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Meet Our Past Presidential Scholars




Name: Robert Ghrist
Hometown: Eastlake, OH
Current Residence: Philadelphia, PA
Occupation: Professor of Mathematics and Electrical/Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"Besides having four kids, I was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award in Science & Engineering by President G.W. Bush in 2004, was named a 'Top50' research innovator by Scientific American in 2007, and was appointed the Andrea Mitchell University Professorship at Penn in 2008."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"My professors in the Honors Program sparked so many interests and set me on the right path."
How did the Presidential Scholarship affect your experience at UT?
"Seeing the University life from the top gave me the perspective I've found crucial through the rest of my career."



Name: Jay Loebig
Hometown: Mentor, OH
Current Residence: Holland, OH
Occupation: Value Stream Manager at Parker Hannifin Corp.
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"The engineering co-op program allowed me to get my foot in the door with a major Fortune 300 company. Eleven years later, what began as a summer internship has developed into a fulfilling career."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"Firing the cannon at UT's football game for my fraternity."
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"I was recently selected by my employer to serve as an integration manager with the overall responsibility of integrating a newly acquired business unit into our company."



Name: Paul Shiban
Hometown: Parma, OH
Current Residence: Strongsville, OH
Occupation: Senior Software Developer
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"My daughter, Celia, turning 2 in October and my wife Abbey (Parsons), 1999 UT Graduate."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"UT is an exceptional academic institution, run by world-class professors and administrators. The education and mentoring I received and the experiences I had - in the classroom on the stage, and around campus - proved invaluable to my successes in the business world and in life."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"Honestly, my two favorite memories are both related to the Presidential Scholarship. The first was our magnificent trip to Spain with President Frank Horton and his wife - my first time on an airplane. The second was a "Night at the Theatre" - an event arranged by [President] Horton, where the three other scholars and I met [the] President and Mrs. Horton at their home for a wonderful dinner before heading to the Studio Theater in the Performing Arts building, where I played Johnny in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune.




Name: Corey Beth Monarch
Hometown: Toledo, OH
Current Residence: Encinitas, CA (greater San Diego, CA area)
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"My greatest accomplishment since graduating has been applying what I learned inside the classroom and outside the classroom on co-op at my full time job. I have successfully launched two products and one accessory in less than a year and a half since graduation."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"The University of Toledo's College of Engineering's co-op program was hands down the best preparation for my future that I am currently living and flourishing in. As a result of the co-op program, I gained practical work experience and worked for four different companies. When I walked across the stage at graduation, I had already secured a full-time engineering position with my final co-op employer."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"My favorite UT memory was sitting next to my best friend at graduation and walking across the stage to receive my diploma."





Name: Joel Mayerson
Hometown: Lima, OH
Current Residence: Columbus, OH
Occupation: Orthopaedic Surgeon and Educator
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"Personal[ly]: My family (wife, Connie, and two sons, Drew and Ethan). Professional[ly]: Winning Educator of the Year Awards from the Ohio State University Orthopaedic Surgery Residents and the 3rd and 4th year Medical Students at OSU (twice) AND being voted by my peers via U.S. News and World Report to the America's Top Doctor list as one of the top 1% of all Orthopaedic Surgeons in the United States (only 282 made this list nationally out of 24,000 Orthopaedic Surgeons in [the] US)."
How did the Presidential Scholarship affect my experience at UT:
"The Presidential Scholarship allowed a young man from a small town to meet a diverse group of dignitaries and broaden my horizons in ways that at the time I never would have thought possible. I had many challenges in medical school who graduated from the Ivy League that never had anywhere near the cultural and social experience I had at UT. It also came with the special perk of getting to know Dr. McComas (the President of UT who started the scholarship). It is extremely rare that a college student has nearly open access to the President of such a large public university. Dr. McComas was willing to discuss all of my concerns and tried to help whenever he could. Having such an experienced advisor/mentor at such a young age cannot be matched. I became comfortable meeting influential people in the community, state and nation which helped me immensely as my academic career in medicine developed.
What is your favorite UT memory?
"Meeting my wife while celebrating our 21st birthdays and my trip to Paris with my Presidential Scholar classmates and Dr. Alice Skeens. This was my first trip abroad and opened my horizons to a whole new world."



Name: Sarah Perz
Hometown: Caro, MI
Current Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Government Lobbyist, specializing in non-profits and companies focused on bioscience
What is your favorite UT memory?
"I loved helping plan the Homecoming Parade and Songfest as a part of Blue Key."
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"In 2001, I moved to Washington, D.C. knowing that I wanted to work for Congress and with an apartment lease but no job secured. Two weeks later, I had a position with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (who still represents Toledo and UT) and eleven years later, I've held 3 jobs on Capitol Hill and am now on my second position as a lobbyist, now working on behalf of many companies in Ohio."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"My education at UT helped me become a better, stronger writer - a skill I use every day of my professional life. It also challenged me, especially in my Honors Program classes, to dig deeper into concepts that interested me and engage with others different from myself. On a personal level, my time at UT included developing some of my most important life-long friendships."



Name: Scott Thede
Hometown: Ada, OH
Current Residence: Greencastle, IN
Occupation: Associate Professor of Computer Science at DePauw University
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"My electrical engineering classes, in particular the honors classes (including the Engineering Honors Calculus sequence with Dr. Vayo), taught me a lot about engineering and science and also taught me how to pursue my learning independently, which aided me greatly in graduate school."
How did the Presidential Scholarship affect your experience at UT?
"It gave me the ability to attend school without worry[ing] about finances, which was great. The honors classes were a great opportunity to learn at a higher level. The trip to France with Dr. Horton and the other Presidential scholars was great fun as well; it was my first trip outside the United States, so it also taught me a lot."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"Class wise, it would have been taking Engineering Honors Calculus from Dr. Vayo. He was a great professor, and the students in the class were a great group as well. In extracurricular activities, I spent a lot of time with the UT Bash club, which was also a great group of people. But honestly, my favorite memory was meeting my wife during our freshman year; she was selling candy canes for a sorority fundraiser and I bought one and gave it to her. We dated throughout our University of Toledo careers and were married shortly after graduation."



Name: Stacey Kerns
Hometown: Troy, OH
Current Residence: Arlington, VA
Occupation: Department of State
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"This is an impossible question. I feel my greatest accomplishments are yet to come! However, some things I am proud of are: teaching English in Japan for two years and bringing my students to UT to meet faculty and [to] see an American university, working for a New York patent law firm and working with some amazing and high profile pharmaceutical clients, using my chemistry and law degrees to assist my former employer with jump starting their LEEDS certification construction program, and finally becoming a political officer at the Department of State, where I plan to use my chemistry and law background to work on nonproliferation issues."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"The faculty want you to learn. Even though UT is a great research university, I never met a professor who wasn't also equally dedicated to their teaching and mentoring. Because of this, I feel that I had experiences that I would never have had at a larger university. These included presenting research at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (twice) and receiving additional research funding for my Honor's thesis. Having those singular opportunities as an undergraduate prepared me to take the reins for my own professional development when I graduated."
How did the Presidential Scholarship affect your experience at UT?
"The Presidential Scholarship allowed me peace of mind to focus as hard as I could on my studies. Finally, the special trip with the President of the University allowed me to visit Greece. I took that trip as an opportunity to study art, history and women's issues which ended up as the topic for my thesis. I would not have been able to do it without the support of the Women's Studies professors - they were amazing and helped me greatly. I believe I would have had a good experience at UT regardless, but I had an amazing, great experience with the Presidential Scholarship."


Name: Jessica Spelman
Hometown: Sunbury, OH
Current Residence: Delaware, OH
Occupation: Primary Care Physician
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"Establishing a successful medical practice with my partners in Delaware and raising four children."
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"Great training in the sciences, well-rounded education, and emphasis on 'people skills' as well as the science."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"[The] Trip to Spain with President Horton, his wife and my fellow Presidential Scholars after sophomore year was awesome! I also loved being an exchange student to Salford, England my junior year. Being in the marching band at football games was fabulous. (I can't choose just one!)"

  Name: Beth Tittl
Hometown: Cincinnati, OH
Current Residence: Toledo, OH
Occupation: Veterinarian
How do you feel UT has helped to prepare you for your future?
"UT provided me with a solid base in biology for Vet school. Mind broadening philosophy studies enriched my communication skills as well as a trip to Turkey in 1998. The Salford exchange program gave me independence, confidence and a broad world view."
How did the Presidential Scholarship affect your experience at UT?
"With full tuition/costs being covered, it allowed me time to get two degrees without having to work a job. It also introduced me to many like-minded students who valued education (there were many National Merit students). The trip abroad to Turkey was my first time out of UT - what a change in perspective!"
What is your favorite UT memory?
"The time I spent at Corpus Christi University Parish, philosophy classes that were moved outdoors to the lawn by U Hall or to Old Orchard, and meeting my husband, of course!"


Name: Rachel Sullivan
Hometown: Delta, OH
Current Residence: Columbus, OH
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"Since graduating from UT, my greatest academic accomplishment has been obtaining a M.D. However, during my years since UT, I have traveled to many third world countries and served as a medical volunteer, including Peru, Mexico, Honduras, and Zimbabwe. These are great accomplishments in my mind. My greater personal accomplishment was summiting Mount Kilimanjaro during my 4th year of medical school. After spending a month in a hospital in Zimbabwe as a medical volunteer, I was lucky enough to travel through Tanzania and climb Mt. Kili as well as safari in the Serengeti."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"My favorite UT memory is studying abroad during my junior year in Salford, England for a year and then studying abroad for a couple of months in Spain, as I was also a Spanish minor. However, I LOVED UT football games and went to every home game! Go Rockets!


Name: Ann Steck
Hometown: Delta, OH
Current Residence: Toledo, OH
What has been your greatest accomplishment since graduating?
"Starting my family with my husband, Garth, and the birth of my beautiful daughter, Tess; being chief resident of my family medicine residency class; [and] standing in The Toledo Rep's production of "Victor Victoria" and The Valentine Theatre's "Evil Dead The Musical."
What is your favorite UT memory?
"Being completely overwhelmed by the pressures of a pre-med curriculum and going to see my advisor, Dr. David Hoch. I was always greeted with Werther's candies and a box of Kleenex. He provided me calm reassurance and the strength I needed to trudge through the most challenging times. He was a gentle spirit and a brilliant mind. For four years, he was my compass. I am a better person for having known Dr. Hoch."

Last Updated: 9/5/17