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Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Deans Appointed to Vice Provost Roles to Advance Health Affairs

The Office of the Provost has appointed two deans to take on additional responsibilities as vice provosts.

Dr. Christopher Cooper, dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and executive vice president for clinical affairs, has been appointed to serve as vice provost for educational health affairs.

Dr. Linda Lewandowski, dean of the College of Nursing, has been appointed to serve as vice provost for health affairs for interprofessional and community partnerships.

In his vice provost role, Cooper will serve as a liaison between the Office of the Provost and the deans of the four health-related colleges with a focus on facilities and college resources related to health education.

In her vice provost role, Lewandowski will serve as a liaison between the Office of the Provost and the external community for targeted health-related partnerships and initiatives, and will be responsible for the development and implementation of interprofessional collaborations among the University’s health-related academic programs.

Choral Students, Faculty Sing in Scotland

Five University of Toledo choir students and several UToledo faculty traveled through Scotland in June as a part of a tour with Perform International.

The tour, led by Dr. Brad Pierson, UToledo assistant professor of music and director of choral activities, included time in Inverness, Edinburgh and Glasgow, along with an afternoon in Ayr and Alloway.

UToledo students posed for a photo during a trip with Perform International to Scotland last month. Making the trip were, from left, Caris Croy, Madeline Repka, Cheyenne Kastura, Sterling Wisniewski and Karina Gibson, who are shown with Dr. Brad Pierson, who led the tour.

The students performed as a part of the American Burns Choir, an ad hoc choir of amateur singers from all around the United States. The choir performed music with lyrics by the Scottish poet Robert Burns, as well as a collection of traditional drinking songs.

Performances were held at the Robert Burns Museum in Alloway, and the Blair Athol and Glen Ord whisky distilleries, plus the Scotia Bar in Glasgow, and the Dalriada Bar on the beach in Edinburgh. The performances at the two pubs were part of “Trad Nights” — or evenings of traditional music — and the choir was joined by local musicians in their performance of Scots music.

UToledo choral students on the tour were Sterling Wisniewski, a music education major; Caris Croy, who is majoring in theatre and music; Cheyenne Kastura, a media communications major; Karina Gibson, a paralegal studies student; and Madeline Repka, a psychology major. Amanda Rasey, artistic director for the UToledo Children’s Choir, also went.

In addition, several UToledo faculty members from the Department of Pharmacy Practice joined the tour as a part of the choir: Dr. Michelle Seegert, associate professor; Dr. Megan Kaun, associate professor; and Dr. Sarah Petite, assistant professor.

Pharmacy camp introduces potential students to industry, UToledo

About 50 high school students from across the country who are considering a career in pharmacy or pharmaceutical sciences will take up residence at The University of Toledo this week for a pair of summer camps that provide an inside perspective of the industry.

The College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences has hosted a summer camp for those interested in pharmacy practice since 2001. More recently, a second camp was added for those interested in pharmaceutical science and research.

Dr. Gabriella Baki, UToledo assistant professor of pharmaceutics and director of the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program, worked with campers last summer.

The Pharmacy Camp is sponsored by Walgreens. The Pharmaceutical Science Camp is sponsored by Shimazu, a manufacturer of laboratory equipment, and supported by Amway. All three companies also have contributed funding to provide need-based financial assistance to campers.

Both camps offer plenty of hands-on learning opportunities.

“We want students to learn and grow,” said José Treviño, director of transfer services and recruitment in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “There’s a lot of lab experience. There’s also a shadowing day where students will either be paired with faculty who are doing research or practicing pharmacists so they get real-world experience in the area they’re interested in.”

Programming at both camps includes faculty presentations, research lab tours, a crime scene chemistry demonstration and professional speakers. Students also get a look at UToledo’s high-tech Jacobs Interprofessional Immersive Simulation Center.

In some years, as many as half of all participants in the Pharmaceutical Science Camp have ultimately enrolled at UToledo, and roughly 20 percent of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program are summer camp alumni, according to Treviño.

“It’s a good pipeline for us, and it gives students an opportunity to take us for a test drive,” Treviño said. “We want them to experience The University of Toledo, to get familiar with our people, our program and our campus.”

The students are on campus through Wednesday evening.

Collaborative research between colleges of Pharmacy, Natural Science and Mathematics uncovers potential cancer drug

Scientists at The University of Toledo investigating improvements to a commonly used chemotherapy drug have discovered an entirely new class of cancer-killing agents that show promise in eradicating cancer stem cells.

Their findings could prove to be a breakthrough in not only treating tumors, but ensuring cancer doesn’t return years later — giving peace of mind to patients that their illness is truly gone.

Dr. William Taylor, left, and Dr. L.M. Viranga Tillekeratne are investigating a small molecule that locks on to and kills cancer stem cells.

“Not all cancer cells are the same, even in the same tumor,” said Dr. William Taylor, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the UToledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “There is a lot of variability and some of the cells, like cancer stem cells, are much nastier. Everyone is trying to figure out how to kill them, and this may be one way to do it.”

Taylor and Dr. L.M. Viranga Tillekeratne, a professor in the Department of Medicinal and Biological Chemistry in the UToledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, reported their findings in a paper recently published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Cancer stem cells are an intriguing target for researchers because of their potential to re-seed tumors.

When doctors remove a tumor surgically or target it with chemotherapy drugs or radiation therapy, the cancer may appear to be gone. However, evidence suggests that a tiny subpopulation of adaptable cancer cells can remain and circulate through the body to seed new metastasis in far-off locations.

Those cancer stem cells, Taylor said, are similar to dandelions in a well-manicured lawn.

“You could chop the plant off, but it will drop a seed. You know the seeds are there, but they’re hiding,” he said. “You pull one weed out and another comes up right after it. Cancers can be like this as well.”

The small molecule they have isolated appears to lock on to those stem cells and kill them by blocking their absorption of an amino acid called cystine.

UToledo was awarded a patent for the discovery late last year.

For Tillekeratne and Taylor, uncovering a new class of therapeutic molecules could prove to be an even larger contribution to cancer research than the project they initially envisioned.

“At present, there are no drugs that can kill cancer stem cells, but people are looking for them,” Tillekeratne said. “A lot of drugs are discovered by serendipity. Sometimes in research if you get unexpected results, you welcome that because it opens up a new line of research. This also shows the beauty of collaboration. I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own, and [Taylor] wouldn’t have been able to do it on his own.”

Tillekeratne also has received a three-year, $449,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health National Cancer Institute to continue testing the effectiveness of the newly identified therapy.

Because the molecules so selectively target cancer stem cells, it’s possible they could ultimately be paired with other chemotherapy drugs to deliver a more comprehensive treatment.

However, the researchers have found their agents show stand-alone promise in treating sarcomas and a subtype of breast cancer known as claudin-low breast cancer, which represents up to 14 percent of all breast cancers and can be particularly difficult to treat.

Entertainment icon Katie Holmes to deliver commencement address May 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holmes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alvarez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faculty recognized for tenure, promotion

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

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

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

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

College of Business and Innovation

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

• Dr. Marcelo Alvarado-Vargas, Management

College of Engineering

• Dr. Carmen Cioc, Engineering Technology

• Dr. Luis Mata, Engineering Technology

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Kimberly McBride, School of Population Health

• Dr. Shipra Singh, School of Population Health

• Dr. Heather Sloane, School of Social Justice

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Nezam Altorok, Medicine

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. Trieu Le, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Isaac Schiefer, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

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

• Dr. Amit Tiwari, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics

Faculty members promoted to professor are:

College of Arts and Letters

• Dr. Melissa Gregory, English Language and Literature

• Dr. Bhuiyan Alam, Geography and Planning

• Dr. Charles Beatty, History

• Dr. Lee Heritage, Music

• Dr. Ovamir Anjum, Philosophy and Religious Studies

• Dr. Patricia Case, Sociology and Anthropology

• Dr. Willie McKether, Sociology and Anthropology

College of Business and Innovation

• Dr. Iryna Pentina, Marketing

College of Engineering

• Dr. Yakov Lapitsky, Chemical Engineering

• Dr. Hong Wang, Engineering Technology

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

College of Health and Human Services

• Dr. Wendy Cochrane, School of Intervention and Wellness

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

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

College of Law

• Bryan Lammon

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Cletus Iwuagwu, Medicine

• Dr. Ruby Nucklos, Medicine

• Dr. Tanvir Singh, Psychiatry

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

• Dr. John Gray, Biological Sciences

• Dr. Dragan Isailovic, Chemistry and Biochemistry

• Dr. Alessandro Arsie, Mathematics and Statistics

College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

• Dr. Zahoor Shah, Medicinal and Biological Chemistry

Faculty members promoted to associate professor are:

College of Medicine and Life Sciences

• Dr. Sarah Gerken, Anesthesiology

• Dr. Anu Garg, Medicine

• Dr. Dani Zoorob, Obstetrics and Gynecology

• Dr. Jiayong Liu, Orthopaedic Surgery

• Dr. Waseem Ostwani, Pediatrics

• Dr. Eileen Quinn, Pediatrics

• Dr. Richard Baron, Psychiatry

• Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Psychiatry

• Dr. Jason Schroeder, Surgery

Building foundations: Recent UToledo cosmetic science and formulation design grad lands dream job with Estée Lauder

Margaret Gorz was two years into an undergraduate degree at a college in northern Michigan with a tentative plan to go on to medical school, but she was far from certain she was on the right path.

“I enjoy science, but I felt like something was missing because I can also be a creative person and an artsy person,” Gorz said.

UToledo alumna Margaret Gorz stood outside Estée Lauder, where she is an associate scientist.

That nagging feeling there was something better suited to her interests led to a series of Google searches. Who develops cosmetics? How do you get a job designing makeup? Where can you learn how to make personal care and beauty products?

Gorz quickly zeroed in on the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program in The University of Toledo College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences — the only such undergraduate program in the country.

“What really drew me in was that I could mix two of my passions into one career,” she said. “I knew going into the program that this was probably my best shot at becoming a cosmetic scientist.”

Three months after earning her bachelor of science degree in 2018, Gorz landed a job in New York as an associate scientist for the Estée Lauder Companies.

Established in 2013, the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program teaches students how to design, produce, test and market cosmetics and personal care products.

In addition to basic sciences, the program teaches pharmaceutical formulation and manufacturing, the mechanisms behind how cosmetics and pharmaceuticals work, and outlines the raw materials that go into cosmetic and personal care products.

Gorz

“It’s a mixture of science, art and business. We really train our students with a focus on the industry,” said Dr. Gabriella Baki, assistant professor of pharmaceutics and director of the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program. “I continuously look at job advertisements, and I look at what skills they usually require to ensure we hit those target skills and knowledge set.”

While there are a handful of master’s programs that offer cosmetic science, the cosmetics industry traditionally looked to individuals with an undergraduate education in chemical engineering, biology, chemistry or biochemistry to fill formulation jobs.

But Baki said employers are taking note of UToledo’s program, which includes a unique combination of classroom work and laboratory experience. During their studies, students in the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program will create about 60 different cosmetic and personal care products in the lab.

“Employers love that our students have these hands-on skills. They can formulate right away,” Baki said. “That’s something that chemists or chemical engineers are not trained to do, and we are competing against those graduates.”

Working for one of the world’s largest cosmetic companies was where Gorz envisioned herself eventually ending up — not starting out just a few months after graduation.

Now she’s formulating color cosmetics such as lipstick and foundation for brands including Smashbox, Becca, Origins and Aveda.

“This job was basically my dream job,” Gorz said. “Our program really gives us a competitive advantage that makes us stand out. We already have some of that super-specific knowledge in things like the raw materials that go into the products.”

Other graduates of the program have gone on to careers in a variety of formulation, marketing, quality control, and clinical testing roles at companies including Amway, Henkel Beauty Care, Nu Skin, Wacker, Fareva, Active Concepts and KDC/One.

As for Gorz, her success stands as a testament to the impact and support of the Cosmetic Science and Formulation Design Program — and as an example of where UToledo grads can go.

“That was something very special,” Baki said. “What she’s doing is something that a lot of other students now see as possible, and they’d like to follow in her footsteps.”

Faculty, staff members honored for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

University outstanding advisors, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were recognized last week.

Kupresanin

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Max Kupresanin, academic advisor in University College. He received bachelor of arts and master of public administration degrees from the University and worked at his alma mater as a teaching assistant in 2009 and 2010 before joining the staff in 2014.

“Students put their trust in Max that he will be able to guide them down the path of exploratory studies and into a major that works for them,” one nominator wrote. “As a UToledo grad himself, he knows how campus life and academic life merge to create challenges for students. Max makes sure his students always know he is available with questions and concerns — whether they are about advising or not.” Another noted, “Max thoroughly enjoys working with students. Max is visibly passionate about our student population. He is frequently seen in Rocket Hall walking students to Financial Aid, Student Disability Services and the Counseling Center.”

Kissoff

Dr. Nicholas V. Kissoff, associate professor of engineering technology and undergraduate director of the Construction Engineering Technology Program in the College of Engineering. He joined the faculty in 1999. Kissoff received bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering and a doctorate in engineering science from the University.

“Working one on one with all students, whether they are straight out of high school or a transfer student like myself, Dr. Kissoff provides a game plan of classes that is easily laid out so the student can set forth short- and long-term goals to help attain the main goal of graduating with the construction of engineering degree,” one nominator wrote. “He provides all resources available to his students from the inception in the Construction Engineering Technology Program. He informs the students of all possibilities within the program, and steps and tips to help us long after we graduate to be successful engineers.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. The cardiologist joined the Medical College of Ohio in 1994. Cooper was appointed interim chair of the Department of Medicine in 2012 and was named to the permanent post in April 2013. From 2002 to 2012, he served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, and from 2008 to 2011, he also was director of the UToledo Heart and Vascular Center. He was named medical dean in 2014. Cooper has 95 peer-reviewed publications in print.

“Dr. Cooper is a gifted and rigorous scientist whose research has truly changed the paradigm in the field of hypertension and cardiac research. His innovative work has shifted the focus from the heart to the kidneys as an important and significant and treatable contributor to illness burden in hypertension, renal failure and cardiac events,” a nominator wrote. “Many patients’ lives will be saved, and much future understanding of the complex interactions between the kidney, the heart and vascular disease has been opened up as a result of his extensive body of research.”

Dr. Youssef Sari, professor and vice chair of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, and professor of medicinal and biological chemistry in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. He joined the University in 2010. Sari has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed articles.

His research has contributed significantly to the field of drugs of abuse, including alcohol, cocaine, methamphetamine and nicotine; currently, he is focusing on the neuropharmacology of opioid addiction. Sari’s research involves investigating potential therapeutic drugs for the treatment of drugs of abuse. He was the first investigator to demonstrate that two key transporters can be potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of drugs of abuse, specifically in alcohol dependence. In addition, he has tested and found several drugs that have the ability to increase the expression and functionality of these transporters in animal models. The long-term goal of Sari’s research is to find potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of patients suffering from addiction to these drugs of abuse. “In my 40-plus years [in higher education], I’ve not known anyone who works harder and is more focused on drug and alcohol research, including mechanisms of neurotoxicity, than Youssef,” one nominator wrote. “He is at the cutting edge of his field and looks to be a research leader for many years to come.”

Dr. Jami K. Taylor, professor of political science and public administration in the College of Arts and Letters. Since joining the UToledo faculty in 2009, she has become a respected scholar on transgender politics and public policy with an impressive list of accomplishments: authoring a book and editing a book that were both published by the University of Michigan Press; writing 14 peer-reviewed articles and 11 book chapters; and serving as an associate editor for an encyclopedia of LGBT politics that is being published by Oxford University Press.

“Professor Taylor’s work is path-breaking, widely cited and influential. She has established a substantial national reputation as the leading scholar of transgender rights policy in just 10 years at UToledo,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Dr. Taylor is the country’s single highest regarded scholar working on transgender public policy; she is also a nationally recognized expert in the broader political science subfield of LGBT politics. A quick glance at her CV helps explain why this is the case: She is at once a prolific scholar, producing an enormous amount of peer-reviewed publications each year, and also produces work of such high quality that it is accepted for publication in highly regarded journals and presses and cited frequently by other scholars in our subfield.”

Receiving Outstanding Research and Scholarship Awards were, from left, Dr. Christopher Cooper, Dr. Jami K. Taylor and Dr. Youssef Sari.

Bellizzi

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Dr. Joe Schmidt, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

They are coordinators of Saturday Morning Science, a public outreach lecture series covering diverse topics in science, medicine and engineering, ranging from the physics of baseball to the Flint water crisis to the search for extrasolar planets. The program began in 2005; Schmidt took over coordinating the series in 2008, and Bellizzi has been co-director since 2011. “Over the past six years, attendance has grown dramatically from a small grassroots following to an average audience approaching 150 attendees per presentation,” one nominator wrote, noting the series has relocated twice to accommodate the growing numbers. Speakers include UToledo faculty and other academic researchers, NASA scientists, best-selling authors, and staff members of the Toledo Zoo, Toledo Refinery, and National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Schmidt

“This kind of scientific outreach benefits all participants,” a nominator wrote. “Researchers and other presenters get the satisfaction of sharing their experience and their passion while honing a distinct set of communication skills to make their presentation understandable by a nontechnical audience. Audience members gain knowledge, insight and inspiration. It is the intention of the program to broaden public awareness, literacy and appreciation of the methods and results of science in the hopes of encouraging students to enter scientific careers and citizens to support policies that promote scientific research and discovery.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Dr. John Bellizzi, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Bellizzi is the man,” one nominator wrote. “I really have a genuine respect for him. Intelligent, passionate and fair — that’s the type of professor he is. Biochemistry is a difficult course, but he really made me love it. He understands the material and breaks it down for us in ways to comprehend. Things he taught me stuck with me because he teaches in a manner that allows you to understand the material not just memorize it.” Another noted, “He is outstanding not only that he teaches well, but he is always well-prepared. I could always approach him whenever needed to solve any problems related to fields of studies. He will always try to help even though he is not teaching you in the semester. He is a gentleman and deserves to be an outstanding teacher.”

Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres, associate professor of political science and public administration, and director of the Global Studies Program in the College of Arts and Letters. She has been at the University since 2011.

“Dr. Cáceres is one of the most personable, influential faculty members at the University. I had the pleasure to attend her Principles of Comparative Politics course; it was a rather black-and-white course, but she taught it in such a colorful, lively way. She recognizes students’ strengths and weaknesses early on and determines strategies for their betterment,” one nominator wrote. Another wrote, “Jetsa has exhibited compassion and care for not only me, but many students. She has helped me become a better student by motivating me to work toward my goals.” Another wrote, “Jetsa is the professor every student wishes to have and the mentor a person needs; she is an admirable person.”

Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, professor and chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. A member of the UToledo faculty since 2004, Elahnia is director of the Dynamic and Smart Systems Laboratory.

“I was told by three teachers that I would never make it in engineering,” a nominator wrote. “Then I took a class taught by Dr. Elahinia. I had never had a teacher explain complex material so thoroughly and in a way that everyone could understand. He would stop and ask those who struggled how he could change his method to help them. I have never had a more attentive professor. His belief in me gave me confidence that I belong in engineering. That confidence and belief in me shaped my career. I am a mechanical design engineer for a global company in its research and development department. I know Dr. Elahinia has helped more students than just myself; he is deserving of this award.”

Dr. Karen Green, assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business and Innovation. She has taught at the University since 2015.

“Dr. Green has been a catalyst in the Accounting Department,” one nominator wrote. “She solely developed a new Certified Public Accountant review course that allows master of accounting students to complete their CPA exams. This is a distinguishing characteristic of the program.” “With Dr. Green’s guidance, many students have the competitive advantage of simultaneously testing for the CPA and earning a master’s degree, both before diving into our careers, and we know this is a luxury not available to many young professionals in the accounting field,” another wrote. “Dr. Green is more than a professor; she has become a trusted advisor, cheerleader and reliable friend to all of us. She provides support, guidance, encouragement and direction to all students who cross her path.”

Bryan Lammon, associate professor of law. He joined the College of Law in 2013.

“I have had Professor Lammon for several classes, and I cannot say enough positive words for how he conducts his class sessions,” one nominator wrote. “He actively engages with all of his students and makes the extra effort to ensure that everyone has a complete understanding of the lectures before moving on. His classroom demeanor is always personable and professional, which makes going to his classses that much more enjoyable.” Another noted, “He has an excellent work ethic, is a great teacher, and he is very friendly, yet with a professional attitude.” “Professor Lammon is one of the most approachable professors I’ve encountered. He is so passionate about the subjects he teaches and it truly shows each class,” another wrote. “It is very clear that he truly enjoys watching his students succeed.”

Dr. Heather Sloane, assistant professor of social work in the School of Social Justice in the College of Health and Human Services. She joined the UToledo faculty in 2008.

“Dr. Sloane is a perfect example of what a social worker looks like,” one nominator wrote. “She is patient, kind and sincere in all of our encounters, and she is juggling several different projects with grace and a positive attitude.” “Dr. Sloane is such a loving, thoughtful, selfless professor,” another nominator wrote. “She goes over and beyond to ensure the needs of the students are met.” “Despite all her accomplishments, Heather never acknowledges her success and doesn’t give herself the credit she deserves,” another noted. “She is a behind-the-scenes person and the reason why so many things exist. She is the definition of humility. She deserves this award more than I can express.”

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Mohammad Elahinia, Bryan Lammon, Dr. Heather Sloane, Dr. John Bellizzi, Dr. Karen Green and Dr. Jetsabe Cáceres.

Distinguished University Lecturers announced

Three Distinguished University Lecturers recently were named in honor of their exemplary teaching, support of student success, and demonstration of their commitment to UToledo’s educational mission.

The newest Distinguished University Lecturers, who were approved and recognized by the Board of Trustees April 15, are:

Distinguished University Lecturers named this month were, from left, Linda Beall, Dr. Martin Ohlinger and Dr. Sibylle Weck-Schwarz.

• Linda Beall of the Engineering Technology Department in the College of Engineering;

• Dr. Martin Ohlinger of the Pharmacy Practice Department and clinical associate professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and

• Dr. Sibylle Weck-Schwarz of the Mathematics and Statistics Department in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

“Being named a Distinguished University Lecturer is the highest honor the institution can bestow upon a lecturer,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “This honorary title is given in recognition of lecturers who excel in advancing the University’s educational mission and facilitating student success. They play such an important role in these areas, and we are very proud of the outstanding work that they do.”

Beall joined the University faculty in 2000. She served as interim chair of the Engineering Technology Department from 2016 to 2019. Beall is a board member for the Toledo Design Center and a member of the Toledo Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, as well as a member of the American Institute of Architects Engage Studio. She was the designer for 13 local and regional projects since 2002, and has been a consultant, expert witness and designer for local and national architectural firms. Her consistently positive teaching evaluations demonstrate success in translating her extensive professional experience to the classroom.

“One of the great pleasures of teaching in Engineering Technology, and one which elicits a positive response from my students, has been the opportunity to both teach and engage in professional practice simultaneously, giving me the ability to bring active professional practice into the classroom and teaching and mentoring of interns into the office,” Beall said. “I am grateful to both all my students for being responsive to this aspect of my teaching as well as the generosity of the architectural firms who have given me great flexibility in my schedule as well as my role in their organization.”

Ohlinger came to the University in 2000. He is director of the Critical Care Pharmacy Resideny Program, a clinical pharmacy specialist in Surgical Critical Care at UToledo Medical Center, and director of the Honors Program in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Ohlinger was inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine (2013) and into the Phi Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership Society (2017) and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (2015). His teaching evaluations reflect the success of his experiential teaching and bedside-to-classroom approach, in which he brings real cases to students, and show his impact on students’ lives.

“I am both honored and humbled to be recognized as a Distinguished University Lecturer,” Ohlinger said. “This recognition is really a testament to the amazing faculty, staff, administration, students and patients I’ve been fortunate enough to work with, teach, and serve at this great university for nearly 20 years.”

Weck-Schwarz joined the University faculty in 1989. She is the assistant director of the Math Learning and Resource Center. Weck-Schwarz received the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Award for Excellence in Teaching (2014-15) and was nominated for The University of Toledo’s Outstanding Teacher Award (2013). She has developed courses; played a leading role in the department in enhancing teaching with technology; collaborated on the design of the College Algebra Camp and the Trigonometry Summer Camp; designed and programmed algorithmically generated online homework questions and feedback; and facilitated the departmental pro-seminar on teaching college mathematics.

“I love teaching. It energizes me to communicate with my students, who are so full of passion and dreams. I am awed to think of them as the doctors, engineers, researchers, inventors, educators of the future,” Weck-Schwarz said. “As every teacher will tell you, one of the most rewarding experiences of teaching is seeing the first spark of understanding, seeing that light bulb go on. It is second only to hearing about students’ success — when they let me know that they have been admitted to medical school, or to the PharmD program, or are going to join a company producing medical devices — and feeling that I have contributed a little piece along the way to achieving their dreams.”

University Women’s Commission recognizes employees, awards scholarships to students

Six UToledo employees were honored for exceptional achievement and dedication to the campus community at the 33rd annual Outstanding Women’s Award ceremony.

More than 80 attended the University Women’s Commission program, which was held April 10 in the Savage Arena Joe Grogan Room.

Tricia Cullop, who just became the winningest coach in UToledo women’s basketball history with 241 victories, spoke at the luncheon.

Receiving the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were, from left, Angela Roach, Margaret “Peg” Traband, Linda Curtis, Dr. Amy Thompson, Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney and Amanda Schwartz Clark.

The recipients of the Dr. Alice H. Skeens Outstanding Woman Award were:

Linda J. Curtis, secretary 2 in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Curtis joined the University as an office assistant at the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women in 2002. She received a bachelor of arts degree and a certificate of diversity management from the University.

“Ms. Curtis is a truly exceptional champion, manager, coordinator, mentor, and an all-around excellent human being,” one nominator wrote. “In her 17th year at the University, Ms. Curtis still approaches every day and every person with a warm, friendly grace that is contagious and a living example of the best of what we want the UToledo community to be. Because I have the good fortune of having an office next to hers, I get to see firsthand how she manages it all — the multiple demanding people, the seriously heavy workload, the sheer variety and volume of the demands of her job — with grace and good cheer. She never fails to make time to connect, support, help or offer a warm gesture. Ms. Curtis also has maintained a high level of institutional involvement. She organized a support group for women that she continued to facilitate in our department, after work hours, long after she left her position at the Eberly Center for Women.”

Dr. Julie Fischer-Kinney, assistant provost for student success and retention in the Office of the Provost. She has worked at the University for 20 years, starting as an academic program coordinator in the Chemical Engineering Department. Fischer-Kinney also has served as director of student services in the College of Nursing; director of New Student Orientation Programs; associate dean and interim dean of YouCollege; and director of success coaching. She received a bachelor’s degree in business administration majoring in marketing, and master of education and doctoral degrees in higher education from the University.

“I became familiar with Julie during the various Toledo Academic Advising Association meetings and noticed her passion for the advancement of student services, professional staff, and the mission of The University of Toledo,” a nominator wrote. “I have watched Julie provide her staff with valuable training, team meetings, and time to connect. In order to save the institution funding, she wrote mini-grants to be able to afford National Academic Advising Association webinars and has invited advisors across campus from various colleges to participate in these webinars. I have watched as she is investing in those around her — not just her staff, but The University of Toledo community at large through the work she is doing. I am impressed by her dedication, active engagement and forward thinking.”

Angela Roach, senior associate director of financial aid in the Office of Financial Aid. The UToledo graduate began working at her alma mater in 2007.

“I have called her numerous times about a student in need of financial assistance. She goes above and beyond searching for scholarships to help that student continue his or her education here at the University. She is a positive influence in the support of women’s issues and an advocate for students; she truly loves what she does,” one nominator wrote. Another noted, “We routinely receive calls from students in need of assistance with not just tuition, but for car repairs and medical bills and a myriad of issues that may keep students from completing their education. Angie is always two steps ahead of us by researching, based on the students’ majors and profiles, what resources are on hand for students. Her response is always, ‘Please send them directly to me.’ I can honestly say that there has not been a time that Angie has not found a way to assist a student in some way. And she does it all with a positive attitude.”

Amanda Schwartz Clark, associate director of alumni engagement in the Office of Alumni Engagement. She has worked at the University since 2008.

“Amanda engages with, supports and promotes UToledo alumni. Her efforts range widely from strategy, event planning, professional development and marketing to being the boots on the ground, strengthening University relations at alumni events around the United States,” a nominator wrote. “Besides her passion for UToledo and our alumni, Amanda is a leader and inspiration in the local running community. In 2014, she created and built an ambassador program for the Glass City Marathon. In this role, she cultivates and supports the local running community to participate in the Glass City Marathon whether as a runner, volunteer, sideline cheerleader, or a friend in the neighborhoods where the marathon course travels. As the program grew, so did her role. Now she volunteers at local races, manages the social media, works in targeted race promotions, and has a team of 19 ambassadors. Most importantly, she is a role model and an inspiration to other runners. She encourages and supports new runners, guiding them to opportunities and running classes that will help them to accomplish their own personal running goals.”

Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost for faculty affairs, professor of public health, and co-director of the Center for Health and Successful Living. She joined the faculty in 2008 and has served as president of Faculty Senate. A University graduate, Thompson received a doctorate in health education and master of science and education degree in public health.

“Since joining the University, Dr. Thompson has made significant contributions in the areas of teaching, research, publications, university/college/department service and community engagement. Some of her achievements include being director of a top-ranked Public Health Doctoral Program; co-chairing the University Opioid Task Force, the University Sexual Assault Task Force and the Associate to Professor Program; and serving as a Mid-American Conference Leadership Fellow, Provost Fellow, and Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Fellow,” one nominator wrote. “She also is to be commended for her exemplary work through the Center for Health and Successful Living with breast cancer survivors. She provided not only health screenings and the opportunity for advanced medical treatments, but the ability to interact and support — and receive support from — other survivors. Dr. Thompson became a mentor and friend to these women and assisted in making the University a guiding light for their recovery.”

Margaret F. “Peg” Traband, who retired as senior vice provost of academic affairs in 2018. She began her career at UToledo as an instructor in the Respiratory Care Program in 1975 at the former University Community and Technical College. The UToledo alumna served the Respiratory Care Program as director of clinical education and program director. She was promoted to professor in 1991. Traband also was an associate dean and interim dean of the College of Health Science and Human Service (now Health and Human Services) prior to joining the Office of the Provost in 2008.

“I first worked with Peg when she became the leader of the UT Learning Collaborative in 2008,” a nominator wrote. “Though this unit only lasted a few years, under her leadership, she helped to grow the study abroad program, with the eventual creation of the Center for International Studies and Programs. She also assisted in the creation of the Rathbun Cove for the Learning Collaborative. Through working with her in the Office of the Provost, I have learned a lot about higher education. She is willing to share her knowledge about state regulations and the ins and outs of curriculum and program development.”

The University Women’s Commission also presented $1,000 scholarships to four students. Receiving awards based on academic achievement, support of women’s and gender issues, and campus involvement were Diala Abou-Dahech, a senior majoring in recreational therapy; Laura Heckenmueller, a senior majoring in pharmaceutical sciences; Elizabeth Konopka, a senior majoring in history; and Rose Mansel-Pleydell, a senior majoring in art.

Four seniors received scholarships from the University Women’s Commission. They are, from left, Rose Mansel-Pleydell, Laura Heckenmueller, Elizabeth Konopka and Diala Abou-Dahech.