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Business and Innovation

UToledo Health Professions Chapter Places Highly in International Competition

A group of Rockets in the health professions have launched themselves from competition in Ohio to recognition among their peers at the international level.

In June, students in The University of Toledo chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals competed with state finalists from around the country during HOSA’s 2020 International Conference, held virtually for the first time in response to COVID-19.

More than 7,000 students from high schools and postsecondary institutions in the U.S., Canada and China participated in events testing their abilities in health science and leadership. The UToledo students had qualified to compete in the international conference during HOSA’s virtual statewide competition in April.

“Placing as a champion or becoming a finalist at a HOSA International Conference is
very significant, and each of these members deserves recognition for their dedication and hard work,” said Rupesh Boddapati, a bioengineering major and founder and president of UToledo’s chapter of HOSA Future Health Professionals. “I’m very thankful for their interest and dedication to the organization, to UToledo and to the community.”

HOSA Future Health Professionals, founded in 1975, is an international student organization with more than 245,000 members that helps to develop leadership and technical skills in health science education programs around the world.

UToledo students named 2020 HOSA International champions are:

• Rupesh Boddapati, third place in pathophysiology;

• Sharvari Brahme, second place in extemporaneous writing; and

• Maya Girn, third place in cultural diversities and disparities.

Several UToledo students also earned recognition as 2020 HOSA International finalists. They are Aditya Acharya in medical law and ethics; Samhitha Dasari in human growth and development; Megha Girn in nutrition; Drew Pariseau in nutrition; and Jessica Rinehart in medical math.

College of Business and Innovation Virtual Town Hall Aug. 14

The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation Alumni Affiliate will host a virtual town hall Friday, Aug. 14, at noon.

Dr. Anne L. Balazs, dean of the College of Business and Innovation, will host the event and give an update on the college.

In addition, Dr. Dana Hollie, the Alan H. and Karen A. Barry Endowed Professor of Accounting and the UToledo Faculty Athletics Representative, will discuss her recently completed fellowship with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, where she was a visiting scholar in the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis.

Register to attend the virtual town hall.

For more information, contact Paul Smith, assistant director of alumni engagement, at or 419.530.5378.

UToledo Faculty Athletics Representative Named

Dr. Sharon L. Gaber, president of The University of Toledo, has named Dr. Dana Hollie to serve in the position of Faculty Athletics Representative.

The Faculty Athletics Representative serves as an essential liaison between the University’s president, its athletic department, the Mid-American Conference and the NCAA. Hollie replaces Dr. Mary Powers, professor of pharmacy practice, who concluded her term as Faculty Athletics Representative after serving in that role for the past five years.


“Dr. Hollie’s academic background, integrity and knowledge of the University make her an ideal choice to serve as our Faculty Athletics Representative. The University will be well-served by her leadership in collaboration with Athletic Director Mike O’Brien, coaches, academic advisers and student-athletes,” Gaber said. “I’d also like to recognize Dr. Powers for her service in this role and the impact she has had on the University as an alumna and dedicated faculty member.”

Hollie is an associate professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation, and holds the Alan H. and Karen A. Barry Endowed Professor of Accounting Chair in the college. Hollie earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and later earned a master of business administration from George Mason, a master of science in business administration from Washington University in St. Louis, and a Ph.D. in accounting from Washington University. She served as a visiting academic scholar with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the 2019-20 academic year.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to serve as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative for The University of Toledo,” Hollie said. “UToledo has very talented student-athletes and coaches, and serving as the Faculty Athletics Representative provides me an opportunity to be even more engaged with students’ athletic and academic successes.”

UToledo student-athletes have an impressive history of academic accomplishment. The Rockets have earned a collective semester GPA of 3.3 or higher in each of the past three semesters, including a record 3.527 GPA this past spring. Toledo also has been the recipient of the Mid-American Conference Institutional Academic Achievement Award in six of the past nine years. That award is presented annually to the conference institution that achieves the highest overall institutional GPA for student-athletes for the academic year.

“The academic success our student-athletes have earned demonstrates our commitment to ensuring their excellence in the classroom,” O’Brien said. “The Faculty Athletics Representative is an important part of maintaining that culture, and Dana’s experience and leadership will only make our team stronger. I would also like to personally thank Mary Powers for her outstanding service and commitment to our athletic program and our student-athletes these past five years.”

UToledo Students Earn Recognition in Statewide Health Professions Competition

Tomorrow’s doctors, nurses and other health professionals aren’t waiting for a diploma to contribute to their fields. Several Rockets set themselves apart in a recent statewide competition among health science and biomedical programs in events testing their medical knowledge, presentation skills and analytical abilities.

The UToledo chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals competed remotely for the first time in the organization’s annual State Leadership Conference against chapters from other Ohio colleges and universities. More than 1,000 teams from high schools and postsecondary institutions participated in the competition.

Because of their placing performances, the UToledo students qualified to compete in the HOSA International Leadership Conference, which will be held virtually Wednesday through Saturday, June 24-27.

“Despite the challenges faced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our members continued to showcase dedication and pride,” said Rupesh Boddapati, a bioengineering major as well as founder and president of UToledo’s chapter of HOSA Future Health Professionals. “We cannot thank them enough for their participation as well as their involvement in the UToledo chapter.”

Members of the UToledo chapter of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) Future Health Professionals posed for a photo after preparing food during a CommunityCare Clinic service event before the pandemic.

HOSA Future Health Professionals, founded in 1975, is an international student organization with more than 245,000 members that helps to develop leadership and technical skills in health science education programs around the world.

Qualifying students were:

• Aditya Acharya, first place in medical law and ethics;

• Amarjot Bhangu, first place in job-seeking skills;

• Rupesh Boddapati, first place in pathophysiology;

• Sharvari Brahme, third place in prepared speaking;

• Samhitha Dasari, second place in human growth and development;

• Maya Girn, second place in cultural diversities and disparities;

• Megha Girn, second place in nutrition;

• Jeremy Mathews, second place in medical math;

• Drew Pariseau, first place in nutrition;

• Jessica Rinehart, third place in medical math; and

• Calvin Sunny, third place in medical law and ethics.

UToledo Unites in Solidarity to Identify Solutions to Address Systemic Racial Injustice

The University of Toledo’s campus community united in solidarity and support Thursday evening for those affected by the killing of George Floyd.

The first Dialogues on Diversity Virtual Town Hall brought together University leadership, faculty, staff, students and the public to reflect on their experiences, identify solutions to address systemic racial injustice, and highlight campus and community resources to aid in coping with trauma.

“I am so pleased with the dynamic, meaningful ideas that resulted from our successful discussion,” Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion, said. “I appreciate the passion and motivation of our Rocket family and the support we have for each other. This is the beginning of a series of respectful, painful conversations in the coming weeks, including when the semester starts.”

More than 350 people attended the event that featured panelists:

• UToledo Police Chief Jeff Newton;

• Benjamin Davis, UToledo law professor;

• Dr. Monita Mungo, UToledo assistant professor of sociology;

• Dr. La Tasha Sullivan, director of the University Counseling Center;

• Nyah Kidd, president of the Black Student Union;

• Darren Gordon, former president of the UToledo chapter of the Student National Medical Association;

• Giselle Zelaya, president of the Latino Student Union;

• Nick Thompson, president of Student Government;

• Anjali Phadke, vice president of Student Government; and

• Asher Sovereign with the Sexuality and Gender Alliance.

Members of the campus community shared personal experiences and the great sadness and fear sparked by watching the video of George Floyd’s death.

“As a teen growing up in Mississippi, my parents would consistently remind my siblings and me when we would leave the house for fun or to hang out with our family and friends, ‘Remember we love you, but you must come home at night,’” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said. “As I got older and started to experience racism, discrimination and prejudice firsthand, I began to understand the meaning of those powerful 11 words. In essence, my parents were saying, ‘Always obey the law and follow their instructions and rules. Do as you are told. Don’t argue.’ These past two weeks have been the most difficult weeks in my life. When will this behavior stop? Am I next? I’m at a loss for words.”

“As I reflect on the events of the last few weeks and our community discussion last evening, I am inspired by our students, faculty, staff and alumni for their commitment, perseverance and passion to change the world,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Yet I grieve the recent senseless deaths of George Floyd and Breona Taylor. As a human and a mother, I cannot fathom the pain and anguish that their families are experiencing. Racial injustice, police brutality and disparate treatment have painfully existed for longer than all of us have been alive. As a campus community, we have made great strides to create a more open and inclusive community, working together to develop and implement UToledo’s first diversity plan. And yet it isn’t nearly enough. Now is the time to end this in our community, our country and in the world. I challenge each and every one of you to ‘be the change you want to see in the world.’”

Panelists brought forward ideas and solutions to elevate our community, such as training students in nonviolence and conflict transformation to teach them how to respond to what they will face while protesting by utilizing faculty expertise in the Peace Education Program, which is part of the Judith Herb College of Education.

“I am proud of the strength and courage of our students as they engage in deep, thoughtful, critical discussions and examine the ways we can change our society for the better,” Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said. “It is our solemn responsibility and our honor to equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to lead that change into the future.”

Leaders from across the University have expressed their commitment to embracing the critical role higher education can and must play in facilitating open and honest discussions that empower us as a community and a nation to translate our ideals into actionable change.

• Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College: “We believe in the power of higher education to address major societal problems like this injustice. We hope that by challenging our students to think deeply about the world they live in and to take actions that support greater diversity, equity and inclusion, we are helping to build a better world.”

• Dr. Anne Balazs, dean of the College of Business and Innovation: “It is with great sadness that we bear witness to the events of the past week, with the untimely and violent death of George Floyd and the continuing expressions of hatred and prejudice. As members of a scholarly community, one which is dedicated to education and improving our shared quality of life, it is unacceptable to idly stand by and allow racism in all its many forms to persist.”

• Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law: “The past week’s events have shown the realities of the work we must do as a nation to ensure that our justice system protects and serves all people. Our mission at the law school is intrinsically tied to the mission of equal access to justice. We are uniquely positioned to empower future generations of lawyers to evaluate our country’s legal systems, engage in thoughtful discourse, and address inequality. The change we need to see as a nation begins with each of us doing our part to create a diverse, supportive and inclusive community.”

• Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich, dean of the College of Graduate Studies: “Life is heavy for all of us today. It has been that way for some of us for many, many days. First, a global pandemic and now violence and division dominate our news cycle. I am sad, I am afraid, and I am hopeful. I am sorry for your loss, I am sorry for your fear, I am sorry for your anger, I am sorry for the lack of justice, I am sorry there is no cure, and I am sorry that I am sorry. You are valued, and we hear you. We are here for you today and every day.”

• Beau Case, dean of University Libraries: “The University Libraries believe that diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are not merely ideals — they are core values which we display daily in our work. Our campus doors are open to all. Our services are free of bias. We offer safe spaces for exploration, discovery, lifelong learning and wonder.”

• Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences: “From all appearances, he was neither protected with courage nor served with compassion. Now ‘I can’t breathe’ has become the rallying cry of protests locally and nationally, peaceful and violent. Lurking beneath this are the concerns and outrage of ongoing racism, systemic racism, institutional violence and failed inclusion. If we want to improve the world, we better start close to home with our region, our community and, most importantly, with ourselves.”

• Charlene Gilbert, dean of the College of Arts and Letters: “The peaceful protests occurring in many of our major cities and towns not only reflect the anger over the death of Mr. Floyd, but also represent years of frustration with the injustice and unequal treatment experienced by African Americans and people of color in communities all across this nation. The College of Arts and Letters is a community where we value and celebrate not only critical inquiry, but also thoughtful action. We want to thank every student, faculty member, staff person and alumnus who has participated in some form of action to add your voice to the many calling for justice.”

• Dr. John Laux, associate dean of student affairs in the College of Health and Human Services: “George Floyd’s murder at the hands of police officers is the latest example of violence perpetrated against African Americans. We honor George Floyd’s life, and those who were murdered or assaulted previously by focusing our attention on our society’s history of and ongoing racism and systemic social injustice by working collectively to be agents of change. The College of Health and Human Services trains students for careers in social service, health sciences and criminal justice, including police civil service. We recognize that we are a product of our society. The status quo is not acceptable. And, as such, we have work to do to root out and put an end to individual and institutional racism. We are committed to do the work necessary to be a part of the solution.”

• Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing: “We know that long-term discrimination has negative effects on physical and mental health and that violence, discrimination and racism directly impact social determinants of health and result in health disparities and inequities. Given the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our African-American communities, the health impact of continued disparities is even more profound. As healthcare professionals, we are in a unique position to address the health and the social justice issues that are so pressing in our nation at this time. Change begins with each one of us and is reflected in how we treat each other on a daily basis.”

• Mike O’Brien, vice president and athletic director: “Last night’s dialogue was excellent as it was very informative and insightful. We must stand together and be committed for equity, diversity and the fight against racial injustice.”

• Dr. John Plenefisch, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics: “The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics must translate the powerful words and feelings expressed by those protesting systemic racism into sustained action that makes a concrete difference in our community, including through our work and actions here in our college. As scientists and mathematicians, we can take action against racism, bigotry and prejudice in many ways, including choosing to focus our research on issues that disproportionally impact marginalized communities or groups, and deliberately supporting the careers and training of people of color as future generations of scientists and mathematicians.”

• Dr. Gary Pollack, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences: “Our obligation to our fellow human beings is not diminished by the color of their skin, or by how they express their spirituality, or by their country of origin, or by whom they happen to love. Those characteristics, which some voices emphasize in an attempt to divide us, are infinitesimal compared to the many things that make us what we are: the human family.”

• Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the College of Engineering: “I found each of the speakers and the entire event to be compelling and inspiring. It is critical that we have administrators, faculty and student leaders on campus who are speaking out to support the protests against racial injustice in our nation. Eliminating institutionalized racism, white privilege and racist violence will take many voices and much work.”

• Dr. Raymond Witte, dean of the Judith Herb College of Education: “We all want to feel safe when in the presence of the police. This will require time and honest dialogue because many, including myself now, don’t feel safe. I am now faced with the reality that police may not act impartially and without bias. To be honest, most of us are biased in some way. However, the decisions police make can have life and death outcomes.”

The next Dialogues on Diversity Virtual Roundtable is scheduled Thursday, June 25, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Access and panelist participation information will be released prior to the event, which is titled “The Death of George Floyd: Race and Anti-Blackness in America.”

Toledo Infielder Named Academic All-District

Sophomore infielder Darryn Davis of The University of Toledo baseball team has been named Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

Davis will be on the ballot for Academic All-America, which will be announced next month. He is the eighth player in program history to earn Academic All-District honors and the first honoree since 2013.

Sophomore Darryn Davis was named Academic All-District, putting him in contention for the Academic All-America squad.

The Ann Arbor, Mich., native was outstanding in the 16 games Toledo played this season. Davis hit .400 (24 for 60) and tallied a team-best 17 RBI. He ranked second in the Mid-American Conference in batting average and hits, as well as on-base percentage (.532).

Davis compiled a 20-game hitting streak dating back to the 2019 season, the longest by a Rocket since 2010. He served as Toledo’s leadoff hitter for most of the season, scoring a team-high 14 runs and walking 13 times while striking out in just six of his 77 plate appearances.

As a freshman in 2019, Davis hit .329 and started games at five different positions. He was second on the team with 19 multi-hit efforts while recording 12 extra-base hits and driving in 33 runs.

Academically, Davis carries a 3.96 cumulative grade point average as a pre-business major.

The 2020 Academic All-District Baseball Team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America, recognizes the nation’s top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.

Learning From Our Viral Trial (With Style)

As an educator of college students, professionals, leaders and executives, I often ask people to identify the specific things that have had the most powerful impact on shaping them into the people they are today. Their “life-shaper” responses typically fall into three important categories.

First, human beings are molded in powerful ways by the people who are part of our lives, from family, friends, teachers, coaches and people in the workplace. At the same time, they are greatly influenced by the personal challenges and difficulties that they have had to face over the course of their lifetimes. These can include difficult family times, academic challenges, interpersonal conflicts, economic hardships and workplace difficulties. These “trying times” test all of us to be sure, but they can teach us invaluable life lessons about perseverance, discipline and grit.


The final category includes personal hardships and tragedies that people have had to endure that could include divorce, loss of loved ones, health crises, and unemployment among other truly difficult experiences.

I share these findings to remind you that each of us is shaped in powerful ways by the myriad of experiences and people that touch our lives.

At present, we find ourselves amidst the COVID-19 “viral trial,” which has caused extreme financial and economic uncertainty, large-scale unemployment and extensive discouragement for people. During this trying time, I have asked a cross-section of friends, co-workers, students, business associates, neighbors and family members what they are learning going through this period of sheltering in. Their responses have been very instructive and very encouraging to me, and I thought that you might enjoy them as well.

People have shared:

• “How fortunate we are to have medical personnel and first-responders who are willing to risk their lives for complete strangers.”

• “I have a newfound appreciation for my kid’s teachers and what they have to put up with.”

• “I enjoy my work and co-workers more than I realized.”

• “Going for a walk is very refreshing even when the weather isn’t great.”

• “I will never take my paycheck for granted again.”

• “To never take toilet paper for granted.”

• “It’s important to look for ways to be kind and connected to the people around us.”

• “It’s great to have family dinner on a regular schedule.”

• “You never really know what you will find when cleaning out a closet or drawers.”

• “It is so important to take time to just think and reflect on life.”

• “Reconnecting with old friends on the phone and internet is really a great thing.”

• “You never really know what you will find when cleaning out the garage.”

• “I can be very productive wearing pajama bottoms and slippers at a Zoom meeting.”

• “I didn’t realize how many home projects actually needed my attention.”

• “Shame on me for not taking the time to get to know my neighbors until now.”

• “We are so blessed to have access to food and supplies in our grocery stores.”

• “I need to do a better job of saving money for a rainy day or another pandemic for that matter.”

• “Hey, I can feel close to someone even at a distance.”

• “I am taking my family, friends and faith much more seriously.”

• “With the exception of hand washing and tooth brushing, other hygiene activities can become more or less optional.”

• “That there’s a big difference between having wants and having real needs.”

• “It is very sobering and even embarrassing that it has taken a crisis to make me step back and appreciate the quality of my life before the pandemic.”

I think it’s safe to say that all of us can relate to any number of these invaluable lessons as we go through this pandemic, and there will be further lessons to learn. And while the loss of life and financial impact of this pandemic are incalculable, we now share a common bond in that we are all looking at life and our blessings differently than we did back in February 2020. We are being shaped by this experience. It has been said that hard times can make you bitter or they can make you better and the choice is ours. Choose wisely, my friends, to learn large from this experience.

Longenecker is a Distinguished University Professor in the College of Business and Innovation at The University of Toledo.

Advice for Job Seekers During Coronavirus Pandemic

“I was just.” I shudder every time I hear that phrase from a student in the midst of building a resumé.

It all starts somewhere, right? I tell students in order to be considered for a position they need to have a resumé for the employer to review and assess their potential.

True, yet somewhere along the line, a significant number of students presume that the only way they will get hired for an internship is if they have experience in their desired field.


Now, how can that happen if it is the internship that gets them the experience? How do we convince students that their experiences are so much “more” than they realize? If I had a nickel for each time I heard, “I was just a

• Server;

• Caddy;

• Babysitter;

• Cashier;

• Fill in the _______,” I’d have retired long ago and retreated to my favorite 14th-floor destination in Puerto Vallarta.

It’s hard enough convincing students and job seekers that all experiences matter and that transferable skills — those skills we build in one environment that transfer to our desired careers — are developed and fostered in everything we do.

Add to that a global pandemic that has impacted the economy and hiring plans in unprecedented ways, and you find a bunch of downtrodden, internship-hopeful students who think they’re never going to get a break.

Times are hard now, but they will change. And when they change, you need to be ready. So, unless you work for a healthcare provider, a grocery store, or are a delivery driver for the most popular takeout in the city, you’ve got time to consider how your skills are so much more than you realize and package them properly.

Applicant Tracking Systems scan those resumés that are uploaded to job boards or company career sites “looking” for those keywords or skills that are required for the position.

LinkedIn’s algorithm performs in a similar manner. Sources conduct keyword searches looking for candidates to present to employers. If you’re not aware of the required skills for your industry and how to work them into your job search materials, you will remain “just a______.”

Pro tip: Those required skills are more likely to be the soft transferable skills you have built over your lifetime. I’ve had conversation after conversation with employers who always tout soft skills over technical skills.

Can you communicate? Get along with others? Work on a project longer than you spend trolling TikTok? Done — there’s a job out there for you. Now you just need to believe in yourself and trust in the value of your skills. And, of course, tell the story.

We all start somewhere. Even the richest, most influential people in the world started humbly. Oprah Winfrey was a grocery store clerk. Warren Buffett was a newspaper delivery boy. Jean Nidetch worked in a furniture store. Tom Hanks pushed stadium peanuts. Sound glamorous? Maybe not, but those people learned how to capitalize on their strengths and tell their story. You can, too.

Where do you start? Let me suggest what I do with my students on the first day of class. Ask yourself, “What are my top three skills?” Start small and don’t overthink it. Some of the most common skills are what employers crave.

For example, topping the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ list of attributes employers seek on a candidate’s resumé (Job Outlook 2020) are:

1. Problem solving;

2. Ability to work on a team;

3. Strong work ethic;

4. Analytical/quantitative skills; and

5. Communication.

Here are some real-life examples:

Problem solving: Ever have to figure out how to get your sister to softball practice 20 minutes away when you need to be at work in 15 minutes?

Ability to work on a team: Have you played team sports, participated on the debate team, or picked up sticks in the backyard with siblings? Yep, teamwork.

Strong work ethic: Realize you haven’t looked at the clock for the last two hours while in the midst of a project, or you arrived early or stayed late because it was the right thing to do?

Analytical/quantitative skills: I had an accountant friend of mine tell me he was always running his personal stats in his head — baskets made versus shots taken while he was on the court.

Communication: Can you tell a story and keep people’s attention? Better yet, can you compose one with appropriate grammar?

You’ll find those skills in the most common of places. So, get started. Here is a step-by-step list of how to move forward:

1. Create a list of skills.

2. Without even going to the resumé, develop and type stories recalling how you developed those skills.

3. Compose action resumé statements using those skills and plug them into your resumé — think:

a. What did I do?

b. How did I do it?

c. What was the result?

d. Begin them with action verbs and work in numbers.

4. Reach out to Career Services, the College of Business and Administration Business Career Programs, the College of Engineering Shah Center for Engineering Career Development, and the College of Law Office of Professional Development — they are still working during this shutdown. Check their website to see how they are providing services. This goes for current students and alumni.

5. Move those cleaned up statements into your LinkedIn profile.

6. Identify companies where you want to work.

7. Look for people in the roles you want to play.

8. Reach out with customized invitations and ask to connect — follow career expert JT O’Donnell’s advice in this YouTube video.

9. When they say “yes,” ask for 15 minutes of their time to talk about their career path. Believe me, most everyone has 15 minutes.

10. Listen to how they tell their stories and how they built their skills. I bet they sound the same as yours.

If you apply yourself, in a month’s time you’ll have a bang-up resumé and 25 new influential LinkedIn contacts. Once the economy starts to turn, you will be positioned to transition. So, score the “more.” If you cannot recognize the value of your experiences and articulate them in writing and eventually verbally, you are destined to be “just.”

Amy O’Donnell is Distinguished University Lecturer of Career Development in The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation.

Pitcher Finishes Collegiate Career as Student Assistant Baseball Coach

They say college is a time of change and transformation.

That definitely has been true for senior Caleb Scoles.

Scoles started his college life as a player on The University of Toledo baseball team and then ended it as a coach. In between those two milestones was a series of physical setbacks that sent him on a challenging path he certainly didn’t anticipate. Nevertheless, Scoles ultimately found his college journey very rewarding.

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 to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

A Richland, Mich., native, Scoles became a Rocket following a prep career in which he was a two-time all-district and all-league pitcher at Gull Lake High School. While he had other offers, the campus and academics swayed him into donning the Midnight Blue and Gold.

Scoles’ baseball career, however, did not get off to a great start. He missed his freshman season in 2017 after experiencing arm pain in the fall. Instead of taking the mound for the Rockets that year, he underwent physical therapy to try and relieve some of the pain in his bicep and shoulder.

He came back as a sophomore in the fall and was looking to work past the injury issues that plagued him the year before. But his arm wasn’t feeling any better. He was still experiencing discomfort even after months of physical therapy. An MRI revealed that he had a partially torn labrum. Once again, his season was over before it began.

“It was probably one of the hardest things I have been through,” Scoles said.

By the start of Scoles’ junior season, it appeared that the physical therapy had paid off. That fall, Scoles was throwing again without pain for first time in years. He was on track to be ready for the 2019 season when, again, the pain in his biceps and shoulder reappeared.

Caleb Scoles, third from left, was a student assistant coach for the Rockets in 2020 after
spending three years on the roster as a pitcher.

This time there was no avoiding it; Scoles underwent surgery to repair his labrum and bicep tendon that spring, wiping out his 2019 season. It was the third straight year he missed due to injury, and it would end up being his last season as a Toledo baseball player. He ended his career having never appeared in a game for the Rockets as a player.

“Despite the surgery and extensive rehab efforts, my arm didn’t heal the way I hoped it would,” Scoles said. “I was very fortunate that I had teammates around who supported me. Even though I didn’t see time on the field as a player, I made the most of being a part of the team during games and practices.”

Entering his senior year and the 2020 baseball season, Scoles was presented with an opportunity to continue his baseball career in a different capacity. Instead of being on the roster as a player, he could serve as a student assistant coach.

“When I was hired last summer, one of the first things I did was call all the players on the current team,” Head Coach Rob Reinstetle said. “I talked to Caleb, and he gave me some insight into the arm struggles he’d had during his time at Toledo. He said that he loved Toledo baseball, but didn’t feel he could pitch anymore. We talked about his options and had the idea of him being a student assistant coach.”

For Scoles, the decision was a no-brainer.

“It was a simple decision for me because I loved all of my teammates, and I love the game of baseball,” he said. “I knew that I would have really missed everything if I said no.”

So, for the 2020 season, Scoles played an important role on the Rockets’ coaching staff. He served as the team’s first base coach and helped relay signals from the dugout when Toledo was pitching.

“My favorite part of being a coach was getting to travel with the team across the country and getting to play great competition,” Scoles said of his coaching stint with the Rockets this past spring. “I also couldn’t complain about being at the baseball field every day. I thoroughly enjoyed my time being a coach.”

“He proved to be a very valuable member of my staff,” Reinstetle said. “He was a great leader and had the respect of the team. He worked daily with the pitchers and took on just about every task we threw his way.”

Of course, for Scoles and the rest of the Rockets, this past season was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. After returning with the baseball team from its spring break trip in March, Scoles stayed in Toledo for a couple weeks before heading back to his parents’ house in Michigan.

Scoles is set to graduate this weekend with a degree in marketing and professional sales. He has a sales job lined up that will begin in July. With his college career winding down, he is able to reflect on the time he spent at The University of Toledo and how it prepared him for life after college.

“Being a college athlete really helped me handle the ups and downs that I’ve experienced over the last few years, which really helped me grow as a person,” he said. “From an academic standpoint, I was able to grow a ton within my sales classes, which really helped prepare me for my job after college.”

Business Graduate Brings Servant Leader Mindset to Human Resources Career

When Carley Palmer is sitting across from someone as a recruiter and getting to know them, she is truly in her element.

The human resource management major has developed that passion throughout her time at The University of Toledo, and she will join Owens Corning’s human resources team after receiving her bachelor’s degree in business administration May 9.

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 to share a message of support to graduates and come back online Saturday, May 9, to take part in the virtual commencement ceremony.

In addition to its beautiful campus, Palmer chose UToledo on the strength of its student organizations and found her place in the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. While she started as a nursing major, she discovered a niche for herself when meeting and developing new members for the organization — where she ultimately served as vice president for recruitment.

“I took a tour of UToledo and fell in love,” Palmer said. “I knew right away I wanted to be involved in Greek life. Alpha Omicron Pi taught me a lot about servant leadership, and I wouldn’t have found my career path without that experience.”

Palmer’s resumé includes a broad set of experiences that have paralleled her work in the classroom. As part of the Klar Leadership Academy in 2019, she learned the importance of aligning the complementary skills of classmates and colleagues.

“Being involved with Klar really taught me how important it is to work as a team,” Palmer said. “I learned that when working toward a common cause, my strengths will offset others’ weaknesses and vice versa.”

She began learning some of the basic principles of human resources during an internship with MaritzCX, a customer experience and research company. There, she saw how critical it is to recruit the best people and how high employee turnover rates can devastate productivity.

Carley Palmer in front of Owens Corning sign

An internship with Owens Corning led Carley Palmer to a full-time position at the company’s world headquarters in Toledo after she graduates with a bachelor’s degree in human resource management.

During an internship with Owens Corning the following summer, she connected what she learned in class with real-time assignments at one of the company’s facilities in Aiken, S.C.

“That was one of my most challenging, yet rewarding experiences,” Palmer said. “One project was to create a training program that would get approved by the employees’ union. I actually used a proposal developed in class to help develop the program, and it resulted in a pay increase for people. To see that impact makes me excited to join the profession.”

Palmer will begin a three-year rotational development program at Owens Corning’s world headquarters in Toledo this summer.

She is one of the 2020 recipients of the Student Pacemaker Award, the College of Business and Innovation’s highest honor that recognizes individuals for outstanding achievement in business as well as contributions to the community.

“Carley has been an amazing, resourceful and driven student since she came to the College of Business and Innovation,” said Alison Devolder, a co-worker of Palmer’s in the Business Career Programs office, where she has worked part time since 2017.

“She has been able to easily translate her passion for human resource management and marketing to the benefit of the office. I am excited for her as she journeys on to what I know will be a bright future.”