choreography, presented in a variety of styles. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30pm; Sunday is at 2pm. Please arrive early if purchasing tickets at the door. All performances are in the UM-Flint Theatre, located at 303 E. Kearsley Street, Flint, MI.

The program will include:

The Wilis – (Excerpt from the Ballet Giselle)

  • Original Choreography: Jean Coralli and Jules Perrot
  • Choreography Adaptation: Beth Freiman
  • Composer: Adolphe Adam
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang


  • Choreography: Emma Davis
  • Lighting Design: Briannah Rench
  • Music: “Water Dripping” by Priscilla P. Wood; “Soothing Water Stream” by Mistral Wind; “Rushing Stream” by SwiftDK; “2 Ghosts” by Nine Inch Nails; “Dirty Water (instrumental)” by Lecrae
  • Dancers: Frederick Fields, Jameel Gilbert, Dominique Hinde, Shakeda Mitchell, Nataniel Morales, Lydia Parker

A Bird in The Hand

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman
  • Music: Tres Para Uno A Cinco by Christian Matjias Mecca
  • Dancers: Ashlynne Feige, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw


  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Costume Design: Lydia Parker
  • Lighting Design: Nicole Stafford
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Karsh Kale

The Firebirds – Inspired by George Balanchine’s “The Firebird”

  • Choreography: Beth Freiman and Classical Repertory students
  • Costume Design: Adam Dill
  • Lighting Design: Tyler Rankin
  • Dancers: Jermariana Chandler, Danielle Emerson, Ashlynn Feige, Kacee Myczkowiak, Brooke Olney, Ashinique Wesaw, Frieda Yang
  • Music: Igor Stravinsky


  • Choreography: Adesola Akinleye
  • Dancers: Ashlynn Feige, Jodi Jaruzel, Charity Lloyd, Nataniel Morales, Octavish Morris, Hannah Nettleton, Farrell Tatum
  • Music: Restrung, Vitamin String Quartet
  • Film: Barry Lewis

For more information, visit

Communication Students Recognized for Excellence, Scholarship, and Leadership

Each year, the UM-Flint Communication program recognizes a few students out of its graduating seniors. We are pleased to share the accolades of those recognized for the May 2016 commencement ceremony:

  • Donald Rady, winner of the Outstanding Scholarship Award in Communication. This award is presented to the Communication major graduating in the current academic year who has exhibited the highest quality coursework throughout their academic career.
  • Stephanie Hare, winner of the Dottie Filak Outstanding Leadership Award. This award is presented to the Communication major graduating in the current academic year who has demonstrated the greatest impact on campus and community through engagement.  The award is named after the late Dorothy Filak, Lecturer IV of Communication.
  • Natalie Broda and Savanna Burnett, co-winners of the Chuck Apple Outstanding Student in Communication Award. This award is presented to the Communication major(s) graduating in the current academic year who best combine academic strength and engagement to leave the highest mark on their colleagues. It is the highest honor bestowed by the Communication faculty on a graduating student. The award is named after Associate Professor Emeritus of Communication Charles Apple.

Says department chair Marcus Paroske, “The awards for graduating Communication majors are the faculty’s way of recognizing excellence in students for not only their academic performance, but for their leadership on campus and their overall contributions to the community. It is a hard choice every year, but this year we have an especially strong group. It often comes as a surprise to the students, but they should be proud of how hard they worked to earn these awards.”

The Award Winners

Donald Rady, UM-Flint Communication graduate and 2015-2016 winner of the Outstanding Scholarship Award in Communication.

Donald Rady, UM-Flint Communication graduate and 2015-2016 winner of the Outstanding Scholarship Award in Communication.

When asked for a quote in response to winning his award, Rady said, “I think that a good quote would be from Psalm 23:1-3. ‘The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.’ Thanks to God, I have been successful at UM-Flint. I think that this award can be considered a good blessing. I am mildly autistic and am considered a walking enclyclopedia. I think that with God and my autism, I was able to be successful as I am today.”

Dr. Sara Rosaen, Associate Professor of Communication, noted, “Don is a committed student, the kind-of student you really appreciate because he appreciates learning.”

Stephanie Hare, UM-Flint Communication graduate and winner of the 215-2016 Dottie Filak Outstanding Leadership Award.

Stephanie Hare, UM-Flint Communication graduate and winner of the 215-2016 Dottie Filak Outstanding Leadership Award.

Dr. Tony McGill, lecturer IV in Communication, was one of the faculty who enjoyed teaching Hare. He said, “Stephanie is intelligent and always fun to work with. Her energy level is usually off the charts. She had me for two classes this semester and always put a smile on  my face. She created several new cheers this semester: Go Tony, Go Tony was my favorite.”

Dr. Rosen added, “Stephanie can get any group motivated and turn a frown upside down in two seconds flat!”

When asked about being an award recipient, Hare said, “My experience as a communication student here at UM-Flint has been challenging yet enlightening. I’m both honored and humbled to receive such an award.”

In addition to being an exception communication student, Hare has served as the Director of Student Relations for Student Government as well as a Peer Educator for the Women’s Educational Center and an intern for the Student Involvement and Leadership Center. Her concentrations in Organizational Communication and Public Relations will serve her well in her post-graduation plans which she lists as “doing an internship at Disney World following graduation. Then shortly after that, I’ll be doing a Masters program in Student Affairs.”

Natalie Broda, UM-Flint Communication graduate and co-winner of the 2015-2016 Chuck Apple Outstanding Student in Communication Award.

Natalie Broda, UM-Flint Communication graduate and co-winner of the 2015-2016 Chuck Apple Outstanding Student in Communication Award.

Natalie Broda is another highly engaged UM-Flint student: “I am a Communication major with a specialization in Media Studies and a minor in Writing. I am also a five-year staff member of The Michigan Times and its Editor-in-Chief for the last two years. I am also an Undergraduate Research Assistant/Co-Founder of, part of the Flint Youth Media Project, a program started by professor Donna Ullrich, other students and myself three years ago.”

About the award, she added, “I was touched when I found out I won the award. Over the last five years I’ve been lucky enough to be mentored by amazing, dedicated and thought-provoking faculty, and it’s an honor to be recognized by the Communication program. I’ve had many conversations over the years with my professors about how I felt the program was or was not helping students become professional media makers, and each and every time I was met with open doors and open minds. They took me seriously, challenged me to think on a higher level, and helped facilitate opportunities I never thought could be possible. The people who work in this department have never been just professors to me—they’ve been life mentors, guidance counselors and cheerleaders—and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for all that they’ve done.”

When asked whats next for her, Broda said, “After graduation I plan to move to Detroit to pursue a career in journalism and professional writing.”

Dr. Rosaen has no doubt she’ll be successful, noting, “Natalie is going places. I think we are going to see big things from her. She has skills.”

Savanna Burnett, UM-Flint Communication graduate and co-winner of the 2015-2016 Chuck Apple Outstanding Student in Communication Award.

Savanna Burnett, UM-Flint Communication graduate and co-winner of the 2015-2016 Chuck Apple Outstanding Student in Communication Award.

The Communication faculty had high praise for award-winner Savanna Burnett. Said Dr. Rosaen, “Savanna is earnest. She is hard-working, committed, and innovative.”

Dr. McGill added, “Savannah is quite unique and to say she is an interesting person is an understatement. She is the most dual brained student I have had in many years. She moves from right brain functions to left brain so quickly it caught me by surprise the first couple times. She is one of those old souls who seems to intuitively know and understand way more than they should. She is also one of the most polite and thoughtful students I have ever had. She can totally control an audience while singing, doing a formal presentation on a theory, or giving a PR pitch.”

Burnett, in turn, applauded her department and its faculty: “The communication program here at UM-Flint has allowed me to remain in the work force full time while pursuing this degree. If it wasn’t for the online classes, and the outstanding Communication [program], I wouldn’t have made it otherwise. Furthermore, it is very humbling to be recognized by a department that is so invested and hardworking themselves.”

When asked about her future plans, Burnett said, “I [was] recently voted onto the board of Restoration Place, a 501 C3 non profit founded by Amy Rouleua that seeks to build a home for girls 11-17 rescued from sex trafficking. We gain more momentum every day and continue to combat the darkness with support form the local community awareness concerning this issue. I hope to do many things in my lifetime career-wise; I have been working in HR these past few years and would like to continue in that vein. Eventually, I hope that my education will take me through to a Doctorate so that I can teach at a collegiate level.”

For more information on the Communication program, and the ways in which they support and engage their students, please visit their website.

UM-Flint Communication Students, Alumni, and LinkedIn

UM-Flint Communication faculty are using social platforms to help their students think more strategically about their time on campus and their careers after graduation.

Said department chair Marcus Paroske, “The Communication faculty recognized we had this network of over 1,000 graduates out there, and new students every semester looking for internships and employment. It made perfect sense to connect the two through our own LinkedIn group. We hope the UM-Flint Communication LinkedIn group will strengthen our own ties with our alumni, and over time generate a massive network that will benefit students for years to come.”


UM-Flint communication students attending a workshop on using social media as a professional tool.

To prepare their current communication students for this project, Assistant Professor Dr. Dan Lair held a workshop titled, LinkedIn as a Platform to Promote Your Professional Self. He noted, “Whether you like it or not, employers are taking advantage of the internet to piece together a story about you as a potential employee. LinkedIn offer students an opportunity to put those pieces together for them and tell your professional story the way you want it told.”

Throughout the short presentation, Lair focused on the idea of each student balancing their personal self with their professional brand. He encouraged them to consider their time at UM-Flint as their current “career” if they weren’t otherwise working. He mentioned the importance of including volunteer work, group activities, and leadership opportunities in addition to making notes of particularly useful or applicable classes. He added that LinkedIn can be viewed as “a resume without limitations” and that it should be used as “one tool among many, one that you can control.”

Dan Lair presents LinkedIn tips to his Communication students at UM-Flint

Dan Lair presents LinkedIn tips to his Communication students at UM-Flint

Lair advised that, at the bare minimum, the students should keep an active profile that can be viewed by potential internship providers and employers. He noted a few key areas that anyone with a LinkedIn should pay attention to:

  • Profile Pic: first, have one! But aim for a professional looking shot that shows your head and shoulders. Avoid selfies, pictures with others, or extreme close-up or faraway shots.
  • Summary: this is the distinguishing feature of your page and the key advantage of LinkedIn. Use it to show your personality, voice, and story. Demonstrate your unique value.
  • Customized URL: take advantage of this feature to have a clean, memorable, URL that reflects your name or personal story.
  • Keep things updated: work histories, certifications, activities, and qualifications should be regularly updated to reflect the current YOU.

After the formal presentation Lair and other faculty members worked with the individual students to get started on their profiles.


Dan Lair works with UM-Flint communication students to perfect their LinkedIn profiles

Looking forward, the communication faculty hope to keep the LinkedIn group growing and adapting to the needs and strengths of their students and graduates.

Already nearly 100 alumni from the program have connected with their former faculty members and have been added to the group. They are sharing job postings, news, and updates about the department.

For more information, or to request to be included in the Communication LinkedIn Group, contact department chair Marcus Paroske at


Students Present 2016 Symposium at FIA

UM-Flint Visual Arts students are presenting the 5th Annual Art & Art History Student Symposium at the Flint Institute of Arts on Sunday, April 10, 2016. The celebration of research and creative scholarship in the arts will run from 1pm to 3:30pm. It is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. The Flint Institute of Arts is located at 1120 E Kearsley St, Flint, MI 48503.

Says Visual Arts faculty member Sarah Lippert, “The 5th Annual Art & Art History Student Symposium will feature exceptional scholarship from both undergraduate and graduate students at UM-Flint. Topics will have popular appeal, addressing famous African-American artists inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, how to manage vandalism in art museums, the tradition of still-life painting, and others. Door prizes and light refreshments will be provided, and everyone is welcome to this free event, in support of our student scholars.”

Student Presenters & Topics:

  • Emily Legleitner – Moka Hanga: A Lost Art & Its Revival
  • Angela Whitlock – Tony Shafrazi and Guernica: How Museums Can Benefit From Acts of Vandalism and Prevent Future Incidents
  • Mary Kelly – Overlooked Ornamentations: Italian Devotional Paintings as Images of Power
  • Leon Collins – Modern Day Renaissance Men
  • Marta Watters – Chardin: An Innovative Mind

Emily Legleitner with a mural she painted at Genesee Health System’s Children’s Autism Center.

Says student Emily Legleitner, “Through my studio art and art history studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, I have learned how art both influences and defines a culture and its history. Historically, visual art documents and portrays events and messages from nearly every angle of society. Studied in context with the artist’s environment, motives, and influence, one is presented with invaluable insight into the depths of history. This will be the second time I have participated in the Art and Art History Symposium. Last year I presented on the influence ancient Buddhist artwork has had on my own creative work. This year I will be presenting on the dying art of Mokuhanga printmaking, or Japanese watercolor printmaking. I am very excited to be discussing this topic, as the first student to take the new printmaking concentration offered at UM-Flint, I hope it will be an opportunity to introduce a topic not well known in the Flint artistic community.”

At the symposium, Leon Collins will be presenting “Modern Day Renaissance Men.” He says, “The definition of a Renaissance Man or Woman is tough to define in the 21st century world of transdisciplinarian visual artists. In the spirit of those who have influenced me in the creation of my art forms, I have become a self proclaimed ‘metamorphic’ artist of digital photographic images”

Leon Collins of UM-Flint's Visual Arts program

Leon Collins of UM-Flint’s Visual Arts program

For more information on the Art & Art History Symposium, and other offerings of the visual arts program at UM-Flint, please visit their website or call 810.766.6679.

AstroNite at UM-Flint: April 16, 2016

AstroNite activities at UM-Flint

AstroNite activities at UM-Flint

Visit UM-Flint and enjoy a family-oriented open house that’s out of this world!

As part of the International Day of Astronomy sponsored by the Astronomical League, UM-Flint Physics and Longway Planetarium have joined for a night that is sure to make your imagination soar to the stars. AstroNite is a free and fun way for all ages to celebrate astronomy. Activities explore rainbow forensics, planetary science, telescopes and other instruments, stars, cosmology, and more through hands-on learning, games, and crafts.

In addition to being a great resource for local families, AstroNite provides a unique teaching opportunity for the physics program’s students. Notes Justin Wisby, Physics and Mathematics majors, “I have been helping out with AstroNite for a couple of years now, ever since my first semester here. AstroNite is a key event each year which allows all participates a chance to learn something new. Since the demographic of your audience changes throughout the night, all presenters must vary their presentation style to help their audience understand. Knowing physics is not the difficult part, it is convincing others you do. AstroNite is the typical introduction of presenting physics, an experience that all new physics students at UM-Flint must have.”

For more information, or to RSVP, visit the event’s Facebook page.

Exploring Education in Israel

What would you find if you traveled around the world and met with your professional counterparts? Would you expect to see a greater number of similarities or differences in the work they do?

Stephanie Gelderloos, the developmental reading and writing specialist in the College of Arts & Science’s English Department, was invited to travel to Israel to find out. While there, she joined a conversation about the education of international students and those traditionally considered to be at-risk. She traveled with a small group of Detroit-area educators and administrators known as the Detroit Education Delegation. They visited Israeli and Palestinian schools, immigration centers, and educational communities.

The Detroit Education Delegation on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock behind.

The Detroit Education Delegation on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem with the Temple Mount and Dome of the Rock behind.

Through her English courses and the work done with department colleague Emily Feueherm on UM-Flint’s Bridge Program, Gelderloos is working regularly with students who come from non-traditional circumstances and who may not speak English as their first language. Although the experiences for some of the students in Israel’s schools are different, consider those with refugee status or children belonging to nomadic societies, most are relatable those of students at UM-Flint. In both cases, they may just need some extra thought and consideration for their backgrounds and day-to-day circumstances. The approach taken in Israel to satisfy the needs of these students, and their families, was the main focus of the trip. Gelderloos traveled with the hope of gaining insights and ideas on ways she can improve the work being done at UM-Flint, especially fostering inclusion and integration in a multicultural space.

Learning in Israel

Although the trip mainly centered around younger students, Gelderloos still found inspiration for her work at the university level. “One thing that stood out was that they did a lot more with the parents of the at-risk students… A big component of what they did at a lot of these schools was they got the parents involved, they had training for the parents, social activities for the parents, to get the parents together at the school. The schools were almost like community centers, so their focus was on training and educating and helping the parents to be better support for the kids. So, I thought ‘I wonder if we can do something like that? Is there something that we could do for the parents of our students to help them be better support for the students, to maybe help them notice when things aren’t going right and know how to best respond?'”

Visiting with staff and immigrants during Hebrew class in Ramla's Immigrant Absorption center.

Visiting with staff and immigrants during Hebrew class in Ramla’s Immigrant Absorption center.

One of the areas of similarity that Gelderloos found was an idea of community service or civic engagement through the schools and education centers. “A lot of people who you would think need service, who do need service, are actually out there doing service. The kids in these needy schools find purpose and also connect more to their community, especially the immigrant students, connect more by being helpful, by providing assistance, through food drives or other support activities.”

Gelderloos (left) at the Ma'apilim in Lod, Israel

Gelderloos (left) at the Ma’apilim in Lod, Israel

When asked about her feelings of an exchange focused purely on educational practices, Gelderloos said, “I think educators must be the best everywhere. [They are] well educated, their hearts are in the right place and they want to help people, help their students. They are generally very passionate about what they do, and they are always trying to find ways to do it better. We met a lot of people like that. We went into quite a few places with a lot of great programs that were trying new and different things. People who were really dedicated. One of the schools was open from 6am to 10pm to accommodate work schedules and also as a resource for parents in the evening. They offered Hebrew classes for free in the evening, and they had computer literacy classes for parents. They were functioning as not only a school but a community center.”

CAS_Tsur Baher

Delegation members at a school in Tsur Baher, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

There were stops on the trip where the differences were more noticeable. Gelderloos described the situation and approach at one such stop, “At the Bialek Rogozin school in Tel-Aviv, there are students from 51 countries. There were approximately 1200 students in 12 grades. They taught all the students Hebrew but they also taught nine languages – reading, writing, speaking, etc. – in nine languages so that if the students’ bid to remain in the country were denied, they would be able to go home and speak, read, and write in their native language. That way they don’t go back to school at a significant disadvantage. I was really impressed by this, and I have never heard of any program like this here in the U.S.”

Delegation members during a tour of the Nitzana Educational Community.

Delegation members during a tour of the Nitzana Educational Community.

Bringing the Experience Home

When asked how she would be able to use and share what she’d learned on her trip, Gelderloos said, “I learned a number of things that I think could be beneficial to the students in our Bridge Program while visiting schools with high immigrant populations and the immigration absorption center in Ramla. For example, I learned about special programs that employed immigrants who have been in the country for some years as resources and mentors for newly arrived immigrants. I thought that we could use a similar tactic to help our international students integrate better and faster into our community. In addition, I did get some ideas for strategies to help at-risk students, and even a few ideas for assignments that help students explore their place in the university and the world once they leave UM-Flint. Finally, I learned about several programs that helped both foreign students and at-risk students successfully become integrated into the community via service activities. These service activities not only increase their self confidence, they also connect them to their community in a profound way. Emily and I have discussed adding service as a way to integrate the Bridge Programs students, and I will encourage other faculty members to consider adding service projects to their courses.”

Gelderloos will give a presentation about her trip to her colleagues in the English Department later this month. She said, “My presentation will mostly go over what I’ve been working on, what I got out of it as a developmental teacher and as a person who works with the international students regularly.”

The trip was organized by Jennifer Lewis from Wayne State University and was funded in large part by The Jewish Agency, with additional funding from the UM-Flint English department. Notes Gelderloos, “I am very grateful to all of them for this amazing experience.”

To learn more about the English Department and the university’s Bridge Program, visit