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Siena Startups

Ashlee Trempus ’15 co-founded the startup company SignOn, which is a “virtual immersion program” that connects the hearing and deaf communities through authentic learning interactions.
Ashlee Trempus ’15 co-founded the startup company SignOn, which is a “virtual immersion program” that connects the hearing and deaf communities through authentic learning interactions.

Recent Graduates Follow Their Passions to Create New Businesses

Editor’s Note: From time to time, Reflections Magazine will highlight entrepreneurial alumni who have recently started business ventures within the past year. This article spotlights Ashlee Trempus ’15 and Kenneth DeGraaf ’16.

Ashlee Trempus ’15: SignOn

As a sign language interpreter, Ashlee Trempus ’15 is used to face-to-face contact with the deaf community in helping them communicate with the world around them.

When she graduated from SHU’s Lansing campus with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies, she decided to bring that face-to-face concept to the Internet. Trempus co-founded the start-up company SignOn, which is a “virtual immersion program” that connects the hearing and deaf communities through authentic learning interactions.

Trempus said she got the idea when an illness slowed her ability to complete her required hours of interaction she needed for her interpreter certification.

“I became homebound,” she said. “I was unable to travel.”

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Saints Athletics Highlights—Summer 2017

SHU Student-Athletes Excel in the Classroom

April Watson
April Watson

Siena Heights student-athletes earned a 3.09 GPA in the fall 2016 semester. Leading the way was the women’s golf team with a 3.61 GPA, followed by the softball team (3.57). Every women’s team earned a 3.0 or higher, with an aggregate GPA of 3.33 on the women’s side. The men’s teams were led by the men’s soccer team with a 3.42 GPA. The men’s aggregate GPA was a 2.91.


Women: The Saints (24-10) fell to No. 11 Morningside (Iowa) 90-73 in the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament in Sioux City, Iowa. SHU also dropped a 77-39 decision to No. 7 Davenport in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament championship. Senior April Watson was named a first team NAIA All-American, the first player in program history to earn the honor. The forward/center averaged 19.4 points, 11.3 rebounds and two blocks a game this season. Watson finished eighth all-time in scoring with 1,073 points in just two seasons with the program. She also finished first in scoring average (16.8) and sixth all-time with 661 total rebounds. Watson also holds the single-season rebounding record with 383, set this season. She also completed her career with a SHU record 129 career blocks. Watson was also named to the All-Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference first team and also garnered a spot on the all-defensive team. Senior guard Jaaliyah Arrington earned a spot on the All-WHAC second team, as well as on the all-academic team. Demi Russell was named to the conference’s all-freshman team, with Avery Chezem the team’s Champions of Character recipient. The Saints, who appeared in the national tournament for the fourth time, finished 23rd in the final NAIA Top 25 poll.

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One on One With . . . Dr. Amir Tamiz

Editor’s Note: This is an occasional Reflections series, and this issue features Siena Heights chemistry graduate Dr. Amir Tamiz ’92, who heads the Division of Translational Research for the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes (NINDS) in Washington, D.C..

Could you describe your current role and some of the duties and responsibilities you have on a day-to-day basis?

“I work at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), which is focused to seek fundamental knowledge about the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. The NINDS is one of 27 institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Within NINDS, I head the Division of Translational Research, which is tasked with accelerating the preclinical discovery and development of new therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders and stroke. We provide funding and resources (approximately $100 million annually) through grants, cooperative agreements and contracts to academic and industry researchers to advance basic research technologies, devices and therapeutic programs to first in human clinical trials and commercialization, with the hope to get therapies for patients who need them. DTR helps academic and industry researchers create a bridge through which discoveries made in the lab lead to new and improved medical treatments and options for patient care. We offer a variety of programs that support the design, implementation, and management of research activities critical to translational challenges in the treatment of neurological disease and stroke.

Read more . . .