COVID-19 UPDATE: Tiffin University cancels facial covering policy.  Read more details.  Give to the Student Emergency Fund.

Blog

Student Scene

Spring/Summer 2017

Taking Life One Match at a Time

Adel Musina

Moscow, Russia

Growing up, many kids get involved in sports and instantly fall in love. Most live a normal life, but for some, they eat, sleep and breathe their passion.

“To me, tennis is everything,” said Adel Musina, a tennis player at Tiffin University. Starting at the age of five, Musina was placed in lessons at a local tennis club in Moscow, Russia. Her training accelerated at the age of ten when she played in her first tournament. “My parents saw that tennis was something I loved, so they signed me up for individual lessons.” Musina’s parents pulled her from school and hired tutors to homeschool her so she could dedicate time to tennis. She attended practice daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and then completed homework in the evenings.

Later, Musina joined a national team and competed all over Europe and the United States starting at the age of 12. She had many accomplishments: at the age of 14 she was in the top 20 and almost got sponsors during a tournament in Germany; she was the top 16 under the age of 16; in the top 80 under the age of 18; and won Russia’s master of the sport at the age of 17.

“Tennis was the most important thing in my life,” Musina said. “It always came before school.” Musina made tennis a priority until she won master of the sport. It was time for her to focus on both school and tennis. “Back home, I had to choose tennis or education, but in America you can do both. Here, I can play my favorite sport while getting an education.”

Musina attended the University of Florida then transferred to Tiffin University. She was intrigued by TU because of tennis as well as its academic reputation. She will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in marketing with a minor in management in 2018. Her dream job is becoming a professional tennis player or marketing specialist. For now, she looks forward to playing tennis, doing her best and being challenged on and off the court. “Tennis is more than a sport, it’s a lifestyle.”

Magic

Kaitlyn Boehler

Tiffin, Ohio, USA

Growing up in small town Tiffin, Ohio, I never thought I would find my passion, my magic,” said Kaitlyn Boehler, a graduate student at Tiffin University.

After attending Butler University in Indianapolis, Boehler realized all she needed was right in front of her, right in her hometown.

“I thought I had to travel to a big city or attend college far away to have an experience of a lifetime and to be successful in my career.” Just after one semester, Boehler knew Butler wasn’t the place for her. Although she participated in numerous activities on campus and was doing well in class, she never felt welcomed or accepted. After reflecting on her time at Tiffin University when she took College Credit Plus courses, she applied and moved back home.

“I returned to Tiffin University because of the small campus. Professors are very personal; they know your name and have a genuine conversation with you either before or after class,” she said.

Boehler also chose to return because she’s a legacy. “Being a Dragon runs within my family’s blood.” Her mother, sister, cousin and two aunts also attended.

“Whenever people ask me where I’m from and I respond with ‘Tiffin,’ they normally ask why I’m still here. I tell them my story and how amazing Tiffin and Tiffin University really is. You don’t need a big city or a school with broader name recognition to have a great opportunity and get a degree.”

Boehler graduated with her bachelor’s degree in public relations in 2017. She is currently using her degree to assist the TU Office of Marketing and Communications as a graduate assistant and as a Seneca County Safe Communities Coordinator at the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, where she interned. Boehler is also earning her MBA in marketing and recently opened a dance studio in Tiffin with her family.

“Tiffin University has encouraged me to reach my goals and succeed at anything I put my mind to. If you don’t stay positive, try a new experience or look at things in a different way, you may never find your magic. Tiffin University is the magic that has allowed me to succeed.”

Growing in a Different Direction, but Roots Remain

Slavena Timcheva

Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

“To Americans, we’re not the traditional family,” said Slavena Timcheva, an international graduate student at Tiffin University.

Growing up in Bulgaria, Timcheva had to mature quickly.

“It’s common for families to travel to other countries, to leave their family in order to provide a better life for them,” said Timcheva. “There was a point in my life when I didn’t see my parents for two years straight. I think it was harder for my mom than it was for me; I was little and didn’t understand what was really happening. I’m happy for that experience because it made us closer and we talk a lot. My mom is my best friend.”

Bulgaria’s low economy has affected families, forcing parents to leave their children in the care of grandparents. Bulgarian families devote resources and attention to their children’s well-being and education. “They always encouraged me to study and do something with my life so I wouldn’t have to go through the same thing they did. My parents always say that they live for me – they would do anything for me and support me.”

Timcheva spent her time studying and working hard. She was accepted into a prestigious high school, received her undergraduate degree, visited America through a work-and-travel program, fell in love with Tiffin University and decided to study in America. She just graduated from TU with her master’s degree in forensic psychology and hopes to become a substance abuse counselor.

My Culture Is My Identity

Luis Ludena Egas

Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela

A recent class of 2017 graduate, Luis Ludena Egas reflects on his home in Venezuela.

He misses celebrating holidays with his family. His favorite, Carnaval, takes place in February and is similar to Mardi Gras. Venezuelans take time to visit their families and enjoy the festivities together. Streets are filled with parades, music, dancing and water balloons. “It’s so much fun,” he said. “We put water in small balloons and throw them at people – we call them bombs. Everyone does it and we go out in the streets and enjoy the festivities.”

He also misses celebrating Christmas with his family. Gathering on December 24, Luis and his family celebrate with dinner, music and dancing. One of his favorite meals, hallaca, is only prepared in December. “It is a lot of work to prepare and involves the whole family.” Families wrap beef, pork, raisins and olives in cornmeal dough, then it is bound with banana leaves. Typically men clean the banana leaves and tie it together for steaming.

Christmas celebrations continue with dancing. “People say Latins grow up dancing, and that’s a fact. Growing up, my family taught me how to dance. At family gatherings, we play salsa or merengue, and my family has always encouraged me to dance.”

When the clock strikes midnight, Egas and his family open presents.

Although he has fond memories of his culture, Egas is unsure of his future plans.

“After graduation, I had originally wanted to return to Venezuela, but it’s too damaged now.” He went on to explain the food shortage happening in his home country. The Venezuelan government has withheld importers with price controls and denies assistance from other countries. As a result of the shortages, Venezuelans search for food in empty supermarkets. “The situation right now is very critical and deeper than it seems. Everything is about corruption – that’s why I’m getting my degree in America.”

Luckily, his family is safe and healthy during this crisis. Talking with his family daily, he is reassured they are doing well. Luis explained that his family gets everything they need from the black market. “You have to be flexible in these kinds of situations. It’s really sad, but that’s how it works.”

For now, Egas plans to stay in America to earn his MBA in marketing or international business at Tiffin University. He chose TU originally because he was able to play tennis through a scholarship and study a degree he desired – hospitality and tourism management. He chose this degree because of the diversity of the people he would meet in his career whether it be through hotels, casinos, clubs or cruises. “I will always be able to meet people from all over the world,” he said.

His dream is to own a hotel that has tennis courts. Not only does he want to serve others, he also wants to teach his passion of tennis.

Without Music, Life Would B-Flat

Craig Thompson (CJ) Jr.

Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Music is a piece of art that goes in the ears, straight to the heart. Undergraduate student Craig Thompson Jr. strengthens his passion for music at Tiffin University.

“My whole life has been music, so I wanted to learn more about it in school,” Thompson said. “It’s where my heart is.”

Before college, Thompson taught himself how to write songs, produce and engineer music, and sing. He had a successful start in the industry. He acted in a commercial, performed on a television show, signed a production deal as a solo artist and performed in various productions and groups. These accomplishments drove his passion further. Thompson wanted to add to his knowledge of performing. He desired to learn more about the music industry, production and engineering.

Initially, Thompson aspired to play soccer at Tiffin University, and although he stays active playing on TU’s rugby team, he chose a different route. After researching Tiffin University’s Music Department, he was intrigued by TU’s scholarship for beat makers. “I felt confident in production and this was the only school that could offer me that opportunity.” So Thompson auditioned for the scholarship. He played beats and an impromptu performance of the song, “Happy Birthday.”

Auditioning was one of the best things Thompson did. Since then, he has been very successful in his music career at Tiffin University. He produces, mixes and arranges audio for recording artists, plays the drums for N’awlins and sings in TU’s choir and acapella group, Up in the Air. Outside of school, he has performed with his sister as an opener for The ZAPP Band and at the Cincinnati Music Festival. He also performed solo with the band, The Deele, on main stage.

“What I like most about my degree is the fact that it’s so modern and structured around what’s happening today in music.” Thompson’s degree gives him what he needs to be successful in the music business – guiding him through every aspect of the industry. “Before college, I could not read music or recognize any letter on the keyboard except C. TU’s program director taught me a whole new way of writing music and understanding the many ways of how to put my feelings and emotions into my songs.”

Thompson shares his love for music with his sister, Cyara, who is also a student at Tiffin University studying arts entrepreneurship with a concentration in music industry. The siblings are a duo named Stillwell Blue. Their style is a combination of alternative, pop and soul – with some hip-hop elements. “I want to write and create beautiful, good, honest music with my sister.”

Thompson will graduate in 2018 with a degree in arts entrepreneurship with a concentration in music industry. He plans to keep working on Stillwell Blue with his sister. One day, he hopes that creating and performing music will become his main job. “I aspire to perform for the world and contribute to people’s minds, hearts and souls through music. I don’t care about money; the moment I can say I’m successful is when I am happy.”

Curiosity

Junxia Rong

China

The saying “curiosity killed the cat” does not apply to graduate student Junxia Rong.

Investigation and experimentation led Rong to fulfilling her passion of international business.

Curiosity was engrained in her since she was young. Her family lived next to an ice cream factory, where her father worked. She and her older sister would sneak over to the plant and explore. “We would dip our fingers in the cream and eat it,” she said. “When people came by, we would hide.”

The youngest in the family, Rong looked up to her elders. She followed in her sister’s footsteps and became a teacher in China. For several years, she taught English to various ages. However, something was missing. She decided that teaching was not what she wanted to do anymore and she changed her plan.

Growing up in a “business family,” it only took time until it would rub off on Rong. Her mother inspired her to change career paths. “I admire that my mom started her own business. Her energetic, motivated personality is something I look up to.” She applied to school in the United States and attended community college in California. After learning the basics of business, Junxia connected with an alumnus from TU who informed her of its programs. She was drawn to TU’s small campus, class size and personal touch and attention so she enrolled in the graduate program.

Rong will graduate with her master’s degree in international business in 2018. She plans to stay in the United States and work for an international trade business. She wants to work for a company that trades with China so she can reconnect with home. She is grateful for her education in America and trusting her gut to switch career paths. She enjoys learning about business and is excited to practice it. “I’m interested in how to start up a company and how to manage it.”

Rong will keep moving forward, opening new doors and doing new things. Her curiosity will keep leading her down new paths and on to great things.

The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe

Roohani Dogra

Chandigarh, India

It’s common for people to be unsure of their future. Lots of times we wonder if we have a destiny or if we’re just floating through life. For graduate student Roohani Dogra, she believes floating through life is essential so that passions can be explored.

Dogra invested her time and energy to school, enriching herself with knowledge. In 2012, she was compelled to take a new direction in life and dabbled in the fashion industry for two years.

She did runways and photoshoots for numerous brands, such as Monte Carlo and GANT. One day she realized that there was something else she needed to pursue. “I followed my passion and fulfilled it, so it was time to move on. I felt that I should do something more.”

Dogra returned to her education. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree in psychology and is currently pursuing her second master’s degree in human resources at Tiffin University.

“I thought I should take my life to another level, to have more skill and enrich my knowledge.” After intensive research, Dogra chose TU because it has a tradition of excellence since 1888 and it celebrates cultural uniqueness. This notion indicated a safe, calm and protective environment to continue her education.

Believing that her spirituality and passions have guided her through life, Dogra said, “Life should be flowing and you should go with its flow.” This mindset allowed her to experience many things – getting a taste of different sides of life.

She doesn’t have a clear path for her future, but she puts her faith in God. Although her future in unclear, she has no fears for what is to come. “If you have hope and faith as a sense of your life, you can rule the world.”

Using this mindset, Dogra hopes to pursue her Ph.D. and become a chief human resource officer.

The Mind is the Most Powerful Weapon

Rashed Alyami

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Double majoring in homeland security and terrorism as well as law enforcement means more than just getting an education to Tiffin University undergraduate student Rashed Alyami.

“My country has done a lot for me to have a good life and I want to give back,” said Rashed.

After deciding to attend Tiffin University, Alyami researched majors. He noticed a trend that most Saudi Arabian students in America studied business.

Alyami said he chose homeland security and terrorism and law enforcement because he wanted to do something different – something that would not only change his life, but also change the lives of those in Saudi Arabia. “When I go back home, I hope to join the military to protect my country and the world from ISIS and other terrorist groups. I want to share my knowledge in homeland security and my experience in America.”

Alyami reflected on terrorism in his home country. He briefly explained an attack that occurred during the summer of 2016. Suicide bombers killed security forces outside of Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, one of the two holiest sites in Islam.

Millions of people were at risk because of their pilgrimage to the mosque during Ramadan. Authorities surmised that the attack was controlled by ISIS. Many Saudi Arabians consider church as a safe place, but now, Alyami and others worry about their safety.

“If there’s anything that I could change about the world, I’d want it to be peaceful,” he said. Rashed wants to pursue this goal when he returns home and joins the military. In his future, he plans to make a difference and change the world. “You have to listen, think about what’s going on, and take care of it.”