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Enroll for Benefits by Oct. 31

Open enrollment for all benefits-eligible employees will be held Tuesday, Oct. 1, through Thursday, Oct. 31. Because the University continually strives to offer a variety of benefits to meet the needs of a widely diverse workforce, several plan changes are being made for 2020.

Premiums will not increase for most employees. There will be a nominal increase for AFSCME bargaining unit employees to more closely align their rates with those of other employees. Additionally, there will be a small increase (3.4%) in premiums for employees choosing vision coverage.

Among other changes for 2020: Preventive services will now be covered at 100%, such as screening mammograms and certain vaccinations; the Gold plan will no longer be available; and the Blue consumer-driven health plan is moving to Paramount.

If you are a current Gold plan participant, you must select a new plan during open enrollment so there is no disruption in your coverage if you want to continue receiving coverage through the University in 2020.

Additionally, members of the Blue plan, which is moving from Medical Mutual of Ohio to Paramount, should check whether their current physician or healthcare provider is a member of Paramount’s network; visit the Paramount website or call Paramount at 1.800.462.3589.

Further, employees who currently participate in the Flexible Spending Account or the Health Savings Account must enroll to continue taking advantage of those benefits in 2020.

“To help employees understand their options, Human Resources is offering even more opportunities this year to learn about the various healthcare plans,” said Wendy Davis, associate vice president and chief human resources officer.

In addition to the annual Benefits Fairs, UToledo benefits specialists will be hosting new walk-in sessions and holding open office hours during which employees can get all of their questions answered, she stated.

To compare all plan details and rates before open enrollment begins, visit the open enrollment website, where you also will find frequently asked questions, definitions of healthcare plan terms, and other useful information.

Open benefits sessions to speak one to one with a benefits specialist include:

• Main Campus — Monday, Sept. 23, 9 to 11:30 a.m., and Thursday, Sept. 26, 2 to 4:30 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1009.

• Health Science Campus — Monday, Sept. 23, 2 to 4:30 p.m., and Thursday, Sept. 26, 9 to 11:30 a.m. in Mulford Library Room 420.

The Open Enrollment Benefits Fairs will feature representatives of various healthcare plans, UToledo fitness centers’ and Rocket Wellness staff, UToledo outpatient pharmacists, and other benefits-related professionals.

As an added benefit, free health screenings will be provided at the Benefits Fairs:

• Health Science Campus — Wednesday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Morse Center; and

• Main Campus — Thursday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center.

As a reminder, you can significantly reduce your medical expenses throughout the year by choosing UTMC, UT Physicians and UToledo Outpatient Pharmacies for your household’s primary and specialty care, diagnostic and imaging services, prescriptions, and many other healthcare services.

If you need help enrolling online or have questions about your benefits, stop by Human Resources on Main Campus at the Center for Administrative Support (near the Dorr Street entrance) any Tuesday or Thursday during October from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or contact benefits@utoledo.edu or 419.530.4747. Appointments also can be made outside of these hours; for instance, by third-shift employees.

“Along with knowing your options and selecting a plan that best fits your needs, we want employees to ‘Be part of the plan,’” Davis said. “Partner with your primary care provider and participate in the many free Rocket Wellness initiatives we provide throughout the year.”

The University has worked hard to ensure most employees will not have any increases in their 2020 premiums, as well to offer additional resources this year for employees who need assistance during open enrollment, she said.

Clothesline Project to Return to UToledo

Fear. Anger. Forgiveness. Resiliency. So many emotions are seen in the T-shirts created for the Clothesline Project.

The annual event will return to The University of Toledo Thursday, Sept. 26, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Centennial Mall. If it rains, the display will be moved inside the Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge.

T-shirts created by victims of sexual violence or made in honor of someone who has experienced violence are hung on Main Campus every year by the UToledo Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness.

“The Clothesline Project is a powerful display of the impact that violence has on the lives of so many people. For survivors, making a T-shirt and sharing their message with the community can be very healing,” Shahrazad Hamdah, sexual assault and domestic violence advocate in the Center for Student Advocacy and Wellness, said.

The T-shirt display coordinates a color to many types of abuse: white for those who died because of violence; yellow and beige for battered and assaulted women; red, pink and orange for survivors of rape and sexual assault; blue and green for survivors of incest and sexual abuse; purple for those who were attacked because of their sexual orientation; and black for women attacked for political reasons.

Students and employees who would like to make a shirt can stop by the center in Health and Human Services Building Room 3005 Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 23 and 24, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All supplies will be provided.

For more information about the event, contact Hamdah at shahrazad.hamdah@utoledo.edu.

Women’s and Gender Studies Research Showcase Sept. 23

Zainab Almusalem and Amelia Stower will speak at a Women’s and Gender Studies Student Showcase Monday, Sept. 23.

The free, public event will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4280.

Almusalem will discuss “Saudi Guardianship Laws: Feminist Activism and Societal Responses,” and Stower will talk about “The State of Reproductive Justice: Toledo, Ohio, and Beyond.”

Almusalem, the second-year student majoring in speech-language pathology and women’s and gender studies, will focus on Saudi guardianship laws as significant obstacles that prevent Saudi women from living their lives as independents.

Stower, a junior who is majoring in nursing and women’s and gender studies, believes reproductive justice is very important in the current political climate, and that it affects all women and encompasses all issues of life, from birth control to abortions, from giving birth to access of prenatal care.

Dr. Sharon Barnes, associate professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, hopes attendees leave the presentation with information and analysis they didn’t have before the event. She added the showcase is an opportunity to sit in community with others and think about these topics.

Snacks will be provided; attendees are encouraged to bring an opinion to share.

For more information, call the Women’s and Gender Studies Department at 419.530.2233.

For People With Pre-Existing Liver Disease, Toxic Algae May Be More Dangerous

Toxins produced during harmful algal blooms may be more harmful to people than previously known.

Researchers at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences sought to examine how microcystin might affect individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a widespread condition that is frequently asymptomatic. They found the toxin can significantly amplify the disease at levels below what would harm a healthy liver.

Dr. David Kennedy, left, and Dr. Steven Haller

The study, published last month in the journal Toxins, follows earlier research from UToledo that found clear evidence that microcystin exposure worsens the severity of pre-existing colitis. Microcystin is a byproduct of the cyanobacteria found in what is commonly known as blue-green algae.

“The take-home message from our research is there are certain groups of people who need to pay extra attention and may be more susceptible to microcystin toxins. We may need to explore special preventative guidelines for those people in terms of how much microcystin they are exposed to through drinking water or other means,” said Dr. David Kennedy, UToledo assistant professor of medicine and one of the study’s lead authors.

Aided by nutrient runoff and warming waters, seasonal blooms of blue-green algae are flourishing across much of the United States. Not all algal blooms produce toxins, but many do.

Potentially dangerous concentrations of microcystin have been found this year in ponds in New York City’s Central Park, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reservoirs in California, and a portion of Lake Erie’s coastline near Toledo.

While no human deaths have been linked to microcystin in the United States, deaths have been reported elsewhere — most notably among a group of kidney dialysis patients in Brazil. There also have been reports this year of pet dogs dying after exposure to blue-green algae in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

With annual blooms becoming more frequent and intense, researchers in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences wanted to better understand how the toxins might affect people already suffering from conditions that affect organ systems microcystin is known to attack, such as the liver.

“It’s a gray area in terms of what microcystin is really doing to you if you have a pre-existing disease state. Are you more susceptible? Are we going to have to go back and re-evaluate what we consider safe in a person with a pre-existing disease state? It’s important we start providing answers to these questions,” said Dr. Steven Haller, UToledo assistant professor of medicine.

In the liver study, researchers examined how chronic, low-level exposure of microcystin affected mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to mice with healthy livers.

At microcystin ingestion levels below the No Observed Adverse Effect Level for healthy mice, analysis showed significant exacerbation of liver damage in mice with fatty liver disease. Researchers observed no liver damage in mice who started the experiment with healthy livers.

“Current exposure limits from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for humans are based off studies done in healthy animals,” Haller said. “The results of this study suggest there may be a need to review those guidelines for people with pre-existing conditions.”

They also noted major differences in how microcystin was processed by the kidneys in the two test groups.

In mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, elevated levels of microcystin were found in the blood plasma, but were not detectable in the plasma of healthy mice. Mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease also excreted far less microcystin in their urine.

The differences seen in how microcystin was processed between the two test groups suggest that kidney function may play an important role in the increased susceptibility of the mice with pre-existing liver disease.

“This may be highly relevant to help us understand the deaths that occurred in kidney dialysis patients and point to the need to pay particular attention to at-risk patient populations as we design preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies,” Kennedy said.

The results from the liver study build on prior work from Kennedy and Haller looking at how microcystin exposure might affect individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, another common condition that impacts an estimated 1 million Americans.

In that study, published in June, the researchers demonstrated that exposure to microcystin-LR prolongs and worsens the severity of pre-existing colitis, contributing to significant weight loss, bleeding, and higher numbers of signaling molecules that cause inflammation.

“Based on this data, we’re coming up with insights into how we can potentially treat exposures if they do occur,” Kennedy said. “This is giving us a number of insights into how we might help patients, especially patients who are vulnerable or susceptible if there was an exposure.”

The lead author of the paper published in August was doctoral student Apurva Lad. Doctoral student Robin Su was the author on the paper about inflammatory bowel disease published in June.

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.”

Governor Appoints Two Trustees

A local attorney and dentist have been appointed to The University of Toledo Board of Trustees.

Richard S. Walinski, a lawyer who practices in the areas of contract, corporate and commercial litigation, was named by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to a full nine-year term ending July 1, 2028. He replaces Sharon Speyer, who concluded her term in June.

Walinski

Dr. Eleanore Awadalla, who leads Awadalla Dental, has been appointed to a term ending July 1, 2022. She will complete the remaining years of the term of Steve Cavanaugh, who resigned in June upon beginning his new role as ProMedica’s chief financial officer.

“We look forward to welcoming Mr. Walinski and Dr. Awadalla to the Board of Trustees,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “As well-respected professionals in our community, they know firsthand the value The University of Toledo brings to our city and our region. We look forward to working with them as we continue our positive momentum.”

Walinski’s family has practiced continuously in the Toledo area for more than a century. He served as chief counsel to two of Ohio’s attorneys general, as chairman of the Ohio Supreme Court’s Rules Advisory Committee, and as a member of the Ohio Constitution Modernization Commission.

Awadalla

Walinski received a law degree from UToledo, and he was the founding editor-in-chief of The University of Toledo Law Review. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UToledo.

Awadalla has 40 years of experience providing general, restorative and cosmetic dental services.

A graduate of Ohio State University’s College of Dentistry, Awadalla is a member of the American Dental Association, the Ohio Dental Association, the Toledo Dental Society, the Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Association of Dental Examiners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Chemistry Lab to be Dedicated in Honor of Water Quality Leader, UToledo alum Sept. 19

The University of Toledo is honoring a successful alumna who inspired generations of students to pursue careers in chemistry and focused her life’s work on improving water quality and the preservation of safe drinking water around the globe.

A dedication ceremony for the new Dr. Nina McClelland Laboratory for Water Chemistry and Environmental Analysis in The University of Toledo College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will take place Thursday, Sept. 19, at 3:30 p.m. in Bowman-Oddy Laboratories Room 2059.

McClelland

The namesake of the new chemistry lab will attend the event.

“We are proud to recognize Dr. McClelland’s important contributions to science and to The University of Toledo,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Water quality is a critical area of research at our University, and this new lab will benefit our scientists and students in their search for solutions to protect public health and the environment.”

The lab features state-of-the-art equipment, including novel extraction and microextraction technology and high-resolution mass spectrometry, tandem mass spectrometry, and an advanced imaging system.

McClelland, UToledo dean emerita, retired from the University in 2011 after serving as dean of the UToledo College of Arts and Sciences, as well as working in the Provost’s Office. She began at UToledo in 2003 as an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry.

McClelland served as chair of the Board of Directors for the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific organization. She also served as chair, president and chief executive officer during her more than 30 years with NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to certifying products and writing standards for food, water and consumer goods.

She has served on several major committees, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce, the National Drinking Water Advisory Council in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Committee on Water Treatment Chemicals in the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council.

McClelland earned bachelor and master of science degrees from UToledo in 1951 and 1963, respectively. She received her doctoral degree in environmental chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1968. UToledo awarded her an honorary doctorate in science in 2003.

New Course Evaluation Fall Pilot Program Launching

Student success is the goal behind a new course evaluation program that can be taken for a test drive this fall.

Monday, Sept. 30, is the deadline for colleges, departments and programs to sign up for the pilot program.

“This new online process is designed to improve the quality of the course evaluation questions used and reflect the University’s commitment to student success,” said Dr. Karen Bjorkman, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Last year, the Office of the Provost established a committee to review course evaluation processes.

“We were charged with developing and testing a common core of course evaluation questions and exploring a standardized method for deploying class evaluations to students,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, vice provost of faculty affairs and professor of public health.

Thompson and Dr. Christine Fox, professor of educational statistics and research methods, were assisted on this project by Dr. Svetlana Beltyukova, professor of educational statistics and research methods.

They created 12 core course evaluation questions that were tested spring and summer semesters. Nearly 4,000 students answered the questions, and faculty and student feedback on the evaluation process was collected.

A voluntary soft launch of the course evaluation program is taking place this fall, with full implementation planned starting summer 2020.

“Colleges, departments and programs may still add specific questions regarding their areas,” Thompson said.

The course evaluation will be an online process through a new software from Campus Labs. The link for students to complete the questions will be on all Blackboard course sites, and an email with a link to the evaluation will be sent to students enrolled in classes. All responses will be anonymous.

Faculty members will be able to review the course evaluations one week after grades have been submitted.

Colleges, departments and programs interested in the fall pilot program should contact Elissa Falcone in the Office of the Provost at elissa.falcone@utoledo.edu by Sept. 30.

For more information on this initiative, contact Thompson at amy.thompson4@utoledo.edu.

International Conference at UToledo Targeting Human Trafficking Grows to Record Level

In the wake of high-profile sex trafficking charges against financier Jeffrey Epstein and singer R. Kelly, this dark world of modern-day slavery is under an intense spotlight and garnering global attention.

Survivors, researchers and advocates around the world are coming together this week for the 16th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference at The University of Toledo.

This year marks the largest event since the conference began at UToledo in 2004 and for the first time features an art exhibit in collaboration with the UToledo Department of Art to raise critical consciousness for social justice.

“We are proud so many people want to learn about human trafficking,” said Dr. Celia Williamson, Distinguished University Professor and director of the UToledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute. “Our conference brings sex and labor trafficking out of the shadows and helps end abuse. More than ever before, we have the opportunity to educate, collaborate and save lives.”

The conference, which — to date — has welcomed presenters from 42 states and 30 countries, is Thursday and Friday, Sept. 19 and 20, in the Thompson Student Union on Main Campus.

UToledo’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition host the conference.

Williamson recently published a new book titled “A Seat at the Table: The Courage to Care About Trafficking Victims,” which tells her life story and transition from at-risk for trafficking to a world-renown social worker and researcher, working directly with victims and revolutionizing global anti-trafficking efforts.

At this year’s conference, Williamson will unveil her new, free human trafficking risk assessment tool (HTRISK) that she developed with support from the Ohio Children’s Trust Fund, as well as release the findings from her study of 400 Ohio youth. That presentation will be Friday, Sept. 20, at 9 a.m. in the Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. Watch the livestream on the UToledo Alumni Association website.

“With limited time, money and resources, advocates need to know which youth are at the highest risk for sex trafficking and then do their best to prevent it,” Williamson said.

On Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 9 to 10 a.m., 475 high school students from the area will gather in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium for Human Trafficking 101, where they also will learn about dating violence and participate in a poetry slam.

For a full schedule of presentations, visit the conference website.

New this year, the UToledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute and the College of Arts and Letters partnered together for an art exhibit titled “Faces of Trafficking,” which features people from the greater Toledo community who are leading the fight to end trafficking.

“It is an opportunity to bring to life the people impacted by human trafficking and to provide a path for the community to join the fight,” Barbara Miner, professor and chair of the UToledo Department of Art, said.

The tall black-and-white photography installation called “The Pillars” features people on the front lines in the war against trafficking.

“These are warriors holding up the ceiling of hope,” Miner said. “Using an arresting, striking style, we’re showcasing people like Celia Williamson as well as medical and law enforcement professionals among others who work under the radar and often go unnoticed, but who are working tirelessly to protect people suffering through contemporary slavery.”

Artwork created by current and former art students in response to trafficking stories and the global issue also will be on display.

The free, public exhibit can be see from Thursday, Sept. 19, through Friday, Dec. 6, at the UToledo Center for the Visual Arts on the University’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The UToledo Center for the Visual Arts also is featuring a special project, “A Thousand Hands, A Million Stars,” a collaboration uniting visual art, poetry, music and dance produced by former UToledo faculty member Denise Ritter Bernardini.