Shakespeare Actors Conduct Workshop for Area Youth

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Actors from Shakespeare At The Castle recently conducted workshops for Interfaith Day Care children at Rodman Public Library. The workshops introduced students to Shakespeare's history, language, poetry and his most popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”

The workshops have been underwritten by The Greater Alliance Foundation, Arts In Stark and the University of Mount Union.

“When we first conceived Shakespeare At The Castle, we wanted to include programming for the younger folks,” said Mount Union assistant professor of theatre, Kevin P. Kern. “We created these workshops to introduce kids to Shakespearean history, plays, poetry and music. The largest barrier to enjoying Shakespeare is the preconceived notion that we won’t understand it. If we can reach audiences when they’re young and demystify the subject, we have a better chance of getting them to see the plays when they’re older.”

Kern and his wife Natalie have performed this workshop for groups in Alliance and Louisville. Prior to that, they were involved in similar workshops in California and Florida.

“Each time we perform this workshop, we find that children have a much larger capacity for understanding this work than we give them credit for,” said Kern. “It might be because no one has ever told them it’s difficult to understand. Probably a good lesson for all of us.”

The performers in this workshop are a mixture of professional actors and apprentices with Shakespeare At The Castle. Gary Lamb, who played guitar for the workshop, is a working actor in the Los Angeles area has chosen to spend a few weeks in Alliance. He will be playing Oberon in the show and has extensive experience in educational theatre, particularly with Shakespeare.

“Our hope is that these kids come home and talk about the workshop, and get their parents interested in seeing the show,” said Kern. “Inexpensive ‘general admission’ tickets have been made available for $5 so folks feel like they can take chance on the performances, knowing that it’s less expensive than going to a movie. Exposing the youngest in our community to live theatre is important: It expands their attention span, it gets them to use their imagination, it requires a higher level of engagement than plopping them down in front of a TV screen and it opens the door for other cultural experiences like live music, dance and fine art.”

Ticket prices for general admission are $5 per person. Preferred seating is available for $15. Rain location for the event is the Firehouse Theatre. To purchase tickets, call (330) 823-2030 or purchase tickets at

Lindsay Janice named DAAD Young Ambassador

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Mount Union senior Lindsay Janice, a German and International Studies major and Japanese minor of Aurora, OH, has been selected by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) as one of 30 DAAD Young Ambassadors to promote study and research in Germany.

The DAAD Young Ambassadors Program is a unique and exciting two-semester volunteer opportunity for undergraduate students to promote study and research abroad in Germany at their home universities and colleges.

To be eligible, the student must have studied recently in Germany and possess the knowledge and skills necessary to speak to various constituent groups about the study abroad experience. The DAAD is a highly respected organization which funds a considerable number of research stipends, especially in the STEM fields, for Americans to study in Germany.

With a clear passion for international studies, it is no surprise that she is the first student from Mount Union to receive this award. Her dream of learning a foreign language began long before she first stepped on campus at Mount Union, but it has since become a reality beyond anything she could have imagined.

Growing up, Janice listened to her mother and grandmother, both native Germans, speak in their first language. This is what sparked her desire to learn another language.

“Through school I have been able to accomplish that dream, but soon I realized that I wanted to learn more than one language,” she said. “The foreign language program at Mount Union is helping me reach my goal of learning multiple languages. My major in German and my minor in Japanese are a large example of that. I will be taking elementary Spanish classes this year, which will add even more to my experience.”

With Mount Union’s foreign language program, Janice was able to study abroad in Germany.

“As cliché as it sounds, my study abroad experience in Germany has truly changed my life,” she said. “I experienced things that I never would have been able to experience in America, made unforgettable memories and friends and acquired the skills of adaptability and independence.”

Volunteering as a DAAD Young Ambassador is the next step in Janice’s journey. She will travel to New York City in August to attend a three-day training workshop. The program will help the Young Ambassadors acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote study and research in Germany on their campuses, learn about the German higher education system and learn more about DAAD funding opportunities. During the academic year, Janice will work with the Center for Global Education and volunteer at study abroad affairs, organize events and help plan miscellaneous sessions on campus.

“I am very excited to do this,” she said. “My studies, involvement on campus and influence from my family have helped fuel my passion. I love talking about Germany and sharing my knowledge with others. I believe that this position will allow me to do more of that. I also believe that the experience I obtain through this program, along with the contacts and network I will develop, will help me pursue a career within my field of interest.

Still unsure of a future career plan, Janice wants to learn as much as she can while opening as many doors as possible. There are many universities around the world that are affiliated with DAAD and possess programs of German and European studies.

“I have researched a number of these centers to learn more about graduate programs, and while I have not decided whether or not I will go on to attend graduate school, I know that there are a number of great options that I can choose from,” Janice said. “I am still trying to decide what I want to do as a future career. I do know that I want to learn as many languages as I can (right now there's a long list), and use them as well as my other skills to converse with people to help them and discuss foreign affairs.”

More information is available on the DAAD website at

Vendors Needed for 50th Annual ArtFest

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union and the Alliance Chamber of Commerce will celebrate the 50th Annual ArtFest on Saturday, September 27 at Mount Union. This year, ArtFest will return to its historical location by the Campus Lakes.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Over the years, ArtFest has featured original art by local artists from various media, which includes painting, photography, jewelry making, sculpture and much more. This year, ArtFest will include two main categories at the event: Fine Art and Functional Craft. The ArtFest committee is looking for fine art in the traditional and modern media (i.e. painting, ceramics, printmaking, photography, etc.) and functional craft that has a specific utility yet it is creative either in its purpose or aesthetic appearance (i.e. soaps, candles, lights, tables, purses, mirrors, etc.). The event will feature artwork that is both on display and for sale.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary for ArtFest, booth rental fees will be waived for 2014 to vendors who register for ArtFest at

The event will also provide local musical entertainment, live demonstrations of artists at work and a children’s gallery. In addition, the Taste of Alliance will feature food from local Alliance businesses. Admission is free to the public.

For more information about ArtFest, contact Bob Buganski at (330) 829-6185 or or visit

Baja Team Races to Top at Competition

ALLIANCE, Ohio – The University of Mount Union’s inaugural Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) Baja Team raced to the top as it placed 29th overall and 14th in maneuverability out of more than 120 registered schools competing in the Baja SAE event held recently in Peoria, Illinois.

Hosted by Caterpillar, Inc., the event was held at the company’s Vehicle Training and Testing Grounds June 4-7. Mount Union’s first ever Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja Team, composed of seniors Neal Seaman, Cy Guertal, Brian Pike, Dan Luzar, technical advisor Dale Pittman and faculty advisor Dr. Jay Boyalakuntla, put a great deal of time and effort into the last 10 months, designing, building and developing an off-road vehicle according to SAE Baja standards. The goal was to design a vehicle that would endure even the harshest elements of rough terrain. According to Boyalakuntla, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, members of the Baja team put in many 60-hour work weeks and a number of late night test sessions in the days leading up to the event.

At the SAE Baja event, the small but tenacious team of four students was presented with a tough challenge, competing against teams from well-known engineering schools, some with more than 15 years of SAE Baja experience and some with more than 15 student team members. During the event, teams participated in five competitions, which tested various aspects of the vehicle’s performance – acceleration, maneuverability, rock crawl, hill climb and the final event, a four-hour endurance race. Not only did the Mount Union team place in the top 30 overall, but it achieved 19th place during the grueling, four-hour endurance race. The endurance event tested the robustness of the car design, as well as capability of the driver and support crew throughout a course that contained over a mile of extremely challenging obstacles and barriers in each lap.

“To finish in the top 20 for a first year school with no prior SAE Baja car experience is phenomenal,” said Mount Union Engineering Advisory Board member Dale Pittman, vice president of operations and engineering at Anchor Manufacturing Group, Inc. “During the four hour endurance race, the team had the 11th fastest lap time of just four minutes 31 seconds, keeping pace within just a few seconds of the top three teams. This indicates we had a car that was just as good as the best teams on the track that day which is truly a fantastic achievement.”

To help ensure next year’s team is just as successful, there is a great need for future corporate sponsorship to help fund the 2015 Baja team. After performing so well in 2014, Pittman and Mount Union faculty members want to ensure the 2015 team is just as prepared to continue to outperform the top engineering schools in the country.

The team is extremely proud of its achievements and members have already started brainstorming for next year’s improved design, indicating they would gladly provide guidance and suggestions to the 2014-2015 Baja team. For Seaman, the best part of the competition was the endurance course, which proved to be more intense than he had anticipated – including large logs, mud pits and other obstacles.

“The endurance race was the most fun thing I’ve ever done – it was an unreal experience,” he said. “We all put a lot of time into this project and it was great to see the work pay off.”

Seaman has already secured a job in the engineering field, working as a product design engineer for MAC Trailer in Alliance. He said the team’s experience with the Baja competition will open up doors for him and his teammates in their careers.

“We went from doing background research to analysis to driving and competing – it was really neat to see the project cycle through.”

“This team has set a very high bar for future Mount Union Baja teams,” Boyalakuntla said. “They built not only a car, but a legacy that will last for many years as well.”

PKT Epsilon Chapter Honored at National Convention

ALLIANCE, Ohio— At the 61st National Convention in Washington D.C., Mount Union’s Epsilon chapter of Phi Kappa Tau was presented with six awards including the Maxwell Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding chapter nationwide.

The Epsilon chapter presented along with the chapters named to the Founders Four. Their award-winning presentation elaborated on the prompt, focusing on the fraternity’s tagline of “Learning. Leading. Serving.”

“The men of Epsilon focus on learning academically and experientially,” said chapter president Greg Koman, senior public relations major of Painesville, OH. “We believe that fraternity life is co-curricular and enhances what is learned in the classroom.”

The chapter demonstrates leadership by attending the National Convention for the fourth consecutive year to compete again for the Maxwell Trophy, which they have not been able to win in previous years.

"We wanted to focus on more than just winning the trophy- we wanted to be deserving of the award,” said Koman. As a result, our actions were adjusted in 2013 so that we provided a quality experience to our members, one that ultimately won us the Maxwell trophy.”

As for community service, the chapter has gone above and beyond the minimum requirements.

“We complete community service, not because we have to, but because we want to,” said Koman. We want to make a positive impact in the world, on individual levels, on campus and in the community.”

The chapter also received other awards including the Academic Excellence Award, the Community Service Award, the Philanthropy Award and the Recruitment Pacesetter Award. These awards were given to chapters exceeding an average of 20 hours of community service per man, and raising more than $2,000 for philanthropic causes. Epsilon achieved an average of more than 85 community service hours per man and raised $12,380 to be donated to charities including Phi Kappa Tau’s national philanthropy, the SeriousFun Children’s Network.

In addition to chapter awards, Koman received the Jack L. Anson Undergraduate Award for an outstanding contribution to the university IFC, and the Dwight I. Douglass President’s Award for outstanding chapter president. Kate Carnell, director of student involvement and leadership at the University of Mount Union, received the Outstanding Greek Advisor Award.

Along with awards, Koman and Charley Gates, junior public relations and marketing major of Tallmadge, OH, were elected as two of the newest members to the Phi Kappa Tau Undergraduate Advisory Board, (UAB). The UAB serves the fraternity as the liaison between undergraduates and the National Council. Gates and Koman are now two of the 10 members on this board.

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