Master of Studies in Law introduced

Law students

Today’s complex business environment requires an ever-expanding set of professional capabilities, with legal knowledge becoming increasingly important for people with a variety of backgrounds. Medicine, social work, journalism, engineering and human resource management are among the fields that regularly encounter legal issues. From court reporting to child protective services laws, professionals interact with legal situations and professionals on a regular basis.

To develop a better understanding of the law in their fields, professionals can pursue a Master of Studies in Law (MSL) at the School of Law. The MSL provides a legal background for professionals who want to gain knowledge in law, but who do not wish to pursue the traditional three-year Juris Doctor degree.

“We’re very excited to launch the MSL program,” said Ryan Vacca, interim co-dean of UA’s School of Law. “Because the law impacts nearly every area of business, we believe professionals that have a basic understanding of the law and policies underlying in these areas will help them distinguish themselves within their fields and benefit their employers, customers and clients.”

Story continues online.

UA ‘taking over’ the mic Thursday at WAKR

Annal VyasAnnal Vyas, at right, a visiting professor of clinical law and co-director of the EXL Center, will co-host the “Jasen Sokol Show” on WAKR Radio on Thursday, Feb. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. He will be working alongside producer Bobbi Horvath while Sokol is on vacation.

Vyas will have some familiar faces as guests. They include Elisa Gargarella, associate professor of art education, who will talk about the Myers School of Art at 10:35 a.m., and Brant Lee, professor of law, at 11:05 a.m. discussing diversity and social justice initiatives. At 11:35 a.m., Elyse Ball, research associate in the Office of Technology Transfer; Daniel Hampu, project manager with the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF); and Dr. Gopal Nadkarni, associate professor of mechanical engineering, will talk about the I-Corps Start-up competition, the UARF, UA’s EXL Center and entrepreneurship.

At 12:05 p.m., President Matthew Wilson will give Vyas a break by taking over co-hosting duties. Wilson will discuss UA’s new Akron Guarantee Scholarship program and International Programs. Joining him will be colleagues from several areas, including Admissions, Financial Aid and Career Services.

At 1:35 p.m., Laura Conley, director of UA Adult Focus, and Tonya Booker, one of the program’s success stories, will talk about Adult Focus, student-veterans, the Sixty-Plus program and scholarships.

NSF supports future success of Research Experience for Undergraduates

Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium participants

The National Science Foundation continues to contribute to the impact of Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in the College of Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering. NSF has awarded a grant of $344,741 to The University of Akron in support of REU that will start on April 1, 2017. These funds support Research Experiences for Undergraduates in accordance with the NSF program solicitation. (Pictured above are participants in the 13th Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Research Symposium, held last August.)

The REU in Polymer Science and Polymer Engineering is under the direction of Dr. Mesfin Tsige. In addition, the following individuals also helped author the winning proposal: Drs. Ali Dhinojwala, Abraham Joy, Bryan D. Vogt and Nicole Zacharia as well as Ying Wang, coordinator of student research opportunities.

Since the University’s REU program was launched in 2004, it has engaged more than 218 students in the fundamentals of polymer science and polymer engineering research and has resulted in more than 46 peer-reviewed publications. Story continues online.

Watch ‘What We Can Tell’ online, on demand

Ancestry video screenshot

During Rethinking Race, UA, in partnership with, asked 30 volunteers from the campus community to provide DNA samples. Before and after learning their results, we asked them to reflect on race, ethnicity, culture and family. This is their story.

Speech and Debate Team triumphs with state championship win

2017 Speech and Debate Team

It’s two in a row for the Speech and Debate Team as it again wins the Ohio Forensics Association State Championship. The event was hosted at Capital University in Bexley on Feb. 17 and 18. UA dominated all 11 individual events offered, and won more than half — 32 — of the 61 final round placements available.

At the tournament, the UA team amassed a total of 353 points, nearly tripling its closest opponent. Ohio University, Cedarville University, John Carroll University and Heidelberg University rounded out this year’s top five teams. (Pictured in the front row, from left, are Taylor Mills, Kelsey Jones, Abby Zerull and Ethan Plaster. In the back row, from left, are Mark Rittenour, Grae Pollard, Adi Rajiv, Will Reilly, Nathan Hill, Nicholas Golina, Kate Seno, Lydia Mainzer and Amanda Layman.)

Housed in the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Communication, the team is directed by Mark Rittenour, professor of instruction in communication, and Amanda Layman, graduate assistant coach. Many alumni of the team perennially return to offer coaching, judging and other contributions to its continued success.

“Strong universities value speech and debate,” notes Rittenour. “UA’s victory this year not only showcases our current students’ depth of talent, but it proves to future students that if they are in Ohio and want to compete on an intercollegiate speech team, The University of Akron is the place to do it.”

Full story online.

Photo of the Day: This is February in Ohio?

Students in hammocks near Crouse hall

A group of students celebrated UA’s observance of Presidents Day on Tuesday by taking advantage of our unusual run of warm weather. Maria Jones, an administrative secretary in the Office of Residence Life and Housing, spotted the group in their hammocks in a cluster of trees near Crouse Hall while she was out for a walk and took this picture.

Wellness Wednesdays are back!

The Wellness Wednesday Speaker series, presented by Talent Development and Human Resources, will again be offering a variety of topics during the spring semester, including stress and life balance, heart and diabetic health, exercise, and weight control. Take you lunch, enjoy time with your colleagues and gain some valuable knowledge.

The series is presented on Wednesdays, starting March 1 and continuing through April 29 from noon to 1 p.m. in Student Union 308.

Wellness Wednesday: Focus is on retirement readiness March 1

Kelsey Loushin“Most agree the third phase of life should be the reward for major life challenges we have completed,” says Kelsey Loushin, LICDC of Impact Solutions. She will present “Retire or Rewire?” as the Wellness Wednesday speaker on March 1 from noon to 1 p.m. in Student Union 308.

Loushin will discuss the following:

  • Our accomplishments should be rewarded by sitting back and kicking up our heels.
  • In spite of this theory the unprepared commonly become unfulfilled, returning to the workforce feeling disappointed and bored.
  • Explore the key components for a fulfilling, rewarding third stage of life. Design and process retirement strategies for leisure, recreation, health, wellness, housing, socialization, spirituality, volunteerism, and yes, even explore a new career.

Reservations are requested. Reserve your seat now.

Volunteers needed for Science Olympiad Tournament on March 11

Students in Science OlympiadScience Olympiad is a national science competition for grade school and high school students. On Saturday, March 11, about 575 students from six surrounding counties will be on campus for the Spectrum Akron Regional Science Olympiad. The students will compete in 46 contests of science, technology, engineering and math skills.

The Akron Global Polymer Academy at UA is seeking volunteers for the day to help with supervising events, grading tests, evaluating, or timing at constructed device events, device inspection, score keeping and logistics. Volunteer positions range from two to seven hours. Free food will be provided for each volunteer, as well as a personalized, signed volunteer-hour certificate.

For more information and to register, visit the Akron Regional Science Olympiad online, or send an email to with your contact information. Please register as soon as possible, and before March 3.


Click the headlines to read the articles in their original publications

NEOMED researcher to deliver biology talk

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This article originally appeared on 2-21-2017

CEO of PEACE USA speaks here Thursday

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This article originally appeared on 2-21-2017

Dining Services to host Black History Month Lunch Thursday

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This article originally appeared on 2-20-2017

Sushic Sushi celebration on Thursday

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This article originally appeared on 2-20-2017

Men’s Choral Festival is Feb. 24

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This article originally appeared on 2-10-2017

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