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Ventures | Summer 2018

Date: May 2018

students at professional event

Stevenson has always looked for ways to provide its students with a competitive edge in their career paths, and now, the university has introduced five professional minors specifically created to do so. These new minors—Applied Management, Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development, Human Resources, Real Estate, and Software Design and Coding—were conceived to expand students’ career options and offer an opportunity to shape their education to meet their specific career goals.


Both discipline and professional minors give students the opportunity to learn outside of their field and tailor their education to their own specific interests, but they differ in their primary focus. Where traditional, discipline-specific minors such as English, economics, or music give a student a more in-depth education in an academic field relevant to their major or their personal interests, the new professional minors focus on introducing students to in-demand professions and industries when coupled with their major, provide them with additional career options after graduation.

Each professional minor consists of four courses designed to teach foundational knowledge related to a discipline or industry. The courses will be supplemented by programming hosted by the Office of Career Services. “This new, career-centered credential is another example of how Stevenson helps its students stand out in a competitive job market,” says Bridget Brennan, Ph.D., Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. “Adding a solid knowledge base and workforce experience in one of these industries to the skills and career preparation they gain in their major will give students the versatile skills employers want and open up new career paths for them.”

The professional minors will officially launch in fall 2018 but the program is being embraced by faculty in different programs across campus. Students have already begun declaring professional minors, and Student Success Coaches, Academic Advisors, and Career Services staff are positioned to help students decide whether they might benefit from declaring a professional minor.


HOW: Provides a foundation in business management through the study of management fundamentals, employee relations, and organizational leadership.

WHY: “An Applied Management professional minor pairs well with any School of the Sciences major,” says Meredith Durmowicz, Dean of the Fine School of the Sciences. “For instance, a science major who pursues an advanced degree in a medical field would use skills from an Applied Management professional minor in setting up and managing their own medical practice. An Applied Management professional minor can also help science majors who intend to pursue a career in industry by giving them a strong foundation for leadership and management positions.”


HOW: Prepares students to understand the skills and commitment required to start a new venture or build a small business; to organize and write a complete business
plan that can be used to start a new business and apply for venture capital; and to set appropriate marketing objectives for small business growth.

WHY: “As a graphic designer, I will likely experience freelancing at some point in my career, and might even choose to begin my own photography/freelance design career one day,” says Hailey Guit, Graphic Design ’20. “This minor offered me a chance to learn about how to manage and be successful in any business endeavors.”


HOW: Provides a foundation for careers in the human resources industry through the study of workforce development, compensation and planning, and employee relations.

WHY: Jeffrey D. Elliott, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Department Chair, says “A minor in Human Resources may be attractive to Psychology majors who want to apply their skills in a workplace or business setting rather than in a clinical or research setting. The minor can help to make them competitive for an entry-level position in HR, where they might focus on recruitment and training of employees or on employee relations.”


HOW: Provides instruction in the basics of the commercial real estate industry and offers core skills for entry-level work in the fields of commercial real estate and development.

WHY: “There are many job opportunities for paralegals and lawyers in the real estate field,” says Hilary Michaud, Chair and Professor of Law and Justice Studies. “While they could work for law firms, they could also work for title companies, real estate brokerage firms, estate-specific types of employers, and more.”


HOW: Provides a foundation in information systems to prepare students to perform industry- specific IT tasks in the workplace through the study of programming and technology infrastructures.

WHY: Laura Smith, Chair and Associate Professor of English Language and Literature says, “Tech companies need people with those classic English skills in storytelling, communication, and complex thinking. At the same time, English majors who want writing careers will be increasingly writing in digital spaces. They need to graduate with the ability to understand and navigate digital platforms, including coding, information architecture, and design.”


Sue Gordon, Vice President of Career Services, is quick to note that the professional minors aren’t just about classes—they’re suffused with career experiences. “There are three elements to the career-related aspect of the professional minors,” she says. “There will be sponsored internships developed specifically for the minor. For example, a real estate minor will have an internship at an agency. There also will be panels with professionals who are working in the industry related to the minor. And finally, with employer site visits, students would travel to a business to learn about the industry, how the company recruits, and what skills truly apply to that field.”

The panels will begin this fall, she says, with internships and site visits beginning in fall 2019. Gordon also notes that she would embrace the opportunity to partner with Stevenson alumni working in any of the fields related to the new professional minors on sponsored internships and panels.

Overall, the new professional minors are yet another example of Stevenson’s goal of connecting students to careers both in and out of the classroom. “The professional minors allow students to customize their experience at Stevenson to reflect their unique skills, interests, and career goals. They also provide students with additional possibilities in response to the important question, ‘What do I want to do when I graduate?’ ” Brennan says.

president hirshman

This summer marks an important milestone. June 11 is the 10th anniversary of Villa Julie College becoming Stevenson University.

This milestone is an opportunity to reflect upon the debt of gratitude the Stevenson community owes to the founders of Villa Julie College. It is also a moment to reflect upon the values of Stevenson and Villa Julie. Our close-knit community of caring faculty, staff, and students tie our past to our present. Similarly, our efforts to help students develop professionally mark another important continuity. Every day, our faculty and staff help our students experience opportunities to grow, develop, and reach their fullest potential—just as they did when we were founded 70 years ago.

This heritage has produced many successes. In the past year, we successfully completed our Middle States reaccreditation process, and, in May, nearly 800 traditional and Stevenson University Online graduates crossed the stage to receive their bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As part of our focus on creating career connections for students, we are introducing five professional minors this fall. You will read about these and more in this issue.

Since our last issue of Ventures, the university has renovated facilities for student activities in Garrison Hall, creating spaces for student clubs and organizations, a satellite fitness center, and facilities for our new esports club. We also created new green space in front of Rockland Center and Garrison Hall. This green space provides opportunities for communal gatherings as well as a walkable connection between our residence halls, Rockland Center, Garrison Hall, and the Brown School of Business and Leadership.

Last, I am pleased to share that the first phase in the development of the Rosewood site is complete with the demolition of 20 buildings on the site. We are now working with the State of Maryland to prepare for site grading that will allow us to develop roadways, athletic fields, and recreational facilities.

As we say here, it’s a great time to be a Mustang! I hope you enjoy this issue of Ventures and learning more about your university.


In February, Stevenson opened its new student activities space on the Owings Mills campus, the Garrison Hall Student Commons. Among the features of this modern, student-friendly area is a state-of-the-art esports suite, home to Stevenson’s esports club.

Esports is a new venture for the university—but it’s a popular one. In esports, short for “electronic sports,” individuals and teams play a schedule of video game matches and competitions. Although the global presence of professional esports really only began to surge in the 2010s, today it has millions of followers watching the games on a live streaming video platform.

The events are held in arenas around the world, oftentimes drawing more viewers than the NBA, NHL, and MLB championship games. Top professional players can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in endorsements and prize earnings.

On the collegiate level, growth has been remarkably swift. In 2014, Robert Morris University announced its scholarship-sponsored League of Legends team. Now, there are more than 60 programs at U.S. universities and its momentum isn’t slowing. For example, 22 percent of all millennial-aged men watch esports, a number nearly equal to those in that demographic watching baseball or hockey. Additionally, Newzoo—a leading provider of market information about global games and esports—projects that college esports will be a $1.5 billion industry by the year 2020.

“There is a clear desire for collegiate level esports, and it only seems to be growing,” says Vice President of Enrollment Management Mark Hergan. “We are proud to offer esports as a modern, community-building experience for both our current and incoming students.”

“When we were approached about adding a serious esports arena, we felt that it was another extension of appealing to more students, especially in this area where esports offerings are harder to come by than, say, the West Coast,” Hergan notes. “We thought, ‘How could we use the existing space we had on the Owings Mills campus as a tool for those interested in this emerging and evolving sport?’”

Hergan was approached by Tyler Price (computer information systems ’17), a graduate student in the university’s Business and Technology Management program, who saw a need for esports during his undergraduate years. He served as the catalyst for making esports a serious group on campus because while the video games club was popular it didn’t meet the needs of players who wanted to play more competitively, he says.

“Having esports and the esports arena here can reach students that Stevenson may not have been reaching otherwise,” Price explains. “I wanted to break the mold of students not leaving their room to play video games to making a community centered on video games where people actually come together.”

The new Esports Suite is impressive, containing 25 custom gaming PCs with 144hz monitors, special gaming chairs, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV, and a projector. The players can use the room to practice individually or within teams, or to host gaming-related events such as viewing parties, inhouse tournaments, and more.

“When I started here a year ago, we only had a classroom of computers to practice with,” says League of Legends Coach and Esports Advisor Jonathon Neely. “Then we made the move to the esports arena and it was so exciting to watch. Out of other participating colleges on the East Coast, we are absolutely ahead in terms of facilities—we have one of the best esports rooms around.”

Because the sport is so new, each college manages its program in differing ways. They can fall under the auspices of athletic departments, student affairs, and even academic departments; Stevenson’s esports program currently falls under Club Sports.

As with other sports programs, recruiting the right players is crucial. Currently, much of recruitment is by word of mouth, but esports programs can follow a player’s rank by watching their game stats. Beyond identifying players who excel, the recruiting process is similar to that of traditional college sports in establishing a coach-player relationship.

Mouse clicks, keyboard taps, and the occasional words of frustration fill the room three days a week for practices, with official scrimmages falling on Wednesday evenings. The noise levels increase as the games progress. Conversation becomes louder. Clicks and taps become more energetic, and people gather to watch the main competitor’s screen. This is all part of what makes esports a team event—the energy is dynamic.

Price, who was a co-founder of the original Stevenson League of Legends (a multi-player game) team, sought to build the program up by building it around that team and then branching into other games such as Overwatch (a firstperson game). These are two of the most popular games in esports competition and attract a diverse range of players.

“This is a community of players for people who are striving to improve,” says Luke Zarcone, freshman psychology major and esports player. “When I saw the esports suite on my campus tour, I saw an environment I had never experienced. When I entered the room I just knew Stevenson was for me. I didn’t see this anywhere else.”

Sarah Kruse, a junior biochemistry major and esports team player, says that being part of the program has benefited her commuter student experience. “I’ve made friends here that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’ve felt nothing but support in the gaming community on campus.”

In addition, as with other student athletics and club activities, the program gives students a well-rounded college education. “Esports helps you apply the skills you are learning in the classroom, whether it’s teamwork, computer building, marketing, social media, and more,” Price notes.

And even if you don’t play, you’re always welcome to watch.


Interested in learning more about the Esports program at SU? Know someone who may want to join? Click the link below for information!

tiffany sanchez

Stevenson University has appointed Tiffany Sanchez as Vice President for Student Affairs. Sanchez, who most recently served as Interim Dean of Student Life at Johns Hopkins University, started on Feb. 15.

Sanchez brings more than 20 years of experience in student affairs and residence life, including the past 15 years overseeing student programming, housing, health and wellness, diversity and inclusion, and student conduct. She joined The Johns Hopkins University in 2013 as Associate Dean of Student Experience where she provided leadership for student orientation and the first-year experience as well as student arts programming, fraternity and sorority life, and student leadership and involvement. Previously, she served as Director of New Student Programs at American University, 2001-2013, and held positions with Youth for Understanding International Exchange and Heidelberg College in Ohio. 

Sanchez is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and holds a Master’s in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University in Ohio.

Christopher R. Vaughan

Christopher R. Vaughan was appointed as the new Vice President for University Advancement, bringing a well-rounded background in philanthropy as well as deep connections in the Greater Baltimore community. He joined Stevenson on Jan. 29, 2018.

“I am excited to be here at Stevenson and am looking forward to working with our alumni, donors, and colleagues across campus to advance our mission. The Stevenson community feels like a family, and it is a privilege and pleasure to be here,” says Vaughan.

A native of Baltimore, Vaughan served as the Division Director for Development at Associated Catholic Charities for four years. In this role, he oversaw major and lead gifts, annual giving, program giving, planned giving, grants, development events, and donor services. During his tenure, the agency saw significant increases in annual and program giving support, planned gifts, donor retention, and new donor acquisition.

Prior to joining Catholic Charities, Vaughan served in advancement for Loyola University Maryland, his alma mater, for 11 years. His roles included Director of Annual Giving, Director of Planned Giving, and Special Assistant to the Vice President for Development and College Relations. He began his career at Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the oldest investment banking firm in the United States, where he was an analyst in the Margin Group, managing investment margin accounts for several branch offices across the country.

A graduate of Calvert Hall, Vaughan earned both his bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration from Loyola.

honors program students

The university is developing a new four-year Honors Program that brings together honors general education classes with honors experiences in students’ majors to help them become independent, creative, and analytical thinkers. The Honors Program will allow students to build relationships and make connections between disciplines and with faculty and fellow students and to pursue research and scholarship.

Rivka Glaser, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, has been selected to be the Honors Faculty Director and will lead the further development of the program. The students in the Honors Program as well as those in our Service and Leadership Programs will have opportunities for exceptional experiences such as meeting distinguished political, social, and cultural leaders through the Baltimore Speakers Series.


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Ventures Summer 2018
Ventures, Summer 2018


Arts & Cultural Events

  • Global Game Jam
  • Fri Jan 28
  • Brown School of Business and Leadership - Owings Mills Campus
Full Calendar

View Full Calendar


Ventures is published two times each year by Stevenson University for its students, faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and benefactors. No part of this publication may be reproduced in print or digital form without prior permission from the publisher.

Questions or comments about this issue?

Please contact:
John A. Buettner, Vice President, Marketing and Digital Communications
Stevenson University
100 Campus Circle
Owings Mills, Maryland 21117

Please visit for the latest
news about the University.


Elliot Hirshman, Ph.D.

Chair, Board of Trustees
James B. Stradtner, CFA

Vice President, University Advancement
Christopher R. Vaughan

Vice President, Marketing and Digital Communications and Publisher
John Buettner

Sherry E. Bithell

Atsuko Biars, Tiffany Reese


Chip Burkey, Cierra Colón, Alison Cuomo, Samantha Brooke Murray, Emily Reely, Tiffany Reese, Greg Royce, Brandon Seidl, Dan Walker

Advancing the Mission Contributors 

Meghan Culbertson, Judith Jackson, Allison Humphries ’11, Office of University Advancement


Maximilian Franz, Aaron Harris, Nora Long, Sabina Moran, Dan Siebenhaar, SU Photography Interns, Office of University Advancement

Ventures Online
Emily Reely, Brandon Seidl, Dan Walker

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