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Events coordinator zooms in for Art on the Mall

It’s not unusual for Michele “Mickey” Ross to hop in her car, Canon XSi riding shotgun, and go for a drive. 

That’s how she found a small, dilapidated dwelling and gas pump one snowy day in Sylvania. And on a fall jaunt through Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse, she spotted horseback riders on a leaf-covered trail.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

Michele “Mickey” Ross displayed some of her photography that she will have in frames, on coasters and notecards, and as prints at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31.

“I just happened to be in the right spot at the right time,” the events coordinator in the Special Events Office said. “A lot of photography is patience and sometimes luck. You have to be willing to just sit and observe — especially with nature. You can see so much more that way.”

Armed with her camera, Ross captures places many area residents are familiar with and frames them in a new way.

“You can go to the same park every day and see something different each time; it’s just how you’re looking at things, whether it’s a bird or a turtle or a frog or flowers,” she said. “Nature changes so rapidly that there’s always something different to look at — always.”

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Michele “Mickey” Ross took this photo titled “Ice Tree” at Olander Park in Sylvania.

Her favorite locales to wander and shoot include area parks, gardens and the Toledo Zoo.

At the zoo, she caught a cormorant careening its neck to preen with an orange autumnal sky reflected in the water, as well as a regal eagle perched by evergreen sprigs. After an ice storm, she ventured carefully to Olander Park in Sylvania and clicked in the cold; the result was a stunning image of a tree encased in a shimmering frozen glaze.

“It’s almost cathartic. I get lost when I go out and photograph. I can be out for hours and not even know it because there’s so much to look at and so much to see,” Ross said.

She’s had an artful eye for years.

“I’ve always loved taking photos,” Ross recalled. “But I think I was getting frustrated because it seemed like I was in a rut.”

So four years ago, she joined the Toledo Camera Club and the Photo Arts Club of Toledo. That’s when she got serious about her passion.

“The clubs have challenges and assignments, and it makes you get out there and think,” Ross said. “Members critique the shots each time, and I think that’s helped me grow and progress as a photographer because it’s given me things I never would have thought of to do.”

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

“Bald Eagle” was photographed by Michele “Mickey” Ross at the Toledo Zoo.

And she’s had the chance to work with some surreal subjects, including a fairy statue submerged in an aquarium filled with a carbonated drink — a sprite in Sprite.

“I won a few awards at the photo clubs, and I thought, you know, maybe I can try to sell the photos and see what happens,” she said. “And my family encouraged me, too.”

In 2013, the UT graduate who received a bachelor’s degree in 1976 returned to her alma mater and made her debut at Art on the Mall.

“It was cool because I actually did pretty well, and I was surprised,” she said. “I had never done an art show before, it was my first one.”

Last year, Ross introduced a new item to showcase her photography: coasters.

“I was trying to come up with something that was a little more cost-effective for the normal person to buy,” she said. “I got online, looked around, and I saw coasters.”

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

“A Day at the Park” was taken by Michele “Mickey” Ross at Oak Openings Preserve Metropark in Whitehouse.

Pretty and practical, but finding a process to produce the coasters took some time.

“Through my own process, I finally found a way to get it to work so that it wouldn’t be tacky and it wouldn’t look tacky,” Ross said and laughed. “And it would be water-resistant so it could be used as a coaster.”

No surprise, her coasters featuring UT photos proved popular her second year at Art on the Mall and sold quickly.

Ross does take requests. Folks who stop by her booth have asked for shots of Toledo landmarks, including Tony Packo’s, the Rosary Cathedral, and Fifth Third Field and all things Mud Hens, as well as lighthouses, trains and various animals.

“There are a lot of things here in the area to focus on that people look at and say, ‘Oh yeah, I know where that is.’ In fact, when people come up at the art fairs and shows, they have fun looking at things and saying, ‘Now where’s that?’ ”

Ross will be at Art on the Mall Sunday, July 31, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free juried art show will be held on Centennial Mall.

“I know they try to have alumni or people affiliated with UT at the event, and I think that adds to the flavor of it,” she said.

In her office, Ross has a few photos that she has taken, as well as several shots that she is in alongside celebrities who appeared in Centennial Hall/Savage Arena, where she worked for 25 years. 

And there is quote from one of her favorite photographers, Ansel Adams: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”

“I don’t have a lot of equipment; it’s expensive. And like they say, it’s not the camera, it’s the shooter. You can make beautiful photographs with anything, even a point and shoot,” Ross said. “I’d like my photos to make people feel good, and I hope that they realize they are not random shots, that some thought was actually put into them.”

Assistant professor of nursing works on project for Sigma Theta Tau International’s Leadership Academy

This year, Dr. Temeaka Gray was selected as one of 13 Scholars of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, granting her a spot in the 2016-17 Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy.

Gray, an assistant professor in The University of Toledo’s College of Nursing, has been a member of the society since 2012.



The academy’s goals include fostering academic success, promoting nurse faculty retention, and facilitating personal leadership development, all of which are explored by projects completed by each scholar.

“The purpose of the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy is actually to expand the scope of influence and grow nurse faculty leaders — the project is a vehicle for that,” said Gray, president of the Zeta Theta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing at UT.

As part of the academy, Gray has designed a project around the topic of communication in the workplace, with the objective of recognizing best practices in communication and shared governance for faculty and administration. This is a topic in which Gray said she had much experience, co-authoring two chapters in academic works, one regarding communication and the other on shared governance in the workplace.

“A lot of the time, people are talking and not listening, but the most effective communication takes place when they listen as well as talk,” Gray said. “One of the pieces that I’ve seen through my literature review said that, in a shared governance environment, sometimes people just don’t know what their duties are. Do they have input in everything? Do they act through committees? I want to know what people think about communication, what they think shared governance means, and what perceptions of the best way to have conversations are.”

Participation as a scholar in the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy includes intensive four-day workshops, one this year and one next, and a presentation on the final project at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing Biennial Convention in Indianapolis.

Gray said even being selected was a tremendous opportunity and, once she found out she had been one of 13 global applicants chosen, the idea of being able to confer with other nurses and like-minded professionals at a greater level was an exciting prospect. The first of the four-day workshops took place in March, and Gray said the highly immersive experience was driven by self-reflection and a close look at the operating style within the academy.

“They equipped us with a journal, so we were critically looking at ourselves as people. We used tools like the leadership practice inventory and strengths finder to assess strengths and weaknesses and, based on that, where we can to improve,” Gray said. “These workshops were from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. over four days. The leadership meetings included administrative people for the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, the leadership mentors, the faculty advisors and the scholar.”

The opportunity of being invited to participate in a program like the Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing is one she hopes others in her field take.

“I always stress this to nursing students because, at that time, you don’t understand what it truly means to be recognized like this,” Gray said. “By the time I was working, to be recognized at that level was so important because it was meaningful. We go around doing what we do because it’s what we do; seeing that other people recognize it is really amazing.”

She added, “Organizations that focus on professions and disciplines like nursing are actually driven by what you do. It’s a networking opportunity; you have the opportunity to learn from other people and their experiences.”

To learn more about the Scholars of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing at UT, visit zetatheta.nursingsociety.org/home.

Former chief chemist at Toledo Water Treatment plant on H2O quality quest at UT

When Brenda Snyder was 10 years old, her mother dragged her to a park along the Maumee River in Toledo before sunrise to witness a phenomenon.

“I remember I felt a little crazy climbing up on the monkey bars at five o’clock in the morning to look at a comet,” Snyder said. “But my mother was always interested in science, and that moment perked my interest.”

Brenda Snyder posed for a photo in her lab at the UT Lake Erie Center next to the SEAL AutoAnalyzer, a new lab instrument that she is working to get up and running by mid-July. Instead of sending samples to another lab to be analyzed for levels of nutrients, she will be able to do it at the Lake Erie Center – which means results will be available sooner.

Brenda Snyder posed for a photo in her lab at the UT Lake Erie Center next to the SEAL AutoAnalyzer, a new lab instrument that she is working to get up and running by mid-July. Instead of sending samples to another lab to be analyzed for levels of nutrients, she will be able to do it at the Lake Erie Center – which means results will be available sooner.

Fast-forward half a century and the grandmother of six still harbors a zeal for astronomy. However, her chosen scientific career is chemistry.

Snyder is a senior researcher at the UT Lake Erie Center who focuses on water quality.

“It is my job to do everything in my power to make sure that drinking water is safe,” said Snyder, a UT alumna and licensed water operator in the state of Ohio.

“She’s a heck of a chemist,” Dr. Thomas Bridgeman, UT algae researcher and associate professor of ecology, said. “I learn something new every day working alongside her in the lab.”

Bridgeman hired Snyder after she retired from the city of Toledo, where she spent 15 years as a chemist at the Collins Park Water Treatment Plant overseeing chemical processes that transform raw water from Lake Erie into high-quality drinking water.

In 2014, Snyder was the chief chemist who navigated through the Toledo water crisis when the city issued a ‘Do Not Drink’ advisory for half a million residents for three days due to the level of the toxin microcystin detected in the drinking water.

This is a close-up shot of the SEAL AutoAnalyzer. In the tubes, the bubbles separate samples. The instrument can run up to four different analyses at once on one sample; it measures how much phosphate, silica, nitrate and ammonia are in the water.

This is a close-up shot of the SEAL AutoAnalyzer. In the tubes, the bubbles separate samples. The instrument can run up to four different analyses at once on one sample; it measures how much phosphate, silica, nitrate and ammonia are in the water.

A year later, the algal bloom in Maumee Bay was much larger, but did not impact the public water supply.

“I would like to find some answers as to what happened that day,” Snyder said. “That’s one of the reasons I’m here at UT. What is triggering the production of toxin? Why is the size of the algal bloom not related to the amount of toxin released? There is still a ton of science that needs to be done.”

Snyder’s public health mission has shifted to early warning. She is working to find faster ways to alert water treatment plant operators if there is anything in Maumee Bay heading toward the city of Toledo’s intake pipe.

“Information that is two-weeks-old doesn’t do them any good,” Snyder said. “By then the water has already come, gone and is back through the wastewater treatment plant.”

“Brenda’s extensive experience helps us academics connect with the professionals who deal with water treatment on a daily basis,” Bridgeman said. “She knows most of the water utility managers and chemists along Lake Erie. She speaks their language, knows what challenges they face, and what information they need from us to help meet those challenges.”  

Throughout the summer algal bloom season, Snyder is part of Bridgeman’s team that collects water samples aboard UT’s 28-foot research vessel throughout Maumee Bay and the open waters of the western basin. She then runs those samples through what is called the ELISA test, the standard method of measuring the concentration of toxins, like microcystin, associated with cyanobacterial blooms, or harmful algal blooms, in Lake Erie.

Snyder also is tasked with getting a new lab instrument up and running called the SEAL AutoAnalyzer, which analyzes nutrients found in the water, such as phosphorus, ammonia, silica, nitrate and nitrite.

“This tool will help us look at things that feed the algae, which create the microcystin,” Snyder said. “We know the growth of algae is linked to phosphate and nitrogen in the water. But what other subtle things are triggering the overgrowth of the blue-green algae? That’s what we need to find out.”

The machine moves small water samples separated by bubbles through thin tubes that look like clear spaghetti. The tubes thread into different chemicals, and the data is graphed on a computer in the lab.

“The biggest way having this instrument in our lab will change how we conduct research is to get us the results in a more timely fashion,” Snyder said. “Dr. Bridgeman has had to send our samples to another lab to be analyzed for nutrients. We tend to send them in a batch at the end of summer. Instead of taking months to process, we hope to get results within a week of collecting the samples.”

Snyder and the team of researchers at the UT Lake Erie Center will use the SEAL AutoAnalyzer as another tool in their arsenal to help search for answers and develop new protocols for monitoring source water in Lake Erie that could benefit water treatment plants across the country that are affected by algal blooms.

“It’s darn near everywhere,” Snyder said. “They’re having problems in Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, California and anywhere in the South.”

With a wry sense of humor, Snyder said she mixes science and a little bit of art in her water quality quest. It’s one that began at UT.

“I went back to school at the age of 40,” said Snyder, who graduated in 1997 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology. “My son graduated from UT a year later. I joke that I had to wait until he was old enough to tutor me through the calculus classes, which he did.”

But you’d have to rewind farther to discover the moment a little girl on the monkey bars with her eyes in the sky found a love of science in her heart to last a lifetime.

UT alumnus is Beyoncé’s full-time art director

In 2010, Andrew Makadsi graduated from The University of Toledo with dual bachelor’s degrees in film/video and communication. He headed to New York to work in the fashion industry, not as a clothing designer, but as an intern.

These humble beginnings when he worked for free, or nearly free, helped him make contacts in the fashion industry and earn a name for himself. In less than six years, all of that hard work got him noticed, not only in the garment district, but in music industry circles among artists like Beyoncé.



Makadsi’s passion for fashion began long before he left the University. Inspired by top clothing designers and the artists who create the images that promote their work, his film class projects often combined his love of photography and art design with his obsession with fashion. Some of his non-class student projects involved fashion design installations, such as one he helped create for a Student Filmmakers Showcase after-party. The party theme and décor essentially comprised an art installation that was film and fashion-based.

He gave credit to his UT teachers as instrumental in his success. He said it was important to have “teachers like Holly [Hey], who convinced me to major in film. I learned a lot of great things, editing and the software tools, and also a lot about other filmmakers.”

He added that the intimacy of the program meant “having teachers who pay attention to you. Holly really saw something in me and inspired me.”

While the UT film program presented Makadsi with opportunities to branch out to explore other artistic venues, it also allowed him to develop his fashion aesthetic on a deeper level.

“I did a film for Tammy’s [Kinsey] class and other classes that leaned toward that vibe, toward that genre. If I was asked to do something different, I would, but they would also let me express my passion,” he said. “This is not to say they weren’t strict and hard, because they were. But they let me do it.”

Another critical aspect of the program was that the technology was up-to-date and readily accessible.

“Everything was so hands-on,” Makadsi said. “The equipment was available all the time. So we always were able to develop an idea that was in our heads.”

Clearly, Makadsi made the most of it.

Holly Hey, UT associate professor of film, concurred: “Andrew was one of the hardest-working students that I ever taught. He set the bar high in my classes, and his work combined excellent technique, complicated storytelling, and emotional honesty. He epitomizes hard work, making the most of opportunity by showing up, giving it your all, and being a generous collaborator.”

It was his collaboration with other artists in New York that created the opportunities for work and projects that brought him recognition. Over time, free projects led to paid gigs and eventually full-time work.

Makadsi said he never wanted to settle into any one area of the industry, which is what intrigued him about art direction. One of his major full-time jobs was with Industrial Color, a creative production and post-production house; it was there that he learned he enjoyed the full spectrum of art direction.

“I would shoot images, do productions, and I realized that I should be an art director, then I could be involved in so many different things not just one thing,” he said.

In his fashion work, Makadsi has done work for top designers, including Alexander Wang, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Sephora, Levi’s and others.

His work in fashion drew the attention of music artists who were looking for new ideas for videos and tour concepts. He has worked with Kanye West, Jay Z, Swedish House Mafia, Big Sean and others, most notably Beyoncé, starting from the On the Run Tour until Lemonade and the Formation World Tour. He has created the art direction for many of her videos, tour visuals and promotions. Initially, Makadsi said he worked on a few projects and now works for her full time “keeping everything that goes out about her on-brand, from little things to the big things. I’m part of an amazing team. They are just the most creative people.”

Hey said, “I am so happy for Andrew’s success, but I am not at all surprised by it. It was clear to me that he knew what he wanted when he graduated, and that it was really all about how hard he pursued it, working his first jobs without pay, meeting people, making connections, and collaborating with artists in film, fashion, music videos and photography.”

Makadsi has some advice for film students: “Follow your instinct and the voice within, but make sure you work hard. Talent is 20 to 30 percent of what makes you a good filmmaker and artist. But having the discipline and working hard makes the biggest difference.” 

He also advised students to get lots of internships and to prepare to be rejected. “I have been rejected from the silliest and dumbest internships. Don’t let it get you down.”

Makadsi added that whether it’s paid work or internships or free work, it should include “having a new challenge every day, having a job that teaches you and takes you to a new level.”

He also encouraged students to be strong self-promoters on social media: “So many people have been hired off Instagram and Tumblr. Be natural. Have [your online portfolio] be a reflection of you and your image. People will want to hire you based on your work and who inspires you. They hire you based on your vision, especially in my industry. Never settle. Even if you think you’re happy with it. Never get too comfortable. Always take it to the next level.”

Sexual dysfunction may reveal underlying medical condition

Erectile dysfunction is a problem more common than men are willing to admit. Although it can be an uncomfortable topic, men shouldn’t shy away from discussing sexual health concerns with their physician.

Men’s health issues such as erectile dysfunction, low testosterone or incontinence are not only a quality of life concern, but also can be linked to potentially serious health risks, including heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.



June is Men’s Health Month, and UT Health physicians say it is an excellent time for men to take inventory of how they are feeling and to take action if they are experiencing sexual health symptoms. It is important for a man to schedule an appointment with a urologist if he experiences any the following:

• Erectile dysfunction with or without a decrease in sexual desire;

• Urinary incontinence or difficulty urinating;

• A lump or mass in the testicles;

• An elevated PSA level or abnormal prostate exam;

• Infertility;

• Andropause (male menopause); or

• Peyronie’s disease (penile curvature).

“Oftentimes we initially see a patient because he is having difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection,” said Dr. Ajay Singla, UT Health vice chair of urology and director of the UT Men’s Health Clinic. “We may then find the patient has an underlying medical condition such as diabetes, vascular disease or obesity causing his symptoms.”

The diagnosis and management of these conditions can be challenging and in some instances could require a more collaborative approach to treatment.

The UT Men’s Health Clinic opened in 2015 to provide the only comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinic of its kind in the region. Since that time, the clinic has grown from three specialists to a team of seven health-care providers in urology, cardiology, endocrinology, physical therapy, family medicine and nutrition.

“This collaboration allows us to treat the patient as a whole and address all of his health issues during one appointment,” Singla said. “We are finding our patients appreciate the convenience of seeing multiple specialists at one time and are pleased with the customized medical plans we provide.”

To better consolidate services, the UT Men’s Health Clinic is moving Tuesday, June 28, to the Regency Medical Campus located at 1000 Regency Court. The clinic sees patients on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The medical team’s emphasis is on common conditions affecting the urological, sexual and reproductive health of men. Services offered include surgical and non-surgical therapies for benign enlargement of the prostate, andropause, infertility, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, permanent sterilization, varicocele, sexual dysfunction, Peyronie’s disease and incontinence.

To make an appointment for the clinic, call 419.383.4360.

New technology at UT Health is advancing prostate cancer screening and care

Advances in technology now available at UT Health allow physicians to reduce the risk of unnecessary prostate biopsies, more accurately diagnose cancer, and provide a clearer picture of treatment options available.

Each year in the United States, more than one million men undergo a prostate biopsy because of an elevated prostate-specific antigen known as PSA or abnormal rectal examination. Unfortunately, up to 800,000 of them will have undergone the invasive and risky procedure for no reason, as their biopsies are likely to be negative or show non-deadly, non-aggressive disease.

Dr. Samay Jain displayed an MRI that shows the anatomic detail of the bladder and the prostate.

Dr. Samay Jain displayed an MRI that shows the anatomic detail of the bladder and the prostate.

“For years, the traditional pathway for prostate cancer detection has been to perform a biopsy if a man had an abnormal PSA or rectal exam” said Dr. Samay Jain, vice chief of staff and division chief of urologic oncology at UT Health. “However, prostate biopsies have come under considerable fire as of late because of the significant risks of severe infection and death in certain cases.”

Fortunately, there is a better way, and it is available right here in northwest Ohio.

Advances in magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI technology, enable UT physicians to see inside the prostate in a safe and noninvasive manner to identify men who truly need biopsies.

“Prostate MRI allows us to see the prostate in a way that was never available before,” Jain said. “In the right hands, this information can be crucial in determining whether a man needs a risky biopsy or not.

“Not only does MRI help in deciding who needs a biopsy, but for those diagnosed with prostate cancer, the imaging we have aids in tailoring individual treatments for each individual patient.”

Should a patient need to undergo a biopsy, images from the MRI allow for more precise sampling from areas of concern and yield much higher cancer detection rates than performing prostate biopsies without the MRI technology.

June is Men’s Health Month, and Jain reminds men the key to early detection is starting the conversation with their physicians.

“It can be an uncomfortable topic. Men don’t like to talk about prostate screenings for a variety of reasons,” he said. “But it’s important to have the courage to broach the topic, even if their physicians don’t.

“Also, listen to your loved ones. I think there are many men who owe their lives to their wives and daughters for finally convincing them to schedule an appointment and get screened. By staying proactive, we are confident that we can decrease the number of men dying from prostate cancer in the near future.”

Current American Urological Association Guidelines recommend routine screening for healthy men between the ages of 55 and 69 and recommend a PSA and rectal exam every other year. Men outside of this age range should have a discussion with their doctor on whether prostate cancer screening is right for them.

Comfort dog calms patients, visitors at UT Medical Center

Patients, visitors and staff at The University of Toledo Medical Center may see a new furry face around the hospital.

Anna, a golden retriever and comfort dog from Trinity Lutheran Church and School, visits with patients and their families at UTMC to reduce stress, facilitate conversation and interaction, and brighten the atmosphere of the hospital.

Susan Chilcote Bagley smiled during a visit with Anna, a comfort dog from Trinity Lutheran Church and School, while she waited for her father to get out of surgery at UT Medical Center.

Susan Chilcote Bagley smiled during a visit with Anna, a comfort dog from Trinity Lutheran Church and School, while she waited for her father to get out of surgery at UT Medical Center.

“Anna has been very well received at UTMC,” said Nancy Borders, top dog trainer for Trinity Lutheran Church Ministry. “She often puts smiles on peoples’ faces and makes their day when they see her.”

When recently making the rounds, Anna met Susan Chilcote Bagley from Los Angeles; she was waiting for her father to get out of surgery.

“Any animal coming around calms you and makes you feel relaxed,” Bagley said. She added it was great to see Anna since she was missing her dogs back home.

UTMC Staff Nurse Hannah Aiyewunmi said Anna made a positive impact on her patient, James Mitchell. She said he expressed sadness for not having his family members around, and Anna improved his mood.

“She really did cheer me up; she made my day,” Mitchell said.

Anna has a team of 15 caregivers, handlers and assistant handlers from Trinity Lutheran Church and School, and at least two accompany her while she visits UTMC.

The canine came to Trinity Lutheran Church and School through Lutheran Church Charities in July 2015. Anna visits schools, nursing homes, fire stations and other locations in northwest Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Through Lutheran Church Charities, Anna has received training on the same level as that of a service dog.

Lutheran Church Charities has more than 100 comfort dogs in churches throughout the country. They have responded to emergencies such as the shooting at Sandy Hook in Newton, Conn., the Boston Marathon bombing, and tornadoes in Illinois and Oklahoma.

UT duo collaborates on reflective publication

“I guess I didn’t realize everybody’s kitchen didn’t sometimes smell like oil paint and turpentine, and that it was unusual that sometimes when you got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, your mom would be up at two in the morning painting,” Tim Sanderson reflected with a smile.

He cites his mother as a major influence for his interest in art.
“She would let you know if your art needed work, but she’d do it in a way that made you think, ‘Yeah, I can fix that.’”

“Schweinlebensraum” (“Living Space for Pigs as Pigs”), an original futuristic drawing by Tim Sanderson, was inspired by the counterfactual conjecture “If pigs could fly …” to accompany Dr. David Nemeth’s piece titled “Space, Time and Pig.”

“Schweinlebensraum” (“Living Space for Pigs as Pigs”), an original futuristic drawing by Tim Sanderson, was inspired by the counterfactual conjecture “If pigs could fly …” to accompany Dr. David Nemeth’s piece titled “Space, Time and Pig.”

Sanderson, college computing administrator, and Dr. David Nemeth, professor of geography, have worked collaboratively on several projects while at The University of Toledo — Nemeth writes, and Sanderson illustrates the sardonic works.

The pair most recently teamed up for their third collaborative piece; this one is about wild pigs. Nemeth explained that he examines what it would be like if pigs were free beings, rather than factory farmed for the sole purpose of being eaten.

“I took the popular idiom ‘If pigs could fly,’ which would mean something is totally impossible,” he said. “And yet, pigs can fly through technology and science, with planes and such. So, I’m thinking perhaps they can fly above their conditions of pigs as pork, and become pigs as pigs again.”

Sanderson recalled when Nemeth reached out to him about his most recent work: “When I asked what he needed me to draw, he said he wanted a post-modern, flying pig, and I told him I wasn’t even sure what that means.”

But Nemeth liked what Sanderson came up with, and the flying pig was included.

“The University is a real intellectual community, which is what a university is supposed to be,” Nemeth said. “It’d be great if we could make this a real collaborative, creative community.”

“Space, Time and Pig” will be published in Ecology, Conservation and Management of Wild Pigs and Peccaries (Cambridge University Press) later this year.

UT international students participate in community art project

Students of the Advanced Speaking and Listening: American Culture class recently shared their stories about strong women who have influenced them as part of the Sit&Tell Project.

Sit&Tell is a community-wide art project that brings together storytellers and artists to share positive, inspiring stories about strong women. The project began with 100 stories being shared March 20, National Storytelling Day.

Mohammed Alabbas, right, showed his Sit&Tell story to Mahdi Ghashi. Both are advanced American Language Institute students who were in the Advanced Speaking and Listening class spring semester.

Mohammed Alabbas, right, showed his Sit&Tell story to Mahdi Ghashi. Both are advanced American Language Institute students who were in the Advanced Speaking and Listening class spring semester.

Artists and designers then received the recorded stories and were tasked with interpreting them artistically on chairs. The chairs, which will have QR codes linking them to their respective stories, will be part of rolling exhibitions through Toledo neighborhoods this summer.

Sherris Schwind, English as a second language instructor of the Advanced Speaking and Listening class, participated in Sit&Tell by sharing her own story.

Aware of the hurdles international students face when coming to the United States, like language barriers and a totally foreign culture, Schwind wanted to give her students the opportunity to engage with the community and feel more included. After her own positive experience with the project, she spoke to Jenn Stucker, founder of the event, about bringing it to her classroom.

Once she got the go-ahead, Schwind instructed her class of international students to prepare their two-minute stories, which were recorded in spring semester.

The students’ stories included a variety of strong women, from mothers and sisters to models and daughters of prophets, and described the way those women inspired and changed their lives.

“[My aunt] affected my life. She came to America to study, she graduated in Florida, she never gives up. That’s why I came here to study,” said Yang Ming, advanced American Language Institute student.

Lin Yao, advanced American Language Institute student, told a story about his grandmother: “She gave me a lot of knowledge I can’t learn in school. She has a lot of power of love.”

One student spoke of her single mother’s success and struggles in raising nine children on her own, and another described his neighbor, an old woman who devoted her time to caring for a local man in need. Every student in the class had a story to share.

The project allowed these students to practice the English speaking and listening skills they need to excel in their classes at The University of Toledo, Schwind said.

For more information about Sit&Tell, visit sitandtell.com.

College of Medicine graduates ready to lead and serve

After countless hours of studying, hundreds of cups of coffee, and more than a few restless nights, students graduating from The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences waited in anticipation in the wings of the Stranahan Theater before receiving their diplomas.



“It is so rewarding to finally have the title of doctor,” said Dr. Harshal Waghulde, who received his PhD in biomedical sciences at the college’s commencement ceremony May 27.

Waghulde was one of more than 170 students who received doctoral degrees.

Graduates and their guests listened as retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Susan Desjardins delivered a commencement address centered on the theme of public service. It was fitting as leadership, determination, focus and community seem to be the common threads of this graduating class.

“Our class is unique. Sure, we challenged each other, but it’s not about vanity and competition,” explained Dr. Josh Merris, who received his doctorate of medicine. “We pushed each other and learned from each other in order to get better. We respect each other and have built a community of support. It’s been a great experience.”

The path to commencement was rewarding, but challenging.



“Medical school was definitely a challenge. I missed family vacations and celebrations, and it was mentally draining,” said Dr. Rachael Sciplin, a doctor of medicine graduate. “My professors and family helped me to realize that the sacrifices were temporary and that I would come out of it better on the other side. I had to step out of my comfort zone and each success helped me to gain confidence.”

Waghulde is a first-generation college student from a small town in India, but he said the faculty and his colleagues made Toledo feel like home.

“There were many resources here for me to complete research and be on the front lines of cutting-edge science,” he said. “I am the first one in my family to go to college. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine.”

For Merris, balancing medical school and personal time with his wife and four young children was sometimes a challenge. He said his peers were supportive and respected his decision to go home after classes instead of joining them in the library or at social events.

Anisa and Joshua Merris smiled for the camera at Match Day with their children, from left, Daniel, Jonathan and Grace. Their fourth child, Michael, was born less than a month after Match Day.

Anisa and Joshua Merris smiled for the camera at Match Day with their children, from left, Daniel, Jonathan and Grace. Their fourth child, Michael, was born less than a month after Match Day.

“My classmates and instructors helped me to find balance. They encouraged me to put family first and to stay focused on the reasons I wanted to pursue medicine,” he said. “I credit my wife for my success. She kept everything running. She was the glue that held it all together while I was studying. I can’t thank her enough.”

With degree in hand, the graduates are ready to make a difference in the world by giving back.

Sciplin hopes to work in an outpatient clinic in an urban or underserved area, perhaps returning home to the Toledo region after completing her residency at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine in Tampa. Merris looks forward to making a difference in the lives of cancer patients. He will remain in Toledo for his first year of general residency before moving to Buffalo, N.Y., to begin in radiation oncology. Waghulde will continue his research during postdoctoral work at UT before returning to India.

“These and all of our graduates exemplify The University of Toledo’s mission,” said Dr. Christopher Cooper, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine and Life Sciences. “They are poised to improve the human condition through compassionate care, new treatment methods and community service. They are ready to become leaders and agents of change.”

In all, 254 students received degrees: 169 earned doctor of medicine degrees, five received doctor of philosophy degrees, 65 received master’s degrees, and 15 received graduate certificates.