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Archive for February, 2018

Women’s basketball player named Academic All-District for school record third straight year

Senior Jay-Ann Bravo-Harriott has been named to the 2017-18 College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District 5 Team for a school-record third-straight year. 

The two-time team captain is one of five players in program history to earn this prestigious honor and the first to achieve this feat on more than two occasions.

To be nominated, the student-athlete must be a starter or important reserve with at least a 3.20 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) for her career. District 5 includes all schools within the states of Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.

Bravo-Harriott will advance to the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.

Bravo-Harriott, a 5-foot-10 guard, is averaging 12.8 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.6 steals in 29.0 minutes per game. The two-time All-Mid-American Conference honoree ranks seventh in the league in three-point field-goals made (63), 12th in three-point field-goal percentage (.368, 63 of 171) and 20th in scoring (12.8 points per game).

A native of London, Bravo-Harriott graduated in December with a degree in communication and a minor in general business and a perfect 4.0 GPA. She is working on a master’s degree in business administration. 

She is joined on the team by Indiana’s Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, Kent State’s Jordan Korinek and Ball State’s Carmen Grande.

Bravo-Harriott and the Rockets (17-10, 8-7 MAC) will look to continue gaining momentum for the upcoming MAC Tournament when they play Saturday, Feb. 24, at Ball State (22-4, 11-4 MAC). Tip-off time is set for 2 p.m. in Worthen Arena and will be streamed live on ESPN3.

Two former Rockets chosen to participate in 2018 NFL Scouting Combine

Former Toledo football players Logan Woodside and Olasunkanmi Adeniyi have been selected to participate in the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The combine will take place from Tuesday, Feb. 27, through Monday, March 5.


Woodside finished his four-year Toledo career as the Rockets’ all-time leading passer, throwing for 10,514 yards. He also set the school records for touchdown passes (93) and passing efficiency (162.9). A two-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection, Woodside was 29-9 as a starting quarterback. As a senior, he led the Rockets to a MAC Championship, throwing for 3,882 yards and 28 scores. He was named 2017 MAC Offensive Player of the Year and was honored with the Vern Smith Leadership Award, given annually to the league’s top player.


Adeniyi, a 6-2, 248-pound defensive end, was a second-team All-MAC selection in 2017, finishing third in the MAC with 20.0 tackles for loss. In his three-year career at UT, Adeniyi racked up 115 tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks.

Toledo had three invitees to the NFL combine last year: running back Kareem Hunt, tight end Michael Roberts and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester. All three were selected in the NFL Draft. Hunt went on to lead the NFL in rushing and play in the Pro Bowl in his rookie season with Kansas City.

2018 winter break dates announced

Beginning in December 2017, the University implemented a new winter break policy in response to feedback from employees over several years. Winter break enables faculty and most staff to rest at a time when many departments are operationally slow for the holidays.

Winter break schedule also helps the University to reduce its costs while still maintaining crucial functions, such as hospital operations at UT Medical Center, approved research activities and public safety. Therefore, winter break does not include UTMC employees and certain required positions, which might vary depending on annual need.

In addition to existing holiday pay, the University provides paid days off — either three days or four, depending on which day the holiday falls in the year — to cover the entire specified time period.

This year’s winter break schedule includes four paid days off:

• Monday, Dec. 24 — Holiday (Columbus Day);

• Tuesday, Dec. 25 — Christmas Day;

• Wednesday, Dec. 26 — Paid day off for winter break;

• Thursday, Dec. 27 — Paid day off for winter break;

• Friday, Dec. 28 — Paid day off for winter break;

• Monday, Dec. 31 — Paid day off for winter break; and

• Tuesday, Jan. 1 — New Year’s Day.

“We received a lot of positive feedback from both faculty and staff that they really appreciated having this extra time off for personal enjoyment and their well-being,” said Wendy Davis, associate vice president for human resources and talent development. “We’re pleased they used this time to recharge.”

Faculty and staff who work on Main Campus or Scott Park Campus again will be asked to refrain from being at the University during winter break unless pre-approved by their department’s leadership in order to conduct essential business. Access to buildings will be restricted, and facility operations and ground maintenance also will be limited.

Within the coming months, leadership members will be responsible for designating any specific employees who will need to be on call and/or must work during winter break in order to provide essential services, which may include research that cannot be conducted at home. Leaders also should notify all affected service and product providers, such as vendors and contractors, about the University’s closure so they may plan their work accordingly.

Additional winter break details, including frequently asked questions, are available at utoledo.edu/depts/hr/benefits/time-off/winter-break.html. If you have questions after reviewing this information, contact your supervisor or human resources consultant.

Black Student Union to host ‘Back to the Future’ fashion show Feb. 24

The Black Student Union plans to represent UT campus diversity at its 49th Annual Fashion Show Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

This year’s theme, “Back to the Future,” will showcase fashion derived from multiple cultures around the world and the homes of the multicultural population of the University.

“The ‘Back to the Future’ theme came from our scene director, Jazmine Rice. She’s had a great plan from the start and has a great vision for the theme,” said Keith Boggs, president of the Black Student Union.

The event strives to present students with open creativity and cultural diversity.

There also will be a scholarship award given to the winner of the Black Student Union essay contest.

“I’m very optimistic about this year’s fashion show. Our scene director and special events director, Mekayla Pullins, has been very organized and prepared,” Boggs said. “The scholarship and the show encourages students to participate, and nothing but good comes from that.”

Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 for VIP seating in the front row and are available for purchase at Ask Rocky in the Thompson Student Union. Tickets at the door will be $15 and $20, respectively.

Faculty member becomes president of National Economic Association

Dr. Gbenga Ajilore, associate professor of economics, has been elected president of the National Economic Association.

The association is interested in producing and distributing knowledge of economic issues that are of exceptional interest to promoting economic growth among people of color.


Since its founding in 1969 as the Caucus of Black Economists, the National Economic Association has aimed to promote the professional lives of minorities within the field of economics.

“This is an amazing honor especially since I didn’t come from a prestigious graduate program or a top 25 institution,” Ajilore said. “It says a lot about the work I’ve done at UT and the network I’ve been able to build up.”

There are about 200 members in the National Economic Association, which is open to professionals and graduate students in the field of economics and an array of related disciplines. These members work in academia, the private sector and in government around the globe.

Ajilore is on sabbatical as a visiting fellow at the Urban Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., where he is collaborating with experts and scholars in the Justice Policy Center.

“I have been working on issues surrounding police militarization and its impact on local communities,” Ajilore said. “I have completed several papers on the impact of militarization on use of force, both lethal and non-lethal. I also have looked about the effect of racial and ethnic diversity of the acquisition of military surplus.”

Ajilore received his PhD at Claremont Graduate University in California, where his research included public finance and demographic economics.

Rockets for Life game set for Friday as men face Central Michigan

The University of Toledo and Life Connection of Ohio will hold the second annual Rockets for Life game Friday, Feb. 23, to promote awareness for organ donation in northwest Ohio.

The Rockets host Central Michigan at Savage Arena in a 6:30 p.m. tipoff that will be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network.

Before and during the game, Savage Arena will be flooded with Donate Life messages, including videos, announcements, on-court features and promotions. Fans are encouraged to join Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk, UT staff and Life Connection of Ohio volunteers by wearing green to show their support for the cause. In addition, green pompoms will be available for fans throughout the arena.

“Life Connection of Ohio is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with University of Toledo Athletics and Coach Kowalczyk for our second annual Rockets for Life event,” said Kara Steele, director of community services with Life Connection of Ohio. “The goal of Rockets for Life is to raise awareness about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation. There are countless people touched by organ, eye and tissue donation in our community, and we look forward to honoring those who gave the gift of life and celebrating with those who received a second chance at life through this event.”

Organ donation is something that has touched Kowalczyk personally. One of his best friends, Trey Schwab, received 12 additional years of life because of a double lung transplant. Trey, who coached at the college, nd NBA levels, passed away in 2016 waiting for another transplant.

“A 19-year-old young man and his family gave Trey and 14 other people an opportunity to live,” Kowalczyk said. “I couldn’t be a bigger supporter of organ donation and the work that Life Connection of Ohio is doing. I think it’s vital that we spread the word for people to become organ donors. I certainly am a donor, and my family and all our players are as well.”

There are more than 115,000 people on the national transplant waiting list, including 3,000 Ohioans. The organ shortage continues to grow at a staggering rate, as another person is added to the waiting list every 10 minutes. Sadly, 20 people die every day waiting for an organ transplant. The good news: One person has the power to save up to eight lives through organ donation and heal 50 more through tissue donation.

Life Connection of Ohio is the nonprofit organization that has promoted and facilitated organ donation in northwest and west central Ohio for more than 25 years. Last year, Life Connection of Ohio coordinated the recovery of organs from 64 donors, providing 178 life-saving transplants.

For more information or to register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit lifeconnectionofohio.org.

Tickets for the game are available for the special price of $10 if purchased prior to game day with the promo code RFL. For tickets, visit utrockets.com, call 419.530.GOLD (4653), or stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office.

Rocket Wellness hosting Health and Safety Expo

Rocket Wellness will host the 2018 Health and Safety Expo Tuesday, Feb. 27, from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

This event is free to all students, faculty and staff with the goal to educate about the various programs, services and opportunities available that can support overall well-being.

“With spring break right around the corner, our intention is to educate the UT community on safety procedures, as well as give them tools to enhance their overall wellness,” said Jocelyn Szymanski, wellness administrator for Rocket Wellness.

Representatives from more than 20 campus organizations and community vendors will be present to highlight various health and safety information, such as nutrition, mental health resources and financial well-being. A distracted driving simulator, information on Narcan, and hands-only CPR training are some of the interactive tables that will be part of the event.

Three breakout sessions for more in-depth training will be held in Thompson Student Union Room 3020. Space is limited at the sessions and is available on a first-come, first-seated basis. The sessions are:

• Bringing in the Bystander Training from 1 to 3 p.m. Learn how to safely intervene in instances of sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking.

• Budget Today, Plan for Tomorrow from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Learn from a financial expert how to take control of your budget.

• Personal Safety and Self-Defense Class from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Participants will learn personal safety tips for home, office, school, and going out and about, as well as self-defense tactics in a safe and relaxed setting. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and tennis shoes. 

Rocket Wellness is also launching its Rocket Your Way to Wellness Passport at the expo. This passport will provide participants an opportunity to complete a variety of wellness activities to improve their well-being and, in turn, be eligible for prizes.

“We are excited about using this event as a launch pad to engage our UT students, faculty and staff and improve the wellness of our campus community,” Szymanski said.

Snacks from UT Dining Services, giveaways and prize opportunities will be available.

More information can be found here.

Students: March 1 deadline to apply for graduation for inclusion in commencement program

Graduating students, do want your name in the program? Apply for graduation by Thursday, March 1.

Students planning to graduate and participate in the spring commencement should complete the online applications through the myUT portal.

A program listing graduation candidates, their college, program, and majors will be distributed before and during the commencement ceremony.

Candidates who apply to graduate after Thursday, March 1, will not have their names appear in the commencement program.

While completing the online graduation application, it will ask you to enter your name as you want it to appear on your diploma, as well as in the commencement program, using your legal last name.

If you are earning more than one degree, complete an application for each degree.

An online application must be completed in order to graduate even if a student does not intend to participate in commencement.

Instruction to aid students in completing the application are found at utoledo.edu/offices/registrar/graduation_app_instructions.html.

Questions may be directed to graduation@utoledo.edu.

College students across U.S. to participate in national sales competition at UT

Professional sales students from 34 universities across the United States will visit The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation this weekend to compete in the third annual UT Invitational Sales Competition.

The Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales at UT organizes this first and only national sales competition dedicated exclusively to juniors, sophomores and freshmen because graduating seniors are typically already placed in jobs due to high corporate demand.

“We believe that younger students are chomping at the bit to shine outside the shadow of a senior, and we are confident that they have the talent and coachability to compete on a national stage,” said Deirdre Jones, director of the Edward Schmidt School of Professional Sales and the UT Invitational Sales Competition. “We are thrilled to bring tomorrow’s top talent today to our sponsors so they can find the sales talent they need for internships and regular job placements.”

Since 2016, more than a dozen corporate sponsors who send company representatives to serve as buyers and judges have hired 48 competitors. Hiring tripled between 2016 and 2017.

The sales competition will take place Friday and Saturday, Feb. 23 and 24, in classrooms and meeting rooms throughout Savage & Associates Business Complex.

The first rounds of the competition will take place from 9:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Friday, followed by the wild-card round from 1:45 to 3 p.m. and quarterfinals from 4 to 5:40 p.m. The competition will conclude Saturday with the semifinals from 8:30 to 9:20 a.m. and the finals from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The winners of the competition will be recognized at an awards luncheon at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The event also will feature a career fair for participating students from 9:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday in the Thompson Student Union Ingman Room featuring sales leaders and recruiters from sponsoring companies.

More than 100 sales leaders and recruiters who participate serve as buyers and judges for the role plays and also interact with the students during coaching and interviewing sessions and the career fair.

Sponsors include 3M, Owens Corning, Quicken Loans, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., and Procter & Gamble Co.

Participating universities include Baylor, Florida State University, Ball State, Oregon State, Temple and Purdue.

Director of center operating NASA’s Hubble, James Webb space telescopes to speak Feb. 22

The director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which operates NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the soon-to-be-launched James Webb Space Telescope, will speak on campus as part of The University of Toledo’s continuing celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ritter Astrophysics Research Center.

The free, public event featuring Dr. Ken Sembach and titled “Great Observatories, Present and Future” will take place Thursday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. in Wolfe Hall Room 1205.


“Some telescopes are put into space to get above the blurring of our atmosphere and to detect light that our atmosphere otherwise blocks,” said Dr. Jillian Bornak, associate lecturer in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, and chair of the UT Astronomy 50th Anniversary Committee. “Dr. Sembach will talk to us about these great observatories and lay out the foundation for why we are excited for the view of the universe that the Webb telescope will give us.”

Toledo has historic connections to deep space exploration and unraveling the mysteries of the universe.

In 1946, an astrophysicist from Toledo named Lyman Spitzer Jr. proposed building telescopes in space. Today, UT researchers and students use Spitzer and NASA’s other space telescopes by downloading the data and engaging in the exploration of the universe from Ritter.

The James Webb Space Telescope, which will be the largest and most powerful when launched into orbit next year, is named in honor of Dr. James Webb, who received an honorary degree at the dedication of UT’s Ritter facility Oct. 13, 1967. Webb was the head of NASA at that time.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, which UT was selected to join in 2016 in recognition of the astronomy and astrophysics program’s strengths in research, education and outreach.

Before becoming director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, Sembach served as interim director, Hubble mission head and Hubble project scientist. Previously, Sembach was the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer deputy project scientist for Large Science Programs at Johns Hopkins University. He also was a NASA Hubble Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sembach received a bachelor’s degree in physics with honors in 1988 from the University of Chicago and a PhD in astronomy in 1992 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.