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Career Services Preparing Record Numbers for Bright Futures

A big investment in people, programs and renovations has translated to ginormous returns for Career Services.

The numbers tell the story:

• Attendance at Career Services’ events skyrocketed from 606 in academic year 2017-18 to 2,565 in 2018-19.

• Users of the Virtual Career Center more than doubled from 3,700 to 9,303 during that time frame.

• Student appointments increased from 593 in 2017-18 to 1,016 in 2018-19.

Shelly Drouillard, director of Career Services, right, talked about resumé branding with Bailey Loughlin, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in higher education, left, and Ashlen Torio, a senior majoring in operations and supply chain management, in the updated office in Thompson Student Union Room 1533.

It’s no wonder statistics are up: Career Services looks so inviting. Located in Thompson Student Union Room 1533, the bright hallway features widescreen monitors advertising jobs and internships. And the windows have been a game-changer for the center.

“Students are constantly looking in our windows and seeing activity going on,” Shelly Drouillard, director of Career Services, said. “We have career ambassadors that we launched last fall, and those are peer-to-peer interactions. So when students see other students in here having fun and engaging, oftentimes that’s the impetus to make them come in to see what’s going on.”

And there’s a lot going on.

Two career consultants hired last year meet with students to discuss their majors and job prospects, and help them prepare resumés and polish their interview skills. Career peer ambassadors assist students who stop by. And a student browsing Handshake, the online interactive job database, hits a button on the monitor in the hallway and pops in to pick up a printout.

Meet the staff members of Career Services: They are, from left, Davlon Miller, Laura Jane Moser, Josh Vail, Christine Albright, Shelly Drouillard, Tom Avery and Shannon Niedzwicki.

“Managing your career really isn’t a one-time event, but a process, and we can help you through that process. It’s never too early or too late to start,” Tom Avery, career consultant, said.

“We love it when freshmen come see us because we can help them build that career-ready mindset early,” he said. “And it allows them plenty of time to gain experience that will be of great benefit down the road as employers are really looking for experience outside of the classroom when recruiting graduates.”

“We have staff who genuinely care about helping UToledo students and alumni,” Christine Albright, career consultant, said. “We are knowledgeable about the newest trends in career development and can provide a wealth of information to help students and alumni become successful.”

Positioning students to network with thriving graduates also started last year with Rocket Connect. The free online mentoring platform helps students and alumni who have questions about career paths, businesses, additional education and more.

In its first year, 653 students and 710 alumni signed up for Rocket Connect.

Jimmy Russell signed up for that networking program as a student last year — and as a UToledo graduate this year.

“Career Services assisted me in getting the position as a disability rights advocate at the Ability Center of Greater Toledo,” said Russell, who received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and communication in May. “I discovered the job on Handshake, and I practiced my presentation I had to give during the interview and received feedback to better prepare.

“Students should stop by Career Services because it is a one-stop employment shop. Any help a person could possibly need with getting ready for post-graduate employment, Career Services can provide it,” Russell said. “The staff there are a joy to talk to and are extremely passionate about helping students reach their full potential.”

Russell was one of many who signed the career success blackboard in the center.

“It’s always an exciting day to speak to a recently hired student as they sign our career success board,” Davlon Miller, assistant director of career development, said. “It tells the story of not only the student’s success, but also the success of our office and The University of Toledo.”

Celine Schreidah also picked up the chalk and shared her success. She graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry and is a first-year medical student at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.

“The one-on-one interview practice was wonderful, and it allowed me to gain confidence in my interviewing skills,” Schreidah said. “I also was introduced to Big Interview, which is UToledo’s free interview preparation resource that is linked directly to the myUT portal. This allowed for a variety of interview types and scenarios, and I highly recommend it to anyone interviewing for a job position or graduate and professional schooling.”

Career Services also can help with dressing for success with the Professional Menswear Closet and referrals to the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women’s Kate’s Closet. In addition, the center has partnered with JCPenney on events where students and recent graduates received 40% off business attire. More than 1,000 attended these special sales.

“Students’ professional development should begin when they first start taking classes,” Josh Vail, student employment specialist, said. “We invite students, alumni and campus community members to stop by to meet our career development team.”

Making Connections: Engineering Student Interns in Silicon Valley

Naba Rizvi is one of nine students selected from more than 1,000 applicants to receive the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology Scholarship.

In addition to that $10,000 award that honors women students who show great promise in the field of computer science, The University of Toledo junior landed an internship on Adobe Research’s team in San Jose, Calif.

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

“I worked on two projects,” said Rizvi, who is majoring in information technology in the College of Engineering. “They both focused on natural language processing and human-computer interaction.”

Her Adobe Research mentor was Dr. Franck Dernoncourt, a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who specializes in natural language processing.

“My first project involved research engineering. I used my experience as a web developer to develop a visualization for a sentence compressor and text summarizer,” Rizvi said. “For the second project, I worked on making the output of latent Dirichlet allocation models for automatic document topic classification more human readable.”

In other words, Rizvi’s research is focusing on topic modeling — training the computer to recognize topics in written text with an algorithm.

Naba Rizvi, left, posed for a photo with Lisa Wang, a student at Westmont High School in California. Rizvi mentored Wang during the Girls Who Code Camp run by Adobe Research.

“I learned so much about natural language processing, particularly text summarization. I even submitted my first paper to a conference.”

That paper, “Margin Call,” which she wrote with Dernoncourt and Sebastian Gehrmann, a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University, was accepted by the International Conference on Natural Language Generation. That conference will be held in Tokyo this fall.

“My colleagues and myself were delighted to host Naba this summer at Adobe Research,” Dernoncourt said. “Naba is a fast learner and highly motivated. She made a great impact on our research projects.”

What was a typical day like?

“I read a lot of research papers, wrote code, tested the output, and turned to Stack Overflow, my co-workers or my mentor for help if I got stuck,” Rizvi said. “I met with my mentor every week to discuss my projects, progress toward my goals, and any roadblocks.”

“We are proud of Naba Rizvi and all that she continues to accomplish,” Dr. Michael Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering, said. “Her success is well-earned and spotlights the strength of our Engineering Technology Department in the College of Engineering.”

The student in the Jesup Scott Honors College made the most of her time in Silicon Valley, home to many global technology and startup companies.

“To receive such a competitive internship as a first-generation college student really motivates me to work harder and take advantage of all the opportunities available to me,” Rizvi said. “I embrace the growth mindset and believe it is the key to success.”

And she is familiar with success: Last year, Rizvi won the $10,000 Google Women Techmakers Scholarship, which included a scholar retreat with Google scholars from around the world on Google campuses, including the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif.

She is taking her momentum and launching a nonprofit organization called Nontraditional Techies.

“We already have 600-plus members and a job board,” Rizvi said. “I will be creating a mentoring program and an interview series featuring people who have overcome great obstacles on their path to a technical career to inspire others to pursue a career in technology.”

Toledo Football Shares Joy of Victory With Area Special Need Students

The University of Toledo football program shared the joy of victory with approximately 30 special needs students from around the area at its sixth annual Victory Day at the Glass Bowl.

Participating students met Rocket football players, ran drills on the field, and heard their names announced over the public address system as they scored a touchdown.

The Rockets celebrated a touchdown during their sixth annual Victory Day last month in the Glass Bowl.

Victory Day is an opportunity for special needs students to have their moment in the sun on the football field. Each student was partnered with a Toledo football player who served as his or her mentor for the day. Toledo cheerleaders also were there to cheer on the participants.

“I’m not sure who gets more out of this, the kids or our players,” said Head Football Coach Jason Candle. “It’s an awesome day to give a chance to a young person who may have some limitations to have a special day. We’re just happy that we are able to provide a smile today and an opportunity for our players to interact with the community.”

Many Rocket players said the event not only is a chance to make special connections in the community, but it also helps provide them with a sense of perspective.

“It’s a great honor to be able to see these kids enjoying themselves,” said senior running back Ronnie Jones. “It gives me a sense of humility knowing that there is something bigger out there than just you. Giving back is the biggest thing you can do. And the thing is, it doesn’t take a lot of effort. Just coming out and playing with a kid can make their day.”

Added senior center Bryce Harris, “We get a chance to do this all year round. I think we take it for granted sometimes. It’s a great opportunity for us to step back and let these kids be the Rockets for a day.”

Some of the students come back every year and have built special bonds with individual Rockets. Junior punter Bailey Flint has been paired with Nick Fish for three years.

“I’ve been able to build a relationship with Nick and his entire family,” Flint said. “They shoot me messages on what he’s doing, how he’s doing in school. He plays on an ice hockey team, and he brought half the team today, which is awesome. It’s really great to see these kids score a touchdown. That’s something that I’ve never even done.”

Victory Day was started in 2010 by Aaron Segedi, a teacher and football coach from Trenton, Mich., a cancer survivor whose life was saved thanks to a liver donation from his sister, Rhonda. Since then, the Victory Day program has been adopted by high schools and universities throughout the country.

The Rockets first celebrated Victory Day in 2014. Candle said he hopes the event will continue for years to come.

“We grow up looking up to athletes, entertainers and historical figures,” Candle said. “But there are some real heroes right in front of us with these parents. We have no idea what they go through on a day-to-day basis. It’s a very small piece in a big puzzle, but we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Grad Student Keeps Children ‘Bookin’ Through the Summer’ Using Mystery Readers, Social Media

On a 90-degree day during one of the last precious weeks of summer break, nearly 30 children gathered at the Bedford Public Library to read together, sing, dance and scavenger hunt.

“The worst thing about going to the library is when I have to leave the library,” said 7-year-old Gunnar Talley, who is entering second grade at Monroe Road Elementary School in Bedford, Mich.

Amy Kochendoerfer, UToledo Ph.D. student, read “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?” by Iza Trapani to children participating in “Bookin’ Through the Summer” at the Bedford Public Library in Michigan.

That’s music to Amy Kochendoerfer’s ears.

The Ph.D. student in The University of Toledo Judith Herb College of Education and assistant principal of Monroe Road Elementary School is focused on getting and keeping children hooked on books through her innovative, 12-week summer reading program, which debuted 11 weeks ago.

“This is an incredible turnout today — almost half of the children participating in our program — because we’re competing with football and cheerleading practices and end-of-summer vacations,” Kochendoerfer said. “Every week we’ve averaged about 40 children at the library.”

She and Dawn Henderson, a speech pathologist for Monroe County, spent the summer piloting their program to help the youngest children at Monroe Road Elementary School avoid the “summer slide,” the term used to describe how reading and academic skills regress over summer break.

The two raised $4,300 from organizations in Bedford to fund “Bookin’ Through The Summer,” an intervention project blending free books, mystery readers, parents, social media and library adventures.

“We want them to go back to school ready to start at the point they left off,” Henderson said. “This has been a true community-wide effort.”

It stems from Michigan’s Read by Grade Three Law, which goes into effect this school year.

“I created this new spin on how to keep kids reading over the summer because the state of Michigan passed a law that if a child can’t read by third grade, he or she will be retained and have to repeat third grade,” Kochendoerfer said. “They need to catch that bug for books to keep growing, so we created a way to turn reading from a boring task into something fun and interactive.”

Talley is one of the 68 children in kindergarten, first, second and third grades participating in the program who received a book every week in the mail with a flyer for parents outlining suggestions to make reading the book together more engaging.

Aside from the optional meetings once a week at the library, the key ingredients that make this recipe sing are Facebook and mystery readers.

The organizers created a private Facebook page where parents interacted and shared photos and videos of their children’s thoughts or crafts stemming from the books, including puppet shows.

Mystery readers from throughout the community also popped up regularly on the page reading and discussing the book of the week.

“Everyone we approached was excited to shoot a video of themselves reading the book and talking about the book in order to help keep the children motivated. The mystery readers sent us their videos, we posted them, and the parents sat down and watched them with their kids,” Kochendoerfer said. “We had varsity football players, cheerleaders, our state representative, a sheriff’s deputy and teachers reading to our children on social media. The buy-in from the community was incredible.”

Especially from the parents.

“These moms and dads understand the importance of literacy, but we know how difficult it can be in the summer when you’re out of the school routine,” Henderson said. “They took this opportunity to help their children discover the love of reading by sitting down with them and modeling these weekly habits.”

Kochendoerfer, who is already coming up with creative ways to enhance the project next summer, believes this program also allowed parents to model responsible social media interaction.

“You see so much how social media is a negative influence on children, but our summer reading program was all about encouragement,” Kochendoerfer said. “Kids are able to contribute and share their ideas through their parents in a forum that is not threatening. Our secret group is a safe environment to receive immediate, supportive feedback. That’s critical.”

“Amy’s work to encourage children to have fun and enjoy reading books together is yielding great results,” said Dr. Susanna Hapgood, associate professor in the UToledo Department of Curriculum and Instruction. “We know even just 10 to 15 minutes a day of reading to children can give them a boost in terms of vocabulary knowledge and motivation for reading that has long-lasting repercussions.”

Though the data comparing student testing results from the end of the last school year to the beginning of this school year aren’t available yet, Gunnar Talley’s dad already calls the program a success.

“This experience is helping my son because it’s not such a drudgery to get him to read anymore,” Edward Talley said. “It still can sometimes be a battle, but not what it used to be.”

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.

Alumna Designs Mural for Inner-City Beautification Project

Artist Caroline Jardine, who earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from The University of Toledo in 2017, recently designed and completed a mural project intended to beautify abandoned homes on North Huron Street in the historic Vistula district, the Glass City’s first neighborhood.

The houses have good bones and may yet be rehabilitated. The project is intended to protect the homes from vandalism in hopes that a buyer may one day remodel them.

These photos show the house at 1105 N. Huron St. in Toledo before and after the mural project.

Jardine’s mural consists of panels that cover the windows and doors of the structures. Each panel has a unique design that connects in color scheme and concept to the other panels.

The project was initiated by Reginald Temple, director and vice president of community development for First Federal Bank of the Midwest. Temple, a UToledo College of Arts and Letters alumnus who received a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2003, often partners with the Lucas County Land Bank on various projects.

Jardine

Temple said this mural is similar to other board-up projects the Lucas County Land Bank and the Arts Commission have done, like the one for the former residence of Art Tatum, Toledo’s legendary jazz pianist.

The Huron Street project was organized through the collaborative efforts of First Federal Bank of the Midwest, the Lucas County Land Bank and the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. First Federal Bank provided volunteers, plus lunches and restrooms for the volunteers. The Lucas County Land Bank provided the properties, and the Arts Commission commissioned an artist and provided the paint and boards.

Ryan Bunch, communications and outreach coordinator for the Arts Commission, asked Jardine to design 16 murals for the North Huron Street properties.

“I designed the panels so that they would function as individual pieces and as a whole,” Jardine said. “Lindsay Akens [creative place-making facilitator with the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo] and Ryan Bunch showed the Vistula community members the designs and received their approval to move forward with the project.”

Volunteers painted the panels for the houses on N. Huron Street.

Jardine added that her design was inspired by her own work and the houses themselves.

“I chose to include abstracted, minimalist figures that look out to the viewer,” she said. “The vacant houses are given character and life through these figures. The house at 1109 N. Huron was partially blue to begin with, so I brought in blue as one of the colors in this mural.”

Temple arranged for nearly 60 volunteers from his company to carry out the painting.

Jardine said she was impressed with the volunteers because they did so much more than paint: “The houses that the murals were installed on needed a lot of work. Volunteers cleared brush, mowed the lawns, picked up trash, pulled weeds, and cleaned the porches.”

Volunteers did some brushwork, too. Some of the large panels were four feet by eight feet.

“Once we finished priming each of the 16 panels, I outlined the designs and color-coded them so that the volunteers could begin painting them,” Jardine said. “We had two to three days of painting, one and a half days of touch-ups and detail work, and one and a half days of installation. Finally, we clear-coated the panels and installed them on the first floors of the houses.”

Three young girls from the neighborhood came by daily and watched as the project unfolded. Lindsay Akens and Liam Johnson of the Arts Commission suggested the scope of the project be increased so the girls could participate.

Jardine designed several additional panels to cover the basement windows for the girls to paint. Temple noted that the girls were thrilled to be included. “The excitement on their faces was phenomenal,” he said.

The houses are adjacent to each other at 1105 N. Huron and 1109 N. Huron St.

Sew Cool: Alumna Creates Funky Cats for Art on the Mall

Carrie Hawkins will bring more than 500 fun, fuzzy felines to her booth for Art on the Mall.

Dubbed Ragamuffins, the recycled kitty dolls come in three sizes and sport tags that say “saving ugly sweaters from landfills since 2018.”

Carrie Hawkins showed off a large Ragamuffin she made from a mohair sweater.

“I make all the cats from recycled sweaters. I go to rummage sales and thrift stores, so it’s kind of neat: It helps charity, and then I turn around and make it into something else,” she said. “I use everything — the collars and the cuffs of the sweaters will become the collars of the cats. I use mismatched earrings for charms.

“Any way I can reduce waste — that’s my big thing: I love to recycle.”

She sews the cute creatures in her home studio in Temperance, Mich. Jars of antique buttons line a shelf above bolts of fabrics. Two sewing machines and a box of jewelry and trinkets sit atop a table. Bins of ribbon and fabric scraps are stacked in the corner. And, oh yes, there is a Siamese cat: Ellie is sleeping on a chair.

“Ellie likes to get up on my lap and help me,” Hawkins said and laughed. “Sometimes I sew and she’s hitting the bobbin on the machine constantly like it’s a toy.”

Two other muses roam about the house — Saki, a black cat, and Lilith, a tiger tabby.

The 2001 UToledo alumna found her creative groove by fusing her passion for the past with her fondness for felines.

“I wanted my art to represent me and what I stand for,” Hawkins said. “So I designed the pattern for the cats and decided to make them as earth-friendly as possible and recycle.

“Creating is just something I have to do,” she added.

That love of art began early. The Toledo native recalled having her own art studio at age 6.

“I took a toy box in the closet and that was my art table. And I made little refrigerator pictures, but I didn’t give them to my mom, I sold them to her,” Hawkins said. “I had a little portfolio, and pictures were a nickel if they were a little more detailed. There were a couple penny ones if she just needed something quick to throw on the fridge.”

Carrie Hawkins sewed eyes on an owl doll.

Since receiving a bachelor of arts degree in graphic design and painting, and taking graduate courses in art education at UToledo, she has been selling her award-winning creations for more than 20 years. Hawkins and her company, Scaredy Cat Primitives, have been featured in Prims and Your Cat magazines.

“Once my family moved to Temperance, my parents and I would go to a lot of antique shows and estate sales, and I was always fascinated with rescuing all the things. You’d go to estate sales and it’d be kind of sad because you’d see photos and letters that got left behind that nobody wanted,” she said.

That desire to save is strong.

“We moved to a rural dead-end street, which was a dumping ground for unwanted cats. I was very well-known for bringing home strays,” Hawkins said. “At one time, I had eight rescues. I learned how very different their personalities were and the little quirks they had that made them different.”

She repurposes found objects, bits and pieces to give her Ragamuffins distinct personalities.

“I love how something can tell a story by its wrinkles, dents, chips and stains. That inspires my art. I love paying tribute to the past by recycling. People give me all kinds of things for my work. I’ll make use of it instead of throwing it away. If I didn’t have an outlet for it, I’d end up being a hoarder,” she joked.

Small Ragamuffins sit in Carrie Hawkins’ studio; the cat dolls will be finished for Art on the Mall.

Some owls will fly in with Hawkins and her cats for Art on the Mall Sunday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University.

“I make owls out of tweed and wool skirts and blazers,” the deconstructionist artist said. “Some I make out of a linen fabric and put a little bit of coffee dye on them. I dye them really lightly, let them dry, and then I do embroidery.”

Coming to Centennial Mall on Main Campus for the juried art show is a highlight of summer.

“This is probably my seventh year at Art on the Mall. I love it,” Hawkins said. “The atmosphere is nice, and it’s a great, laid-back crowd.”

When she’s not in her studio with her cats, Hawkins is a member service associate at the Francis Family YMCA in Temperance, where she also teaches art classes.

“I love creating unique things. I hope people appreciate these are one-of-a-kind pieces of art, something they can’t find at a big-box store,” she said. “Like the tag on the back says, these [cats and owls] are handmade with love.”

Alumnus/Doctoral Student Offers Musical Inspiration With New Disc

Jeremy Holloway, a Ph.D. candidate in the Judith Herb College of Education at The University of Toledo, has released a worship album featuring 12 original songs.

“No More Delay” became available July 4 on Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud and Google Play.

The title track was inspired by his sister, Tiffanie.

“‘No More Delay’ came to me after witnessing my sister’s battle with diabetes at such a young age,” Holloway said. “She lost the ability to walk and was in and out of the hospital for years.”

He wrote, “It’s at a point when you’re broken, when you have nothing left/ When you’re crying and can no longer see/ God tells the angels, ‘Do you hear my child? That’s my little baby/ Now no more delay. Send her a story of hope/ A story of goodness, a story of grace/ And let it ring for all time.’”

Holloway’s sister temporarily lost her vision due to diabetes, which adds to the emotion and real strength of the lyrics.

Being moved by music — many genres of music — is something Holloway has experienced from an early age.

“When I was 17, I was into grunge and wanted to play the guitar, and I learned to play the guitar after watching Kurt Cobain in Nirvana perform on MTV,” he recalled.

At age 18, Holloway became a Christian and started to play the guitar and sing in church. He volunteers on the worship team at Calvary Church in Maumee, and he recently was a worship leader at Intersection Church in Oregon, Ohio.

Holloway

“I love playing music, but I also really enjoy writing songs,” he said.

Holloway decided to record the disc after meeting Glenn Scott, who used to be a manager for the Beach Boys for more than 20 years.

“We met here in Toledo at church, and he graciously opened up his studio for me to record this album. I regard it as truly a blessing,” Holloway said.

Other individuals who performed on “No More Delay” are Brandon Michael (spoken word poet), Evan Gilligan (spoken word poet), Jared Robison (guitar), Reagan Patterson (vocals) and UToledo student Kayla McCraney (vocals). The album was produced by Glenn and September Scott.

Holloway’s gratitude is evident on the disc, especially in the song, “Everything.”

“‘Everything’ is a reminder to me,” he said, singing the lyrics, “I don’t have the right to complain all the time/ I don’t have the right to a negative mind/ I don’t/ I don’t have the right, even if I think I might/ Because you gave me everything/ You gave me a song to sing.”

He smiled and said, “I remember how good life is and how wonderful God is in my life. And I remember, I try not to complain because I’ve been given so much.

“I want to encourage my listeners to see God’s goodness in their lives as well,” Holloway added. “It is one of my goals to link my passion with my purpose and connect others, as this is the true educational experience.”

The native of Toledo is a second generation Rocket; his parents, Tyrone and Delores Holloway, are both graduates of the University. Holloway received a bachelor of arts degree in Spanish and a bachelor of education degree from UToledo in 2005. He taught Spanish at area schools and graduated from the University in 2014 with a master’s degree in English as a second language.

Last year, Holloway published a book, “God Wants You to Smile Today: 25 Epiphanies of God’s Goodness — Secrets to Living With Radical Peace, Joy and Hope.” And in 2017, he was honored with the 20 Under 40 Leadership Award, which recognizes Toledo community members 39 or younger who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities.

For more information on the disc, contact Holloway at jeremy.holloway@rockets.utoledo.edu.

UToledo alum, flight director for International Space Station leading NASA’s launch of commercial crew vehicle

After an eight-year hiatus, NASA is one step closer to rocketing its astronauts to the International Space Station from U.S. soil, instead of buying seats aboard Russian spacecraft.

An alumnus of The University of Toledo will serve as flight director for the launch of the unmanned test flight of the Boeing Starliner slated for late August, about a month after the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Dr. Robert Dempsey, NASA flight director for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control in Houston, is leading the launch of a commercial crew vehicle. He received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from UToledo in 1987 and 1991. Image courtesy of Nasa

“The CST-100 Starliner is designed as a space taxi,” said Dr. Robert Dempsey, NASA flight director for the International Space Station at Johnson Space Center’s Mission Control in Houston. “I’ve been working on this project for eight years, longer than it took me to earn my Ph.D. at The University of Toledo. I joke that I have a doctorate in Starliner now.”

Dempsey, who received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from UToledo in 1987 and 1991, is working around the clock to train and troubleshoot for the upcoming launch, which — if successful — could lead to a crewed flight by the end of the year.

“I will be flight director for the rendezvous and docking,” Dempsey said. “I’m excited because the current timeframe means the Starliner would dock on my birthday, Aug. 18, which would be a cool present.”

The Starliner is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, a public-private partnership in which the agency contracted with Boeing and SpaceX to fly crews to the space station, an orbiting laboratory.

This NASA graphic shows the Boeing Starliner that is scheduled for an unmanned test flight in August. Dr. Robert Dempsey, UToledo alumnus, is the flight director for the launch.

The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to have safe, reliable and cost-effective access to and from the International Space Station and foster commercial access to other potential low-Earth orbit destinations.

It’s an expansion of NASA’s success in unmanned cargo supply ships.

The vision is for private companies to someday fly customers to hotels in space and other celestial destinations.

“When we look at the space program, the Commercial Crew Program is one example of what to expect over the next 50 years,” Dempsey said. “NASA will focus strategically on big-vision projects like getting to Mars, but private companies can invest and develop technology for low-Earth orbit transportation. We’ll focus on the hard stuff at NASA so that down the road Boeing and SpaceX can launch commercial vehicles to take customers to the moon or Mars.”

Leading up to the debut launch of Starliner, Dempsey spends his time thinking of everything that could go wrong on the mission and figuring out how to fix it.

It’s familiar territory.

Dempsey started working at NASA 21 years ago when the agency was creating the International Space Station.

“We were about three years from launching the first piece of the space station,” Dempsey said. “The design was mostly done, but the software was immature. I helped out with finishing the software.”

It’s a dream career sparked 50 years ago by one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

Dempsey was 6 years old when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon July 20, 1969.

“I remember watching the lunar landing on television and thinking, ‘I want to do that,’” Dempsey said. “I have never wavered. Here I am today doing that work.”

Creativity blossoms with University’s Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition

A small flock of enigmatic birds intently gaze across Centennial Mall. A wayward sea turtle suns itself near the southwest corner of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories. And a wave rolls between UToledo Medical Center and Mulford Library.

“Birdzels” by Mark Chatterley, “Turtle” by Jonathan Bowling and “Blue Wave” by Mike Sohikian are three of the 10 new works installed for The University of Toledo’s 14th annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

Mark Chatterley’s “Birdzels” are perched on the west side of Centennial Mall.

“For me, ‘Birdzels’ were meant to be fun. They are a cross between anime, emojis and Angry Birds — with a little Snoop Dog mixed in,” Chatterley said and laughed. “They are made from high-fired clay with a crater glaze on the outside. I feel I am pushing the material to make it unrecognizable as clay.”

Bowling’s recycled reptile features a dredge scoop, railroad spikes, horseshoes and stove grates.

“Being able to make something from nothing is what I like to do,” Bowling said. “It’s economical, too.”

Thanks to the President’s Commission on Campus Design and Environment, new sculptures sprout up each spring.

“Big Blue X” by Brian Ferriby sits atop the hill west of University Hall, and Glenn Zweygardt’s stainless steel work titled “New Mexico Passage” shines on the west side of the Student Recreation Center.

Bernie Dominique’s geometric work “Four Square” can be found by the northeast side of Wolfe Hall, and Beau Bilenki’s engineering feat “Hole in One” is between Nitschke and Palmer halls.

A 250-pound fish flies near the University Parks Trail and Ottawa House with Michael Angelo Magnotta’s “Above the Waves.”

“My sculptures typically begin with a trip to the metal yard,” Magnotta said. “From the shapes and textures I rescue, a conversation takes place — a visual conversation — that results in my sculptures.”

“Turtle” by Jonathan Bowling sits near the southwest corner of Bowman-Oddy Laboratories.

Gregory Mendez’s forceful “Kometes” is located north of Ritter Planetarium, and Kenneth M. Thompson’s intricate “Laminated Stack, Triangle” sits on the east side of the Health and Human Services Building.

More than 180 artists submitted proposals to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative, and the President’s Commission on Campus Design and Environment reviewed the entries and selected pieces for this year’s exhibit.

Since the exhibition began, more than 130 sculptures have rotated through the display on UToledo campuses, and several have become part of the University’s collection courtesy of campus benefactors, colleges and departments.

Those wishing to make a gift to support the exhibition are encouraged to contact the UT Foundation at utfoundation@utoledo.edu or 419.530.7730.