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UT student to graduate Dec. 15, start job as mayor of Oak Harbor in 2019

Quinton Babcock, a UT student in the Jesup Scott Honor College, will graduate this weekend and become mayor of Oak Harbor, Ohio, in the new year.

On Saturday, Dec. 15, Babcock will receive two bachelor of arts degrees — one in economics and disability studies, and one in mathematics.

Babcock

And then the 22-year-old will become mayor of Oak Harbor in 2019.

How did it happen?

Babcock ran and was elected to the Oak Harbor Village Council in December 2016.

“I had always had an interest in public service, and I felt I had acquired some professional skills that I could put to good use in the community,” he said.

In August, the Oak Harbor mayor resigned. Protocol says the mayor is succeeded by the president pro tempore, who is the president of the Oak Harbor Village Council.

At the time, the president pro tempore, Don Douglas, was in the middle of a campaign for Ottawa County Commissioner. Due to the uncertainty if Douglas would be elected to this position, Oak Harbor had to elect another president to replace him.

“I was elected by the council to be the president pro tempore,” Babcock said. “Come November, Mr. Douglas won his election for county commissioner and … I will serve as mayor for the duration of 2019.”

As the new mayor, Babcock wants to create a trust with the government.

“I think people generally feel very disempowered when it comes to government; they feel the government is not responsive to their concerns,” Babcock said. “With that in my mind, I would like to use my change in position to increase transparency, accountability, accessibility and responsiveness of the village government.”

Babcock also wants to address the concern of the possible closure of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station, a major employer of area residents. “I would like to play a more active role in advocating for state solutions to this potential problem,” he said.

National science leader and Toledo native to deliver UT commencement address Dec. 15

The head of the nation’s oldest and one of its most prestigious laboratories will return home, as Toledo native Michael Witherell is set to deliver the address during The University of Toledo’s undergraduate commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15.

Witherell, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) in Berkeley, Calif., will address 1,474 candidates for degrees, including 1,437 bachelor’s and 37 associate’s candidates. The event will take place at 11:30 a.m. in Savage Arena on Main Campus.

Witherell

UT’s graduate commencement ceremony is scheduled at 8 a.m. in Savage Arena and will commemorate 641 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates. Md Kamal Hossain, emerging cancer researcher and candidate for a doctoral degree at the University, will be the speaker.

Both ceremonies are open to the public and can be viewed live on the UT Views website.

Witherell, a distinguished physicist, educator and science leader, developed the foundation for his future at Toledo’s St. Francis de Sales High School. Salutatorian at age 15, he earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Michigan and a doctorate in experimental physics from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. After a distinguished career as a university professor performing research in particle physics, he devoted himself to leading large research institutions.

In 2016, Witherell was named director of Berkeley Lab, the oldest of the 17 labs in the
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories systems. Berkeley Lab is a global leader in fundamental and applied scientific research in physical, biological, energy, computing and environmental sciences. The lab’s employees have earned 13 Nobel Prizes and played a role in the discovery of 16 elements on the periodic table, among its honors. The lab is managed for the DOE by the University of California.

“Our mission at Berkeley Lab is solving the nation’s most challenging problems through great scientific and technological discoveries. I believe that the national assets in addressing these problems include public universities and the students whom they are educating,” Witherell said.

Before joining Berkeley Lab, Witherell spent six years as director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. He was vice chancellor for research at the University of California in Santa Barbara, where he also held a presidential chair in the Physics Department.

His primary research interest is in studying the nature of dark matter. He was a contributor to the LUX experiment, which in 2016 published the most sensitive search for interactions of dark matter particles with normal matter. He is now part of an international research team that is building a successor to LUX, known as LZ, which will be three orders of magnitude more sensitive. Data collection is expected to start in 2020.

Witherell is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Board of Physics and Astronomy of the National Academies and serves on the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy.

“As a nationally recognized, public research university, The University of Toledo is pleased to have Dr. Witherell as our fall commencement speaker. Research not only helps us to discover new knowledge that advances all areas of study, but also instills critical thinking skills that our students can use to approach problems systematically and come up with solutions that improve everyday life,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “We look forward to Dr. Witherell sharing his insights with our graduates, especially since he grew up in Toledo and has since made tremendous contributions through research.”

Witherell’s personal success can be traced back to the Glass City, as well. He and his wife, Elizabeth Hall Witherell, head of the Princeton Edition of Henry Thoreau’s writings, grew up in the same west Toledo neighborhood and were high school sweethearts. They have a daughter, Lily.

“The foundation for my career and life was my extended family in Toledo,” Witherell said. “Their support and the value they put on education and public service were central to my personal and professional development.”

Hossain

Hossain, the graduate ceremony speaker, is a native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, who came to UT as an industrial pharmacist with a passion to develop innovative medicines.

“I’ve always been interested in studying health-related fields due to the suffering of people in my homeland from different types of disease,” Hossain said. “My focus is to develop a specific targeting approach for a more effective cancer vaccine. My research examined the utilization of a natural antibody already present in human serum that makes the vaccine more convenient to target tumor cells.”

He is a candidate for a doctor of philosophy degree in medicinal chemistry in UT’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

UT’s fall commencement ceremonies will recognize graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Graduate Studies; Health and Human Services; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College.

The College of Law will host its commencement ceremony Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium. Later that week — Friday, May 10, at
4 p.m. — the College of Medicine and Life Sciences will hold its commencement ceremony in Savage Arena.

For more information, visit the UT commencement website.

Undergraduates to showcase research, creative projects

Does the caffeine in eye cream affect skin’s appearance? Does boxing help with speech for those living with Parkinson’s disease? How are feminist theories explored in “The Handmaid’s Tale”? These are a few of the questions UT students are tackling for the annual Scholars Celebration.

The Scholars Celebration showcases the diverse and dynamic undergraduate research, scholarship and creative activities at The University of Toledo. Presented by the Office of Undergraduate Research and University Libraries, the event includes student presentations and displays from all disciplines.

A welcome ceremony will be held Monday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005 and offer an opportunity to engage with students about their academic accomplishments. Exhibits are on display from Thursday, Nov. 29, through Friday, Dec. 7, in the Carlson Library Concourse.

“This is the fourth year of this event, and each year it grows,” said Dr. Jon Bossenbroek, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research and professor of environmental sciences. “This year, I’m most excited about the increased participation of students from the College of Arts and Letters, as we have students from art, anthropology and English presenting their work.”

The Scholars Celebration fosters engagement with the campus community, bringing together students, faculty and staff from across the University to talk, be proud and celebrate the accomplishments of its students. This year will feature art displays titled “The Trees Never Bend” and “Glitched Memory,” among others.

“The Scholars Celebration has been a rewarding experience that has allowed me to share my research and receive valuable feedback from both students and faculty members,” Nathan Szymanski, a senior majoring in physics, said. “It’s also been great to meet others and learn about the fascinating work being done throughout many diverse fields here at UT.”

UT faculty recognized for tenure and promotion

Sixty-four University of Toledo faculty members were honored in a special 2018-19 tenure and promotion celebration Sept. 28 in Carlson Library. Last year, 53 faculty members earned tenure and promotion.

Each honoree was asked to select a book that was instrumental to his or her success, and these books — each containing a bookplate commemorating the honoree’s milestone — are now housed in the library.

“We began this tradition when I joined UT because we believe recognizing faculty helps to foster excellence in research and academics, and helps fuel innovation in all fields of study,” said President Sharon L. Gaber.

“Faculty success, together with student success, are two of the highest priorities of the University and of the Office of the Provost,” said Provost Andrew Hsu. “We have implemented a number of new programs to enhance faculty success since President Gaber joined The University of Toledo. And while the large number of faculty honorees this year demonstrates the progress that we have made in faculty success, the credit goes to the hard work and dedication of our faculty.”

UT faculty receiving tenure are Dr. Hossein Elgafy and Dr. Xin Wang, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Appointed as professor with tenure are Dr. Anne Balazs, College of Business and Innovation, and Dr. Raymond Witte, Judith Herb College of Education. And appointed as associate professor with tenure is Dr. Denise Bartell, Jesup Scott Honors College.

Faculty members who were promoted to professor are Dr. Tomer Avidor-Reiss, Dr. Maria Diakonova, Dr. Timothy Mueser and Dr. Michael Weintraub, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Amanda Bryant-Friedrich and Dr. Frederick Williams, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Dr. Florian Feucht and Dr. Tod Shockey, Judith Herb College of Education; Dr. Bashar Gammoh and Dr. Margaret Hopkins, College of Business and Innovation; Dr. Tavis Glassman and Dr. Sheryl Milz, College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Edmund Lingan, Dr. Mysoon Rizk, Dr. Sujata Shetty and Dr. Jami Taylor, College of Arts and Letters; Elizabeth McCuskey and Evan Zoldan, College of Law; Dr. Azedine Medhkour, Dr. Theodor Rais, Dr. Tallat Rizk and Dr. David Sohn, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Devinder Kaur, Dr. Scott Molitor, Dr. Youngwoo Seo, Dr. Gursel Serpen, Dr. Chunhua Sheng, Dr. Sridhar Viamajala and Dr. Hongyan Zhang, College of Engineering.

Promoted to professor with tenure are Dr. Guillermo Vazquez and Dr. Hongyan Li, College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

Faculty members who received tenure and promotion to associate professor include Dr. Wissam AbouAlaiwi, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; Dr. Halim Ayan and Dr. Eda Yildirim-Ayan, College of Engineering; Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, Daniel Hernandez, Dr. Jason Levine, Dr. Thor Mednick and Dr. Daniel Thobias, College of Arts and Letters; Dr. Joseph Cooper and Dr. Kainan Wang, College of Business and Innovation; Dr. Rafael Garcia-Mata, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Dr. Mouhammad Jumaa, Dr. Krishna Reddy and Dr. Diana Shvydka, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Aravindhan Natarajan, College of Health and Human Services.

Faculty promoted to associate professor are Dr. Daniel Gehling, Dr. Claudiu Georgescu, Dr. Bryan Hinch, Dr. Kimberly Jenkins, Dr. Jeremy Laukka, Dr. Terrence Lewis, Dr. Jiayong Liu, Dr. Sumon Nandi and Dr. Syed Zaidi, College of Medicine and Life Sciences; and Dr. Randall Vesely, Judith Herb College of Education.

Faculty who received renewal of their titles with tenure are Michelle Cavalieri and Bryan Lammon, College of Law.

And Dr. George Darah was promoted to clinical associate professor in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

“We wish each of these individuals continued success at the University, and ask our campus community to join us in congratulating them,” Hsu said.

Faculty members posed for a photo with President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu during the tenure and promotion celebration held last month in Carlson Library.

UT, Toledo Museum of Art partner to advance visual literacy

The University of Toledo and Toledo Museum of Art announced Friday a strengthened partnership that will advance visual literacy education.

The new initiative will provide opportunities for UT students across all majors to master the ability to “speak visual” through targeted curriculum modules incorporated into their existing course offerings.

The Association of College & Research Libraries defines visual literacy as a set of abilities that enables an individual to effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use and create images and visual media. Visual literacy is a skill that is critical to effective communication, creativity and design thinking.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber and TMA Director Brian Kennedy signed a memorandum of understanding for the collaboration at a ceremony Oct. 12 in the Museum’s Great Gallery.

“This collaboration will provide our students engaging lessons within their disciplines that will give them a step up when it comes to better explaining their complex scientific data graphically or connecting in a new way with the community to solve important social issues,” Gaber said. “Visual literacy is an important skill for our students who are the future leaders of our community and our world. We are excited to strengthen our partnership with the museum to advance this discipline.”

“Learning to read, understand and write visual language is an ability that helps all aspects of life,” Kennedy said. “The visually literate person uses sensory skills for critical thinking, by better interpreting the world around us, thereby advancing opportunity for a more productive and engaged life.”

This collaboration leverages the strengths of TMA’s Center of Visual Expertise and the Museum’s experience teaching visual literacy to young K-12 students, as well as professionals in the industrial and manufacturing fields, in combination with the strengths of UT’s Center for the Visual Arts in art education, Jesup Scott Honors College in interdisciplinary learning, and UT Libraries in supporting information literacy.

The initiative began with a pilot honors seminar course co-taught by UT and museum educators and an elective for medical students called Art and Medicine: Using Visual Literacy to Improve Diagnostic Skills.

The curriculum module options will be expanded to be available to all courses on campus. The goal is to have the visual literacy modules adopted into at least 20 additional courses in spring semester.

The effort is led by Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the UT Jesup Scott Honors College, and Mike Deetsch, director of education and engagement at TMA, and involves a team of approximately 20 faculty and staff from both institutions who are contributing their time to this partnership.

The visual literacy initiative was made possible, in part, with financial support from Judith Herb, a generous longtime supporter of both institutions.

Filmmaker to discuss ‘Recovery Boys’ documentary, opioid epidemic

Every day, approximately 130 people die from opioid overdose, and nationally 11.4 million misuse prescription opioids — nearly as large a population as the state of Ohio. Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans younger than age 50.

Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon focused on this crisis gripping her home state of West Virginia, the broader Rust Belt, and much of the nation.

Sheldon

Sheldon, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and director of the Netflix original documentary “Heroin(e),” will speak at the next Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m. in Collier Building Room 1000 on Health Science Campus.

Attendees will see a screening of her debut feature documentary, “Recovery Boys,” which documents the lives of four men working to transform themselves after years of addiction. A Q&A session and dessert reception will follow.

“The number of people we lose to opioid overdoses daily tragically could not fit into most lecture halls on this campus,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Sheldon’s powerful message in the film is that despite all of the suffering reflected in this statistic, we can find hope.”

Not succumbing to sobering statistics representing all too familiar stories of grief and loss, the film is optimistic. The documentary’s path for these men runs through shattered relationships and strained sobrieties, but also new communities and the promises of lives better led. Their rehabilitation is facilitated by Jacob’s Ladder, a rural West Virginia farmstead that promotes healing through mindful living and the natural rhythm of farm work.

“Whether you’re a fan of documentaries, in the health professions, have had your life touched by the opioid crisis, or just want to meet an amazing young filmmaker out to change the world, you’ll want to join us for this event,” Appel said.

The event is free: Register at utoledo.edu/honorslecture.

While on campus, Sheldon also will screen portions of “Heroin(e)” Friday, Oct. 5, at 8 a.m. in Rocket Hall Room 1520.

At this second free, public event called “Coping With the Toll of Responding to Opioid Overdoses,” Sheldon will participate in a discussion led by Dr. John Lewton, trauma intervention counselor and owner of Workplace Resources, and Dr. Cheryl McCullumsmith, UT professor and chair of psychiatry. The trio will talk about strategies and resources to promote the well-being of front-line responders and clinicians.

For more information about the Oct. 5 event, contact Betsy Martin in the College of Nursing at betsy.martin@utoledo.edu or 419.530.5888.

Exercise your freedom to read at UT Banned Books Week

The University of Toledo will hold its 21st annual Banned Books Vigil to celebrate the right to read, think, speak and create freely without censorship.

The free, public event will take place Thursday, Sept. 27, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. Programs will start every 30 minutes during the event that coincides with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, Sept. 23-29.

“We emphasize taking a moment to think about how fortunate we are to live in a country where we can express our views and read the views of controversial people because, in a lot of places, freedom of expression is not a right,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication and coordinator of the UT Banned Books Coalition.

Classic books such as “The Catcher in the Rye,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Color Purple” are a few of the novels that have been challenged or banned from libraries and classrooms. And every year, new books are added to the banned list.

Banned Books Week strives to celebrate and make these books easily available to students and bring together the entire reading community.

“It’s very important for us to remind students that they need to enjoy this freedom to read, create, think and speak,” said Arjun Sabharwal, UT associate professor of library administration and digital initiative librarian.

Banned books and door prizes will be given away throughout the day at the event. In addition, light snacks and refreshments will be served along with 20-minute presentations by guest speakers throughout the day.

“My expectation is that people enjoy themselves and just take a few minutes to think about our wonderful First Amendment and the right to think and read freely because the battle for the First Amendment is never over,” Kilmer added.

Topics and speakers for the event will be:

• 9 a.m. — “Welcome: Read on!” by Dr. David Tucker, UT professor and chair of communication, and Beau Case, dean of University Libraries.

• 9:30 a.m. — “Forty-One Years of Free Speech” by Tucker.

• 10 a.m. — “The 10 Biggest News Stories You’ve Never Heard of” by Lou Hebert, Toledo broadcaster and historian.

• 10:30 a.m. — “Book Burning Videos: Indiana Jones, Eyewitnesses and Ray Bradbury.”

• 11 a.m. — “Pandora, Lilith and Eve: Three Superheroes” by Warren Woodberry, Toledo writer.

• 11:30 a.m. — “Writing From Prison, Challenging Mass Incarceration” by Dr. Renee Heberle, UT professor of political science and co-director of the Program in Law and Social Thought.

• Noon — Charlene Gilbert, dean of the UT College of Arts and Letters, will give the Dr. Linda Smith Lecture titled “Free Your Mind: 20 Books That Changed the World.”

• 1 p.m. — “Crippling the Banned Book and Taking Back Crazy” by Dr. Allyson Day, UT assistant professor of disability studies.

• 1:30 p.m. — “Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’: A Poem That Changed Poetry and Culture” by Dr. Glenn Sheldon, UT honors professor of humanities.

• 2 p.m. — Banned episode of “American Dad” titled “Don’t Look a Smith Horse in the Mouth.”

• 2:30 p.m. — “Editorials: Views, Not News” by Areeba Shah, editor of The Independent Collegian.

• 3 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” hosted by The Independent Collegian.

• 3:30 p.m. — “Controversy Over Transgender Content in George” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, UT associate professor and chair of women’s and gender studies.

• 4 p.m. — “In the Gutters of Palomar” by Dr. Matt Yockey, UT associate professor of theatre.

• 4:30 p.m. — “Breaking the Sound Barrier of Propriety” by Dr. Ed Lingan, professor and chair of theatre.

Kilmer said the UT Banned Books Week Vigil would not be possible without help from numerous generous sponsors on campus and in the community. She gave a special thanks to the Office of the President; the Office of the Provost; University Libraries; Jesup Scott Honors College; the UT School of Visual and Performing Arts; and the UT Communication Department.

For more information about the UT Banned Books Vigil, contact Kilmer at paulette.kilmer@utoledo.edu.

UT team receives research award at international Biodesign Challenge Summit

UT students who thought outside — and inside — the hive won the Outstanding Field Research Award June 22 at the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York.

“Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” was selected for the honor that recognizes a team that takes the initiative to go into the field and interview experts as well as potentially affected communities in order to find and understand the social impacts of their project.

Members of the UT team — from left, Madeline Tomczak, Jesse Grumelot, Domenic Pennetta and Lucya Keune — posed for a photo with the Outstanding Field Research Award they won June 22 at the Biodesign Challenge Summit, which was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Members of the UT team are Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May; Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art; Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering; and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts.

The four were in New York for the award ceremony and exhibition with Brian Carpenter and Eric Zeigler, assistant professors in the Department of Art in the College of Arts and Letters, who taught the Biodesign Challenge class spring semester.

“We are very proud of our UT students,” Carpenter said. “This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work.”

“This competition was such an incredible opportunity for our students,” Zeigler said. “For UT to win an award our first year in the challenge shows the dedication and creativity of our students.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

UT went head to head against 29 schools from across the United States, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland. Six awards were presented at the challenge.

“This was an incredible win on a world stage. Our students competed against teams from New York University, Rutgers, the University of Sydney, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Ghent University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Georgetown. It was our first time out of the gate, and UT took an award,” said Barbara WF Miner, professor and chair of the UT Department of Art. “We are ecstatic!”

“[The 30] finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

The UT team wanted to help the bee population and created additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the insect’s biggest foes: mites.

A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel powder at the hive entrance targets Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees. The insects will clean off the powder — and the mites — and leftover powder will help kill the intruders inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint, which was infused with the wax frames.

At the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the UT students presented their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“Our students’ design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives,” Zeigler said. “It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“Eric, the students and I want to thank the University for its support,” Carpenter said. “We wouldn’t have been able to develop this class without assistance from the College of Arts and Letters; the Jesup Scott Honors College; the College of Engineering; the Department of Art; and the Department of Environmental Sciences. We’re already looking forward to next year’s challenge.”

Bee proactive: UT students to compete in Biodesign Challenge in New York

A team of University of Toledo students is buzzing with excitement, preparing to compete against 29 schools in the Biodesign Challenge Summit in New York this month.

The four students will present “Apigiene Hive: Rethinking Bee Hygiene” at the international contest Thursday and Friday, June 21-22, at the Museum of Modern Art.

“We decided to focus on bees because of the recent problems with colony collapse disorder,” said Madeline Tomczak, who graduated with a bachelor of science degree in environmental science in May.

“And we simply found those tiny yellow-and-black insects adorable,” added Domenic Pennetta, a sophomore majoring in art. “By focusing on bees and their problems, we could help both bees and apiarists here in Ohio, and also have solutions that could potentially be used to benefit others around the globe.”

Solving problems creatively is what the Biodesign Challenge is all about. The Genspace NYC program offers college students the chance to envision future applications of biotechnology by working together interdisciplinarily.

At UT, the Biodesign Challenge class in spring semester brought together students majoring in art, bioengineering and environmental science, as well as peers from the Jesup Scott Honors College.

“The really wonderful part about participating in this challenge is it started with the students — they approached us about having the class,” Eric Zeigler, associate lecturer in the UT Department of Art, said.

“One thing we thought was paramount in teaching this class: We were their peers. We were in the trenches with the students, asking questions, learning together,” Brian Carpenter, lecturer and gallery director in the UT Department of Art, said. “It’s been so inspiring. I tell everyone this is my favorite class I’ve taken.”

Carpenter and Zeigler will travel with the team to the Big Apple, where the UT students will vie with teams from across the country, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, France, Guatemala, Japan and Scotland for awards, including the Animal-Free Wool Prize sponsored by PETA, Stella McCartney and Stray Dog Capital.

“These finalists were selected from a pool of 450 participants,” Daniel Grushkin, founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge, said. “I firmly believe that they are leading us into a sustainable future with their visions.”

Tomczak and Pennetta worked with Jesse Grumelot, who graduated in May with a bachelor of science degree in bioengineering, and Lucya Keune, a senior studying visual arts, to create additions for the popular Langstroth hive to fight one of the bees’ biggest foes: mites.

“A fibrous brush filled with zebra mussel diatoms will target Varroa destructor mites on the surface of adult bees,” Grumelot said. “In addition, mint-infused wax frames will eliminate Acarapis woodi mites, as well as Varroa destructor juveniles.”

“We researched the problem, talking to specialists and professionals, and focused on natural ways to give bees a better environment to thrive,” Keune said.

Part of that new environment includes placing a brush at the hive entrance to use what beekeepers call the sugar shake — but in a new way. To encourage bees to be more hygienic, beekeepers sometimes put powder sugar on the insects so they’ll clean off the sweet stuff — and the nasty Varroa destructor mites.

“We use powdered zebra mussel to increase hygiene behaviors, which in turn helps kill the mites,” Tomczak said.

The zebra mussel powder acts like diatomaceous earth, which, when crushed, can be used as a treatment for fleas and ticks on household pets.

“Since diatomaceous earth is often from oceanic rocks, we wanted to bring this part of the hive closer to home by looking at Lake Erie,” Tomczak said. “Zebra mussel shells are abundant and easy to collect, and can be ground down to a fine powder.”

The powder is then baked, sterilized, and made finer with a mortar and pestle. It will prompt the bees to clean up and get rid of the mites, and it will help kill any mites inside the hive.

And to tackle the Acarapis woodi mites, which invade the hive and lay eggs, the team turned to a natural deterrent: mint.

“We wanted to avoid the chemical sprays that can be harmful and stressful to the bee colony,” Keune said. “We learned mint is used to fight mites; it’s better for the bees and the honey.”

“Our new hive features starting frames of beeswax infused with natural corn mint and peppermint,” Grumelot said. “This method is a more accurate way to focus on the mite infestation, and it avoids spraying the entire hive, leaving the honey untouched and the bees happy.”

In New York, the UT students will present their project to more than 200 scientists, designers, entrepreneurs and artists.

“This is a great resumé-builder for our students,” Zeigler said. “Their design is economically feasible; beekeepers would just add two simple modifications to their existing hives. It’s a happy solution, and one that could have tremendous market impact all over the world.”

“This challenge is fantastic. It encourages students to think creatively, take risks, and gather science and data. They realize their designs can work,” Carpenter said.

“I hope that by participating in this challenge that others will begin to look at relevant issues critically and try to find better solutions in creative ways,” Pennetta said.

Faculty members recognized for outstanding scholarly and creative activity

With the support of University Libraries and a subcommittee organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, President Sharon L. Gaber and Provost Andrew Hsu have recognized 26 faculty members from across campus with outstanding contributions in scholarly or creative activity over the past three years.

These contributions include articles in leading scientific journals with high standing that have attracted significant attention in the community; monographs that were published by premier academic presses that have received positive external reviews; and exhibits or performances of creative activity that have received high acclaim.

“I am pleased that the University Libraries contributed by identifying UT faculty articles and books published in preeminent journals and publishing houses,” said Beau Case, dean of University Libraries.

“Faculty members are raising the profile of The University of Toledo across the breadth of disciplines and programs at UT,” said Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president for research. “The excellent work of faculty members in disciplines outside of science and engineering is quite impressive and sometimes goes unnoticed.

“All too often research grant dollars are associated with faculty scholarly and creative activity,” Calzonetti said. “In some disciplines, such as in biomedical science, faculty members cannot sustain their research programs that lead to discoveries and publications without external funding to support laboratory needs. However, in many disciplines, such as pure mathematics or history, external funding is not as critical to faculty success in scholarly and creative activity.”

“Given the many faculty members who have had outstanding contributions in scholarly and creative activity over the past three years, it was a tall order to determine just 26 who should be recognized at this time,” said Dr. Ruth Hottell, chair and professor of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, and selection committee member.

The following faculty members were recognized:

• Dr. Abdollah Afjeh of the Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering;

• Dr. Ana C. Alba-Rubio of the Department of Chemical Engineering;

• Dr. Melissa Baltus of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology;

• Dr. Joe Elhai of the Department of Psychology;

• Dr. Kristen Geaman of the Department of History;

• Dr. Blair Grubb of the Department of Medicine;

• Daniel Hernandez of the Department of Art;

• Dr. Terry Hinds of the Department of of Physiology and Pharmacology;

• Dr. Bina Joe of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology;

• Dr. Dong-Shik Kim of the Department of Chemical Engineering;

• Dr. Kristin Kirschbaum of the Instrumentation Center;

• Dr. Ashok Kumar of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering;

• Dr. Beata Lecka-Czernik of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery;

• Dr. Barbara Mann of the Jesup Scott Honors College;

• Elizabeth McCuskey of the College of Law;

• Dr. Thor Mednick of the Department of Art;

• Dr. Munier Nazzal of the Department of Surgery;

• Dr. Kim E. Nielsen of the Department of Disability Studies;

• Dr. Michael Rees of the Department of Urology;

• Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini of the Department of Music;

• Dr. Donald Ronning of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry;

• Stephen Sakowski of the Department of Theatre and Film;

• Dr. Yanfa Yan of the Department of Physics and Astronomy;

• Dr. Matt Yockey of the Department of Theatre and Film;

• Rebecca Zietlow of the College of Law; and

• Evan Zoldan of the College of Law.