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Posts Tagged ‘Jesup Scott Honors College’

UT alumna, foreign policy analyst to speak on campus Feb. 8

University of Toledo alumna and foreign policy analyst Shamila Chaudhary will return to campus to deliver a lecture titled “The Meaning of America, at Home and Abroad” 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 8 in Doermann Theatre.

The free, public event marks the second of the 2017-18 Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture series.

Shamila Chaudhary

Chaudhary, a foreign policy analyst and photographer based in Washington, D.C., will discuss the U.S. role in the world and its connection to the social and economic landscapes of life within the United States. She will address the many transformations underway in American identity and culture as they relate to politics, the humanities, law and international affairs.

“Shamila Chaudhary is a former Obama White House and State Department official and a frequent commentator on CNN and BBC. She is also an author and her article in The Atlantic magazine describing a multifaith Middle Eastern refugee community in Toledo is a wonderful read,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Altogether, she represents the amazing career possible with an honors degree in the humanities from The University of Toledo, and I’m excited for our students to meet her.”

Chaudhary is senior adviser to Dean Vali Nasr of the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. She also has a blog titled “All Things Foreign,” where she shares comments and essays on foreign policy and current events.

Chaudhary received a bachelor’s degree in English literature and women’s studies from The University of Toledo in 1999.

Tickets are free by visiting

For questions and tickets for groups larger than 10, contact the Jesup Scott Honors College at  or 419.530.6030.

Three researchers elected Fellows of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Three University of Toledo researchers have been named Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in recognition of their important contributions to scientific discovery.

The UT faculty members who are among the 396 AAAS Fellows elected in 2017 are Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College and professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences; Dr. Karen Bjorkman, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy; and Dr. Steven Federman, professor of astronomy.

AAAS is the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society. Since 1874, it has elected Fellows to recognize members for their scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications.

“I am proud three UT faculty members earned this prestigious national honor in one year,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “This recognition by AAAS is an external validation of the talented experts on our campus. UT faculty make important contributions to their fields of study and actively engage our students in research projects in the process.”



Appel, who joined UT in 2016, is being elected to the biological sciences section of the AAAS for her contributions to the field of chemical ecology. Her research on how plants can “hear” by detecting feeding vibrations from insects and responding with an enhanced chemical defense has been widely cited.

Her other research project explores how galling insects trick plants into making novel structures that they then use as protected places to feed and reproduce. Some of these insects are major agricultural pests worldwide on grapes, wheat, and rice.

“Plant defenses against insects are mostly invisible to us because they are chemical. Just think about all of the herbs and spices we use — plants evolved that chemistry to defend themselves against their own diseases and insect pests,” Appel said. “I’ve been fortunate to spend my career working with great collaborators to advance our understanding of how plants detect and respond to insect pests, including a sensory modality we didn’t realize plants had.”



Bjorkman, who has been a member of UT’s faculty since 1996, is being elected into the AAAS’ astronomy section for her leadership in the field of stellar astrophysics and spectropolarimetry to better understand the disks around massive stars.

The massive stars she studies, which are 10 to 20 times the mass of our Sun, can have unpredictable gaseous disks around them that change over time for reasons as yet unknown. Bjorkman studies these disks both in individual stars and in larger samples within star clusters to better understand their physical characteristics and the mechanisms behind their formation and variability.

“Most of the atoms that make up everything around us originated in the center of stars, so it is important to advance our understanding of stars and their evolution, while at the same time applying the laws of physics. That is how we learn things, by continuously testing our understanding,” Bjorkman said. “It is an honor to have one of the largest science associations in the world acknowledge our contributions to science. When two of the seven astronomers in this year’s class of Fellows are from UT, that is nice recognition from our colleagues about the strength of our program here.”



Federman also is being elected into the astronomy section of the AAAS for his contributions in the research of interstellar matter and for advancing the field of laboratory astrophysics.

He has been a UT astronomer since 1988 and for much of his career has studied interstellar gas clouds to better understand the elements and isotopes within these clouds that form stars. He also is a leader in establishing the field of laboratory astrophysics that brings together theoretical and experimental astronomy research to combine observational and lab data to better test theories. He was the first chair of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Laboratory Astrophysics.

“Studying the abundances of elements and isotopes in the material between stars informs about the reactions and processes that happened in the past that led to the outcome we see today,” Federman said. “I’m proud to have been able to contribute over the years as we’ve moved from modeling to observations to lab studies as we continue to learn more and more about the chemical makeup in material that will become the next generation of stars and planets.”

Appel, Bjorkman and Federman will be recognized at the AAAS Fellows Forum at the association’s annual meeting Feb. 17 in Austin, Texas.

The 2017 AAAS Fellows join UT’s Dr. Carol Stepien, Distinguished University Professor of Ecology, who was elected last year, and Dr. Jack Schultz, who joined UT in September as senior executive director of research development and has been an AAAS Fellow since 2011 when he was elected while at the University of Missouri.

Founder of international ‘because I said I would’ movement to discuss value of keeping promises Feb. 16

The day Alex Sheen buried his father, he also started an international movement that includes walking 240 miles across Ohio to support victims of sexual violence, helping a man confess on YouTube to killing another in a drunk driving crash, and inspiring a dad with cancer to write his daughter 826 napkin notes to read every day at lunch until high school graduation no matter what happens.

Then a 25-year-old working in corporate software, Sheen was asked by his family to eulogize his father, University of Toledo alumnus Wei Min “Al” Sheen, a pharmacist who passed away in September 2012.

Calling Al Sheen an “average man who was exceptional at one thing,” Sheen said his father was someone who kept his promises.

“Too often, we say things like ‘I’ll get to it’ and ‘tomorrow,’” Sheen noted in an excerpt from his website, “One day, there is no tomorrow. The promises we make and keep and those we choose to dishonor define us and this world.”

On that day in 2012 he handed out the first of his promise cards, nondescript pieces of paper that remind people of the value of commitment. More than five million have been distributed since then.

Sheen will have plenty of ‘because I said I would’ promise cards available during his public lecture 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16, in UT’s Doermann Theater.

During the free, public event, the final of the 2016-17 Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series, Sheen will discuss the importance of accountability and the effect of a simple kept promise in today’s society.

Sheen said handing out the first promise cards “set off a chain of events to the scope of which I may never understand.”

The purpose of the cards is simple; house a written promise as a tangible reminder to fulfill a pledge. Since 2012, the “because I said I would” nonprofit has distributed more than 5.6 million promise cards to people in 153 countries.

Some of the promises, Sheen said, are small: “Keep my room clean” and “Sincerely compliment someone every day.” Others have the capability to enact change and even save lives.

A woman donated a kidney to an acquaintance. A teenage girl testified against her attacker.

On YouTube, the man confessed, “I killed a man,” and explained he was the drunk driver whose actions resulted in the death of a stranger. The accused’s promise? “I will take full responsibility for what I have done.” While the man is in prison, the video he made with Sheen has been viewed by millions and has spurred thousands of promise cards from people pledging not to drink and drive.

Sheen practices what he preaches. His own list of promises is current, visible and ranges from the innocuous — “Watch ‘Gone With the Wind’” — to the exceptional.

He has walked across Ohio to support victims of sexual violence, spent 24 hours picking up trash in the Cleveland area, provided 24 hours of free rides for those who have been drinking, and raised enough funds to send 20 children with cancer to Walt Disney World, all on the spark of a promise.

“Alex’s work is the perfect antidote to our busy lives, during which we forget to think about meeting longer term goals and commitments to ourselves and to others,” said Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College. “Turning this into a social movement was a brilliant step to help us collectively meet our promises, and provides great inspiration for would-be social entrepreneurs among our students.”

Sheen’s movement has expanded to include the development of city chapters and outreach to schools, businesses and other organizations. His message remains uncomplicated: Accountability. Character. Hope.

“Make and keep a promise,” Sheen wrote on his website, “to improve yourself, your family or your community. If you need a promise card to make the commitment real, we will send you one. The world is in need, so you are needed.”

Seats are available. To reserve a free ticket to the lecture, go to

Undergraduate research in the spotlight at UT

Even with the upfront construction and ongoing maintenance costs that go into a wind turbine during its average life span of 20 years, it makes enough energy to be cost effective, according to undergraduate student research at The University of Toledo.

The life cycle analysis of wind turbines is one of more than two dozen research projects on display for the UT Scholars’ Celebration Undergraduate Research Showcase Tuesday, Nov. 29 through Friday, Dec. 9 in Carlson Library.

Provost Andrew Hsu will host a welcome reception 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5 in Carlson Library Room 1005. Students will be available to answer questions about their research.

“Research is one of the best modes of experiential learning. It is something unique that a comprehensive research university like UT can offer to our students, and it is what distinguishes our students and graduates from others,” Hsu said. “This is the 10th anniversary of UT’s Office of Undergraduate Research, so it’s especially fitting to recognize undergraduate students who are participating. Our faculty members help our students link their classroom scientific knowledge to the pursuit of innovation and discovery. These students are learning how to communicate, think logically, and be patient and creative – highly-valued skills in today’s competitive world.”

Other undergraduate research projects include an analysis of the boundless beauty of women, as well as a piano performance titled “Schumann Fantasy in C, Op. 17.”

“This is a great opportunity for professional development for our students and for the community to see the depth and breadth of research that UT students are conducting,” said Dr. Thomas Kvale, professor emeritus of physics and director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

‘Shark Tank’ investor, FUBU founder Daymond John to speak at UT Oct. 18

The man affectionately known as “The People’s Shark” who launched a $6 billion global company from his mother’s basement will visit The University of Toledo to talk about entrepreneurship and the road to success.

Daymond John, an investor on ABC’s Emmy award-winning reality television series “Shark Tank” and founder and CEO of the clothing line FUBU, will speak 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 in Nitschke Auditorium as part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Daymond's BlackSuit-2“Daymond John is a highly successful entrepreneur, but also a remarkable person who constantly challenges himself to learn more and do more, much like our honors students,” Dr. Heidi Appel, dean of the Honors College, said. “Toledo’s vibrant community of thinkers and doers will find his story of humble beginnings, smarts and grit both familiar and inspiring. We’re excited to have Daymond John as our first speaker in the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.”

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are first come, first served. For more information, go to

UT buses will shuttle students to and from the Student Union and the Transportation Center to Nitschke Auditorium approximately every 10 minutes beginning at 6 p.m.

In addition to his success at “Shark Tank” and FUBU, John is CEO of The Shark Group, a marketing consulting agency. He also is a Presidential Ambassador for Global Entrepreneurship and the author of three best-selling books, Display of Power, The Brand Within and The Power of Broke.

The next lecture in the series 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Doermann Theater features Alex Sheen. Sheen is founder of “because I said I would,” a social movement and non-profit organization dedicated to bettering humanity through promises made and kept. Sheen once walked 245 miles across Ohio in 10 days to fulfill a promise.

New dean named to lead honors college

A chemical ecologist passionate about engaging students in experiential learning will join The University of Toledo to lead the Jesup Scott Honors College.

Dr. Heidi Appel comes to UT from the University of Missouri where she served as senior associate director of the Honors College. Her first day will be Monday, Aug. 15.

“Dr. Appel is an advocate for the role of a strong honors college at a research university that engages students in critical thinking and creates interdisciplinary relationships across the institution,” said Dr. Andrew Hsu, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “Her decade of experience with honors colleges along with her enthusiasm for research and active, hands-on learning as part of the student educational experience matches our goals for the Jesup Scott Honors College and The University of Toledo.”



Hsu thanked Kelly Moore, who has served as interim dean of the college since August, for his leadership during the past year.

Appel joined the University of Missouri in 2007 as a senior research scientist and member of the graduate faculty and also served as associate director of the Honors College. Prior to that, she was a member of the faculty at Pennsylvania State University, which she joined in 2000.

“An honors college has a special role on campus. It’s a place where students can develop their intellectual capacities, learn to think broadly, creatively, and critically, and have intense discussions,” Appel said. “The Jesup Scott Honors College’s emphasis on experiential learning and undergraduate research, inclusive approach to admissions, and its talented faculty and staff make it a standout program. I look forward to working with the honors students, faculty and staff, my colleagues in other colleges and with the broader Toledo community to build upon the strong program.”

Appel, who grew up in the metro Detroit area, has long been interested in the outdoors. Midway through her undergraduate studies of ancient history and music she decided to make science her career. Since then she has focused her research on the intersection of chemistry and ecology to explain ecological patterns and broaden our understanding about the relationship between plants and insects.

Appel is an accomplished researcher who has received more than $2.5 million in external research funding and authored more than 45 publications. She made national headlines in 2014 with her research that showed plants can “hear,” meaning that they can identify vibrations caused by a caterpillar chewing and respond with increased chemical defense. The experience reinforced her interest in being sure that students not only get involved in research, but that they also have the opportunity to present it to a broader audience.

“Everyone has a responsibility to be able to communicate their interests and ideas effectively with other people. In higher education, we have a special need for that training for our students. Even if we’re working on a very esoteric topic, it is important to explain the basics of that to other people,” she said.

Among Appel’s goals for the Jesup Scott Honors College are to align the curriculum with student needs, increase interdisciplinary course offerings, get honors students actively engaged with campus as mentors and tutors, and deepen relationships with other colleges across campus.

“I‘m excited to join The University of Toledo where there is so much support for the role of honors education in the mission of the University,” she said.

Appel has a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., and a master’s degree in biology and PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan.

World-renowned polar explorer to speak at UT April 5

Ann Bancroft’s extraordinary life has consisted of many firsts: first woman to cross the ice to both the North and South Poles, leader of the first group of women to cross Greenland, and first woman to sail and ski across Antarctica’s landmass alongside fellow polar explorer Liv Arnesen.

The author, educator, philanthropist and pre-eminent polar explorer will be at the University to share her story at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in the Doermann Theater. Bancroft’s talk is the finale of the 2015-16 UT Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.


“We choose speakers that we hope will engage, challenge and provoke the audience,” Interim Provost John Barrett said. “Ann Bancroft will do just that. She went out and chased her dreams, and because of that she has a very inspirational story to tell.”

Not only has Bancroft achieved many polar exploration firsts, but she also has inspired girls and women around the world to do the same. In 1991, she founded the Ann Bancroft Foundation, which provides grants, mentoring and encouragement to girls ages 5 to 18 to help them reach their biggest aspirations.

For her achievements, Bancroft has received numerous awards and recognition, including induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1995.

Tickets to the lecture are free and can be obtained at

For more information about Bancroft and her latest expeditions, visit

Click here to download photo of Bancroft.

Media Coverage
The Blade (April 4, 2016)
13 ABC (April 6, 2016)

Apple co-founder to speak at UT

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Inc., is visiting The University of Toledo to speak as part of the Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series.


More than 5,000 people have registered for the free tickets to the Silicon Valley icon’s talk at 7 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1 in Savage Arena on the UT Main Campus. Limited general admission tickets remain.

Wozniak and Apple co-founder Steve Jobs revolutionized the computer industry with the Apple I and II personal computers. These early designs influenced today’s Mac computer and innovative products that impact daily living, including the iPhone, iPad, iTunes and AppleTV.

The final talk in the 2015-16 Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series will be Tuesday, April 5 when Ann Bancroft, one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers, speaks at 7 p.m. in Doermann Theater. Bancroft is an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women, girls and audiences around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.

For additional information or to request tickets, visit or call 419.530.2738.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Feb. 2, 2016)
The Blade (Feb. 2, 2016)
13 ABC (Feb. 2, 2016)
WTOL 11 (Feb. 2, 2016)
The Blade (Feb. 8, 2016)

Pulitzer Prize-winning author to speak Oct. 22

Drawing from life experience is a theme in an American author’s work that he will discuss this week at The University of Toledo.

Novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and teacher Richard Russo will be featured in the UT Jesup Scott Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22.


With several distinguished achievements under his belt — including a Pulitzer Prize for his 2001 novel titled Empire Falls — Russo knows the key to good literature.

He will discuss his 1997 book, Straight Man. The novel tells the tale of William Henry Devereaux Jr., a reluctant chairman of the English Department in an underfunded Pennsylvania college, who in the course of a week has his nose mangled by an angry colleague, imagines his wife is having an affair with the dean, and wonders if an adjunct is trying to seduce him with peach pits. All of this leads to the pinnacle where he threatens to kill one of the campus ducks every day on television until his departmental budget is finalized.

“I’m looking forward to talking about my novel Straight Man with the good folks at The University of Toledo, where I plan to kill a duck a day until my demands are met,” Russo joked.

His talk and all lectures in the series will take place in Doermann Theater, located in University Hall on Main Campus. Space is limited for the free, public lectures, so attendees are encouraged to register for tickets in advance at

“Richard Russo is well-known within academic communities for this book, Straight Man. Its setting is a fictionalized university within the Midwest,” said Kelly Moore, interim dean of the Jesup Scott Honors College.

“Richard Russo is a keen observer of what is around him. Often we take for granted what we see, hear or do every day. He is also a writer who reminds us of the importance of paying back — gratitude for those individuals and places that helped to shape us is often overlooked in our 24/7 environment.”

Two more speakers are set for the 2015-16 Honors College Distinguished Lecture Series lineup:

  • Monday, Feb. 1 — Steve Wozniak, a Silicon Valley icon and entrepreneur. Wozniak is known for co-founding Apple Computer Inc. with Steve Jobs.
  • Tuesday, April 5 — Ann Bancroft, one of the world’s pre-eminent polar explorers. Bancroft is an internationally recognized leader who is dedicated to inspiring women, girls and audiences around the world to unleash the power of their dreams.

For additional information, visit or call 419.530.2738.

Media Coverage
The Blade (Oct. 21, 2015)
The Independent Collegian (Oct. 28, 2015)

Ribbon Cutting to celebrate new Honors Academic Village at UT

The newest on-campus living community at The University of Toledo will be celebrated Monday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house.

UT campus leaders and representatives from American Campus Communities, the project’s developer and manager, will cut the ribbon at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 21 for the Honors Academic Village, located at Campus Road and West Rocket Drive on the northwest corner of the UT Main Campus.

UT President Sharon L. Gaber and James E. Wilhelm, III, executive vice president of American Campus Communities, will be joined at the event by UT Jesup Scott Honors College Interim Dean Kelly Moore, UT Student Government President Ian Michalak and UT Faculty Senate President-Elect Mary Humphrys. Tours of the building will be offered following the ceremony.

The ribbon cutting is one of a number of campus events taking place during the week of the inauguration of UT President Sharon L. Gaber.

The Honors Academic Village provides a modern on-campus living community for 492 students in fully furnished rooms and also offers an academic success center, state-of-the-art fitness center and lounges for recreation and socialization.

The four-story, 142,000-square-foot building opened for the 2015-16 academic year and provides opportunities for living-learning communities for Jesup Scott Honors College students.

Media Coverage
WTOL 11, 13 ABC and FOX Toledo (Sept. 21, 2015)
NBC 24 (Sept. 21, 2015)