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Archive for May, 2009

New art installation is testament to both creativity and collaboration

As a place of treatment for kids and teens struggling with severe emotional problems, UT’s Kobacker Center often serves families as a gateway to hope. Now, thanks to the imagination of staffers and the creativity of UT art students, that gate has a fresh new look.

Tom Lingeman, Vickie Geha, Karen Roderick-Lingeman, art student Candace O’Shea and Tammy Cerrone feel the warp and woof of the ceramic tiles installed last Friday in the Kobacker Center lobby.

Tom Lingeman, Vickie Geha, Karen Roderick-Lingeman, art student Candace O’Shea and Tammy Cerrone feel the warp and woof of the ceramic tiles installed last Friday in the Kobacker Center lobby.

“Recent satisfaction surveys sent a clear message that families were unhappy with the appearance of the lobby area,” said Ginny York, mental health administrator in the Department of Psychiatry. “One family in particular stated they contemplated leaving before even being seen and explained they questioned the clinician’s ability based on the appearance of the lobby.”

A palette of restful colors and new furnishings were part of the prescription; another visual component blossomed when the center’s unit-based council decided to enlist the talents of the UT Art Department.

“We had limited finances for this renovation,” said Vickie Geha, administrator, ambulatory services and behavioral clinics. “The first round of ideas from their faculty and students took a while, but all of a sudden things jumped and became very exciting.

“We initially wanted something for the inpatient unit, but I think the lobby is a nice place to showcase student artwork. Karen [Roderick-Lingeman, associate lecturer] and her husband [Tom Lingeman, professor of art] were fired up about the project.”

From an original proposal of a painted mural, the project quickly went off in a more tactile direction, said Roderick-Lingeman, who’s also a UT alumna. “I predominantly teach ceramics, art education and 3-D design, so of course I wanted to do something related if we could.”

Her students were enthusiastic; the ultimate art installation is centered around their chosen theme of nature in air, water and earth. An arrangement of 36 ceramic tiles celebrates those aspects of the natural world while complementing the colors of the walls and textures of the furnishings. Birds soar, rain patters and leaves sway in a wealth of subtle detail that Roderick-Lingeman said creates interactive possibilities: “I’ve talked with the Art Education Program about having a student map out the mural and make worksheets for the kids who come here, kind of like ‘Where’s Waldo?’ Find the dragonfly or the three snowflakes, for instance.”

All participants expressed particular satisfaction with the collaborative nature of the project, said Tammy Cerrone, clinical performance improvement coordinator. “It’s amazing how everything came together so well from the different parts of the University. The kids are going to like them, too. It’s a unique work for a unique building with a unique vision.”

kobacker-art-005

Exhibit showcases work of six art graduates

The 2009 Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition features works by six recent art graduates in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on the UT Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

Works by, from left, recent graduates Shannon Huffman, Helen Grubb, Andrea Carnick, Courtney Macklin, Britney McIntyre and Chelsea Younkman are featured in the 2009 Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition.

Works by, from left, recent graduates Shannon Huffman, Helen Grubb, Andrea Carnick, Courtney Macklin, Britney McIntyre and Chelsea Younkman are featured in the 2009 Bachelor of Fine Art Exhibition.

The artists present diverse styles of work.

Andrea Carnick has created strong, sculptural paintings that convey her emotional response to memories of her childhood town in England.

Shannon Huffman constructs elegantly complex string pieces that illuminate an inner dialogue.

The photographs of Courtney Macklin establish mood through her mysterious documentary self-portraits.

Britney McIntire presents colorful, mixed-media paintings based on snippets of “out of context” formal and informal conversations.

Elevating a state of chaos to an artistic dialogue, Helen Grubb creates “messes” that reflect upon human quirks.

Chelsea Younkman establishes a powerful presence in the gallery with her clear-eyed, monochromatic portraits of friends reflecting the dynamic relationships they share.

“These talented young women have successfully completed their studies and numerous grueling critiques leading to this group exhibition,” said Debra Davis, professor and chair of art. “We applaud them for their accomplishments and wish them continued success.”

The free, public exhibit will be on display through Sunday, June 7. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, call the UT Department of Art at 419.530.8300 or go to www.utoledo.edu/as/art.

New outdoor sculptures spring up on campuses

"Darters" by Tom Rudd

"Darters" by Tom Rudd

Flowers are not the only things blooming on UT’s campuses. New outdoor sculptures have been installed for the fourth annual Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition.

There are seven new pieces, while five perennial favorites from previous exhibits have been retained.

Artists submitted entries to the Midwest Sculpture Initiative. The entries then were presented to the UT Campus Beatification Committee, which chose the pieces that would be featured on campuses.

Dr. Steven LeBlanc, associate dean in the College of Engineering and chair of the Campus Beautification Committee, said, “Anonymous donors have provided funds for us to purchase several of the sculptures so that they can stay at UT.”

"Life: Twist and Turns Series 7" by Michael Barker

"Life: Twist and Turns Series 7" by Michael Barker

These pieces include John Suave’s “Drang” near the Center for Performing Arts, Kirk Roda’s “The Gardener” on the edge of Centennial Mall behind University Hall, Shawn Phillip Morin’s “Peace Portal” located in front of Stranahan Hall, and Robert Garcia’s “Windswept” on Centennial Mall in front of the Student Union.

Leblanc also said College of Law faculty and staff liked Robert Huff’s “Korekuta” located by the Law Center so much that they decided to purchase it.

As in previous years, the Campus Beautification Committee used digital photography to determine which places around campus would best suit the new sculptures.

“Monument to the Living” by Tom Lingeman, UT professor of art and member of the Campus Beautification Committee, is placed between University and Libbey halls. Lingeman said the sculpture was inspired by American rural cemetery gravestones.

Placed in the middle of Centennial Mall is “Balancing Act” by Calvin Babich, as well as “Darters” by Tom Rudd.

“Balancing Act” features 48 rocks in five stacks on top of one big rock. Babich said he wanted to take what he thought was an unrealistic idea and make it a reality with this sculpture.

"Standing Thinker" by James Havens

"Standing Thinker" by James Havens

Rudd said the “Darters” sculpture is a figurative artwork that intensifies small things in nature. “The darter minnow rarely reaches 4 inches in length. The limestone sculpture shows the fish at 4 feet long,” he said.

“Bird of Paradise” by Judith Greavu is located outside Rocket Hall. According to Greavu, this sculpture is an organic form that emphasizes energy and power.

Doug Gruizenga’s “Richard Says It’s Mayan” is located on the east side of the Health and Human Services Building. Gruizenga said his sculptures are based on real objects that he feels are visually stimulating. “It is my hope that my sculpture will be pleasing to the eye without limiting the viewer’s creative ability to interpret the subject.”

Toni Lucadello’s “Dimension” is located between Nitschke and Palmer halls. According to Lucadello, most of her creations are based on scientific themes. This piece refers to the world of physics in which many undiscovered layers make up reality, she said.

Also on Main Campus is the stainless steel figure “Standing Thinker” by James Havens. This work is placed on Centennial Mall between the Student Union and Snyder Memorial Building.

In addition, on the Health Science Campus, “Life: Twist and Turns Series 7” by Michael Barker can be seen outside the Skyview Food Court.

All artists received a $250 stipend for their artwork, which will remain in their current locations for the next year. This exhibit is funded by the Campus Beautification Committee.

UT Medical Center to celebrate grand opening of Heart and Vascular Center

A grand opening celebration for The University of Toledo Heart and Vascular Center will take place Thursday, May 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. at UT Medical Center on Health Science Campus.

The Heart and Vascular Center is the community’s first integrated center for patient care, education and translational research in cardiac and vascular diseases.

The center will provide patients access to state-of-the-art facilities and nationally recognized cardiac and vascular specialists in a model that brings together multiple specialties, including cardiology, vascular medicine, vascular surgery, cardiac surgery and cardiac rehabilitation.

The celebration also will feature the recognition of seven of the area’s top physicians who practice at UTMC. Gold and Jim Hoffman, president of Key Bank, will pay tribute to the doctors.

Honorees include physicians nationally recognized by their peers for exceptional specialty care from a wide array of disciplines, including surgery, orthopedics, cardiology and pediatrics.

The celebration will close with remarks from UT President Lloyd Jacobs and Richard Stansley, chair of the UT Board of Trustees.

Tours of the Heart and Vascular Center will be available before and after the celebration.

This event is made possible with the support of Key Private Bank.

For more information, contact the Howard Newman, vice president for development on UT’s Health Science Campus, at 419.383.6840.

Researcher: 3T MRI detects breast cancer not seen on mammography, sonography

A study by a University of Toledo radiologist has found that a 3T MRI is more accurate in detecting breast cancer than the more commonly used mammography and sonography.

Dr. Haitham Elsamaloty and UT Medical Center’s 3T MRI

Dr. Haitham Elsamaloty and UT Medical Center’s 3T MRI

Results of the findings were published in last month’s issue of the American Journal of Radiology.

Lead author of the paper, Dr. Haitham Elsamaloty, associate professor of radiology, said, “Our study suggests an important role for 3T MRI, especially for women who are at a high risk of breast cancer, in early diagnosis and in accurately evaluating the extent of disease, which is a crucial factor in planning appropriate therapy.”

The objective of the study was to assess the sensitivity and specificity of 3T MRI compared with those of mammography and sonography in the evaluation of breast cancer. In other words, how accurately could the 3T MRI detect disease or abnormality without missing any positive cases, while at the same time not suggesting any false positives? The study also sought to compare the 3T to previous MRI machines.

The study was conducted between May 2006 and October 2007 when 434 women at high risk of breast cancer underwent breast MRI, mammography and sonography in the Department of Radiology at The University of Toledo Medical Center. Patients were considered at high risk of breast cancer if they had a personal or strong family history of breast cancer or a positive genetic breast cancer test result.

The study results found the 3T MRI is more sensitive than mammography and sonography in the detection of breast cancer and in characterization of small lesions, but it also results in some false-positive results. Specifically, the 3T MRI correctly detected 100 percent of the study’s 66 true malignant lesions compared with 81.8 percent accuracy with mammography and 86.4 percent accuracy with sonography.

However, the 3T also suggested 49 masses to be malignant that ended up being confirmed benign by biopsy.

Elsamaloty said because use of MRI in detecting breast cancer is relatively new compared to the other methods, its specificity is expected to increase with experience.

Compared with previously published results, the study also found the 3T MRI has a higher sensitivity than the 1T and 1.5T versions in the detection of breast cancer with no significant difference in specificity.

All in all, Elsamaloty believes the study demonstrates that 3T MRI is an important tool in conjunction with mammography and sonography in the detection of breast cancer.

“We feel that our study will have a positive effect on the future and advancement of 3T breast MRI,” Elsamaloty said. “It will encourage us and other researchers to pursue further work in this area.”

Although the 3T MRI is clearly more effective than mammography and sonography, it is currently used primarily for high-risk patients because routine screening remains prohibitively expensive.

Personal tragedy spurs Jefferson honoree’s action

One in four women will be in an abusive relationship at some point in their lives.

Pat Rizzi, a nurse at UT Medical Center, received the University's fourth Jefferson Award from President Lloyd Jacobs.

Pat Rizzi, a nurse at UT Medical Center, received the University's fourth Jefferson Award from President Lloyd Jacobs.

To some, these are just numbers. To others, the numbers become faces — sometimes drawn, bruised and forlorn. Pat Rizzi had seen many of these faces during her years as a trauma nurse at the Medical College of Ohio Hospital, now The University of Toledo Medical Center.

In the late 1990s, the face became that of her daughter, Michelle. Once domestic violence struck too close to home, however, the capable trauma nurse was dumbfounded.

“I thought I knew what advice to give as a nurse, but I didn’t,” said Rizzi, who’s been with the University for 24 years. “I thought like most people: ‘Why don’t you just leave him?’”

Her daughter, a graduate of Bowling Green State University, had met and married her husband quickly. By the time Rizzi spied Michelle’s bruises, her daughter was entangled in a marriage that would eventually conclude in her disappearance and, a year later, the discovery of her body.

Once the criminal investigation and trial of Michelle’s husband — who was convicted of her murder and is in prison — ended, Rizzi tried to find direction for her sorrow.

“You drift around, wondering what to do,” she said. “You can either wallow in self-pity or try to make a difference.”

“Trying” isn’t the word to describe what Pat has done to honor the memory of her daughter. The trauma nurse has made domestic violence a personal cause and touched the lives of countless others, from colleagues to victims and families affected by abuse and even to abusers themselves.

For her efforts, she has been named the fourth recipient of UT’s monthly Jefferson Award.

“Pat was absolutely driven to make sure other mothers have help available so they don’t have to lose their daughters,” said Mary Ann Dimick, nursing director of 5AB, 5CD and cardiovascular lab at UTMC. “She’s brought this terrible tragedy out into the open, when many wouldn’t have exposed that kind of wound.”

With the help of UT faculty and administrators, Pat has spearheaded efforts to enhance UTMC’s policies regarding domestic violence, promoting better awareness of abuse and ensuring victim resources are readily available in treatment areas. She is a member of the Lucas County Domestic Violence Task Force and often recounts her daughter’s story during public awareness events.

Two particular programs — Silent Witness and Take Back the Night — receive much of Rizzi’s attention.

She addresses participants at the annual Silent Witness unveiling each October in Bowling Green. Life-sized silhouettes create a solemn display, each bearing the name and story of the victim.

Michelle’s figure, Rizzi noted, represented northwest Ohio’s first Silent Witness. Since the program began in 2002, 49 silhouettes have been added.

“Pat is an extremely powerful individual,” Dimick remarked. “She doesn’t even realize the change she’s made. This is who she is now.”

The mother who once drifted after her daughter’s death has found sharp focus in service to others.

“I talk about domestic violence in some fashion every day,” Rizzi said. “Michelle was always looking to give back. To help her and people like her, I choose to give back, too.”

Senior graduates after 16 years of classes

From synchronized swimmer to concert flutist, Betty Smith has been able to call herself a lot of things for the last 84 years of her life, but college graduate was never one of them. That changed May 10 when Smith earned her bachelor of arts degree from The University of Toledo after 16 consecutive years of study.

Smith started her degree work in fall 1993 when she turned 65 years old and could attend UT for free thanks to Program 60, an initiative to provide area senior citizens with an opportunity to continue their education.

Betty Smith and her husband, Hoyt Ensign

Betty Smith and her husband, Hoyt Ensign

It was an enticing proposition for Smith, who never went to college, though she was poised to excel after graduating from her 1942 Wisconsin high school as valedictorian.

“There was just no money to ever get there,” she said. “I had some scholarships, but it just wasn’t important for a girl to go to college back then. I wasn’t encouraged.”

So she built a home and family, took a job as an assistant to the manager of the Department of Medicine at the former Medical College of Ohio, and put her own children through college, vowing to not give up on her desire to pursue a better education. One of her daughters, Sarah Smith, is a dentist now. She said earning a degree was constantly on her mother’s mind.

“It’s always something she wanted to finish,” Sarah said. “But that just wasn’t something you did back then.”

Now retired and able to earn a degree at little cost, Betty took the opportunity. One or two classes per semester, she chipped away at the requirements for her BA in adult liberal studies.

But 16 years is a long time, and Betty had to deal with some drastic changes in teaching and learning methods along the way. Her husband, Hoyt Ensign, who audited the classes while Betty took them for credit, said the increase in computer usage was probably the most challenging shift they had to deal with.

“The computer made such a difference to us,” he said. “It really changed the whole game.”

Glenn Sheldon, a professor in the program and Betty’s thesis adviser, said her interest and gusto in learning, even after 16 years of taking classes and dealing with changing technologies, was unmatched.

“If every freshman were as enthusiastic as she was, my job would be a breeze,” Sheldon said. “Having nontraditional students in any class is an educational experience, and her contributions were always insightful.”

Enthusiasm and drive were almost not enough for Betty to make it to the finish line though. When registration rules for Program 60 changed in 2008, requiring seniors whose income didn’t fall below twice the federal poverty line to pay full tuition, she was ready to call it quits.

“I was about to drop out when I had to start paying,” she said. “But my kids kept telling me ‘No, no, no.’”

Betty transferred to Owens Community College for her last few needed elective courses and then came back to UT to work with Sheldon to finish her thesis, which she started working on long before.

Sheldon said her 25-page paper, “Strategies on Aging,” was more relevant and current than papers from some younger students.

“It is a great model for how we should approach entering our 60s and 70s,” he said. “Her work brought in some of the more cutting-edge theories … she’s a very bright young woman.”

She’d done it. After 16 years of work, Betty was finally ready to accept her degree. And nothing was going to stop her from walking across the stage in Savage Arena. Even a nasty fall. Two days before graduation, Betty fell while walking on her outdoor, concrete patio, visibly injuring her face.

So she had to go to commencement with purple blush-like bruises on her cheeks and close to 20 stitches in her nose. But that’s OK, she said. Those will go away. The memories and the degree will last forever.

College of Business to honor area organizations’ HR practices

The University of Toledo College of Business Administration has announced six finalists for this year’s Human Resource Management Award for Excellence, which will be presented Wednesday, May 20, at 8 a.m. during the Toledo Area Human Resource Association’s year-end banquet at the Hilton Garden Inn in Perrysburg.

The award was established in 1998 to recognize outstanding employers that demonstrate commitment, innovation and leadership in the field of HR management.

“Amidst this very challenging economy, this year’s finalists are doing an outstanding job of creating company practices that improve personnel performances,” said Dr. Clint Longenecker, UT professor of management and chair of the HR award selection committee.

This year’s finalists are HR departments from E.S. Wagner Co., Mennel Milling, Luther Home of Mercy, Toledo Edison, St. Luke’s Hospital and TNS-NA

Winning departments will receive a commemorative award, and their names will be inscribed on a plaque displayed in the UT College of Business Administration.

This event will include remarks from Longenecker; Scott Gearig, principal of the Mergis Group; Drs. Laurence Fink, Dale Dwyer and Sheri Caldwell of the UT College of Business Administration and selection committee members; Don Reiber, UT assistant professor of communication; and Jack Hollister, president of the Employer’s Association.

For more information, contact Longenecker, at 419.530.2368.

Benefit dinner to take place June 6 for employee with advanced stage melanoma

It was Jackie Zydorczyk’s sister, Sherry, who noticed a small, dark spot on her sibling’s forearm in 2002.

“It was very small, probably the size of a pencil eraser, and it was black — a black, raised wart,” Zydorczyk recalled. “The melanoma did travel into a lymph node in my left armpit, so I went through three surgeries that year.”

The then 44-year-old took about three months off from her job as secretary at the Polymer Institute.

“The doctors were hoping that since it was such a tiny little bit in the lymph node, they hoped that [the melanoma] wouldn’t come back,” she said.

The Zydorczyks, from left, April, Jackie, Mike and Matt, posed for a holiday photo in 2007.

The Zydorczyks, from left, April, Jackie, Mike and Matt, posed for a holiday photo in 2007.

But last Thanksgiving, Zydorczyk started to have headaches.

“And I started knowing that I was forgetting names. I couldn’t remember my birthday,” she said. “I started to have trouble with comprehension and understanding things. So I was in trouble, but I couldn’t understand why. You don’t even know what is happening to you.”

When her daughter, April, came home for the holidays, she noticed something was wrong with her mom and took her to Toledo Hospital’s Emergency Room on Christmas Eve.

“The doctors and nurses said knowing that I had melanoma once before in 2002, they assumed I had melanoma growing in my brain. They said it probably came back,” Zydorczyk said.

A CT scan revealed a mass in her brain.

“The doctors said it was stage-four metastatic melanoma. They said the tumor in my brain was the same type of melanoma cell that was on my arm back in 2002.

“The melanoma grew about the size of a lime in my brain on my left temple, and that’s the part of the brain that controls memory of words,” she explained. “Sometimes I was having trouble when I talked; I couldn’t think of words that I wanted to say. I knew what I wanted to say, but I couldn’t get it out of my mouth.”

Zydorczyk was admitted to the hospital Dec. 24 and had surgery to remove the tumor three days later.

Her husband, Michael, left his job at a local printing company to take care of her when she came home. Since then, she has had 15 radiation treatments and soon will start chemotherapy.

“The doctors don’t have any numbers to give me because there just aren’t enough people who have had stage-four metastatic melanoma to the brain,” Zydorczyk said. “They’re hoping that the radiation treatments and the chemo may add 10 to 15 percent to my life.”

She’s looking forward to summer when April, a 2007 UT alumna who teaches second grade in Arizona, can return for a longer visit. April was in Toledo earlier this month to see her brother, Matthew, graduate from the University with two degrees.

“I am so proud of both of my children,” said Zydorczyk, who celebrated her 52nd birthday last week.

She said it’s the love and support of family and friends that is helping her through everything.

“I admire Jackie’s amazing determination and strength,” said longtime friend Jennifer Rahe, data systems coordinator in Financial Aid. “I can’t imagine getting up every morning and facing each day like she does, but she seems to meet each one head-on and is determined to come out the winner in this fight.

“She talks about her daughter and son with such pride that I am sure they are two of the biggest reasons for that fierce determination,” Rahe said.

“Ever since I have known Jackie, as far back as high school, she has always been a strong-willed person,” said Joan Stasa, assistant to the president for board affairs. “She graduated in the top 10 of our class, which makes her a very smart person as well. I know that Jackie will fight hard to conquer this setback. She did it before, she can do it again.”

“Jackie’s a beautiful person. She’s dedicated to her family, and she loves UT,” said Sandy Sutter Pollex, assistant director of Rocket Solution Central. “I know she’s trying to accept this and make people aware of the dangers of melanoma.”

“Everybody should go to a dermatologist at least twice a year to have a body check or if anything looks suspicious,” Zydorczyk said. “Melanoma can have so many different looks to it. Mine happened to be black. Sometimes they just look like a pimple. Some of them are red. Some of them are white. So you just don’t know; it’s best to go to a dermatologist.”

A benefit to help the Zydorczyks with medical expenses will take place Saturday, June 6, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 658 Lime City Road in Rossford. A spaghetti dinner will be served from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and there’ll be live music, dancing, snacks and a 50/50 raffle through midnight. Dinner is $7 and $4 for children 9 and younger. Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5.

Rahe and Stasa have dinner and raffle tickets and are collecting contributions. Contact Rahe at 419.530.5802 or at jennifer.rahe@utoledo.edu and Stasa at 419.530.2814 or at joan.stasa@utoledo.edu.

Nursing student receives national leadership award

As the leadership demands of registered nurses in the American health-care system continue to increase, The University of Toledo is bragging about one future leader in nursing.

Tricia Schroeder, executive marketing manager with Elsevier, presented UT’s Brent Straley with the Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award at the National Student Nurses’ Association convention in Nashville, Tenn., in April.

Tricia Schroeder, executive marketing manager with Elsevier, presented UT’s Brent Straley with the Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award at the National Student Nurses’ Association convention in Nashville, Tenn.

Brent Straley, who graduated May 10 from the UT College of Nursing, has received the prestigious Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award from the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) for his contributions to the professional organization as well as to UT and the community.

“The field of nursing continues to be challenged in environments serving the complex acute and chronic care of patients, families and communities. Nurses advocate for health policy and care issues for the people they serve,” said Dr. Timothy Gaspar, UT College of Nursing dean. “Brent has already emerged as a national and state leader both as a clinical advocate for patients as well as health policy and educational advocate for his peers in nursing.”

In his letter recommending Straley for the award, Gaspar highlighted how his interest in health care took root even before he entered college. “At age 18, he began his interest in health care as an emergency medical technician serving as chief cadet of the Springfield Fire Department, leading and recruiting new members to the department,” Gaspar wrote.

Earlier this spring, Straley spent more than a week on a medical mission in Nicaragua, providing care and health education to families and children in rural communities. Denise Oancea, a UT faculty member and registered nurse who supervised students on the Nicaragua educational trip, said the NSNA award to Straley focused on two strengths.

“The Hampton Robb Leadership Award is tangible evidence of what so many faculty and students in the College of Nursing already know — Brent has extraordinary potential for leadership in nursing and the world of health care,” Oancea said.

“But I think it is important to point out that this is also an affirmation of the quality of the baccalaureate program and the clinical education UT nursing students are receiving. It’s exciting to have Brent as an ambassador for UT to the rest of the national and state nursing community,” she said.

Straley has served as vice president (2007-08) and president (2008-09) of the Ohio Nursing Students Association. He has been active in promoting nursing at UT, creating the Student Nurses Association Web site, a newsletter and fundraising activities for various service-learning initiatives and charities. Straley serves as a nursing assistant on the medical/neurological intensive care unit at UT Medical Center.

With a membership of about 50,000 students nationwide, the National Student Nurses’ Association mentors the professional development of future nurses and facilitates their entrance into the profession by providing educational resources, leadership opportunities and career guidance.