UT News » Honors

UT News


Search News




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.

Football legend, technology expert to speak at UT commencement ceremonies

Chuck Ealey and Dr. Helen Sun will return to The University of Toledo to give addresses during spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 5, in the Glass Bowl.

Ealey, the football star and businessman, will speak at the undergraduate ceremony at 10 a.m. Sun, a technology strategist known for transforming companies, will come out for the graduate commencement at 3 p.m.

There are 3,094 candidates for degrees from the colleges of Arts and Letters; Business and Innovation; Judith Herb College of Education; Engineering; Health and Human Services; Graduate Studies; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Nursing; Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; and University College. There are 987 candidates for doctoral, education specialist and master’s degrees, as well as graduate certificates, and 2,107 for bachelor’s and associate’s degrees.

The public ceremonies can be viewed live at utoledo.edu/video.


UT will award Ealey an honorary doctor of humane letters.

“It is amazing, wonderful and humbling to have the opportunity to speak to the 2018 graduates of The University of Toledo,” Ealey said. “What I want to share is what I have learned — and am still learning — after I graduated. It’s about a legacy dream that can come true.”

He made dreams a reality as the UT quarterback who became a legend leading the Rockets to 35 victories in three seasons and as a trailblazer for African-American QBs in the Canadian Football League.

After finishing 18-0 in high school in Portsmouth, Ohio, Ealey received a football scholarship to the University. While earning a business degree in economics, he earned some nicknames for his exploits on the field: Mr. Cool, The Wizard of Oohs and Aahs. With Ealey at quarterback, Toledo went 35-0 from 1969 to 1971. He racked up 5,903 yards in total offense and 54 touchdowns while leading the Rockets to final Associated Press rankings of No. 20 in 1969, No. 12 in 1970, and No. 14 in 1971, finishing eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting his senior year.

Despite the eye-popping numbers, Ealey was passed over as a quarterback in the 1972 NFL draft. Although offered other positions, he was committed to becoming a professional quarterback and elected to go to the Canadian Football League. As a rookie, he led the Hamilton Tiger-Cats to the Grey Cup Championship in 1972 and was named Most Valuable Player. During his seven years in the CFL, he also played for the Toronto Argonauts and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

After hanging up his helmet, Ealey was a certified financial planner with Investors Group for 30 years. He recently stepped out of his role as regional director to do more client and corporate coaching. The 1972 UT alumnus also inspires through the Chuck Ealey Foundation, which helps people discover and embrace their undefeated spirit to better themselves and their community.


Sun, chief technology officer of architecture, engineering and data management at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Chicago, received a PhD in educational technology from UT in 2001. She is an expert in revolutionizing businesses through innovative solutions, including artificial intelligence, cloud, analytics and architecture.

“I’m very excited to be coming back to campus and reflect on how my IT career took shape during the years I attended UT,” said Sun, who developed websites while in graduate school.

“I’ll wrap my speech around three personal experiences: How I started a career in technology — find where your passion lies; how my seemingly diverse career path has taken me to where I am — take risks and never let fear of failure deter you away from opportunities; and who my true hero is throughout these years — don’t let what others do to you change who you are,” she said.

Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase & Co., Sun was vice president for cloud computing, information and architecture at Motorola Solutions Inc. She has held senior leadership positions at some of the world’s most recognizable companies, including Harbor Capitol Advisors, NewEdge Group, Oracle Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc.

At Oracle, Sun became the first woman to achieve Oracle Enterprise Architect status and was honored as Oracle Enterprise Architect of the Year in 2011. In 2016, the Chicago Business Journal named her one of 50 honorees for its Women of Influence Awards.

She is the co-author of “Oracle Big Data Handbook,” “Pro Salesforce Analytics Cloud: A Guide to Wave Platform, Builder and Explorer” and “Master Competitive Analytics With Oracle Endeca Information Discovery.” Sun is a frequent speaker at major conferences and symposia; she gave the keynote address at the Open Group Big Data Conference in 2012 in Barcelona, Spain.

In addition to her passion serving as a mentor for women, Sun was a member of the UT Business Advisory Board from 2012 to 2016. She is co-chair of the Computer Science Advisory Board at Bowling Green State University.

Those planning to attend commencement are advised to use the west entrance off Secor Road and the south entrance off Dorr Street to avoid congestion on West Bancroft Street.

The College of Law will hold its commencement Sunday, May 6, at 1 p.m. in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

And the College of Medicine and Life Sciences’ graduation ceremony will take place Friday, May 25, at 2 p.m. in Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. in Toledo.

UT achieves Campus Pride Index listing

The University of Toledo was recently included on the national Campus Pride Index for being LGBTQ-friendly and striving to continually improve its LGBTQ campus climate.

Because UT scored 3.5 out of 5.0 stars, it is now listed on the Campus Pride website.

“While this score indicates we are doing good work at UT with our LGBTQA+ community, there is still room for improvement,” noted Dr. Willie McKether, vice president of diversity and inclusion and vice provost. “The Campus Pride Index offers campuses a way to be formally recognized as LBGTA-friendly and accountable for continually improving their LGBTQA+ climate, and so we’re pleased to be acknowledged in this manner.” 

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Multicultural Student Success, the LGBTQA+ Advisory Board and other various campus partners collaborated to complete the Campus Pride Index inventory for the University.

“UT does a great job on LGBTQA+ issues, and I hope we can further coordinate to have our scores reflect an even higher score in years to come,” said Dr. Glenn Sheldon, a professor in the Jesup Scott Honors College and chair of the University’s LGBTQA+ Advisory Board. “I know there are many individuals who strive to make our campus safe, welcoming and inclusive.”

“We want LGBTQA+ students, faculty and staff to be proud of being part of our diversity at UT,” said Matthew Perry, associate director for residence life. “As the LGBTQ liaison, I am excited and privileged to be a part of this important, collaborative work on campus.”

The Campus Pride Index features LGBTQ student opportunities by highlighting the positive work within colleges and universities in the U.S. Prospective students may review its website information to choose the best LGBTQ campus for them by searching a geographic region, area of study, cost, type of campus, and LGBTQ-inclusive policies, practices and programs. 

MacArthur Foundation Safety and Justice Challenge featured as part of Distinguished Lecture Series

The University of Toledo will host Dr. Laurie Garduque, director of justice reform with the MacArthur Foundation, Monday, April 16, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

She will discuss the role of philanthropy in social change through this unique and powerful program. 

A panel discussion and question-and-answer session will follow her remarks. Panelists will be Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and representatives of the Lucas County Safety and Justice Challenge Team, Commissioner Carol Contrada and Common Pleas Court Judge Gene Zmuda.

“We are thrilled to bring Dr. Garduque to campus. Her program represents one of the finest examples of social change achieved through evidence-based practices,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “We’re also very proud to showcase the highly successful local initiative as part of the event. The evening will be a memorable demonstration of how national and local partners can affect meaningful change.”

The Safety and Justice Challenge is providing support to local leaders from across the country who are determined to tackle one of the greatest drivers of over-incarceration in America — the misuse and overuse of jails.

The Safety and Justice Challenge elicited an overwhelming response. A total of 191 applications were submitted from jurisdictions spanning 45 states and territories. In 2015, 20 were selected to participate in the Challenge Network to develop comprehensive plans for creating fairer, more effective justice systems. In 2017, an additional 20 jurisdictions were selected to join in the Safety and Justice Network through the Challenge Innovation Fund.

Within the Challenge Network, 18 implementation sites are receiving funding and expert technical assistance to implement reforms to make local justice systems fairer and more effective. The 20 selected sites are receiving short-term support to design and test a single innovative reform program or project.

The Challenge Network sites represent 34 counties, four cities and two statewide systems. They are geographically distributed throughout the country and have a diverse jail capacity size, ranging from 140 beds in Campbell County, Tennessee, to as many as 21,811 beds in Los Angeles County. Collectively, the Challenge Network holds a jail capacity of approximately 130,000 and accounts for 16 percent of the total confined jail population.

Lucas County, Ohio, is in the process of comprehensive criminal justice reform, including pretrial risk assessment, enhancing community-based behavioral health and drug-dependency diversion resources, and expanding re-entry-based programming. To continue building upon these reform efforts, Lucas County was awarded $1.75 million from the Safety and Justice Challenge in 2016 to invest in effective strategies to further reduce the average daily jail population over the next two years while addressing racial and ethnic disparity.

Working with law enforcement personnel, Lucas County will launch a series of pre-arrest educational and training programs addressing implicit bias, procedural justice and crisis de-escalation, while providing meaningful jail alternatives, including on-demand access to behavioral health resources.

To further address racial disparity and underserved populations, pretrial diversion programs will be expanded and enhanced. Lucas County also will establish a population review team comprised of a variety of stakeholders who will conduct weekly case-by-case assessments of the entire pretrial population to identify and recommend individuals who are suitable for release or expedited case resolution. In addition, judges and court personnel will manage pretrial risk through tiered supervision options and community-based resources such as GPS electronic monitoring, and will implement coordinated probation protocols throughout all county jurisdictions.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions and influential networks building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of its headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in India, Mexico and Nigeria.

Garduque joined the MacArthur Foundation in 1991 after serving as director of the National Forum on the Future of Children and Families, a joint project of the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine. From 1984 to 1987, she was the director of governmental and professional liaison for the American Educational Research Association in Washington, D.C. This position followed the year she spent, from 1983 to 1984, as a Congressional Science Fellow in the U.S. Senate. From 1980 to 1985, Garduque held a faculty position as an assistant professor of human development at Pennsylvania State University.

She previously served on the boards of the American Psychiatric Association Foundation; Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy; Grantmakers for Children Youth and Families; and the Youth Transition Funders Group Juvenile Justice Working Group, as well as on the federal Center for Mental Health Services National Advisory Council, under Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. She currently serves on the Federal Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Garduque received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her PhD in educational psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Guests are invited to stay for a reception following the lecture, which is co-sponsored by The University of Toledo College of Law.

The event marks the third of this year’s Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tickets are free to students and the public by visiting utoledo.edu/honorslecture.

For more information, contact the Jesup Scott Honors College at honors@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6030.

Making a difference: Spring break in Guatemala

For college students, spring break is generally a time to party, hang out with friends, or catch up on sleep. However, these typical activities did not entice me: I wanted to do something bigger and more meaningful.

During my junior year, I studied abroad in Ghana and realized my love for traveling as well as helping others. While there, I worked at a small non-government organization called the Mawulolo Youth Network, an after-school program, where I taught first- and second-graders math and English.

UT students posed for a photo outside the library they painted in a small mountain village in Guatemala. They are, from left standing, Megh Kumar; Carlee Vaughn; and Manuel Martinez, a guide from International Samaritan, the organization that assisted with the trip; and, seated from left, Seth Hasler; Sarah Jaggernauth; Dr. Ashley Pryor, associate professor in the Jesup Scott Honors College; Ashley Diel; Allison Grim; and Elizabeth Russell.

I quickly began to see how different other countries were from the United States, especially in the case of education, or rather the lack of its availability to children in other parts of the world.

Since then, I have made it my personal mission to travel to places others in the United States generally do not go to such as throughout Africa and the Middle East to see how others live as well as to learn about the accessibility to education.

With this mindset, I knew I wanted to make my senior year spring break memorable by continuing working in a community in another country to help lessen the gap between education and accessibility.

Last year for spring break, I traveled to Nicaragua with the Jesup Scott Honors College and worked in a school helping to build a library. I saw it only fitting that I travel with the college again this year, but this time to Guatemala.

Ashley Diel took this photo in Guatemala from Cerro de la Cruz looking over the city of Antigua with Agua Volcano in the background. 

There were seven honors students going on the trip. I was fortunate to know a few of them who had gone to Nicaragua with me last year, but by the end of the trip, all of us had become good friends.

For our first day in Guatemala, we traveled around the city of San Juan, as well as Antigua. This was meant to show us the country and let us learn a little about its culture. We learned about the importance of jade in Guatemala dating back to the times of the Mayans, as well as traveled to see an active volcano. The country was beautiful, and the views were breath-taking.

However, we were not there to vacation. We were there to work.

For the rest of the week, we spent time in a small community in the mountains. Getting there was an adventure as we had to drive down winding hills that made it feel like we were at Cedar Point.

We had two main projects that we worked on in the community. We painted the inside and outside of a small library for the children, and we started building the foundation of a house for a local family. While I have painted many times, I cannot say that I have ever had to do construction, and it gave me a new appreciation for the people who do it for a living.

The group of us dug trenches with pick axes for days as the community did not have access to machinery to do the digging. Many of us quickly formed blisters, but we kept at it knowing that a little bit of pain on our behalf was worth it if we were able to help the people there.

As we worked, some of the local children would come up to us, interested in what we were doing. Unfortunately, my Spanish is not very good, so I was unable to communicate with them, but several other students on the trip were fluent and spoke with the kids.

It was amazing to see my fellow UT students interacting with the kids and connecting with some of the adults in the community. Since the kids did not know English, one of the students in my group wrote down a bunch of words for them so that they could begin learning.

As the week came to a close, I could see just how much we had accomplished. It was amazing to see how much we had painted, but even more impressive was how much of the foundation for the house we had finished. In one week, we went from not having broken ground to trenches that were several feet deep and beginning to lay the cinder blocks for the walls.

While we all had a great time in Guatemala working and experiencing the culture, it was even more rewarding knowing we had made at least a little difference in the lives of those who live there.

I believe I can speak for everyone who went on the trip and say we all felt a sense of pride in what we had been able to accomplish. I am sure we all wished we could stay longer than a week, especially so that we could see the house being built through the end.

Saying goodbye to Guatemala was hard, as it always is with any country that I visit. However, I know that it will not be my last time traveling or volunteering abroad. There are still so many new and exciting opportunities out there, and I plan to keep going everywhere I can and trying to make a difference.

Diel is a senior majoring in communication and a student in the Jesup Scott Honors College. She will graduate in May.

Science center CEO to discuss STEMM roles for women

Dr. Tonya Matthews, president and chief executive officer of the Michigan Science Center in Detroit, will speak Tuesday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Driscoll Alumni Center Auditorium.

She will give the keynote address as part of The University of Toledo’s celebration of Women’s History Month.


Matthews was selected by Crain’s Detroit Business as one of the 100 most influential women in Michigan in 2016. She also was honored as a Michigan Chronicle Woman of Achievement for her act of inspiring others through vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service.

Since she was named president and CEO of the Michigan Science Center in 2013, Matthews has worked to increase female involvement within STEMM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine) fields. She has implemented several programs, including career exploration fairs, innovative professional development for teachers, and the STEMinista Project, an initiative supporting the science interest of middle school girls.

During her lecture, Matthews will discuss strong female leaders and their diverse management styles. She will provide emphasis on women in STEMM fields.

“I’m honored to participate in the Women’s History Month celebration at The University of Toledo,” Matthews said. “Women provide an important voice and perspective that is critical to innovation and progress. There is a need to better engage and encourage girls in STEMM and to support this need. It’s up to us to inspire the next generation of women scientists, engineers and innovators.”

Matthews also shares inspiration through poetry. She has published four poetry collections and is a Library of Congress Center for the Book honoree.

Danielle Stamper, interim program coordinator in the Office of Multicultural Student Success, believes Matthew’s lecture will be motivating to UT students.

“I believe that Dr. Tonya Matthews will encourage and empower women, especially women of color, to pursue STEMM careers,” Stamper said. “I am excited to hear from Dr. Matthews how her passions of poetry and writing have advanced her in the STEMM fields.”

Matthews received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical and electrical engineering from Duke University and a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University. She was a biomedical engineer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and she worked at museums in Maryland and Ohio.

The free, public event is sponsored by the Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Multicultural Student Success, with additional support from the Jesup Scott Honors College and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

UT alumna to discuss worldview of America and its effect at home

UT alumna Shamila Chaudhary will return to campus to deliver a lecture titled “The Meaning of America, at Home and Abroad” Thursday, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

The event marks the second of this year’s Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture series.


Chaudhary, a foreign policy analyst and photographer based in Washington, D.C., will discuss the U.S. role in the world and its connection to the social and economic landscapes of life within the United States. She will address the many transformations underway in American identity and culture as they relate to politics, the humanities, law and international affairs.

She is the senior adviser to Dean Vali Nasr of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She also has a blog titled “All Things Foreign,” where she shares comments and essays on foreign policy and current events.

“Shamila Chaudhary is a former Obama White House and State Department official and a frequent commentator on CNN and BBC. She is also an author, and her article in The Atlantic magazine describing a multifaith Middle Eastern refugee community in Toledo is a wonderful read,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Altogether, she represents the amazing career possible with an honors degree in the humanities from The University of Toledo, and I’m excited for our students to meet her.”

Chaudhary received a bachelor’s degree in English literature and women’s studies from the UT Honors College and former College of Arts and Sciences in 1999.

Guests are invited to stay for a reception following the lecture.

Tickets are free by visiting utoledo.edu/honorslecture.

For questions and tickets for groups larger than 10, contact the Jesup Scott Honors College at honors@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6030.

Eastern Woodland Native American drum group to perform Nov. 28

The SouthEastern WaterSpider, an Eastern Woodland Native American drum group, will visit The University of Toledo Tuesday, Nov. 28.

The ensemble will perform a free, public concert at 6 p.m. in the Health Education Center Gymnasium on Main Campus.

The group will play traditional Eastern Woodland songs that have been approved by their elders as being genuinely Eastern and indigenous.

“All too often, Native American Heritage Month celebrations go immediately to stereotypical Indians, who are from points East, with the Great Plains and the desert Southwestern cultures being usually highlighted,” said Dr. Barbara Mann, professor of humanities in the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Spatial location is very important to Native Americans because songs, dances and ceremonies connect with geography, so that the medicine from a song made to honor the desert just confuses the spirits of a watery place like Ohio.”

The event honors the people of the Eastern Woodlands and clears the misconception that all Native Americans moved west during the Indian Removal Act from 1832 to 1845.

“The event is a reminder that ‘we are still here,’” Mann said. “It helps Americans remember who was here first.”

For more information, contact the Office of Multicultural Student Success at 419.530.2261.

Three researchers elected Fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three University of Toledo researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their important contributions to scientific discovery.

The UT faculty members who are among the 396 AAAS Fellows elected in 2017 are Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College and professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences; Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy, and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy; and Dr. Steven Federman, professor of astronomy.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society. Since 1874, it has elected Fellows to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

“I am proud three UT faculty members earned this prestigious national honor in one year,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This recognition by AAAS is an external validation of the talented experts on our campus. UT faculty make important contributions to their fields of study and actively engage our students in research projects in the process.”


Appel, who joined UT in 2016, is being elected to the biological sciences section of the AAAS for her contributions to the field of chemical ecology. Her research on how plants can “hear” by detecting feeding vibrations from insects and responding with an enhanced chemical defense has been widely cited.

Her other research project explores how galling insects trick plants into making novel structures that they then use as protected places to feed and reproduce. Some of these insects are major agricultural pests worldwide on grapes, wheat and rice.

“Plant defenses against insects are mostly invisible to us because they are chemical. Just think about all of the herbs and spices we use — plants evolved that chemistry to defend themselves against their own diseases and insect pests,” Appel said. “I’ve been fortunate to spend my career working with great collaborators to advance our understanding of how plants detect and respond to insect pests, including a sensory modality we didn’t realize plants had.”


Bjorkman, who has been a member of UT’s faculty since 1996, is being elected into the association’s astronomy section for her leadership in the field of stellar astrophysics and spectropolarimetry to better understand the disks around massive stars.

The massive stars she studies, which are 10 to 20 times the mass of the sun, can have unpredictable gaseous disks around them that change over time for reasons as yet unknown. Bjorkman studies these disks both in individual stars and in larger samples within star clusters to better understand their physical characteristics and the mechanisms behind their formation and variability.

“Most of the atoms that make up everything around us originated in the center of stars, so it is important to advance our understanding of stars and their evolution, while at the same time applying the laws of physics. That is how we learn things, by continuously testing our understanding,” Bjorkman said. “It is an honor to have one of the largest science associations in the world acknowledge our contributions to science. When two of the seven astronomers in this year’s class of Fellows are from UT, that is nice recognition from our colleagues about the strength of our program here.”


Federman also is being elected into the astronomy section of the AAAS for his contributions in the research of interstellar matter and for advancing the field of laboratory astrophysics.

He has been a UT astronomer since 1988 and for much of his career has studied interstellar gas clouds to better understand the elements and isotopes within these clouds that form stars. He also is a leader in establishing the field of laboratory astrophysics that brings together theoretical and experimental astronomy research to combine observational and lab data to better test theories. He was the first chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Laboratory Astrophysics.

“Studying the abundances of elements and isotopes in the material between stars informs about the reactions and processes that happened in the past that led to the outcome we see today,” Federman said. “I’m proud to have been able to contribute over the years as we’ve moved from modeling to observations to lab studies as we continue to learn more and more about the chemical makeup in material that will become the next generation of stars and planets.”

Appel, Bjorkman and Federman will be recognized at the AAAS Fellows Forum at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 17 in Austin, Texas.

The 2017 AAAS Fellows join UT’s Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, who was elected last year, and Dr. Jack Schultz, who joined UT in September as senior executive director of research development and has been an AAAS Fellow since 2011 when he was elected while at the University of Missouri.

Honors class holding food drive

Students taking Honors 1010 Ideas, Innovation and Society I class with Michelle Davidson are holding a food drive this week.

Collection bins are located in the Department of English Language and Literature in Memorial Field House Room 1500 and in the Jesup Scott Honors College in MacKinnon Hall Room 2000.

The purpose of the drive is twofold: to increase the UT Student Food Pantry’s supply and to raise awareness of the problem of food insecurity on college campuses.

Students also will present their work from the class at the Showcase of Writing Friday, Nov. 17, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Thompson Student Union Rooms 2582 and 2584.

Their projects are related to the themes of community, altruism, philanthropy and tribalism, according to Davidson, lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature.

To make this food drive a success, students in the class created a plan, which includes a friendly competition between Ohio State and Michigan fans. They also will raffle a $25 Chipotle gift card; students, faculty, staff and administrators will receive a raffle ticket for each food item or $1 donated to the UT Student Food Pantry.

Food and monetary donations also will be accepted during the showcase.

For more information, contact Davidson at 419.530.2707 or michelle.davidson@utoledo.edu.