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Archive for May, 2013

Baseball player named semifinalist for inaugural Gregg Olson Award

Junior outfielder Tyler Grogg has been selected a semifinalist for the inaugural Gregg Olson Award that will be presented by Toolshed Sports to college baseball’s “Breakout Player of the Year” based on hard work, strength of mind and determination.



Grogg is among 46 players on the list and one of three from the Mid-American Conference. He is joined by Ball State’s Scott Baker and Northern Illinois’ Eli Anderson.

The fourth-year Rocket batted a team-high .357 (74 for 207) with a squad-best 62 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, one home run, 20 RBI and a team-high 36 stolen bases this spring.

Grogg sits first in school history in thefts and fourth in runs scored in the single-season record book. The 2013 College Sports Madness All-MAC first-team recipient reached base in 47 games and hit safely in 41 contests, posting a squad-best 25 multi-hit and three multi-RBI efforts.

In 2012, Grogg started 20 of 48 games and batted .200 (16 for 80) with 11 runs scored, two doubles, seven RBI and 10 stolen bases.

The award is named after former Auburn University star pitcher Gregg Olson, who became one of the top collegiate players in the nation after an initial season filled with mixed success. Olson went on to become a two-time All American, first-round draft pick, American League Rookie of the Year and Major League Baseball All-Star.

Initial nominations were made by university representatives, and the semifinalists were determined by an independent panel. A list of finalists is scheduled to be announced Monday, June 3, in conjunction with the conclusion of NCAA regional play.

The winner of the 2013 Gregg Olson Award will be named in Omaha, Neb., during the College World Series, which will be held at TD Ameritrade Park Saturday through Wednesday, June 15-26.

College of Graduate Studies, Graduate Student Association recognize student scholarship

Fourteen graduate students were honored for their outstanding research during the final Graduate Council meeting of the academic year April 30.

Graduate students who received Graduate Research Awards and the College of Graduate Studies dean, Graduate Council officers and Graduate Student Association president posed for a photo last month. They are, from left, Dr. Nick Piazza, Dr. David Giovannucci, Priyodarshan Goswamee, Christine Baksovich, Erin Vogel, Michelle Roley, Chandrasekhar Garapati, Ryan Corser, Ashley Hall, Monica Rohrabraugh, Dr. Patricia Komuniecki and Joshua Waldman. Also receiving awards but not in the photo were Nick Kruse, Trent Cayot and Aditya Togi.

Graduate students who received Graduate Research Awards and the College of Graduate Studies dean, Graduate Council officers and Graduate Student Association president posed for a photo last month. They are, from left, Dr. Nick Piazza, Dr. David Giovannucci, Priyodarshan Goswamee, Christine Baksovich, Erin Vogel, Michelle Roley, Chandrasekhar Garapati, Ryan Corser, Ashley Hall, Monica Rohrabraugh, Dr. Patricia Komuniecki and Joshua Waldman. Also receiving awards but not in the photo were Nick Kruse, Trent Cayot and Aditya Togi.

The College of Graduate Studies’ annual endowed awards went to three outstanding students. Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, dean of the college who chaired the Graduate Council Fellowships and Scholarships Committee that selected the recipients, presented the awards to:

• Nneka Mbah, second-year doctoral student in the Department of Biochemistry and Cancer Biology, who received the Robert R. Buell Memorial Achievement Award ($1,000) for her research on new drugs to attack cancerous brain cells.

• Hasmik Chakaryan, third-year doctoral student in the Department of School Psychology, Legal Specialties and Counselor Education, who received the Helen M. Fields Memorial Achievement Award ($1,000) for her scholarship in the area of social justice.

• Ateka Akbar Contractor, third-year doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, who was awarded the Robert N. Whiteford Memorial Scholarship ($400) for her research on post-traumatic stress disorder.

For the first time, the Graduate Student Association gave 10 Graduate Research Awards to 11 students (two sharing an award) to support their research projects. The awards provide financial support up to $2,000 per student for research costs not covered by other resources. Several of the award winners were present to be recognized at the final Graduate Council meeting.

Graduate Student Association President Joshua Waldman initiated the establishment of the Graduate Research Awards as part of the group’s efforts to promote student professional development. The recipients were selected through a competitive review process by the Graduate Student Affairs Committee comprised of members of the association and faculty representatives, and chaired by Dr. Susan Pocotte, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Graduate Studies.

“The award was open to graduate students to support their master’s or doctoral research,” Pocotte said. “Graduate students from all colleges with graduate programs were invited to apply, and the 40 applicants represented diverse programs across several colleges.”

“I am really grateful to the Graduate Student Association, and I am thankful for my adviser, Dr. Jason Rose [assistant professor of psychology], who helped me design my project and supported me in applying for the grant,” said Erin Vogel, psychology student and Graduate Student Research Award recipient.

Announcements regarding the application process for next year’s awards will begin fall semester. Information will be posted on the College of Graduate Studies website at utoledo.edu/graduate.

UT student elected Ohio College Republican Federation treasurer

A member of The University of Toledo College Republicans recently won her bid for state office.

Ashton Stubblefield, a sophomore majoring in psychology, was elected the treasurer of the Ohio College Republican Federation in April.

“The big goal for a new Ohio College Republican Federation platform is building and recruiting,” Stubblefield said. “We also want to double the number of active chapters from 23 to 46.”

There already are several startup chapters throughout the state that are in a development phase, such as Lourdes University in Sylvania, Stubblefield said, adding that she would like to help them become established.

“I want to make sure finances never interfere with our federation’s success,” Stubblefield said. “I ran because I think the Ohio College Republican Federation needs to increase its ground efforts and teach the local chapters new strategies for fundraising.”

Stubblefield also would like to increase the involvement and impact each chapter has on its campus by increasing the number of students who run for leadership positions on their school’s executive boards.

Some of the responsibilities of the treasurer of the Ohio College Republican Federation are putting together a fundraising manual, making sure active Ohio chapters have good relations with their county GOP offices, and helping new chapters create bank accounts and manage their finances.

Stubblefield was part of an unopposed ticket that included Lucas Denny from Ohio State University for chair, Dillon Lloyd from Kent State University for vice chair, and Ashley Laughlin from Miami University for communications director.

Stubblefield was involved with Young Republicans in high school and got involved with the UT College Republicans last fall. She also was elected chair of UT’s College Republicans for the next school year.

Turbo 4 A Cause set for June 1

This weekend community members can turbo kick for a cause.

web Turbo 4 A Cause 2013Donations will be accepted at Turbo 4 A Cause Saturday, June 1, at noon in the Student Recreation Center on the UT Main Campus to benefit Mesothelioma Charities. Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the lungs and chest wall.

Last year’s fundraiser included more than 200 participants and raised more than $1,000, leading the Office of Recreation to hold the benefit this year as well. It is the fourth year for the fundraiser.

People of all ages are welcome to participate in the free, public event.

The first 100 people who make donations will receive a T-shirt, and there will be raffle prizes throughout the session.

Donations also will benefit the Office of Recreation Student Development Fund.

For more information, contact Steve Hardy, assistant director of operations and marketing for the UT Office of Recreation, at 419.530.3707 or stephen.hardy@utoledo.edu.

College of Medicine to hold commencement June 7

Dr. Thomas Nasca, chief executive officer of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), will speak at the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ commencement ceremony Friday, June 7, at 2 p.m. at Stranahan Theater.



There are more than 200 students who are candidates for degrees; this includes 156 students who will receive doctor of medicine degrees, including three who also will receive certificates, one who also will receive a master’s in public health, and one who also will receive a PhD in biomedical sciences.

Five students will earn a PhD in biomedical sciences, and 58 will receive master’s degrees, including two who also will receive certificates. One student will receive a combined master of public health and master of occupational health degree, and eight students are candidates for certificates.

Nasca will receive an honorary doctor of science degree at the ceremony.

“As the practice of health care changes, so too will the methods we use to educate the next generation of doctors. As the CEO of the ACGME, Dr. Thomas Nasca has unique insight into what the future holds for an industry very much in flux,” said Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, chancellor and executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“We are honored to welcome Dr. Nasca to The University of Toledo as a new class of physicians and health professionals embark on their careers.”

In addition to his current role, Nasca is the chief executive officer of the ACGME International and a professor of medicine at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. Involved in medical education since 1981, Nasca has served as chair and residency program director of the Department of Medicine and director of medical services at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh.

He served in the role of vice chair of the Department of Medicine at Jefferson Medical College and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he was responsible for the medical student, residency and fellowship educational programs. He also served as the associate dean for education and research, the associate dean for academic affairs and affiliations, and then was appointed the senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of Jefferson Medical College and president of Jefferson University Physicians.

Named the first Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of Jefferson Medical College, Nasca left the deanship in 2007 to assume the leadership of the ACGME.

Nasca has served in various leadership roles on the Council of the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, the Nephrology Medical Knowledge Self-Assessment Program for the American College of Physicians, the Alliance for Academic Internal Medicine, the Federated Council for Internal Medicine, the Residency Review Committee for Internal Medicine, and the Council on Graduate Medical Education of the Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Congress.

He has received numerous awards, including the Dema C. Daley Founders Award for Excellence in Internal Medical Education from the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine, the Rev. Clarence Shaffrey S.J. Award from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and the Jefferson Medical College Alumni Achievement Award. He was named one of the 50 most powerful physician executives in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Modern Healthcare. Nasca is the author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, chapters and other publications, and has delivered more than 300 invited lectures and presentations on topics related to medical education.

Nasca graduated from the University of Notre Dame with high honors and is an Alpha Omega Alpha graduate of Jefferson Medical College. He completed his internship, residency, and was chief medical resident at Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh, and completed his nephrology fellowship at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.

Vietnam veterans to be honored at Savage Arena June 5

Vietnam-Vet-photo-294x300A ceremony to celebrate and welcome home Vietnam veterans will take place Wednesday, June 5, at 7 p.m. in Savage Arena on The University of Toledo’s Main Campus.

The event will include an honor roll call and herald the arrival of the Traveling Vietnam Wall in Toledo.

The free, public celebration will be the first of several events slated through Sunday, June 9, while the Traveling Vietnam Wall is in town.

“We need to reach as many Vietnam era veterans as possible — those who served in Vietnam as well as those who served in other capacities,” said Haraz Ghanbari, UT military and media liaison. “We want to recognize and honor the service of the men and women who answered their nation’s call.”

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

• Approximately 2.7 million American men and women served in Vietnam.

• America’s involvement in Vietnam lasted from 1957 until 1975.

• Between 1965 and 1969, U.S. troop strength rose from 60,000 to more than 543,000 in the country.

• The last U.S. ground troops left Vietnam in March 1973.

For a schedule of events and more information regarding the Vietnam veterans welcome home celebration, click here.

Biological sciences professor combats parasitic worms through research

More than two billion people worldwide are infected by parasitic worms, which also cause billions of dollars in damage to crops and livestock.



Dr. Richard Komuniecki, Distinguished University Professor of Biological Sciences and Joan L. and Julius H. Jacobson II Endowed Professor in Biomedical Research, has received a $100,000 Grand Challenges Explorations grant, an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to study these parasitic worms, or nematodes.

These Gates grants are designed to foster technological innovation to solve key health problems in the developing world. Komuniecki is one of only 58 investigators, out of thousands of applicants from around the globe, funded in this Round 10 Grand Challenges Explorations grant program.

“Parasitic nematodes also infect livestock and most plants, in addition to humans, and only recently has their negative impact on human productivity been fully appreciated. In many cases, we lack effective chemotherapy to control these infections and, more importantly, for those that we do, resistance is appearing rapidly,” he said.

Komuniecki, who joined the UT faculty in 1980, has long studied parasitic nematodes to identify drug targets that could be used to paralyze or kill them. The Gates grant will support his innovative approach to screen for new drugs by expressing receptors from the parasitic nematodes in the more genetically tractable free-living nematode, Caenorhabitis elegans.

Caenorhabditis elegans, more commonly referred to as C. elegans, was one of the first multicellular organisms to have its genome completely sequenced and has been used as a model in the past to identify key processes in mammals. Komuniecki and his team will use these “chimeric” nematodes, expressing key drug targets from the parasites in the free-living C. elegans, in high-throughput screens designed to identify compounds that selectively inhibit movement or feeding.

The research could lead to new methods for screening and the identification of new drugs and drug targets; however, Komuniecki is more interested in understanding the basic biology of the nematodes.

“The more that we know about how movement and feeding are controlled in these animals, the better able we will be to identify new drug targets,” Komuniecki said.

His research in this area continuously has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since 1981, and in addition to the Grand Challenges Explorations grant, Komuniecki just received $356,000 from a High Priority, Short-Term Project R56 Award from the NIH to continue his basic research on the role of the nervous system in controlling locomotion and feeding in nematodes.

For this research, Komuniecki collaborates with Dr. Patricia Komuniecki, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and vice provost for graduate affairs, and Dr. Bruce Bamber, associate professor of biological sciences.

UT student-athletes earned 3.210 GPA last semester; football team records first 3.0 GPA

University of Toledo student-athletes earned a grade point average of 3.210 in the 2013 spring semester. It is the second highest department GPA in school history and the ninth consecutive semester in which UT student-athletes earned a combined GPA of 3.1 or higher.

thumb-rocket-color-logoThe high mark of 3.266 was set in spring 2012.

Additionally, 13 of UT’s 15 sport programs earned team GPAs of 3.0 or above, and every sport had at least a 2.9 GPA.

Football recorded a team GPA of 3.027, the first time the Rocket football program has cracked the 3.0 GPA mark.

Individually, 29 student-athletes earned president’s list honors with a perfect 4.0 GPA, while 35 percent (121 of 345) earned a spot on the dean’s list by garnering at least a 3.50 GPA. Additionally, a record 71 percent of UT student-athletes achieved a 3.0 grade point average or better for the 2013 spring semester.

Women’s soccer had the highest team GPA at 3.667, the fifth time in the last seven semesters the soccer program has led all UT sports. Women’s volleyball (3.573) and women’s swimming (3.518) also had team GPAs above a 3.5. Men’s golf had the highest GPA for a men’s team with 3.406.

“This past semester was another outstanding one for our student-athletes in the classroom,” said UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien. “It is a tremendous feat for our teams to earn a 3.2 grade point average for only the second time in school history. Additionally, we came extremely close to having all of our sports teams earn a 3.0 GPA, which would have been another first for our department.

“The academic achievements of our student-athletes continue to be a point of pride for our University,” he said. “Congratulations to our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, athletic department academic staff and University faculty members who support and nurture their pursuit of excellence.”

2013 Spring Semester Team GPAs 3.0+
Women’s Soccer 3.667
Women’s Volleyball 3.573
Women’s Swimming 3.518
Women’s Golf 3.450
Men’s Golf 3.406
Women’s Cross Country 3.324
Men’s Cross Country 3.316
Men’s Tennis 3.277
Softball 3.257
Women’s Basketball 3.196
Baseball 3.163
Women’s Track 3.057
Football 3.027

2013 Spring Semester President’s List 4.0 GPA
Ben Hammer, Baseball
Andrew Marra, Baseball
John Martillotta, Baseball
James Miglin, Baseball
Stephanie Recker, Women’s Basketball
Naama Shafir, Women’s Basketball
Megan Gaysunas, Women’s Cross Country
Richelle Gray, Women’s Cross Country
Elizabeth Lemon, Women’s Cross Country
Brooke Tullis, Women’s Cross Country
Jeremiah Detmer, Football
Alvin Fletcher, Football
David Pasquale, Football
Ben Pike, Football
Allison Schultz, Women’s Golf
Megan Blake, Women’s Soccer
Molly Cantwell, Women’s Soccer
Kirsten Catloth, Women’s Soccer
Isabella Echeverri, Women’s Soccer
Kristen Mattei, Women’s Soccer
Lani Ernst, Softball
Lindsey Tobias, Softball
Kristen Nunnelly, Women’s Swimming
Samantha Richart, Women’s Swimming
Jamie Schindler, Women’s Swimming
Dakota Harkins, Women’s Volleyball
Jordan Kielty, Women’s Volleyball
Becca Reidy, Women’s Volleyball
Jessica Phillips, Women’s Track

UT golfer named to PING All-Midwest Team



Toledo sophomore golfer Chris Selfridge was honored for his play throughout the 2012-13 season with a spot on the PING All-Midwest Region Team, the Golf Coaches Association of America announced Tuesday.

Selfridge is one of 155 student-athletes across six regions — Northeast, East, Southeast, Midwest, Central and West — named to the All-Region squads. He is one of just five golfers representing the Mid-American Conference on the Midwest team, joining Kent State’s Corey Connors and Tyler Pendrith, Akron’s Charlie Bull and Ball State’s Tyler Merkel.

Selfridge led the MAC with a 72.1 stroke average and finished as the top Rocket in nine of the 10 events that he competed in. He registered nine top 20 individual finishes, eight in the top 10 and five among the top five, including his first career win at the Georgetown Intercollegiate Oct. 22-23 and a runner-up showing at the MAC Championship.

He has earned All-MAC accolades in each of his first two years as a Rocket, receiving second-team honors as a freshman before garnering first-team laurels this season. He also became the first Toledo golfer to participate in the NCAA Regionals since 2004, tying for 25th place at the Columbus Regional.

The Golf Coaches Association of America is the professional association of men’s golf coaches. Established in 1958, this nonprofit organization is dedicated to educating, promoting and recognizing its members who participate in men’s golf at all levels. Through its established events and programs, the association maintains a goal of increasing awareness and the status of men’s golf.

Professor offers healing, comfort to fellow Muslims at UTMC

In Islam, illness is often seen as a blessing in disguise through which God cleanses, purifies and forgives.

Dr. Abdul-Majeed Azad’s gifts for Islamic patients include a bottle of water from the Well of Zamzam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; a packet of Ajwah dates planted by Prophet Muhammad in the city of Medinah, Saudi Arabia; and a card printed with supplications in both Arabic and English from the Quran as well as from Prophet Muhammad.

Dr. Abdul-Majeed Azad’s gifts for Islamic patients include a bottle of water from the Well of Zamzam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia; a packet of Ajwah dates planted by Prophet Muhammad in the city of Medinah, Saudi Arabia; and a card printed with supplications in both Arabic and English from the Quran as well as from Prophet Muhammad.

Visiting the sick also is an important tenet of the Islamic faith — viewed as an act of worship and mercy that brings comfort and blessings not only to the one suffering but also to those visiting.

Dr. Abdul-Majeed Azad, University of Toledo professor of chemical engineering, has put these core beliefs of his Islamic faith into practice by bringing gifts of healing to fellow Muslim patients at UT Medical Center. He believes this helps the patients keep connected to their faith while receiving medical help from dedicated physicians and nurses.

Inspired by a program at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center started by a colleague in August 2012, Azad contacted the Rev. Dan Deeter, the spiritual support specialist at UTMC, in hopes of creating something similar at the hospital.

Deeter was supportive of the idea and after completing hospital volunteer training, Azad started the service in January.

Each morning, Deeter gives a list of Muslim patients to Azad, and he visits them on his way home from work. To every newly admitted patient, he brings special gifts of healing.

Gifts include a bottle of water from the Well of Zamzam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest and most revered city in Islam; a packet of Ajwah dates planted by Prophet Muhammad in the city of Medinah, Saudi Arabia, the second holiest city of Islam; and a card printed with supplications in both Arabic and English from the Quran as well as from Prophet Muhammad.

Muslims believe that both Zamzam water and the Ajwah dates have health benefits and healing attributes. The water and dates come directly from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in certified packets and each bag of these healing gifts costs about $20.



Azad said he feels blessed visiting these patients and providing support and encouragement because it gives him the feeling of kinship and reminds him to be thankful to God for his own good health.

“When I see a patient, I feel thankful that I am healthy,” Azad said. “It is a blessing of God to me that He has not afflicted me with any disease.”

He says his favorite part is meeting Muslims who come from places all over the United States and Canada. He also has reached out to surrounding hospitals, such as Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center and Flower Hospital, in the hope of growing this program.

Deeter said he is excited to see the program at UTMC.

“Many times what I find is people of similar religions are kind of like family, even though they may not know each other,” Deeter said. “For someone to come alongside them and be a caring presence is encouraging.”

Azad, who has been a faculty member at the University for 10 years, soon will be leaving.

Though he will not be around to continue this visitation program, he is optimistic that someone will step in to take charge and continue it. He encourages his Muslim colleagues to take over because he believes this volunteer service is invaluable.

To donate or volunteer, contact Azad at abdul-majeed.azad@utoledo.edu or 419.699.9191 or Deeter at daniel.deeter@utoledo.edu.