Thursday, April 30, 2015

BW Blackstone LaunchPad Contest Attracts Big Ideas

BW’s engines of creativity were running in overdrive this spring during StartSomethingBW, the recently completed, second annual Blackstone LaunchPad (BLP) idea contest. This year’s competition attracted 163 entries, a fifty-plus percentage increase over last year. Nine teams received a total of $1,800 in prizes in three categories.

Notable winning ideas in this year’s contest included David and Raquel Milligan’s “Shower Helper” for recuperating patients, in the Business Idea category; Basem Magd’s “Summer Tote Storage,” in the Baldwin Wallace category; and Kimberly Smith-Gerace’s “RFID Officer Safety” system, in the Social Enterprise category. A full list of winners can be found on the Start Something BW webpage.

As conceived by BW’s Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurship program, the annual idea contest has three primary goals: increase campus awareness of BLP; spur ideation and creativity throughout the university; and jumpstart the formation of companies and jobs by inspiring students to identify problems -- and devise solutions.

For many BW students, the idea contest is just the first step in the entrepreneurial process, followed by regular meetings with BLP consultants who provide students with the tools and strategies they need to succeed.

“Blackstone LaunchPad is a tremendous resource for aspiring entrepreneurs,” according to Mike Nock, BLP Director at Baldwin Wallace. “As part of the region’s fertile entrepreneurial ecosystem, BLP consultants can advise students and connect them with a variety of services and mentors as they move along the path to business creation. There are few programs like Blackstone LaunchPad, and few regions for startup support like Northeast Ohio.”

In its third year at BW, Blackstone LaunchPad is co-funded by The Burton D. Morgan Foundation in Hudson, and by the Blackstone Charitable Foundation in New York. The 15-school Blackstone LaunchPad national network is modeled after The Launch Pad, which was created at the University of Miami in 2008.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Alum Runs Boston Marathon in Impressive Time

For many people, just completing a marathon is triumph. But BW alum Ryan Routh '10 finished this year's renowned Boston Marathon in the top 20% out of 30,000 runners! Routh ran the grueling 26.2 mile race in an outstanding time of 3 hours and 15 minutes.

At BW, Routh earned his undergraduate degree in Public Relations. He went on to receive his Masters in Higher Education Administration from the University of Akron. After graduating with his Masters, Routh stayed at Akron where he currently works as the Assistant Director of Admissions.

The Boston Marathon has been a tradition for 119 years. This year, 87 countries were represented by male and female runners ranging from ages 18-82. The Marathon begins in Hopkinton, Mass., winds through six cities and finishes in downtown Boston.

BW Business Students Attend National Enactus Exposition

BW Enactus reps in St. Louis, L-R, Cooper Moretz, Tessa Louche, Gwyn Dubel, and Jasz Joseph

With a new network of established business professionals and business students from across the country, BW's chapter of Enactus is ready to apply what they have learned at this year's 2015 Enactus United States National Exposition. Hosted in St. Louis, students in BW's School of Business, Cooper Moretz '16, Tessa Louche '17, Jasz Joseph '18, and Gwyn Dubel '18, embarked to the conference ready to present the outcomes of their annual service projects to a team of business professionals. 

For their 2014-15 projects, BW Enactus provided marketing assistance to Medina Creative Coffee (MCC), a nonprofit subsidiary of Medina Creative Housing, and helped to educate students in the Berea-Midpark Schools' Junior Achievement Cleveland program on "financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness." After sharing a report on their activities with business professionals, the BW team received constructive feedback to improve their impact on the Cleveland community in the coming year.

Along with the conference, these students met with potential employers at a career fair and brainstormed ideas with students from over 180 other colleges and universities. They also had the opportunity to explore St. Louis in their free time. 

Advised by Professors Phillip Bessler and Maureen DeVito in the School of Business, Enactus "enables its members the opportunity to utilize their knowledge and experience of the business field to aid in the general advancement and health of the community." Through their studies in business and their involvement in Enactus, these BW students will continue to apply their business education for a better quality-of-life for others. 

Summer Camps Reach Out to the Next Generation

The BW Conservatory of Music has many a summer camp
for pre-college students to take advantage of!
There is more to Baldwin Wallace University than the education of current college students. Each summer, BW hosts camps and programs dedicated to academics, athletics, cheerleading, music, and more;  offering a younger generation of students to benefit from the expertise and mentoring of BW's faculty, coaches, staff and students.

A new Health Care Career Exploration Week is already wait-listing, but other camps continue to register students. The Experience Honors Summer Program is dedicated to smoothing the secondary school to post-secondary school transition process. The Gedanken Problem-Solving Institute, headed by BW Physics professor Dr. Edwin Meyer, seeks to teach students about the importance of problem solving, as well as assist them in developing their own generalized approach to problem solving.

The Gedanken-Problem Solving Institute leads
 students to successful problem solving.
The Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music also has its share of camps, bringing in school age and adult learners to aid them in music studies, workshops, camps, and institutes. String, Piano, Band, and Music Theater camp are all options for younger students. Available to high school students is the International Guitar Festival, CSI: Conservatory Summer Intensive, and Music Theater Overtures (this writer's personal favorite!).

All of these opportunities, however, barely scratch the surface of what the summer BW has to offer. For an extensive list of the camps, click here. And check back, as new enrichment opportunities continue to be added.

Mathematics Students on the Plus Side of the Competition

BW math competitors, L to R,   Christine Austen, Alan Jankowski, Matt Switlyk, Victoria Switlyk, and Hannah Sedely

A group of BW students represented the mathematics department as they traveled to Marshall University in West Virginia this spring to participate in the spring meeting of the Ohio Section of the Mathematical Association of America. Christine Austin '15, Hannah Sedely '16,  Matthew Switlyk '15 and Victoria Switlyk '15 all presented student research at the gathering.

Two teams of students also competed in the 12th Annual Leo Schneider Problem Solving Competition. Facing off against strong competition, both BW teams performed admirably with Matt Switlyk  and Alan Jankowski '17 coming in 7th, while Austin, Sedely and Victoria Switlyk finished 10th.

Earlier in the year, two BW students also earned positive scores on the annual William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Exam, a famously challenging mathematics competition for undergraduate students in North America with Brian McLaughlin '15 scoring in the top 25%, and Matt Switlyk in the upper half of the elite competitors.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Students and Faculty Elevate Science/Math Days at Cedar Point

The BW Cedar Point team, left to right, back row: David Revta and Dr. Ed Meyer, midde: Dr. Lisa Ponton and Alan Duncan, front: Brandon Dropic and Dr. Jim Emigh (not pictured: Dr. Peter Hoekje)

A group of Baldwin Wallace University students and faculty has transformed the learning materials used in one of the most anticipated spring field trips for Ohio middle and high school students: Physics, Science and Math Days at Cedar Point.

The week-long event (May 11-15 for 2015) turns “The Roller Coaster Capital of the World!®" into "the world’s biggest classroom" with special presentations, demonstrations and hands-on exhibits aimed at helping students to see how math and science apply to a wild ride on the Slingshot or the Wicked Twister, or the creation of cotton candy.

BW electronics technician David Revta spearheaded the BW effort to develop new middle and high school workbooks that include concepts, illustrations, and problems to solve—all based on the Cedar Point experience. “Our ultimate goal as education partner,” Revta says, “was to strengthen the ties to state science standards, and offer a progressive, tiered curriculum that will allow teachers to customize learning for their students.”

Brandon Dropic '15, a neuroscience/chemistry major from Seminole, Fla. got involved in this the project for the “unique experience of connecting other students to chemistry in a fun, non-traditional way.” He goes on to explain that “since chemistry questions had not previously existed, we were creating something brand new and exciting.”

While Cedar Point’s ties to the laws of physics are obvious, chemistry professor Dr. Lisa Ponton says finding chemistry connections sounded like a challenge. But, the inspiration came easily when the group visited the park to brainstorm. “We zeroed in on the steam combustion railroad, the kettle corn and cotton candy right away,” Ponton explains. “So we included problems like density comparison, moisture calculation, and the pressure involved in the corn exploding.”

In addition to Dropic, Ponton and Revta, the BW team included chemistry major Alan Duncan '15 from Valley City, Ohio, plus faculty members, James Emigh (education), Dr. Peter Hoekje (physics) and Dr. Edwin Meyer (physics).

BW also plans to send students and faculty to the park during science week to host a booth and answer questions, further helping Cedar Point to offer a one-of-a-kind learning experience, wrapped in pure fun.

Photo courtesy Cedar Point

Friday, April 24, 2015

Music Theatre Seniors and Grads Shine in the NYC Spotlight

The BW Music Theatre Class of 2015 took New York by storm during showcase week, and Plain Dealer Theatre Critic Andrea Simakis was there to highlight the stories of some of the acclaimed program's rising and already-shining Broadway stars.

To kick off her "Made in Cleveland" series, Simakis debuted a sneak peek video (by Mack Shirilla '13) of the performances that would wow New York agents and casting directors at BW first-ever solo showcase. (In the past, BW has paired up with another college to present the annual event.) The response confirmed that BW's reputation for preparing and launching top tier triple threats can stand on its own.

Another story in the PD series titled, "How did Adrianna Cleveland go from barista to Broadway hopeful?" chronicled how Music Theatre Director Victoria Bussert invited Cleveland, a 2012 BW Conservatory of Music vocal music graduate from Pittsburgh,  to perform with the seniors at showcase, where she was a big hit with agents.

Simakis also attended the Broadway opening of "An American in Paris," where she witnessed star Jill Paice '02 basking in the glow of the night with Bussert and others from BW cheering her on: "BW grad Jill Paice glitters at 'An American in Paris' opening night party."

Another touching reunion between BW teacher and successful student followed a matinee performance of "Les Misérables," when Chris McCarrell '13, who plays Marius in the Broadway revival, connected with his BW mentor at the stage door: "BW grad Chris McCarrell sees a familiar face after matinee of 'Les Miz'" McCarrell who also appeared in NBC's Peter Pan Live last December also recorded a video interview for

Based on the enthusiastic reaction to BW's 2015 Showcase, Bussert will have many more Broadway reunions and successes to celebrate in the future.

(By the way, you have one more local chance to catch the 2015 showcase on May 6 at Nighttown - details in Cool Cleveland.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Adult & Continuing Education Grad Pursues Aviation Career

Adult and Continuing Education grad, Allan Borling '14, recently landed a position with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Borling '14 graduated Magna Cum Laude last Spring with an Organizational Leadership major and a minor in Human Resources and now serves as the Technical Operations Manager for the FAA in Pittsburgh.

The job involves overseeing airports in Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well as the infrastructure management and enforcing the integration and implementation of procedures as outlined by the National Airspace System (NAS).

Prior to attending BW, Borling earned his Associate of Science Degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Lorain Community College. Borling has had prior experience in operations management as he served as Operations Support Manager for the Cleveland District and as the Support Center Manager for the Cleveland RADAR Systems.

Dark of the Moon Enchants Audiences

The BW Theatre and Dance Department has done it again. Directed by Scott Plate, Dark of the Moon, a story of love and the supernatural and set in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee both bewitched and haunted audiences.

Dark of the Moon is a chilling tale told with swing and spirit about John, a strange "witch boy," and a beautiful young woman named Barbra Allen. The folksy romance is brought to life as John is granted human form in order to woo and marry Barbra. Things take a turn for the worse when Barbra is lead to betray John, breaking the spell of their love and causing him to return to the world of the mountain witches forever.

The show ran from April 9-19 in the William Allman Theatre. Upcoming theatre events for the rest of the spring semester include the 10-Minute Play Festival on April 29 & 30, Dance Works in Progress on May 1 and Henry IV Part Two on May 29 & 30. All of these events are free and open to the public.

BW Poli Sci Professor On-Air on the 2016 Election

Palmer in-studio at 90.3 WCPN's "The Sound of Ideas"
Baldwin Wallace political science professor, Dr. Barbara Palmer, got the chance to weigh in early on the upcoming presidential race as a featured political expert on the April 15 edition of Mike McIntyre’s 90.3 WCPN (NPR) radio show, “The Sound of Ideas.”

Palmer joined a panel that talked with McIntyre about the upcoming 2016 election and the impact of Hillary Clinton’s recent entrance into the presidential race.

“She’s trying to present herself as someone new,” Palmer said of Clinton’s video announcement of candidacy. "Campaign 101 is you have to tell the voters who you are and tell your story."

Palmer is the co-author of a book titled Women and Congressional Elections: A Century of Change, detailing the ups and downs of women candidates in congressional elections. On the BW campus, Palmer teaches courses in American Politics—including U.S. Government and Politics—and serves as BW’s Legal Studies Advisor and Pre-Law Coordinator.

Audio and video streams of the hour-long interview featuring Palmer are available online through the ideastream website.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Fraternities, Sororities Collect Teddy Bears for Noble Cause

Marc West and William Anastasiadis '18 donating the bears
After marching to University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital with over 1,000 stuffed animals, BW's Greek Council, the governing body of the ten fraternities and sororities on campus, say "job well done" to the BW fraternity and sorority chapters that collected the bears.

Under the direction of Greek Council's Vice Presidents of Scholarship and Service, William Anastasiadis '18 and Emmy Venner '16, "The March of the Teddy Bears," was a month-long stuffed animal drive for hospitalized, terminally-ill children. The organizing duo hoped to receive at least 500 stuffed animals from the drive, but ended up with 1,140 stuffed animals!

Anastasiadis believes that participating in service work helps improve the perception of Fraternity & Sorority Life nationwide, while also fulfilling the lives of those members through meaningful work. "Community service is a 'win-win' situation," he says. "Not only does a student benefit and make a difference in the society, they also receive in return an experience that is usually rewarding."

At the end of the drive, the chapters that came out on top for donating the most stuffed animals were Pi Lambda Phi and Phi Mu.

Another Successful Year of Building Walls

Building the framework of an entire home in one day may seem impossible; but for the third year in a row, BW's Habitat for Humanity did just that.

On a chilly Saturday in early spring, the Bonds Parking Lot was transformed into a construction site. In partnership with Crossroads Mission, more than 80 BW students, faculty, staff and alumni braved the cold weather and spent the day building the interior and exterior walls of a home. The home will be donated to a Lorain County family whose previous living conditions were declared unsafe.

The goal of the BW chapter of Habitat for Humanity is to put an end to poverty housing through community education and involvement. Projects such as Building Walls seek to do just that.

Dr. Andy Dohonas, one of Habitat for Humanity's faculty advisors, looks forward to the Building Walls project every year. "I love seeing the tangible results of our community coming together to help others. In a matter of hours we have taken a pile of lumber and turned it into a home. It's very satisfying."

Friday, April 17, 2015

BW Tech Chief Wins Crain's Nonprofit CIO of the Year

Greg Flanik '97,MBA '10 and his wife,
Michelle Flanik 97’,  MBA 04’ at the CIO awards
BW's chief information officer (CIO) and BW graduate, Greg Flanik ‘97, MBA '10 has been named Crain's Cleveland 2015 Nonprofit CIO of the Year.  Crain's said the awards recognize "world class IT organizations led by accomplished executives with strong, dedicated, talented teams."

Flanik tweeted “thank you” to the BW community following the announcement, calling the award “a reflection of all our hard work together!”

Flanik's nomination applauded the impressive track record of technology efficiency initiatives during his 16 years of leadership at BW, including the virtualization and consolidation of BW's network storage infrastructure, the implementation of a cost-saving print management system, development of a co-partnered 24/7 HelpDesk, and the current rollout of a new voice over IP telephone system.

Flanik and his fellow winners were recognized at an April 14 awards reception, and profiled in the April 6 issue of Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

BW's Annual April Reign Weekend a Success

Brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon holding April Reign trophy
Students from all over the Baldwin Wallace campus came together to celebrate and compete in the annual April Reign games and events the weekend of April 10-11.

In addition to the traditional men's and women's brackets normally featured in the competitive component of the weekend's events, a newly-added coed bracket featured a number of student organizations including BW Veterans, Theatre Arts and Performance (TAP), Commuter Activity Board (CAB), Sophomore Year Experience, WBWC (the Radio Station), and the Middle Eastern Culture Club.

As another first for the annual festivities, a tricycle relay was added to the line up of the classic April Reign games including obstacle course, pyramid, and tug of war. Teams competed in their respective brackets for the top spot in each event, earning points to advance their team in the standings and determine an overall winner in each division.

Coming out on top this year overall for the men's, women's and coed brackets were Sigma Phi Epsilon, Alpha Phi and TAP, respectively.

Beyond the team competitions, the annual April Reign concert, hosted by Campus Entertainment Productions (CEP) in Ursprung Gymnasium, featured DJ Bobby Booshay, Air Doobai, and headliner Asher Roth.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BW Bach Fest to Feature Student Led Community 5k

The Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music is debuting a fun new addition to its long-standing and world renowned Bach Festival. Celebrating its 83rd year (and Bach's 330th birthday), this year's fest will include BW's first-ever 5k run/walk, "Das Rennen Bach," the brainchild of enterprising Conservatory students, including Josiah Bullach '15 and David Croglio '15.

The race, beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, April 18 (festival weekend), will start in front of Boesel Musical Arts Center and take runners around Coe Lake and back to the BW Conservatory. Awards will be given out to the top men and women racers in each graduating class and age group, with an additional award for Best Dressed Like J.S. Bach. 

One of the primary objectives for the new event is to "promote healthy living for musicians and community engagement by encouraging the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory and the greater Berea community" and comes as a part of BW's effort to create new ways to appreciate the life of J.S. Bach, as noted in festival previews in The Plain DealerCleveland Classical and "Faces of the SUNS" column.

Bullach, senior performance major and one of the student coordinators for the race, said the 5k is also a great way to bring the BW community together. "It is just as much intended for non-conservatory students, community members, and non-competitive walkers. It's a race, but also a fun community event," Bullach said.

Participants can register online and get more information on the Das Rennen Bach Facebook event page.

From BW to the CW: Alumna Cast as Super Hero

From Bagley Road to Broadway, now Broadway to Hollywood, BW Music Theatre grad, Ciara Renée '13, is already cemented in the spotlight and it all started when she was a student in the Conservatory of Music.

After starring in The Hunchback of Notre Dame as Esmeralda, Renée has picked up a new creative project as "Hawkgirl" in the upcoming CW Flash-Arrow spin-off series. "Hawkgirl", as reported by Entertainment Weekly, "is known for being one of DC Comics’ first female superheroes." Part of the character involves wings that extend from her back when angry.

After her Broadway debut in Big Fish in 2013, Renée also starred in the Broadway revival of Pippin as the Leading Player.

Although not much has been revealed about the CW series, be sure to watch this BW grad spread her wings as "Hawkgirl" and fight villains in the Flash-Arrow spin-off soon.

Monday, April 6, 2015

BW Alum Excels Behind the Scenes at the Cavs

As the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare for the NBA playoffs, a graduate of BW's sport management program is playing in a key role behind the scenes. David Painter '98, the Cavs' senior manager of practice facilities, recently gave fans an inside look at the Cavaliers' Cleveland Clinic Courts that he oversees for LeBron, Kyrie, Kevin and company.

From the recognizable media room to the administration area, the BW sport management and business administration alum breaks down some of the efforts which go into the management of one of Cleveland's beloved pro sports teams.You can access and watch the video tour here.