Archive for the ‘Industry Partnerships’ Category

When I originally prepared for this trip I knew that I would meet many new people, especially those from Taiwan.  What I did not know, is that within our group I would meet new people as well.  I have developed strong relationships with both people from Ashland, but many other Universities and states as well.  Within our group there are people from Kansas, California, Washington D.C., and even South Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Guam.  I have learned as much, if not more, from them about our own culture as I have about the Taiwanese culture.  Living in Ohio has been a blessing to me, but it is not the most progressive state to say the least.  Being around others from all corners of the U.S. and surrounding countries has been a real treat!  As far as our learning partners go, we like to watch them as much as they enjoy watching us.  When we first arrived here, we were all at a night market to try stinky tofu and Demi, one of our learning partners, kept pushing us to try stinky tofu (a famous Taiwanese dish).  When I asked her if she liked it, she replied with “I don’t know I have never had it.”  To this I was shocked, how could she be forcing it upon us in the first week when she has yet to have it after over a century of living here.  Low and behold, she just wanted to see the reaction on our face after we smelled it and ate it.  If you are wondering how it tasted, it was as the Taiwanese say “還蒿.”  Which is hai hao and means okay, or not bad in English.  I wouldn’t go searching for it, but I too would force it on foreigners simply to watch the reaction on their faces.

Aside from learning from others, I am learning from myself.  I recall going on family vacations and learning of the places that we would travel to, though through all of the fun and happiness by week two or so I was ready to be out of the close quarters.  One thing was for sure with a “Miller family vacay” and that is that there was always a good verbal spat (and if it was between my brother and I, we may or may not have duked it out).  Now that is with people that are extremely familiar with each other, and knew that it would be best to work out the problem there rather than push it back to a different time.  Imagine it with 20 some strangers that are constantly together and will more than likely not see each other (those from different states).   You could imagine tensions get pretty high at times.  I have seen many a moment where I was sure that there was about to be a few words exchanged between my classmates, yet they take a step back and just breathe.  That is the beauty of world travel.  It takes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to dig deep down and find the strength and patience.  You are not in your house, you aren’t able to get an American cheeseburger, you are not able to hug your loved ones or go and see a movie with your best gals.  We are fortunate enough to have this experience and it is just that, an experience!  I read something today that went like this, “No one will remember the special days in their life, they will remember the special moments in their life.”  Yea…I will let that one sink in until my next post.  In the mean time, enjoy the pictures of what we have been experiencing.


Our group at the Central Science Park

Gong Fu class…hit ’em with the high kick! 

Mountainous views to make you appreciate how small we as humans really are.



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Shaune Skinner

Shaune Skinner

Helen Colon

Helen Colon











On Wednesday, April 16th Eagle Entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, hosted a panel discussion titled “The Challenges of Women Executives.” Two women from NAWBO Columbus came and spoke to students about their experiences in the business world. NAWBO is the National Association of Women Business Owners.

Helen Colon is currently the Vice President of The Schumacher Group of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. Much of her experience as a woman in business, however, centered around her twenty years spent as a trader on Wall Street. She went into business on Wall Street, she explained, through a personal connection her stepfather had with Carl Icahn. Ms. Colon talked about unequal treatment of women. She explained that even under President Obama’s administration women are making $.88 per $1 as compared to men. She also stressed the need to act like an executive and work on the business rather than in it. Ms. Colon talked about the importance of being prepared and also being involved in community groups. She emphasized that if you treat everyone with equal respect, you will get much farther.

Shaune Skinner is the founder and president of ASC Group, Inc. which is a cultural and environmental resources consulting company. Her start came from volunteering at a place where she wanted to work. Then when a position opened she was at the top of the list. Ms. Skinner emphasized the importance of taking opportunities and not letting others jump in front of you. She also explained that to run a business you need to “get out of the grass.” If you give up the small things you are better able to concentrate on what is important for the company as a whole. Ms. Skinner also advised to never burn bridges as you are unaware as to who will cross your path later in your career. Both women brought years of valuable experience and advice that was beneficial to those in attendance.

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On Friday, April 4th, a group of students, faculty, and staff went to Progressive Insurance to tour their Mayfield Village facilities and learn about opportunities in the company. Founded in 1937, Progressive is the 4th largest auto insurance provider in the United States. In Cleveland alone they have over 9,000 employees, showing that there are great opportunities with well-known companies available right here in Ohio. Students, faculty, and staff in attendance learned about the accounting rotational program, the analyst development program, actuary positions, and internship opportunities.

In terms of internships Progressive has both winter and summer internships. They hire early, however, so if you are interested in an internship position there it is recommended that you keep your eyes open in the fall semester. You can locate open internship positions through the company website or through the career services center on campus.


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AU Information Systems Class Creates System to be used by Facilities Department

The Ashland University Dauch College of Business and Economics often provides opportunities for students to gain real-world experience through upper level classes, internships, and projects. Information System students enrolled in a course titled Database Management taught by Dr. Nitin Walia were involved in developing and implementing a database application for AU’s facilities department.  As a final project for this semester’s class, Dr. Walia wanted to expose the students to a real-world database system implementation.  He discovered that the AU Facilities and Management Planning department was struggling with their current system.  Chris Hassmann, Director of Facilities and Management Planning at Ashland, expressed an interest in having the students create a new system for tracking employee environmental health and safety training.  He explained that the system would be essential in accurately tracking and reporting regulatory trainings required by (a) Safety – OSHA regulations, (b) Fire & Life Safety – NFPA Fire Codes, and (c) Environmental – EPA Regulations. The documentation (reports) generated by the system may be relied upon if inspected by a regulatory agency, or if in the event of an injury, an employee’s training is questioned.

For the development of project, the class was divided into two teams.  The objective of the project included designing a database so that it could actually be used by Chris and his department. In early November, the students met with Chris to establish the requirements for the system. They discussed the process of health and safety training as well as what Chris would like out of the system. Students documented everything that he desired about his ideal way to track and report on employee training. During the course of development students communicated with Chris for any clarification on the project requirements. With less than a month until the project delivery date, students distributed time among each stage of database development.  Database management class includes learning ER-Diagrams, third normal form (3NF), and SQL -the international standard language for database use. It can be agreed upon by all students that every concept learned from day one of database class was required to complete this project.  The students were given the freedom of creativity in designing menu screens, data entry forms, and reports. Besides creating the data entry forms, the system Development also included functionality for creating certificates to be generated for each employee after they finish the training session, ability to store training materials for each course, and store and track sign-in sheet of employees for each training session. Group members delegated tasks across the board to bring together one complete database by using SQL and Microsoft Access-2010 to design forms and reports. Each group created a different version of the Environmental Health and Safety Training database and presented it to Chris at the end of the semester. Dr. Walia presented the idea that they could possibly combine the two team designs to deliver maximum functionality in the end.

On December 6th-2011, the groups presented their finished products to Chris Hassmann and Rick Ewing, Vice President of Facilities Management and Planning. Each group explained the process of development and provided the audience with a demo of each system, followed by a Q&A session.  In addition, an extensive system documentation booklet on how to use each system was also provided. Rick Ewing and Chris Hassmann expressed great thanks to the students and stated that this system will be a great asset to their department. They also offered students an opportunity for internship at the facilities department. At the end of the presentation each student received a ‘Certificate of Achievement’ for completion of the project and an eagle’s gift card.

The Dauch College of Business and Economics continues to prepare students for real-world experiences such as this.  This semester’s information systems database management class surely used skills learned in this upper-level course to leave a personal mark on Ashland University.

Prepared by Holly James (Junior, IS Major)

Students Quotes

Holly James, Junior (IS Major)

Contributing a system to the university was a fantastic experience.  Under the guidance of Dr. Walia, we were able to experience both the challenges and rewards of project management.  We not only drew from our database skills, but each of us also received a certificate validating the completion of a system implemented at Ashland University signed by both Chris and Rick. It was the perfect ending to our database course. I think the other students would agree that this experience will definitely help us for the future! 

 Brent Lemaster, Senior (IS Major)

I felt that the project was a great way to gain real world experience.

Justin Nolan, Junior (IS, CS Major)

I would like to say that it was great to use what we learned in class on a real-world project. It’s an experience that cannot be taught.

Eric Hillier, Senior (IS Major)

Creating the database was one of the most applicable uses of what we learned in class. While it was a great learning experience, it was a terrific business experience.

Comments of Project Sponsors

Patrick Ewing

VP, Facilities Management & Planning

Ashland University

I want to thank you as well, for your willingness to work with Chris in what I view as a mutually beneficial exercise. We were really impressed by the work of your students in listening to our needs and producing simple, yet effective solutions to our database needs. The quality and professionalism of both the products and the presentations reflect the high level of learning that is taking place in your class and your exceptional students. We are very pleased to have been able to provide this real-world project scenario and we are even more pleased to have a usable product that will improve the operational efficiency of our department.

Christopher Hassmann

Director, Environmental Health & Safety

Ashland University

            It was a pleasure working with your class this semester. The database created by your students will be used to ensure that Ashland University maintains compliance with regulatory training requirements. An important aspect of ensuring compliance is providing the proper documentation. The product produced by your students will provide a simple and effective means to do this. Thank you for working with us on this project.


Dr. Nitin Walia

Asst. Professor, Accounting/IS Department, COBE

I believe this was a mutually beneficial exercise for all the parties involved. Students got an opportunity to develop a real-world application which would be implemented and used by Ashland University. Facilities dept. was able to get a fully functional application developed at a marginal cost, and most significantly this exercise enriched the course content of the Database class. I will definitely repeat this exercise in my future classes. 


From Left : Yu Gu, Jason Sacash ,Brent Lemaster, Eric Hillier, Alan Saunders, Justin Nolan,Holly James, Dr. Nitin Walia, Chris Hassmann,  Patrick Ewing


From Left : Yu Gu, Jason Sacash ,Brent Lemaster, Eric Hillier, Dr. Nitin Walia, Chris Hassmann,  Patrick Ewing



 From Left : Holly James, Justin Nolan, Alan Saunders, Dr. Nitin Walia, Chris Hassmann,  Patrick Ewing

Team A – Entity-Relationship Diagram

This Entity-Relationship Diagram provides the basis for efficient creation of this database.  This is the guideline that the development team used as a basis to begin developing the actual system in Microsoft Access.  Each box represents an entity (table) built into the database design.


Team B – Start-Up Form

Team A – Start-Up Form

Session Information Form


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