Archive for the ‘Blogs of GOLD Alumni’ Category

Aframes Eyewear:

Winston “Wes” Stoody and Cole Sanseverino Part I of II

by Paul Martell

Wes Stoody and Cole Sanseverino are EMU Alums who have partnered on a dream, and are spreading their vision through their charitable, eyewear business


“I am forever grateful for what EMU, and those involved with EMU have given me, and I would really like to give back,” said Winston “Wes” Stoody, president and founder of Aframes Eyewear. He certainly has been giving back.


From left to right: Cole Sanseverino, partner & Winston “Wes” Stoody, President/Founder. They are also best friends.

Stoody is a 2011 graduate, and has a Bachelor’s degree in economics. One of Stoody’s passions is running. He was an extremely active member of EMU’s cross country and track and field teams. Stoody was also one of the few students to receive the honored Presidential Scholarship from 2007 to 2011. His plan was to graduate, go to grad school and become an economics professor. It was Stoody’s junior year at EMU when he took an Economic Development class that would open his eyes to a cause that would later change him.

“The class was about growing the economy of developing nations” said Stoody. He “loved” economics so this class seemed a logical choice for him. On no day in particular, Doctor Steve Hayworth showed a PBS documentary about Vitamin A deficiency in various nations around the world. Vitamin A Deficiency is a widespread problem that most commonly causes blindness, but also leads to failure of the immune system, and often death. It was through this documentary that Stoody learned one third, or 190 million, preschool aged children and over 19 million pregnant women suffer from Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD). He also learned, approximately, half of the children that lose their sight to VAD will die within 12 months. These staggering truths left an impression in Stoody’s mind, he said, “I couldn’t believe most Americans just didn’t know about it.”

While the seed was planted, it was not yet time for Stoody to start his dream; he had other things to focus on. Stoody’s time was spent running for the team, and then going home to Downing Hall to study. He lived with team member and roommate Cole Sanseverino; Cole would later become a major part in the story of Aframes Eyewear. Stoody would say, to this point, his education was focused on course related classes, and not on general education.

Another defining moment for Stoody came in the form of a creative writing class during his sophomore year. To this point, Stoody’s classes were mostly mathematical, and less artistic. Stoody says, “It completely opened my mind and made me a better thinker, I didn’t take more (writing) classes after, but it helped me open my mind out of just Math, led me into poetry and changed my thought.”

During the summer of 2010, Stoody took an internship with the American Action Forum in Washington D.C. It was here that the final realizations would occur that would change Stoody’s life direction. He quickly found that “desk work” was not for him, “I wanted to do something that would matter, something that would count.”

Stoody rode the metro to work. It was here, reading the book Uncharitable, a book about the realism of the way Western culture values charity, that Stoody decided he was going to start his own business. It did not take long for Stoody to remember the documentary from the economics class he took. Stoody said, “I knew it had to be tied to Vitamin A, I couldn’t believe people didn’t know about it.” Then came the conception of Aframes Eyewear, a high quality, high fashion eyewear company that would give 5% of all its profit to, “spread the word about the problem, and help fund the solution.”


the Cameroon Caramel is just one of the many stylish offers from Aframes Eyewear

Stoody was finally going to do something that “would matter, something that would count”, but he was not going to be alone. Stoody knew what he was going to do, but it would still be a long road to get there. All that was left was to start.

Wes Stoody is very much loyal to Eastern Michigan University, and appreciates the contributions the University has made. “I am so grateful for the great education that I believe in…I think about it a lot,” says Stoody, “The kids that go to Eastern have a far greater chance at doing something special than other Universities because of EMU’s diverse nature.” Wes attributes his success and education to more than just his classes; he believes his growth has come from his team, his university, and his city.

It is great to hear about the cool, interesting things our Alums are doing. This is only part of the story. If you would like to learn the rest about Wes, Aframes Eyewear, VAD and the illustrious Cole Sanseverino you should check back for part 2.

Don’t forget to check out Aframes Eyewear and support the cause (and look better than all your friends doing it).


Check out their Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation!

– Paul Martell


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Please read the wonderful advice and inspirational words below that EMU graduate, Celia Nip shared with the EMU YOUNG ALUMNI BLOG. Celia just recently graduated in April of 2012, with a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing/Business Marketing. She is one of the hardest working young women I have ever known, along with maturity and experience well beyond her years.

Tell me a little about your history at EMU- degree, graduating class, groups/associations?

I decided to transfer to EMU to finish my degree and to attend EMU’s business school. I was previously at Wayne State University, where I was working on a double major in Broadcasting and Communications when I realized, if I didn’t land my perfect job right out of college, I may wind up a statistic that doesn’t transition smoothly from college student to professional.  I was very focused on getting a Bachelor’s in Business, and discovered that I had a passion for Search Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Social Media, which was perfect because they were all a very big part of my everyday life. 

As far as groups and or associations, I was not able to balance anything more than being a full time college student and my full time job. However, my full time job provided me with experience and networking opportunities with Michigan Professionals in multiple industries and their sectors. I am proud to say, I was able to accomplish 1st place at EMU’s Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition, which I was honored by Northwestern Directors and EMU’s Honors Banquet in achievements for Business Sales. 

Did any professors make a difference in your career path?

Yes, there is one professor at Eastern Michigan University that I would love to honor since I have the opportunity, thanks to EMU Alumni Services conducting this interview.I want to take a moment and talk about Professor Greg Corliss, professor of contemporary selling. He was truly an inspiration for me in my professional career.  There was a certain ring to his education style.  He was able to mix personal experiences and resourceful education, which allowed students to connect both styles, and really stay focused to learn.  He believes in his students, acknowledges his students, educates his students and showed me that the sky is the limit.  His belief in my abilities to succeed has really shaped my path into the professional world, and I am so blessed to have an opportunity to acknowledge his career and his tremendous affect on my life.

 What is your current position?

Social Media Community Manager at Moncur Associates in Troy, Michigan

Please share a summary of your position?

A social media community manager has a solid understanding of how content works on social networks that is based on methodologies used and practices that are implemented.  There is a mixture of Branding, Advertising, Communications, Digital Marketing and Public Relations.  Social Media Community Manager focuses on media trends, tools and the best practices for businesses.

What are some proud accomplishments?

My biggest accomplishment is having a positive lifestyle.  I learned from a very young age that in order to maximize your happiness, you must take risks.  I have challenged myself in many different ways both personally and professionally. One major personal accomplishment is singing for a great organization, Uneek Music, which really brings positivity to Detroit through giving back to children’s education.  On a professional level, I am very proud that I was able to be honored for a couple awards at Eastern Michigan University, and become Google Analytics Certified through the Search Marketing Program at EMU.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I want to continue to challenging myself every step of the way, professionally and personally.  I have an entire notebook to fill with what will happen in 10 years. I can say that I have blank pages for a reason and cannot wait to fill them.

Tell me an interesting story about your career, plans/goals?

What is interesting about my career is the type of industries and people I have been blessed to work with.  I have the most positive and amazing work environment, which is 70 percent of why I am able to be so positive and happy 40 hours a week.  I also have a great client base that I work with everyday! Not many people are able to contribute to branding one of the top companies in the world and have the opportunity to brand several successful national companies as well.  It’s exciting to go into work and find out you will be branding for the NFL or NBA one day and food industry the next day! The job is always busy and you must educate yourself on so many industries. I have become a sponge for information and I want continue to absorb more and more!

Share three career–related lessons you’ve learned at EMU?

At EMU, you learn how to become a professional and the foundation of your industry. But you master your industry when you are able to use that knowledge to gain successful relationships. Also, you must know your audience; you must understand your audience and you must emotionally connect with your audience in order to create a successful brand. And last, but not least, just when you think it is done “correct”, “correct” changes

 Any challenges you’re currently facing?

One challenge for a young professional is separating yourself from your peers.  In order to obtain a very successful position, you have to be able to go above and beyond and understand what it is you’re exactly doing.  You must find your “inner ninja” believe, trust, and challenge yourself constantly in order to get where you want to be.

 How have you adjusted from college life to the professional world?

Transitioning into the professional world of business is exciting. As long as you keep up with the world around you, stay with the times as technology advances and learn more than just your industry.  However, if you fall short you have to ask yourself, “Is there more I can be doing?”  Success is created, not found.


Taylor Maguire

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Written by: Megan O’Leary (BS07)

As a commuter at EMU, it was always hard for me to find ways to feel “connected” to campus.  During my time as an undergrad, I tried to join various clubs and organizations, but due to working a full time job and taking a full course-load, it never seemed to work.  During my 3rd year, I finally found a way to feel as if campus was more than just a school for me.

I had a hectic schedule and had large gaps of time in between classes.  Wandering around campus, I stumbled upon the Rec/IM, a building I had never really visited.  I realized there was a great workout facility right at my disposal.  Suddenly, I was bringing a gym bag with me every single day and making workouts a habit.  It was a great way to run into other students and relieve the stresses of my classes.   I tried my hand at most of the cardio equipment, but had a true passion for running on the treadmill.  I soon convinced some friends (including two other EMU students) to do a 5k race with me.   It was an amazing experience and one that encouraged me to live a healthier life.

After graduating, I took on a stressful job as the department head for the child care area of a fitness facility.  I soon felt overwhelmed and longed for the days at EMU where I could easily squeeze in a quick run at the Rec.  Despite working at a gym, I felt too stressed after a work day to make time to work out.

This past fall, I decided to go part time at the gym and work as a full-time nanny.  I craved the healthy lifestyle again and decided to make running a true part of my life.   I started running all the time and signed up for a 5k and a 10k.  I started a blog to chronicle my journey and keep myself accountable.  I had earned my BS in 07 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Communications, so writing was something I loved to do.  I signed up for another blog’s challenge to run 1,000 miles in a year.  I also came up with a tentative race schedule for the year to keep me motivated.  I took a leap of faith and signed up for the Freep 1/2 marathon (which will take place in October).  I finally feel as if I am living the healthy lifestyle I was leading at EMU.

Thus far, my blog has allowed me to meet many new people and has created excellent opportunities.  I’d love to pursue a real writing opportunity at some point.  I feel thankful for the time I spent at EMU,  which allowed me to pursue passions both on an educational and fitness level.

Read more about Megan’s fitness journey: http://justrunmego.blogspot.com/

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Hello alumni! I want to offer a follow-up to my GOLD Mine profile of Aurora Harris. Her blog is an interesting extension of her profile. I was intrigued by the variety of topics discussed on her blog from the perspective of a poet, activist and EMU scholar. Harris is received her MA in Social Foundations of Education, with a concentration in Cultural Studies, from EMU in 2009.

Check out Harris’ blog at: http://auroraharris.blogspot.com/

“My blog is both personal and educational for educators and students and illustrates history, culture, identity, issues with race, gender, etc.” says Harris. The depth of this blog is extremely intriguing and features diverse ideas. Man, graduates of the last decade sure know how to write a good blog.

If you missed her profile, written by yours truly, check it out here: https://emuyoungalumni.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/140/.

Remember, if you write a blog or if you know someone who does tell them we are here to spread the word.


Jessica the Intern

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The continuing search for alumni blogs led us to Cathy Walker, who received her BS ’00 in Elementary Education- Social Studies from EMU. Cathy, who is currently a North Carolina elementary teacher, has both a website and blog to provide information that would benefit teachers and share advice.

Her website gives a tour and outline of how she runs her class, a schedule of events, curriculum and tools for teachers. The blog focuses more on scholastic reading and literature. On the blog, Cathy gives elaborate reviews of books geared toward elementary readers.

Both of these sites are important particularly for EMU students because one our biggest departments on campus is the Department of Teacher Education. EMU fast facts states “One out of every four teachers in Michigan has at least one degree from EMU; nationally, 1 percent of the national educational workforce has a degree from EMU, which was a charter member of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.”

So alumni connect, support and learn all you can from Cathy Walker by visiting her website : www.steveandcat.net/mrswalker and blog: http://mrswalkersfrog-tasticblog.blogspot.com/.

Thanks in advance,
Jessica The Intern

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I have recently joined Dan in his quest for blogs created by Graduates of the Last Decade and I found one. Jamie Favreau graduated from EMU in 2008 with her Bachelors in Communication Technology. Jamie’s blog features a variety of topics but 2 that stand out most are sports and social media.

Visit the blog at http://jamiefavreau.wordpress.com/

Jamie writes “What is technology doing for us today? Are we basically using it to have contact with the people we want or to avoid contact all together?” Those are very thought provoking questions on a blog with an array of intriguing topics.

Jamie describes herself as an “easy going single woman that is blogging about life, Red Wings, and anything that interests me. I love my Red Wings, hanging out, concerts, musicals, theatre, web 2.0, and anything fun.”
Check out Jamie’s blog and show your support of EMU Alumni. Also, If you are involved social media (creating videos, writing a blog etc.) and would like to share, let us know! We are here to get your message out.

Yours Truly,
Jessica the Intern

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Upon our search for alumni bloggers, Dan and I  stumbled upon  Joe Venuto’s  YouTube channel.  Joe received his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication from EMU in 2009. He is the owner of SoPlat.com, a social media management website.

Joe’s YouTube channel features a variety of topics from technology to fashion.  Right now Joe is looking for 500 subscribers to his channel. To promote this he started up a contest. When Joe reaches 500 subscribers 1 subscriber will be selected to win a brand new 8GB iPod Touch and $100.

So if you want free money, a free iPod Touch and a cool Youtube channel to watch check out Joe’s channel at: http://www.youtube.com/joevenuto

Remember, if you write a blog or if you know someone who does know that we’re here to get the message out


Jessica the Intern

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