2020 April | UToledo News







Archive for April, 2020

UToledo Reduces Fees for Summer Courses

The University of Toledo is working to help students take the summer classes they need to stay on track to earn their degree by reducing fees and extending payment deadlines.

Recognizing that all students will be learning remotely, the distance learning fee, facility fee and all lab and technology fees will be waived for the summer. The general fee also will be cut by approximately 35% for the summer term recognizing that students cannot access services such as the Rec Center and the Student Union. Other important student services, such as tutoring, counseling and career services, and library support services remain available online. These fee adjustments will be made to students’ accounts in the next week.

“While these choices will further impact our budget deficit exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is the right thing to do for our students,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The University will be offering a one-week extended grace period for summer tuition payments for students who need it.

UToledo had previously announced in advance on April 6 that all summer courses would be taught remotely as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. All summer courses have been designed to be delivered 100% online to maintain the quality of instruction and offer students options to get ahead in their studies.

For more information about summer courses, visit utoledo.edu/summer.

Distinguished University Lecturers Recognized

The University of Toledo recently recognized three instructors with the distinction of Distinguished University Lecturer.

The Board of Trustees approved the honor at its April 13 meeting honoring the individuals for advancing student learning, supporting student success, and demonstrating a commitment to the University’s educational mission.

The newest Distinguished University Lecturers are:

•  Katharine Fisher, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics;

•  Dr. Jeanne M. Kusina, associate lecturer in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies in the College of Arts and Letters; and

• Dr. Caren Steinmiller, associate lecturer in the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

“We’re proud to recognize these individuals with the highest honor our University can bestow upon a lecturer,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “These dedicated educators have earned this recognition because of their passion for teaching and making an impact on their students.”

Katharine Fisher


Fisher joined UToledo in 2004. Throughout her career, she has served as a mentor and supervisor for teachers and course coordinators. She co-authored the textbook, “Interactive Applied Calculus,” published by Pearson and has served as one of the program coordinators for summer math camp. Fisher received the College of Natural Science and Mathematics Excellence in Teaching Award in 2016. Her consistently positive teaching evaluations from students note innovative ways for making difficult topics easy to understand.

“I’ve always loved teaching, and it’s a pleasure to be part of a large team of faculty in my department, where we have the incredible opportunity to impact nearly every student who comes to The University of Toledo,” Fisher said. “Many students arrive on campus terrified of math class, doubting their abilities, and questioning the relevance of math to their lives and careers. It’s extremely rewarding to see them develop critical thinking skills and embrace challenging concepts, emerging at the end with a new appreciation for mathematics and its relevance to their future.”

Jeanne Kusina


Kusina has been a member of the UToledo faculty since 2009. She specializes in ethics, gender and personal identity, and was recognized in 2014 as a UToledo Diversity Champion. Kusina also has received the Innovations in Teaching Award: Exploring Writing Across the Curriculum. With a strong record of teaching and student-centeredness, her evaluations have demonstrated the impact of her teaching with one student commenting they “will definitely look at the world differently after this.”

“I am deeply moved and humbled to be named a Distinguished University Lecturer,” Kusina said. “In the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, we focus our research and teaching activities on promoting diversity, social justice and critical engagement. Over the years, I have found the interaction with the diverse perspectives of students and colleagues at The University of Toledo to be extremely enriching. I am always excited to teach in this progressive environment and eagerly look forward to the future as a continuing member of a team that places such an emphasis on the success of all of its students and faculty.”

Caren Steinmiller


Steinmiller joined the University in 2008. She completed four post-doctoral fellowships as part of her training and maintains active involvement in professional organizations. Steinmiller has engaged in numerous research studies, including clinical studies that resulted in peer reviewed publications, and she demonstrated leadership in the UToledo Opioid Task Force. She has a strong record of effective teaching and student success initiatives, including large lectures with student evaluation comments that state she is an excellent teacher and very knowledgeable about her topics.

“Receiving the honor of Distinguished University Lecturer is a highlight in my career as an educator,” Steinmiller said. “I truly love all the students, student organizations and programs that I’ve had the opportunity to really get to know over the last 12 years at UToledo, especially the nickname ‘SNPhA mom’ that was bestowed on me by [the UToledo Student National Pharmaceutical Association] several years ago. This distinction is also a reflection of the great people I work with every day in my department, college, University and community.

“I am especially humbled by my former students who have gone on to begin their own distinguished careers, but still take the time to catch up with me. They have included me in their personal and professional milestones, from weddings and baby showers, to instillation into the U.S. Armed Forces, and as an honored guest at the award ceremonies celebrating their wonderful accomplishments. I am truly honored to be recognized for my part in helping shape the next generation of leaders and educators.”

Pioneering Business Student Grateful for UToledo Mentors, Capitol Hill Internship

The first student at The University of Toledo selected by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to participate in its internship program on Capitol Hill plans to return to UToledo in the fall to pursue his master of business administration.

Emir Moore, who will graduate May 9 with a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing from the College of Business and Innovation, was one of 25 African-American students across the country who spent fall semester in Washington, D.C., immersed in the firsthand experience learning the intricacies of the federal legislative process.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

The outgoing past president of the Black Student Union is filled with optimism and gratitude as he finishes his senior year while taking classes remotely from his home in Dayton amid the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“My time at UToledo has been priceless with everlasting memories,” Moore said. “I am staying positive and appreciative of the support from The University of Toledo and my family.”

Moore chose to attend UToledo because of the Multicultural Emerging Scholars program, which was co-founded by one of his mentors: Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion.

The program is designed for first-year students to help them make the academic, social and cultural transition from high school to college and inspire achievement in college-level courses.

“The Multicultural Emerging Scholars program gave me the head start, network and support to be successful,” Moore said. “I also was awarded the Kinsey Determination Scholarship, which is a full scholarship for undergraduate students enrolled in the College of Business and Innovation. You must be the child of a single mother and have lived the majority of your life without the presence of a father or male guardian. With the honor and privilege to be afforded to take advantage of these two great opportunities, I knew that UToledo was the place for me.”

“Emir has been an amazing, driven and determined student since he came to the University as part of the Summer Bridge Program,” McKether said. “Almost from the very first time we met, he and I established a great relationship. He is certainly destined for greatness, and I am very proud of him.”

Emir Moore, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing, was one of 25 African-American students in the nation selected for a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation internship.

One turning point in Moore’s undergraduate career was volunteering in Haiti through a service-learning class.

“In Haiti, I helped with fundraising efforts to provide food, medication and shelter for Haitian communities,” Moore said. “We were able to immerse ourselves in the culture and interact with students from a local elementary school. This opportunity defined my passion for servant leadership in my own community and the world around me.”

Another critical experience occurred while he was president of the Student African-American Brotherhood. Moore worked with Brothers on the Rise to create the Barbershop Talk, where local barbers gave free haircuts along with free health screenings and food.

“During the haircuts, there were open conversations regarding topics that impact men,” Moore said. “We were able to change lives for African-American male students.”

All of those moments led up to his proudest achievement: interning on Capitol Hill in the office of the youngest black woman ever elected to Congress, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14).

“At first, some people told me I was crazy and it wasn’t feasible to move to Washington, D.C., at the beginning of my senior year for the Congressional internship while taking classes as a full-time student,” Moore said. “I’m happy I listened to myself. I would recommend whoever wants to be successful should and must acknowledge there will be challenges and obstacles. You must set realistic goals, and be teachable and coachable throughout the process. Don’t let others define who you are or what you will achieve. You must find resources such as organizations, programs, individuals and mentors to help assist you along your journey.”

Soccer Player Excited for Next Chapter as Registered Nurse

As Abby Demboski comes to the end of one important chapter in her life, she begins another. As is the case so often these days, the coronavirus pandemic is at the center of both events.

Demboski, a senior on The University of Toledo women’s soccer team, will graduate in May with a degree in nursing. Like her fellow graduates, her final two months of college were spent in virtual classes. Her commencement experience next month will be virtual, too.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

After graduation, Demboski intends to move to Colorado to become a registered nurse during a period of time in which health professionals are under tremendous strain. Despite the uncertainty and stress associated with the coronavirus, she is excited to join the work force and do her part.

“I’m gunning to get out to Colorado and become an RN,” said Demboski, who also has a minor in public health. “The whole coronavirus situation is pretty scary because of the worldwide impact it is having, but I can’t wait to be one of those people that helps others.”

Demboski knows her four years at UToledo prepared her well for the future, and she acknowledges all of the opportunities it provided for her.

“These last four years have made me into the person I am today and pushed me to be a better friend and leader,” Demboski said. “It taught me so many life skills, like time management, organization and prioritizing, and these are the same things that will help me become a successful nurse. My time at UToledo created a great base for me, and I’m forever grateful.”

The Columbus, Ohio, native, excelled on the field and in the classroom. A four-year starter, Demboski played an instrumental role in helping the Rockets secure the 2017 Mid-American Conference Tournament title.

“One of my best college memories was winning a MAC Championship,” Demboski said. “That team worked so hard and was rewarded for all of their efforts. I will never forget the journey we took to win that championship. In particular, I will always remember the day we beat our archrival [Bowling Green] in overtime in the finals.”

Abby Demboski, left, posed for a photo with former women’s soccer player Kelsey Kraft.

Following that championship run in 2017, Demboski went on to become one of the Rockets’ top players. She experienced her best statistical year last fall as a senior captain, posting a career-high seven points. She finished third on the team in goals scored (3) and total points. Among her three goals, Demboski was a perfect 2 of 2 converting penalty kicks.

“Being elected team captain was one of the biggest honors of my life,” Demboski said. “I had immense respect for each of my teammates and knowing they trusted me enough to lead the team meant a lot.”

Not only did Demboski excel on the field, she was ultra-successful in the classroom, garnering Academic All-MAC accolades a school-record three times.

“Although I spent a lot of time in college playing soccer, school always came first,” said Demboski, who will graduate with a 3.889 GPA. “Getting a quality education was my top priority at Toledo, and being a three-time Academic All-MAC honoree was truly icing on the cake.”

Head Coach TJ Buchholz truly appreciated Demboski’s contributions to the women’s soccer program, both on and off the field during her time wearing the Midnight Blue and Gold.

“Abby was a selfless leader who always cared more for her teammates over herself. I’m enormously grateful to have coached her,” Buchholz said. “It’s hard to say goodbye to a player like Abby after the lasting impact she made on her teammates and coaches, but I’m excited to see the tremendous impact she is going to have after graduation.”

Abby Demboski posted a career-high seven points last fall.

Demboski is excited to earn her nursing degree, but she is disappointed she will not get the chance to walk across the stage, as the University moved to a virtual ceremony because of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“I’m certainly disappointed that I can’t go through graduation and walk across the stage with my fellow graduates,” Demboski said. “Ever since I was a freshman, I envisioned getting all dressed up, putting on my cap and gown, and walking across the stage to get my diploma. It was supposed to be a day to celebrate four years of hard work and dedication with family and friends.”

The Demboski family has alternate plans to help her celebrate the special day. They have something in the works to give her a well-deserved moment in the sun.

“My family and I will make the most of it,” Demboski said. “I might walk across my backyard and pretend it’s the stage. It’s certainly disappointing not to walk with my fellow graduates, but I totally understand why the decision was made.”

Demboski’s time as a student-athlete at The University of Toledo is quickly coming to an end. She arrived on Main Campus four years ago simply looking to secure a degree and continuing to play the sport she loved. But Demboski left with so much more.

“I had an amazing run at Toledo, and I would not change any part of my experience,” she said. “I met a lot of great people and developed some tremendous relationships that I will forever cherish.”

Diver Earns All-America Distinction on Platform

Sophomore diver Joelle Gallais has been named an All-American by the College Swimming Coaches’ Association of America in platform diving.

Gallais becomes the fifth All-American for the Toledo women’s swimming and diving program.

“It was unfortunate not being able to finish our season, but I am very proud of Joelle and what she has accomplished,” Diving Coach Gabby Agostino said.

Gallais qualified for the NCAA Zone Diving Meet this spring on both one-meter and platform. She posted an NCAA Zones-qualifying score of 278.40 on the one-meter board at Bowling Green Feb. 8. Her score of 230.95 on the platform at Miami’s Diving Invitational in December qualified her for NCAA Zones in that event.

The Lumsden, Saskatchewan, native posted six individual wins this past season, all coming on the one-meter board. She also qualified for NCAA Diving Zones as a freshman in 2019.

The 2020 NCAA Zone C Diving Meet was scheduled to begin March 12 in Lexington, Ky., the same day the Mid-American Conference canceled the remainder of its spring sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UToledo Teams With National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Partners to Accelerate Promising New Solar Technology

Advancing our country’s global leadership in solar energy technologies, The University of Toledo is a founding member of a new organization called the U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium, which is focused on moving a breakthrough new technology out of the lab and into the marketplace to enhance economic and national security.

The group is working together to accelerate U.S. commercialization of perovskite solar cell technology in partnership with leading domestic companies, including First Solar, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of solar cells and a company that originated in UToledo laboratories.

Members of the Industrial Advisory Board posed for a photo during a meeting in March. They are, front row from left, Daniel Kroupa, BlueDot Photonics; Nancy Terjo, Swift Solar; David Ginger, the University of Washington; Joel Jean, Swift Solar; Joe Berry, NREL; and Jinsong Huang, the University of North Carolina; and back row from left, Stephan DeLuca, Energy Materials Corp.; Gang Xiong, First Solar; Colin Bailie, Tandem PV; Billy Stanbery, NREL; Yanfa Yan, The University of Toledo; Michael Heben, The University of Toledo; Jao van de Lagemaat, NREL; Michael Irwin, Hunt Perovskite Technologies; and Devin MacKenzie, the University of Washington.

Known as US-MAP, the consortium’s founding members are UToledo’s Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization; the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colo.; Washington Clean Energy Testbeds at the University of Washington; and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Perovskites have the potential to become a game-changer for solar and many other fields,” Martin Keller, NREL director, said. “By combining our research efforts, this new consortium will bring this technology to market sooner than if we were all operating alone.”

Perovskites are compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry.

Dr. Yanfa Yan, UToledo professor of physics, has had great success in the lab drawing record levels of power from sunlight by using two perovskites in a so-called tandem architecture on very thin, flexible supporting material.
Yan’s efforts have increased the efficiency of the new solar cell to about 23%. In comparison, silicon solar panels on the market today have around an 18% efficiency rating.

Dr. Michael Heben, UToledo professor of physics and McMaster endowed chair, also is a leading researcher in this field working on studying the reliability of perovskite solar cells.

“We have a talented team of physicists on faculty making significant advancements using perovskites to make solar energy more affordable, working closely with students and our industry partners,” Heben said. “UToledo is already well-known internationally for its work on cadmium telluride solar cells, which are already being manufactured at large scale by First Solar. We are proud to share our resources and expertise to support U.S. companies in the face of international competition and help the country have control over our energy infrastructure.”

“I applaud The University of Toledo and the National Renewable Energy Lab for their new and exciting partnership advancing U.S. leadership in solar energy technology,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said. “The U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskites Consortium will move our country and region forward in solar energy development at a time when it is needed more than ever. As the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, I will continue to prioritize Department of Energy programs that help fund these important programs through competitively awarded grant opportunities. I thank The University of Toledo, the National Renewable Energy Lab, and other partnering organizations, including First Solar, for their commitment to solar energy.”

In addition to harnessing sunlight to generate electricity, perovskites have shown promise in a range of other applications, including solid-state lighting, advanced radiation detection, dynamic sensing and actuation, photo-catalysis and quantum information science.

Early research investments by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office, its Office of Science, the Department of Defense and by the domestic industry partners have enabled the United States to engage at the forefront of many of these technology areas and has fostered a vibrant community of industrial leaders.

US-MAP founding members will form the executive board that will oversee successful completion of projects. The executive board and the member institutions will be informed and guided by an industrial advisory board composed of new U.S. startups and established companies in the perovskite area. The founding members of the board are six U.S. industry players: BlueDot Photonics, Energy Materials Corp., First Solar, Hunt Perovskites Technologies, Swift Solar and Tandem PV.

US-MAP capability providers will share research and development, validation, and pilot manufacturing capability and experience, which should reduce development costs and times to minimize technology risks for potential investors. The main focus areas of the consortium include durability, development of advanced analytical tools, scalable manufacturing tools, in-line metrology and more with each partner providing capabilities according to their areas of strength. The commercial members will have access to the array of research facilities at the four founding members or other capability-providing institutions.

The organizers and members of US-MAP have already begun expanding this network to include the University of Colorado at Boulder and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

The founding organizers of the US-MAP consortium will explore funding from a variety of sources, including industrial members and the federal government.

Leadership of the consortium will be provided at NREL by Dr. Joseph J. Berry, senior scientist and perovskite team lead, and Dr. Jao van de Lagemaat, director of the Chemistry and Nanoscience Center, who will work with the key points of contact of the other founding member institutions and industrial advisory board.

“Forming this collective will enable innovation in the U.S. that will strengthen our position in these important materials and associated technologies,” Berry said.

For more information about US-MAP, visit the NREL website.

NREL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL is operated for the Energy Department by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC.

Head Swimming and Diving Coach Named

Brie Globig has been named the head coach of The University of Toledo swimming and diving program.

Globig spent the 2019-20 season as the team’s interim head coach.


“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to continue to lead the women’s swimming and diving teams at The University of Toledo,” Globig said. “The program has a rich history of success, and I am eager to continue its trajectory of excellence.”

After dropping the interim tag from her title, Globig becomes the seventh head coach in program history. She joined the program as an assistant in July 2019, then was named interim head coach in September and led the Rockets for the 2019-20 season.

Under Globig’s guidance at the Mid-American Conference Championship meet in February, the Rockets tallied six top-three finishes, and junior Izzy Jones earned First-Team All-MAC honors. Diver Joelle Gallais also was named College Swimming Coaches’ Association of America All-American, the fifth student-athlete in program history to earn All-America status.

“I am also thankful to be working in a supportive athletic department with [Vice President and Director of Athletics] Mike O’Brien and [Senior Associate Athletic Director] Kelly Andrews,” Globig said. “Their continued support and guidance fosters an environment for success. Since stepping on campus, I knew The University of Toledo was an exceptional place to work and coach. I am eager for the future.”

“During this past season as the interim head coach, Brie demonstrated the type of leadership we are looking for in our women’s swimming and diving program,” O’Brien said. “We are excited that Brie will continue as a Rocket and look forward to the future development of our swimming and diving student-athletes.”

Globig came to Toledo last summer after a four-year stint as the head coach at East Stroudsburg University.

She graduated from Bloomsburg University in 2012 with a degree in pre-physical therapy and health science. In 2014, Globig earned her master’s degree in sport management with a concentration in intercollegiate athletic administration from California University of Pennsylvania.

Faculty Recognized for Tenure and Promotion

A total of 50 members of the faculty were approved for tenure and promotion by The University of Toledo Board of Trustees at its April meeting.

There were 19 faculty members approved for tenure and promotion and another 31 who were promoted to professor or associate professor.

“We’ve implemented a number of workshops to provide support for faculty members to advance their careers at UToledo, and I’m excited to see the results of those efforts as these impressive educators and researchers achieve this milestone,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

The faculty member who received tenure and promotion to professor is:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. Deepa Mukundan, Pediatrics

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

College of Arts and Letters
• Dr. Melissa Baltus, Sociology and Anthropology
• Dr. Allyson Day, Disability Studies
• Dr. Matthew Foss, Theatre and Film
• Dr. Peter Mezo, Psychology
• Dr. Karie Peralta, Sociology and Anthropology
• Stephen Sakowski, Theatre and Film
• Dr. Kasumi Yamazaki, Languages and Cultures

Judith Herb College of Education
• Dr. Katherine Delaney, Teacher Education

College of Engineering
• Dr. Jared Oluoch, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services
• Dr. Madeline Clark, School of Intervention and Wellness
• Dr. David Lilley, School of Social Justice
• Dr. Megan Petra, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences
• Dr. David Kennedy, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
• Dr. Heather Conti, Biological Science
• Dr. Welivitiya Ajith Karunarathne, Chemistry and Biochemistry
• Dr. Jeanine Refsnider, Environmental Sciences

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
• Dr. Gabriella Baki, Pharmacy Practice
• Dr. Julie Murphy, Pharmacy Practice

The faculty members who achieved promotion to professor are Dr. Kristen Keith, Dr. Barbara Schneider and Dr. Oleg Smirnov in the College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Snejana Slantcheva-Durst in the Judith Herb College of Education; Dr. Barry Scheuermann in the College of Health and Human Services; Shelley Cavalieri in the College of Law; Thomas Atwood in University Libraries; Dr. Roger Kruse, Dr. Matam Kumar, Dr. Adel Maklad, Dr. Jorge Ortiz, Dr. Alina Rais, Dr. Martin Skie, Dr. Xin Wang and Dr. Randall Worth in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences; Dr. Michael Cushing, Dr. Guofa Liu, Dr. Nikolas Podraza and Dr. Sonmez Sahutoglu in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Martha Sexton in the College of Nursing; and Dr. Jerry Nesamony in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The faculty members promoted to associate professor in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences are Dr. Arunkumar Baskara, Dr. Annette Collier, Dr. Stephen Grider, Dr. Jyl Matson, Dr. Mariam Mina, Dr. Mohamad Moussa, Dr. Shalini Niranjan, Dr. Chayanika Pal, Dr. Cherian Verghese and Dr. Jennifer Ruddy.

J.D. Candidate Ready to ‘Jump in Feet First’ Into Employment and Labor Law Career

For almost eight years, Lindsey Self worked in human resources, most recently at First Solar. It wasn’t planning Christmas parties and employee engagement programs that excited her. It was the legal compliance part of her job that she was passionate about ― investigating complaints, managing FMLA compliance and conducting audits.

In May, Self will graduate from The University of Toledo College of Law with her J.D., bringing together the two professional worlds she cares most about.

Graduation Cap

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“I can jump in feet first,” she said. “All those things I enjoyed in HR that we passed along to counsel ― now I’ll be the counsel.”

Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney this summer at Eastman & Smith in Toledo, a position the firm offered her last August.

When she began law school, Self was a part-time, evening student. The law program’s flexibility allowed her to work and still care for her two young children. A year into the program, she left her job and enrolled full time.

Self said she appreciated the faculty’s flexibility. Her daughter, Vivian, came to class with her a few times, and it was never an issue. The dean’s secretary even set up the kindergartener with candy.

“Toledo Law turned into a family for me. I was sick recently, and the dean of the college reached out to see how I was feeling. You don’t get that at other schools,” she said. “I had opportunities to build strong and real relationships with experts in their field, professors who went to Harvard and Yale. I feel prepared to walk into any practice.”

Self’s first internship was with Judge Darlene O’Brien at the Washtenaw County Trial Court. The supervising attorney there was a UToledo College of Law graduate and urged her to apply for an internship in federal court. She landed a position with Judge Jeffrey Helmick at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

The judicial internships led to a clerk position with Eastman & Smith and eventually to a full-time job offer.

Lindsay Self

After graduation from the UToledo College of Law, Linday Self will start her job as a labor and employment attorney at Eastman & Smith in Toledo; the firm offered her the position last August.

“Lindsey is an extraordinary student, one of the best I’ve ever had,” said Joseph Slater, Distinguished University Professor and Eugene N. Balk Professor of Law and Values. “She was always prepared, always thoughtful. She has a new, smart idea about labor law that no one’s come up with and is writing a paper about it.”

Self said she’s sad about not being able to walk at commencement. She wanted her children to experience the final moment, to see all that mom had worked for. But they’ll find another way to celebrate, she said. She knows there’s so much more good to come.

“I look forward to raising my family in Toledo and building my career here,” she said. “I want to help Toledo continue to be a great city and to be a community leader.”

Self graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2010 with a dual degree in psychology and sociology. She was the 2019-20 editor of the Toledo Law Review, a student-edited journal written by professors, judges and students. In 2017, while a first-year law student, Self spoke at TEDxToledo about unconscious bias, gender inequality and women’s empowerment.

She also is a member of the Emerging Leaders Council of Advocates for Basic Legal Equality, the Northwest Ohio Human Resource Association and the Toledo Women’s Bar Association. She is co-founder of Make It Count Toledo, a local nonprofit that provides emergency mobilization services to nonprofits that work to help underrepresented and disadvantaged members of the community in crisis.

Self lives in Holland with her husband, Brian, and two children, Vivian (6) and Connor (4).

Graduate Breaking Gender Barriers in Information Technology, Computer Science

Sheltering in place in sunny California, Naba Rizvi already misses the bells.

The University of Toledo first-generation college student is in San Diego taking her final classes online before she starts working remotely at Microsoft Research and begins earning her Ph.D. in computer science and engineering at the University of California at San Diego — her top choice — after graduation May 9.

CELEBRATING SUCCESS: During this time when we cannot come together to celebrate our graduates, UToledo is recognizing the Class of 2020 with a series of feature stories on students who are receiving their degrees. Help us celebrate our newest UToledo alumni. Visit utoledo.edu/commencement to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

“My favorite memory will always be hearing the bells from University Hall first thing in the morning when I lived in MacKinnon Hall,” said Rizvi, who will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in information technology. “I hope I will someday get to return to Toledo, walk across Main Campus again, visit my former professors and colleagues at Engineering College Computing, and say goodbye in a proper way to the University that played a big role in shaping the person I am today.”

Rizvi, who has published research on human-computer interaction and interned with tech giant Adobe in Silicon Valley, is a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College who found great success while majoring in information technology in the College of Engineering.

She was one of nine students to win the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship, one of 20 students to win the Google Women Techmakers Scholarship, and one of six recipients of the National Center for Women in IT’s Collegiate Award, to name a few of the many ways she has been recognized during the last few years as an outstanding female student studying computer science.

Rizvi is the founder of Non-Traditional Techies, a nonprofit organization with nearly 1,000 members increasing socioeconomic diversity in the technology industry by connecting passionate individuals from underprivileged backgrounds with opportunities.

Naba Rizvi, center, holds the trophy the UToledo Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter received as the Outstanding New Student Organization in 2019.

At the forefront of initiatives related to gender diversity on campus, she also founded the UToledo Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter.

Originally from Pakistan, Rizvi’s parents are now based in Saudi Arabia and her grandparents and sister live in Michigan.

Her journey through higher education started at Oakland Community College in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where a recruiter told her about UToledo’s International Student Scholarship.

“I signed up for a campus visit and fell in love with Main Campus,” she said.

She credits the Honors College for access to additional scholarships and opportunities. She said it played a critical role in her ability to work by assisting with Curricular Practical Training, known as CPT, to complete her internships.

Naba Rizvi rode a bicycle outside the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif., before posing for a photo with the other Google Women Techmakers Scholarship recipients during a retreat in 2018.

“Naba exemplifies what we hope all UToledo students experience — a passion for a subject and for helping others,” Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College, said. “What makes her extraordinary is that she’s using her experience and volunteer activities to shatter glass ceilings in her profession. We couldn’t be more proud.”

Rizvi’s skyrocketing success as an undergraduate in her field belies her uncertainty as a first-year student originally majoring in political science. But once exposed to programming, it was like flipping a switch.

“I discovered IT once I got to UToledo, and that’s when I discovered that I really enjoyed programming,” Rizvi said. “I immediately switched my major to IT and took all of the programming classes. I got involved with hackathons, and the rest is history.”

Naba Rizvi was an intern at Adobe Research in San Jose, Calif., last summer.

The five-time hackathon winner is an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Kevin Xu’s research lab working on analyzing biological networks of antigens that affect kidney transplant survival.

“I have been thoroughly impressed with Naba’s ambition and initiative — she is the founder of UToledo’s Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter and has turned it into one of the strongest student organizations on campus, regularly winning awards at hackathons all over the country,” said Xu, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. “I believe Naba will become a tremendous researcher and, most importantly, that her research will have high societal impact.”

Rizvi is passionate about using computer science for social good, with a particular interest in breaking race, gender and accessibility barriers in education, healthcare and politics.

“Women are very, very underrepresented in computer science,” Rizvi said. “We make up less than 20% of the overall population of computer science majors, and now because of all the work we did with the Association of Computing Machinery Women’s Chapter, not only do they know that these opportunities are out there for them, but they have the passion and the courage to reach for them.”

While at Adobe, Rizvi worked on a project that helps blind people generate summaries of newspaper articles.

“That’s when I discovered my passion for developing assistive technologies for people with disabilities,” Rizvi said. “I’m hoping with all of these diversity initiatives, we can move toward a society where computer science is not just viewed as something for men. A lot of people from different backgrounds can see themselves as programmers or computer science researchers. I would really like to see the field that I’m in become more diverse and more open to different perspectives. I’m doing all I can to make that happen.”