College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Convocation and Outstanding Graduating Students

On Friday, May 6, 2022 the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will hold its 2022 Spring Convocation. This event will honor the 2022 May and August Undergraduate and Graduate Candidates for Graduation. The convocation will be held in Recital Hall at the Center for Performing Arts (CPA) building at 4pm. All faculty, staff and graduating students (and guests) are invited to attend. Light refreshments will be served immediately following the ceremony and pictures. The Departmental Outstanding Graduating Students will be recognized and the College Outstanding Graduating Student will be announced!


The selection process:
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 2022

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."

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!"


SPRING 2021

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: 6/27/22