College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Convocation and Outstanding Graduating Students

Spring 2023 Convocation for students in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics was held on Friday, May 5th at 4pm in the CPA Recital Hall! This event honored the Spring 2023 Undergraduate and Graduate Candidates for Graduation. The Undergraduate Departmental Outstanding Graduating Students were recognized and the Undergraduate College Outstanding Graduating Student was announced! University Commencement schedule and additional information.

The selection process:
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 departmental nominees are submitted to the Dean's office where a selection committee reviews the nominees and selects one student as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Outstanding Graduating Student.


Anish KarnaniAnish Karnani, '23, B.S. in Biology, Minors in Chemistry and Business Administration, Department of Biological Sciences Spring 2023 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I came into college undecided about what major to pursue, but after taking introductory biology classes, I became more interested in pursuing a biology major. My interest only increased while taking upper level courses and getting involved in research. Getting involved in undergraduate research seemed intimidating at first, but the experience allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of biology and an appreciation for the field. It also helped me in my undergraduate courses as many of the methods used for key discoveries in the field became easier to understand.

I received lots of support in the lab, especially working under graduate students Jaai Pandit and Sreemita Majumdar, along with support from Dr. Song-Tao Liu, even though I had no research experience when I started. I was able to learn many new techniques ranging from basic cloning to protein isolation, which eventually allowed me to work on more complex projects. This experience showed me the importance of having a growth mindset and how to overcome obstacles.

In the Department of Biological Sciences, my favorite undergraduate course I took was Developmental Biology because I was introduced to so many new concepts that I had not heard of before and I was encouraged to think critically. As a medical scribe, I was able to see how many of the concepts I was learning about in the classroom were important in the field of medicine.

Outside of my major, I was also able to take interesting courses, such as World Religions and Philosophy of Religion, while also pursuing my interest in Business. This allowed me to explore my interest in religion and also gave me new knowledge that I will be able to apply to the field of healthcare in the future.

Overall, I am grateful for my experience at UToledo and for the faculty, staff and graduate students who have helped me achieve my goals. I also enjoyed making new lifelong friends during my four years of college and participating in various organizations like Club Tennis, KLAR Leadership Academy and Levis Leadership. At UToledo, I feel as if I was able to grow as an individual academically and pursue my passions in a supportive environment."

Michelle Huynh Michelle Huynh, '23, B.S. in Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Spring 2023 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"Being a biochemistry student at The University of Toledo has been one of the most formative experiences in my life. I feel very fortunate to have attended UToledo because I have had so many great memories and have made lifelong friendships here. My professors have been extremely understanding and supportive as I progressed through my degree. They were always excited to meet, which encouraged me to continue asking for help when needed.

As an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Wei Li’s organic chemistry lab, I was inspired by many hardworking undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctorate labmates to pursue my own research project. I loved working together to interpret a confusing NMR or brainstorm the next variable to test. I was also able to attend multiple chemistry conferences to present my research, including the national ACS conference in Indianapolis. This trip was graciously funded by the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Additionally, I joined the UToledo Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society, serving as secretary and tutoring chair this past year. One of the unique qualities of UTStACS was being able to tutor students in chemistry. Professors were also very accommodating in reviewing our practice questions for our tutoring sessions. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with the Pre-Health Advising Center and meet fellow pre-med students to assist them in studying for the MCAT and preparing their application for medical school.

Being a hobbyist painter, I also explored the UToledo’s Department of Art, which is located right next to the Toledo Museum of Art. I took many art classes here, including drawing, 2D design and digital arts. I am glad that I was able to gain formal art education as the classes offered flexible times that worked--even when I was taking chemistry labs four days a week! I saw myself grow not only as an artist but as an appreciator for art by observing and interacting with the passionate art students and faculty at UToledo.

Overall, I have no regrets with my decision of coming to the University Toledo. I will be forever thankful for the faculty, advisors, staff and students at UToledo for their encouragement and support. Go Rockets!!"

Michelle was selected as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Spring 2023 Outstanding Graduating Student!

Anthony Tomalewski Anthony Tomalewski, '23, B.S. in Environmental Sciences, Environmental Biology concentration, Department of Environmental Sciences Spring 2023 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"Four years ago, I started at UToledo unsure of myself and who I wanted to be. I chose my major as Environmental Science because I knew that the climate crisis was worsening, and I wanted to be part of the solution. But then the pandemic hit, and it turned our world upside down. However, the professors in our department never faltered in giving me their best.

As the years went by, I used that willpower to extract as much knowledge from my experiences and courses as possible. I worked in the Office of Sustainability and Dr. Kennedy Doro’s lab, where I learned how much I enjoy working in the field. I have spent the last couple of years working in Dr. Bridgeman’s lab, where I help monitor Lake Erie and its coastal wetlands. I also conducted research projects with Dr. Bridgeman and Dr. Dwyer, which have been fantastic learning opportunities. I became more confident in my abilities, and the aha moment came when I took a study abroad course I took with Dr. Bossenbroek that took me to the island of Trinidad. We went to the small village of Grande Riviere, where we helped the nonprofit Turtle Village Trust tag and record leatherback sea turtles. That was a life-changing experience, and I am determined to pursue a career in conservation because of what the leatherbacks taught me.

The transformative experiences I have gone through at UToledo showed me what it means to love the environment. I am now confident in myself and my mission. I'm ready and excited to graduate and become an environmental professional. For this, I have the outstanding DES faculty to thank, who, despite a global pandemic, saw that I succeeded in finding my purpose. Everyone in the department supported me in one way or another, and I am eternally grateful. Thanks, UToledo! Go Rockets!"

Prafull PatilPrafull Patil, '23, B.S. in Mathematics, Pure Mathematics concentration, Department of Mathematics and Statistics Spring 2023 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"Hey, guys! My name is Prafull, and I’m a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics. Coming from a small village to a completely new country the transition was not easy at first, but I was fortunate to have nice friends since my freshman year of college who helped me along the way. I came to Toledo on a scholarship as a sponsored student.

If I think about my time here I have only positive things to say about my experience. I was blown away by the math faculty’s expertise and passion to teach their courses and there wasn’t a single math course where I felt bored. Math has always been my favorite subject and after taking many math classes here, my interest has only grown over the past four years.

Special thanks to my research advisor Professor Eshmatov for doing research with me last summer and fall. Under his supervision, I was able to learn more about how formal independent research is done in mathematics. Also, I was able to put out two research papers under his supervision. I learned a lot of math outside of the classroom as well. From talking about the latest news in math to discussing whole algebra & analysis lectures again while walking home with my best friends, these were key moments that in a way made me realize how much I love mathematics and I should continue pursuing it as my career. In the near future, I will be joining UToledo as a math Ph.D. student, so it’s not really a goodbye! So, thank you UToledo for creating many opportunities for me that enabled me to grow as an individual, and cheers to four more years."

Samuel SeibertSamuel Seibert, '23, B.S. in Physics, Astrophysics concentration and B.S. in Mathematics, Pure Mathematics concentration, Department of Physics and Astronomy 2023 Spring Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My time at the University of Toledo began as a high school senior when a professor in the Department of Mathematics, Dr. Geoffrey Martin, reached out to me about the on-campus organization Building Ohio's Sustainable Energy Future, or BOSEF, and receiving the Choosing Ohio First Scholarship. This was really important to me for a couple of reasons - first, as a student who really cared about the environment and loved nature, it was really important to me that whatever university I attended, I found an organization that held these same beliefs about environmental activism. But also, as a student from a low-income family, it was very important to me that I find ways to reduce my tuition and the ability to group these two together into the same organization ended up being the swaying decision to attend the University of Toledo.

Upon my arrival I found I really preferred the smaller size of the university's Astronomy Department because it allowed me to get to know many of the professors personally and to get to discover many of their research topics and their reasons for pursuing the topics. This helped me to formulate my own long-term thoughts and my own long term research goals and where I want to move forward in the future and where I possibly want to go to graduate school.

I was able to discover that astrophysics topics can be applied to photovoltaics research because many of the astrophysics topics are able to develop systems that help us better study, and better understand, photovoltaics devices. I was even able to publish some research that I presented at a conference last summer in photovoltaics. I was also able to become the president of BOSEF and shortly before that I was able to lead the organization and a small group of students in a nationwide competition called the Solar District Cup held by the Department of Energy, where we designed a solar array for the University of Central Florida. We ended up winning third place for our design within our own district after we gave a presentation to the Department of Energy as well as the University of Central Florida.

My time at the University of Toledo has taught me that I really want to move forward into graduate school. First, I believe I want to get a little more experience in industry and better understand how research is discussed and how research is published, so I will be applying to and working in some smaller research teams and possibly internships. I will hopefully be able to better understand how we will be able to publish research, and how we should discuss astrophysics, in the future. I will more than likely get to work with many of these faculty members again in the future.

I hope to attend a university to receive my Ph.D. and become a professor not only publishing research but also teaching the next generation of students. I believe this is one of the best ways to keep yourself passionate and keep your drive for whatever field of research you go into. I'm very happy about my time at the University of Toledo and in a heartbeat, I would be happy to do it again."

FALL 2022

Abigail RoyfmanAbigail Royfman, '22, B.S. in Biology, Minor in Chemistry, Department of Biological Sciences Fall 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"A highlight of my time at the University of Toledo has been the opportunity to conduct research in Dr. Avidor-Reiss’s laboratory since my freshman year. I was able to learn benchwork skills and how to analyze scientific literature early on, which was very helpful when it came to my regular coursework and labs. For the majority of my undergraduate career, I worked under now post-graduate Dr. Sushil Khanal, who provided me with the gudiance and supervision that has allowed me to function independantly. Our research was published in Nature Communications, and I have since continued on a project which takes our published findings further. I was also given the opportunity to be trained on the Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscope, which is just one of the many pieces of advanced scientific equipment housed in our instrumentation center. My ability to function independently, write and receive grants from the office of undergraduate research, present at a conference, co-author a paper, and the close guidance from my PI and other lab members is something I believe I could only find at UToledo. Being deeply involved in this laboratory has shown me the beauty and perils of scientific research and I can’t express how thankful I am to have worked and learned in Dr. Avidor-Reiss’s lab.

As a pre-med, I have been given opportunities that allowed me to explore the field and confirm this is the path for me. For instance, I was able to shadow physicians in different specialties at UTMC. Furthermore, there is an array of pre-health organizations to join and help serve our Toledo community. I have served on the executive boards of the UToledo Red Cross and Period-Medlife, both of which aim to decrease health disparities on a local to a global level. Furthermore, I was able to gain early acceptance to UTCOMLS through the Bacc2MD program, which is an internal program that grants qualified candidates an early interview and acceptance to medical school.

Other unique opportunities include a summer fellowship with Toledo Grows through the Jesup Scott Honors College. This was an internship with the local nonprofit, where I was able to aid in their mission to create community gardens throughout the city to promote healthy eating and urban agriculture. I was able to assist in a free lunch program where we also educated the attending children on how plants grow, helped run the Crosby Festival of the Arts at the Botanical gardens, and learn all about farming. I spent many days planting, weeding, harvesting, and tending to the chickens.

I am also artistically inclined and would like to highlight our wonderful art department, which has courses involving a multitude of mediums. I took two ceramics courses, which exposed me to a new medium that I would have never considered before and fell in love with. I grew up taking art classes at a local art supply shop called For the Love of Art, and was overjoyed to find myself in a similar environment through the art department. I highly recommend all students take an art course at our university, as the collaborative and creative nature found in an art class is hard to find anywhere else. A fond memory from my first ceramics class took place on a warm, spring day. We were gathered around a table doing an art critique with the classroom door open, when a groundhog ran in! We all screamed out of shock and the poor thing ran right out, but it did give us a good laugh. The art campus is also adjacent to The Toledo Museum of Art, and some courses heavily involve visiting the museum.

I discovered new interests and diminished any doubts about my future plans through the opportunities and support at UToledo. There’s truly nowhere else that I would have been able to evolve and grow to the extent that I have in my hometown. I’ve gained a new appreciation for Toledo, and look forward to matriculating to UTCOMLS in 2023."

Isabella WalterIsabella Walter, '22, B.S. in Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Fall 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"The faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry inspired my passion for science, education and research. I have worked in Dr. Wohlever’s research lab where I made a lot of memories in the safe and inclusive culture that he works to provide for us. It is an incredible feeling to work hard and push the bounds of science.

One of my favorite memories in the department was just a week ago. I was presenting my honors thesis to the departmental faculty and graduate students when I looked out into the crowd to see my lab mates occupying an entire row in the large lecture hall. They were there to support me in such a special way. While I’m proud of the education I have received here, the culture is unbeatable!"

Robert SnuggsRobert Snuggs, '22, B.S. in Physics, Applied Physics concentration, Department of Astronomy and Physics Fall 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My time with UToledo and its Physics department has been among the most constructive experiences in my life between the research opportunities available to me and the vast support structure in the Physics department. I came from a more humble, nontraditional background as a first-generation college student from a low-income family. Although I grew up thinking about my interests in particle physics, I didn't necessarily expect to achieve what I have in my time at UToledo.

For most of my degree, I researched in the Toledo Heavy Ion Accelerator (THIA) lab, performing experiments in beam-foil spectroscopy and ion implantation. My research experience with this particle accelerator and my connections at UToledo enabled me to participate in an internship at Argonne National Lab, where I collaborated with CERN scientists at the LHC. The experiences in experimental particle physics with THIA, in particular, have taught me much about the tenacity required to succeed as a scientist. I will never forget the first time I got a beam of ions down to the end of THIA's beam line.

Among the best experiences offered at UToledo, one of my favorites is the engagement with my peers. I spent nearly my entire time at UToledo as a member of our Society of Physics Students, eventually leading as President in 2021. My experience in SPS only further reinforced my love for physics and taught me the value of teaching physics and engaging in scientific outreach. I will look back on the good times at UToledo quite fondly. Go Rockets!"

Robert was selected as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Fall 2022 Outstanding Graduating Student!


Jacob Kahle Jacob Kahle, '22, B.S. in Biology, Minor in Chemistry, Department of Biological Sciences 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"The University of Toledo has allowed me to grow as a student and as a person. Growing up in a small town, UToledo allowed me to experience new opportunities and live in a city while also retaining a lot of the core values found in my small town. I never felt out of place or like Toledo wasn’t home, and this allowed me to make the most out of my time here. Also, UToledo allowed me to create lifelong memories and friendships. Whether it be having fun Freshman year with my roommates in Ottawa East or tailgating and attending football games, the University always gives students ways to have fun and build a sense of comradery that can be felt across campus.

 The University of Toledo also had great extracurriculars to allow me to serve the community and meet amazing new people. Whether it be helping local children through and beyond a parent’s cancer as a founding member of our Kesem chapter or conducting undergraduate research and being published under Dr. Diakonova’s lab, UToledo always provided fantastic ways to supplement my education. Altogether, my time as a Rocket not only has allowed me to launch into my next stage of my life, but it has helped me create lifelong connections and make the most out of my undergraduate education."

Jacob was selected as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics 2022 Outstanding Graduating Student!

Elizabeth Ziegelmeyer Elizabeth Ziegelmeyer, '22, B.S. in Chemistry, Minor in Green Chemistry & Engineering, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"When I first started college, I knew that chemistry would be a difficult major, but I've really felt supported by my peers and professors at The University of Toledo. My favorite memories at UToledo involve spending time with my friends in the American Chemical Society. Not only have we bonded over our appreciation of science--we've also had many opportunities to share chemistry with the Toledo community by giving chemistry demonstrations on campus for the College of Education and off campus at local schools.

When it comes to my studies, learning about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry’s acetone recycling program during my sophomore year has been one of my major inspirations. Getting introduced to Green Chemistry through solvent recycling and waste minimization has encouraged me to explore a minor in Green Chemistry and Engineering and find ways to become a more conscious person and chemist. As I prepare to start my career in chemistry, I am excited to continue expanding on these interests I've found as a student at the University Toledo!

Lee Harms Lee Harms, '22, B.S. in Environmental Sciences, Sustainability concentration, Department of Environmental Sciences 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I love how generally nice students and staff are at UToledo. It seems as though most professors will willingly go out of their way to ensure success. I have really enjoyed the progression from large scale classes as a freshman to sharing smaller classes with the same group of people in the higher-level environmental science courses. I cannot stress the word community enough within the department of environmental sciences. It is like a family, there is always bickering between peers (professors are no exception), but everyone seems to be here for the same reason. To interact with similar minded people and explore the complex processes that shape our environment has helped me and I think many people understand 

Being a part of Building Ohio's Sustainable Energy Future on campus has been so much fun. I love how this organization connects colleges, so we have a little bit of expertise in everything. This also seems to be the source of healthy debate about what it means to be sustainable, which helps everyone involved grow. I am excited to see BOSEF shift from a research organization to more of an education and outreach group, spreading knowledge on sustainability to students and faculty.

Volunteering and service learning were arguably one of the most fun parts of my college experience. Spending a couple hours a week outdoors chopping down buckthorn or honeysuckle, helping promote native wildflowers on campus, and monitoring Irwin Prairie in the evenings for frogs, to name a few. A lot of things can be taught in a classroom, but in the environmental sciences, interacting with nature makes it make a lot more sense."

Matthew Tyler Brown Matthew T. Brown, '22, B.S. in Mathematics, Pure Mathematics concentration, Department of Mathematics and Statistics 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My journey at The University of Toledo was a little unorthodox as I transferred here during the midst of COVID to finish out my last two years of school. Transitioning to online classes was difficult for me but the staff in the mathematics department were phenomenal in helping with that transition. They stopped, asked questions, made sure we understood the material before moving on to the next topic. Without that guidance, I don't think I would have gotten through it. Mathematics is a hard enough material by itself and then doing it online is even harder.

The faculty and staff have also pushed me to do things I would not have done otherwise. Specifically, they pushed me to do a Research Experience for Undergraduates, so I partnered with another university to do a project that relates to the research of convolutional neural networks and how they can be applied to national security. I worked in conjunction with the Nevada National Security Site, which was one of the highlights of my college career.

My second year at UToledo the campus opened up so I could meet and greet a lot more people in my major and I made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have met without being here. It has been a great experience for me. Learning math was by far my favorite part. The math professors were awesome, and I've enjoyed every single math class I've taken. Overall, I'm glad I came to the University of Toledo and Go Rockets!"

Edward Walsh Edward Walsh, '22, B.S. in Physics, Astrophysics concentration and B.S. in Mathematics, Department of Physics and Astronomy 2022 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I’m Teddy Walsh, a senior graduating from The University of Toledo with a double degree in astrophysics and mathematics. I was also part of the Jesup Scott Honors College which offered a variety of extra opportunities and classes that made my time at UToledo more interesting. Through the honors courses and sections I took, I gained a deeper understanding of my physics knowledge and the people in Toledo and around the world.

Overall, I enjoyed my courses at UToledo, my professors were very helpful and often willing to answer any questions I had. Over the past few years, I have worked with Professor JD Smith on the Spitzer Infrared Mapping Legacy Archive, or SIMLA as we call it, along with a few other students. This was an awesome opportunity and I gained tons of research experience as well as lifelong friends. I highly recommend getting involved in research no matter what department you are part of.

As a physics major, I also had the opportunity to use the Ritter 1 meter telescope here on campus through our observing team. The physics department also hosts colloquiums every Thursday where I was able to attend and listen to some amazing talks.

My favorite experience though was using the Lowell Discovery Telescope out in Arizona, remotely from an observing room here at UToledo, as part of my astronomy 4880 class. Each student selected their own target for observation and afterwards learned how to turn the data from the telescope into some really amazing pictures.

These last four years have been a lot of fun and I feel extremely prepared for my future career in astrophysics. Go Rockets!"


Brooke Kimball Brooke Kimball, '21, B.S. in Biology; Minor in Chemistry, Department of Biological Sciences 2021 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My time at The University of Toledo has been a brand-new experience in the best way. From leaving a small town to entering the large city, I have never felt out of place. I was able to find a great roommate who got to experience the reopening of Carter Hall with me, as well as made some great friends along the way. I especially enjoyed the football tailgates and being able to attend my first football game since my high school was not large enough to have it. I also made a lot of memories participating in undergraduate research. For three of my four years I worked under the supervision of Dr. Diakonova conducting cancer research through examination of the JAK2 pathway. This research has granted me many opportunities as well as a potential future publication using some of my data.

On and off campus, the city of Toledo has been an amazing home. Getting involved on campus was one of the easiest things to do and in return it has been the most beneficial to my future endeavors. UToledo has helped me to become more professional as well as helped me to further my resume in both an academic and extracurricular standpoint. Leaving UToledo will be hard, but I can leave knowing I will be able to achieve great things."

Nathan Gembreska Nathan Gembreska, '21, B.S. in Biochemistry; Pre-Med, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 2021 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I grew up in Toledo, Ohio and can remember being the biggest UToledo fan since day one. I would go to every football or basketball game possible with my dad. Further, I would explore the campus every opportunity I could. I knew in my mind I would one day wind up at UToledo. Every year, we would take several field trips to UToledo in grade and high school, exploring many different tenets of not just STEMM related topics, but also art, music, world languages and more. After high school, I served four years in the United States Marine Corps. It was there that I decided I wanted to pursue medicine. This led me back to my hometown, where I decided I would pursue a degree in biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

At first, I was incredibly nervous and not even sure if this was the right place for me. However, any worries I possessed were quickly diminished. I was amazed at the wealth of resources possible to me, from extremely knowledgeable instructors and graduate students, the chemistry help-center, the learning enhancement center and ultimately the camaraderie of students around me. As I progressed in my studies, I was amazed at all the laboratory instruments and resources made available to undergraduate students. This continued in my pursuit of research in the lab of Dr. Wei Li. It seemed like the possibilities of what a student could desire were endless, yet could all be met at UToledo. Due to my love of my hometown and UToledo, I have ultimately decided to attend UToledo for medical school as well, which I will start in the coming fall. To many people, their undergraduate university is just a fond memory. To me, UToledo is more than that. It has been a place I have revered since day one and always plan to. Go Rockets!"

Nate was also selected as the overall College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics 2021 Outstanding Graduating Student!

Nathan Gembreska Hannah LaPoint, '21, B.S. in Environmental Sciences, Geology concentration, Department of Environmental Sciences 2021 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. I have loved the natural world and science for my whole life, so it was easy for me to decide on a major in environmental science with a concentration in geology. I have been involved in the Student Green Fund and Women’s Club Volleyball for four years. Some of my best memories with these groups are working with other students in getting the UTMC solar array installed, and going to Denver, Colorado for the national club volleyball tournament.

I loved my time with the Department of Environmental Sciences because I got to know the staff and students on a more personal level, which helped me learn and to make life-long friends. One of my favorite parts of the last four years has been completing my directed research after three semesters of working on the project. My thesis was quantifying the mass of atrazine, a pesticide, that was flowing from a farm field into an adjacent creek. Working on this with Dr. Martin-Hayden in the hydrogeology lab helped me realize that I wanted to reconstruct wetlands after graduation. I truly had a great time during my college experience and am grateful for the opportunities and support I received along the way."

Jordan Drummelsmith Jordan Drummelsmith, '21, B.S. in Mathematics, Actuarial Science concentration; Minors in Economics and Business Administration, Department of Mathematics and Statistics 2021 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"I am so excited to announce that I will be a graduate of The University of Toledo. The last four years went by quickly, but every second was memorable. I will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science and a minor in both economics and business administration. The course load was challenging at times, but every homework, quiz and exam was worth it in the end. It wasn’t too challenging choosing my major because I just have a deep passion for anything to do with math. I think that inspiration stemmed from my high school math teacher, Mrs. Lammers. Every math problem is like a puzzle, and I never turn down a good puzzle.

I also had a great time outside of the classroom. Early on in my college career, I started working as a grader and tutor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. I thoroughly enjoyed working alongside some great professors and helping some great students. I stayed active in several student organizations. I was able to network with actuaries currently working in the field as a part of the COFACT scholarship group. I really grew as an individual, student and leader within the Klar Leadership Academy. I even spent many hours playing intramural volleyball at the rec and playing volleyball with my High Impact family. I will never forget my time at UToledo. I made some lifelong friends and worked with some amazing faculty. I wanted to give a special thank you to Dr. Clinton Longenecker, Dr. Vani Cheruvu and Dr. Zhiwei Chen.

I believe The University of Toledo has equipped me with everything I need to succeed. I have a P&C Actuarial Analyst position lined up after graduation. I am so thrilled to begin the next step in my career. Thank you, UToledo, for being my home these last four years. You were the best! Go Rockets!"

Thomas Routt Thomas Routt, '21, B.S. in Physics, Astrophysics concentration, Department of Physics and Astronomy 2021 Departmental Outstanding Graduating Student

"My time at The University of Toledo has been a great adventure. While going on this adventure, I have met many great individuals and learned many new attributes for my future career. I also had the opportunity to work on three research projects and work at the Ritter Planetarium. The three separate research projects I worked on included advising from Dr. Anne Medling, Dr. Richard Irving, and Dr. Rupali Chandar. While I worked with Dr. Medling, I gained research experience with integral-field spectroscopic data. I was able to use data for the galaxy NGC 612 to investigate why that galaxy is producing two different kinds of radio jets. I was able to examine ionization from star formation, the Active Galactic Nucleus, and shocked gas. With Dr. Irving, I joined his research team to work with the Toledo Heavy Ion Accelerator (THIA). I was involved with an experiment to gain spectroscopic data of the Sulfur II ion. My main tasks were to work with the instrumentation and the data acquisition system. With Dr. Chandar, her research team designed an identification method that can find globular star clusters in any galaxy including the galaxy under analysis, NGC 1291.

Outside of my research experiences, I worked at the Ritter Planetarium. I was able to gain new additional skills and traits thanks to Associate Director Mr. Alexander Mak. While working there, I presented planetarium programs to the general public and conducted observing runs at the Brooks Observatory on top of McMaster Hall. At certain dates with the public planetarium programs, I helped guide tours of the 1-meter Ritter Telescope. The opportunity to work at the planetarium brought a bunch of challenges to my academic career, but it only made me stronger.

Additional experiences I had as a part of my degree was working as an undergraduate observer on the 1 meter Ritter Telescope Observing Team and observing with the 4.3-meter Lowell Discovery Telescope (formerly the Discovery Channel Telescope) in Happy Jack, Arizona. With the Ritter Observing Team, I had the opportunity to take spectroscopic data of type B-e stars and take images of astronomical objects. These experiences provided an opportunity to collect physical data, which is not as common for most undergraduate astronomy majors. Additionally, with my academic coursework, I flew out to Arizona and observed with the Lowell Discovery Telescope. I spent two nights at the telescope where I took data with Dr. Michael Cushing and other members of my class. Our observations took data of certain astronomical objects as a part of our coursework. Also, with Dr. Michael Cushing, we took spectroscopic data of select brown dwarfs.

With the many opportunities I had with the Physics and Astronomy Department, I am glad that I came to The University of Toledo. I believe I learned many of the traits required for the field of career I will work in. These traits have also better prepared me for graduate school. I will be attending the University of Arizona for graduate school in their Physics Department. I really hope that I will continue to work on similar projects that I am working on at the moment."

Some additional information about myself:
Presentations and Conference Attendance 

  • 237th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Virtual, January 2021 (poster presentation)
  • 236th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Virtual, June 2020 (poster presentation)
  • 30th Annual University of Toledo Physics and Astronomy Undergraduate Research Symposium, Virtual, April 2020 (oral presentation)
  • Choose Ohio First Scholar Showcase, Columbus, Ohio, February 2020 (poster presentation)
  • 2019 University of Toledo Physics and Astronomy Fall Undergraduate Colloquium, Toledo, Ohio, October 2019 (oral presentation)
  • Great Lakes Planetarium Association Conference, Toledo, Ohio, October 2019
  • Department of Energy National Lab Day, Toledo, Ohio, October 2019
  • Choose Ohio First Scholar Showcase, Columbus, Ohio, February 2019 (poster presentation)
  • Ohio-Region Section of the American Physical Society 2018 Fall Meeting, University of Toledo, September 2018 
  • CUWiP (Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics), University of Toledo, January 2018

 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: 6/5/23