Mount Union Presents 2017 Green Raider Awards

ALLIANCE, Ohio – A ceremony was held Thursday, April 27 at 11:15 a.m. to present the 2017 Green Raider Awards to a group of recipients who enhance sustainability on campus.

Each year, Mount Union presents awards to a faculty member, staff member and a student who showcase a strong awareness of living green through their dedication to promoting the principles of social, financial and environmental responsibility both to the University and the Alliance community. 

This year’s recipients are Dr. Scott Gravlee, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Gina Maida, Library Circulation Manager, and Seniors Reilly Augustine and Gretchen Dietz. 

In honor of these individuals, the Mount Union Physical Plant planted a "Morning Princess" Crabapple (Malus Baccata) and each recipient will be presented with a certificate and token of appreciation for their efforts and dedication to promoting sustainability on campus. 

Ms. Jan Webler Granted 2017 Great Teacher Award

Alliance, OH—The University of Mount Union has named Ms. Jan Webler as the 2017 Great Teacher. Ms. Webler, assistant professor of education, is an accomplished leader with over 30 years of experience in public education. The award was presented Tuesday, April 25 at Mount Union's annual Senior Recognition and Honors Convocation.

Webler served the Alliance City School District as a teacher, special education supervisor, director of pupil personnel services, and director of school improvement for prevention and early intervention. She continues her education work locally and regionally as an educational consultant for SPARK Ohio, Ohio Ready Schools, and Synergy Alliance. 

A member of the Mount Union faculty since 2011, Webler currently serves on the Teacher Education Subcommittee. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Kent State University and pursued post-graduate coursework at both Walsh University and Ashland University. She holds certifications and licensures in elementary K-8, intervention specialist/special education, supervisor, elementary principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent. 

“Jan Webler is the reason I chose to come to Mount Union,” said one student nominator. “She cares about students and does everything possible to make sure they will succeed in life.”  

“Looking back in my experiences with Ms. Webler, I can honestly say that, without her, I am not sure I would have made it to where I am right now,” said another student nominating Webler. “There are many characteristics that I could list, however, one that sticks out in my mind is passion. Anyone who has taken her classes can attest that she is very passionate about teaching.”

The Great Teacher Award, initiated in 1962, is sponsored by the Alumni Association and recognizes excellence in teaching – the foundation upon which the reputation of Mount Union has been built.

Webler was chosen as this year’s Great Teacher by a selection committee consisting of the officers of the senior class, the two past recipients of the Great Teacher Award, and the president and immediate past president of the Alumni Association.

2017 Outstanding Senior Woman and Man Named

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Caitlin Shimp and Clinton Simmons were named 2017 Outstanding Senior Woman and Man during the University of Mount Union’s Honors Convocation and Senior Recognition Ceremony held on Tuesday, April 25. 

Each year, the Outstanding Senior Woman and Outstanding Senior Man are awarded to a student who exemplifies leadership, scholarship, citizenship and service to the University. Students who are nominated hold the highest ideals in their relationships with members of the campus community and have made numerous contributions to the University. Members of the senior class were asked to nominate their peers and faculty and staff selected the winners.

Shimp, a psychology major and communication minor from Hartville, Ohio, has been on the Dean’s List 7 semesters, is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, the social media chair and president of Black Student Union (BSU), a member of Diversity Council and Gender Equity Matters, a Preview Guide and Raider Guide coordinator, a part of Sophomore Service, STAND, the Student Alumni Association, Student Senate president and BSU representative, and joined the Social Responsibility Spring Break Trip to Nicaragua.

Other female nominees included Amy Achenback, a French and history double major and theatre minor from Butler, Pennsylvania; Reilly Augustine, a psychology major and intervention specialist, Spanish and exercise double minor from Euclid, Ohio; Gabriela Botzman,an early childhood education major and intervention specialist and Spanish minor from Dallas, Pennsylvania; Jacqueline Jepsen, a biochemistry major and biology minor from Poland, Ohio; and Leandra Reed, a biology major and biochemistry and psychology minor from St. Clairsville, Ohio. 

Simmons, a political science major and international affairs and diplomacy and legal studies minor from Lorain, Ohio, has been on the Dean’s list 5 semesters, is a member of Alpha Psi Omega and Concert Choir, is the recruitment chair for Common Sense Action, a member of GAMMA and Gender Equity Matters, the coordination facilitator of Greek Member Academy, the program director of Interfraternity Council, a member of Kappa Kappa Psi, Love Your Melon, and Marching Band, the secretary of Model UN Club, a member of Oasis, the president of the Ohio Collegiate Music Education Association, the vice president of Order of Omega, the house manager of Phi Kappa Tau, the treasurer Pi Sigma Alpha, a member of Pre-Law Society and Preview Guide, the coordinator for Raider Guide, the parliamentarian and secretary for Study Student Senate, attended the Social Responsibility Spring Break Trip to Nicaragua and Choir Tour to Austria, and the recipient of the Carl D. Orwick Fraternal Values Award.

Other male nominees included Arthur (AJ) Gioglio, a sports business major and communication and psychology minor from Struthers, Ohio; Adam Gundlah, a marketing and sport business double major from Strongsville, Ohio; Noah Hiles, an integrated media major and sport business minor from Austinburgh, Ohio; and Adam Infantino, a management and marketing double major and Chinese, music, and philosophy minor from Geneseo, New York. 

Mount Union’s Fraternity and Sorority Community Celebrate Accomplishments

By Brandon Lucas '17

Alliance, OH - After a long year of service, learning, philanthropy events, and more, the University of Mount Union’s fraternity and sorority community came together at the annual Greek Awards to celebrate all of their hard work, dedication, and passion throughout the past year.

Greek Awards has three categories from which the chapters can receive awards: The Academic Awards, Chapter of Excellence Awards, and Individual Recognition Awards. In the Academic Awards, most improved grade point average went to Alpha Xi Delta and Sigma Nu, and highest new member grade point average and highest chapter grade point average went to Delta Sigma Tau and Phi Kappa Tau.

In the Chapter of Excellence awards, excellence in scholarship programming went to Delta Sigma Tau and Phi Kappa Tau, excellence in community service went to Delta Sigma Tau and Phi Kappa Tau, excellence in philanthropy went to Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Tau Omega, excellence in involvement and leadership went to Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Tau, excellence in new member development went to Alpha Delta Pi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon, excellence in new member education went to Alpha Delta Pi and Sigma Nu, excellence in recruitment went to Alpha Chi Omega and Alpha Tau Omega, improvement in risk management went to Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Tau, excellence in alumni/ae and family outreach went to Alpha Delta Pi and Alpha Tau Omega, and lastly the chapter of excellence award went to Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Tau.

In the last category, Individual Recognition Awards, members of Order of Omega, the Interfraternity Council, Panhellenic, G.A.M.M.A., Up ‘til Dawn, Greek Member of Academy, and Greek Leadership Institute were all recognized for their work and dedication to their respective organization. For the sister and brotherhood awards, Kenzie Schantz from Alpha Chi Omega, Lisa Highly from Alpha Delta Pi, Miranda Baker from Alpha Xi Delta, Morgan Engleheart from Delta Sigma Tau, Jefferson Lee from Alpha Tau Omega, Alex Haney from Phi Kappa Tau, Hunter Smith from Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Steven Scott from Sigma Nu were all recognized by their chapter to receive this esteemed award. The emerging leader awards were given to Tyler Finkenthal from Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Madison Beitler from Alpha Delta Pi. Outstanding Governing Board Officer (someone who sits on IFC and Panhellenic) was given to Sam Angeli from Sigma Nu and Kelsey Knutty from Delta Sigma Tau. Advisor of the year went to Delta Sigma Tau’s advisor Taylor Jones. Outstanding chapter presidents were received by Amy Achenbach from Alpha Delta Pi and Chris DiRando from Alpha Tau Omega. The Carl D. Orwick Fraternal Values Award was received by Clinton Simmons from Phi Kappa Tau. Lastly, outstanding senior sorority woman was received by Kelsey Knutty and outstanding senior fraternity man was received by Tim Anderson.

At the end of the night, all chapters walked away with an award, but they also left with a desire to push their chapter to be even better in the years to come.

Student Achievements in Research Celebrated at 2017 SCHOLAR Day

ALLIANCE – On Tuesday, the tenth annual Students Celebration Honoring Our Latest Academic Research (SCHOLAR) Day was held on the campus of the University of Mount Union. Presentations represented 33 departments and programs, including Mount Union’s Master of Arts in Educational Leadership (MAEL) and Physician Assistant Studies graduate programs. 

Recaps of six of the 39 formal presentations throughout the day can be found below:

PA Student Presents on Relationship Between Social Media and Mental Health
ALLIANCE – With the rise of mental health issues in younger populations, physicians and counselors have searched for answers as to why. Stephanie Gross, a graduate student in the Physician Assistant Studies Program, presented her research on the connection between social media and mental health in teenagers during this year’s SCHOLAR Day. 

Gross detailed the pressure that young adults feel to present themselves in a way that will gain likes and build their self-esteem. With this pressure comes the added effects of increased anxiety and depression. Research has shown that teens who use social media for more than two hours a day have a much higher chance of suffering from mental issues, especially when this usage begins to interrupt daily living.

During her research, Gross found that parents are the most important factor affecting how often teens use social media. To address this concern, she suggested that parents monitor and limit their children’s social media usage and set an example by limiting their own usage.

While the exact relationship between mental health issues and social media is unknown, Gross’s research showed that there is a connection, and being aware of this connection can provide the opportunity for early intervention. 

Honors Students Present Research on Campus Diversity

ALLIANCE – Five students from the Honors Program presented research on diversity from their Themes course during this year’s SCHOLAR Day. The presenters included sophomore Thomas Wines ‘19, junior Emily McConnell ‘18, junior Gaston Marian ‘18, junior Pete Young ‘18 and junior Ian Paxton ‘18.

The group conducted a survey on campus to analyze how diversity and a student’s background affects what educational fields students enter and what professional career paths they choose. They focused specifically on gender disparities in STEM fields and racial disparities in the United States.

The students found that most survey participants, especially those in minority groups, are dissatisfied with diverse representation on college campuses. Only 17 percent of faculty in colleges across the United States are of color. Corresponding with this, most African-American survey respondents said they did not have a faculty member of their race within their department.

The Honors group concluded that role models are important in determining what field students choose to pursue because representation helps eliminate social stigmas and perceptions that limit minorities. Diversity is not yet properly represented in higher education, but continued research and efforts of awareness will help to close the gap.

Mechanical Engineering Group Present “Hops Harvester” at SCHOLAR Day

ALLIANCE – Three senior mechanical engineering majors at the University of Mount Union presented their machine in an attempt to make life better for both farmers and beer aficionados alike.

Jon Stingel ‘17, Jacob Lawhorn ’17 and Matt Furda ‘17 presented their “Hops Harvester” at Mount Union’s tenth annual SCHOLAR Day on Tuesday. Their project was brought to them by Dr. Andrew Wereszczak, a member of Mount Union’s engineering advisory board, who is also a hops farmer.

The problem at hand was the amount of time it takes for owners of small farms to separate the hops from their bines; a process that consumes nearly an hour per bine for some farmers. In an industry that processed more than 27 million pounds of hops in 2014, time is something many small farm owners cannot afford to waste. 

The group focused on the first phase of the project, which was designing the harvester, while they also began phase two, which is the implementation and testing that a group of engineering students will finish next year.

Based on initial projections, the group intends the machine to harvest hops nearly ten times faster than those currently doing it by hand; all the while making a machine that is more compact and affordable than those used by larger farms for corporations. 

Psychology Group Discusses Research in Minority Student Stress, Retention

ALLIANCE - Seniors Caitlin Shimp ‘17, Tae’Lor Windham ‘17, Taylor Lundy ‘17, Alyssa Chuckalovchak ‘17 and Taylor Bates ‘17 discussed their research titled “Effect of Minority Status on Stress, Attitudes Toward First-Year Programming and Retention” at the University of Mount Union’s tenth annual SCHOLAR Day.

During their initial background research into the topic, the group found that studies show most departures from college happen prior to the student’s second year; thus leading to their focus on first-year students at the University.

They conducted a survey of 131 first-year students, 13 of whom were of minority status. The survey asked the participant group questions about potential socioeconomic and academic stressors from sourced stress inventories; participants also assessed the Exceptional Beginnings program at Mount Union for an in-depth look at retention perceptions.

The group was pleasantly surprised to note that most the participants would return for their sophomore year at the University regardless of stressors or minority status. They collected their data using one-way ANOVA testing.

Education Majors Focus on Professional Development Mount Union’s 10th annual SCHOLAR Day 

ALLIANCE – University of Mount Union seniors Alexis Parsons ‘17, Kayla Ashdown ‘17, Kate Baker ‘17, Annisa Coley ‘17, Katie Goedecke ‘17, and Kristen Reihl ’17 presented on their professional learning community (PCL) “IT’S Math” (“I Teach Students Math!”), which they created in collaboration with Dr. Melissa Eskren Edgehouse, at the tenth annual SCHOLAR Day.

“IT’S MATH” aims to assist future educators in their understanding and ability to effectively and creatively teach mathematics concepts to their students.

The concept of “IT’S Math” stemmed from the seniors’ understanding that education professionals are always in need of professional development opportunities to better serve their students, no matter what grade level or learning style. They wanted to cultivate a culture of collaboration and results here at Mount Union to help polish classroom activities, develop better questioning skills, and expanding their lesson plans beyond simple pen and paper “grind it out” type learning. 

“We as math educators need to be confident in what we are teaching, and the fact that we can help build this confidence in future educators is incredibly powerful,” said Baker, a Middle Childhood Education major. She explained that because her peers were voluntarily coming to these evening PCL sessions, they were better able grow and collaborate.

The group presented the set-up of their sessions, noting that they modeled their meetings from actual lessons plans and classroom activities to get real-time feedback from their peers. They shared an activity with the audience to exemplify this, asking everyone to play a few rounds of a modified game of “War” with a deck of cards.

Parsons, a Mathematics major, covered the surveys they conducted following both years of “IT’S Math” and how helpful the participants have found the sessions. 

“People are really enjoying the sessions,” she said. “It’s gotten more popular in its second year, and I hope its popularity and helpfulness continues to grow.”

The group noted that future educators feeling confident about their teaching abilities was crucial to their effectiveness, and this was something they focused heavily on when designing and discussing classroom activities.