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Engineering

UToledo Awarded Federal Grant to Train Teenagers in Cybersecurity

From hackers to cyberbullies, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting technology-hungry teenagers.

To combat the growing problem, the National Science Foundation awarded The University of Toledo College of Engineering a three-year, $267,742 grant to teach local high school students about the risks and threats associated with smartphones, tablets and other technology, as well as provide cybersecurity training to encourage careers in computer science and cybersecurity.

Javaid

“The cybersecurity landscape is changing fast, and due to the ubiquitous information on the internet, the enemies of the state are more dangerous and advanced than ever,” said Dr. Ahmad Javaid, assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; director of the Paul A. Hotmer Cybersecurity and Teaming Research Lab; and project leader. “We need to train the future workforce to prepare them for what’s to come and protect the nation.”

The plan calls for a summer camp setting and using interactive, animated visualizations to help students understand cybersecurity threats, defense and prevention mechanisms.

If the project aimed at creating a safer cyber environment is successful locally, the new high school cybersecurity curriculum could be adopted nationwide.

UToledo is collaborating with Purdue University Northwest (PNW) on the research. The National Science Foundation awarded PNW about $230,000, bringing the total funding for the project to nearly half a million dollars.

Welcome to ‘The Jungle’: Department of Theatre and Film to Stage Adaptation of Novel

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present “The Jungle,” an award-winning adaptation of Upton Sinclair’s novel, written and directed by Matt Foss, UToledo assistant professor of theatre.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8-10 and 15-17, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre. Curtain time is 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

Sinclair’s landmark novel, written in 1906, exposed the appalling working conditions of immigrants employed in Chicago’s meat-packing industry. Originally written to shed light on issues surrounding workers, immigrants and the growing income disparity in America, Sinclair commented that he aimed for the public’s heart, but ultimately only “hit it in the stomach.”

The book prompted transformative changes throughout the industry and led to the development of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but had little to no effect on immigration, poverty or workers’ rights.

The production features a large cast who stream over a three-story set, using printmaking techniques to create a turn-of-the-century packinghouse. Extensive choreography created by Abby Glanville, academic advisor in the College of Arts and Letters — along with design and technical work by Drew Parmelee, senior film/video major, associate sound designer; Kelly McBane, lecturer of theatre, costume shop manager; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, lighting and sound designer; Daniel Thobias, associate professor of theatre, production designer; and Nathaniel White, assistant lecturer of theatre, technical director and scene shop manager — create a dynamic, 90-minute telling of this classic novel.

Foss adapted and directed Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” for Oracle Productions in Chicago in 2014. That production received Chicago Jeff Award Nominations for outstanding production, director, ensemble, and won for best new adaptation.

The cast features Jordyn Beery, sophomore theatre major; Maggie Carder, freshman media communications major; Erin Coyne, sophomore theatre major; Emily Damschroder, sophomore theatre major; Jeffery Enck, freshman theatre design and technology major; Dona Gamblin, freshman theatre major; Sarena Jackson, 2019 UToledo theatre alumna; Shaquira Jackson, senior theatre major; Maya Kinney, freshman theatre major; Andrew R. Kleopfer, senior theatre major; Ben Kunec, sophomore theatre and communication double major; Becca Lustic, senior theatre major; Olivia Manias, junior creative writing major; Grace E. Mulinix, Toledo Early College High School senior and UToledo theatre major; Faith E. Murphy, senior theatre major; Alexandria Rayford-West, junior creative writing and theatre double major; Victoria Rinker, senior theatre major; Ezekiel Roberts, Toledo Early College High School junior and UToledo theatre major; Dillon Sickels, sophomore theatre major; Alec Simon. sophomore theatre major; Eve Smith, sophomore theatre major; Charlotte Vaughn, theatre major; and Kyle Yerg, senior philosophy and literature double major.

Members of the design team are Holly Monsos, interim chair of the Department of Theatre and Film, producer; Katelyn Justice, sophomore theatre major, paint charge; Matthew Kerr, electrical engineering major, assistant lighting designer; Addison Toth, sophomore theatre major, stage manager; Jared Kaplan, freshman political science major, and Elise Pahl, junior, theatre design and technology major, assistant stage managers; Christopher M. Montpetit, lecturer of theatre, theatre/production manager; and Imani Hudson, junior theatre major, house manager.

Tickets are $10 for students; $12 for UToledo faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $18 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

Students Win Problem-Solving Competition With New Tire-Pressure Technology

A team of students from The University of Toledo College of Engineering’s Maker Society won first place in the Lawrence Technological University’s Innovation Encounter, a competition infusing creativity and challenge into an entrepreneurial boot camp.

Teams from UToledo, the University of Michigan, Rowan University, Ohio Northern University and Lawrence Technological University were tasked with solving a real-world problem: Improve driver safety by combating loss of tire pressure.

UToledo students received the top prize at the Lawrence Technological University’s Innovation Encounter. They are, from left, Teran Ericksen, Stephen Netter, Charles Wade, Breanne Crockett and Julian Taylor.

Eaton Corp. and its automotive group, which sponsored the event, chose the challenge because the vast majority of drivers have unsafe tire pressure, resulting in more than 11,000 accidents and 200 deaths each year.

The challenge had one major stipulation: The solution must cost less than $200 per vehicle.
UToledo’s team chose to focus on educating and incentivizing people to maintain their own tire pressure.

The students developed a $30 electronic device a user can install on the vehicle that reports when tire pressure is low. The technology communicates with a smartphone app to explain how to fill the tire up with air on the specific make and model of the vehicle, show the location of nearby tire-filling stations, and give recommendations on air compressors for purchase. The app also works with the device to detect when a car skids or loses traction due to low tire pressure and sends a notification to the driver instructing him or her on how to fix it.

At the Oct. 18-19 competition, the team used a 3-D printer to create the device and designed the app.

“We were able to deliver a solution that the judges had no idea existed,” said Charles Wade, president of the UToledo Maker Society and a junior majoring in computer science and engineering. “This is a problem that Eaton and the industry as a whole have been working on for more than 100 years, and they are pleased that our team was able to deliver new ideas to the problem space.”

UToledo Alumna Powering Opportunity for Minorities in Tech

Irma Olguin Jr. is an unlikely tech leader, building a technology ecosystem in an equally unlikely place.

As the co-founder and chief executive officer of Bitwise Industries in Fresno, Calif., Olguin is one of the leading forces in an effort to revive underdog cities by building a robust — and inclusive — technology sector.

Irma Olguin Jr., a 2004 UToledo graduate, is the co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Industries in Fresno, Calif.

Collectively, the company has redeveloped 250,000 square feet of space in downtown Fresno, created 2,000 jobs, and trained more than 4,000 computer coders.

Bitwise recently secured $27 million in investor funding, allowing it to continue its growth in Fresno and expand to a new market in Bakersfield, Calif.

That kind of success was far from the future Olguin imagined herself having as a teenager growing up in a small town near Fresno in California’s Central Valley.

“I grew up the daughter of farm laborers. In my head, I was going to be the daughter of farm laborers for the rest of my life,” she said. “I didn’t expect college to be part of my story.”

After scoring exceptionally well on the PSAT, however, scholarship offers began rolling in. One offer in particular stood out for how comprehensive and supportive it was. At 17, Olguin scraped together money for a Greyhound ticket, packed her bags, and left California for the first time to begin classes at The University of Toledo College of Engineering.

“For many, going off to college might be obvious or second nature, but it was certainly not the case for me or my family. How am I going to eat, where am I going to live? The University of Toledo provided a great deal of that in the scholarship package, and it allowed me to whittle down the number of issues I had to worry about.”

Her experience at UToledo changed her life.

Irma Olguin Jr. stands outside Bitwise Industries in Fresno, Calif.

Olguin received a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering in 2004 and returned to Fresno, where she soon entrenched herself not only as one of the area’s technology pioneers, but one with a mission.

“The technology industry has a giant need to fill jobs,” she said. “We have to do a better job of making more people capable of filling those roles, and I think the solution is looking in unlikely places.”

Following a short stint in education, Olguin co-founded 59DaysOfCode, a software development competition that, in part, was meant to show off the area’s capability and talent. The competition has since grown into a nonprofit organization promoting and fostering technology development in and around the Fresno area.

Olguin also co-founded Hashtag, the area’s first membership-based collaborative workspace, and started a successful software development company.

In 2013, she co-founded Bitwise Industries.

Bitwise is attempting to build the tech industry from multiple angles. The firm has a coding academy, a business incubator, custom software design services, a real estate development arm, and a service that matches programmers and engineers with local businesses who need tech support.

One of the key parts of Bitwise is the diversity of its coding academy. The company says more than half of its Geekwise Academy students are women or people of color.

“The technology industry as a whole has been grappling for an answer on how to build a diverse and inclusive work force and has completely fallen short,” Olguin said. “All the big names have statements saying this is a problem and we don’t know how to fix it. We think we’re sitting on the solution to that.”

And Olguin believes the true obstacles to getting more women and minorities in tech aren’t desire and aptitude — “you find those aplenty,” she said — it’s small things like a bus ticket, appropriately using email, or finding childcare.

The supportive network Olguin found at UToledo helped her unlock her own potential. Now it’s important for Olguin to help others unlock their potential.

“The University of Toledo is near and dear to my heart and played a huge role in my formative years,” Olguin said. “The College of Engineering was a really welcoming place even though I was very much in the minority in terms of gender and race. I felt very much a part of the school system and believed from day one that people were there to see us succeed.”

Graduate and Professional Program Fair Slated for Oct. 30

Looking to advance your career? Want to learn more about continuing your education? Stop by the Graduate and Professional Program Fair Wednesday, Oct. 30.

The event will take place from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Attendees can meet with representatives from colleges and programs; learn ways to fund graduate education; and start the graduate program application process.

On hand will be representatives from all UToledo colleges: Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Engineering; Health and Human Services; Judith Herb College of Education; Law; Medicine and Life Sciences; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Graduate Studies; Jesup Scott Honors College; and University College.

Go to the Graduate and Professional Program Fair website and register.

The first 100 to attend the event will receive an application fee waiver; J.D., M.D. and Pharm.D. applications not included.

For more information, email graduateinquiry@utoledo.edu.

UToledo to Collaborate With Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Automotive Materials Research

Lightweight materials are critical for advancing the energy efficiency and range of electric vehicles.

The University of Toledo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee signed a memorandum of understanding Oct. 9 to team up for collaborative research into the advanced design and manufacturing of lightweight, strong, intelligent materials for the automotive industry.

Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UToledo vice president for research, left, and Dr. Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for energy and environmental sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, signed a memorandum of understanding for their institutions to team up to research, design and manufacture lightweight, strong, intelligent materials for the automotive industry.

The partnership will play a key role in developing new processes to produce alloys and metals, as well as enhance northwest Ohio’s leadership in research, innovation, development and production in the automotive industry.

“We are proud to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on this critical research to drive the next generation of automotive manufacturing,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering. “Our partnership teaming innovative mechanical engineers at UToledo with some of the country’s preeminent scientists will focus on finding solutions to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader. The research will have spillover from the national level to the regional level.”

The researchers plan to engage with the automotive industry in Ohio and Michigan as they combine ORNL’s expertise and capabilities in manufacturing, carbon fiber and composites, machining, energy storage, and metrology with UToledo’s expertise in manufacturing system modeling, metals engineering and assembly systems.

“This partnership will develop technological solutions to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. automotive manufacturing sector,” said Dr. Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for energy and environmental sciences at ORNL. “ORNL is looking forward to providing access to its research facilities, along with expertise and guidance in advanced materials and manufacturing to the University in this valuable partnership.”

The collaboration will focus on monitoring and control systems for metal forming processes; optimizing joining techniques for high-strength materials such as steel, aluminum and composites; and exploring the combination of new materials such as shape-memory alloys with additive manufacturing to create strong, resilient, active structures for vehicle applications.

ORNL provides researchers with sophisticated equipment and unique facilities to solve some of the nation’s most compelling challenges. As the largest U.S. Department of Energy open science laboratory, ORNL’s mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security while creating economic opportunities for the nation.

The University of Toledo also is a member of another organization that closely interacts with the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), which includes more than 100 Ph.D.-granting institutions as its members. ORAU works with the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies in providing scientific and technical solutions to a wide range of topics as well as supporting science education and workforce development.

Later this week, UToledo will host for the first time National Lab Day to connect students and researchers with scientists from DOE national laboratories across the country and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

The event to enhance northwest Ohio’s collaborations to make discoveries, find innovative solutions, and create groundbreaking technology is Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, on the University’s Main Campus.

National Lab Day at UToledo to Fuel Region’s Engagement With Preeminent Scientists, World-Class Facilities

For the first time, The University of Toledo will host National Lab Day to connect students and researchers with scientists from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

The event to enhance northwest Ohio’s collaborations to make discoveries, find innovative solutions, and create groundbreaking technology will take place Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11, on the University’s Main Campus.

“We are proud to welcome to our campus the country’s preeminent scientists from world-class facilities across the country,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This event presents an extraordinary opportunity for our students and scientists. We appreciate the Department of Energy recognizing UToledo’s momentum in advancing science and selecting us to host National Lab Day.”

A kickoff ceremony will be held at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10, in Nitschke Auditorium and feature Gaber, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Chris Fall, director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

“From manufacturing the first Jeeps for the U.S. government at the onset of WWII, to the founding of America’s largest solar company — First Solar – Toledo has a long and storied history as a world leader in manufacturing, national security, and cutting-edge research and development,” Kaptur said. “That is why Toledo is the perfect place to host an event like National Lab Day. Partnership is at the core of the success of our national labs, and National Lab Day will help facilitate important and long-lasting partnerships that bring students and faculty together with the National Lab directors.”

The Department of Energy maintains 17 national labs that tackle the critical scientific and national security challenges of our time — from combating climate change to discovering the origins of our universe — and possess unique instruments and facilities, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Toledo native and director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mike Witherell, who grew up just blocks from the University, is a key organizer of the event.

“The University of Toledo is experiencing tremendous growth in its research enterprise,” Witherell said. “As a resource for the nation, the Department of Energy national laboratories are a resource for the University as it innovates and drives economic growth for Toledo, the northwest Ohio region, the state and the nation. My colleagues from the labs and I are delighted to join with the University and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur at National Lab Day to explore the many exciting possibilities for engagement.”

Participants in National Lab Day 2019 at UToledo will meet laboratory directors and researchers; explore funding and fellowship opportunities; discover facilities open to academic and industry scientists; and learn about student internships and postdoctoral fellowships.

UToledo scientists will lead panel discussions with national laboratory scientists on a variety of topics, including:

• The Land-Water Interface: The Great Lakes Region and the World;

• Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment;

• Structural Biology, Imaging and Spectroscopy;

• Astrophysics;

• Exposure Science — ‘Omics’ Applications for Human Health;

• Materials and Manufacturing; and

• Photovoltaics.

Registration, which is open for the academic and commercial research community, is required. Visit the National Lab Day website to register.

As part of National Lab Day, about 100 high school seniors will be on campus Friday, Oct. 11, to learn about career paths in STEM, meet national laboratory scientists, and learn about each of the national laboratories.

World Language Proficiency Topic of Oct. 3 Discussion

“Languages Mean Business” is the title of a roundtable discussion that will take place Thursday, Oct. 3.

Presented by The University of Toledo Department of World Languages, the free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

“World language proficiency and intercultural competence are increasingly important for business collaborations, healthcare services, cutting-edge collaborative scientific research, as well as national security,” said Dr. Linda M. Rouillard, professor of French and chair of the World Languages Department.

The roundtable discussion will include comments from:

• M. Cyril Gauchet of the Québec Delegation;

• Guillaume Lacroix, French consul general in the Chicago office;

• Dr. Ngalula Sandrine Mubenga, UToledo assistant professor of electrical engineering technology and founder of SMIN Power Group LLC and STEM DRC Initiative;

• Ryan Wertz, Ohio Department of Education consultant with Ohio Seal of Biliteracy; and

• Paul Zito, vice president of international development with RGP Northwest Ohio.

All participants are invited to share their experiences of the ways in which their knowledge of other languages and cultures has enhanced their job prospects and careers.

Studying and speaking foreign languages is more important than ever, according to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, which noted in a 2017 report the economic and scientific need for international language fluency.

Register for the free event, which will include refreshments and lunch, on the “Languages Mean Business” website.

For more information, contact Rouillard at linda.rouillard@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2029.

UToledo Engineering Career Fair Drives Job Placements at Major Companies

Maggie Buchele doesn’t graduate from The University of Toledo College of Engineering for three more months, but she already secured a full-time job as a project engineer with Marathon Petroleum Corp.

The fourth-year mechanical engineering major traces her success back to the college’s career expo two years ago when she first met representatives from the company, which is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list.

Maggie Buchele, left, fourth-year mechanical engineering student, posed for a photo with Brian Knipper, operations technician at Marathon Petroleum Corp., in Findlay, Ohio. After two co-ops at Marathon, Buchele was offered a full-time job, which she will start after she graduates.

“I chose UToledo because of the College of Engineering’s mandatory co-op program, which gives you amazing work experience as a student,” said Buchele, who completed two co-ops working at Marathon in Findlay, Ohio. “Companies are getting more specific on who they will hire, and UToledo’s co-op program gives them a perfect opportunity to see if you will be a good fit as a permanent employee.”

In 2018, the College of Engineering placed 1,745 students into co-ops with companies that paid students an average wage of $17.54 an hour.

More than 700 UToledo engineering students and alumni are once again connecting with employers from more than 170 companies across the U.S. at the Fall 2019 Engineering Career Expo Tuesday, Sept. 24, from noon to 4 p.m. in Savage Arena.

The networking event is part of a yearlong celebration of a milestone for the UToledo Shah Center for Engineering Career Development: 20 years of placing more than 20,000 engineering co-ops.

In addition to Marathon Petroleum Corp., participating companies include Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Dana Inc., GEM Inc., Johnson & Johnson – DePuy Synthes, GE Appliances, Honda, Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois Inc., PCC Airfoils, SSOE Group and North Star Bluescope Steel.

Employers are seeking undergraduate students to participate in engineering co-op assignments, as well as their leadership development programs, along with seniors and graduates for full-time employment.

Buchele completed co-ops at two other companies in addition to Marathon.

“After my co-ops, I knew Marathon was the right fit for me. After my second co-op with them, they offered me a permanent position starting February 2020,” said Buchele, who accepted the position. “I would never have received a job offer from Marathon at another university.”

NSF Invests Nearly $1 Million in New UToledo Program to Increase Access to Engineering Degree

The National Science Foundation awarded $999,984 to The University of Toledo to operate an innovative program that supports academically talented and low-income students who want to pursue an engineering degree.

The program known as GEARSET — which stands for Greater Equity, Access and Readiness for Success in Engineering and Technology — creates an alternative pathway to a bachelor’s degree in engineering for first-year students who did not meet the College of Engineering’s requirements and were admitted into University College’s Department of Exploratory Studies.

“This population is generally more diverse in terms of both ethnicity and socioeconomic status than the demographic trends for engineering colleges across the country,” said program leader Dr. Lesley Berhan, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, and associate dean for diversity, inclusion and community engagement.

“GEARSET will ultimately increase diversity in the College of Engineering — a priority for both the University and employers who hire our graduates,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering.

“Our pursuit of inclusive excellence is a key part of our strategic plan, our core values, and what we do on a daily basis. This grant will enable us to provide a new pathway to a degree in engineering for deserving students, further enabling us to provide a diverse pipeline of talented engineers to the region.”

Students who meet the program’s admission criteria, which include testing into trigonometry and a minimum high school grade point average of 3.0, will meet regularly with engineering advisors and enroll in courses designed to introduce engineering principles, applications of mathematics and professional development, in addition to other classes needed to meet the College of Engineering’s transfer requirements.

“By building a sense of belonging, developing the students’ engineering identity, and shortening the time to transfer colleges, we will foster a more inclusive environment in the College of Engineering that is more reflective of the community we serve and the University as a whole,” Berhan said.

As part of the five-year grant, two cohorts of low-income students also will receive a scholarship for up to seven semesters once they transfer into the College of Engineering. The scholarships, based on need, would average $6,400 a year.

Berhan said GEARSET, which debuted as a pilot program with a total of 32 students at the start of the 2019-20 academic year, is designed to help students who may have had limited access to college and career counseling in high school.

“Some students may have an interest in being an engineer, but may not have had the exposure or opportunities that others have in high school,” Berhan said. “Those students can still be great engineers. We have to rethink how we define potential and recognize that talent comes in all forms.”

The NSF grant starts Jan. 1 and can support scholarships for approximately 40 students, as well as curriculum, advising and programming for an estimated 150 additional students. The program is accepting all students, but only low-income students will be eligible for scholarships.

“This award represents an important step forward in the effort to foster STEM education in our community,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur. “By creating a pipeline for more socioeconomic and ethnically diverse engineering students in our region, this funding provides a pathway for future minds to break into these important fields. The award is a model to ensure our students are at the table for the economic future of our community.”

Berhan leads many diversity initiatives aimed at encouraging more students to pursue engineering careers, such as the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

“The long-term benefits to the college and the community are incredible,” Berhan said. “We are working on several different fronts to improve math and science preparedness, access, and student success.”