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Archive for April, 2019

College of Law commencement set for May 5

The commencement ceremony for The University of Toledo College of Law will be held Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Mary Ellen Pisanelli of The University of Toledo Board of Trustees will confer degrees to approximately 70 law graduates.

Cruz Bridges

Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 alumna of the College of Law, will deliver remarks to the graduating class.

Cruz Bridges serves as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio. She litigates both affirmative and defensive civil cases on behalf of the United States, including those filed under the False Claims Act, the Federal Tort Claims Act and Title VII. She also represents U.S. interests in civil rights cases enforcing federal anti-discrimination laws in the areas of fair housing, disability rights and education.

She has received numerous commendations, including the 2015 Director’s Award from the Director of the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys for her superior performance investigating financial fraud.

Throughout her career, she has served in leadership roles with the Toledo Women’s Bar Association, Toledo Bar Association, and Thurgood Marshall Law Association. She is currently a member of the Zepf Center Board of Trustees and the Toledo Zoo Board of Trustees, and is president of the Toledo Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.

“I am delighted that Angelita Cruz Bridges will speak to our graduates at commencement,” said College of Law Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “She is a leading lawyer in Toledo, and does incredibly important work in her role as an assistant United States attorney. She also is a leader in our community, and devotes both her professional and personal time to public service. I look forward to hearing her advice and encouragement for our new graduates.”

Law student wins American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition

Alexis Holman, College of Law J.D./M.D. joint degree student, was named the Hirsh Award winner in the American College of Legal Medicine Student Writing Competition.

The American College of Legal Medicine is the preeminent national organization for law and medicine. This marks the second year in a row that a UToledo law student has won first place in the annual writing competition.


As the first-place winner, Holman was asked to present her research for “Is Bioequivalence a Sufficient Measure of Equivalence?” at the American College of Legal Medicine 2019 annual meeting last month in Los Angeles.

The paper focused on the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of generic medications. As generic medications are subject to less extensive review than brand drugs, manufacturers must only prove that they are the “bioequivalent” of the brand drug. Holman researched whether certain classes of brand and generic drugs could be used interchangeably without consequences for the patient.

“In my paper, I aim to establish that the evidence is insufficient to conclude whether using bioequivalence to establish true equivalence is adequate, especially for narrow therapeutic index drugs, which operate over a small range of acceptable dosages and blood concentrations,” Holman said. “Even if the current bioequivalence guidelines are medically sufficient, there are additional issues stemming the regulatory designation of equivalence, such as pharmacy auto-substitution and legal remedies in the case of patient harm from generic drugs.

“Overall, more research must be conducted so that the regulatory and legal framework surrounding generic drug approval can address the many consequences of deeming two drugs interchangeable,” she said.

“FDA approval of generic prescription drugs plays a crucial role in health-care costs and patient access to treatment,” said Elizabeth McCuskey, professor of law, who co-directs the University’s J.D./M.D. and J.D./M.P.H. joint degree programs. “Ms. Holman’s research adds a fresh perspective to this complex regulatory regime, exposing important considerations for doctors, patients and regulators. Her medical education enables Ms. Holman to take a deep dive into the scientific literature informing prescribing decisions, while her legal education enables her to reveal potential weaknesses in the regulatory regime underlying generic approval, as well as the legal rights patients unwittingly give up when taking generic drugs. This interplay of regulation, medical judgment and legal consequences that makes Ms. Holman’s research so valuable exemplifies the interdisciplinary power of UToledo’s J.D./M.D. joint degree program. She is poised to be a leader in health-care policy, and I can’t wait to see what she’ll tackle next.”

Holman was born and raised in Toledo. She earned her bachelor’s degree in brain, behavior and cognitive science from the University of Michigan.

She will complete her J.D./M.D. joint degrees this spring. She matched with her top choice, the anesthesiology residency program at the University of Michigan, where she plans to pursue clinical training and medico-legal research.

2019-20 alcohol and other drug biennial review available online

In compliance with federal guidelines, The University of Toledo’s Department of Internal Audit and Compliance has prepared an annual notification of UToledo’s Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug (ATOD) Prevention program and posted this notification online.

Check out a PDF of the report. Emails linked to the report also was sent to UToledo faculty, staff and students April 29.

“To be consistent with our mission to improve the human condition, and to maintain an environment of a world-class institution with committed leadership, The University of Toledo is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy learning and working environment,” said Elliott Nickeson, Clery Act compliance officer in UToledo’s Department of Internal Audit and Compliance. “The University strives to maintain an environment free of drugs and alcohol. In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989, the institution wants to ensure the UToledo community is aware of the standards of conduct, the possible legal sanctions, and the ATOD programs and resources available to all faculty, staff and students.”

The U.S. Department of Education’s Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act regulations require institutions of higher education to review their ATOD programs and policies every two years and send an annual notification a minimum of once each year.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

Katie Holmes, a native Toledoan who rose to fame as an actor, producer and director, will return to her hometown to deliver the keynote address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, May 4.

A Notre Dame Academy alumna and international icon of screen, stage and film, Holmes will address 2,078 candidates for degrees — 2,023 bachelor’s and 55 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 10 a.m. in the Glass Bowl.

The University’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled the same day at 3 p.m. in the Glass Bowl, and will commemorate 915 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Analese Alvarez, an educator and musician who has recorded with the Grammy Award-winning rock group Fleetwood Mac, will be the keynote speaker. She is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the University Views website.

President Sharon L. Gaber will present Holmes with an honorary doctor of humane letters degree before the keynote address.

“The University of Toledo is pleased to welcome Katie Holmes as our commencement speaker to inspire our newest alumni as they celebrate receiving their degrees,” Gaber said. “As a Toledo native with close, personal connections to the University, we are eager for her to share her experiences and accomplishments in the entertainment industry and as an entrepreneur and philanthropist.”


Holmes is an internationally recognized film and television actor, producer and director, as well as a Broadway actor and an entrepreneur.

An exceptional student at Notre Dame Academy, Holmes was accepted to Columbia University, but deferred to embark on an entertainment career. She made her feature film debut in “The Ice Storm” in 1997, then established herself as a rising young actor the next year in the television show “Dawson’s Creek.” For six years, she played Joey Potter, a character still recognized in pop culture.

Holmes has appeared in supporting or starring roles in more than 30 films and television programs, including acclaimed performances as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in “The Kennedys” and “The Kennedys: After Camelot,” Hannah Green in “Wonder Boys,” Rachel Dawson in “Batman Begins,” April Burns in “Pieces of April,” Rita Carmichael in “All We Had,” and Paige Finney in “Ray Donovan.”

Her credits as a director and producer include “All We Had,” “Touched With Fire,” “The Romantics” and “The Kennedys: Decline and Fall.”

Holmes made her Broadway debut in a revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” in 2008 and played the role of Lorna in “Dead Accounts” in 2012.

As an entrepreneur, Holmes managed and designed a well-received fashion line, Holmes & Yang, with Jeanne Yang, from 2009 to 2014.

Her philanthropic efforts include the Dizzy Feet Foundation, an organization Holmes co-founded in 2009 that increases access to dance education in the United States. She also supports the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes; Love Our Children USA, a national nonprofit organization that fights violence and neglect against U.S. children; Raising Malawi, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to helping vulnerable children in extreme poverty through health, education and community support; and the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.


Graduate ceremony speaker Alvarez has been an educator for nearly two decades and is a candidate for an education doctorate in educational administration and supervision.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., native has enjoyed an outstanding career teaching high school music, highlighted by leading her previous school’s music department to become a Grammy Signature Schools recipient in 2015. She has continued teaching music while pursuing her doctorate at UToledo by serving as a graduate assistant for the Rocket Marching Band and athletic bands since 2015.

Alvarez”s long career as a musician includes recording with Fleetwood Mac on “The Dance” and appearances on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and Nickelodeon’s “The Big Help.” She also was a member of the Los Angeles Laker Band, a subset of the University of Southern California’s Trojan Marching Band. She has performed with numerous professional ensembles, including The Desert Winds and the Gold Coast Wind Ensemble.

A volunteer club advisor for Gay Straight Alliances, Alvarez co-chaired the Southern Nevada chapter of the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and served the Gay and Lesbian Center of Las Vegas. During the past year, she has been executive director at Equality Toledo, where she has worked to support the local community.

Alvarez earned a bachelor of music degree from the University of Southern California and a master of music degree from Northern Arizona University, both in music education.

UToledo’s spring commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

UToledo’s College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Angelita Cruz Bridges, a 2000 graduate of the College of Law who serves as an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, will give the commencement address.

The next week — Friday, May 10, at 4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena. Dr. Scott Parazynski, a physician and inventor whose career included serving 17 years as an astronaut, during which time he flew five space shuttle missions and conducted seven spacewalks, will be theutoledo.edu/commencementrmation, visit the commencement website.

Barnes & Noble University Bookstore to help students de-stress

The Barnes & Noble University of Toledo Bookstore will host De-Stress Fest for students.

The event will take place Wednesday May 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University Bookstore.

“It’s a great way for students to relax and revive during finals week. We will have chair massages, appearances by our furry friends from Nature’s Nursery, snacks, a sale on UToledo clothing, as well as a craft to make something special for mom,” Colleen Strayer, general manager of the University Bookstore, said.

Rocky and Rocksy also will be at the event to wish students good luck on their finals. The mascots will be happy to pose for selfies.

Students who attend the event can enter a drawing to win a $200 VISA gift card.

Kindergarteners through college seniors to present research projects at UToledo

More than 200 students from Ohio and Michigan ranging from kindergartners to college seniors will present research projects related to the Earth’s environment Wednesday, May 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at The University of Toledo.

Teams investigated a wide variety of topics, including:

• How does energy use relate to surface temperature at school?;

• Which Michigan city uses the healthiest raw water for drinking water: Detroit, Monroe or Wyandotte?;

• Urban heat islands in Lucas County;

• Tracing it back: forensic soil science; and

• Effects of select weather factors on surface temperature during a polar vortex.

The annual SATELLITES student research conference is part of the GLOBE MISSION EARTH project, a $10 million program funded by NASA and led by a UToledo researcher that is transforming the way science is taught to students throughout the United States.

Dr. Kevin Czajkowski, professor of geography and planning, has been spearheading this effort to introduce authentic science to K-12 students through projects that rely on hands-on experiments to build knowledge using the resources of NASA and education partners across the country.

Czajkowski will give the keynote presentation at 11:45 a.m.

The student presentations will take place from 9:40 to 11:45 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Ingman Room and Room 2582.

Judges for the conference are local scientists and teachers.

Awards will be presented at 1 p.m. to each grade level category: K-5, 6-8, 9-12, 13-16. A peer choice award also will be presented.

“Science is more fun when students are participating in data collection and the scientific process, as opposed to conducting preplanned experiments in a classroom or lab,” Czajkowski said. “Through these research projects, students answer their own science questions about their environment by creating hypotheses, collecting data, analyzing data, drawing conclusions, and sharing their results through their poster presentation.”

Czajkowski created the SATELLITES program, which stands for Students and Teachers Exploring Local Landscapes to Interpret the Earth from Space.

Through the SATELLITES program, students have access to GLOBE resources to help answer their research questions. GLOBE is the acronym for Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, which is an international science and education program that connects students, teachers, scientists and citizens from different parts of the world to conduct real, hands-on science about their local environment and put it in a global perspective.

Faculty recognized for tenure, promotion

The University of Toledo Board of Trustees approved during its April meeting tenure for 12 faculty members and promotion of another 31 associate professors and professors.

“We continue to have high-caliber faculty advancing through our tenure and promotion process, and this year’s cohort of faculty members all have very impressive achievements,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The provost also noted the goal in the strategic plan to increase the percentage of professors among the total number of full-time faculty. There were 22 who became fully promoted to professor with the board’s recent action.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor are:

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Xinghao Yan, Information, Operations and Technology Management

• Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas, Management

College of Engineering

• Dr. Carmen Cioc, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Luis Mata, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Kimberly McBride, School of Population Health

• Dr. Shipra Singh, School of Population Health

• Dr. Heather Sloane, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Nezam Altorok, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. Trieu Le, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

• Dr. F. Scott Hall, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

• Dr. Amit Tiwari, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor are:

College of Arts and Letters

• Dr. Melissa Gregory, English Language and Literature

• Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, Geography and Planning

• Dr. Charles Beatty, History

• Dr. Lee Heritage, Music

• Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Philosophy and Religious Studies

• Dr. Patricia Case, Sociology and Anthropology

• Dr. Willie McKether, Sociology and Anthropology

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Iryna Pentina, Marketing

College of Engineering

• Dr. Yakov Lapitsky, Chemical Engineering

• Dr. Hong Wang, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Matthew Franchetti, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Wendy Cochrane, School of Intervention and Wellness

• Dr. Jiunn-Jye Sheu, School of Population Health

• Dr. Kasey Tucker-Gail, School of Social Justice

College of Law

• Bryan Lammon

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Cletus Iwuagwu, Medicine

• Dr. Ruby Nucklos, Medicine

• Dr. Tanvir Singh, Psychiatry

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. John Gray, Biological Sciences

• Dr. Dragan Isailovic, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Dr. Alessandro Arsie, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Zahoor Shah, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Faculty members promoted to associate professor are:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Sarah Gerken, Anesthesiology

• Dr. Anu Garg, Medicine

• Dr. Dani Zoorob, Obstetrics and Gynecology

• Dr. Jiayong Liu, Orthopaedic Surgery

• Dr. Waseem Ostwani, Pediatrics

• Dr. Eileen Quinn, Pediatrics

• Dr. Richard Baron, Psychiatry

• Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Psychiatry

• Dr. Jason Schroeder, Surgery

Golfer wins medal at MAC Championships, receives berth to NCAA regionals

Senior Duncan McNeill’s performance at this weekend’s 2019 Mid-American Conference Men’s Golf Championships earned him a spot into one of six NCAA Regionals.

The final round was canceled Sunday morning due to poor conditions at the par-72, 7,202-yard Club Walden course in Aurora, Ohio.


As a result of the cancellation, The University of Toledo senior became the fifth Rocket in program history to capture medalist honors at the conference championships.

McNeill will be only the second Rocket to compete in the NCAA Regionals as an individual. Chris Selfridge previously earned regional berths in 2013 and 2015.

McNeill will hit the links in NCAA Regionals action Sunday through Wednesday, May 12-15. The regional sites are in Pullman, Wash.; Stanford, Calif.; Murrells Inlet, S.C.; Simpsonville, Ky.; Athens, Ga.; and Austin, Texas.

He will find out his destination Wednesday, May, 1 at 9 p.m. when the championship selections are announced on the Golf Channel’s Golf Central.

“The whole team could not be more excited for Duncan,” Head Coach Golf Men’s Golf Caoch Jeff Roope said. “He has long been one of the most beloved young men on the team, so for him to experience this level of success at the end of his college years is widely applauded. He’s a true talent, and we are fortunate to call him a Rocket. We are looking forward to seeing him compete in the regionals and beyond.”

Ciaran McAleavey was the last Toledo golfer to take top conference honors in 2008; other Toledo MAC medalists include Brad Heaven in 2004, Mike Stone in 1992, and Tim Hirt in 1979, 1980 and 1981. Tim Rice tied for first place in 1997.

McNeill tallied an impressive five-under 139 (71-68) over 36 holes and finished three strokes in front of Kent State’s Gisli Sveinbergsson (71-71=142).

Toledo finished third in the team standings at 21-over par 597.

Kent State and Eastern Michigan tied for first place at five-over par 581 to share the championship. The Golden Flashes earned the league’s automatic NCAA Regional qualifying spot on a tiebreaker — cumulative total of non-counting scores.

The tournament was originally scheduled for 72 holes, but the course also was unplayable Friday due to heavy rains in the area.

Throwers soar in weekend competition

The University of Toledo women’s track and field team finished competition at the Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Mich., after tallying one Mid-American Conference automatic qualifying mark, four top-10 finishes, and two personal bests on Saturday, bringing their total to three MAC automatic qualifying marks, 22 top-10 finishes, and 13 personal bests on the weekend.

“We didn’t have a lot of people compete [Saturday], but the results were strong,” said Head Coach Linh Nguyen. “The throwers have had a really strong year and [senior] Katie Dewey continues to raise the level of competition. She did that again [Saturday] in the discus and looks to have put herself into the NCAA prelims, just like she did with the shot put yesterday. I think we’re in a very good place as a team going into the championship part of our season.”

Senior Katie Dewey wrapped up the weekend at the Hillsdale Gina Relays with a personal best and
Mid-American Conference qualifying mark of 49.92m in the discus event.

Dewey took first in the discus event with a personal best and MAC automatic qualifying throw of 49.92m.

Dewey also took first in the shot put Friday with a personal best and MAC qualifying mark of 15.50m.

Sophomore Chloee Kleespies landed third (41.82m) and freshman Lauren Johnson took seventh (40.68m) in the discus.

In the javelin event, junior Kallie Strauss took eighth (30.31m), and Johnson posted a mark of 28.01m to place 11th.

Up next, the Rockets are set to compete in the Len Paddock Open in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, May 3, prior to the Mid-American Conference Championships.

Theatre faculty member wins national award at Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

Dr. Matt Foss, assistant professor in The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film, has won a national playwrighting award. His adaptation of “All Quiet on the Western Front” is the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award.

The play was performed at the University last November.


The award includes a cash prize, membership in the Dramatists Guild and the Playwrights’ Center of Minneapolis, and a professional development residency during summer 2019.

Foss accepted his award last week during the National Festival at the Kennedy Center.

Supported by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the Dramatic Publishing Co., the David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award is presented in an effort to promote the writing and production of new plays. Developed by the Playwriting Program of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the National Playwriting Program of Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, the award is intended to provide incentive to college and university theatre production departments to foster the growth and development of playwrights through the public presentations of unpublished full-length plays or a collection of shorter works for the stage that have not received a professional production.

In 2016, Foss’ touring production of “The Glass Menagerie” was performed at Russia’s Moscow Art Theatre. He adapted and directed Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” for Oracle Productions in Chicago in 2014. The production received Chicago Jeff Award nominations for outstanding production, director, ensemble, and won for best new adaptation.

In 2012 his production of “Six Characters” at Iowa State University received the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival’s National Award for Outstanding Production of a Play and Outstanding Director of a Play. He was a recipient of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education/Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival’s Prize for Innovative Teaching in 2013.

Foss received a master of fine arts degree in acting from Chicago’s Roosevelt University and doctorate in theatre studies and directing from Wayne State University in Detroit.

Recent professional credits include Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Oracle Theatre, Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, American Blues Theatre, the Jewish Ensemble Theatre and Tipping Point Theatre.