Friday, February 5, 2010

Ferris In The News

TIP Program Provides State Aid for Students to Earn Degrees at Ferris

Raised in a single-parent household, Ferris State University student Amanda McCurdy believes she would have found a way to fund her college education, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. However, without the Tuition Incentive Program, she said she would have racked up a tremendous amount of debt through Financial Aid. The TIP program encourages eligible students to complete high school and enter associate degree programs by providing tuition incentives for up to 12 credit hours per semester through state funding for a student’s first two years of college. Ferris is one of only five public universities in Michigan that offer this opportunity to students. The number of students at Ferris qualifying for the program has increased by more than 200 students in the past three years, with 699 students qualifying in fall 2009. “Ferris is unique in that there are a fairly wide variety of associate degrees offered,” Bill Potter, Ferris’ University College dean, said. Ferris TIP program Coordinator Felice Kelley-Nelson has experienced the program’s benefits first-hand. “I was a teenage parent trying to pay for my education,” she said. “This program helps students that might not have gotten to attend college and get their degree.”

Ferris Grad Returns for Festival of the Arts

Mark Kostrzewa experienced a homecoming recently. The 1981 Sacred Heart Academy graduate, now living near San Francisco, Calif., returned to mid-Michigan for several performances, including two in Big Rapids and one in downtown Mount Pleasant, reports the Morning Sun of Mount Pleasant. “I’m excited about being back,” Kostrzewa said. Although he’s had a longtime interest in music, for years he didn’t have the time to pursue it seriously. After graduating high school, he attended Ferris State University, graduating in 1985. He moved to California and began working for American Airlines, over the years operating as a jet mechanic and electronics tech. Kostrzewa has performed at numerous venues in the San Mateo County region of California, but his local shows came about by chance. He let the Ferris alumni newsletter know about his CD, and heard back from one of the professors involved in the Festival of the Arts, an art and music festival in Big Rapids. “He sent me an e-mail and said ‘Would you be interested in coming back?’ and I said well of course.” Read more at

Fishing Tournament Benefits Ferris Surveying Students

When not plotting 3-D points to be translated into two-dimensional map points, members of Ferris State University’s Surveying Engineering program are going ice fishing. The goal is to raise funds for the annual student trip of the Burt and Mallet student chapter of the American Congress on Survey and Mapping, the Big Rapids Pioneer reports. The students are coordinating an ice fishing tournament beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 6) at Clear Lake. Registration is $25 per person or $35 a couple and begins at 8 a.m. at the Department of Natural Resources boat launch on the south side of the lake off M-20. The tournament features prizes and raffles. Student organizer Calvin Ellison said this is a great way to raise funds while at the same time have a little fun. “Pulling a big fish out of a little hole – that gets your heart pumping,” he said.

You Don't Know Me Like That ... A Detroit Free Press Blog On Facebook Friendship

Whether you're at Ferris State University or somewhere else, chances are you're on Facebook doing one thing or another.

Those of us who are addicted to Facebook, and judging from the numbers (there are more than 350 million active users) there are a lot of us, often deal with the sometimes touchy subject of friend requests.

Someone who is your Facebook friend today is not your Facebook friend tomorrow. You can be in a relationship and you can get married, but for some it is not truly validated until it is officially Facebook consummated via status change (I had this conversation with a person ... jokingly). These kinds of status changes include something along the lines of you are "In a Relationship," you are "Married" or you're in a relationship, but "It's Complicated." It's also cool when you have the little heart icon nearby.

Many of us have had that awkward moment where someone you've never talked to sends you a "friend request" and you have that moment of anxiety: to accept or not to accept.

Today, we have a term that is becoming increasingly used relative to Facebook: defriending.

If you upset me, I don't like your politics, too much information, you stole my girlfriend, I'm having a bad day, etc. ... I end our Facebook friendship with a few mouse clicks.

Peace. Happy trails. Best of luck in life ... without me.

Most of us have defriended people. As I think about it, I recall one Facebook friend who felt he had too many friends and went on a defriending rampage to cull his Facebook family. Later, he put issued a Facebook status that read something along the lines of: "If you are reading this then you made the cut and we are still Facebook friends."

Since I got the message, obviously, I made the cut.

I started to think about Facebook this morning as I read a blog posted by the Detroit Free Press that was written by Oneita Jackson.

I encourage you to check out her blog and to read some of the comments posted by readers.

Festival Of The Arts: MIM Backstage Pass: A Taste of Nashville

Date: Friday, Feb. 5
Time: 7 p.m.
Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center Ballroom

The Music Industry Management program at Ferris State University is pleased to feature the appearance of Nashville's song writing "power couple" Tia Sillers and Mark Selby.

Sillers' discography includes hits for such country icons as Alan Jackson, Martina McBride, Diamond Rio and Trisha Yearwood, but she's perhaps best known for as the writer of the life-affirming anthem "I Hope You Dance," a multiple award-winning country and pop hit in North America and Europe. A virtuoso guitarist, Selby has written more than 10 top-40 singles and four #1 hits. He has released several internationally-acclaimed albums and toured or recorded with artist as diverse as B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Kenny Rogers and John Mayer. Together they will share with us an amazing evening of songs, stories and superb performances.

Proceeds will benefit the Music Information Management program of Ferris State University.

Tickets can be purchased by calling Music Industry Management Program Coordinator Daniel Cronk at (231) 591-3053.

Festival Of The Arts: Foreign Film - Waking Ned Devine

Date: Friday, Feb. 5
7 p.m.
Big Rapids Community Library, 426 S. Michigan Avenue

Comedy. When a lottery winner dies of shock, his neighbors decide they can't let his good fortune go to waste. Rated "PG" - 91 minutes (English).

This event is part of the February Friday Foreign Film Festival.

Admission is free of charge.

Black History Month Presentation: Whatever Happened To Idlewild?

BIG RAPIDS - We have an amazing area that is rich in black history here in our backyard in northern Michigan - and most of us do not even know about it.

Ferris State University's Office of Multicultural Student Services continues its 2010 Black History Month programming with the presentation: "WHATEVER HAPPENED TO IDLEWILD, MI?" The presentation is a documentary and discussion from film producer Coy Davis. The event takes place on Tuesday (Feb. 23), beginning at 6 p.m., in IRC 120.

What is Idlewild? Where is Ildewild? What was the significance of Idlewild? Why is Idlewild so tied to black history?

Davis will be at Ferris to discuss the historic Idlewild community of northern Michigan. Once upon a time, Idlewild was a spectacular resort community that once was thought of as the black "Las Vegas."

Idlewild, just 32 miles from Big Rapids, once was a paradise where many black Americans could leave the stranglehold of Jim Crow racism and enjoy themselves, each other and life.

Learn more about this important region with so many roots in black history.

This event is free and open to the public.

Anyone who has questions or needs assistance to attend this event, please contact the Office of Multicultural Student Services at (231) 591-2617 at least 72 hours in advance.

Jim Crow Museum Question of the Month: Understanding Memin Pinguin

February 2010

Q: Why do you have Memin material in a museum devoted to American racism? Memin is not racist and not American. The so-called Memin stamp controversy is not helped by having Americans who know little about Mexico and its culture sticking their opinions where they do not belong.

--Angel Rodriquez - Los Angeles, California

A: Rather than just reacting to the Mexican government’s recent attempt to honor Memin Pinguin, a popular comic strip character who also looks every bit the pickaninny caricature, with moral outrage we should see it for what it is: an opportunity. The debate over the inherent racism of the stamps and what it says about the Mexican attitude on race is an opportunity to address two issues of race that are becoming increasingly important in the U.S. and around the world. One is the empty idea of racial blindness, particularly in relation to racist images of the past, and how it impedes a true sense of racial understanding. The second is the need to better understand the subtly complicated nature of race and racism in Latin America. Both are important as the ethnic face of the U.S. continues to change and local problems around the world become international ones.

Memin Pinguin is the 58 year-old creation of the late Yolanda Vargas Duche. The character, whose name translates roughly to “Billy the Little Devil,” is something of a Dennis the Menace, a lovable mischief-maker character in name as well as attitude. The series follows Memin’s adventures with his three friends Ernestillo, Carlos and Ricardo (all “white” Mexicans), but the central relationship of the series is between the “negrito” and his mother, Ma’ Linda. In 1947 Vargas Duche returned to Mexico after a period of working in Cuba. She was apparently so inspired by Havana’s many black children that she patterned Memin after them.

For the complete response essay from Troy Peters, visit:

Troy Peters, the author of this essay, is a Policy Fellow at the Campaign for America's Future, a progressive political institute based in Washington, DC. The Jim Crow Museum thanks The Black Commentator for granting permission to reprint this essay, which originally appeared at

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Festival Of The Arts: Mark Kostrzewa, Acoustic Instrumental Guitar - Performance

Date: Thursday, Feb. 4
8 p.m.
Pepper's Café and Deli, 121 N. Michigan Avenue

Mark Kostrzewa is a Ferris State University graduate who is coming from San Francisco to be part of the 2010 Festival of the Arts. Kostrzewa originally hails from Mt. Pleasant but has made his home in California since 1985. His first CD of all original instrumental compositions, "55 Miles," was released in March 2009. His styles range from Latin/Brazilian, contemporary/swing, ambient/new age to full on slide guitar in the Leo Kottke genre.

Admission is free of charge.

Event Sponsor: Pepper's Café and Deli

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Scott M. Herron Inducted into Cambridge Who's Who

Herron received the Political Engagement Scholar award from Carnegie Foundation

BIG RAPIDS - Scott M. Herron, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology for Ferris State University, has been recognized by Cambridge Who's Who for demonstrating dedication, leadership and excellence in education.

As an associate professor of biology for Ferris State University, Dr. Herron specializes in ethnobotany. Each semester, he teaches two biology related classes to undergraduates including horticulture, biology for secondary education, ecology for elementary education, botany, and field courses, coordinates the biology education program, oversees a research laboratory and teaches ethnobotany at the University of Michigan Biological Station. He is also currently conducting research on wild rice, a critical plant with a loss of habitat in the Great Lakes region and a food grain supporting wildlife and American Indian populations.

Dr. Herron was inspired by his father, a middle school science teacher, and his mother, a nurse, to pursue a career in science. Having obtained his Ph.D. from Southern Illinois University in 2002, he currently serves as a Vice Chairman of the Traditional Ecological Knowledge Section of the Ecological Society of America, as a member of the Society of Ethnobiology and the Society for Economic Botany, as a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program and as a former Botany & Planet Ecology Section Chairman of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts & Letters. He attributes his success to his dedication, education, work ethic and passion for his profession. He is the North American editor of the journal Ethnobotanical Leaflets. In the future, he intends to write and publish journals and book chapters, and devise a method to share ethnobiology and the native Indian language, Anishinaabemowin.

For more information about Ferris State University, visit

About Cambridge Who's Who
Cambridge Who's Who is an exclusive membership organization that recognizes and empowers executives, professionals and entrepreneurs throughout the world. From healthcare to law, engineering to finance, manufacturing to education, every major industry is represented by its 500,000 active members.

Cambridge Who's Who membership provides individuals with a valuable third party endorsement of their accomplishments and gives them the tools needed to brand themselves and their businesses effectively. In addition to publishing biographies in print and electronic form, Cambridge Who's Who offers an online networking platform where members can establish new business relationships and achieve career advancement within their company, industry or profession.

For more information, please visit our site: Cambridge Who's Who.

This is an official press release.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ferris State Live To Air On Fox 32 Thursday Night At 10:30 P.M. In Northern Michigan

BIG RAPIDS - The Ferris State Live television show is back in full swing on Fox 32 throughout our region of northern Michigan.

Ferris State Live airs on Thursday evening at 10:30 p.m. on the Cadillac-based station Fox 32.

The half-hour program Ferris State University-produced program takes an in-depth look at the Ferris campus and finds out what motivates its faculty, staff and students to do great things.

This week's show, which will air Feb. 4 at 10:30 p.m., features a guest appearance from Ferris State University's Bob Buckingham (pictured top), the assistant dean for Clinical Affairs in the Michigan College of Optometry. Bob was a guest to discuss the upcoming Community Health Day event that will take place Feb. 6 in the Ewigleben Sports Complex in conjunction with the women's and men's basketball games between the Bulldogs and the University of Findlay.

The show also features Scott Cohen (pictured bottom), an associate professor of Music at Ferris State University and one of many guiding forces behind this year's Festival of the Arts. Scott discusses the importance of Festival of the Arts in the community, the history of the event and gives a little taste of what people who attend many of the events can expect.

The primary program hosts are Scott Roman and Leah Nixon. Sandy Gholston serves as the executive producer and also co-hosts a segment with Scott.

The show is produced by talented and ambitious students in Ferris State University's Television and Digital Media Production program under the guiding hand of Glen Okonoski.

Ferris State University Students Show Innovation, Motivation

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University takes a lot of pride in innovation and meeting the needs of a fast-changing world.

In that regard, Poynter Online writer Joe Grimm has a column on two Ferris State University students building on that theme of innovation.

Two young entrepreneurs have launched an online community where college journalists are sharing ideas on technology, leadership, news judgment and content.

Here is an excerpt:

Kelsey A. Schnell and Brandon Martinez built in Big Rapids, Mich., the home of Ferris State University.

I met Schnell and Martinez at the Michigan Press Association's winter conference on Saturday, where they were handing out business cards to try to get other college students to join the community. They said they are focusing on attracting people, not publications, because they are looking for personal involvement. So far, students from about 30 colleges have joined.

For the full article, visit:

Ferris State University Divisions Team Up For Community Health Day

BIG RAPIDS - Community Health Day is a special collaborative effort bringing together various divisions of the Ferris State University.

The Athletics Department, the College of Allied Health Sciences, the College of Optometry and the College of Pharmacy are again joining forces to present Community Health Day on Saturday, Feb. 6, in the Ewigleben Sports Complex (the corridor between basketball arena and the ice arena). The event is being held in conjunction with the Ferris State University women's and men's Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference basketball games against the University of Findlay. The women's contest begins at noon while the men's game tips off at 2 p.m. in Big Rapids.

Community Health Day begins at 12:45 p.m. and runs through 3:15 p.m.

"Community Health Day works hard to educate and promote healthy living and we're excited for our fans that they will benefit from these groups being here," said Jon Coles, associate director of the Ferris Athletics Department. "All of the relationships we're showcasing this week (Festival of the Arts, Community Health Fair, Colleges vs Cancer) will continue to flourish over time. All these events will turn into long standing traditions that athletics is very proud of."

Health-related information will be available on tables set up throughout the concourse area for those attending the games and benefiting from Community Health Day. Information about breast cancer awareness, diabetes. hypertension, immunizations and oral health will be available. Also, free screenings will be held for blood glucose, blood pressure, diabetes and oral cancer as part of this special fair.

Festival of the Arts: Peter Hornby - Lighthouse Photography

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 2
7 p.m.
Rankin Student Center Art Gallery

Peter Hornby of Ocean Park, Maine, began his early career photographing the ocean and surfing. In the late 80s he began to photograph waves and atmospheria in Cape Hatteras, an area of artistic interest to him. During these years he was well known for his photos of the windsurfing culture. These appeared as postcards and in magazine illustrations.

Hornby returns each winter to his beloved Minnesota, where he photographs and reconnects with friends. His winter is also active with photographing lighthouses on the Great Lakes. To date he has photographed more than 170 lighthouses in North America and in the U.K.

Admission is free of charge.

Festival of the Arts: Big Rapids High School Choirs Solo And Ensemble Vocal Recital

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 2
7 p.m.
Big Rapids High School Auditorium, 21175 15 Mile Road

The Big Rapids High School Choirs present their Pre-Solo and Ensemble Concert giving students participating in Solo and Ensemble (Thursday, Feb. 4, in Ludington) an opportunity to sing for an audience. Traditionally the BRHS choirs have many soloists and duets participating in Solo and Ensemble. The ensembles featured in this concert will include the Women's Ensemble and the Men's Ensemble.

The BRHS Choirs are directed by Katie McInnis and accompanied by Mary Zook. Currently there are more than 80 students involved in the BRHS Choir program. Singers in the BRHS Choirs perform music of many styles, historical periods, cultures and languages. BRHS students consistently excel in district and state sponsored vocal events. Recently, the BRHS Choirs have participated in community performances, including Tuba Bach and Voca Lyrica. They greatly enjoyed a trip to New York City where they sang in St. Paul's Chapel in April of 2008.

Admission is free of charge.

Event Sponsor: Big Rapids Tire

Monday, February 1, 2010

Bulldog Story: Dominque Gibbs

BIG RAPIDS - Ferris State University has no shortage of outstanding students who are dedicated to their pursuit of a quality education.

One of our true Bulldog students is senior Dominique Gibbs, a Chicago native who is balancing all the normal aspects of being a college student (majoring in Television Production) with being a mom and working.

When you see this video you will see why nothing will hold Dominique back from great things in what is shaping up to be a bright future.

Check out this inspiring story.


Festival Of The Arts: Nature And Wildlife Photography

Charles St. Charles Presentation - Nature and Wildlife Photography

Date: Monday, Feb. 1
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Interdisciplinary Resource Center (IRC) Auditorium

Award-winning photographer Charles St. Charles of Cadillac will present "Miracle Migrations and Magical Michigan." This collection features some of the miraculous migrations of North America, as well as what makes Michigan one of the most precious places on earth. At the very end of this presentation he will discuss the kickoff of a joint community art project that will premiere at next year's Festival of the Arts, a project that you can easily contribute to.

In addition to his presentation, St. Charles will have an exhibition of his work at the Blue Cow Café in Big Rapids. A reception will be held on Sunday, Jan. 31 at 2 p.m.

Admission is free of charge.

Event Sponsor: The Pioneer Group

Festival Of The Arts: Children Of The Holocaust

"Children of the Holocaust" Exhibit by Miriam Brysk

Date: Feb. 1-27
Time: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.;
Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Location: Artworks, 106 N. Michigan Avenue

"Children of the Holocaust" is a series of 27 pieces of work created by self-taught artist Miriam Brysk.

"My life, like my art, has been strongly influenced by my childhood experiences surviving the Nazi Holocaust," says Brysk. "My artistic interest in the Holocaust was fueled by a visit in 2002 to the ghettos and camps of Eastern Europe. Throughout the trip, images of my lost family were creeping back into my consciousness, while childhood fears re-emerged as frightening nightmares. My entire being was shaking in horror as I sobbed for my own lost family and the six million of my people who had so inhumanely and painfully perished. I felt a deep inner need to portray their suffering. I wanted to express these feelings through art."

This event is part of "The Art in the Holocaust" series.

Admission is free of charge.

Freezing For A Cause Highlights Important Issues About Fortune ... Who Has It And Who Doesn't

BIG RAPIDS - This is a time of the year, in frigid-cold temperatures, when those among us who are least fortunate suffer the most.

The Ferris State University community is working hard to spread the word about what it means to be homeless and what it means to be homeless when Mother Nature releases her winter fury on many regions of the United States and elsewhere.

Freezing for a Cause is back at Ferris State University and presented by Alpha Phi Alpha Zeta Beta Chapter and Delta Sigma Theta Zeta Rho Chapter.

"This is a real eye opening event. Experience the feel of being homeless for a couple of hours while some have to survive in this FREEZING weather every night," said Michael Wade, assistant director of the Office of Multicultural Student Services at Ferris. "Come out and freeze for a cause."

The event is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 3, from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. on the Campus Quad of the Big Rapids campus of Ferris.

If you have any questions or need any assistance to attend, contact Brandon Cole (313) 622-1265 or Ashleye Moncrief at (313) 574-7959 at least 72 hours in advance.

Brandon can also be reached by e-mail at