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Men’s Tennis Named All-Academic Team

The University of Toledo men’s tennis team earned Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team honors and tallied seven All-Academic Scholar-Athletes.

“To have seven of our student-athletes named as Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Scholar-Athletes is truly phenomenal,” said Head Coach Al Wermer. “I’m in awe of what our players are doing in the classroom and grateful for our academic support on our campus.”

Seniors Vince Anzalone, Omar Espinosa, Serjen Olmedo and Luka Vitosevic, juniors Thawin Suksathaporn and Danilo Vukotic, and freshman Cole Shoults earned individual scholar-athlete honors after maintaining GPAs of 3.50 for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association All-Academic Team award is open to any association program that has a cumulative team grade-point average of 3.20 or above.

In order for student-athletes to earn Intercollegiate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete honors, a player must be a varsity letter winner, have a GPA of 3.50 or higher for the current academic year, and have been enrolled at their current institution for at least two semesters.

Women’s Basketball Team Visits Vatican City on Final Day of Italy Trip

The Toledo women’s basketball team wrapped up its last day in Italy Monday with a visit to Vatican City.

“This whole trip was very, very special to me,” said senior Mariella Santucci, a native of Bologna. “It meant a lot to have my teammates, coaches and quite a few fans make the trip to my home country. I loved showing off my culture and way of life to them, and I think they loved it back.”

Toledo put the finishing touches on its Italy trip Monday with a tour of Vatican City,
including a stop at St. Peter’s Basilica.

Toledo received a more than three-hour guided tour of the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. They had a chance to walk through the home of the pope and see iconic art and architecture.

Within the city-state surrounded by Rome, the Rockets toured the Vatican Museum, which houses ancient Roman sculptures such as the famed “Laocoön and His Sons,” the Sistine Chapel, famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling, and St. Peter’s Basilica, designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. St. Peter’s Basilica also is the largest church in the world.

“Today’s tour was very cool,” junior Mariah Copeland said. “Going to Notre Dame Academy, we talked a lot about Vatican City, but it doesn’t fully register unless you’ve actually been there before. Getting the opportunity to tour it and see all of those beautiful sites and artworks was pretty special.”

The Rockets then put the finishing touches of the trip this evening with a farewell dinner with the entire travel party at Tanagra Caffé Concerto.

The team is slated to fly out of Leonardo da Vinci International Airport Tuesday morning and make the 10-hour return trip to Detroit Metro Airport.

Doctoral Student’s Research Brings New Insight to Removing Breastfeeding Barriers

A new study from The University of Toledo suggests providing more robust support for new mothers who experience stressful life events leading up to the baby’s birth, such as a lost job or a critically ill family member, could improve breastfeeding rates.

Slightly more than half of U.S. mothers follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that their infants receive only breast milk for the first six months of their lives.


Vickie Dugat wanted to better understand what barriers may exist for women — and identify efforts that might remove some.

“There’s a lot of data that suggests it’s beneficial for both mother and baby to breastfeed for six months,” said Dugat, a health education doctoral student in the UToledo College of Health and Human Services. “This is an issue that we need to talk about, and one that needs to be researched more deeply.”

There are a variety of reasons why new mothers may either choose not to breastfeed or find themselves unable to do so. A lack of family and social support, embarrassment, personal preference, lactation problems, and work-related issues are commonly cited in studies of American breastfeeding practices.

As Dugat sifted through the existing literature, she noticed that little work had been done examining the association between prenatal stressful life events and exclusive breastfeeding.

With help from Dr. Joseph Dake, professor and chair of the UToledo School of Population Health, Dugat linked up with a pair of Ohio University researchers to dig into the issue.

Using a data set of nearly 44,000 U.S. mothers, researchers compared breastfeeding statistics for an infant’s first three months with self-reported incidents of 13 major stressful events in the mother’s life during the year prior to birth.

Included in that list were separations or divorce, homelessness, moving to a new address, bills that couldn’t be paid, someone close to them suffering with a drug or alcohol problem, lost jobs, and the death or serious illness of someone close to them.

Their findings, published in the journal Breastfeeding Medicine, found a clear connection between higher numbers of stressful life events and lower rates of exclusive breastfeeding for three months.

Of the U.S. mothers included in their data set, 52 percent of those who did not report any major stressful life events in the year prior to giving birth were more likely to breastfeed exclusively for three months. Among women who experienced three or more stressful life events, that dropped to just 32 percent.

While the findings were consistent across most demographic groups, the association between stressful life events and shorter duration of breastfeeding was most pronounced for women younger than age 30.

“The implication is it might be possible to create policies or programs to educate lactation consultants and physicians on which population may need a little bit more assistance when it comes to breastfeeding and handling stressful life events,” said Dugat, who was lead author on the study. “We could also potentially improve breastfeeding practices with efforts that minimize exposure to stressful life events.”

Originally from Florida, Dugat completed her undergraduate work at the University of Florida and earned a master’s in public health from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.

She chose UToledo for her doctoral work after meeting Dake at a conference and learning the flexibility she’d have in her research here.

“Something that we pride ourselves in is that we do not assign our doctoral students to a particular faculty member when they come in,” Dake said. “There are benefits to that, but our program is geared a little more toward allowing them to explore and shift their research interests, as long as it’s under the oversight of a faculty member who can be a good mentor to them.”

For Dugat, who is passionate about improving the health of mothers and infants, that freedom to pursue her interests was crucial in selecting a doctoral program.

“I absolutely love that. With other Ph.D. programs, sometimes you have to do the research that faculty are already doing,” Dugat said. “Having that flexibility and the ability to be creative in my research is what attracted me here.”

Thanks to the relationship Dake has built with Ohio University through the Ohio Alliance for Innovation in Population Health, he was able to make a connection for Dugat with researchers who had similar areas of interest.

“We really try to push the idea that if you love what you do, you spend time on it, and you’re passionate at what you do, you’re going to be a better professional, and you’re going to be more successful in it,” Dake said.

UToledo Swimmer Finishes Sixth in Two Events at Pan-Am Games

Incoming freshman Madison Broad of The University of Toledo swimming and diving team represented her home country, Canada, in the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 Pan-American Games last week in Lima, Peru.

“This meet was a great stepping stone in Madison’s international and upcoming NCAA career,” said Head Coach Jonas Persson, . “She raced some really fast swimmers, which helped her gain experience and will make the transition to competing in big collegiate meets easier. Two sixth-place finishes at a meet like this is a big deal, and it was great to see her have so much success.”

On Aug. 7, Broad competed in the preliminary round of the 200 backstroke, touching the wall in 2:14.25 and securing a place in the A-finals. Swimming in lane seven, Broad was able to drop nearly two seconds off her time to finish sixth. The Wallaceburg, Ontario, native clocked a 2:12.82 in the final round, finishing nearly four seconds ahead of Florencia Perotti from Argentina who took seventh.

Finishing up at the Pan-Am Games Aug. 8, Broad saw herself in the A-finals of the 100 backstroke, after clocking in at 1:02.99 during the third heat of the preliminary round. Competing in lane one of the A-finals, Broad posted a time of 1:02.44 to finish in sixth place, less than a second behind Fernanda De Goeij from Brazil.

Broad’s personal best time of 2:09.45 in the 200 backstroke is ranked 18th in the world and is the 88th-fastest time in history.

She will be joining the Rockets this fall, looking to make an immediate impact in the backstroke events.

Rockets Attend Mass at St. Peter Basilica, Tour Rome

The Toledo women’s basketball team had the opportunity to visit a couple historic sites in Rome Sunday during its eighth day in Italy.

The Rockets had the option to attend mass at St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning before taking part in a guided tour of Italy’s capital city in the late afternoon.

The Rockets posed for a photo on the Spanish Steps in Rome.

A handful of Toledo players and staff attended the 75-minute mass and heard Pope Francis speak to the congregation of at least 2,000 people.

“This morning’s mass was a powerful way to start the day,” Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “It’s a very rare opportunity to celebrate mass at St. Peter’s, as well as hear the pope speak. Those two things are something many of us will never have the chance to do again. The best way to describe that is powerful.”

Sophomore Jaela Johnson agreed: “The mass was a great experience. I’ve never been to anything like this before. All the sculptures and art were beautiful. And to top it all off with hearing the pope speak made it so special.”

On the walking tour, the Rockets visited the Pantheon (a Roman temple originally built in approximately 27 B.C.), Trevi Fountain (the largest Baroque fountain in the city and one of the most famous fountains in the world), and the Spanish Steps (a monumental stairway of 174 steps built in the 1720s).

“There’s so much history in Rome,” Cullop said. “It’s hard to catch all of it, especially with the short time we are here, but I thought we did a great job of seeing as much as we possibly could. Our players are just so grateful for the opportunity to be here.”

Toledo will spend its final day in Italy Monday before returning to the Glass City Tuesday. The Rockets are scheduled to visit the Vatican and the Vatican Museum.

Women’s Basketball Team Visits Colosseum, Defeats Rome All-Stars on Day Seven of Italy Trip

The Toledo women’s basketball team arrived at its final destination, Rome, Saturday during its seventh day in Italy.

The Rockets toured the historic Colosseum and posted an emphatic 84-39 victory over the Rome All-Stars to complete their three-game exhibition schedule with a perfect 3-0 mark. 

Toledo arrived in Rome and toured the historic Colosseum Saturday.

UToledo made the four-hour bus trip from Sorrento to Rome this morning before going on a guided tour of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Colosseum is the main symbol of Rome and can be traced back almost 2,000 years. During the tour, Toledo had the opportunity to discovery the way of life in the Roman Empire.

“The Colosseum was simply amazing,” senior Sara Rokkanen said. “It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I find it very interesting that many of the modern-day arenas have a lot of the same features as this almost 2,000-year-old structure.”

In tonight’s final exhibition contest, the Rockets were led in scoring by the tandem of junior Tanaya Beacham and freshman Soleil Barnes with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

“We played really well tonight,” said Beacham, who was named the game’s MVP. “We moved the ball well, took good shots, and took the right shots. I thought we played very well as a team.”

Toledo also received eight points from Mariella Santucci, seven from freshman Sophia Wiard and sophomore Lexi Lance, and six by Arianne Whitaker, junior Tatyana Davis, freshman Mali Morgan-Elliott and freshman Quinesha Lockett, respectively.

“The biggest takeaway from these three exhibition contests is teaching our players all the nuances of the game at both ends of the floor,” said Head Coach Tricia Cullop. “It takes time to learn the game, sometimes by succeeding and sometimes by failing. Because we were able to play everybody in each game, I thought everyone got quality reps.

“What I love most about this group is that not only do they work hard, but they are extremely coachable.”

Toledo will have the opportunity to attend Sunday Mass at St. Peter’s Cathedral in the morning, followed by a guided bus tour of the city in the afternoon.

Women’s Basketball Team Goes on Boat Excursion During Italy Trip

The Toledo women’s basketball team took part in a boat excursion Friday during its sixth day in Italy.

The Rockets ventured to the island of Capri in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Sorrentine Peninsula during their only team activity of the day.

The Rockets went on a boat excursion Friday to the island of Capri off the Sorrentine Peninsula.

Located on the south side of the Gulf of Naples in the Campania region of Italy, the team split up into groups and explored the island’s two main harbors of Marina Piccola and Marina Grande.

“Today was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip,” freshman Yaniah Curry said. “Capri was just beautiful. It was so fun spending time with my teammates, swimming and relaxing. This was an experience unlike anything I’ve ever done before.”

Saturday, Toledo will make its way to Rome and take a tour of the Colosseum.

Following the afternoon tour, the Rockets will play their final exhibition game against the Rome All-Stars.

Women’s Basketball Embraces Sorrento on Day Five of Italy Trip

The Toledo women’s basketball team soaked up some rays Thursday in Sorrento and played its second exhibition game in the evening during its fifth day in Italy.

The Rockets had the morning and early afternoon free to relax on the beach, before claiming a convincing 79-39 victory against the Sorrento All-Stars in Vico Equense, Campania.

Toledo put the clamps down defensively against the Sorrento All-Stars and held them scoreless
in the third period en route to a 79-39 win.

UToledo started its day at a private beach, where the view was spectacular and the water was crystal clear.

“The beach was awesome,” freshman Mali Morgan-Elliott said. “We swam some and got a lot of sun. We also did a little shopping. It was a fun day.”

The team then met up with the coaches and staff in the early afternoon for their walk-through and pre-game meal at the hotel.

At the exhibition contest, senior Mariella Santucci and junior Tanaya Beacham paced a balanced attack with 20 and 19 points, respectively. In all, 12 of Toledo’s 13 players that saw action found the scoring column, and three additional players contributed at least six points.

“We were much more patient offensively,” Head Coach Tricia Cullop said. “We worked the ball well and took a lot of good shots. At the same time, our defense stepped up. We did a much better job denying, and that means a lot to me.” 

“You could see the results of our 10 team practices before we left tonight,” said Beacham, who is averaging a team-high 17.5 points in the two exhibition contests. “I feel as though those really helped us take control of the game early.

“I just try to do my job every time I step out on the court. It doesn’t matter if I’m running the floor, grabbing an offensive rebound, or playing defense. As long as I do my job, it all works.”

Toledo will take part in a boat excursion Friday on the Mediterranean Sea.

Three Rockets Named Distinguished Scholar Athletes

Three athletes from The University of Toledo track and field team were named Distinguished Scholar Athletes for the indoor track season by the Mid-American Conference.

Senior Janelle Noe, junior Atalia Lima and junior Athena Welsh were awarded the honor for their efforts on the track and in the classroom during the indoor track and field season. This is the second consecutive year Noe has received the honor.

Lima became the Rockets’ first pentathlon champion at the MAC Championships, scoring 3542 points. Welsh and Noe led the Rockets in distance and mid-distance events during the season. Welsh took home the title for the 5,000 meters with a time of 16:33.55 and also landed on the podium for the 3,000 meters (9:48.87, fourth) and mile (4:50.15, sixth). Noe made three podium appearances at the championships for the 800 meter (2:10.79, fourth), mile (4:44.93, third), and distance medley relay (11:55.25, sixth).

Lima is majoring in interdisciplinary studies and has 3.534 GPA; Noe is majoring in exercise science and carries a 3.845 grade-point average; and Welsh is majoring in marketing and has a 3.614 GPA.

Faculty athletic representatives made selections from the Academic All-MAC teams to be honored with the Distinguished Scholar Athlete Award for the 2018-19 season. To qualify for the award, student-athletes must have a 3.50 GPA or higher and the number of Distinguished Scholar Athletes from each sport were equivalent to the number of first-team selections or 20 percent of nominees, whichever was greater.

UToledo physicists awarded $7.4 million to rev up solar technology to power space vehicles

The U.S. Air Force awarded a team of physicists at The University of Toledo $7.4 million to enhance the reliability and efficiency of lightweight power to improve the safety and effectiveness of Department of Defense missions.

Dr. Randall Ellingson, professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy, and the UToledo Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization will lead the five-year contract to develop solar technology that is lightweight, flexible, highly efficient and durable in space so it can provide power for space vehicles using sunlight.

Dr. Randall Ellingson has received $7.4 million from the U.S. Air Force to develop solar technology that is lightweight, flexible, highly efficient and durable to improve the safety and effectiveness of Department of Defense missions.

Ellingson is applying his persistent dedication to discovery in the fast-growing field of photovoltaics to champion the U.S. armed forces by advancing power generation technologies for space vehicle applications to survive natural and man-made threats.

“Our goal is to protect our troops and enhance national security by accelerating the performance of solar cells,” Ellingson said. “Our primary goal is to reduce the power system payload by developing highly efficient and lightweight technology to replace liquid fuels and minimize battery storage needs.”

In order for the technology to achieve both high efficiency and the flexibility to be used on a curved surface like a wing or fuselage, Ellingson’s team is making tandem solar cells — two different solar cells stacked on top of each other that use two different parts of the sun’s spectrum — on very thin, flexible supporting material.

UToledo physicists have had great success drawing record levels of power from the same amount of sunlight using the tandem technique with what are called perovskites, compound materials with a special crystal structure formed through chemistry.

“The University of Toledo is a worldwide leader driving innovation in photovoltaics research, education and application,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur said. “This critical collaboration with the U.S. Air Force strengthens national security and fuels a cleaner energy future for generations to come.”

UToledo’s flexible, lightweight, low-cost technology will be tested under space-like radiation exposure.

“In outer space, the radiation environment is much more harsh, where high-energy photons and particles, arising from both our sun and our galaxy, can damage the solar cells,” Ellingson said.

“We are proud our photovoltaics team at The University of Toledo has been selected once again to use its state-of-the-art expertise to advance Air Force missions in service to the nation,” Dr. Frank Calzonetti, UToledo vice president for research, said. “This major award demonstrates the high regard the U.S. Air Force has in The University of Toledo’s solar energy research capabilities and the confidence in our research team. Dr. Ellingson has performed exceptionally well in meeting the high demands of the Air Force in providing research that supports the nation’s defense posture.”

For more than three decades, The University of Toledo has focused with precision on the potential of photovoltaics to transform the world and improve sustainability to combat the energy crisis.

Harold McMaster, an inventor and namesake of UToledo’s McMaster Hall, pioneered the vision for commercializing solar energy in northwest Ohio and donated funds to UToledo to gather great minds and craft solutions.

One of the world’s largest manufacturer of solar cells, First Solar, originated in UToledo laboratories.

The University created the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization in January 2007 with $18.6 million in support from the Ohio Department of Development, along with matching contributions of $30 million from federal agencies, universities and industrial partners. The center works to strengthen the photovoltaics and manufacturing base in Ohio, through materials and design innovation.