University students enrolled in News Writing, COM218, gained real-world experience this fall by interviewing and writing news stories about TU alumni. The project entailed students reaching out to alumni to discuss their TU experience and life after graduation.
Chari Mullen, Class of 2006/2010
Written by Madison Doss, Class of 2020
Tiffin University alumna Chari Mullen is now the Chief Executive Officer of Momma’s House and the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Student Affairs at the University of Toledo. Mullen said she spent her collegiate years at Tiffin University from 2002-2010 while gaining a Bachelor’s of Criminal Justice and Master’s of Business Administration.
During those years, she was also hired to work for TU in several different positions – Director of Tiffin’s Football Operations, Assistant Director of Graduate Student Services, Director of Northwest Ohio Academic Centers, Success Coach and Administrative Assistant.
While at Tiffin University, she said she was able to use the small school advantage to play multiple roles and gain experience in a variety of career areas.
Mullen said she had always wanted to help with child advocacy and youth to develop strong moral and performance character along with leadership qualities, which is what helped spark the idea of her organization, Momma’s House. Mullen described Momma’s House as being a non-profit organization based out of Fremont that inspires youth to stay on the right path to accomplish their life goals and dreams.
They also “enlighten their youth to discover their purposes, so they have a positive impact in their communities,” according to the Momma’s House’s website.
Mullen, a woman of faith, began her nonprofit journey when she was 21 years old. She considers herself passionate about the work she does and said “every person should follow things that they are passionate in.”
Mullen’s vision for her future changed over the duration of college. At first, she wanted to go to law school and become an attorney, but for various reasons, she left the attorney dream on the back burner and moved on to other things.
Since experiencing her career at the University of Toledo, Mullen said she is more motivated and learned that she can still follow her initial dream of becoming an attorney and helping youth advocacy in more ways.
When Mullen looked back at her days at TU, she recognized that her plan to help child advocacy was still relevant. She said she wanted to give back to communities and help those who had a childhood similar to hers. Mullen said she believes young people should have mentors to look up to, whether that is in a career setting or their overall lifestyle.
As for the future of Momma’s House, “there are current plans to expand into regional locations then hopefully nationally,” said Mullen. She said the organization plans to continue recruiting new students and help them find the nurture in life that they should have.
Mullen said she is hopeful for a bright future in her organization, workplace at the University of Toledo and her attorney aspirations.
Jesse Schrader, Class of 2002/2004
Written by Sheniah Lanier, Class of 2019
Jesse Schrader, class of 2002, had a lot to be excited for as he prepared to begin his freshman year at Tiffin University. He had already committed himself to attend the college and would soon accept a substantial baseball scholarship. But as the day for Schrader to sign for the scholarship drew near, he said one question started to trouble him: whether he should tell his new coach about his hemophilia.
The Mayo Clinic defines hemophilia as “a rare disorder in which [a person’s] blood doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins.”
The organization adds that one of the most serious risks associated with the disorder is “deep bleeding inside the body.”
Schrader said he experienced an especially scary incident of this kind while playing baseball in high school. Following a no-hitter game, he said he had suffered from a “major hip bleed” that left him unable to walk for several days.
Although he was worried that his disease would put his scholarship in jeopardy – several doctors had repeatedly advised him against playing sports, citing health risks – Schrader said he eventually decided to tell his coach the truth.
Schrader said, to his relief, his coach was sympathetic and didn’t hold the condition against him. “It was scary to be up front, but luckily it worked out,” Schrader said. “Back then, there weren’t a lot of people that were supportive of people like me playing sports.”
Schrader said he played baseball throughout college and that he coached two years of golf while earning a master’s degree in business management. Schrader said he even went on to play a year of professional baseball after graduating from the University.
Schrader said he was playing in a baseball tournament about 14 years ago when an associate of University Hospital asked him to speak to a group of children also suffering from hemophilia and blood disorders.
At first hesitant, Schrader said he was eventually convinced to accept the opportunity by his mother, who reminded him of how the same institution had helped him as a child. Not long after his first speaking engagement, Schrader said he met Pro Golfer Perry Parker. Parker also suffers from hemophilia, according to AllAboutBleeding.com.
Schrader said Parker helped get him a job running baseball clinics and speaking to young people in cities across the U.S. “I knew it was a great opportunity to give back and to stay involved in sports,” Schrader said. “I was also getting paid to travel on top of being paid to speak, which was a nice perk for someone who had never traveled much before.”
In the 14 years since he first started speaking, Schrader said he has attended events from Alaska and California to New York and Florida, encouraging young people to participate in sports despite their physical limitations and health issues.
“Twenty years ago, you never heard about anyone with hemophilia playing baseball,” he said, pointing out a lack of visibility of hemophiliacs in popular sports. “If you can give these kids hope that they can do it, it’s a great thing.”
Currently, Schrader said he divides his time speaking to America’s youth with his job as Vice President of Underwriting at KeyBank in Amherst. There, he said, he works with wealthy individuals, “protecting assets and supporting clients” as they consider real-estate and other business ventures.
Jon Hemmelgarn, Class of 2009
Written by Emily Jones, Class of 2022
Jon Hemmelgarn graduated from Tiffin University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and Language Arts. His class was the first from TU to graduate with an education degree.
Hemmelgarn said he studied at TU because of the football program, the football and academic scholarships he received and the two-hour drive from home.
He said during his first year at college, he learned useful traits such as time management and budgeting, both of which he wished he had learned earlier.
He said he felt like the professors cared about their individual students, adding “the professors knew you by name.” There was never a change in major for Hemmelgarn. It was always education, he said. His mother, father, brothers and sisters-in-law have all worked in schools as well.
After graduating from TU, he took a risk by taking a teaching position in West Virginia, rather than going to his hometown to teach. “[It was a] great learning experience,” Hemmelgarn said. He was also an assistant football coach for five years while he was teaching English.
At the age of 28, Hemmelgarn was presented with another opportunity. He became an administrator. He has now been the Principal at Versailles Middle School for a year. He says the kids are the reason he does it, and he loves to watch them learn and grow. Hemmelgarn said his favorite things about his work are the kids and staff.
Hemmelgarn and his wife have a 2-month-old. He said their family relationship is what he is most passionate about.
Hemmelgarn says he is also passionate about his work and being a positive influence in the world. He wants to be someone who makes people’s days better.
He says he prefers the beach to the mountains, the sun to the rain and ice cream to doughnuts. But if he weren’t doing what he was, those things wouldn’t matter.