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Naturalization Ceremony to Take Place Sept. 17 at UToledo

More than 70 people will become U.S. citizens during a naturalization ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m. in the Law Center McQuade Auditorium on The University of Toledo’s Main Campus.

Judge Mary Ann Whipple of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio will preside over the ceremony, which will celebrate Constitution Day at the University.

UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber will give welcome remarks at the event, which will feature alumna Grisoranyel Barrios as this year’s guest speaker.

Barrios moved from Venezuela to Toledo when she was 7 years old. She attended Springfield Local Schools before coming to The University of Toledo, where she received a bachelor of arts degree in political science and a bachelor of social work degree in 2018.

She is pursuing a master’s degree in social work specializing in policy at the University of Washington in St. Louis and plans to graduate in December.

Barrios attended the 2017 naturalization ceremony, where she opened the court, and became a U.S. citizen in March 2019.

“I look forward to participating in the ceremony yet again, but this time as a UToledo alumna and a U.S. citizen,” Barrios said.

“Hosting this naturalization ceremony on campus is a wonderful way to celebrate Constitution Day and to honor our country’s history,” Diane Miller, chief of staff and associate vice president for government relations, said. “It is so moving to watch individuals achieve their dreams of becoming U.S. citizens.”

Constitution Day is annually observed in America to commemorate the formation and signing of the Constitution of the United States on Sept. 17, 1787.

The free, public event is sponsored by the Office of Government Relations and the Center for International Studies and Programs.

For more information on the naturalization ceremony, contact Lisa Byers, executive assistant in the Office of Government Relations, at lisa.byers@utoledo.edu.

Sept. 25 Deadline to Sign Up for Homecoming Decorating Contest

On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Toledo Rockets will take on the Western Michigan Broncos in the Homecoming game in the Glass Bowl.

But before that, you can show your school spirit by decorating your office.

Ready to get spooky? Celebrate this year’s Homecoming theme: Rocky’s Haunted Halloween.

The deadline to sign up for the contest is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25.

UToledo students will judge the contest Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. They will be looking for craftsmanship, completeness, creativity, theme and school spirit.

Winners will be announced at the Homecoming game.

Three trophies will be given to the top offices and departments, while first-place winners will receive doughnuts.

Decorating rules include:

• Do not include any items that may cause a fire hazard;

• Decorations cannot block doorways or fire escapes; and

• The time you will be assigned for judging cannot be changed; if you miss it, you will not be able to reschedule.

The schedule for judging will be sent Friday, Sept. 27.

Student judges include Matthew Stojsavljevic, president of Phi Kappa Psi; James Easler, president of Blue Key Honor Society; and Rebecca Sturges, president of Student Government.

“Homecoming week is for everyone on campus to foster their Toledo spirit and get excited to cheer on the football team at Saturday’s game,” said Ashlen Torio, director of the Homecoming Committee.

Torio, a senior studying operation and supply chain management, added, “We hope that decorating offices gets staff and faculty excited to be a part of the week, and that students who see the offices decorated will get excited, as well.”

Offices and department that wish to participate and get into the Homecoming spirit are asked to sign up on InvoNet.

For more information, can contact Torio or Stewart Marmion at homecoming@utoledo.edu.

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.”

UToledo Hires Title IX Director

Vicky Kulicke brought more than 25 years of combined experience in higher education and the public sector when she started her job as director of Title IX and compliance at The University of Toledo.

She joined the UToledo staff Sept. 9.

Kulicke

Most recently, Kulicke was an equity officer and Title IX deputy coordinator for seven years at Bowling Green State University.

An advocate for social justice, Kulicke introduced Bowling Green to the national grass roots campaign, Not in Our Town, which addresses bullying and discrimination, and builds safe, inclusive communities.

“We welcome Vicky and her wealth of experience she brings to her new role at the University,” Dr. Phillip “Flapp” Cockrell, vice president for student affairs and vice provost, said. “We are confident Vicky will help ensure a safe, inclusive and diverse learning environment at UToledo.”

Kulicke also has worked as an equal opportunity compliance specialist and human resources compliance administrator. At Insperity (formerly known as Administaff Inc.) in Phoenix, she made sure the company followed federal, state and local laws, regulations, policies and guidelines that prohibited discrimination in the workplace.

“I am honored and excited to join The University of Toledo to lead our prevention, education and response efforts regarding Title IX and compliance,” Kulicke said.

She received a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Illinois State University and became a certified affirmative action professional from the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity in 2017.

In addition, Kulicke was an adjunct faculty member in criminal justice at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.; was a human relations associate for the city of Bloomington, Ill.; and worked as a victim/witness coordinator in the McLean County State’s Attorney’s Office in Bloomington.

Ryan White Program to Raise Funds for HIV Care With Evening of Food, Music

The fourth annual Re-Tie the Red Ribbon fundraiser presented by The University of Toledo Medical Center’s Ryan White Program will take place Saturday, Sept. 14, at the SeaGate Convention Centre in downtown Toledo.

Re-Tie the Red Ribbon supports UTMC’s Ann Wayson Locher Memorial Fund for HIV Care, which provides HIV care for adults and children in the Toledo area who have needs not covered by other agencies or programs in the community.

Tickets for the fundraiser are $50 each and include a variety of food stations and entertainment. The event will take place from 6 to 10 p.m.

“The University of Toledo Medical Center has been the regional referral center for HIV care for more than 30 years and has served the needs of the growing populations of persons with HIV,” said Richard Meeker, manager of community engagement and development at the Ryan White Program. “Support of this event makes a difference to the women and men in our community who depend on the services of the Ryan White Program.”

Wayson Locher opened the first grant-funded free and anonymous HIV testing site in northwest Ohio in 1985 and was one of the key organizers for The University of Toledo’s Ryan White Program. The memorial fund was developed in her honor after her death in 2010.

UTMC’s Ryan White Program offers high-quality comprehensive HIV/AIDS care services. The program uses a multidisciplinary model that incorporates healthcare, mental health services and case management for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Lucas County and the surrounding counties in northwest Ohio.

Entertainment at this year’s Re-Tie the Red Ribbon event will be provided by the Toledo School for the Arts Alumni Band, The Overton Project, and jazz vocalists Ramona Collins and Trez Gregory.

The Ryan White Program is seeking sponsorships with opportunities that range from $250 to $5,000 and include VIP tickets and recognition at the event.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit The University of Toledo Alumni Association website.

Feminist Scholar Selected to Lead Eberly Center for Women

Dr. Angela Fitzpatrick started her new job as director of the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women Sept. 9.

The feminist activist, educator and scholar has been building community, inspiring action, and uplifting student leaders for more than a decade.

Fitzpatrick

Since 2015, Fitzpatrick was director of the Women’s Center and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati. Prior to that, she served as assistant director and lecturer in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, S.C., and was an instructor in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at Bowling Green State University.

“We are excited Dr. Fitzpatrick will join us at UToledo to lead the Eberly Center for Women,” Dr. Michele Soliz, associate vice president for student success and inclusion, said.

“Dr. Fitzpatrick is dedicated to diversity, equity and inclusion, which has driven her service to campus and community,” Dr. Willie McKether, vice president for diversity and inclusion, and vice provost, said. “She has a reputation for developing networks that mold and mobilize change-makers of all genders.”

The Eberly Center for Women promotes the advancement of women at UToledo and in the community by creating an environment that supports learning, discovery and engagement that helps them achieve their highest potential.

“I look forward to becoming part of the team in the Eberly Center for Women,” Fitzpatrick said. “I am eager to learn more about the needs of our various stakeholders and expand our programs and services so that we can make an even greater impact on campus and in the community.”

She received a bachelor of arts degree in honors and anthropology from the University of North Dakota and continued her education at Bowling Green State University, where she received master and doctoral degrees in American culture studies.

Fitzpatrick was honored with the Excellence in Teaching Award from the National Society of Leadership and Success while at Coastal Carolina University. At the University of Cincinnati, she received the Equity and Inclusion Award from the Division of Student Affairs.

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.

Parking and Transportation Issues Reminders for Students

Students may register for a parking permit by visiting myparking.utoledo.edu or by downloading the UToledo Parking app. All vehicles on campus are required to have a permit.

“We are excited to welcome our UToledo students to campus,” said Sherri Kaspar, director of parking and transportation services in Auxiliary Services. “We are pushing for every single student to register for a parking permit in aims of reducing citations given out this semester.”

Student permit types are assigned based on earned credit hours and residential status. To learn more about your permit type, visit the parking permits web page. Note the first letter of the permit is your permit type. For example, if your permit reads “K Underclassman Commuter” your permit type is “K.”

Alphabet letters indicating permit types are listed on signs at the entrance of each lot and on the light poles. Visit Parking and Transportation Services’ website to view a complete campus map. Yellow and white lines indicate employee and student parking, respectively. Students may park in white-lined spaces that pertain to their permit type. After 4 p.m., students may park in yellow-lined spaces unless otherwise posted. To avoid receiving a citation, always face your license plate to the drive aisle.

View a list of all University lots by campus and permit type.

New this fall, registered UToledo permit holders may park in most lots after 4 p.m. to 8 a.m. Monday through Friday. UToledo permits are still required to park on campus.

Exceptions include:

• Reserved, disabled and metered spaces, which are enforced 24/7;

• Lot 14 between Memorial Field House and MacKinnon Hall on Main Campus and lot 44A next to Collier Building on Health Science Campus;

• Lot 25N between the Gateway and Rocket Hall and 27A next to Ottawa West: No parking from 1 to 6 a.m.; and

• Patient lots on Health Science Campus.

If you are looking to leave your car at home, check out the alternative transportation methods available on campus. UToledo offers bus services, electric scooters and a bike-share program with a fleet that includes bicycles and tricycles, as well as tandem and hand-pedal options. For more information, visit the Parking and Transportation Services’ website.

Parking and Transportation Services communicates primarily through your UToledo email, this includes ticket notifications. Ticket notifications will be sent to your UToledo email account if you are an active student or employee. Most violations are e-tickets and will not be placed on your vehicle. If the vehicle is not registered properly, your ticket will be sent in the mail to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Download the UT Parking app to manage your parking account with ease and stay up to date on what’s new. Do you drive more than one vehicle to campus? You can add as many vehicles as you would like to your profile and easily switch between them. The UT Parking app allows you to purchase your parking permit, update vehicle information, pay citations, and be the first to hear of parking changes and alerts.

See what’s new on the Parking and Transportation Services’ website.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQ page.

Fall Enrollment Numbers Reflect Focus on Student Success

For the seventh consecutive year, more students have returned to campus this fall semester for their second year of studies, once again confirming the University’s growing trend of student success.

The University of Toledo’s first-to-second-year retention rate is 76.4%, and the six-year graduate rate improved to a record high of 51.2% as a result of campus-wide increased efforts to support student success.

This year’s entering class has a record high academic profile with an average ACT score of 23.03 and average GPA of 3.48.

Total enrollment for fall semester 2019 is 19,782, according to official 15-day census numbers, which includes 15,568 undergraduate students and 4,214 graduate and professional students. UToledo had 20,304 students enrolled in fall semester 2018, of which 16,065 were undergraduates and 4,239 were graduate students.

“We’re proud to see our efforts to support students having such a positive impact on our retention and graduation rates. We’ve exceeded our Strategic Plan goal three years ahead of schedule,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Our goal now is to continue this positive trend while also refocusing our efforts to strategically grow enrollment so more students can benefit from the UToledo experience.”

This academic year UToledo focused on opportunities to expand programs in the health professions to meet both student and community demand.

The College of Nursing experienced a 10% increase in enrollment with the largest cohort of students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. UToledo added faculty in order to accept more students into the program and launched a new competency-based education RN to BSN program, which is the first of its kind among Ohio institutions. This new online program provides the flexibility for working nurses to advance their careers through self-paced learning that’s personalized, accessible and convenient.

The College of Medicine and Life Sciences grew its graduate programs and recruited a highly qualified class of M.D. students with more than 5,400 applicants for 175 spots. The new class of medical students had an average MCAT score that places it in the top 20% nationally.

Toledo recently hired a new director for the Pre-Health Advising Center, Tess Newlove, to continue efforts to support success for students interested in health professional programs.

Study May Unlock New Diagnostic Tools for Fainting Disorder

New research from The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences strongly suggests postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS, is an autoimmune disorder and may help pave the way for a simple blood test that could help physicians diagnose the condition.

POTS is characterized by large increases in heart rate and sometimes decreases in blood pressure when standing up. That can cause lightheadedness, heart palpitations and even loss of consciousness. In addition to fainting, POTS patients also regularly suffer from a litany of additional symptoms, including fatigue, pain, gastrointestinal issues, bleeding disorders, anxiety and brain fog.

About 3 million Americans are believed to be affected, but because of its wide-ranging and seemingly unrelated symptoms, POTS is notoriously difficult to identify.

Grubb

“The trouble with diagnosing POTS is that it’s currently principally a clinical diagnosis. It’s based on history, the absence of other illness, as well as the finding of increase in heart rate when standing. There is no blood test right now to aid in the diagnosis. It can be an incredibly frustrating process for patients,” said Dr. Blair Grubb, Distinguished University Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences and director of electrophysiology services at The University of Toledo Medical Center.

In the largest study of POTS patients to date, published Sept. 9 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, Grubb and UToledo research collaborators found 89 percent of patients they examined had elevated levels of autoantibodies against the adrenergic alpha 1 receptor.

“People have suspected an autoimmune connection for years, and other small-scale studies have suggested it,” said Grubb, one of the world’s foremost experts in syncope and disorders of the autonomic nervous system. “We did a much larger cross-section of patients than has ever been done before and found that almost all of them tested positive for autoimmune antibodies. That’s a significant finding.”

None of the 55 patients who participated in the study had another recognized autoimmune disorder. Fifty-two were female, with an average age of 30.

Researchers screened the patients’ blood for autoantibodies against nine receptors. A handful of patients showed elevated levels against all nine. But it was the prevalence of adrenergic A1 subtype receptor autoantibodies that make their findings so intriguing.

Gunning

“I think that we have identified a biomarker. We now might have the ability to diagnosis this, or at least have an inkling. Like other autoimmune disease, we can take a blood sample and detect if there are increased levels of autoantibodies present. According to our results, autoantibodies against this particular receptor should be present in about 90 percent of patients with POTS,” said Dr. William Gunning, a professor of pathology in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences, and the paper’s lead author.

Gunning and Grubb say much more research is needed. However, this study adds significantly to the evidence that POTS is an autoimmune disorder — and it shows it may be possible to give physicians unfamiliar with the condition an easy way to test for it.

“What this does is prove the concept,” Grubb said. “Other studies had used very expensive research tests. What we used are the same kind of testing methods that would be used by regular hospitals. We wanted to do something that would potentially be a test applicable to the general population, not just a research test.”

While Gunning and Grubb caution they’re still investigating the precise methods by which POTS is established, their study does raise the possibility that existing immune modulating medications could be a viable therapeutic method for some patients.

The study was supported by funding from the Dysautonomia Advocacy Foundation, the Life as a Zebra Foundation, and the Virginia Lounsbury Foundation.