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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.

Leading Native-American singer-songwriter to perform Nov. 9

Joanne Shenandoah, a composer and vocalist from the Wolf Clan of the Iroquois Confederacy and Oneida Nation, will visit The University of Toledo this week.

She will perform a free, public concert Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Room 1025.


“We are honored to have acclaimed artist and activist Joanne Shenandoah come to the University in honor of Native American Heritage Month,” Dr. Barbara Alice Mann, professor in the Jesup Scott Honors College, said. “It is not often that we are able to bring in an indigenous Grammy winner.”

A Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, Shenandoah has 18 discs and has recorded her original folk music with Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Bill Miller and Mary Youngblood. She has won more than 40 awards, including 14 Native American Music Awards. And she has performed at five presidential inaugurations, as well as at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, the White House, and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Growing up on the Oneida Territory near Oneida, N.Y., Shenandoah learned to play several instruments, including guitar, piano and flute, and absorbed many traditional songs and music styles.

In addition to her music, Shenandoah is passionate about peace and earth justice.

“As I make this journey in life, I’ve found that most people around the world are compassionate about our Mother Earth and concerned about the environmental changes affecting all living things,” she wrote on her website, joanneshenandoah.com.

Shenandoah is a founding board member of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge, a nonprofit educational facility based on Iroquois principles that operates in partnership with Syracuse University.

For her music and humanitarian efforts, Shenandoah received an honorary doctorate of music from Syracuse University in 2002.

Shenandoah’s UT appearance for Native American Heritage Month is sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters; Jesup Scott Honors College; Division of Student Affairs; Office of Diversity and Inclusion; and Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women.

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

Poetry reading to raise funds for UT’s first LGBT scholarship

The power and artistry of words will take center stage at the Rane Arroyo Poetry Read-In, which will be held Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005.

The event is named in honor of a virtuoso.

“Rane wrote openly as an out, proud gay Puerto Rican male,” Dr. Glenn Sheldon, UT honors professor of humanities, said. “I want the audience to listen to the music of Rane’s words, to let intuitions of the poet lead us to our own personal discoveries, to just listen to a poem be — to enjoy!”

Dr. Arroyo was a Distinguished University Professor of English who taught creative writing and literature at UT from 1997 until his death in 2010. The author of 10 poetry books, six chapbooks of poetry, a collection of short stories, and a collection of plays, Arroyo won an array of writing awards, including the John Ciardi Poetry Prize, the Carl Sandburg Poetry Prize and a Pushcart Prize.

“Rane loved both writing poetry, plays and fiction as much as he loved teaching creative writers. Teaching creative writing always enthused him. He saw potential in each and every student he came across,” said Sheldon, chair of the LGBTQA+ Advisory Board. “From what I sensed after his death, so very many students found his classes life-altering.”

Reading poetry at the event will be Dr. Sharon L. Barnes, associate professor and chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department; Leslie Ann B. Chambers, adjunct faculty member in the Jesup Scott Honors College; Sariah Flores-Shutts, resource specialist in the Center for Engagement; Wade Lee, electronic information services librarian, science research librarian and associate professor in University Libraries; Dr. Edmund Lingan, associate professor and chair of the Theatre and Film Department; and Dr. Skaidrite Stelzer, assistant professor of English. Also reading will be Toledo resident Bernie Filipski and Shannon Smith, associate professor of English at Owens Community College.

Cash, checks and credit card donations will be accepted at the free, public poetry read-in. Funds raised will go toward establishing UT’s first LGBT scholarship.

It was Barnes who approached Sheldon about creating a scholarship to honor Arroyo and former UT student Troy Anaya Jr., who died in 2016 at age 31.

“After Troy’s funeral, I spent some time with a few students who were active in Spectrum [now called Prism] and dear friends with him,” Barnes said. “We were talking about how much we loved Troy and how we really wanted to do something special to remember his presence in our lives and to celebrate him. We were also reflecting on how impactful the lack of financial resources was in his life, and so it wasn’t a big leap to think about creating a scholarship in his name.”

The Anaya/Arroyo Scholarship will be for one or more LGBT-identified undergraduates. The goal is to award the first scholarship in 2018, according to Sheldon.

“When I put those two last names together in my head, the poet’s ear in me rejoiced! Two beautiful Latino names with all those remarkably similar vowel sounds and the enthusiasm of the letter ‘y,’ which rarely gets its due in English,” Sheldon said. “Although Troy and Rane never knew each other personally, Troy’s mother, Diane Ballesteros-Houston, believes they would have gotten along famously. From what I have learned about Troy, I am certain she is spot on.”

“Troy was an incredibly genuine person, open, welcoming, friendly and supportive. He had a way of making people feel accepted because he genuinely accepted them. He also had a great sense of humor and love of life. He was just really fun to be around,” Barnes said.

“As gay Latinos from working class backgrounds, both Rane and Troy faced multiple oppressions, including financial hardship, racism and homophobia,” she said. “We honor their talent, intelligence and shining personalities by creating a path to higher education for someone similarly situated in the matrix of cultural privilege and oppression. They were both proud activists. I am certain that being remembered in this way would make them both proud.”

After the read-in, donations can be made to the Anaya/Arroyo Scholarship through the UT Foundation at give2ut.utoledo.edu.

“We hope this event will help us to begin to amass a small fortune to help LGBT students here at the University for many years to come,” Sheldon said.

The read-in is one of several events taking place at UT in honor of National LGBTQ History Month. Read more here.

For more information about the read-in or the scholarship, contact Sheldon at glenn.sheldon@utoledo.edu or 419.530.3261.

Celebrate right and freedom to read at banned books vigil Sept. 28

The University of Toledo will celebrate its 20th annual Banned Books Vigil to celebrate the right to read and think freely without censorship.

The free, public event will take place Thursday, Sept. 28, on the third floor of Carlson Library. The event will begin at 9 a.m. with programs starting every half hour through 5 p.m.

“Our democracy depends on our intellectual freedom,” said Dr. Paulette D. Kilmer, UT professor of communication, who coordinates the event. “Anybody who controls what we read controls what we think and what we know. We give away banned books to promote free inquiry. It’s a fun way to circulate these books that have been called into question.”

Light snacks and refreshments will be available, with free banned books and door prizes given away every half hour. The first 300 attendees also will receive a goody bag at the entrance. One of the sacks will contain a card redeemable for $50 on the spot.

“We want the students to enjoy themselves,” Kilmer said. “We are thankful that all of these people find the time to come to our festival of reading and free expression.”

Topics and speakers for the event will be:

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

• 9:30 a.m. — “The Future Isn’t What It Used to be” by Dr. David Tucker, UT professor of communication;

• 10 a.m. — “Banned: Native-American Spirituality” by Dr. Barbara Alice Mann, UT honors professor of humanities;

• 10:30 a.m. — “Girl’s Night Out With Pandora, Lilith and Eve” by Warren Woodberry, local author and mentor;

• 11 a.m. — “A Historical Overview of Book Banning From Plato to the Present” by Arjun Sabharwal, UT associate professor and digital initiatives librarian;

• 11:30 a.m. — “All That (and) Jazz: Censorship of Transgender Representation in Children’s Books” by Dr. Sharon Barnes, UT associate professor and interim chair of women’s and gender studies;

• Noon — The Dr. Linda Smith Lecture: “Suppressing ‘Truths’ in the Age of Fake News” by Dr. Heidi M. Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College;

• 12:30 p.m. — “Remarks and Observations” by Dr. Andrew Hsu, UT provost and executive vice president for academic affairs;

• 1 p.m. — “Just What is Fake News?” by Lou Herbert, Toledo broadcaster and historian;

• 1:30 p.m. — “Book Burning Videos: Indiana Jones, Eyewitnesses and Ray Bradbury”;

• 2 p.m. — “Plato’s ‘Cave’ in the Age of Post-Truth” by Dr. Glenn Sheldon, UT honors professor of humanities;

• 2:30 p.m. — “Jeopardy!” hosted by The Independent Collegian editors;

• 3 p.m. — “Covering Campus News Transparently in the Selfie Age of Public Image”
by Emily Schnipke, editor-in-chief of The Independent Collegian;

• 3:30 p.m. — “You Read WHAT to Your Daughter?! And Other Stupid Questions…” by Josie Schreiber, UT student;

• 4 p.m. — “Hear No Evil! See No Evil! Speak No Evil! Teach No Evil!” by Cindy Ramirez, Bedford High School teacher; and

• 4:30 p.m. — “Hard-Hitting Songs for Hard-Hit People” by Risa Cohen, West Side Montessori teacher.

Kilmer said this Banned Books Week Vigil would not be possible without help from generous sponsors: Barry’s Bagels; Ann Lumbrezer; The Independent Collegian; Lambda Pi Eta, UT Communication Honor Society; New Sins Press; Phoenicia Cuisine; UT Barnes & Noble Bookstore; UT Center for Experiential Learning and Career Development; UT Department of Art; UT Department of Communication; UT Department of English Language and Literature; UT Department of Foreign Languages; UT Office of Excellence and Multicultural Student Success; UT Federal Credit Union; University Libraries; UT Greek Life; UT Jesup Scott Honors College; UT Marketing and Communications Office; UT Office of the Dean of Students; UT Student Government; UT Theatre and Film Department; WXUT FM 88.3; Aramark; Mitchell & Kelley Auctioneers, Adrian, Mich.; UT Public Relations Student Society of America; UT Campus Activities and Programing; UT Counseling Center; UT College of Arts and Letters; UT School of Visual and Performing Arts; and UT Starbucks.

She added a special thanks to the Office of the President and the Office of the Provost.

ABC News veteran to share inspiring story Sept. 21

University of Toledo will host John Quiñones — ABC News veteran, anchor for 20/20 and Primetime, and host of the popular series “What Would You Do?” — Thursday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

The event marks the first of this year’s Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture series, and is being supported by the Honors College, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

Quiñones has emerged as an inspiring keynote speaker, combining his moving life story with a wide-ranging career in TV journalism that has spanned more than three decades. Titled “A 20/20 Vision for America: Building Bridges, Not Walls,” his presentation at UT will touch on his odds-defying journey, celebrate the life-changing power of a college education, champion the Latino American Dream, and provide thought-provoking insights into human nature and ethical behavior.

“We’re extremely pleased to have John Quiñones speak here,” said Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion. “Based on his incredible journey, I’m sure many of our students will draw on his personal stories and professional advice to aspire to their own successful career through obtaining their degree at UT.”

Born in San Antonio in 1952 to a Spanish-speaking family, Quiñones did not learn English until he began school at age 6. When he was 13, his father was laid off from a janitorial job, so his family joined a caravan of migrant farm workers. They traveled to Traverse City, Mich., to harvest cherries, and then later picked tomatoes near Toledo. It was here that his dad challenged Quiñones to choose education over a life of manual labor.

Thanks to the federal Upward Bound program, Quiñones prepared for college and eventually earned his master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of Journalism. Among numerous accolades, Quiñones has received a Gabriel Award for a poignant report that followed a young man to Colombia to reunite with his birth mother after two decades, a CINE Award for a report in Israel about suicide bombers, and an ALMA Award from the National Council of La Raza.

Tickets for this event are free and are available through the Office of Multicultural Student Services at 419.530.2261 or the Honors College at honors@utoledo.edu or 419.530.6030.

UT to observe Hispanic Heritage Month

The University of Toledo has planned an array of events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Hispanic Heritage Month offers us the opportunity to explore the rich culture and heritage of Latinos and celebrate their unique contributions, including music, art and cuisine, to our society,” Dr. Michele Soliz, assistant vice president for student success and inclusion.

One of the highlights of the month will be a talk by John Quiñones, ABC News veteran and host of “What Would You Do?” He will speak Thursday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. in Doermann Theater.

“We are thrilled to be able to host John Quiñones, who will share his story of overcoming many barriers to eventually graduate college and become one of the country’s most recognized news correspondents,” Soliz said.

Quiñones’ appearance is part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series. Tickets are free and available through the Office of Multicultural Student Success at omss@utoledo.edu and the Honors College at honors@utoledo.edu or 419.530.5030.

Listed by date, Hispanic Heritage Month events facilitated through the Office of Multicultural Student Success and the Latino Student Union include:

Thursday, Sept. 14 — Diamante Awards, 6 to 9 p.m., Wolfe Center for the Arts at Bowling Green State University. Awards for Latino leadership and achievements in northwest Ohio will be presented at this event, which is co-sponsored by UT, BGSU, Lourdes University, Owens Community College and Herzing University. Tickets are $75 for the public and $25 for students in advance at diamantetoledo.org and will be $80 and $30, respectively, at the door.

Tuesday, Sept. 19 — Salsa on the Steps, noon to 2 p.m., steps in front of the Thompson Student Union. Stop by for free food and to learn salsa dancing.

Monday, Sept. 25 — Latino Meet-and-Greet, 6:45 p.m., Thompson Student Union Room 2592. Join students, faculty, staff and UT graduates at this event sponsored by the UT Latino Alumni Affiliate.

Wednesday, Oct. 4 — Film Screening, “Selena,” 7 p.m. Thompson Student Union Trimble Lounge.

For more information and a complete list of events, go to utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/omss.