Student Accomplishments

Michael D. Forfia

During the summer of 2011, Michael Forfia auditioned, and was hired, to perform with the Glenn Miller Orchestra along with former UA students, Holbrook Riles III and Theron Brown. The present Glenn Miller Orchestra was formed in 1956 and tours 42 weeks out of the year. Over the course of five weeks, Michael performed in various cities in sixteen states in the Midwest and along the East Coast of the United States, as well as in various parts of southeastern Canada.

After returning to The University of Akron to finish his senior year, Michael was hired again to perform with the Glenn Miller Alumni Orchestra for a big band ballroom dance cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity over winter break. The cruise included stops in Lisbon, Casablanca, Tenerife, St. Maarten and Miami. The group consisted of former members of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Artie Shaw Orchestra, and the Maynard Ferguson band.

Michelle Sergi

Over this past summer, Michelle Sergi was given the opportunity to work with a group of surgeons on a doctorate/medical student level project.  Two major factors in urology today are the high rates of prostate cancer and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) caused by an enlarged prostate in older men.  The medications and procedures to treat these issues are very expensive, especially since they are high in demand.  The medication Michelle worked with, Dutasteride, has a half-life of 5 ½ weeks. Therefore, the idea to decrease the usage from a daily basis to a non-daily (1-3 times per week) came into the picture, in order to take advantage of how long the medication can last in the body.

Michelle’s roles included collecting and analyzing the necessary data, writing the research paper, and observing medical procedures regarding the study.  The research concluded that taking the medicine on a non-daily basis provided patients with the same benefits as daily usage, as well as significantly lowered prostate cancer rates.  In March, Michelle traveled to Chicago to present the team’s paper to the North Central Section of the American Urological Association (AUA) and she will also present at the AUA’s international conference next year.  The paper is being submitted to the AUA’s journal, The Journal of Urology as well as several other top urology journals worldwide.


Students are finalists in Clean Energy Challenge

Honors College student, Courtney Gras, along with University of Akron students, Tom Vo and Terence Baptiste, participated in the Clean Energy Challenge as Design Flux Technologies, and were top finalists. On February 29th, a three-minute fast-pitch competition was held. Nineteen teams were present, and the top eight teams had the opportunity to move on and present an eight-minute pitch the following day. Design Flux was one of these eight teams, and was named number one in the state of Ohio at the reception. The award comes in the form of $10,000 in funding, sponsored by Nortech and Ohio State.

There were originally over forty student teams that applied for this competition, nine of which were from Ohio. The judging panel consisted of a number of venture capitalists, seasoned entrepreneurs, and individuals from industry and tech transfer offices.   Since the UA team won the state competition, they had the opportunity to present with the other seven student teams and eight early-stage company contestants the following day. There was a crowd of over three hundred present, including the following distinguished guests: Sarah Jane Maxted, US DOE, Office of the Secretary, Vic Abate, Vice President of Renuables, GE, Cheryl Martin, Deputy Director of Commercialization, ARPA-E, and Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago.

Although the group did not win the $100,000-overall prize, they were honored be one of eight finalists out of the original forty student teams.


Tanya Reichert

In Spring 2010, Tanya Reichert, a senior majoring in nutrition and dietetics partnered with a senior in her same major to work on her Honors College research project. The two conducted a research study on breakfast consumption frequency related to the college athlete and the avid exerciser. Data was collected throughout the semester, and they presented their progress and study design at The University of Akron's Conference on Undergraduate and Graduate Student Research (CUGSR). Following data compilation and analysis, Tanya composed a professional manuscript on the study. Under the sponsorship of her Honors College research project advisor, Dr. Lonnie Lowery, she submitted the abstract to the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), where it was accepted as a poster presentation at the Experimental Biology Conference (EB 2011) in Washington, D.C.

In April 2011, Tanya and her research partner  had the opportunity to attend the conference with Dr. Lowery and present their professional poster during one of the many poster sessions. The two discussed their research with various students and professionals who approached their poster at the conference. During the conference, Tanya had the opportunity to attend many lectures on some of the most current issues, studies, and findings related to nutrition, diet, and exercise. Tanya found that attending and presenting research at EB 2011 stands as one of the biggest highlights and greatest accomplishments of her academic career thus far.