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Electrical engineering student lights up holidays

It’s a cool Yule outside iHeart’s WRVF station in downtown Toledo as more than 3,000 lights in the shape of a Christmas tree pulsate in time to 101.5 the River’s holiday music.

Last February, Alec Connolly was given the task of brightening up and adding joy to the sonic world this Christmas season. The UT junior majoring in electrical engineering is completing his co-op with iHeartMedia.

Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5's Christmas on the River.

Alec Connolly, a UT junior majoring in electrical engineering who is working a co-op at iHeartMedia, posed for a photo by the lights that he synced for 101.5’s Christmas on the River.

“My boss, Gary Fullhart [market director of engineering and information technology at iHeartMedia] came up with the idea, and we brainstormed and put the project together,” Connolly said. “He went up to Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Mich., and he put this big bag of Christmas lights on my desk, and that’s when I knew it was actually going to happen.”

With a twinkle in his eye, Connolly began researching the project. By April, the UT engineering student had three units built for stations in Toledo, Lima and Napoleon.

“Most of the Christmas displays that you see are programmed to prerecorded songs; they pick 10 or 15 songs, and they program each individual light,” Connolly explained. “What we wanted to do is program it in real time. I can’t program every single light because on the radio, it’s random Christmas songs that play, so I wanted to do it in real time.”

Add a Raspberry Pi — a computer about the size of a credit card — running the free software LightShow Pi and it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

“The Raspberry Pi actually listens to the audio and converts it to the lights, which is what you see on the tree,” Connolly said. “Playing along to the music, the tree looks absolutely fantastic.”

“This is an interesting work that Alec has done,” Dr. Mansoor Alam, professor and chair of electrical engineering and computer science, said. “This shows that electrical engineering is not just hard work, but is also fun.”

“I visited Alec’s employer, iHeart Media, and talked to him about this project earlier this year,” Karen J. Gauthier, associate co-op director for electrical and computer science engineering, said. “His enthusiasm and willingness to go the extra mile to complete a project was evident.”

Synchronizing holiday songs and the lights proved inspirational for Connolly: “I’m planning to get the materials and make a unit again so that my house next year will have a display set up that’s synced to the River as well.”

The Sylvania resident wrote about the project for Radio World; read his article here.

And see the project in action in this video. Or dash down by the station at 125 S. Superior St.

“Folks can park by the Spaghetti Warehouse and sit in their cars and listen to Christmas on the River and watch,” Connolly said.

Art student restores globe in Carlson Library

What the globe in Carlson Library needed was love, sweet love. And some new paint.

“After 43 years, the globe was very dirty and showing a lot of wear. To the best of my knowledge, it had never been properly cleaned,” David Remaklus, director of library operation, said. “During the renovations of the third floor last summer, we realized the globe needed some attention.”

Simone Tilmon touched up the globe in Carlson Library during fall semester.

Simone Tilmon touched up the globe in Carlson Library during fall semester.

He contacted Karen Roderick-Lingeman, senior lecturer of art, who recommended a senior majoring in art for the job.

“Simone Tilmon is one of our talented bachelor of fine arts majors,” Roderick-Lingeman said. “I thought she would be an excellent student to work on the Carlson Library globe due to her sensitive attention to detail.”

Enter Tilmon, who provided TLC for the globe this semester.

“At first, I cleaned with rags, but there are a lot of crevices, so I had to get a scrub brush and some solution that would not damage the paint that was already there,” Tilmon said.

She consulted with Arturo Rodriguez, associate professor of art, and Daniel Hernandez, assistant professor of art, who suggested she use Simple Green to clean the globe. They also agreed that acrylic paint would be the best fit to match the globe.

After two weeks of cleaning, Tilmon started brightening up the world in late September.

Tilmon close-up of her hand by Rachel“I thought that the painting process would be a lot easier to match up the colors. But it was very difficult to try to paint certain areas of the globe, to restore it, because of the fading issue,” she said. “I really liked trying to keep as much of the globe as it is; it was a challenge.”

Painting the 320-pound sphere that measures 6 feet in diameter on site also made the task interesting. With some scaffolding, Tilmon literally was on top of the world.

“I really enjoyed the painting. It was fun,” the artist said. “I really liked painting the snow caps — painting the Greenland area and Antarctica area — everything that had to do with a white touch-up. It looked finished and pristine.”

The most difficult part of the worldly task? “The water gave me the most problem,” Tilmon said. “It changes colors throughout, and I had to try to match that paint.”

Installed in Carlson Library in 1973, the oceanographic geophysical earth globe was custom made for the University by Rand McNally & Co. in New York. At the time, it was one of only four of its kind crafted. According to a 1973 story that ran in UT’s alumni publication, eight shades of blue were used to differentiate contoured ocean depths, and hand-painting of the globe took approximately 575 hours.

Tilmon worked more than two months adding color to the globe.

“Simone did a fantastic job. We couldn’t be happier with the transformation,” Remaklus said. “She was extremely careful to be sure every nook and cranny of the globe was properly cleaned, and the touch-up was limited to only those places where it was needed to be sure the globe looked as it did when new. I was amazed at how vibrant the colors were after 45 years of dust was removed.”

For more than 30 years, the globe was an attraction on the first floor of Carlson Library. When the Information Commons opened in 2007, it was moved to the third floor by the maps collection.

“Because the globe was on the first floor for nearly 35 years, many of our alumni remember it. We often get questions as to its whereabouts,” Remaklus said. “On the third floor, the globe has a prominent space just off the elevators. It looks wonderful in the newly renovated floor.”

He added the electric motor that turns the globe will be repaired next year.

In 2017, Tilmon will study interior design at the University of Cincinnati. She will graduate with a bachelor of fine arts degree from UT Saturday, Dec. 17.

“Art has been all that I’ve done since I was a toddler. I realized quickly this is what I wanted to do with my life,” she said. “Art is how I assess the world around me and the one way I know how to express my thoughts.”

‘A Cup of Prevention’ emphasizes consent

Students fueling up on caffeine during finals week at Starbucks in the Student Union and Java City in Rocket Hall will be encouraged to think about consent and a culture of respect to prevent sexual assault.

Through the “A Cup of Prevention” campaign led by the UT Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, stickers will be on 700 coffee sleeves throughout the week with the phrase “Consent is” followed by a blank line for patrons to write in what consent means to them.

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says "Consent is ..."

Lindsay Tuttle, head of Sexual Assault Early Prevention Program (SAEPP), holds a Starbucks Coffee cup with a Coffee Sleeve that says “Consent is …”

“We want to get students thinking and talking about consent and what it means to them. Writing in words such as ‘verbal’ or ‘consistent’ helps advance a culture of education and prevention against sexual assault,” said Lindsay Tuttle, sexual assault and substance abuse prevention education coordinator.

Students are encouraged to continue the conversation on social media using #UTConsentIs with a picture of their coffee cup and what consent means to them. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program will continue the awareness effort when students return in January for the spring semester by providing “Consent is” wristbands to students and hanging posters across campus.

“It is important to reinforce that true consent is willing, clearly communicated, specific and not under the influence of alcohol and drugs,” Tuttle said. “This conversation on consent is part of our efforts to encourage a culture that is comfortable talking about sexual assault so that we can better prevent and address it.”

The “Consent is” campaign is one of a series of education initiatives undertaken during the academic year to educate students about sexual misconduct and the resources available to them on campus.

The Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, which is part of the Counseling Center in the Division of Student Affairs, conducts additional education programming throughout the year, including the Silent Witness Project and other events for Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) Day in September, and the Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April.

In addition, UT’s Title IX Office ensures compliance with federal law and works to raise awareness of sexual assault prevention. The Title IX Office investigates all reports of sexual misconduct, implements interim measures when necessary, and works to remedy the effects of sexual misconduct.

The University recently was recognized by the Ohio Department of Higher Education for its efforts to implement the Changing Campus Culture initiative, which is a statewide effort to end sexual assault on all campuses. UT is one of 35 of Ohio’s 88 participating college campuses to implement 100 percent of the recommendations in the first year of the initiative.

“We now have more trained professionals on campus, more engaged students and more data to guide our efforts. But your university has achieved far more, successfully completing all five of the recommendations put forth by the Changing Campus Culture Advisory Group,” Ohio Chancellor John Carey wrote in a letter to President Sharon L. Gaber.

“Work of this magnitude is not done in a silo. While you appointed one individual to lead in these efforts, I know that they worked with other members of your campus community to identify areas of focus, raise awareness, develop comprehensive prevention plans, review response protocols to ensure they are comprehensive, and identify survivor-centered strategies to increase reporting and support services,” the letter continued. “I am grateful for their willingness to support the efforts on your campus.”

For more information about the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Program, call 419.530.3431, visit the office in the Counseling Center located in Rocket Hall Room 1810, or go online to utoledo.edu/studentaffairs/saepp.

Record number of international students sit down for Thanksgiving meals with host families

It was a record year for the Center for International Studies and Programs’ fifth annual Thanksgiving host program: 30 families invited 80 students to their homes to celebrate the traditional American dinner.

“The results of the presidential election left many with feelings of anxiety,” said Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost for international studies and programs. “Even with the uncertainty in the air, we were able to triple the number of families and students participating in the program this year.”

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, welcomed international students to their Thanksgiving gathering.

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, welcomed international students to their Thanksgiving gathering.

In 2012, nine families hosted 12 international students. The program has grown each year.

“This gesture displays the great unity of our community, the appreciation of diversity, and willingness to open our hearts and homes to individuals of different cultures,” Spann said. “The Center for International Studies and Programs is committed to providing more events that help bridging cultures together.”

Xinren Yu, international program coordinator in the Confucius Institute, said more families asked to host students after the registration deadline, and he worked to accommodate as many requests as possible.

“It really shows that our community is very receptive and welcoming people from all cultures and backgrounds,” Yu said.

According to Yu, a lot of the students end up having closer relationships with their families after participating in the program.

UT student Maggie Nigro, center, invited Arofat Rakhmankulova of Uzbekistan, left,  and Mayu Adachi of Japan for Thanksgiving dinner.

UT student Maggie Nigro, center, invited Arofat Rakhmankulova of Uzbekistan, left,
and Mayu Adachi of Japan for Thanksgiving dinner.

“Students have the opportunity to have a real Thanksgiving experience and learn about American culture and the traditions,” Yu said. “It’s also a great time to make new friends and bond with an American family.”

Kate Abu-Absi, outreach and retention specialist in the College of Arts and Letters, hosted eight international students.

“In the world today, there are a lot of people who are being discriminated against, and I want our students to always feel that UT is their home away from home,” she said.

Abu-Absi said she had such a great time at Thanksgiving she plans to invite international students to celebrate other holidays.

“Everyone got a plate, and we pulled our chairs into the family room and sat in a big circle and talked about what we are thankful for,” she said. “We laughed, shared stories about family and friends, ate way too much, and had a blast.”

Cheryl Thomas, executive assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs, and her husband, Dave, continue to open their home.

“My husband and I have been hosting international students for several years now.  The cultural bonding, friendship and fun is what keeps us doing it year after year. Of course, my husband is a wonderful cook, too,” Thomas said. “We are very honored and thankful to have these students in our lives, so what better way than at Thanksgiving to share just what that means with them.”

Inmaculada Zanoguera, a graduate assistant from Spain, shared Thanksgiving dinner with the Thomas family.

“Good company, good vibes and good food — there is nothing like getting together in celebration of such a cheerful holiday to remind us how privileged we are to be here,” Zanoguera said. “I think I speak for all international students when I say that having a family selflessly open the doors of their home for us isn’t just a thoughtful invite, but a great honor for which we are deeply thankful. We sincerely appreciate all of the host families who participated in the program.”

“Getting to see all the happy and excited faces of students who have never experienced Thanksgiving makes this one of my favorite events all year,” said Tyler Mattson, graduate assistant in the Center for International Studies and Programs. “The students always leave stuffed to capacity and excited to have been a part of an American holiday.”

New UT Press book showcases voices of Beat poets

For one year, David Ossman interviewed writers and literati as poetry reached its precipice.

With reel-to-reel tapes recording, Ossman was on the air at WBAI in New York City, where he talked to poets and editors in 1960 and 1961. His show was called “The Sullen Art,” a reference to Dylan Thomas’ poem about the solitary nature of writing. Among those stopping by to share thoughts were Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Robert Creeley, Amiri Baraka, Paul Blackburn, Rochelle Owens and Jackson Mac Low. Corinth Books published some of Ossman’s transcripts in 1963.

Sullen ArtAn expanded edition of “The Sullen Art: Recording the Revolution in American Poetry” recently was published by The University of Toledo Press. The 268-page work includes 28 interviews and a CD recording of Ossman’s 1961 radio documentary.

“At the moment ‘The Sullen Art’ was on the air, I felt was doing my listeners a service by playing out to them something they couldn’t have known unless they were grubbing around in the Beat bookstores in Greenwich Village,” Ossman said during a call from his home on Whidbey Island, Wash.

“There were poetry readers on the air, but no one was talking about what was really going on, and by this time, it had been going on for five years where everything — since “Howl” and “On the Road” and “Naked Lunch” — had changed in the world.”

Being a poet, novelist and playwright helped Ossman easily converse with other artists who wielded words.

“I really think [the book] is a slice of history and shows when poetry began to go in several directions. The ’60s lay spread out for the poets and the writers who were writing in 1960, and if you look at that decade, how tumultuous and political and violent it was, well, all of those things were about to happen,” Ossman said. “At the moment of the interviews, and I made this comment to many of the writers: It seems like nothing is happening; it seems like an interregnum; it seems like a quiet spot just between the election and the inauguration, just when Kennedy came into office. 

Sullen Art event info box“So it’s a snapshot, to use another cliché word, of that year — what people were talking about, what moved them, what kind of writing they wanted to do, who they liked, who they didn’t like. And so much of it centers around Ginsberg as the guy who was famous.

“Other than the novels [Jack] Kerouac was churning out and long, long poems that Allen was turning out, general readers didn’t know about anybody else. It was censorship; it was the press: Should we talk about that? It was a weird moment in time. And I think everything in the ’60s precipitated from that, including really the end of poetry as an influence, which Allen carried all the way through the ’60s, through the Vietnam War, and became almost a folk hero.” 

Ginsberg’s interview offers a peek into his innovative process.

“It’s a moment in Allen’s creative life that he was willing to share very informally; I just pointed at the tape recorder and said, ‘Go,’ and it started. That to me is the centerpiece — where he was at that moment as a writer, where he was famous, but it was before he became a real pop culture figure, and how everyone else in the community of writers felt about it. And the impassioned writers of the time really cared about method and influences, and everybody is corresponding with everybody else and talking about Ezra Pound, I mean, it’s really serious stuff. That disappeared by the mid-60s. I was happy to go into comedy,” Ossman said and laughed.

Ossman

Ossman

Ossman headed west and helped create the comedy troupe, The Firesign Theatre, which received three Grammy Award nominations. The witty writer also penned a novel, “The Ronald Reagan Murder Case,” a memoir titled “Dr. Firesign’s Follies,” and is finishing a second memoir called “Fighting Clowns of Hollywood.” His latest collection of poems is “Marshmallows & Despair,” and his forthcoming second novel is “The Flying Saucer Murder Case.” Other credits include directing “The War of the Worlds 50th Anniversary Production” and providing the voice of Cornelius in Pixar’s “A Bug’s Life.”

Meanwhile, in 1977, thanks to encouragement from Noel Stock, UT professor emeritus of English, the University obtained the recordings of poets who appeared on Ossman’s radio show. The tapes and related materials are housed in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections in Carlson Library.

Two years ago, Ossman and his wife, Judith Walcutt, contacted the Canaday Center about the possibility of an expanded edition of “The Sullen Art.”

“The inspiration was: Can we get this published and on CD? And the answer was yes,” Ossman said. “I love the book, and I love the way it turned out.”

Thanks to the Alice Ohlinger Weaver Endowment Fund, the reel-to-reel tapes were digitized so a CD could be included with the book.

“I’m proud that this important work has been given new attention through this updated edition,” Barbara Floyd, director of the Canaday Center and UT Press, and interim director of University Libraries, said. “The interviews in this book reveal these poets at a time when their styles were still evolving, and they were only just becoming well-known and critically acclaimed.”

“The Sullen Art” is $29.95 and available at utoledopress.com.

In honor of Ossman’s 80th birthday, members of the Toledo Poets Museum will read excerpts from “The Sullen Art” Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. in Carlson Library Room 1005. The free event is co-sponsored by the UT Press and the UT Department of English Language and Literature.

UT Health physician warns allergy season extends into fall and winter

As the warmth of early fall gives way to crisp evenings and the start of the holiday season, thoughts of raking leaves and a crackling fire come to mind. But not everyone can enjoy the crunch of drying leaves and the scent of wood burning in the fireplace.

The 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children who are affected by nasal allergies in the United States know the sneezing, stuffy nose, sinus pressure, itchy eyes and cough of seasonal allergies are not always resolved the change of seasons.

Kriegel

Kriegel

University of Toledo Health Allergist and Immunologist Dr. Svetlana I. Kriegel recommends
those affected learn their triggers and symptoms and ways to avoid exposure to allergens to reduce the misery of nasal allergies.

“The most common are seasonal pollen allergies in the spring, summer and fall. About 70 percent of patients with spring allergies also have allergy symptoms in the fall,” Kriegel said. “We have seen a drop in temperature and with it a drop in ragweed pollen, the primary fall allergen.”

Kriegel said patients are starting to notice a change, but we aren’t out of the woods yet, and other allergens like mold are actually triggering allergic symptoms.

“The fungi take advantage of the fallen leaves and decaying vegetation this time of year and can be found in compost piles, cut grasses, wooded areas, soils, lawn debris and other moist surfaces,” Kriegel said. “In order to reduce the exposure to molds, I suggest avoiding raking leaves altogether or wearing a particle mask if you must work outside.”

A hard frost will eventually kill the foliage and bring the outdoor molds to the dormant state. However, Kriegel said indoor molds can still be troublesome, especially with humidity levels more than 50 percent. The damp air allows molds to flourish in poorly ventilated areas like attics, bathrooms, basements and under kitchen sinks.

“As we close windows and start running heaters, indoor allergens, including dust mites, pets, cockroaches and molds, become predominant allergy triggers,” Kriegel said. “Luckily, effective avoidance measures can diminish exposure, thus decrease nasal, eye and chest symptoms. I always teach my patients this first line of defense.”

Kriegel said it is important to consider other indoor allergens as we settle in for the winter.

“As we are coming to the holiday season, we all should be jolly and happy,” she said. “Be mindful of your guests who could have an allergic or asthmatic reaction to indoor triggers.”

Smoke from fireplaces or wood burners, scented candles and pets can cause problems for allergy sufferers.

“If you purchase a live Christmas tree, you are at risk for carrying millions of mold spores into your home in its bark,” she said. “This mold can cause worsening of allergies and asthma in sensitive adults and kids.”

When avoidance measures are not enough to minimize suffering from allergies or when patients also experience episodic cough, wheezing or chest tightness, Kriegel develops an individualized care strategy for each patient.

“Pharmacological therapy for patients with allergies and asthma made great advances in recent years,” she said. “Medicines can significantly improve the quality of life of allergic individuals. Nontheless, for the most bothersome, persistent and difficult to treat symptoms, allergen immunotherapy offers a great advantage. For the right patient, allergy shots can reduce suffering from asthma and potentially cure his or her allergies.”

Electrical engineering student inspires LinkedIn campaign

Tyrone Jacobs Jr.’s drive to succeed is larger-than-life — like the ginormous image of him on a wall at LinkedIn headquarters in California.

A line from an April post is by his photo: “I will never, and I mean never, stop striving for greatness.”

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. visited LinkedIn headquarters in California last month. The networking company featured the UT student in a campaign.

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. visited LinkedIn headquarters in California last month. The networking company featured the UT student in a campaign.

“I got tagged in a post on LinkedIn. And I clicked on the link and it was me, and I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I had to stop. I thought: Is this for real? And I’m looking at it, and it’s for real — a wall, a mural, dedicated in my honor in their headquarters,” the UT junior majoring in electrical engineering said.

“Anybody who works at LinkedIn in California can see me all day — right there when you walk to the café — it’s a huge plastering of me,” he said. “I can’t put what it means into words.”

It all began in March when Jacobs attended the National Society of Black Engineers conference in Boston and interviewed with Boeing Co. In April, he was offered a summer internship with the world’s largest aerospace company and manufacturer of commercial jets.

“I got the offer, and I posted about it on my LinkedIn account,” he recalled.

Heartfelt and candid, the post began: “To be real, statistically, I should be dead or in jail. I’m a young black man that was raised in the hood by a single mother that had to support three other family members along with me. I don’t even know what to say. How did I make it this far in my life when the odds were always against me? I’m so in shock. I came from practically nothing and to get an offer from Boeing for an electromagnetics effects position just absolutely blows me away… I will never, and I mean never, stop striving for greatness.”

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. posed for a photo last month by his mural at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. posed for a photo last month by his mural at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.

“The post just blew up,” Jacobs said. “It really took off like a rocket. It had 13,000 to 14,000 likes and comments.”

In fact, the post received so much attention that LinkedIn invited Jacobs to visit. He traveled to the business networking giant’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., in April.

“I flew out there for a photo shoot and a video shoot. My video is on the YouTube channel if you type in ‘defying the odds Tyrone Jacobs Jr.,’ you’ll see me with my big cheesy smile on the thumbnail of the video,” he said and laughed.

More than 3,500 have viewed that video, and thousands have seen Jacobs on LinkedIn’s wall, which went up during the summer.

“I’m just trying to spread my story to inspire someone,” he said.

Jacobs

Jacobs

It’s a moving tale about a boy born in Chicago who grew up in Toledo.

“I lived in a bad neighborhood. I come from where people don’t make it from. I saw a lot of police, violence, gangs, drugs — all these things you see in a movie or on TV, I was seeing in real life,” he said. “Sometimes we didn’t have electricity or food. And I didn’t have a father.

“My mom, she was so focused on me, going to school and keeping my grades up, making sure I was taking care of my business.”

Since the family didn’t have a computer, with his mom’s encouragement, Jacobs went to the library every day after school.

“My mom talks about that now, how I was always so studious. I was trying to get away from all the negative stuff around me,” he said.

His mom continues to motivate him.

“She’s worked so hard over the years, and she’s done what she can with so little,” Jacobs said. “She’s my inspiration. If I can make a better situation for her and the rest of my family, that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing.”

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. met LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner last month.

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. met LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner last month.

The 2012 graduate of Toledo Technology Academy has impressed many.

“Tyrone sets a great example of what all of our students can achieve. They are ready to take on major roles in industry and start making an impact right away, even before graduation, in Tyrone’s case,” Dr. Nagi Naganathan, dean of the College of Engineering, said. “Tyrone exemplifies the kind of leadership we want our students to embody. I don’t doubt that his perseverance and dedication will pay off in ways he has yet to realize.”

“I think Tyrone’s story is inspiring to anyone,” Dr. Mansoor Alam, professor and chair of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, said. “It proves there is light at the end of the tunnel, but only for those who keep on and on — moving forward as Tyrone did.”

“I find Tyrone an inspiration,” Christie Hennen, associate director of student services in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, said. “He never gives up on his goals. When faced with challenges, Tyrone perseveres and does it with a positive attitude.”

Jacobs found his passion in a high school digital electronics class. Choosing to attend The University of Toledo was easy.

“The main reason was because UT has a really strong College of Engineering. And the fact that the school is close to home, all my family is here,” he said. “I got offered scholarships as well to come here and pursue my education. Everything worked out.”

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. smiled for the camera at the LinkedIn Café during a visit in October.

Tyrone Jacobs Jr. smiled for the camera at the LinkedIn Café during a visit in October.

That includes landing internships with two Fortune 500 companies. In 2015, Jacobs worked in information technology at Eaton Corp. in Maumee.

Then there was Boeing: “I had a chance to see employees design airplane wings and other parts of airplanes. I was looking at military aircrafts, all this super-cool and confidential stuff that people usually don’t have a chance to see.”

Last month, Jacobs experienced more rarities when he returned to LinkedIn.

“I flew out there to meet with some of the people who have been working on my stuff,” he said. “And I was kind of a celebrity there in a sense for a moment. I was walking through the building, and everybody was freaking out: ‘Wait! Is this the guy?’ Everybody is stopping their work just to say hi. That felt pretty cool.”

As if that wasn’t enough, Jacobs met LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner.

“He was very humble, relaxed and cool. He shook my hand, we took a picture, I got to pick his brain for a little bit. He actually said, ‘I remember you, I liked your post.’ He actually likes my posts. I’ve never had a CEO of anything like my posts. I see his name pop up, and I’m just like wow, he genuinely likes my stuff. It’s crazy.”

Back on campus, Jacobs is concentrating on classes. He is president of the UT chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers and a member of the Roy and Marcia Ames Engineering Leadership Institute, and he is an information technology desktop support assistant in the College of Arts and Letters. Carrying a grade point average above 3.0, Jacobs plans to graduate in fall 2017 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering and a minor in business administration. He’s applied for another internship with Boeing, this time in California, and hopes to get an offer letter soon.

“I want to use my all for everything that I’m doing right now — school, work, all my leadership on campus — everything I’m doing, I have to give it my 120 percent every day, not complaining, not making excuses, just getting the job done,” he said.

“I want to keep growing, making more moves, and keeping my eyes on the prize, and not stop until I get there.”

Students identify popular bursts of baby names spanning more than a century

Teachers notice it the most.

Popular names can be confusing when groups of students in a classroom share the same one.

Ram Mukherjee, left, analyzed the popularity of names for newborn girls, a project supervised by Dr. Tian Chen, assistant professor.

Ram Mukherjee, left, analyzed the popularity of names for newborn girls, a project supervised by Dr. Tian Chen, assistant professor.

Chloe, Bailey, Claire and Crystal are the next big names to hit elementary schools in the U.S. in growing numbers, according to student research at The University of Toledo.

“We wanted to explore which names appear together over time, and the results are quite interesting,” Ram Mukherjee, a graduate student studying statistics and working as a teaching assistant at the University, said.

After struggling to hand back homework assignments to college classes with a lot of students named Emily, Abigail and Christina, a group of UT graduate students analyzed underlying data structures to understand reasons behind popular clusters of first names for newborn girls in the U.S. from 1880 to 2004.

The team chose to work with girls only for its baby name research because there are more options. Out of 104,110 unique names, 64,911 are female and 39,119 are male.

baby name research graph“For example, the cluster of Emily, Abigail, Christina, Sarah, Nicole, Rachel and Megan grew steadily in the 1980s and peaked in the 1990s for newborns, which explains the reason why we see so many in college or the workforce now,” Mukherjee said.

Emma, Ella, Claire, Anna and Kathryn trended together in the 1930s and rose again together in the 1990s. Elizabeth and Kelly were popular in the 1920s and began to surge again in the 1970s.

Dr. Tian Chen, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, supervised the project. Chen gave birth less than two weeks ago to a boy she named Daniel. Chen chose the name Chloe for her daughter two years ago.

Dr. Tian Chen just had a baby boy, Daniel. She said she chose the name because “it sounds beautiful and currently is declining as a trend, meaning it might not be overused anymore.”

Dr. Tian Chen just had a baby boy, Daniel. She said she chose the name because “it sounds beautiful and currently is declining as a trend, meaning it might not be overused anymore.”

“Some names skyrocket under the influence of pop culture — like Elsa from the Disney movie ‘Frozen’ — and then decline as everyone on the playground starts answering to the same name,” Chen said. “Some names reflect similar preferences of people. Some names become popular because they sound similar to a previous trend, like Chloe, Claire and Katie.”

Chloe, Claire, Emma, Grace, Ella, Bailey and Mia are in a cluster riding a current wave.

“Emma, Ella and Grace experienced some fame about 100 years ago, then went silent and suddenly peaked after 2000,” Mukherjee said. “However, Chloe and Bailey are the newbies. They are Generation Y, who are still small and about to enter school or have recently started school.”

Dorothy, Virginia, Betty, Margaret, Anna, Evelyn, Helen and Shirley started to rise in the 1880s and experienced a baby boom in the 1920s and 1930s. Anna and Evelyn recently experienced small resurgences.

The names Barbara, Linda, Mary and Patricia never go out of style.

“They are popular at all times for new parents, but were especially hot in the late 1940s and the 1950s,” Mukherjee said.

Mothers most commonly named their newborns Lisa, Amy, Laura or Jennifer in the 1970s.

In the 1950s, Carol, Debra and Sharon topped the charts.

However, names like Diana and Joan have had variability over the years. Diana was popular for newborns in the 1950s, decreased for a while and then surged in the 1990s.

“Princess Diana’s influence, no doubt,” Chen said.

Of the most unique names during the 124-year span, the highest frequency occurred for Latory and Massa, which was no more than 100 newborns.

The team’s research continues. The next step is to predict future trends.

“If new parents turn back to tradition, the names of the 1970s or maybe even more from the 1920s could make a comeback,” Mukherjee said. “Or more expecting parents could turn to the less common and more one-of-a-kind route. We are working on that right now.”

23% increase in political science majors at UT during presidential election year

The number of University of Toledo students choosing to major in political science jumped 23 percent during this election year.

This semester 113 UT students are majoring in political science as a primary major, non-primary major or secondary major. That is up from 92 students a year ago. A total of 98 undergraduates chose political science as their primary major in 2016, compared to 83 last year.

Students attended a presidential debate watch event hosted by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

Students attended a presidential debate watch event hosted by the Department of Political Science and Public Administration.

“I’m sure the high level of interest in the presidential election has been part of it,” Dr. Sam Nelson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, said. “I’m really pleased with the increase and proud of what we’ve been doing to offer an improved and more student-focused program.”

After recognizing a growing interest in global affairs, the department chose to offer more courses in international politics and American politics.

The department held two presidential debate watch events this fall for students to discuss the faceoffs between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump. Faculty also added a film series and speaker series.

“The study of campaigns, political parties and public opinion has reached a fever pitch in this election,” Nelson said. “The randomness of the race has kept us all on our toes, and the analysis of the results will make this area of study very exciting for the foreseeable future.”

Freshman Kyle Zapadka wants to be a lawyer. He chose to attend UT because of the 3+3 program that allows students to earn both a bachelor of arts degree and a law degree in six years instead of seven.

“I chose political science because this gives me the connections I need if I want to stay in the Toledo area,” Zapadka said. “I first became interested in politics during the Obama-McCain presidential election and have remained active as a Republican.”

Senior Lucy Frank, who majors in political science and minors in French, wants to work in logistics or schedule planning for a politician after graduation.

“Throughout my time at UT, the Political Science Department has been growing,” Frank said. “UT gave me the opportunity to intern in the Toledo mayor’s office. I also interned for the Ohio Democratic Party in Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention. It has been a fun ride, and I’m proud faculty members are growing the reputation of the program.”

UT more bike-friendly with installation of repair stations

Bike riding around campus just became easier and more convenient. Bike repair stations recently were installed at three locations: Rocket Hall, Palmer Hall and the Student Union.

Each station provides a stand to mount a bike, cabled tools for minor adjustments and repairs, air pumps with gauges, and QR codes to scan that will reveal how-to videos for small repairs.

Bike riders who need to make minor repairs or air up tires can stop at three repair stations, including this one on the south side of the Student Union on Main Campus.

Bike riders who need to make minor repairs or air up tires can stop at three repair stations, including this one on the south side of the Student Union on Main Campus.

The bike repair stations are available for everyone to use.

This project is a collaboration between We Are Traffic, the UT Cycling Club, UT Grounds, and the UT Sustainability, Energy Efficiency and Design Initiative.

Keith Webb of We Are Traffic coordinated the project and is responsible for the bike repair stations throughout Metroparks Toledo.

“I’m really excited about the placement of these repair stations,” Webb said. “It’s wonderful that UT placed them where the community can easily access them.”

The bike repair stations were funded by the UT Student Green Fund.

Tom Garey, manager of facilities information and president of the UT Cycling Club, said it is important for universities to be bike-friendly for many reasons, including the promotion of health and wellness, lowering carbon emissions, and easing traffic and parking congestion.

A student rode his bike in Centennial Mall.

A student rode his bike in Centennial Mall.

The UT Cycling Club promotes all forms of riding and is for all people who have a common love of bicycling.

Rocket ReCycle also promotes pedal power. Peter Thomas, director of international partnership and immigration, founded the bike share program for international students who have a limited budget, but need access to safe transportation that can be used on and off campus.

“A bike-friendly campus permits the safe flow of cyclists of varied degrees of skill to move from one section of campus to another quickly. Students who are taking a class in Nitschke Hall cannot make it to Rocket Hall in less than 10 minutes by walking,” Thomas said.

“The Rocket ReCycle program began with a donation from the UT Police Department of seven bikes and has grown to more than 100 from donations from the community, friends, students and the Toledo Police Department,” Thomas said.

Initially for international students, Rocket ReCycle has been expanded to cater to research scholars and visiting professors. Thomas said they also are looking to offer weekend use by the community for a small donation that will help off-set the cost of maintenance.

“Students come from abroad and must resettle and prepare for their academic journey,” Thomas said. “Having a simple system that provides basic transportation helps students adjust to a new country.”

Srinival Muthukrishnan said that Rocket ReCycle has helped him to get to class and tennis practice as well as run errands.

Rocket Wheels close-up by Rachel“I would like to thank the Office of International Student and Scholar Services for the gesture, and I hope more people like me benefit from the program,” Muthukrishnan said.

Members of the campus community are invited to use Rocket Wheels, a bike program launched last year by Facilities and Construction.

There are more than 50 bikes available to students and employees who register with Rocket Wheels, and there are four locations on campus where bikes can be checked out and returned: the Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement across from the Ritter Bike Corral, near the northeast entrance of Rocket Hall, by the south entrance of Palmer Hall, and on the northeast side of the west parking garage. Bikes can be borrowed for up to six hours.

There are more than 1,100 members registered for Rocket Wheels, according to Diana Watts, UT transit and Rocket Wheels bike share coordinator.

“Bike riding is fun and promotes a healthy lifestyle. The Rocket Wheels bike share gives people the opportunity to get to class without having to use their cars and eliminates the worry of finding a parking space,” Watts said. “It also provides those who do not have cars on campus a mode of transportation to get to other places around the city.”

To register for Rocket Wheels, visit utoledo.edu/rocket-wheels.