College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Outstanding Graduating Students

Each year, during early spring, in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) the five departments in NSM select one Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student through a faculty nomination process held within the department. The five departmental nominees are submitted to the Dean's office where a selection committee reviews the five nominees and selects one student as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Graduating Student.

Spring 2020

Sarah Harmych Sarah Harmych, ’20, B.S. in Biology; Minor in Chemistry, Department of Biological Sciences 2020 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"The best thing the University of Toledo offered me was a small campus feel with the opportunities of a large university. As a freshman I knew that I loved science and wanted to be in the field but not wanting to go to medical school meant I had very little idea what my life after graduation would look like. My freshman year I decided to take advantage of one of the summer research grants. It didn’t take long into the summer for me to fall in love with the process of research. I continued to work in the lab for the remainder of my undergraduate career and was even given the opportunity to contribute to a research paper with is in currently the review process. I also participated in the UToledo-Salford Exchange program which meant I spent my entire junior year studying in England. While research provided me the opportunity to grow professionally and find my passion, my study abroad experience allowed me to grow personally. From getting to travel frequently to having to live in a new city for the first time I had the chance to gain independence and confidence.

What stands out most to me about my time in the Biology Department is the amount of support I received as I pursued my degree. As a biology student with no plans to enter the medical field I worried I would not find the support I needed to figure out my personal career path but I was wrong. I had countless opportunities through organizations and classes on campus to learn about the many career options I had after receiving my degree. When I decided that graduate school was my next step I was blessed to have Dr. Chadee as my research professor who was there to support me the entire way. Whether it was writing a letter of recommendation or just listening to my worries about the process she was always helpful. UToledo has given me the skills I need to be successful in my next steps and I don’t believe I would have received the invaluable opportunities at any other institution. After UToledo I will moving to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt University where I will be working towards my Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences."

Veronica Martin Veronica R. Martin, ’20, B.S. in Biochemistry and Biology (dual major), Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry 2020 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My time at the University of Toledo will forever be something I cherish. The vast amount of opportunities UToledo has offered me have allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. I think the one of the most enriching was the UToledo-Salford Exchange program, in which I was able to study my coursework for a year in Manchester, England. I was also able to engage in therapeutic-based cancer research under the guidance of a faculty member during my time at the University of Salford. It also didn’t hurt that I manage to visit over twenty countries! This rewarding experience allowed me to explore so many aspects of myself in addition to experiencing the impact of science around the world. The research I have completed for my honors thesis, in addition to the coursework I have studied, has inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in Chemistry here at UToledo, in which I’m very excited to continue developing my research skills among such esteemed instructors. UToledo has already allowed me to explore many aspects of science, and I can’t wait to see what comes next!"

Ysabelle Yrad Ysabelle Yrad, ’20, B.S. in Biology - Ecology and Organismal, Department of Environmental Sciences 2020 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"The courses I took at the University of Toledo gave me a deep understanding of environmental issues, as well as my affection for creating a more sustainable future. Through the Jesup Scott Honors College, I had the opportunity to study conservation ecology when I traveled to the Galapagos islands. I enjoyed participating in environmental stewardship programs on campus as well, such as belonging to a group that developed a new native garden outside of Carlson Library. As an education and outreach intern at UToledo’s Lake Erie Center, I’ve been able to share my enthusiasm for ecology with many people. I am also grateful for the opportunity to present my work internationally, as a finalist for the Biodesign Challenge last year in NYC. This is why the best memories I have at UToledo is when I’ve been able to demonstrate what I know about the environment and inspire others to take interest in the nature around them. Being involved in the campus community as a member of Building Ohio’s Sustainable Energy Future (BOSEF), an undergraduate scholarship organization, has ultimately shaped my confidence and passion for conservation issues. From the experiences I had as an undergraduate at UToledo, I feel empowered to continue working on the sustainability problems we face in a society. One day, I’d like to assist global communities impacted by a climate crises."

Ysabelle was also selected as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics 2020 Outstanding Graduating Student!

Allen Williams Allen Williams, ’20, B.S. in Mathematics - Pure Math & B.S. in Computer Science & Engineering (dual degree), Department of Mathematics & Statistics 2020 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I have very fond memories of my time at the University of Toledo. During my time here I have grown as a student, as a researcher, and as a person. I was very fortunate to meet many amazing and caring mentors who provided me with multiple opportunities to participate in research in both mathematics and computer science. I also got the chance to work as a member of a team on exciting and practical projects, and to participate in conferences and events related to my work. Last semester I had the opportunity to tutor students who were beginning their study of advanced mathematics as part of a scholarship I received from the department of mathematics and statistics. Tutoring was a unique experience and I enjoyed helping other students to grasp the material. The coursework at UToledo has been extremely interesting and challenging and has prepared me quite well for the doctoral program I will begin next fall, and the product development internship I've secured for this summer.

Last summer I was extremely lucky to have my project selected for presentation in the 2019 Young Mathematicians Conference at Ohio State University, and to be able to secure travel funding to give a talk about my work on forbidden subgraphs and generating functions related to power graphs of groups. I have also had the tremendous pleasure of working since the fall of 2018 in the R1 advanced simulation and gaming studio with a few other graduate students on the development of a cyber security related simulation software. In the fall of 2019 I also had a chance to travel to Argonne National Labs for a chance to participate in the Cyber Force Cyber Security Competition along with a few other undergraduate and graduate students, where we hosted a simulated energy related website and attempted to secure our website against professional attackers attempting to disrupt the usability of our systems. I have had to overcome many challenges to have these opportunities, and I couldn't be happier with the support and guidance I have received from my professors and teachers at the University of Toledo, and I will be forever grateful to them for helping me to achieve the academic success that I have achieved so far."

Alexander Bordovalos Alexander Bordovalos, ’20, B.S. in Physics; Minor in Mathematics, Department of Physics & Astronomy 2020 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I will always think of the time I spent at the University of Toledo fondly. The physics and astronomy department is full of the kindest faculty around, and it was a pleasure to be able to learn from such a great group of people. I remember having interesting discussions with my instructors during my lab courses, and I remember spending countless hours studying. In the Society of Physics Students, I was able to make connections with other students. As a group we would do physics related activities like building paper airplanes, playing with a vacuum chamber, and making liquid nitrogen ice cream. It was rewarding to do these demos for outreach events.

My undergraduate research at the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization inspired me to continue my work in the solar industry, and I developed many pragmatic skills that supplemented my theoretical classwork. I also worked at the Learning Enhancement Center as a tutor, and it has been my favorite job to date because I was able to help other students in a meaningful way."

Last Updated: 6/2/20