Provost News

Madelyn Leembruggen standing in front of chalkboard

April 19, 2018

2018 UC Graduate Breaks Barriers in STEM, Adds National Science Foundation Research Fellowship to her Growing List of Accomplishments.

If you want to put a face with the term “outstanding student,” look no further than Madelyn Leembruggen. A senior here at the University of Cincinnati, Leembruggen has spent her four years studying astrophysics and math, traveling, and making a difference in her community.

Leembruggen’s impressive list of accolades includes scholarships, fellowships, medals, and awards. They include:

  • Presidential Leadership Medal of Excellence
  • Eleanor Hicks award (A&S)
  • C-Ring Women’s Leadership Award (Finalist)
  • Learning Commons Peer Tutor Mentor
  • University Honors Program Ambassador
  • College of Arts & Sciences Ambassador
  • Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation Scholar
  • Cincinnatus Scholar
  • 2017 Goldwater Scholar
  • Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program  

Leembruggen not only loves to learn here at UC but all around the globe. She studied abroad for a semester in Ireland her sophomore year, and a week in France through a University Honors Program study tour her junior year. She also travels to conferences to present her physics research.

Leembruggen acknowledges and and appreciates the people who have propelled her to where she is today. Her parents have been a great positive influence on her. “I think my parents are largely to thank for nurturing my raw, scientific curiosity.”

She also says the physics department and specifically one professor has really helped her along the way.

“Richard Gass has always challenged me to reach my full potential. From the beginning he has seen in me a great scientist who, until recently, I was unable to see in myself. Richard connected me with my current research advisor and mentor. They have both been excellent sources of professional advice as I applied for scholarships, internships, graduate school and fellowships. I owe so much of my success to my parents, LSAMP, and my mentors in the physics department."

Leembruggen is part of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, which has been extremely beneficial to her success. “Being a woman of color in physics has been so much tougher and isolating than I had thought it would be. And in those moments of feeling isolated, I fall back on my LSAMP community.”

The Ohio LSAMP Alliance, helps increase underrepresented student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The Ohio Alliance awards grants to students attending partner institutions in effort to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees completed in STEM fields.  

"They have all spoken truth into my life when I have been tempted to believe what the world often has to say about women and people of color, and they have helped me pursue every opportunity necessary to become the best and most successful version of myself, adds Leembruggen.”

“She works extremely hard,” Notes Carol Mack, her LSAMP advisor.

In 2017 Leembruggen was named a Goldwater Scholar. The scholarship is the most prestigious undergraduate scholarship given in natural sciences, engineering and mathematics. It is awarded annually to about 300 college sophomores and juniors nationwide.

Leembruggen’s impressive online portfolio states that her ultimate professional goal is to earn a PhD in Cosmology. “My dream job would be to teach at a university and write popular science books.”

This should be exciting to Gass and Simonson, who both hope she one day becomes a professor. Mack notes that after Leembruggen starts teaching, she can sSee Madelyn being a Nobel Peace Prize Winner.”

It’s evident that Madelyn Leembruggen is a bright, hard working, inspirational young woman in STEM. She has worked tirelessly to get to where she is, and even takes time to help other students. She works as a Peer Tutor Mentor in the Learning Commons.

Mack says, “If she’s not studying, she’s teaching other’s how to study and how to learn. She doesn’t have to take the time to teach others, but she believes in community and an ‘each one teach one’ mentality.”

When asked about her greatest achievement, her answer is very telling in what she values. She did not respond with an award, medal, or fellowship--but something she has learned along the way. “My proudest accomplishment has been transforming my thinking to a growth mindset. When I began my job as a peer tutor I was introduced to the concept of a growth mindset, which acknowledges our brains are capable of forming new connections and that learning is a mental exercise which actually makes us more intelligent the more we exercise. This transformed the way I teach and encourage my tutoring students, and also the way I speak to myself.”

Not only does Leembruggen improve the lives of her students and mentees, but also those of her advisors and mentors. Kenneth Simsonson, Campus Director of LSAMP at UC, is one of those advisors. “For me, having done this for 31 years, students like her are why we come to work. It’s very clear that our gratification comes through by seeing students like Madelyn.”

Clearly, Leembruggen has accomplished a world of achievements, but she is showing no signs of slowing down. She has accepted a graduate school offer from Harvard University. She notes that it was a really hard decision, as she narrowed down her choices to Berkeley, MIT, and Harvard and still had to just pick one. “I can’t explain exactly why I knew Harvard will be right for me, but it felt like home, and I am so excited to begin graduate school in the fall!”

She has accepted fellowships from the Ford Foundation and the NSF Graduate Research Program to support this next step in her education and professional career.

Gass says that she won’t have a problem finding a job, ever. “First semester of her junior year she presented at a poster competition. Someone mistook her for a junior faculty member. Another one of the judges gave her his card, and said ‘Call me when you’re looking for a post-doctoral position’”.

To explore more of Leembruggen’s achievements, experiences, and resume, visit her portofolio site at


Graph of twitter data


April 4, 2018

2018 Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem’ Awards Granted

Jeffrey Blevins and James Lee earned the 2018 Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem Award (TOME) for their monograph “Social Media, Social Justice and the Political Economy of Online Networks,” and Carolette Norwood for her monograph “Jim Crow Geography: Mapping the Intersections of Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Cincinnati Urban Space.” Both projects were awarded a $15,000 stipend each to cover the cost of publication.

Previously known as the Open Access Monograph Publishing Initiative in the Humanities and Social Sciences grant, the TOME Awards are designed to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and social sciences faculty.  The grant promotes publishing free, open access, digital editions of peer-reviewed, professional monographs.

Norwood’s research started as a probe on sexual health. She wanted to understand the basics--how do women navigate their day to day life within the presence of high risk of HIV and other infections? Norwood didn’t anticipate so many narratives on violence.“With qualitative work, you have the topic in mind but you don’t know what will emerge.” The research evolved into a larger study about African American women living in urban Cincinnati.

Blevins and Lee were not originally working on this project together. The monograph started out as a single research project as Blevins began doing a textural analysis of tweets in the aftermath of Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown. Blevins put together a manuscript on how social media users were using different hashtags and what meaning they were making of the events. Lee joined the project after Blevins presented this project at a Digital Media retreat. This “unconventional pairing” allowed the research to have a quantitative component.

Lee notes that in the monograph they explain how important the role of
Twitter and Data Mining is in regard to shaping social justice movements.Both winners stress the importance of having open access to research.

Blevins says,“People not typically scholars can access and validate whatever study they can find. They can use data in different ways--like popular press or trade press reporting. When you think about the impact that your research can have, that's exciting.”

“From personal experience, I know scholars in developing countries have limited access to publications because of expense and difficulty.The internet is somewhat of an equalizer as long as you have access to it, and more and more places do have that access," adds Norwood. "It’s about lessening inequities and making work more accessible to a broader audience. I’m happy to be a part of something like that because it’s consistent with my beliefs. It’s a way that we can chip away various inequities.”

For more information, visit


Book cover of "Borrowed Voices" by Jennifer Glaser

April 4, 2018

English and Comparative Literature awarded Provost’s Exemplary Department Award

The Department of English and Comparative literature earned the 2018 Exemplary Department Award, which comes with $35,000 to support the the unit.

This year, the Award’s theme focused on demonstrating excellence in the recruitment of graduate students. The selection committee appreciated the department’s effort in graduate student recruitment and retention, particularly for underrepresented students.

Jennifer Glaser, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the department and author of Borrowed Voices, was an integral part of putting together the application. She says winning the award is exhilarating.

“It’s a really good opportunity to showcase how the Provost and the University support diversity. It’s thrilling that the money is behind recruitment and diversity as areas they are trying to build upon. It’s also super exciting for the department to be a part of that. The University is really putting their money where their mouth is by taking action and supporting diversity recruitment.”

The department plans to use the funding to build on their current recruitment efforts. Leah Stewart, Professor and Department Head of English and Comparative Literature, reached out to Alumni asking for letters about their experiences with the program and their careers. This information was used in the application, but also provided insight into how important diverse recruiting techniques are.

“Having alums write the letters was really affirming. One of them let us know that she had received offers to other programs with higher graduate stipends-- but she chose to come here because we successfully recruited her. We are creating an environment that makes students want to be here.”

Glaser and Stewart both hope this inspires other departments to increase diversity recruitment efforts.

Learning Commons Staff

March 3, 2018

Learning Commons Provides One-Stop Shop for Student Academic Services

The University of Cincinnati’s Learning Assistance Center (LAC) and the Center for First-Year Experience (FYE) have merged to create a one-stop shop that aids students in all things academic, with special attention to first year students. The new unit is called the Learning Commons.

The Learning Commons will:

· Provide a one-stop shop for students seeking academic success support services

· Grow our existing strength in peer education and experiential learning to align with student needs

· Serve as a central partner for colleges, faculty and advisors in the co-creation of academic success programs, courses and strategies to enhance the undergraduate experience

A soft launch was held on Tuesday, February 28 to celebrate the students and staff that make these services possible. With over 300 employees, they cover all the aspects of academic services provided, including:

  • Academic Coaching

  • Learning Communities

  • Math & Science Support Center (MASS Center)

  • Supplemental Instruction

  • Peer Tutoring

  • Academic Writing Center

  • Learning Assistants

  • Supplemental Review Sessions

Vice Provost for Undergraduate Affairs Gigi Escoe, has been asked to lead this initiative and chair an Advisory Board comprised of representatives from each college, academic advising, and LAC and FYE leaders, to create a shared vision for the Learning Commons that supports the university’s strategic direction.

“The Learning Commons  creates networks and friendships that keep you tied to feeling like a bearcat, it’s all coming together now here. I’m really proud of you and this new support services unit.  I’m really proud of where we’ve been and where we are going.  I really want you to know that you are part of something that is nationally best practice and we’re going to get better and better every day.”

Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Eileen Strempel also attended the soft launch to thank the student staff of the Learning Commons.

“I want you to know in your heart what a difference you’re making for yourself and your own learning journey, and even more powerfully, for the University of Cincinnati.”

The Learning Commons is located in 2510B French Hall West. For more information and to schedule appointments, visit


November 22, 2017

UC Community Invited to Meet Candidates for Associate Provost of Experiential-Based Learning and Career Education

Open Forums will be held for each of the four finalists Nov. 27 – Dec. 1

Faculty, staff and students are invited to meet the four finalists applying for the position of Associate Provost of Experienced-Based Learning and Career Education (ELCE).

Dr. John Augusto:               Monday, 11/27, 1:30 – 2:30pm in TUC 400A

Sean Rhiney, JD:                  Tuesday, 11/28, 1:30 – 2:30pm in TUC 400B

Hilary Flanagan:                  Thursday, 11/30, 1:30 – 2:30pm in TUC 417ABC

Dr. Hang (Helen) Chen:     Friday, 12/1, 1:30 – 2:30pm in TUC 400C

Each candidate will give a brief presentation and then answer questions posed by members of the UC community.


ELCE serves as a fully integrated career preparation hub within the University of Cincinnati. The Associate Provost for ELCE will work closely with the college Deans and other university administrators to strategically collaborate with faculty as well as corporate and community partners to expand and enhance the quality of experiential-based learning and career education provided to UC students.



November 22, 2017

SAVE THE DATE - Graduate School Conference & Fair

UC's Graduate School is hosting a conference for undergraduate students, tristate university students, and returning adults considering graduate education.

The event will be held Friday, March 2, 2018 from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. on the fourth floor of the Tangeman University Center.

Particpants are encouraged to explore UC graduate programs, learn tips and tricks for preparing for graduate school and discover funding options and graduate resources.

Admission is free. Click here to register.

For more information, contact Amy Robinson at



May 3, 2017

University of Cincinnati Faculty Honored for Excellence In and Out of Classrooms and for Research and Mentoring

Every spring, leaders from colleges across the University of Cincinnati’s campuses honor exemplary faculty members with the prestigious “Award for Faculty Excellence.” This year, 25 honorees received the special recognition. Also,  for the first time ever, the offices of the Provost and of Research teamed up to reward 13 faculty members who take the time to support peers at different stages in their careers.

Learn more about the "Excellence In and Out of Classrooms" award winners

Learn more about the "Research Mentoring" award winners


For questions or further information, contact Michele Ralston, Director of Communications, Office of the Provost, 513-556-5663