College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Alumni in the Spotlight


Govind Sharma Shyam Sunder, ’21, Ph.D. Chemistry 

01.10.2022 - Huge shout-out and congrats to Govind Sharma Shyam Sunder, (’21, Ph.D. Chemistry), on all of his success while at The University of Toledo and best wishes on future endeavors!

In Sharma’s own words:
“When I came to #UToledo in 2016, I began to explore labs and choose an advisor. I was excited to talk with Dr. Kirchhoff, who became my advisor and helped me join his lab,” Shyam Sunder said. “I’m so glad that I did and that I made the right decision because the growth in my learning curve was steep.”

“When I was new to the University of Toledo, I was good at theoretical knowledge of instrumentations and techniques. Then I got real-world experience. Dr. Kirchhoff was so encouraging and kept motivating me to learn new things.”
According to Dr. Krichhoff, “His [Sharma’s] desire and commitment to learn new methods, explore novel chemistry and gain experience with the excellent instrumentation available in the department set him apart. The knowledge he gained and his growth as a scientist led to his co-authorship on five journal articles to date from his dissertation — three as first author — and ultimately was key to him obtaining the position at Waters Corporation, which is one of the leading scientific instrument companies in the country.”
Kirchhoff said that Shyam Sunder’s discovery and development of a new air-stable polymer for the extraction of rare earth elements, which was published this year (ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces,, was a major contribution to the scientific literature.
Full #UTnews article:
We’re so happy and excited for you Sharma, we're lucky to have you out in the field representing #UToledoRocketScience!

NSM Fall 21 honors recipients alum 

12.15.2021 - The University of Toledo Jesup Scott Honors College recognized its graduating students at its Fall Medallion Ceremony held on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.

A special shout-out to the six recipients of the Honors medallion from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics:

• Hung Do, B.S. Data Science, minor in Economics
• Denisa Ivan, B.S. in Biology, pre-med concentration, minor in Chemistry
• Lilian Jerow, B.S. in Biology, neuroscience and pre-med concentration, minor in Chemistry
• Drew Pariseau, B.S. in Biology, minor in Chemistry
• Ashley Scheutzow, B.S. in Biochemistry, pre-med concentration, minor in Biology
• Gracie Siffer, B.S. in Biochemistry

Dr. Thomas Wakefield, Professor, Vascular Surgery and Director, Frankel Cardiovascular Center, University of Michigan , and a 1975 Honors graduate of the University of Toledo Department of Biological Sciences, provided the alumni remarks at the medallion ceremony.
Congrats to all the medallion recipients and best of luck on all your future endeavors!

Gunnar Kramer alum 

12.03.2021 - Join us in congratulating Gunnar Kramer, Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo, who is heading to Harvard University as an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow after graduating this month with his Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences from The University of Toledo!

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Kramer the fellowship to advance research to understand the basis of avian diversity, evolution and behavior. Kramer has published 17 papers on cutting-edge ornithological research that identifies migration routes.

“Most notably, my research showed that the population dynamics of migratory species can be linked to factors like deforestation in species’ wintering areas,” Kramer said. “This type of information is critical for conserving declining migratory birds.”

“He is a perfect example that we can and do host some of the best graduate students in the world here at UToledo,” said Dr. Henry Streby, associate professor of ecology.

Kramer, a Minnesota-native, will work in the laboratory of Dr. Scott Edwards, professor of organismal and evolutionary biology at Harvard and curator of ornithology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology.
Full #UTNews article:

Angela Messmer-Blust Utoledo alum
November 29, 2021 - HUGE shout-out to Angela Messmer-Blust, The University of Toledo alumna - B.S. Biology (’03) and Ph.D. Biology (’09/Advisor, D. Vestal), University of Toledo Department of Biological Sciences – on some really exciting recognition she recently received for her work developing a coloring book to explain the science of the #mRNAvaccine to children!

Angela is a Sr Scientific Advisor and Assistant Professor at UMass Chan Medical School where she was able to turn her vision into reality with the opportunity to lead the “Emma RNA Saves the Day” coloring book project at the RNA Therapeutics Institute!

The Boston Celtics recognized Angela as a #HeroAmongUs for her work on the coloring book at the Celtics vs. LA Lakers game where #EmmaRNA got a standing ovation on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021!

For more information about this project and to download or request physical copies for a classroom, in English or Spanish, visit:
Congrats Angela on your hard work and this great achievement! Our #RocketPride is shining bright!

 Matthew McCormick Utoledo Alum

October 1, 2021 - Huge shout-out and congrats to Matthew McCormick, (’21, M.S. Geology), recent alum from The University of Toledo, on getting his dream job! 

In Matt’s own words:

“I accepted a position with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The position is in Region 9 working on superfund site remediation in California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and is based in San Francisco! It's literally my dream job!

I want to thank you for all your help and direction in the development and execution of my thesis research. Our committee meetings were the most influential points in the evolution of my research, and you helped me think outside of the box and drove me to do more. Looking back, I think that if I didn't have you on my committee that my research wouldn't have evolved into the study it did, and I wouldn't have learned the skills which got me an awesome EPA job. It was an honor having you as a committee member, and I hope that future students can share the benefit of having you serve on their committee.

Thank you again for guidance and tutelage, it helped me land a great job! I'll make sure to keep in touch in the future and will do my best to represent the department.”

The Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo's Dr. Daryl Dwyer (received this message from Matt) was a member of Matt’s thesis committee and Dr. Jamie Martin-Hayden was Matt’s MS thesis advisor ~ kudos to you both on your outstanding student support!

We’re so happy and excited for you Matt, we're lucky to have you out in the field representing #UToledoRocketScience!

David Baliu-Rodriguez
August 16, 2021 - HUGE shout-out to David Baliu-Rodriguez, The University of Toledo, who is graduating with a Ph.D. in #chemistry (Isailovic Lab), and on Aug. 30 will join Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Calif., as a postdoctoral #researcher!

“Research has long been my passion,” he said, “and the National Laboratories have outstanding scientists and facilities. At LLNL, I’ll have the opportunity to work with instruments and techniques that are not available anywhere else.”

“Dr. Dragan Isailovic has been an excellent advisor who has pushed me into becoming an independent researcher,” Baliu-Rodriguez said. “He offered high-end instruments for me to learn and perform experiments, and projects that are worthwhile both from a career-development and environmental sense.”

“I look forward to expanding my horizons to California, where there is so much exciting science being done,” Baliu-Rodriguez said. “Dr. Dragan empowers his students to be independent thinkers, and to find new ways to apply what we’ve learned to our projects. At LLNL, I’ll be taking that skill to the next level.”

Congratulations David, our #RocketPride is shining bright! 
Full #UTNews story:

Eanas Abutaha Utoledo alum
August 2, 2021 - Congratulations to Eanas Abutaha, The University of Toledo alum, (’20, B.S. Biology, pre-dental concentration, University of Toledo Department of Biological Sciences) on becoming a 2021 Fellowship Recipient of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi!
The 2021 class of fellows represents students from more than 60 colleges and universities across the nation. The recipients—drawn from all academic disciplines—are pursuing post-baccalaureate programs of study ranging from science and engineering to arts and humanities.

#PhiKappaPhiFellowships are part of the Society’s robust awards program, which gives more than $1 million each year to outstanding members and students on chapter campuses through study abroad grants, graduate fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

Full article at #PhiKappaPhi:

Randy Thomas Utoledo alum
July 22, 2021 - HUGE shout-out to #UToledo alumnus and newest Dr. Riley Elliott - Shark Scientist crew member, Randy Thomas (’19, B.S. Environmental Sciences, Biology concentration, Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo)! 

Randy recently competed in Discovery’s first-ever shark series, #SharkAcademy, during #SharkWeek2021 on discovery+. The docu-series followed eight men and women who competed to secure a crew spot on #sharkscientist Dr. Riley Elliott’s next great shark diving expedition. Randy was the top competitor and won the coveted crew spot!
Congrats Randy, our #RocketPride is shining bright! ☀️

 Brian Schmidt and Mark DuFour UToledo Alum

July 6, 2021 - The two Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife employees holding this lake sturgeon are both alumni of the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Toledo (DES) and the University of Toledo Lake Erie Center (The University of Toledo Alumni Association).

DES grads are working at state and federal natural resource agencies (as well as parks, NGOs and other places) to protect and restore the #GreatLakes and other #ecosystems.

Dr. Bill Hintz and graduate student Jordan McKenna are continuing ongoing work at The University of Toledo on #lakesturgeon. Ms. McKenna will be helping to track baby lake sturgeon that are being reared The Toledo Zoo and another hatchery and re-introduced to #LakeErie.

Pictured (L-R): Brian Schmidt, (MS ‘15, Mayer) and Dr. Mark DuFour (MS ‘12 and PhD ‘16, Mayer & Qian). Photo: Jim McFee.

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Departmental Alumni Spotlights:
Biological Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Physics & Astronomy

Last Updated: 6/27/22