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Hussain lecture to chart transformation of medical science

The great Greek physician Galen of Pergamon was one of the most influential forces in medical history, with his theories informing the profession for centuries.

Unfortunately, many of Galen’s ideas were wrong.

“For nearly 2,000 years we were practicing medicine like it was the stone age. There was nothing scientific about it,” said Dr. Syed Tasnim Raza, a cardiothoracic surgeon and associate professor of surgery at Columbia University Medical Center.

Thankfully real scientific discovery eventually won out, helping to lead medicine into the cutting-edge field it is today.

Raza, who has spent the last decade studying the history of medicine after more than three decades as a heart surgeon in Buffalo, N.Y., will outline those radical changes at the 11th annual S. Amjad Hussain Visiting Lecture in the History of Medicine and Surgery at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17.

Dr. Syed Tasnim Raza

The lecture, to be held in Health Education Building Room 110 on UToledo Health Science Campus, is free and open to the public. RSVPs are requested; email hscevents@utoledo.edu or call 419.383.6300.

One of Galen’s primary mistakes was assuming the anatomy of animals he dissected was wholly applicable to humans. For 1,300 years, no one dared question him.

“The thinking was, ‘If Galen said it, it has to be true,’” said Raza. “We need to have the strength to challenge conventional wisdom, dogma and current thinking to improve and continue to change.”

The S. Amjad Hussain Visiting Lecture in the History of Medicine and Surgery was created in honor of Hussain, professor emeritus of cardiovascular surgery and humanities, emeritus member of the UToledo Board of Trustees, and columnist for The Blade.

“Dr. Tasnim Raza has had a deep interest in the history of medicine and has just finished a book manuscript on the history of heart surgery. He is a man who is well versed in not only in the subject of surgery, but also in the arts and humanities,” Hussain said. “The study of history of medicine is important because it shows us the distance we have covered and the path we have traversed to reach the present. History being a continuum, we cannot chart a future unless we know the past.”

In part, the lecture series helped further inspire Raza’s interest in the history of medicine after he came to Toledo in 2013 to hear author Wendy Moore speak about her biography of the 18th century Scottish physician Dr. John Hunter.

Raza’s sister has also presented the Hussain lecture. Dr. Azra Raza, a well-known oncologist and cancer researcher, and Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center, visited Toledo in 2017.

Azra Raza will join Tasnim Raza in Toledo to kick off a book tour for her forthcoming title “The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last.”


UToledo Day of Giving Set for Oct. 15-16

The University of Toledo alumni, faculty and staff members, students, and friends will come together Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 15 and 16, to support the University’s third annual Day of Giving.

The 36-hour campaign, “Rocket Forward: You Launch Lives,” will begin at midnight Oct. 15 and end at noon Oct. 16.

“Our Day of Giving offers Rockets everywhere a chance to make a real impact on our students, research and critical programs,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Each year, the generosity of our alumni and supporters worldwide helps fuel the success of so many determined people in our community. We’re thrilled to see that positive energy and momentum continue this year.”

The Day of Giving Fall Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15 on Centennial Mall. The event features a dog-petting station, corn hole games, a basketball contest, pie in the face, wax hands, pumpkin bowling and pumpkin golf. Participants can donate dollars for game tokens, and donations may be made with cash and credit cards.

Giving stations will be set up across Main Campus and Health Science Campus. Donations also can be made at utfoundation.org/rocketforward.

You can designate a gift to any of the more than 2,000 University of Toledo Foundation funds, supporting specific causes and programs that you are passionate about. Every donor and every dollar will make a difference in support of scholarships, athletic and educational programs, research, healthcare, and community services.

Last year, the campaign raised $717,375 from 3,156 donors — including many students and first-time supporters.


UToledo to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on automotive materials research

Lightweight materials are critical for advancing the energy efficiency and range of electric vehicles.

The University of Toledo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee signed a memorandum of understanding to team up for collaborative research into the advanced design and manufacturing of lightweight, strong, intelligent materials for the automotive industry.

The partnership will play a key role in developing new processes to produce alloys and metals, as well as enhance northwest Ohio’s leadership in research, innovation, development and production in the automotive industry.

Frank Calzonetti, UToledo vice president of research (left), and Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for energy and environmental sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, sign the memorandum of understanding.

“We are proud to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on this critical research to drive the next generation of automotive manufacturing,” said Dr. Mike Toole, dean of the UToledo College of Engineering. “Our partnership teaming innovative mechanical engineers at UToledo with some of the country’s preeminent scientists will focus on finding solutions to ensure the U.S. remains a global leader. The research will have spillover from the national level to the regional level.”

The researchers plan to engage with the automotive industry in Ohio and Michigan as they combine ORNL’s expertise and capabilities in manufacturing, carbon fiber and composites, machining, energy storage and metrology with UToledo’s expertise in manufacturing system modeling, metals engineering and assembly systems.

“This partnership will develop technological solutions to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. automotive manufacturing sector,” said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences at ORNL. “ORNL is looking forward to providing access to its research facilities, along with expertise and guidance in advanced materials and manufacturing to the University in this valuable partnership.”

The collaboration will focus on monitoring and control systems for metal forming processes; optimizing joining techniques for high-strength materials such as steel, aluminum and composites; and exploring the combination of new materials such as shape-memory alloys with additive manufacturing to create strong, resilient, active structures for vehicle applications.

ORNL provides researchers with sophisticated equipment and unique facilities to solve some of the nation’s most compelling challenges. As the largest DOE open science laboratory, ORNL’s mission is to deliver scientific discoveries and technical breakthroughs that will accelerate the development and deployment of solutions in clean energy and global security while creating economic opportunities for the nation.

Representatives from The University of Toledo and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee team up for collaborative automotive materials research.

The University of Toledo also is a member of another organization that closely interacts with the U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), which includes more than 100 Ph.D.-granting institutions as its members. ORAU works with the U.S. Department of Energy and other agencies in providing scientific and technical solutions to a wide range of topics as well as supporting science education and workforce development.

Later this week, UToledo will host for the first time National Lab Day to connect students and researchers with scientists from DOE national laboratories across the country and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

The event to enhance northwest Ohio’s collaborations to make discoveries, find innovative solutions and create groundbreaking technology is Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11 on the University’s Main Campus.

Media are invited to the kick-off ceremony at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in Nitschke Auditorium featuring UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Chris Fall, director of DOE’s Office of Science.


National Lab Day at UToledo to fuel region’s engagement with preeminent scientists, world-class facilities

For the first time, The University of Toledo will host National Lab Day to connect students and researchers with scientists from U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories and explore opportunities for additional partnerships.

The event to enhance northwest Ohio’s collaborations to make discoveries, find innovative solutions and create groundbreaking technology is Thursday and Friday, Oct. 10 and 11 on the University’s Main Campus.

“We are proud to welcome to our campus the country’s preeminent scientists from world-class facilities across the country,” UToledo President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This event presents an extraordinary opportunity for our students and scientists. We appreciate the Department of Energy recognizing UToledo’s momentum in advancing science and selecting us to host National Lab Day.”

Media are invited to the kick-off ceremony at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in Nitschke Auditorium featuring Gaber, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Chris Fall, director of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

“From manufacturing the first Jeeps for the U.S. government at the onset of WWII, to the founding of America’s largest solar company — First Solar – Toledo has a long and storied history as a world leader in manufacturing, national security and cutting-edge research and development,” Kaptur said. “That is why Toledo is the perfect place to host an event like National Lab Day. Partnership is at the core of the success of our national labs, and National Lab Day will help facilitate important and long-lasting partnerships that bring students and faculty together with the National Lab directors.”

The Department of Energy maintains 17 national labs that tackle the critical scientific and national security challenges of our time – from combating climate change to discovering the origins of our universe – and possess unique instruments and facilities, many of which are found nowhere else in the world.

Toledo native and director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Mike Witherell, who grew up just blocks from the University, is a key organizer of the event.

“The University of Toledo is experiencing tremendous growth in its research enterprise,” Witherell said. “As a resource for the nation, the Department of Energy national laboratories are a resource for the University as it innovates and drives economic growth for Toledo, the northwest Ohio region, the state and the nation. My colleagues from the labs and I are delighted to join with the University and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur at National Lab Day to explore the many exciting possibilities for engagement.”

Participants in National Lab Day 2019 at UToledo will meet laboratory directors and researchers; explore funding and fellowship opportunities; discover facilities open to academic and industry scientists; and learn about student internships and postdoctoral fellowships.

UToledo scientists will lead panel discussions with national laboratory scientists on a variety of topics, including:

  • The Land-Water Interface: The Great Lakes Region and the World
  • Sustainability and Life Cycle Assessment
  • Structural Biology, Imaging and Spectroscopy
  • Astrophysics
  • Exposure Science – ‘Omics’ Applications for Human Health
  • Materials and Manufacturing
  • Photovoltaics

Registration, which is open for the academic and commercial research community, is required. Visit utoledo.edu/research/national-lab-day to register.

As part of National Lab Day, about 100 high school seniors will be on campus to learn about career paths in STEM, meet national laboratory scientists, and learn about each of the national laboratories.

Media are invited from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 in Nitschke Hall during the speed networking lunch and STEM Fair.


UToledo Alumni to be Honored at Annual Homecoming Gala Oct. 4

This week The University of Toledo Alumni Association will present its most prestigious honors: the Gold T, Blue T and Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alum Award.

These three recipients will be recognized — along with distinguished alumni from each UToledo college — at the Homecoming Alumni Gala and Awards Ceremony 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 in the Thompson Student Union Auditorium.

Tickets for the gala are $30 each and may be purchased by calling the Office of Alumni Relations at 419.530.ALUM (2586) or by visiting the UToledo Alumni Association website. A limited number of tickets remain.

The Gold T is presented to a University of Toledo graduate in recognition of outstanding achievement in his or her field of endeavor while providing leadership and noteworthy service to the community.

Alan Barry

The 2019 recipient of the Gold T is Alan Barry of Commerce Township, Mich. A 1966 graduate of the College of Business and Innovation with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Barry is the retired president and chief operating officer of Masco Corp., a Fortune 200 company with interests around the world. Masco’s well-known brands include Delta faucets, Behr paint and KraftMaid cabinetry. Named the College of Business and Innovation’s Outstanding Graduate in 2005, Barry and his wife, Karen, a 1964 graduate of the former UToledo Community and Technical College, have been major philanthropists to their alma mater. They have created laboratories in accounting and leadership in the College of Business and Innovation, as well as scholarship and fellowship funds in that college.

The Blue T is presented to a University of Toledo Alumni Association member and UToledo graduate who has made outstanding contributions to the progress and development of the Alumni Association and the University.

Tom Schuster

Tom Schuster of Maumee, Ohio, is the 2019 Blue T honoree. Schuster earned an associate’s degree in industrial technology from the former Community and Technical College in 1965 and a bachelor’s degree in adult liberal studies from University College in 1985. A past member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Trustees, he has served on numerous association committees over the past three decades. Schuster is also a past president of the Downtown Coaches Association, a support group that raises thousands of dollars for the UToledo Athletic Department each year. He and his wife, Marilyn, are members of the President’s Club and Heritage Oak Society, the latter in recognition of a planned gift that will provide support to generations of future Rockets. Since graduation, Schuster has financially supported many areas across campus; these include University College, Savage Arena, the Larimer Athletic Complex and the Koester Alumni Pavilion. Retired from Daimler Chrysler since 2001, Schuster was a senior manager in charge of IT computer operations for 27 plants in the United States and five in Canada, while overseeing 175 employees.

The Edward H. Schmidt Outstanding Young Alum Award is presented to a University graduate who is 40 years of age or younger in recognition of outstanding achievement in her or his field of endeavor, while providing leadership and noteworthy service to the Alumni Association, University or community. This award is named in memory of Ed Schmidt, a 1942 alumnus and a longtime supporter of The University of Toledo and its Alumni Association.

Bret Babcock

The 2019 recipient is Bret Babcock of Nashville, Tenn. Babcock earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and organizational development from the College of Business and Innovation, and the Jesup Scott Honors College, in 2010. Babcock is chief operating officer, chief financial officer and partner at LOGICFORCE, a technology consulting firm that provides eDiscovery, IT optimization and network service consulting, as well as digital forensics to clients in the legal industry. Since joining the company four years ago, Babcock has played a key role in driving success, achieving a compound annual growth rate of more than 40% and helping expand to more than 40 employees across 16 states. Previously an assistant vice president and portfolio management officer at Bank of America, Babcock is involved with several nonprofit causes and organizations, including A Child’s Place, the Orchard and LIFE Fellowship. Babcock earned an MBA from the University of Mississippi and in 2017 was awarded the Ole Miss MBA Outstanding Young Alumnus Award.


Spooky, Spirited Homecoming to Touch Down at UToledo

Come to campus — if you dare… Rocky’s Haunted Homecoming will unleash unbridled UToledo enthusiasm as students, employees and alumni psych up for Halloween and the big game.

“We have a lot of fun events planned throughout the week,” said Ashlen Torio, director of the Homecoming Committee and senior majoring in operation and supply chain management. “We brought back Eat the Streets and our movie night. Both events are even bigger this year. Eat the Streets is being moved to Centennial Mall during the day to give more students an opportunity to come. And our movie night is now a double feature.”

Scaring up fun is the plan before the Toledo Rockets face the Western Michigan Broncos 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 in the Glass Bowl.

“Students can expect a good time and a lot of school spirit,” Torio said. “This is a time when everyone on campus is showing their UToledo pride.”

This year’s Homecoming activities, which include:

Tuesday, Oct. 1

  • Eat the Streets, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Centennial Mall. There’ll be food trucks and music.

Wednesday, Oct. 2

  • Lip Sync Battle, 7 to 9 p.m., Thompson Student Union Ingman Room. Watch the top 10 Homecoming king and queen candidates take the stage.

Thursday, Oct. 3

  • Fright Night, 5 to 11 p.m., Thompson Student Union Rooms 2582 and 2584. It’s a “spooktacular” movie double feature: Watch “The Haunted Mansion” and “The Nun.” Paint pumpkins and have fun with other Halloween activities.

Friday, Oct. 4

  • Homecoming Gala, 6 p.m., Thompson Student Union Auditorium. The Alumni Association will present this year’s Gold T, Blue T and Edward H. Schmidt Young Alum Award, and college and affiliate award winners will be honored. Tickets are $30 per person, $10 for children. For more information or to make a reservation, contact the UToledo Office of Alumni Engagement at 419.530.ALUM (2586) or go to the association’s website.

Saturday, Oct. 5

  • The Edward C. and Helen G. Schmakel Homecoming Parade, 10:30 a.m. Sponsored by Blue Key National Honor Society and supported by the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership and the Office of Alumni Engagement, the parade will begin at West Bancroft Street and Campus Road and go east to Cheltenham Road to Christie Street to Middlesex Drive and back to West Bancroft.
  • Alumni Pregame, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., William and Carol Koester Alumni Pavilion. Stop by for free hot dogs, chips and non-alcoholic beverages. There will be a cash bar for those 21 and older with proper ID, and live music from Mile Marker 1.
  • Toledo Rockets vs. Western Michigan Broncos, 3:30 p.m. Glass Bowl. Root for the Rockets and see the crowning of the Homecoming king and queen. Tickets are half-off for UToledo employees; UToledo students are admitted free with ID. Go to the Toledo Football Central website, stop by the UToledo Athletic Ticket Office in the Sullivan Athletic Complex at Savage Arena, or call 419.530.GOLD (4653).

National expert to give lecture ‘Ferguson Five Years Later’ Sept. 26 at UToledo

The author of “Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked a Nation” will speak at The University of Toledo this week.

Kimberly Norwood, Henry H. Oberschelp Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, will examine the institutional, systemic and cultural structures that resulted in racially disparate treatment in Ferguson five years ago.

Kimberly Norwood

Her free, public lecture, “Ferguson Five Years Later: A Look at the Legal and Social Reverberations in Ferguson and Around the Nation,” is a part of the College of Law’s Cannon Lecture Series.

The event is at noon Thursday, Sept. 26 in the UToledo Law Center McQuade Auditorium.

“We are honored to host a scholar and advocate of Professor Norwood’s stature,” said Geoffrey Rapp, associate dean for academic affairs and Harold A. Anderson Professor of Law and Values at the UToledo College of Law. “Her insights into the limitations of the legal system for addressing persistent racial discrimination have had a profound impact on how we think about lasting and difficult questions.”

In Norwood’s book published in 2016, she used Michael Brown’s death and the protests in Ferguson as the foundation for a study on how various laws, social conditions, and economic and political policies may negatively impact the lives of black and brown people in America — contributing to racial and socioeconomic conflict.

Norwood’s research focuses on colorism, implicit bias and the intersection of race, class and public education in America. She is a commissioner on the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession, a commissioner on the Missouri Supreme Court Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, and a member of the Monitoring Team for the U.S. v. Ferguson Consent Decree.

Norwood is the first black woman in Washington University’s history to receive tenure. She recently was named the 2019 Woman of the Year by the Missouri Lawyers Media. Norwood is a graduate of Fordham University and received her law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

The Cannon Lecture Series 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 legal system.


2019 KeyBank Global Leaders Forum Focuses on Success in a Changing Retail Market

The former CEO of Tabasco will deliver the keynote address at the 2019 KeyBank Global Leaders Forum hosted by KeyBank and The University of Toledo Family Business Center.

Tony Simmons, great-great-grandson of the creator of Tabasco sauce, is the seventh family member to assume leadership of the family-owned and operated McIlhenny Company on Avery Island in Louisiana over five generations.

Tony Simmons, former CEO of Tabasco

The event, titled “A Hot Topic: Success in a Changing Retail Market,” begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 6165 Levis Commons Blvd. in Perrysburg.

Registration is required for the free, public event. Register online at utoledo.edu/centers/cfb/KeyBankLeadership.html.

Simmons plans to focus on the Tabasco brand, his recipe for success, and how to address the needs of both the family and the business.

The keynote address begins at 8 a.m., followed by a panel of local business leaders who will discuss governance and boards within a family business. Members of the panel include Simmons; Steve Wurth, president and CEO of Wurtec; Aly Sterling, president of Aly Sterling Philanthropy; and Joe Shrader, president of Shrader Tire and Oil.

The KeyBank Global Leaders Form Fund was established with the UToledo Family Business Center to bring world business leaders to our community to share their stories and engage conversations for local companies to achieve success for their business. KeyBank shares the center’s passion for learning — whether it’s for the student population or the local business community.

The UToledo Family Business Center is a member-driven organization with more than 200 family business members that provides support specifically designed for family businesses — places that have a special dynamic, one not always served by traditional “best practices” advice. Family dynamics impact family business; the UToledo Family Business Center makes that the core of its mission.


Toxic algae may be more dangerous for people with pre-existing conditions

Toxins produced during harmful algal blooms may be more harmful to people than previously known.

Researchers at The University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences sought out to examine how microcystin might affect individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a widespread condition that is frequently asymptomatic. They found the toxin can significantly amplify the disease at levels below what would harm a healthy liver.

The study, published last month in the journal Toxins, follows earlier research from UToledo that found clear evidence that microcystin exposure worsens the severity of pre-existing colitis. Microcystin is a by-product of the cyanobacteria found in what is commonly known as blue-green algae.

“The take home message from our research is there are certain groups of people who need to pay extra attention and may be more susceptible to microcystin toxins. We may need to explore special preventative guidelines for those people in terms of how much microcystin they are exposed to through drinking water or other means,” said Dr. David Kennedy, an assistant professor of medicine at UToledo and one of the study’s lead authors.

Aided by nutrient runoff and warming waters, seasonal blooms of blue-green algae are flourishing across much of the United States. Not all algal blooms produce toxins, but many do.

Dr. David Kennedy, left, and Dr. Steven Haller examined how microcystin may be more dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions.

Potentially dangerous concentrations of microcystin have been found this year in ponds in New York City’s Central Park, along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, reservoirs in California, and a portion of Lake Erie’s coastline near Toledo.

While no human deaths have been linked to microcystin in the United States, deaths have been reported elsewhere — most notably among a group of kidney dialysis patients in Brazil. There also have been reports this year of pet dogs dying after exposure to blue-green algae in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia.

With annual blooms becoming more frequent and intense, researchers in the UToledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences wanted to better understand how the toxins might affect people already suffering from conditions that affect organ systems microcystin is known to attack, such as the liver.

“It’s a gray area in terms of what microcystin is really doing to you if you have a pre-existing disease state. Are you more susceptible? Are we going to have to go back and re-evaluate what we consider safe in a person with a pre-existing disease state? It’s important we start providing answers to these questions,” said Dr. Steven Haller, UToledo assistant professor of medicine.

In the liver study, researchers examined how chronic, low-level exposure of microcystin affected mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease compared to mice with healthy livers.

At microcystin ingestion levels below the No Observed Adverse Effect Level for healthy mice, analysis showed significant exacerbation of liver damage in mice with fatty liver disease. Researchers observed no liver damage in mice who started the experiment with healthy livers.

“Current exposure limits from the World Health Organization and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for humans are based off studies done in healthy animals,” Haller said. “The results of this study suggest there may be a need to review those guidelines for people with pre-existing conditions.”

They also noted major differences in how microcystin was processed by the kidneys in the two test groups.

In mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, elevated levels of microcystin were found in the blood plasma, but were not detectable in the plasma of healthy mice. Mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease also excreted far less microcystin in their urine.

The differences seen in how microcystin was processed between the two test groups suggests that kidney function may play an important role in the increased susceptibility of the mice with pre-existing liver disease.

“This may be highly relevant to help us understand the deaths that occurred in kidney dialysis patients, and point to the need to pay particular attention to at-risk patient populations as we design preventative, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies,” Kennedy said.

The results from the liver study build on prior work from Kennedy and Haller looking at how microcystin exposure might affect individuals with inflammatory bowel disease, another common condition that impacts an estimated 1 million Americans.

In that study, published in June, the researchers demonstrated that exposure to MC-LR prolongs and worsens the severity of pre-existing colitis, contributing to significant weight loss, bleeding, and higher numbers of signaling molecules that cause inflammation.

“Based on this data we’re coming up with insights into how we can potentially treat exposures if they do occur,” Kennedy said. “This is giving us a number of insights into how we might help patients, especially patients who are vulnerable or susceptible if there was an exposure.”

The lead author of the paper published in August was doctoral student Apurva Lad. Doctoral student Robin Su was the author on the paper about inflammatory bowel disease published in June.

 


UToledo engineering career fair drives job placements at major companies

Maggie Buchele doesn’t graduate from The University of Toledo College of Engineering for three more months, but she already secured a full-time job as a project engineer with Marathon Petroleum Corporation.

The fourth-year mechanical engineering major traces her success back to the college’s career expo two years ago when she first met representatives from the company, which is ranked No. 31 on the Fortune 500 list.

Maggie Buchele, left, fourth-year mechanical engineering student, and Brian Knipper, operations technician at Marathon Petroleum Corporation in Findlay, Ohio.

“I chose UToledo because of the College of Engineering’s mandatory co-op program, which gives you amazing work experience as a student,” said Buchele, who completed two co-ops working at Marathon in Findlay, Ohio. “Companies are getting more specific on who they will hire, and UToledo’s co-op program gives them a perfect opportunity to see if you will be a good fit as a permanent employee.”

In 2018 the College of Engineering placed 1,745 students into co-ops with companies that paid students an average wage of $17.54 an hour.

More than 700 UToledo engineering students and alumni are once again connecting with employers from more than 175 companies across the U.S. at the Fall 2019 Engineering Career Expo from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24 in Savage Arena.

The networking event is part of a year-long celebration of a milestone for the UToledo Shah Center for Engineering Career Development: 20 years of placing more than 20,000 engineering co-ops.

In addition to Marathon Petroleum Corp., participating companies include Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Dana Incorporated, GEM Inc., Johnson & Johnson – DePuy Synthes, GE Appliances, Honda, Owens Corning, Owens-Illinois, Inc., PCC Airfoils, SSOE Group and North Star Bluescope Steel.

Employers are seeking undergraduate students to participate in engineering co-op assignments, as well as their leadership development programs, along with seniors and graduates for full-time employment.

Buchele completed co-ops at two other companies in addition to Marathon.

“After my co-ops, I knew Marathon was the right fit for me. After my second co-op with them, they offered me a permanent position starting February 2020,” said Buchele, who accepted the position. “I would never have received a job offer from Marathon at another university.”