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Kent State School of Theatre and Dance Partners With South Korea’s Dongseo University

Associate Professor Eric van Baars to spend semester teaching and directing in Asia 

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Kent State University theatre professors Eric van Baars
and Jakyung Seo are leading a partnership between Kent
State’s School of Theatre and Dance and South Korea’s
Dongseo University.

Kent State University’s School of Theatre and Dance has embarked on a new international partnership with South Korea’s Dongseo University. The collaboration is spearheaded by Kent State theatre professors Jakyung Seo and Eric van Baars. In this first stage of the partnership, van Baars will travel to Busan, South Korea, this month to join the Dongseo faculty as a guest artist. Dongseo University faculty members have already visited Kent State, as well as Porthouse Theatre.

Initially, van Baars and Seo hoped to build upon musical theatre’s popularity in South Korea by creating a Korean language version of van Baars’ online Introduction to American Musical Theatre course.

“There are more than 30 university-level musical theatre programs in South Korea – a country roughly the size of Ohio,” says van Baars.

However, when faculty from Dongseo University expressed interest in having an American faculty member visit for a semester, van Baars agreed to the opportunity. During his tenure at Dongseo, van Baars will teach a course in musical theatre scene study and direct a fully staged production of Stephen Schwartz’s Children of Eden. The production of Children of Eden, described by van Baars as a “beautiful story perfect for a large ensemble,” will be performed in June. He also will direct a professional production of Huan Birthday Shoes for the MAC Theatre Company. Both productions will be performed in Korean.

During his time in South Korea, van Baars “hopes to provide the Dongseo students and actors with experiences that replicate what they would receive here at Kent and in the states.”

Eventually, the universities hope to involve Kent State’s theatrical design and technology programs, which are not offered at Dongseo, and Porthouse Theatre in the collaboration. As van Baars elaborates, Dongseo faculty members are “excited to provide a collaboration that would allow their students to train extensively in the United States.” Further collaboration will allow Kent State and Porthouse Theatre to provide that training. Dongseo University’s growing theatre program and reputable film school could also provide education-abroad opportunities for Kent State students. 

Posted March 10, 2014

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Kent State Spring Break and Summer Technology Camps for Kids

Whether your youngster is a LEGO lover or a technology guru, Kent State University’s popular summer camps hosted by the Research Center for Educational Technology is offering something for all! In addition to the traditional summer camps, the center also has added a Spring Break LEGO Camp to be held on March 25 and 26 in Moulton Hall.

Kent State employees can take advantage of a $10 discount on all camps by using the code KSU at checkout. An early bird discount of $20 also is being offering to all who register for summer camps by April 15. Visit for a full listing of camps and to register. For additional information, email

Posted March 10, 2014

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Gold Medal Awarded for Industry Disruption at Blackstone LaunchPad Idea Olympics

Team Somato advances to regional EEC ideaLabs competition

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Pictured from left to right are Kent State University students
Paul Dilyard, Haley Underwood and Robin Bonatesta, and
two of the judges of the 2014 Kent State annual business
competition.Dilyard, Underwood and Bonatesta took the top
prize at the competition for their digital, custom business card
app named Somato.

The traditional, printed business card industry will have heavy competition when one Kent State university business comes to market.

Somato, a digital, custom business card app, created by Robin Bonatesta, a sophomore double major in computer science and fashion merchandising; Paul Dilyard, a junior digital science major; and Haley Underwood, a sophomore computer science major, took home the top prize of $2,000 in the 2014 Kent State annual business competition (renamed Idea Olympics this year).  Somato was one of 10 finalist teams to pitch their business concepts on Feb. 27 before a panel of seven regional entrepreneurs that included Jim Cossler, CEO of the Youngstown Business Incubator; Réka Barbaras, executive director of Bad Girl Ventures; Laura Pettit Rusick, founder and president of OPT Solutions Inc.; Tom Rudibaugh, partner, Strategic Federal Tax Services at Grant Thornton; Pete Accorti, president of Talan Products; Joe Charles, founder and president of JLC Services Inc.; and Darrell McNair, president and CEO of MVP Plastics Inc.

“We are very excited to have won the Idea Olympics and to have had the opportunity to advance our business model with Somato,” says Bonatesta.  All three teammates of Somato are members of the student organization Hacksu, and they built their winning app in January at MHacks, a 36-hour hackathon sponsored by the University of Michigan.

“This year’s annual Idea Olympics competition was a game changer, given the diverse range of ideas that applied,” says Julie Messing, executive director of entrepreneurship initiatives at Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad program. “More than 30 applications from 19 different majors were received for the competition, a record that reflects our program’s mission that anyone, regardless of their major, can be an entrepreneur,”

Two runner-up teams were each awarded $1,000 at the competition. Camden Fullmer and Daniel Gur, both seniors in computer science, won for Suggest, an app that makes gift-buying more efficient online. Ryan Schoeneman, a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in ecology, won for Axpress Custom Guitars, a portable, robo-milled guitar studio that can turn around a custom guitar within 24 hours.

The Somato team will represent Kent State at the 2014 ideaLabs competition, a regional competition sponsored by the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC), whose membership is made up of 11-member Northeast Ohio universities. The 2014 EEC ideaLabs competition will be held at Ashland University on April 3. For more information about the EEC ideaLabs competition, visit

Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad promotes entrepreneurship as a viable career path. Through mentoring, workshops and events, and connecting entrepreneurs to resources, Blackstone LaunchPad helps Kent State students, faculty, staff and alumni to create new startups or grow existing businesses in Northeast Ohio. For more information about Kent State's Blackstone LaunchPad, visit

Posted March 10, 2014

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Kent State University Board of Trustees Meeting, March 12

The Kent State University Board of Trustees will hold its next regular business meeting Wednesday, March 12. The board will convene at 1:30 p.m. in the George Urban Board of Trustees Conference Room, which is located on the second floor of the Kent Campus Library.

Trustees will retire into executive session at 8 a.m. in the Urban Conference Room to consider specific topics as provided under Ohio’s “Sunshine Law.”

Board committees will meet as follows:

  • Academic Excellence and Student Success Committee – 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Urban Conference Room
  • Audit and Compliance Committee – 9:30-10:30 a.m. in Room 222
  • Finance and Administration Committee – 10:45 a.m.-noon in the Urban Conference Room
  • External Relations and Development Committee – 10:45 a.m.-noon in Room 222

The board meeting agenda is available at

Posted March 10, 2014

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Assistant Director of Residence Education Appointed to Two National Boards

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Charles Holmes-Hope, assistant
director of residence education at Kent
State University, has been appointed to
two national boards.

Charles Holmes-Hope, assistant director of residence education in Kent State University’s Department of Residence Services, was recently appointed to two national boards: the National Association of Student Personnel Administration (NASPA) and the Association of College and University Housing Officers-International (ACUHO-I).

Holmes-Hope was appointed as the knowledge community co-coordinator of region IV east for NASPA in October, and the chair-elect for the multicultural affairs network of ACUHO-I in September. He has been involved with NASPA since attending graduate school in 2001, and has been involved for the past 10 years on a regional and national level.

Serving as the knowledge community coordinator is Holmes-Hope’s biggest role in NASPA so far. His duties since his appointment have included identifying strategies to increase NASPA membership within the region, encouraging the dissemination of research and best practices of the knowledge community, supporting the initiatives and programming activities of the knowledge communities and other activities. Recently, he organized an international webinar that focused on student affairs fundraising.

“Dr. Gwen Dungy, NASPA executive director emeritus, often said that the knowledge communities are the ‘gateway to the profession and connection to the association’ of NASPA,” says Holmes-Hope. “The knowledge communities are a way to engage our membership and to let professionals know what’s happening in the profession of student affairs as it relates to the broader higher education community.”

As the chair-elect for the multicultural affairs network of ACUHO-I, Holmes-Hope’s duties include shadowing the current chair, learning about the budget, activities and ensuring participation of members from underrepresented groups, but his role mainly focuses on the housing profession and meeting the needs of diverse housing professionals in the field. He will officially assume this role at ACUHO-I’s international housing conference, which is scheduled to take place in June in Washington, D.C.

“For me, it’s about how we connect professionals towards NASPA and ACUHO-I,” says Holmes-Hope. “We want to continue to increase membership, continue to develop best practices and tell our stories as student affairs professionals of who we are and what we do.”

Holmes-Hope has been involved with ACUHO-I since 2002 and has held leadership roles with the association since 2004. His previous roles in ACUHO-I include involvement on the Professional Standards Committee and the Program Committee. In addition to serving as the chair-elect for the multicultural affairs network, Holmes-Hope is currently a member on the Public Policy Advisory Committee.

“Life’s greatest lessons and professional expertise come from those pillars of the profession who have contributed to the landscape and trajectory in advancing our outstanding profession; you can definitely learn a lot from our seasoned professionals,” says Holmes-Hope. “Student affairs’ practitioners here at Kent State and across the world have a unique opportunity to shape the lives of each and every student by providing a first-class student experience and being student-centered. Quite simply, that’s what we are about — preparing and positioning our students for excellence as they begin the next journey in their lives.”

Posted March 10, 2014 | Emily Komorowski

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