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Archive for May, 2019

UToledo scholar awarded Fulbright to Sudan for next academic year

Dr. Asma Abdel Halim’s quarter century of research questioning the breach and progress of Muslim women’s human rights is personal.

Her own life experience fuels her life’s work to protect Muslim women worldwide for generations to come.

Abdel Halim

The next leg of her journey takes her back to her native Sudan, a place Abdel Halim describes as “a country that has always subjected women to a version of Islamic law that is fashioned according to the political mood of the government.”

The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar program selected The University of Toledo faculty member focused on women’s rights under religious laws to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa for the 2019-20 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar.

Abdel Halim, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and director of the Center of the Muslim Woman, will study the history of gender effects on Sudanese law, produce ideas for reform, and teach a class on gender and the law at her alma mater, the University of Khartoum.

“As a Muslim woman joining other Muslim women in researching Islamic laws and critiquing centuries of patriarchal dominance, I find it necessary to explore women’s history, rights and developments because I am determined to address gendered laws and how to combat their effects,” Abdel Halim said.

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright U.S. Scholar program within the U.S. Department of State has worked to improve intercultural relations and diplomacy through national fellowship. The program in Sudan was suspended in 1992 after the U.S. issued an embargo on relations with the country and was reinstated two years ago after President Trump lifted U.S. sanctions.

“As Dr. Asma Abdel Halim travels around the world sharing her knowledge, insight and experience, she helps raise awareness about problems and protections of women living under Muslim laws,” Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair in the UToledo Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, said. “Her outstanding scholarship consistently brings great prestige to The University of Toledo. While we will miss her at home, we are proud the Fulbright program has recognized her forward-thinking work on international women’s issues.”

Abdel Halim, a faculty member at UToledo for 15 years, graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Khartoum with a bachelor’s degree in 1980 and a master’s degree in 1988.

“As a student there, I never encountered gender in any of the courses,” Abdel Halim said. “My experience studying and teaching in the United States proved that gender as a tool of analysis is vital in studying law.”

Abdel Halim, who earned her Ph.D. at Ohio University, said actions of extremists lead many to question the tenets of Islam and the religion’s commitment to equality.

“Religious interpretations are being misused to strengthen conservative stances regarding the curbing of human rights,” Abdel Halim said. “Old traditions of favoring men because of their participation in war lead to the subjugation of women to the authority of male guardians.”

Abdel Halim plans to write a book after accessing old Shari’a sources, such as treaties written by scholars centuries ago and still considered the main source of Islamic rules today. She also plans to delve into the era of Mahdiyya uprisings and older archives.

“The intersection of religion and gender seems to be working against women where legislation is concerned,” Abdel Halim said. “Ideological traditions find safety in regression to old traditions rather than in change. I plan to follow the historical events of the recent history of the Sudan and look closely to the history of women in the country and understand why developments in legislation go back and forth. I also will examine how the intersection of gender and religion seems to always end in the defeat of women’s rights in favor of archaic religious norms.”

Toledo track and field lands two in NCAA East Preliminary

The University of Toledo women’s track and field team will send junior Petronela Simiuc and senior Katie Dewey to the NCAA East Preliminary Round Thursday through Saturday, May 23-25, in Jacksonville, Fla.

“They’re both really good athletes and worked really hard this year and obviously earned their way there,” said Head Coach Linh Nguyen. “Katie’s actually the second thrower in Toledo history that’s qualified for two events. She’s been doing really well this season and has a chance to throw even farther down there. Petronela was here last year and made it to the quarterfinal round. I think she’s in a little bit better shape and more confident this year, so I think it’s very possible for her to make it through to finals in Austin, Texas.

“For us to again have representation from different event groups just shows that we’re a well-rounded team, and that it’s possible for everybody on the team to come and achieve at a high level.”

Simiuc returns to the prelims in the 1500m after placing second at the Mid-American Conference Championships with a time of 4:27.86. At last year’s preliminary round, Simiuc took 20th in the quarterfinal with a time of 4:28.49. She is 10 seconds from her personal best of 4:17.50, which she set in the first round of the prelims last season.

Dewey will compete in the shot put and discus events after leading the Rockets in the throws category. During the regular season, Dewey tallied 10 top-five performances in the shot put and discus combined. At the Hillsdale GINA Relays, Dewey posted personal bests of 15.50m in the shot put and 49.92m in the discus to win both events. Dewey is the first Toledo thrower since Kyesha Neal in 2016 to qualify for two events at the NCAA East Prelim.

Forty-eight individuals for each event and 24 relay teams qualify for competition at each preliminary site. Combined events are not contested at the preliminary sites. Twelve individuals from each individual event as well as 12 relay teams will advance from both preliminary round sites to the championships.

This season’s NCAA Championships will be held Wednesday through Saturday, June 5-8, in Austin, Texas.

2019 NCAA East Preliminary Round
Jacksonville, Fla.

Thursday, May 23
5:30 p.m. — 1500m — First Round
Petronela Simiuc

Friday, May 24
Noon — Discus — First Round
Katie Dewey

Saturday, May 25
5:15 p.m. — Shot Put — First Round
Katie Dewey

6:30 p.m. — 1500m — Quarterfinal

Satellites Auxiliary to hold marketplace fair May 28

Personal electronics, fragrances, handbags, apparel, watches, jewelry and more will be for sale at the Satellites Auxiliary’s marketplace fair Tuesday, May 28.

Stop by between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the UToledo Medical Center’s Four Seasons Bistro Atrium.

“We are excited to have Gold Coast Promotions once again as our vendor,” Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary, said. “They are bringing many unique items that we haven’t had in a long time and employees have asked for: purses, watches, and real gold and silver jewelry.”

Cash, credit cards and payroll deduction will be accepted.

“The proceeds will help fund a much-needed ice machine for the Eleanor N. Dana Cancer Center patients,” Brand said. “Please help to support this endeavor for our patients.”

The Satellites Auxiliary promotes education, research and service programs; provides support of patient programs in accordance with the needs and approval of administration; conducts fundraising events; and offers volunteer services.

For more information on the marketplace fair, contact Lynn Brand, president of the Satellites Auxiliary, at lynn.brand@utoledo.edu.

Huntington, UToledo partner to create new Opportunity Scholarship

A new scholarship made possible with a generous gift from Huntington Bank will power opportunity for The University of Toledo students to achieve their educational goals.

Sharon Speyer, president of Huntington’s Northwest Ohio Region and a member of the UToledo Board of Trustees, presented UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber with a $200,000 check May 20 to create the Huntington Bank Opportunity Scholarship.

Sharon Speyer, president of Huntington’s Northwest Ohio Region and a member of the UToledo Board of Trustees, left, presented UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber with a $200,000 check to create the Huntington Bank Opportunity Scholarship.

The scholarship will be awarded over the next four years to degree-seeking undergraduate students based on financial need.

“Access to knowledge is something we should aspire for all of our children,” Speyer said. “Having said that, the cost of education can be a barrier for some. We wanted to create a program, with the University, to provide more opportunities to potential students to study and learn at this fine institution.”

“This investment by Huntington in our students will have a powerful impact on not only the individuals awarded the scholarship, but also on the community we both serve as these individuals graduate and become the future leaders in our region,” Gaber said. “I want to thank Huntington for our strong partnership and its ongoing support of UToledo.”

With the gift, Huntington has now given more than $2 million to UToledo since 1975 in support of academic, athletic and student affairs programming.

The first Huntington Bank Opportunity Scholarships worth a total of $50,000 were awarded to 40 students for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year.

Students are eligible for consideration if they demonstrate financial need after completing the Free Application for Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, and after completing Office of Student Financial Aid’s general scholarship application. Preference will be given to residents of Lucas County.

Ready to roll: New bikes available

As part of the comprehensive transportation services UToledo offers students, faculty and staff, new bicycles — including tandem, hand-pedal and tricycle bikes — have been added to Rocket Wheels’ existing fleet.

“By providing a variety of bikes, we’re not only increasing accessibility and convenience for our campus community, but also ensuring individuals with disabilities have equal opportunity to use various transportation options,” said Bonnie Murphy, associate vice president for auxiliaries.

Students showed off some of the new bicycles, including tandem, hand-pedal and tricycle bikes, available through Rocket Wheels.

Along with 10 regular bikes added to the fleet this spring, Parking and Transportation Services now offers several specialty bikes, which became available May 13 on Main Campus.

“We looked for a corporate sponsor to keep our Rocket Wheels’ bike fleet in top-notch condition each year,” explained Sherri Kaspar, director of parking and transportation. “Thankfully, Walmart immediately stepped up to the plate and provided funding for several new bikes.”

“We’re excited about this partnership with The University of Toledo,” said Jeffrey Gerber, Walmart assistant store manager. “Once we learned of the University’s goal to add variety to their fleet and introduce bikes that will accommodate persons with disabilities, we wanted to help.”

Bikes may be checked out with your Rocket Card and should be returned to one of four locations conveniently located throughout campus: next to the west parking garage, by Rocket Hall near the horse sculpture, next to Ritter Planetarium and by the North Engineering Building.

To register to use these bikes and review safety guidelines, visit Rocket Wheels’ website.

In addition to bikes, Lime scooters also are available if you need to travel from one corner of campus to another. Riders are reminded to use scooters only on campus. The UToledo Student Code of Conduct, as well as all local and federal laws, are applicable whenever you use Lime scooters. For more information, visit the electric scooter sharing web page.

“All University transportation information, including TARTA bus service schedules, is available on our Parking and Transportation Services’ website,” Kaspar said. “Our No. 1 goal is to make sure our customers — especially students — have several options to get around campus, while also remaining safe.”

If you have any questions related to UToledo transportation services, contact parking@utoledo.edu.

Inexpensive agricultural waste product can remove microcystin from water, new UToledo research finds

Scientists at The University of Toledo have discovered that rice husks can effectively remove microcystin from water, a finding that could have far-reaching implications for communities along the Great Lakes and across the developing world.

An abundant and inexpensive agricultural byproduct, rice husks have been investigated as a water purification solution in the past. However, this is the first time they have been shown to remove microcystin, the toxin released by harmful algal blooms.

Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, right, Dr. Dragan Isailovic, center, and doctoral student David Baliu-Rodriguez have published a paper, along with UToledo graduates, Dr. Dilrukshika Palagama and Dr. Amila Devasurendra, about using rice husks to remove microcystin from water.

The results of the study were recently published in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

“Delivering safe water is critical, and finding an economically viable solution to deliver safe water to people all over the world is going to be really important. The ability of this simple material to be powerful enough to address this issue is impressive,” said Dr. Jon Kirchhoff, Distinguished University Professor and chair of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

The research, led by Kirchhoff and Dr. Dragan Isailovic, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, used organic rice husks that were treated with hydrochloric acid and heated to 250 degrees Celsius.

The rice husks were then dispersed in a series of water samples collected from Lake Erie during the 2017 harmful algal bloom to measure how much of the toxin they could absorb.

UToledo researchers say rice husks are effective at removing microcystin from water. In addition, the rice husks are economical and, after soaking up microcystin, can be heated to destroy the toxins and create silica particles that can be used for other applications.

Researchers found the rice husks removed more than 95 percent of microcystin MC-LR — the most common type found in Lake Erie — in concentrations of up to 596 parts per billion (ppb). Even in concentrations approaching 3,000 ppb, more than 70 percent of the MC-LR was removed, and other types of MCs were removed as well.

“We looked at the removal of microcystins from real environmental samples and the material has performed really well,” Isailovic said. “We are talking about extremely high concentrations of microcystins originating from cyanobacterial cells. Normally during summer, we have much, much lower concentrations in Lake Erie.”

Devasurendra

The United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends a 10-day drinking water guideline that young children not drink water containing more than a total of 0.3 ppb of microcystin and school-age children and adults not drink water containing more than a total of 1.6 ppb of microcystin.

Beyond their effectiveness, rice husks have a number of other appealing attributes. They’re cheap — researchers paid $14.50 for half a cubic foot, and buying in bulk would bring that price down significantly — and they’re able to be repurposed.

Heating microcystin-laden rice husks to 560 degrees Celsius destroys the toxins and produces silica particles, which can be used in other applications.

Palagama

The researchers are hopeful their discovery could be scaled up beyond the lab to develop a more environmentally friendly method for treating water that has been contaminated by harmful algal blooms or cheap but effective filtration systems for the developing world.

“We could potentially use this readily available material to purify water before it even gets into Lake Erie,” Isailovic said. “There are engineering solutions that need to be done, but one of our dreams is to apply what we develop in our labs to provide safe drinking water.”

Other authors of the study were doctoral students Dr. Dilrukshika Palagama and Dr. Amila Devasurendra, who first proposed looking at rice husks as a way to remove microcystin and have since graduated from UToledo, and current doctoral student David Baliu-Rodriguez.

Three Rocket graduates turning pro

Seniors Natcha Daengpiem, Pimchanok Kawil and Pinyada Kuvanun each enjoyed memorable careers with The University of Toledo women’s golf program. Now the trio will test their skills on the professional golf circuit.

Daengpiem, Kawil and Kuvanun each played a key role in the Rockets posting a 299.01 stroke average in the recently completed 2018-19 season. That mark was just shy of the 2015-16 squad’s school-record mark of 298.3. Toledo also registered a second-place finish in the Mid-American Conference Championships for the fifth time in the last seven years.

Kuvanun, who finished her collegiate career with a 73.7 stroke average, is planning to participate in a few Monday LPGA qualifiers, as well as additional professional tournaments this summer in the United States before heading to the LPGA Q School in August.

Kawil finished third in school history with her 75.6 average and is planning to join Kuvanun at the LPGA Q School after competing in Thailand LPGA events this summer.

Daengpiem ranks seventh in school history with a 77.1 career average and is expecting to compete in Asian tour events in Taiwan and other Asian countries this summer.

Toledo baseball coach steps down

Cory Mee announced May 20 he is stepping down from his position as the head baseball coach at The University of Toledo to pursue other opportunities.

Mee had served as the Rockets’ head coach since 2004.

Cory Mee served 16 seasons as Toledo’s head baseball coach.

“It has been a privilege to be the head baseball coach at The University of Toledo for the past 16 years,” Mee said. “It’s given me the opportunity to be around so many great people. I want to thank all of my former players, assistant coaches, the athletic department staff, and all of those people that supported Toledo baseball over the years for their efforts in making my experience here a memorable one.”

“We thank Cory for his many years of service and dedication to our baseball program,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Mike O’Brien said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

In his 16 years as Toledo’s head baseball coach, Mee had a record of 366-513-1, including 195-215 in Mid-American Conference play. This past season the Rockets were 17-36 (4-21 MAC). Mee’s best seasons came in 2010 when the Rockets went 34-22 (19-8 MAC) and in 2012 when Toledo finished in first place in the MAC West Division with a 19-8 league mark. His Rockets also came in second in the West Division in 2009, 2010 and 2015.

O’Brien said Assistant Coach Nick McIntyre will serve as interim coach until a new head coach is hired.

UToledo researcher using drones to measure algal blooms to speak May 23 at National Museum of the Great Lakes

Determined to protect drinking water and avert another water crisis, a scientist at The University of Toledo deploys drones to snap a quick assessment of water quality during algal bloom season, no boat or satellite required.

Dr. Richard Becker, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, will give a presentation titled “Using Drones to Answer Questions in Environmental Science” Thursday, May 23, at 7 p.m. at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, located at 1701 Front St. in Toledo.

Dr. Richard Becker uses drones to help monitor water quality during algal bloom season.

The researcher will discuss his use of low-flying unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor the health of Lake Erie.

The free, public event is the final presentation in the 2018-19 UToledo Lake Erie Center Lecture Series.

“As remote sensing technology advances, monitoring lakes using satellites, aircraft and drones is becoming more effective,” Dr. Tom Bridgeman, professor of ecology and director of the UToledo Lake Erie Center, said. “Dr. Becker’s research in coupling remote sensing data with boat-based water monitoring has improved the accuracy of harmful algal bloom assessments. Also, his research to develop drones as inexpensive tools to measure algal blooms is helping to fill a gap left by more expensive methods.”

A shuttle will be available to transport visitors from UToledo’s Main Campus to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and back. The shuttle will depart at 6:15 p.m. from the south side of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories. Passengers must reserve a spot by Tuesday, May 21.

Email lakeeriecenter@utoledo.edu or call 419.530.8360 to make a reservation for the shuttle.

Huntington gift funds new UToledo scholarship

The University of Toledo and Huntington Bank will announce a new scholarship program to power opportunity for students to achieve their educational goals.

Huntington will present UToledo with a $200,000 check to create the Huntington Bank Opportunity Scholarship Monday, May 20, at 1 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

The scholarship will be awarded over the next four years to degree-seeking undergraduate students based on financial need.

The first scholarships worth a total of $50,000 were awarded to 40 students for the upcoming 2019-20 academic year.

With the gift, Huntington has given more than $2 million to UToledo since 1975 in support of academic, athletic and student affairs programming.