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Naturalization ceremony set for Sept. 18 at University

The University of Toledo will celebrate Constitution Day with the swearing in of 80 people as U.S. citizens at a naturalization ceremony Monday, Sept. 18, at 11 a.m. in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey J. Helmick of the Northern District of Ohio will preside over the ceremony.

Established in 2004, Constitution Day recognizes the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. All educational institutions that receive federal funds hold events to recognize the day.

Immigrants, who are 18 and older, are eligible to become a U.S. citizen and qualify for naturalization after being a permanent resident for a minimum of five years. Those married to a U.S. citizen and meet all the other eligibility requirements can apply after being a permanent resident for a minimum of three years.

“Students, faculty and staff should plan attend this very moving ceremony celebrating citizenship,” said Diane Miller, associate vice president for government relations. “At naturalization ceremonies, the new citizens will be giving up citizenship of their homeland and choosing to become American citizens. It’s a great celebration and a reminder of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of the United States.”

Grisoranyel Barrios, a fourth-year political science and social work student who moved to Toledo from Venezuela in 2002, will open the court, and Kyle Zapadka, a sophomore majoring in finance and accounting who is speaker of the senate for Student Government, will close the court.

Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, and Benjamin Barros, dean of the College of Law, will give welcoming remarks at the ceremony.

Agnieszka McPeak, associate professor of law, will be the featured speaker for the event. Zachary R. Boyer a UT junior studying political science and philosophy, also will speak.

Student Government President Jimmy Russell will lead the Pledge of Allegiance, and Melaney Goosby will recite the New Colossus.

Under the direction of Dr. Brad Pierson, UT assistant professor and director of choral activities in the Music Department, the UT Concert Chorale will perform “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The free, public event is sponsored by the Office of Government Relations and the Center for International Studies and Programs.

Prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases to be discussed in Cannon Lecture

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and Clinical Professor of Law at the Pennsylvania State University School of Law, will present the annual Cannon Lecture Monday, Sept. 11, at noon in the Law Center McQuade Law Auditorium.

Her lecture is titled “Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases in the Wake of the Trump Administration.”


“This is a timely topic from a recognized national expert,” Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs in the UT College of Law, said. “With a focus on the role of individual decision makers in immigration enforcement, it’s a perfect fit for this year’s Cannon Lecture.”

A nationally known expert on immigration law, Wadhia published her New York University Press book, “Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases,” in 2015. Her book traces the role of prosecutorial discretion from the case of the Beatles front man John Lennon to the challenges of enforcing immigration policy in the post 9/11 era and during the Obama administration.

Her work also has been published in leading journals, including Emory Law Journal, Texas Law Review, and Columbia Journal of Race and Law. Additionally, her work has been cited by federal courts, and she has appeared in popular media, including MSNBC, C-SPAN, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Prior to entering teaching, Wadhia served as deputy director of the National Immigration Forum, an advocacy organization that provided advice to government officials and the public on topics that included immigration reform and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

At the Pennsylvania State University School of Law, Wadhia teaches asylum and refugee law as well as immigration law. She also serves as the founder and director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, working with law students in the clinical immigration law setting.

She received a bachelor of arts degree from Indiana University and her law degree from Georgetown University.

This free, public lecture is part of the Cannon Lecture Series, which was established in 1980 to honor former Toledo attorney Joseph A. Cannon. The series hosts nationally known individuals who explore both the humanistic dimensions and limitations of the U.S. legal system. Food and beverages will be provided.

Law student recognized for oral advocacy at international moot court competition

For the last several years, the UT College of Law has sent a team of students to China to compete in the Beijing Foreign Studies University-Wanhuida Cup Intellectual Property Moot Court Competition.

This year’s team — Victor Aberdeen, Jason Csehi, Alex Bayoneto and Patrick Charest — competed against teams from China, Australia, Taiwan and the United States. The team was coached by Bernadette Delgado, a law student who competed in last year’s competition.


The team faced incisive questions from the competition judges, who were intellectual property attorneys, law professors, and the chief judge of the District Intellectual Property Court of China.

Charest’s oral arguments and responses to questions were praised by the judges, who named him one of four “Best Oralists” in the competition.

According to Delgado, Charest’s win was well-deserved. “Patrick had a solid grasp of the problem and both sides of the argument,” she said. “He was very persuasive in his arguments and knew the applicable Chinese law and cases well enough to support his position.”

Because this competition brings together both native and non-native English speakers to argue unique questions of Chinese intellectual property law, the judging is different from a typical moot court competition.

“The judges give greater weight to the quality and substance of the answer rather than the style of the oralist,” explained Professor Llewellyn Gibbons, faculty adviser to the team. “Patrick’s answers impressed a panel of Chinese law experts with his mastery of Chinese intellectual property law, as well as principles of trademark law drawn from the U.S., the E.U. and the Paris Convention.”

College of Law’s graduate certificates in compliance re-launched as online program

Starting fall semester, The University of Toledo College of Law’s Graduate Certificates in Compliance Program will be available as an online, part-time program, allowing students to learn about compliance and law in a more flexible manner.

Bringing each graduate certificate in compliance online means the program is more accessible to working professionals or those wanting to launch a career in compliance, according to Kirsten Winek, director of communications, special programs and financial aid in the College of Law.

“The online course work is asynchronous, meaning that it can be completed even if one travels for work, can only study in the evenings, or has a variable schedule,” she said. “Adding to this accessibility is the fact that course work can be completed in 10 to 12 months on a part-time basis.”

The program allows students to choose one of three graduate certificates in compliance — higher education compliance, health-care compliance and general compliance — that range between 15 to 17 credits. However, regardless of program, all students take a 14-credit core of foundational compliance course work in areas such as ethics; organizational governance; statutory and regulatory interpretation; privacy and data security; compliance education; and auditing, investigating and reporting.

Agnieszka McPeak, assistant professor of law, teaches Privacy and Data Security. “Individuals and companies interact with technology daily, and my goal in teaching privacy and data security is to show how this topic affects our personal and professional existence,” she explained. “We therefore cover the practical and technical background as well as the legal and business dimensions of privacy and data security, drawing on real-world, current examples and our own personal experiences.”

The remaining credits include course work specialized to each certificate, such as higher education law, health-care law, or a faculty-supervised research project for students enrolled in the certificate in general compliance.

Working professionals enrolled in the program have found the course work valuable and can fit the program into a busy schedule. “My course load has been manageable each semester, and I have had great opportunities to learn not only from the professors, but also from the other students within the course,” said student and UT Residence Life Area Coordinator Brad Ledingham.

Christine Wile, a student who is an administrative assistant in admissions in the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences, added, “I found the program to be a win-win for individuals looking for an edge to advance professionally and academically. The courses are relevant and applicable in today’s complex work environments because the law professors and professionals in the compliance field teaching the classes are at the cutting edge of today’s issues.”

For more information on this program, contact Winek at kirsten.winek@utoledo.edu.

Law grad makes history with U.S. Air Force JAG

Even before she received her UT juris doctor May 6, Maysaa Ouza had made legal history. Just before graduation, she was selected as a new U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps attorney — the first Muslim hijabi selected for this role.

Ouza’s family was influential in her decision to pursue a career with the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps. Her parents immigrated to the United States, affording Ouza and her siblings opportunities and privileges they might not have received elsewhere. They strongly encouraged her to consider the military as a career.

Maysaa Ouza, who posed for a photo with her juris doctor in front of the Memorial Field House, is the first Muslim hijabi selected as a U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps attorney.

She also credits her UT College of Law professors and the Office of Professional Development with helping her learn about careers with the various JAG Corps and navigating the competitive application process. She believes that she was the first hijabi applicant to apply for the U.S. Air Force JAG Corps.

“Many people that look like me fear rejection, and thus will not apply for jobs like this,” Ouza said. “I want to break those barriers.”

The U.S. Air Force JAG Corps appealed to Ouza for several reasons. Public service and service to her community have long been important to her, and she will have the opportunity to serve her country as a military lawyer. Additionally, the JAG Corps provides its lawyers with opportunities to gain experience in numerous areas of law, including legal assistance, criminal law and military operations law — to name just a few. This exposure to multiple practice areas also was of interest to Ouza, as was the fact the Air Force is the youngest branch of the U.S. armed forces.
According to Ouza, there are similarities between life in the military and wearing the hijab — both require lives of structure and discipline.

“My hijab is an asset to the Air Force, not a liability,” she said. “The defining aspect of my character is my unwavering dedication to leading a life of structure and immense discipline. Capitalizing on these characteristics, it made intrinsic sense to serve our country.”

While attending the UT College of Law, Ouza was a leader in several student organizations.

“Maysaa was a quiet force during her time at the College of Law,” said Kate O’Connell, assistant dean for student affairs. “She served as president of the International Law Society, vice president of the Criminal Law Society and vice president of Delta Theta Phi. This past year alone, Maysaa was largely responsible for planning a number of meaningful, timely and topical events at the College of Law.”

Furthermore, Ouza was a Student Ambassador for the Admissions Office. She also made clear her desire to give back to her community, earning a UT College of Law Public Service Commendation and serving as a Law and Leadership Institute instructor.

Professor Benjamin Davis taught Ouza Contracts during her first year at the College of Law and interacted with her on a regular basis thereafter. “While she had such a strong sense of purpose, she was always personable with a warmth about her that made her stand out,” he said. “I am overjoyed she is becoming a JAG, and she is not just going to break down barriers, but thrive.”

Golf outing to raise scholarship funds for College of Law

Registration is open for the 18th Annual John W. Stoepler Memorial Scholarship Golf Outing, which will be held Friday, June 9.

The outing will take place at the Belmont Country Club 29601 Bates Road, Perrysburg.

All proceeds from the event go to a scholarship fund that benefits students in the UT College of Law.

Registration for lunch, dinner and golf starts at $155 per person or $620 for a foursome. Tickets for $40 also are available for those who wish to attend the program for dinner only.

Teams and individual golfers may register here.

For more information, contact Ansley Abrams-Frederick at 419.530.4316 or ansley.abrams@utoledo.edu.

Law student named finalist in American Constitution Society writing competition

Second-year UT law student Ashley Blas was selected in April as a finalist in the American Constitution Society’s National Student Writing Competition.

Named in honor of Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American women appointed to a federal judgeship, the competition seeks law student writing that takes a progressive view of the U.S. Constitution, law and public policy.


The competition was judged by a panel of well-known law professors and deans, including constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinsky, as well as federal and state judges. Writing and analytical quality were paramount in the paper judging process.

Dean and Professor Emeritus Daniel J. Steinbock, who served as a law clerk for Motley, said, “This is a notable achievement, and I, especially, am proud of Ashley for doing so well in a competition named for a great person and true hero of the civil rights movement.”

Blas submitted her law review article titled “The Danger of Silence: How the Political Activities Prohibition Negatively Affects Nonprofit Domestic Violence Organizations and the Case for Broader Federal Protection,” which will be published in the spring issue of The University of Toledo Law Review.

She was one of seven finalists, joining law students from Duke University School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law, Boston College Law School, University of North Carolina School of Law and University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Rebecca Zietlow, the Charles W. Fornoff Professor of Law and Values, was Blas’ law review faculty adviser.

“I am happy, but not surprised, that Ashley has been named a finalist for this award. Her article is well-written and original,” Zietlow said. “It is about an important issue, restrictions on the political speech of 501(c)(3) corporations. Although it is widely recognized that these restrictions impact religious organizations, Ashley points out that these restrictions also limit the speech of politically vulnerable charitable organizations, including those helping victims of domestic violence.” 

Law students win top two awards in environmental law writing competition

Since 2010, the Ohio State Bar Association Environmental Law Committee presents its annual Environmental Law Award to the best law student paper submitted on environmental, energy or natural resources law.

This year, UT law students wrote both the winning and runner-up papers. Rachel Hammersmith was named winner and received a prize of $1,000 from McMahon DeGulis LLP, a law firm with offices across the state that concentrates on environmental litigation and allied fields. Florianne Silvestri was named runner-up, taking home a prize of $250. Both will graduate this week.

Law students Rachel Hammersmith, right, and Florianne Silvestri took first- and second-place honors, respectively, in the Ohio State Bar Association’s environmental law writing competition.

Winning papers are to be of law review or higher quality, and all papers were scored on criteria that included quality of legal research, analysis and writing; relevance to Ohio legal practice; and importance and timeliness of the topic. The awards were announced at the recent Ohio State Bar Association Environment, Energy and Resources Seminar, and both papers were published in the seminar materials.

Hammersmith’s paper was titled “The Power Struggle Between Local and State Authorities to Control Oil and Gas Drilling and Fracking in Ohio.” She took issue with a 2015 Ohio Supreme Court decision, Morrison v. Beck Energy, that struck down certain municipal ordinances regulating oil and gas drilling on the basis that they were pre-empted by state law. Notwithstanding Morrison, she argued, Ohio municipalities can use their zoning powers to regulate oil and gas drilling and fracking within their borders.

Silvestri’s paper was titled “Ohio Wind Power and the Legal Challenges With the National Environmental Act and the Endangered Species Act.”

Ken Kilbert, professor of law, supervised both papers, which were written as part of the College of Law’s Advanced Research and Writing course work.

“Rachel wrote a terrific paper on a timely issue of legal, practical and environmental import,” Kilbert said. “We are very proud of both Rachel and Florianne.”

This marks the third time in eight years that a UT law student has won the Ohio State Bar Association’s Environmental Law Award. Hammersmith joins previous UT winners M. Zach Hohl, who graduated in 2012, and Alex Vogelpohl, who graduated in 2015. Silvestri joins previous UT runners-up Alex Savickas, who graduated in 2015, and James Madeiros, who graduated in 2010.

Lucas County judge to deliver UT law commencement address May 6

Judge Myron C. Duhart of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas will deliver the address at The University of Toledo College of Law’s commencement Saturday, May 6, at 10 a.m. in Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

The ceremony will honor 79 juris doctor and three master of studies in law candidates.


Duhart plans to speak to the graduates about giving back and service to the community — two topics about which he is passionate. “It is a privilege for the 2017 graduates to receive their law degree; with that privilege comes a duty to give back to the community,” he said. “I hope to inspire these graduates to give back to the communities that produced them.”

Duhart serves on the bench of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, where he hears both criminal and civil cases.

Prior to taking his place on the bench in 2011, Duhart practiced both criminal defense and personal injury law. As a criminal defense attorney, he litigated several high-profile cases and was part of a select group of attorneys certified by the Ohio Supreme Court to take death penalty cases. He also served in the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps, with duty assignment throughout the U.S. and in Panama.

In addition, Duhart shares his extensive litigation experience with UT law students, teaching a course in trial practice.

A lifelong learner, Duhart earned his bachelor’s degree from Wright State University, juris doctor from the UT College of Law in 1996, and is pursuing a master of laws degree in judicial studies from the Duke University School of Law. He also attended the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Duhart is noted for his service to the community and serves on the UT College of Law Board of Governors, the UT Paralegal Studies Advisory Board, and the board of Mercy Health System North. He also is past president of Toledo’s Thurgood Marshall Law Association.

“I am delighted that Judge Duhart will be giving our annual commencement address. He is an accomplished alumnus with a record of public service, both a judge and a U.S. Army Judge Advocate General,” said UT Law Dean D. Benjamin Barros. “I look forward to hearing the advice and encouragement he gives to our graduates as they embark on their legal careers.”

University recognizes faculty, staff for advising, research, teaching, outreach work

UT outstanding advisers, researchers and teachers, and recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement, were honored last week.

Recipients of the Outstanding Advisor Award were:

Winners of the Outstanding Adviser Award were Rose Marie Ackerman and Dr. Matthew Franchetti.

Rose Marie Ackerman
, associate director of student services in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering. She joined the University in 2006.

“Rose is the only adviser I know that does long-range plans for students. This helps tremendously because I am able to check off the classes I have already taken because she provides a specialized plan for each individual,” one nominator wrote. “She is the best adviser I’ve had at any university, and I’ve been to three different universities.” “Rose is always willing to see and talk to any student,” another noted. “She responds to emails quickly with any information needed. I just changed my major, and Rose is the person who helped me the most.” Another wrote, “She is the go-to person in the department for policies and procedures.”

Dr. Matthew Franchetti, associate professor and associate chair of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering. He began working at UT in 2007.

“Dr. Franchetti is the most helpful person I have ever met,” one nominator noted. Another wrote, “The other day I walked into his office looking for advice on going to grad school. He went through the positives and negatives and all of the things required in the application process. He sat down and went over the different courses of study and what each plan entails. On top of that, he took the time to explain what the University is kind of looking for and offered to be one of my references. I do not know how I would have gotten through engineering without him.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Research and Scholarship Award were:

Receiving Outstanding Research Awards were, from left, Dr. Robert Collins, Lee J. Strang, Dr. Blair Grubb and Dr. Mohamed Elahinia.

Dr. Robert Collins
, NEG Endowed Chair and Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Collins is an internationally recognized expert on thin films and photovoltaics, especially for his groundbreaking contributions in the use of optical measurements, in particular, ellipsometry for assessments of real-time thin-film growth. This work is not only important to the photovoltaics industry, but also is valuable to related technologies such as displays and sensors. His total research funding, either as principal investigator or co-principal investigator at both UT and his former university, exceeds $48 million. He is a prolific writer with more than 450 peer-reviewed journal and conference proceedings articles, and he is the editor or co-editor of nine books. His published work has more than 10,000 citations.

Dr. Mohamed Elahinia, professor of mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineering in the College of Engineering.

Elahinia’s group, with support from the Ohio Federal Research Network and NASA Glenn, has fabricated high-temperature shape memory alloys in 3D printing for the first time. His research on low-temperature shape memory alloys has resulted in several medical devices, which are at various stages of commercialization. In collaboration with NASA Glenn and the Cleveland Clinic, he organized the development of the Nitinol Commercialization Center to support startup companies. He has been the principal investigator and co-investigator on 37 research projects, bringing in more than $12 million in awards. He is the author of a leading book on shape memory alloys, as well as more than 70 journal articles; his publications have been cited about 2,000 times.

Dr. Blair Grubb, Distinguished University Professor and director of the Electrophysiology Program in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences.

He is one of the world’s authorities in the treatment of syncope — abrupt, brief loss of consciousness — and other disorders of the autonomic nervous system. He has patients referred to him from all over the world to help those dealing with severe autonomic disorders. His patients testify on how he takes a personal interest in their condition, and he has a long list of testimonials on how he has provided patients with ways to improve their condition. Grubb has published more than 240 scientific papers, authored five books, written 35 book chapters, and has been the recipient of 10 research grants while at UT. He has been recognized as one of America’s Top Doctor’s 15 years in a row.

Lee J. Strang, the John W. Stoepler Professor of Law and Values in the College of Law.

Strang is an expert in constitutional law, particularly originalism and constitutional interpretation. He has expertise on the topic of law and religion and the history of Catholic legal education. He is highly sought as an invited speaker and expert on constitutional law matters and has presented his work at more than 150 conferences at top institutions. Since arriving at UT, Strang has authored 17 articles, two book chapters and five book reviews, as well as co-written a 1,500-page casebook. His work is highly regarded; Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens cited Strang’s work on the original meaning of “religion” in the First Amendment. Strang’s work also was cited in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals Hobby Lobby case.

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were:

Recipients of the Edith Rathbun Award for Outreach and Engagement were Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach and Dr. Andrew Jorgensen.

Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach
, associate professor of educational foundations and leadership in the Judith Herb College of Education. She is the co-chair of the UT Anti-Bullying Task Force, a campus violence prevention and protection trainer for the Department of Justice, and author of “School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies.”

“Dr. Pescara-Kovach has performed countless service in the community in working with the prevention of tragedy in our schools and workplaces. She works with University and community agencies in multiple stages: preventing bullying and other aggressive behaviors; preventing targeted violence and suicide; and postvention of first responders, victims and witnesses when such incidents occur,” one nominator wrote. “While many faculty think their work is life-changing, few (outside the medical fields) can honestly claim their work saves lives; Dr. Pescara-Kovach is such a faculty member.”

Dr. Andrew Jorgensen, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He studied climate change during his sabbatical at the National Council for Science and the Environment, helping to create Climate Adaption Mitigation E-Learning, an online program with more than 300 resources on climate change.

“Dr. Jorgensen has given more than 150 lectures to general public audiences all over the world about climate change. Having been an audience member, I can attest to the way he presents scientific knowledge in a nonpolitical, approachable way that makes a strong case for the need to address this topic,” one nominator wrote. “I admire his energy, commitment and passion, and am deeply respectful of his personal mission to educate as many people as he can about the importance of climate change to our global future.”

Recipients of the Outstanding Teacher Award were:

Taking home Outstanding Teacher Awards were, from left, Dr. Patricia Sopko, Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, Dr. Jillian Bornak, Dr. Nitin Puri and Dr. Todd Crail.

Dr. Jillian Bornak
, associate lecturer of physics and astronomy in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. She began teaching at the University in 2014.

“She brought her enthusiasm for science into the classroom every Tuesday and Thursday night when we were all tired and drained. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and her energy made it easy to show up to every class that semester,” one nominator wrote. “She gave us every tool we needed to learn the material and pass her course with a good grade. She taught us with both ease and eagerness for her students to learn. Her students gained knowledge of these tough physics concept without ever feeling like we were too behind or too incapable of learning these concepts. The University is lucky to have her.”

Dr. Todd Crail, associate lecturer of environmental sciences in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. He joined the faculty in 2012.

“I have yet to meet any professor as engaging and passionate about the environment as Dr. Crail,” one nominator wrote. “He has a distinct voice and motivation in what he teaches — take action. If you want a better world, a better environment, then you have to act upon it. Dr. Crail encourages students’ critical thinking, he supports the curious mind, and he makes time for his students.” Another noted, “He has changed the lives of so many students, and he deserves to finally be rewarded for all the hours of hard work and dedication that he puts into his class, activities, service learning, and the Department of Environmental Sciences.”

Dr. Nitin Puri, assistant professor of physiology and pharmacology in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. He has been at the University since 2012.

“Dr. Puri teaches physiology with great passion and consistently has the highest turnouts for lectures and review sessions. He expects the most from his students and repeatedly encourages you to think like a physician,” one nominator wrote. “Dr. Puri’s teaching style is interactive and certainly yields the strongest staying power of the basic sciences. I still use his notes to prepare for clinical rotations. Dr. Puri is more than a teacher. He is a fierce advocate for students, an outstanding mentor and, most importantly, a genuine person.” Another wrote, “Dr. Puri prepares you for the future, not just exams, but for clinical practice unlike any other professor.”

Dr. Ruslan Slutsky, professor of early childhood education, higher education and special education in the Judith Herb College of Education. He came to the University in 2001.

“Dr. Slutsky always makes time for his students. He is always willing to give extra help, and he goes out of his way to provide students with learning experiences outside of the classroom — research opportunities, helps send projects to conferences, etc. His lectures are always thought-provoking and stimulate deep classroom discussions. He expects a lot from his students and, in turn, his students achieve great things,” one nominator wrote. “I am thankful to have had him as a professor and am thankful for all the things he has done for the college, as well as the University and community as a whole.”

Dr. Patricia Sopko, instructor in the College of Nursing. She joined the faculty in 2010.

“I was essentially failing my pathopharmocology class despite hours of studying. I always felt the exams to be very fair, and I approached Dr. Sopko to help me understand what I was doing wrong,” one nominator wrote. “When I did eventually speak with her, she in no way looked down upon me or made me feel intimidated, despite the fact that I should have approached her long before to ask for help. She not only clarified what I was doing wrong, she also made sure I was properly preparing for the final exam. She helped me improve my overall critical thinking abilities. The fact that she took the extra time to help me is something that I greatly appreciate.”