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Archive for July, 2016

UT scientists, students help U.S. Geological Survey develop model to predict algal bloom toxins

Water quality researchers and students at The University of Toledo Lake Erie Center who make daily E. coli forecasts for the public beach at Maumee Bay State Park are helping the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) develop a model to estimate the level of harmful algal blooms in Ohio waters.

Sampling is underway for the USGS-led project at seven water treatment plant intakes and four recreational sites throughout the state, including the public beach at Maumee Bay State Park.

Kevin Corbin, UT senior, left, Ryan Jackwood, UT PhD student, and Jessica Reker, a senior at Xavier University, collected water samples at Maumee Bay State Park.

Kevin Corbin, UT senior, left, Ryan Jackwood, UT PhD student, and Jessica Reker, a senior at Xavier University, collected water samples at Maumee Bay State Park.

A USGS scientist joined the UT team to collect samples and other data earlier this month.

“We are helping the USGS build a database in order to be able to make real-time predictions for toxins, like microcystin, in Lake Erie and inland lakes in northeast and southwest Ohio using environmental factors such as turbidity, pH, phycocyanin and water level change, instead of waiting for test results,” Pam Struffolino, UT Lake Erie Center research operations manager, said. “The goal is to use the standard toxin-measuring methods to verify the model — similar to how we developed our swimming safety nowcasts for bacteria levels.”

“Site-specific models are needed to estimate the serious public health concern from toxin concentrations at a water intake or beach,” said Donna Francy, a USGS hydrologist and water-quality specialist. “Models help estimate toxin concentrations so that swimmers and boaters can be warned and water treatment plants can take measures to avoid or appropriately treat the raw water.”

Scientists are scheduled to collect data at the sites several times a week through algal bloom season this year. This marks the third year of collecting samples for the project.

For more information about the project, click here.

Aug. 4 rap concert at UT canceled

The Art of Rap Festival scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 4, in UT’s Savage Arena has been canceled.

Part of the Savage Live concert series, the show was to feature a lineup of legendary rappers and hip-hop artists — Ice-T, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Naughty by Nature plus Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio, EPMD, The Sugarhill Gang, Kurtis Blow and host Chief Rocket Busy Bee.

SAVAGE LIVE (1)According to promoters, the show was canceled due to circumstances beyond their control.

Fans who purchased tickets with a credit card automatically will receive a refund. Those who paid cash or wrote a check for tickets will receive a refund check in the mail in four to six weeks.

Promoters encourage fans to hold on to their tickets until the refund is received.

For more information, call the UT Ticket Office at 419.530.4653 during business hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Half-price Rocket football season tickets available for UT faculty, staff and retirees

The University of Toledo faculty and staff, as well as UT retirees, may purchase up to two Rocket football season tickets at half price.

Season tickets for UT faculty, staff and retirees are as low as $40.

employee football imageTicket prices for UT faculty and staff range from $92.50 for Sideline A seats to $40 for the Ultimate Fan Plan. The Ultimate Fan Plan includes free food ($24 in concession vouchers), free UT gear ($20 Rocket Shop gift card), and free parking ($60 general admission season pass). Ultimate Fan Plan tickets are located in sections 30-38. This is a $259 value for only $40.

To order tickets, stop by the UT Athletic Ticket Office located in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

The Rockets open their season at Arkansas State Friday, Sept. 2. Their first home game is Saturday, Sept. 10, vs. Maine.

football schedule 2016

Men’s basketball honored for academic excellence for second time in three years

The Toledo men’s basketball team has received the National Association of Basketball Coaches Team Academic Excellence Award, the association announced Wednesday.

The award is in its fourth year of existence, and the Rockets have received the award in two of the last three years.

thumb-rocket-color-logoThe Team Academic Excellence Award recognizes NCAA and NAIA men’s basketball teams that earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better throughout the 2015-16 academic year. Of the 130 teams to make the list, only 26 were NCAA Division I-affiliated programs.

The Rockets posted a 3.16 GPA throughout the last two semesters, and their roster heading into the 2016-17 campaign possesses a 3.25 cumulative GPA. Zach Garber, Luke Knapke and Jordan Lauf led the way in the classroom last spring by each earning a spot on the University’s dean list.

Earlier this spring, the NCAA announced that the Rockets’ Academic Progress Rate score from the four-year period from 2011-12 to 2014-15 was 985, a figure that is tied for second in the Mid-American Conference.

Other NCAA Division I schools posting a 3.0 GPA in the 2015-16 academic year were American, Belmont, Bethune-Cookman, Bradley, Butler, Central Michigan, Denver, Duke, Eastern Washington, Harvard, Holy Cross, Louisville, New Mexico, North Dakota State, Northwestern, Northwestern State, Quinnipiac, Rice, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Stanford, Texas, Utah Valley, Vanderbilt, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Yale.

In addition, Garber and Lauf have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches Honors Court. Garber and Lauf are entering their senior seasons in the 2016-17 campaign.

To be eligible, a student-athlete has to be a member of the varsity squad with junior or senior status and hold a cumulative 3.2 GPA or higher at the conclusion of the academic year.

A business management major, Garber averaged 6.0 points per game and ranked second on the team with 4.8 rebounds per game in 18.3 minutes per contest. He led the Rockets with a 62.1 field-goal percentage (59 of 95) and ranked third in offensive rebounds (55) and free throws made (73). Garber tallied career-high 17 points and eight rebounds vs. Bethune-Cookman (Dec. 19) and collected a career-high 11 rebounds and scored seven points vs. Western Michigan (Feb. 2).

Lauf served as one of the Rockets’ top contributors off the bench and is majoring in business management. He averaged 4.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 24.2 minutes per game. Lauf tied for first on the team with 61 offensive rebounds and ranked second with 2.33 assist/turnover ratio (42:18 ratio) and fourth with 3.8 rebounds per game. He also possessed a 61.0 field-goal percentage (25 of 41), a 54.5 three-point field-goal percentage (6 of 11), and a 77.5 free-throw percentage (31 of 40) in MAC play.

Services set for UT business student

Memorial services for Sierah “Ce” Joughin of Metamora, Ohio, will take place this week.

Joughin, who was entering her third year as a student in the UT College of Business and Innovation, died last week at age 20.

Joughin

Joughin

The family will receive relatives and friends Thursday, July 28, from 2 to 9 p.m. at Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave.

The funeral will be held Friday, July 29, at 11 a.m. at Christ the Word Church, 3100 Murd Road at Central Avenue in Sylvania. Interment will be private.

Joughin was a member of the business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and played intramural volleyball. She was an intern at Ice Industries Inc. in Sylvania.

Alpha Kappa Psi will hold a candlelight vigil Saturday, July 30, in the Flatlands.

Students to share water research findings at UT Lake Erie Center

Undergraduate students from across the country who spent the summer researching water health at The University of Toledo will share their findings today during a poster gala at the UT Lake Erie Center.

The students enrolled in UT’s National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program “Using the Lake Erie Sensor Network to Study Land-Lake Ecological Linkages” will display their work Wednesday, July 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the center, located at 6200 Bayshore Road in Oregon.

Nate Marshall, a UT graduate student and a mentor for the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, left, watched as Hannah Scheppler, a senior at Bowling Green State University, center, and Jochannan Mitchell, a junior at Central State University, examined a juvenile grass carp, a type of invasive Asian carp, at the Lake Erie Center.

Nate Marshall, a UT graduate student and a mentor for the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, left, watched as Hannah Scheppler, a senior at Bowling Green State University, center, and Jochannan Mitchell, a junior at Central State University, examined a juvenile grass carp, a type of invasive Asian carp, at the Lake Erie Center.

The program places undergraduate science and engineering students in UT laboratories to provide mentoring in science, technology, engineering and math research and careers. Topics explored this summer included a performance assessment of green storm water infrastructure; detection and prevention of invasive species from retail stores; using geographic information system to characterize water usage in the Lake Erie western basin; water treatment options for the removal of cyanotoxins; VHS fish virus in the Great Lakes; and analyzing historical microcystin data.

The research projects were conducted by students from UT, Bowling Green State University, Cheyney University, Iowa State University, Pitzer University, the University of South Carolina, theUniversity of Colorado, Central State and Hanover College.

Behind the scenes of Art on the Mall

In the pre-dawn hours of the last Sunday in July, the silence on UT’s Centennial Mall is broken: “Y’all ready for this?” rapper Ray Slijngaard of 2 Unlimited asks as the synthesizer-driven psych-up song “Get Ready For This” blares near the Student Union.

“We have a little playlist — Amanda Schwartz in our office puts together a mixture of ’80s jock jam-type/pump-you-up dance music,” Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, said. “We’re in the bus loop and it’s pitch black, and we’re playing music and dancing and getting into the spirit of things. Everybody’s in a really good mood; we’re all looking forward to Art on the Mall.”

Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, has helped with Art on the Mall since 2003 and directed the summer favorite since 2008.

Ansley Abrams-Frederick, director of alumni programming, has helped with Art on the Mall since 2003 and directed the summer favorite since 2008.

“Everybody jump, jump, jump, jump,” DJ Kool encourages in “Let Me Clear My Throat.”

“Since we get to campus at 5 a.m., I try to find some music that will wake us up,” Schwartz, associate director of alumni relations, said. “I also start that day with a Monster energy drink.”

C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat” is up next.

More than 100 artists will set up booths on Centennial Mall for this year's free art fair.

More than 100 artists will set up booths on Centennial Mall for this year’s free art fair.

“Oh boy, there have been some hot ones,” Abrams-Frederick recalled. “In fact, we were joking about it. Sometimes we bring a change of clothes to freshen up a bit and change.

“I’d take the heat over rain any day of the week; the rain is a killer. We always want to have a beautiful day.”

Here’s to a sun-filled forecast for this year’s event on Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Centennial Mall. The 2016 Art on the Mall is sponsored by The Blade, Huntington, 13 ABC, Buckeye Broadband, 101.5 The River and Homewood Press.

It all began more than two decades ago when participation in the UT Hole-in-One Tournament fell off. Mary Bell, former UT Alumni Association trustee, suggested replacing the golf event with an art fair that would bring graduates and community members to the University’s gorgeous grounds. She aced it.

UT's Centennial Mall is packed for Art on the Mall, which has become a summer tradition.

UT’s Centennial Mall is packed for Art on the Mall, which has become a summer tradition.

“We are very fortunate. Many alumni associations around the country are looking for a signature event that draws a large number of alumni and friends back to campus, and ours is now in its 24th year,” Dan Saevig, UT associate vice president of alumni relations, said. “Art on the Mall brings people onto our beautiful campus, in many cases, for the first time since graduation, and showcases the work of our artists, most of whom have ties to the University.”

More than 12,000 annually frequent the juried art fair, where an average of 110 artists set up booths.

“Centennial Mall is transformed for Art on the Mall: It’s got music floating in the air, the food smells great, you’ve got all these tents, and the people are excited, kids and families, older people — it’s a very welcoming atmosphere,” Abrams-Frederick said.

Art on the Mall Poster 2016“We invite everybody to come back. You don’t have to buy anything. Lay in the grass; people watch. It’s an awesome place to people watch, and I think event guests know that and they come back each year. They can park for free; plus, there is no admission fee, so they have more money to spend at the show if they want to — there are a lot of positives.”

And Abrams-Frederick would know: She has helped with The University of Toledo’s marquee event since 2003 and overseen it since 2008.

Each year, her work on the show begins in January. That’s when artist applications become available through April, and sponsorship development starts.

“Initially, it’s a two-person job,” Abrams-Frederick, a 1992 graduate of the UT College of Arts and Sciences, said. “I couldn’t do this without the assistance of Shirley Grzecki, events coordinator, who keeps all of the artist information organized.”

As the artful day draws near, co-workers in the Alumni Relations Office get in on the action, and more than 150 volunteers help make it all happen.

“The volunteers do a really nice job for us,” Abrams-Frederick said. “Pop sellers, shuttle drivers on golf carts, greeters who stand at each mall entrance and hand out programs and answer questions, artist relief — they walk around and talk to artists, pass out water, they’ll sit at their booth for them if they want to take a break, get something to eat, use the restroom or even get inside a little bit. In the children’s area, we have volunteers who will help the kids with activities, blow up balloons, face paint. We have event setup and teardown. And we have volunteers checking IDs and serving beer in the beer garden.”

Young artists can make their own creations in the children's area.

Young artists can make their own creations in the children’s area.

“I’ve been helping with Art on the Mall for 10 years,” Sally Berglund, administrative secretary with the UT Foundation and 1990 graduate of the former Community and Technical College, said. “I usually am a greeter or artist relief. It’s great to see all the things that people create.”

“The diversity of the artists and the attractiveness of UT’s beautiful campus are some of the things that make this event so special,” Marcus L. Sneed, associate director of alumni relations, said. This summer will be the eighth time the 2007 alumnus of the College of Business and Innovation will pitch in.

Overseeing the event has its perks.

Stacy Mosetti looked at works by Mr. Atomic at Art on the Mall last year.

Stacy Mosetti looked at works by Mr. Atomic at Art on the Mall last year.

“You get to see the latest, greatest creations that the artists came up with this year. In the jury process, you’ll see images come through and notice new techniques,” Abrams-Frederick said. “And they do change: The artists have a new process that they’re trying, or they have a new theme, different color scheme. It’s really cool to see the differences over the years.”

What has she learned from running the show?

“Events are fun because they change all the time. You can do the same event 10 times, and you will have different results, experiences and outcomes,” Abrams-Frederick said. “People make up a big part of that — different personalities, people’s ideas or expectations might not be the same, so there are always changes. And the one thing that it continually reminds me: You have to be able to roll with it. Everything is fluid.

Glass, jewelry, acrylic, watercolor, woodwork, photography, oil, mixed media and more will be featured at Art on the Mall.

Glass, jewelry, acrylic, watercolor, woodwork, photography, oil, mixed media and more will be featured at Art on the Mall.

“Centennial Mall is a living, breathing thing, and it changes — the location, the land, the shrubbery — it all changes from year to year,” she said, adding that construction projects also can pose challenges.

“The nice thing is: We work with great people on campus — Facilities, Grounds, Student Union staff — who are trying hard to put our best face forward. They all have this feeling that this is an important event, that we’re bringing in a lot of people from the community to campus, we all need to work together.”

“Without the efforts of our sponsors, volunteers and so many UT staffers, a major undertaking like this would not be possible,” Saevig said. “The way the Toledo community responds to Art on the Mall each year is truly special.”

“It’s just an adrenalin rush; it’s a long day, but it’s an awesome day. And after it’s all done, we’ve been known to actually dance in the office,” Abrams-Frederick said then laughed.

Cue up Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There It Is)”: “Party people!”

UT Human Donation Science Program celebrates milestone

The only academic program in the country designed to prepare individuals to coordinate and oversee the organ and tissue donation and transplantation process will graduate its 100th student in August.

The graduation celebration and awards night will be Tuesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. at Heatherdowns Country Club and earlier that day, the senior capstone case studies will be presented at 9 a.m. in Collier Building Room 1050 on Health Science Campus.

Lori Rankin moved to Toledo from North Carolina to enroll in UT's Human Donation Science Program.

Lori Rankin moved to Toledo from North Carolina to enroll in UT’s Human Donation Science Program.

The University of Toledo’s Master of Science in Biomedical Science Human Donation Science Program prepares individuals to facilitate the organ donation process from beginning to end. They serve as a liaison between the donor’s family, medical staff, organ procurement organization and transplant center.

“It’s the best job in the world,” said Rachel Baczewski, certified procurement transplant coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio and 2013 graduate of the program. “It’s so rewarding to know that I’m providing comfort to families who have lost a loved one and assisting in saving the lives of other patients. Each family gets a piece of my heart.”

Coordinators must pull together a team of medical professionals, facilitate medical testing, and ensure all laws are followed while compassionately and diplomatically communicating with the donor’s family.

“It’s a tough job and organ procurement organizations were seeing a high level of turnover among their coordinating staff,” said Linda Miller, assistant professor and director of UT’s Human Donation Science Program. “We wanted to see better training programs and higher retention rates. We developed this program as a result.”

Students enrolled in the Human Donation Science Program receive a multidisciplinary education covering all components of organ donation and complete coursework in medical science, management, human resources and law. They also receive clinical training and complete two internships prior to graduation.

“I wanted the opportunity to advance in the field of organ donation, so I left my job in North Carolina to come to UT for this program. It was the best decision I ever made,” said Lori Rankin, a student in the program. “I feel I have an even better educational foundation, and I have received excellent training for every aspect of the job.”

Ali Morgillo, senior coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio agreed. She said students who have graduated from UT’s program are better equipped to handle the challenges of the position.

“The program really prepares students for the realities of the job. They have critical clinical background and relationship-building skills and are flexible and driven to do well. They are more successful as a result,” she said.

Eighty percent of the graduates from the program, now in its 13th year, remain employed in the field. Many have been promoted to leadership and research positions. There are only 58 organ procurement organizations in the United States, resulting in a small network of coordinators who come to know each other well.

“When an employer sees that someone is a graduate of UT’s program, they take notice. It makes us very marketable,” said Rankin, who is already pursuing new employment leads.

“Half of our coordinators graduated from the Human Donation Science Program,” said Kara Steele, director of community services for Life Connection of Ohio. “We are seeing a continual increase in the number of registered donors, which should translate into an increase in transplants, and that ups the demand for highly skilled coordinators to facilitate the donation process.”

Ohioans can make the decision to be an organ donor when obtaining or renewing their driver’s license.

“It’s the best way for someone to make their final wishes known,” Morgillo said. “It makes the donation process easier on families when they know it was part of their loved one’s plan to donate their organs.”

It also makes it easier on the coordinators, who see a lot of sadness as a part of consulting with donor families.

“Before I go to work, my daughter tells me to make people happy and fix them,” said Samantha Muir, certified procurement transplant coordinator at Life Connection of Ohio and 2013 graduate. “Getting a letter of appreciation from a donor or recipient family, to hear how you have made an impact on their life, makes the long hours and emotional days worthwhile.”

Toledo Farmers’ Market returns to Health Science Campus

It’s prime growing season, and fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables soon will be available for purchase on UT’s Health Science Campus.

Farmers Market SS RevisedThe first Toledo Farmer’s Market of the season will be Wednesday, July 27, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in a new location this year where vendors will set up in the loop drive in front of the Block Health Science Building and the Center for Creative Education. The biweekly sale will be held through mid-October, weather permitting.

Wellness Coordinator Jocelyn Szymanski says hosting the market on Health Science Campus encourages healthy eating among students, staff and members of the community.

“The biweekly timing of the markets is perfect for keeping your home stocked with in-season produce,” she said. “Shoppers also can pick up fresh baked goods, and the crowd-favorite popcorn also will be back this year.”

Cash, credit cards and Ohio Direction/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards are accepted.

Dates for the market are subject to change. Shoppers are encouraged to visit click here for the most up-to-date information.

UT researchers partner with Green Ribbon Initiative to identify invasive plant species

Three University of Toledo researchers have teamed up with the Green Ribbon Initiative to develop a strategy for partner organizations to prioritize and manage invasive plant species common in the Oak Openings Region.

Dr. Jonathan Bossenbroek, professor of ecology, Dr. Todd Crail, UT lecturer in the Department of Environmental Sciences, and Sara Guiher, a graduate student, are working with the initiative, designed to preserve the natural landscape in the region, to compile a list of what are known as terrestrial invasive plant species. Invasive plant species can be non-native to a region, though only a small percentage of non-native plants qualify as invasive.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

UT graduate student Sara Guiher pointed out a black oak at the Kitty Todd Nature Preserve in Swanton. Black oak is one of the native species that the Green Ribbon Initiative is trying to protect.

“Plants that are able to exclude native plants, take habitats away from native animals, those are the ones we are really trying to address,” Guiher said.

The project began in May 2015 with the identification phase, during which Guiher and Bossenbroek devised an assessment for partner organizations to determine where their priorities for invasive species management should be focused. After figuring which invasive plants each partner organization is dealing with, the goal is to develop best management practices for the conservation of the area. The development of the Oak Openings Region invasive species strategy brings together organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, the Olander Parks System, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, among many others, to make informed decisions about how to control invasive species.

“A big part of this is communication between partners,” Guiher said. “There are all those different agencies, and they each have their own approach; we’re basically trying to bring all of them together and communicate about the spread of invasive plants and decide on consistent strategies to manage them.”

“All these organizations have their own properties and their own, sometimes different management goals — the metroparks have a different mission than the Nature Conservancy, different from the Department of Natural Resources — trying to find a framework for dealing with terrestrial invasive species is what we’ve been asked to do,” Bossenbroek said.

Bossenbroek said his experience includes similar projects geared toward aquatic invasive species, such as the zebra mussel. His work has always included examination into spread of invasive species into the environment they might take over, which translates to this project on terrestrial invasive species as well.

“You use the same tools, the same types of analyses, to predict where things are going to live and how they get around,” Bossenbroek said. “There are usually two ways they move around: They get moved around naturally — birds, wind, streams — or by people. A lot of invasive species are easily transmitted by people.”

The next phase of the partnership will include digital modeling situations, in which variables such as topography and vegetation can be manipulated to figure out ideal habitats for invasive plant species. This type of model was what Bossenbroek said he used when examining aquatic invasive species.

“The next step is the modeling using software; taking those variables and possible vectors and trying to determine where the plant species may establish in the region, which will streamline the process,” Guiher said. “We can’t necessarily cover all the partners’ land, but we can try to give them guidance as to where those plants might show up.”

To learn more about the Green Ribbon Initiative, visit the Oak Openings Region’s website at oakopenings.org/about.