Salamanders, Siberian larch forests and invasive plants: these are areas of research University of Dayton students are focusing on in the McEwan Lab.
Nearly 100 undergraduate students have put their hands in the dirt and tested the waters, including current lab members Eric Borth ’17, Mitchell Kukla ’18, Meg Maloney ’18, and Taylor Sparbanie ’19. While projects are different for each student, they all have a focus in invasive species and forests.
Kukla and Sparbanie are currently working at Bill Yeck Park in Centerville, Ohio, just 20 minutes south of campus, to create a species list that could help park staff understand how to respond to invasive species.
Maloney focuses her research on salamanders.
“A lot of the science that we’re doing has a big, significant impact on the really big world issues we’re having right now,” Maloney said. “A salamander is an organism that indicates water quality in the streams, which lead to bigger streams, where eventually there could be a pollution problem.”
No one day in the lab is the same. Some days, the students are on their hands and knees by a stream, identifying macroinvertebrates. Other days, they’re getting up close and personal with different plants as they try their hand at identifying them.
It’s the type of opportunity Professor Ryan McEwan, who now focuses his research in forest ecology, received himself. McEwan started the lab to allow students to gain research experience as undergraduates. As a college junior, McEwan began his research on dogwood anthracnose, a type of fungal disease. He presented this research at the Ecological Society of America in 1999 and published was in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
“It changed my perspective on what I could do with my career and provided an opportunity I didn’t think about before,” McEwan said on being published while still a college student.
Borth, who graduated in the spring and is pursuing his master’s in biology at UD, is looking forward to a collaboration with Mississippi State University that will take him to Siberia. He will study larch trees, permafrost soil, and how the way in which carbon is emitted and stored contributes to warmer climates.
Overall, the lab has provided students with the ability to gain real world experience and discover whether or not this kind of work is something they want to do.
“It’s been very affirming that yes, this is something I can see myself doing,” Sparbanie said. “The big question for me for awhile was ‘Am I even capable?’ Being able to get experience in a research lab is huge.”
Just south of the heart of Dayton lies FoodBank, Inc., a non-profit organization placed to relieve hunger within the area. Among the organization’s many volunteers is graduate student Nivedita Penugonda ’18.
Through a partnership between Semester of Service and the Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service (ETHOS), Penugonda has the opportunity to spend the summer volunteering. Working as an application developer, Penugonda has three specific ongoing projects that she will work on throughout the summer.
Using the skills she has gained while pursuing her master’s degree in computer science, Penugonda has been working to develop a mobile application for Android that will assist the organization once their proposed drive thru is set up. In addition to the mobile app, Penugonda is improvising a web application that assists in the verification of key shoppers, and lastly, she is working to making the FoodBank Inc., database more accessible.
Penugonda is no stranger to service work, as she worked in many service groups while at home in India. However, she is particularly excited for this opportunity because it allows her to develop her technical skills. After receiving a piece of mail for this program that advertised a technical immersion, Penugonda decided to go for it.
“I am thoroughly enjoying doing it now,” Penugonda said. “Seriously, it’s God’s grace that I got a wonderful opportunity.”
Penugonda appreciates the opportunity the job is giving her to hone her computer skills on a practical platform where she can work on a real project and face the difficulties in actually implementing it.
In addition to technical experience, Penugonda said she has gained communication skills, knowledge about different communities and cultures, and a deeper understanding for the inner-workings of non-profit organizations.
Caitlin Cipolla-McCulloch ’12 and Gabrielle Bibeau ’11 met the Marianist Sisters when they were students at UD. Now they’ve taken the first significant step toward joining them for life by professing first vows Saturday, May 27, at the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception.
Their profession came shortly after the announcement of the beatification of the Marianist Sisters’ foundress, Adèle de Batz de Trenquelléon. The beatification will take place June 10, 2018, just past the end of two years observance of the Marianist bicentenary.
After meeting the Marianist Sisters as students, Cipolla-McCulloch and Bibeau went through the Marianist Student Lay Formation program in different cohorts. Sister Gabrielle majored in English and religious studies and went on to work in parish ministry in both her home dioceses of Indianapolis and in Dayton. After her profession, Sister Gabrielle will be a graduate assistant at the North American Center for Marianist Studies while she completes a master’s degree in theological studies.
After graduating with bachelor’s degrees in biology and religious studies, Sister Caitlin completed a year of volunteer service with a lay Marianist community in Peru. She came back to Dayton and did ministry most recently with Catholic Social Services, where she’ll be returning after her profession.
The Marianist Sisters have been serving in a variety of ministries at UD and other ministries in the Dayton area since 1962.
Like many high school seniors, Chauntyele Tinsley isn’t entirely sure what career path she intends on pursuing. Luckily for students like Tinsley, the University of Dayton offers programs like Entrepreneurship 101 to assist in figuring it out.
This summer’s two-week program gave rising high school juniors and seniors as well as rising college freshman the opportunity to learn more about the field of entrepreneurship and experience student life on campus, all while earning college credit.
Tinsley took Biz 102, an introduction to business course, during her junior year. When she completed the program, her college liaison ask her to be a part of the Entrepreneurship program after she completed the course. Among Tinsley’s favorite experiences during the two-week program were the site visits to Mikesell’s Snack Food Co. and Logos@Work.
Tinsley said the program allowed her to get a feel for how businesses are run locally and see the entrepreneurial side of her city.
A student at Dayton Early College Academy, Tinsley wasn’t far from home but got a feel for college life while staying with other students in Founders Hall. In addition to site visits, she and her classmates created pitches for a business or idea that they presented during a competition Friday, June 30. Students had the chance to win four-year scholarships to the University of Dayton for placing in the competition.
Tinsley was nervous for the competition but spent time preparing.
“I’ve been asking others for ideas, having them look at my ideas and asking them which is the best one,” Tinsley said.
Tinsley’s idea for the pitch competition was a dissolving pill patch, specialized for people who need to take medication but are unable to swallow pills.
“We’re going to insult the apple,” said Michelle Sherman, family advocate for Empowering Children with Hope and Opportunity (ECHO).
As the audience called out insults like “stupid,” “fat,” and “ugly,” Sherman banged an apple against a table. At the end of the demonstration, Sherman compared the beat up apple with an unharmed apple. From the outside, she said they looked exactly the same, but when she cut into them, the level of bruising was very different. Sherman suggested educators use this demonstration to explain bullying to their students.
“Show them the inside, how people internalize all of the words,” Sherman said. “It’s hurtful.”
This presentation was part of the sixth annual University of Dayton Catholic Education Summit held on June 22. The Center for Catholic Education, the Lalanne program and ECHO collaborated to design an experience for Catholic educators that focused on the life and culture of their schools.
Peg Dubrowski, motivational writer and speaker, talked about the importance of helping students find purpose in their lives, and discussed ways teachers could help in that process.
“What is their purpose? To love God completely and fiercely, and to love other people in God’s name,” Dubrowski said.
In her presentation, Dubrowski shared with educators how they can get their students to know and understand their purpose in the classroom and feel valued as a result.
The overall goal of the summit was to allow Catholic educators to reflect on and answer the questions: “How can our schools be holy ground for our students, faculty, administration and families? What about our culture welcomes all to come as they are with hope for realizing God’s call to each one?”
Other sessions included a panel on christian meditation, a presentation on mental illness and a talk on Catholic culture within schools. Projects designed by St. Remy Schools and prayer stations from the St. Remy retreat were also available for attendees to view and use throughout the day. The UD Marian Library, The Ohio State University Extension Office and various Catholic school book vendors also attended.
Susan Ferguson, executive director of the University of Dayton Center for Catholic Education, said the summit went well.
“We hope that Catholic school educators left the summit inspired to return to the holy ground of their schools to care for the hearts and souls entrusted to them,” Ferguson said. “We are grateful for our presenters and all who participated in this endeavor.”
Photo credit: Karen Axelrad
This year marks the 100th anniversary of Fatima, the event commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary appearing monthly to three shepherd children in the village of Fatima in Portugal from May 13, 1917 to Oct. 13, 1917.
In the famous three secrets that were revealed to the children at Fatima, the Blessed Virgin Mary predicted many of the wars, conflicts, and martyrdoms of the twentieth century.
The University’s Roesch Library has an exhibit on display now until Aug. 20 on Fatima which shows the many collection materials held by the Marian Library. On display include items such as books, periodicals, pamphlets, photographs, films, rosaries, medals and statues.
Brother Andrew Kosmowski S.M., a librarian at the Marian Library, hopes visitors to the exhibit will get a better understanding of the influence of the Marian apparition and the importance of prayer — a central theme in Mother Mary’s message to the children. He also hopes visitors can appreciate the library’s collections.
“We are showing the breadth of what we have here. I hope visitors will get a better sense of what our collections are about and see actually how many items we do have here in our library,” he said.
For more information on the exhibit, please click here.
Editors Note: Tom Columbus is editor emeritus of University of Dayton Magazine. Prior to working at the magazine, Tom worked in the English department at the University.
Suzanne and I walked through the door at Arrow Wine for its Saturday morning wine tasting. We were the old married couple among much younger folk in Tom Davis’ Wines of the World course at UD. That Saturday was a busy day — grandkids at our house during the day, Flyer basketball at night. So, when we saw the group at Arrow was a bunch of men who all seemed to know each other, we hesitated to join them, having what looked like more enjoyable, more comfortable, things to do.
As we were about to leave, two young women came in. We discerned they were students by their age and by their carrying our course textbook, Wine for Dummies. So we stayed and drank some wine and met people and talked.
Tom sent the tenor of the class early in the semester with a story about his military days, of being far away from home one night with comrades and strangers and of their talking about their lives, about the world, about everything.
We expected him to then tell us what wine they had that night. But they had no wine, just cheap beer. The important part was the talk, the togetherness, people sharing themselves with others.
Tom knew an infinite amount about wine. He generously shared the contents of his cellar and his mind. But his life — he died June 11 — was about far more. It may be trite to say it was about community, but it was. We learned about wine and about the countries that it came from and the earth and air and water that nurtured it. We learned about people. We learned about each other.
An inaugural team comprised of six University of Dayton students took first place in the Collegiate Leadership Competition on April 29. UD’s team won the award for overall Southern Ohio Champion and tied with a team from The Ohio State University for the highest “results” score for the day.
Ashley Brown, Liz Diller, Thomas Kornish, Jordyn Mitchell, Paola Ortiz, Brett Slaughenhaupt and Ambria Jones competed against teams from OSU and Miami University in what Slaughenhaupt ’18 described as a “leadership Olympics.” The goal of the competition is to allow student leaders to sharpen their skills with activities that assist in building their resumes and expanding their professional networks.
Keri Good, graduate assistant for student leadership programs, served as a coach for the team and helped them prepare for the competition.
“Coaching the students was like teaching a fun class without the end result being a grade they receive, but a direct application of what they learned through competing,” Good, who is getting her master’s of science degree in education, said.
The UD team prepared with two-hour training sessions that occurred every two weeks.
“No one really knew what to expect,” Slaughenhaupt said. “We all went into it not expecting to lose, but not knowing we were going to win either. It was really cool to just go in and start off with a bang.”
The competition consisted of six activities, including a Pringles stack ring challenge, a riddle challenge, an activity where participants spelled out a list of leadership terms with pre-cut letters, a reading and critical analysis challenge, an activity where participants drew shapes using only one line and another where participants made shapes out of wooden boards.
“The competition was a great opportunity to showcase our capabilities as individual leaders, but also how leadership can be coalesced into group settings,” Slaughenhaupt said. “Our win as UD’s inaugural group was incredible and we all felt very proud to represent our university for something so important as building leadership.”
Members of the 1968-72 Pershing Rifles group — a fraternity within ROTC — were sitting among the tables at the Special Interest Group Zone in the Central Mall Saturday, June 10, during Reunion Weekend.
Past Pershing Rifles member Felix Ferrise ’72 organized the get-together by searching through yearbook photos, alumni resources and a giant paddle with the names of the members to create a list of contacts to invite. He hoped that Reunion Weekend would be the best time for his class to celebrate its 45th anniversary this year.
A Fourth of July celebration in 1976 was the last time many of the brothers remembered seeing each other.
The men brought pictures to share and plenty of memories to discuss from talking about the drill team they had in the early 1970s to the success that came with competing. Laughs were exchanged over pranks once pulled and the haircuts they gave themselves.
Ferrise noted that the discipline learned through practicing drill seven days a week was a skill that the brothers couldn’t have picked up through any other activity. A younger member of the Pershing Rifles, also at Reunion Weekend, agreed.
“That mental toughness you get out of it, it doesn’t matter what comes next,” said Jay Ross ’02. “You can do anything.”
Through it all, the men said what they remembered most was the brotherhood that was formed in the Pershing Rifles during their time at UD.
“I was in the hospital for a knee operation at Fort Ord, California, and this guy here shows up out of the blue,” Tobin said of Jay Bice ’72. “He somehow broke me out and we went sightseeing around the Monterey Peninsula.”
Paul Dvorksy ’72 said he got out of the hospital just yesterday, and his brothers were nothing but supportive.
“We still take care of each other,” Dvorksy said.
Couples filled the Immaculate Conception Chapel on Saturday, June 10, for a ceremonial blessing and renewal of marriage vows as a part of Reunion Weekend 2017.
The ceremony opened with song, followed by a blessing given by Father Jim Fitz, S.M. A reading on marriage as a covenant followed and Fitz gave a homily, in which he reminded the couples of the important qualities of a relationship: heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness and, only then, love.
The couples were then asked to stand if they had been married for 25 years or longer. As the number of years increased, everyone in the chapel was sitting except for three couples who have been married for 50 years or longer. They were celebrated with a round of applause.
When it was time for the renewal of vows, Fitz asked the men to hold the ring they once gave to their brides and state, “Remember that this ring is a sign of my love and fidelity.”
After saying the sign of the cross, the wives did the same for their husbands. The couples exchanged signs of affection with hugs, kisses and a round of “I love you.” After the renewal, everyone shared in a sign of peace, and the ceremony came to a close.