Posts Tagged ‘Eastern Michigan University’


The largest class in EMU history graduated Sunday, April 28, 2013

Just three days ago, two and a half thousand men and women joined the Young Alumni ranks. It’s a staggering number; one which has made EMU history as the largest graduating class ever. EMU now boasts over 148,000 alumni. I had the privilege of being a part of that class.

The ceremony ran smoothly. Keynote speaker, Scott Reynolds, executive story editor for “Dexter“, was outstanding, and the feeling of commencing the rest of my life was surreal. However, what is still with me days later is the message Student Government President, Matthew Norfleet delivered to the soon-to-be alumni.

Matthew himself was graduating, and reminded us of the people in our lives who have made our successes possible. For Matthew, it was his mother. For you, that person or persons could be anyone. I am fortunate to have an entire network of support in my friends, professors, loved ones, and especially my parents.

Sincerest congratulations to the 2,376 former students who graduated last Sunday, you are the pride of Eastern Michigan University. We now have a chance to stay connected, and become the support of future graduates by getting involved.

So please keep in touch, and let us know where life takes you.

To keep up with EMU news, events and all things Alumni relevant check out:

–        Alumni Facebook

–        Young Alumni Facebook

–        Follow us on Twitter

Be sure to get your free Alumni Association Membership Packet!

Best Wishes in all your endeavors, and again congratulations!

–        Paul Martell



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April, 2013

By Paul Martell

Kaitlyn Dugas is a political science major who is showcasing her Eagle pride all over the world


Kaitlyn takes advantage of many of the opportunities EMU has for students

Much of the experience we take away from our work, or our schooling, is entirely up to us. Many people choose to commit to the minimum. The ideology here is to expel the least  effort necessary to meet required goals. Kaitlyn Dugas finds herself on the other side of the Bell curve. She understands there is a greater return on investment in getting involved than in staying unattached. It is for this reason she chose to attend EMU.

“What kept me here was the opportunity to do all sorts of practical research and join teams” said Dugas. She very quickly found her niche in the University during a Political Science lecture. In class, Dr. Barry Pyle mentioned the Mock Trial Club, and encouraged students to get involved. “My grandma always said I should be a lawyer because I like to argue, so I decided to try out,” said Kaitlyn. It was not long before she realized Mock Trial was going to be something she loved. Simply put, mock trial is exactly what it sounds like. Teams from multiple colleges and Universities compete in a synthesized court trial. Kaitlyn excels in the attorney role. In 2012, she took the first place attorney award, and this year, she was the youngest team captain EMU has had.


Kaitlyn is showing International Eagle Pride, sporting her EMU Tee in front of a structure local Romans call “The Wedding Cake.”

Mock Trial was not the only extracurricular which Dr. Pyle would introduce to Kaitlyn. “Again, I was in Dr. Pyle’s 215 class. He came in and told us he needed a research fellow for the Undergraduate Symposium.” She met with him, and they have been research partners for the last two Symposiums. This year, she presented her research titled: Israel & the Politics of Divorce: an Exploratory Analysis.

As if Kaitlyn was not already busy enough, she recently returned from studying abroad in Italy. She went with Professor Delph and a group of 16 students to Florence, Rome and other key locations. “Rome was just beautiful, and it didn’t hurt the experience that we never had a bad meal,” said Dugas. “I can’t imagine doing what we did everyday: we’d go to lecture, get pizza, and eat in St. Peter’s Square.” Kaitlyn, and the other students, learned much about the Medici and other cultural topics. Many of the lectures took place at historically famous locations such as the Sistine Chapel, museums and more.  “The classes didn’t feel much like classes at all as we were standing in front of Raphael’s paintings at the Vatican Palace.”

Kaitlyn says there was not a huge amount of free time on the trip as there were many planned activities. However, when the group did have a few hours, they would regularly head to the town market to practice their bargaining skills with local vendors. A group of textile and clothing students were on the trip, they seemed to relish bartering and debating over the quality and price of leather goods being sold in the market.

Kaitlyn has a 10 week trip planned to study in Oxford, England. She leaves April 16, and will be studying either international politics or economics. She is very excited, and hopes to live in dorms with local students. After Oxford, she is off to Washington D.C. with Dr. Bernstein.

To Kaitlyn, EMU is, “The opportunity to do everything I wanted coming out of high school. It has also allowed me a lot of opportunities I didn’t think I would stumble upon, but I did.” Whether cross-examining a witness, studying historic culture, or singing “We are the Champions” by Queen in a karaoke bar in Italy; Kaitlyn is making the most of her Education.  Currently, Kaitlyn is deciding between going to law school or grad school to work toward her PhD. She hopes to one day work in the legal department for a multinational organization, or conduct research for a University.

“Eastern shapes my life, at least that,” said Dugas. Taking advantage of all opportunities available has set Kaitlyn up for success, as well as actualize her as a person much more than “just getting by” ever could. We will see what other adventures Kaitlyn has when she returns from the United Kingdom late June, 2013.

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John Fenton is a Young Alum who came to EMU relatively unattached, but had a major change of heart by the time he graduated

by Paul Martell


John Fenton: EMU alum, Journalism Major

What do you do when work and school becomes, “work and schoolish”? There comes a time in nearly every student’s life that the drudgery of class takes over, and there is not much enjoyment to be had. John Fenton is an EMU alum who found the answer during his time as an Eagle.

“After my first year, my impression was that college was ‘run of the mill’,” said John Fenton,  journalism major. What John did not yet know was that he would soon become involved with an organization, on campus, which would turn his experience around completely.

Fenton chose EMU almost on a whim back in 2007. “I was in all the advanced placement classes in high school, and really applied at random” said Fenton, “I didn’t really care too much.” John happened to be in Ypsilanti around the time that EMU was holding an open house, and he decided to attend. There he applied, was accepted, and that was the end of John Fenton’s college search.

Fenton said that, initially, his college experience was, “like any other college story; I wanted to be a writer, and I wanted to get through.” He would attend classes, do homework and repeat. Before long, John was contacted by Vision, EMU’s student-run volunteer organization, and John decided to get involved. This would be the first step towards turning John’s college experience around.

Through Vision, John ended up working with America Reads and spent many hours working to help tutor children in Ypsilanti schools. John stayed with Vision, helping children learn to read within the Ypsilanti community, for two years. Fenton said, “It was a lot of fun, I met and worked with good people; it was a great way to network.” However, being involved in Vision still did not do much to bolster John’s school spirit. In fact, John would say the cycle of going to class then working for Vision would become too, “work and schoolish.”

In 2008, Fenton decided to become a part of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity on campus, and it was this decision that would lead EMU to become a part of John Fenton’s life daily, even after graduating. At first, Fenton was very hesitant about joining a fraternity, but after repeated encouragement he decided to make the move.

“Greek life turned out to be the best thing to happen to me,” said Fenton, “you meet a variety of really good people, and it was a Delt’ that hired me where I am now.” John Googled Delta Tau Delta before joining, and was surprised to find that there have been two vice presidents of the United States, astronauts, congressmen and senators that were all “Delt’s”. John joined the fraternity, and became a large part in it.


Fenton (center) shows his EMU pride and still attends football tailgates at his university.

In addition to traveling to eight major cities, and handling many responsibilities within the fraternity, an accomplishment that Fenton remembers most fondly is working with Travis Rockey in writing the “Ritual Book”. Travis Rockey is the owner of Evening Post Publishing Company, and worked with Fenton to develop the book that would lay out the correct procedure for inducting new members. Writing the manual was huge as there were, “over 150 chapters worldwide and almost 7,000 members that had no standard for the Ritual.” That is all Fenton can say about the Ritual.

“The Virtue of being at EMU, and joining that fraternity, joining that group of guys and the experiences of traveling,” are all aspects that John attributes to really coming to feel a part of and enjoying EMU. John also fondly remembers having some “Gem professors” that helped him to grow. “I had a professor really open my eyes to how I looked at writing and myself. It redefined my relationship with not just writing, but the words I use to write” said Fenton.

In 2011, John Fenton left EMU and got his first job writing for Keller-Williams Real Estate, but he would not stay there for long. John’s connections with Delta Tau Delta were about to help him secure a fantastic job. One of John’s fraternity brothers worked at GE, and posted the opening for a writing position to his social media accounts. Fenton did not see this listing, however, a different member of his fraternity from EMU did see it, and remembered John. He then referred John for the job, and within a few moments, John had submitted his resume. Within two weeks, GE offered Fenton a job.

Today, Fenton works as a Social Media Specialist for GE. There he manages three to seven social media accounts, and generates all concepts and content for their social media campaigns. As far as how John’s future looks, he said, “I have no idea, bright hopefully. I still very much want to pursue a career in strictly writing. People have said the older you get, the less attached to the ideals of your youth you become, I find the opposite to be true.” John believes, more than ever, that the key to success in school is to participate more.

John still attends all the EMU football games and tailgates, and can appreciate the benefits that University involvement can bring. “The only reason I have a job at GE is because one of my brothers needed a writer, and another one of my brothers remembered me… Everyone who has a key role in my life is an EMU grad.”

– Paul Martell




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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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Hello Young, Eastern Alumni!

As the new Alumni Relations intern here at EMU’s Alumni Association, I wanted to take some time to get to know each other. I suppose we can start with me.

My name is Paul Martell, and I am a senior majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Management, and a current member of PRSSA. I have been at this wonderful University of ours for 2 years, and hope to walk in April’s graduation commencement. I am sincerely excited to be a part of the Alumni Association team, and I am looking forward to communicating with all of you, and getting to know you a little better. After all, if everything goes according to my plan, I will be one of you (an Alumnus) by this summer. I keep pretty busy with classwork, but when I do get free time, I am all about soccer, running, and just about anything that gets me outside.

When I came to EMU, I was unsure about my major, and intimidated by my first University experience. However, after two years filled with wonderful professors, many hours of class in Pray-Harrold, and genuine friendships I think I get it. EMU is a place to figure out who you are, and how to use that knowledge to find your career. So when I really think about it, I am excited about EMU for the same reasons I am excited about my future in Public Relations. They both rely on 2 foundational principles: integrity and relationships.

This semester is going to be an exciting one, and we have some great events coming up. Do not forget to like the Young Alumni Facebook Page and follow the Alumni Twitter for updates on events and to join the conversation. I will keep you guys updated here on the blog weekly, and I am already working on some cool stories I know you will enjoy.

So what about you? Is there anything this new intern needs to hear from the Young Alumni? Are there any topics you would like to read more about, or are interested in? Please feel free to share.

Well, that is all for now. I look forward to meeting you in person this semester at our events, until then, we can always talk here.

–          Paul Martell


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