Jesup Scott Honors College

Student of the Week Profiles


Megan Davidson

The long-awaited week for Megan Davidson is here! After fifty-three classes, nine semesters, and three co-op rotations, she is graduating this week with one degree, a JSHC medallion, and countless memories.Megan Davidson

“My proudest accomplishment at UToledo would have to be my involvement with Clean Water for the World,” the Chemical Engineering major said. For her CHEE 1000 orientation class, Megan helped devise and build a water purification unit for a design project. It utilized ultraviolet light and sediment filtration to provide clean water for a community without access to it.

Conducting research as an Honors student and writing a thesis helped her decide on a career in research and development. “Being the co-author of a published journal article has been a great way to get experience and definitely helped me stand out when applying and interviewing for jobs,” she said. Unsurprisingly, Megan already has a job at Cooper Tire & Rubber Company in Findlay lined up!

Favorite Honors Experience: “After my orientation course, I became involved in Walk for Water to raise money for building and installing more purification units around the world. I also traveled to El Salvador to install a unit in a health center and provide maintenance for previously installed systems. My work helping improve the lives of people in need is more important to me than any academic achievement.”

Jade McDaniel

Jade McDanielJade McDaniel prides herself in the research she has accomplished at The University of Toledo, work that has led to her interning at The Scripps Research Institute in California and at Bristol-Myers Squibb in New Jersey. “As a Medicinal and Biological Chemistry major, lab work and research are an important part of the career,” she noted. “Completing my Honors thesis thankfully pushed me to get experience with these things as soon as possible.”

Jade brought her talents to UToledo because of the unique programs offered here in the pharmaceutical sciences. To boot, she found the environment on campus welcoming and knew that the Jesup Scott Honors College would provide her with invaluable professional connections and skills that would last long after graduation. Jade cannot thank her peers, professors, fellow researchers, and advisors – including Dr. Viranga Tillekeratne – enough for all they have done to support her future here in Toledo and beyond!

Favorite Thing about Honors:
“It would have to be all of the opportunities Honors has provided me to invest in my education. For example, the Honors Academic Village gave me a place to live my freshman year that was focused on my studies but allowed me to feel comfortable, even though I was so far away from my home in Kansas.”

Rida Naqvi

Rida Naqvi joined the Honors College as a Biology student to jumpstart her participation in research early in her college career. Alongside research, the Rida NaqviJSHC has also helped her form meaningful connections with her professors, making it easier to understand course material and ask questions. But Rida has found much more than just academic depth in the way of opportunities at UToledo.

She is the proud President of the Muslim Students Association, the Treasurer of Students Organize for Syria, a member of the founding class of Muslimahs for Change, a student ambassador for the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and so much more. As the President of the MSA this year, Rida initiated a dialogue between the three Abrahamic religions and hosted an Interfaith Panel alongside the Catholic Student Association as well as Hillel in recognition of Muslim Heritage Month. They were able to provide an outlet for students to ask questions and clear misconceptions with the help of the faith representatives. The discussion was very successful, Rida said, and ultimately helped to create stronger ties within the community.

Favorite Thing about Honors: “As I have had the opportunity to take Honors courses outside of my major, I have gotten to know many different people. Being an Honors student has made me more open-minded as I have explored different perspectives and gained a greater appreciation for the diversity in the Toledo community.”

McKenna Wirebaugh

McKenna WirebaughSecuring one co-op with a Fortune Global 500 company is impressive enough. But three additional rotations at BP later, McKenna Wirebaugh earned herself a full-time job at the company following graduation. Paired with her Chemical Engineering major and Green Chemistry & Engineering minor, she says the Honors College offered her the research background that many companies look for in applicants. “My résumé becomes more well-rounded and stands out to potential employers because of it,” McKenna added.

The receipt of her Honors medallion next month will be a fitting addition to this brimming document. With the non-profit organization Clean Water for the World, she helped build a water purification unit that was sent to Ecuador. McKenna also spoke at an international chemical engineering conference in Orlando, and spent her co-ops living in Chicago for nine months and in Seattle for three. She is also proud of her involvement on campus with Cru, where she has shared her faith story in front of 200+ students at weekly meetings. With her graduation in 21 days, her wedding in 70 days, and the start of her dream job in 101 days, McKenna’s future is bright!

Favorite Honors Experience: “Dr. Ashley Pryor’s HON 1020 class focusing on creativity was definitely one of my favorite experiences in the JSHC. For a group project on the dangers of cell phone use, we brought in my PlayStation 2 and challenged students to text and ‘drive’ on Mario Kart without crashing.”

Alexx Rayk

Finding a university with an honors experience that focuses on more than just academics mattered a lot to Alexx Rayk. At UToledo, this initial fit quickly Alexx Raykgrew into a defining mission. “The Jesup Scott Honors College’s emphasis on leadership, travel, and other forms of experiential learning has helped me grow personally and professionally into a well-rounded future health care professional,” Alexx said.

As an a Public Health major, Alexx has contributed extensively to research on campus and in the pages of academic journals. Their work in Dr. Heather Conti’s immunology lab has framed Alexx’s Honors capstone project and led to a published paper. Another publication soon followed about wealth inequality and its effects on personal as well as national healthcare, this time collaborating with Dr. Timothy Jordan. In fact, this faculty mentorship is what solidified Alexx’s desire to pursue a career as a physician-scientist. The opportunity provided by the Honors capstone project and Honors Learning Contracts allowed Alexx to dive deeper into specific issues relevant to their expertise, interest, and eventual career.

Favorite Honors Experience: “My favorite Honors memory is when I went to Guatemala during Spring Break last year. It was my first time out of the country and I now have a few close friends from around the globe. Working with people who don’t come from the same background, or have the same opinions as me, has helped me develop as an individual and has greatly prepared me for my future career.”

Roan Martin-Hayden

Roan Martin-HaydenAttending the Jesup Scott Honors College was a “no-brainer” for Roan Martin-Hayden after selecting his hometown university. The stature of its Engineering College and mandatory co-op program impressed him, all of it enhanced by the personal attention and opportunities afforded to Honors students. Roan’s Honors sections of major classes keep him engaged, with one Chemistry recitation section sticking out in his mind. The extra time with the professor spent expanding on the class topics instead of merely reviewing homework set the experience apart. “This undoubtedly helped my performance in the course and made it feel more like a ‘Chemistry Club’ than a just a recitation section,” he said. Equipped with mandatory co-op cycles and unparalleled access to his faculty, Roan feels exceptionally prepared to start his career.

Favorite Honors Experience: “I appreciate my HON 2010 Multicultural Toledo class, the JSHC Distinguished Lecture series, and the vast amount of opportunities to learn beyond the classroom as an Honors student.”

Madelyn Espen

Never let fear get in the way,” is Madalyn Espen’s motto, conceived as she began her journey here at UToledo. This Nursing major was attracted to Madalyn EspenUToledo’s strength in healthcare fields powered by the unique clinical and research opportunities for undergraduate students created by the Health Science Campus.

The Jesup Scott Honors College has helped her develop the empathy and communication skills crucial for nurses. She also values that the Honors curriculum examines diversity in different cultures and areas of the world. “I have learned more about humanity through the in-depth, controversial discussions in my Honors classes than a textbook could ever teach,” she said. The humanities courses built into the Honors curriculum she finds have also provided a nice balance to the logic-heavy science classes in her major.

Favorite Thing about Honors: “Honors courses allow for open discussions with unlike-minded people. Our society has fostered an environment of silence and avoiding tough conversations in which we disagree with one another, even though these are the exact conversations that instigate change and innovation.”

Samuel Simpson

Samuel SimpsonSamuel Simpson, President of the UToledo Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, has brought much to the Honors community. This Blissfield, Michigan native with big aspirations fell in love with campus and the JSHC in the Fall of 2017. After attending one of the Honors Preview Days, Sam was won over by UToledo’s affordability and its balanced size – a research university that still feels like home. He has exceled in his major, even taking advantage of undergraduate research opportunities as a sophomore. Participating in the First Year Summer Research Experience not only provided Sam with valuable knowledge relevant to his field, but also began building his professional skillsets for use after graduation.

Favorite Honors Experience: This would have to be joining the Honors Student Ambassadors and being able to integrate myself fully into the JSHC community!

Rebecca Dangler

From being a swim instructor in Yokosuka, Japan for two and a half months to being appointed by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to its Board of Trustees as a Rebecca Danglerstudent member, Rebecca Dangler has accomplished many things while at UToledo. An Accounting and Finance double-major from Westerville, Ohio, Rebecca brought her talents to UToledo for its personable atmosphere and beautiful campus. After her freshman year, she also realized all the Jesup Scott Honors College had to offer and knew it was something she needed to join. She applied as a current student and was accepted the summer before her sophomore year. Doing so allowed Rebecca to forge a deep connection with her Honors Business professors, helping her flourish in her major as a result. Now, she counts herself among the JSHC Student Ambassadors!

Favorite Honors Experience: “HON 2010 with Dr. Carla Pattin was my favorite course I have taken here at UToledo. Multicultural Toledo was engaging, and through it, I learned so much about Toledo. It helped me gain a new appreciation for this city and its history.”

Terri Draper

For Terri Draper, college is not just about going to class, taking notes, doing homework, and studying for tests. Terri says many of her opportunities at Terri DraperUToledo extend outside of the classroom. Her faculty push their students to interact with the community and experience every beautiful thing Toledo has to offer. Terri through all of this has built amazing friendships and been mentored by her instructors. A sophomore, campus by now feels like a second home for this TOLEDO EXCEL graduate.

Double-majoring in Adolescent and Young Adult Education as well as in English, Terri was attracted to the Honors College for its emphasis on creativity and self-discovery. With the help of the JSHC, Terri says, “I now better understand the impact of literacy in our community as well as the impact of literature in our daily lives. Art is a mirror held up to the world, and I see daily life experiences and struggles in what I read.” Instead of just being encouraged to read a book, the Honors faculty encourage Terri and her classmates to be the characters – to understand their stories from different points of view and make decisions thinking critically about what the text is really saying.

Standout Accomplishment: “After starting college, I knew I wanted to be more involved and confident in my abilities as a leader. I became President of Toledo Campus Ministry in my first year here and am now the Student/Faculty Liaison for The Voice of Honors, a career ambassador for Career Services, and am establishing a small program in the community to teach young people creative writing skills. Thanks to the JSHC, I have realized my goals for the future and am already working towards achieving them.”

Shaina Shah

Meet Shaina Shah, an Honors Pharmacy sophomore! Shaina crossed the state line as a Michigan resident to bring her talents to UToledo for more than just Shaina Shahits strong Pharmacy program. “The students and the faculty here at the JSHC were so far beyond welcoming that I immediately realized that this is where I wanted to spend my college years,” she said. Working closely with Pharmacy faculty in her Honors classes has allowed her to excel in her major, and taking classes with other JSHC students has introduced her to some of her closest friends.

Although Shaina has accomplished much already here at UToledo, she feels she will be proudest of her Honors thesis upon its completion. Shaina has the opportunity to work with Dr. Mary Powers on it, a professor of Pharmacy Practice. Together they are studying changing admissions trends in and criteria for the Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

Favorite Honors Experience: “This year I have deeply enjoyed being a Student Ambassador for the Honors College! Interacting with prospective UToledo students and helping them see all the benefits that come with joining the JSHC is an experience for which I could not be more grateful.”

Rupesh Boddapati

Rupesh BoddapatiAs a Bioengineering student in the Bacc2MD program, Rupesh Boddapati is on the fast track to his desired career. This Northville, Michigan, native values the integration of service and academics embedded in the culture of the JSHC. With service learning trips to developing nations and Honors courses that leverage his education into tangible improvements for Toledo, Rupesh appreciates the opportunities Honors offers aspiring leaders.

Despite the challenging courses in his major and the hours he has dedicated to service, he identifies personal growth as his standout accomplishment. “Becoming more independent and exposing myself to growth opportunities in the JSHC has really built my self-esteem and helped define my character,” he said.

Favorite Honors Opportunity: “I’ve lived in the Honors dorms since Fall 2017 and eventually became the Service Chair of MacKinnon, Scott, and Tucker Halls. This position has since opened the door to me for several prominent leadership opportunities on campus and beyond!”

Taylor Dallas

While many students wait until they are established in their program before studying abroad, Taylor Dallas dove headfirst into the opportunity. “Through Taylor Dallasthe Honors College, I was lucky enough to travel to Guatemala on a service learning trip last year,” the Pre-Pharmacy sophomore said. “It was the most impactful experience I have ever had, allowing me to directly aid others in the world.”

Taylor selected The University of Toledo for its accelerated Pharmacy program, enhanced by the ability of Honors students to take intellectually stimulating courses covering subjects not typically included in her major.

The difficulty of maintaining this level of performance can get to any student, though. After making the President’s list her freshman year, she realized she would need to tweak her study habits to continue excelling. She was unsure of where to begin, but through the Honors College, she connected with older students familiar with the demanding classes in her program. Taylor gained lifelong friendships with like-minded people in the JSHC that have helped her grow not only as a student, but also as a person.

Favorite Honors Experience:While I was in Guatemala, I was able to experience a completely different way of life and that exposure has changed how I view privilege and the ability of people to make a tangible difference in the world.”

Kelsey Gillmor

Kelsey GillmorAs an early conditional admit to The University of Toledo’s Speech-Language Pathology graduate program, despite just starting her junior year, Kelsey Gillmor clearly does not stray away from a challenge. The insight and critical thinking skills she has gained through the Jesup Scott Honors College have prepared her well for this momentous next step. “I chose UToledo not only because both of my parents are alumni, but also because I fell in love with the welcoming atmosphere, devoted staff, and distinguished Honors curriculum – making my decision to attend UToledo and the JSHC easy.” As an Honors student, Kelsey cherished studying abroad in Jamaica last Spring. “It was a rewarding week of fulfilling service and personal growth,” she said.

Favorite Thing about Honors: “I loved having the opportunity to enrich my freshman year by taking HON 1010 and HON 1020! The JSHC has introduced me to so many great people who play such a significant role in my life as a student.”

Max Nye

Juggling campus involvement and a full class schedule is something to which sophomore Max Nye is no stranger. A Bioengineering major from Richfield, Max NyeOhio, Max is currently serving as the President of The Voice of Honors and is a resident advisor on campus – which he celebrates as his two greatest accomplishments at UToledo.

“I chose UToledo because its Engineering programs are phenomenal,” Max said. “I joined the Honors College because I wanted a more personal experience within my classes and throughout my college career.” Wasting no time in doing so, he enrolled in an Honors section of BIOE 1000 in his first semester. “The Honors students were asked to complete a design project where we developed and presented an idea to fix an issue. My group chose to craft an adjustable sleeve for cups that allow the elderly who lack strength to handle them on their own,” Max explained. “That course sparked my excitement for the future where I could pursue solutions to better the world around us.”

Favorite Thing about Honors:The ability to get to know the Honors faculty outside the classroom."

Taylor Burchfield

Welcome back to campus, Honors Rockets! My name is Taylor Burchfield and I will be the face behind the Honors social media accounts (follow us!) this Taylor Burchfieldyear as well as the author of these student profiles. I am a senior majoring in Communication Studies with minors in Marketing and Professional Sales. I am from a small town near Cincinnati, Ohio, and was originally a part of the Honors Communication Team during my freshman and sophomore years. I gained unparalleled, real-world experience in that role and am so excited to be back with the JSHC to finish out my college career!

Outside of working within communications and marketing, my passion on campus is Greek Life. I am a proud member of Chi Omega and am currently serving as its chapter president here at UToledo. I am also a member of the Order of Omega, Gamma Sigma Alpha, and Mortar Board National College Senior Honor Society. My chapter and Greek Life have given me countless opportunities to expand my leadership abilities and have provided me with friendships and role models to last a lifetime.

In the coming weeks, we will share in this section the stories of Honors students that embody the best of UToledo. I am looking forward to a wonderful year and hope I get the chance to meet many of you reading this!

Click here For 2018-2019 Honors Student Profiles

Click here For 2017-2018 Honors Student Profiles

Click here For 2016-2017 Honors Student Profiles

Last Updated: 12/19/19