Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women

Women of the Week

The Eberly Center  recognizes outstanding students, faculty, and staff by highlighting a woman of the week in our weekly newsletter.

We want to applaud the women on campus who make a difference every day in the work that they do, the people they interact with, and the communities they serve! Our newsletter contains pieces of the interviews with each of the Women of the Week, and all of their answers can be found below!

Please help us to honor the amazing women who make UToledo a better place by nominating outstanding students, faculty, and staff below!

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This Week's Woman of the Week

Jeanine Refsnider-Streby

Jeanine

Q: Where are you from?
A: Minneapolis, MN

Q: What do you like to do for fun? (watching/reading/listening to)
A: hiking, biking, traveling

Q: Who is your favorite author and why?
A: Jared Diamond - he has new ways of analyzing huge, broad patterns

Q: What motivates you to do the work you do?
A: We are placing unprecedented environmental challenges on organisms, both in magnitude and rate of change. Understanding the capacity of organisms to respond to these challenges is critical to protecting species and maintaining biodiversity. Plus, reptiles (my primary study organisms) are super cool animals.

Q: What is one challenge you have recently experienced and overcame?
A: Navigating university bureaucracy is an ongoing challenge, particularly with time-sensitive research such as ours where we have to be on the animals' schedule or we miss out on critical data.  I have learned to be persistent and pushy when necessary to make sure we get through the red tape so we can conduct our research.

Q: What skill would you like to master?
A: Speaking Spanish

Q: What are you currently studying/teaching/working on?
A: How are animals affected by human-caused changes to the environment?  For example, how do climate change, habitat fragmentation, harmful algal blooms, and pollution affect individual animals' health and population trends?  Are animals able to cope with such large-scale environmental changes, and if so how?

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: Along the Ottawa River

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: Seeing students become confident in their abilities as scientists

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: Having the opportunity to mentor fantastic graduate student.

Previous Women of the Week

Tulani Black

TulaniQ: Where are you from?
A: Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I enjoy listening to podcasts, painting and binge watching The Office on Netflix

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: My proudest accomplishment thus far is creating scholarship for my organization’s annual women’s gala. Creating a scholarship is something that I have always wanted to implement while being on campus so I’m glad that I had the opportunity to do so.

Q: What is something that you are passionate about and why?
A: Something that I am passionate is advocating for others. I’m very passionate about advocating for homelessness and women’s rights.

Q: Explain a time you had to make a difficult decision or faced an obstacle in your life.
A: Freshman year of college, I had plans on transferring schools. I debated with myself and family on whether I should transfer schools or not. I had a great friend group here in Toledo and I was given so many different opportunities here but I still wanted to leave. I ultimately made the decision to stay and I can say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Being at Toledo has taught me so much about myself and has given me so many great opportunities. I’m not sure if I'd have the same experience if I’d left.

Q: If you had a magic wand what would you change in the world (or on campus)?
A: I would change the poverty in the world.

Q: What are you currently studying/working on?
A: I am a Social Work major minoring in political science and urban studies.

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: The courtyard located in University Hall

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: My favorite experience is most definitely Student Appreciation Day

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: UT has helped me grow as a person, I am very reserved and I keep to myself. Since being here I have done all sorts of things that I never would have done before, like becoming Vice President of an organization, mentoring incoming freshman, or lobbying for reproductive justice at the Ohio Statehouse.

   Sally Harmych

DrHarmychQ: Where are you from?
A: I grew up near Cleveland but now live in Ypsilanti, MI with my family.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I love to knit and spend most of my free time and waiting time working on projects. I knit socks, sweaters, hats, and shawls. I love the challenge! I also like to do kickboxing and going for hikes.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
A: Earning my PH.D. in Biology from the University of Toledo. It took longer than expected and was difficult, but was worth every moment.

Q: What inspires and motivates you in your work?
A: The students that I teach. I am inspired every day by the challenge of helping them learn new concepts and figuring out new and innovative ways to present those concepts.

Q: What is one challenge you recently experienced and overcame?
A: I took on the challenge of being a faculty mentor for a summer program and did not feel confident that I could do a good job. It really came down to a lack of confidence. In fact, there were a couple of instances when I almost decided not to do it. Instead, I took on the challenge and it was an amazing experience.

Q: If you had a magic wand what would you change in the world (or on campus)?
A: I would get people to listen to each other again. The country feels extremely divided and I think part of the reason for this is many people are unwilling to listen to the other person’s point of view and be willing to accept that it is different from theirs.

Q: What are you currently studying/teaching/working on?
A: I primarily teach Freshman biology and orientation courses. Specifically, I teach Fundamentals of Life Science: Diversity of Life, Evolution and Adaptation (BIOL2150), Fundamentals of Life Science: Biomolecules (BIOL2170), cells and inheritance and Major Concepts in Biology (BIOL2010). I also teach the orientation course (NSM1000). In addition, I am teaching Human Nutrition (BIOL3210) this semester and will teach Parasitology (BIOL4330) in the spring.

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: Favorite spot on campus is the Mall, especially in the spring when all of the trees are in bloom.  I love to find a bench on a beautiful day and enjoy the view and all the activity. This was one of the first things I loved about the campus when I toured as a high school senior. I think this is one of the most beautiful campuses. My favorite spot in Toledo is the zoo. I could go there 10 times a year and when my kids were little this was one of our favorite things to do in the summer.

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: I have 2: The first was being recognized for outstanding teaching. The second was moving both of my children into the residence halls when they began at UT. I am so happy that they see what I have seen all these years, that UT is an amazing university and have embraced the experience.

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: Being at UT has allowed me to fully devote my time to teaching which is my true passion. When I began my Ph.D. I was fully convinced that I would eventually have my own research lab. Getting the opportunity to teach, however, changed that. The minute I stepped in to the classroom I knew I had found my calling and I have never looked back.

   Rebecca Sturges

SturgesQ: Where are you from?
A: I was born in Tucson, Arizona but I have lived most of my life in Orion, Michigan, a city about 30 minutes outside of Detroit.

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I consider myself to be a horror movie connoisseur! My roommates and I watch a scary movie or show at least once a week, probably more. I also really love playing soccer (but I am not very good!); I play on an intramural team here for fun.

Q: How would you describe yourself using only 5 words?
A: Dedicated, Intuitive, Trustworthy, Personable, Loyal

Q: What is one unique thing about you?
A: One unique thing about me is that I can wiggle my ears!

Q: What is one challenge you recently experienced and overcame?
A: Student Government and the International Student Association as well as the Black Student Union recently put on our Kalahari Leadership Retreat. While the entire thing eventually went very well, we had a hiccup in the middle of having students sign up where half the organizations we invited did not receive our invitation and another good amount were outdated contacts. We ended up splitting up the 70 organizations we invited and contacting them personally, whether that was texting, calling, or going to a meeting of theirs. It was stressful at the time and was a big bump in our road, but it all worked out with everyone’s help!

Q: If you had to compare yourself to a fictional character, who would it be?
A: I would probably compare myself to Merida from Brave. Not only do we both have red hair, but people underestimate what we can often do. I love her feminist stance and leadership skills, even in times of trouble.

Q: What are you currently studying/working on?
A: I am currently working on my bachelors degree in biology with a neuroscience concentration. After that, I hope to go to medical school!

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: I LOVE the courtyards behind University Hall, and probably UHall itself. The entire building is so old and fun to explore and wander around. The courtyards are BEAUTIFUL with all sorts of different flowers and trees and a great view of the bell tower.

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: Without being too cheesy, I want to say my favorite experience has been all the different people I have met. I am introduced to new people every day, from all over the world and all over the nation with different lives and stories. I could never be bored with such a beautiful campus and beautiful people!

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: I think specifically getting involved on campus has made me passionate about advocating for people. I am more into social justice, and fighting for those without a voice. Now my desire to be a doctor has a different meaning; I want to be able to fight for people who have trouble with their healthcare or insurance. Utoledo has changed my professional life for the better.

   Heena Thakkar

Heena

Q: Where are you from?
A: India

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: Listening to songs and reading books.

Q: Who is your role model or hero, and why?
A: Honestly, I don’t have a role model or hero for following reasons, I believe every person I meet or have met in my life have something to offer and I try to learn and adapt those good qualities. I look up to women who know they are amazing just the way they are, women who are powerful, and those who know what they deserve and how they deserve to be treated. Also, Women who stand for themselves and don’t settle for anything less than what they deserve.

Q: What is one thing you think people should know about you?
A: I want them to know that:
-Nothing in this world can break me until I allow it to.
-If asked to describe myself in a word it would be; Resilient.
-How passionate I am about my career and the person I am evolving into.
-I believe in progress.
-I believe in the phrase, “Actions speak louder than the words.”

Q: What is one challenge you recently experienced and overcame?
A: One challenge I recently experienced was being able to believe in myself and help myself revive after a toxic emotional phase. After one point I decided to stand up for myself and choose what was healthy and right for me, that’s when I started to go to gym every day, being around my family and friends, and just doing things that made me happy. Slowly down this process I realized how important my happiness and my goals have been and how passionate I am to achieve those. Now, I have confidence in me that I know I am enough just the way I am, and I am happy in myself and that I don’t need any type of validation for it. I love the way I have transformed since.

Q: If you had a magic wand what would you change in the world (or on campus)?
A: Spread more positivity within people & people to respect personal lives and everyone around them

Q: What are you currently studying/working on?
A: Studying Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration.

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: Library

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: My entire journey so far has been an experience for me and it’s been amazing. The opportunities that are coming my way as I grow.

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: University has given me a lot of opportunities; in my career and that have helped me in building my personality and just being involved on campus has given me some good and bad experiences and that helped me learn and grow a lot.

   Taylor Wynne

WynneQ: Where are you from?
A: Cleveland, Ohio

Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Hobbies include reading, traveling, and exercising

Q: What is your proudest accomplishment?
A: Traveling to Baltimore Maryland and representing the state of Ohio in a speaking competition. 


Q: If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be?
A: I would work alongside Michelle Obama at the Obama Foundation for a day.

Q: What is one challenge you recently experienced and overcame?
A: Around this time last year I was hospitalized for having a swollen esophagus and inflamed pancreas. Though I could've easily threw in the towel, and taken a semester off of school, my determination and goal driven mindset would not let me do so. I pushed myself to get better and finished out the rest of the semester. 

Q: Where do you see yourself in five years?
A: In five years I hope to be teaching English at a high school, while pursing my EdD (Doctorate of Education)  

Q: What are you currently studying/working on?
A: I am currently majoring in English with a concentration in Literature

Q: Where is your favorite spot on campus/Toledo?
A: Favorite spot on campus is the 5th floor of the library

Q: What has been your favorite experience while at the University of Toledo?
A: Favorite experience while being at Toledo has been traveling to New York City during Spring Break for a service trip.

Q: How has being at UT helped your professional/personal growth?
A: UT continues to open doors for me, and challenge me as a leader by pushing me outside of my comfort zone and testing my abilities. It's only up from here! 

Last Updated: 1/21/20