UC researchers continue to blaze new trails in science, medicine, business, education, engineering and the arts — literally transforming the way we live, work and learn.

Findings is the Office of Research’s newsletter, which began in October 2017. It delivers monthly updates to faculty, staff, students, and community partners about impactful research, initiatives, partnerships, events, and opportunities at the University of Cincinnati. To view current and previous issues of the newsletter, go to the Findings page.

Conversations of Consequence: The Digital Futures Flashpoint Series

Conversations of Consequence: The Digital Futures Flashpoint Series

The UC Office of Research is bringing together local, regional, and national thought leaders to solve problems that matter  

The Digital Futures Flashpoint series is a collection of conversations of consequence amongst a panel of national, regional, and local thought leaders on topics that are timely and of interest to the public. As part of Digital Futures and Research2030, UC subject-matter experts are positioned alongside influencers, policy makers, members of the media and, importantly, movers & shakers from industry, government, and the community to collectively grapple with the big challenges the people of our city, state, and nation care most about. "The Digital Futures Flashpoint Series is one way we're building a coalition of change agents that seeks to collaboratively embark on projects and co-create collective value,” said Patrick Limbach, Vice President for Research.

The series began in 2020 and features three panel conversations each academic year. Two are online, and the third, the Presidential Panel, is a hybrid meeting that happens during R&I Week at the Queen City Club in downtown Cincinnati. The Presidential Panel features UC’s President Pinto and leaders from industry, government, and/or the community to discuss topics of deep interest to the future of the University of Cincinnati as well as our partners in government, industry, and the community.

"The Flashpoint Series convenes like-minded experts,” said Associate Vice President for Research Jennifer Krivickas, “and this enhances UC's research reputation, helps attract top talent to UC, and helps general audiences understand how research at UC is truly impacting the lives of people in our community and beyond.” Since 2020, the Office of Research has had tremendous success securing thought leaders of national, statewide, and local renown, as can be seen from the list of panel discussions below. 


Previous Digital Futures Flashpoint Conversations


August 20, 2020 

How effective is online learning for young learners, particularly those learning to read? Researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders explore how parents and teachers can keep young learners, especially those learning to read, engaged and stimulated in online learning environments. They also discuss the future of EdTech and how it can help to improve literacy in the U.S. education system. 


  • Reneé Seward – Associate Professor of Communication Design at the University of Cincinnati College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning; Co-Lab Leader at the Digital Futures Learning by Design Lab; creator of See Word Design 

  • Mike Tholfsen – Principal Group Manager at Microsoft Education 

  • Kent Kanipe – Vice President of Engineering at Learning A-Z 

  • Melissa M. Weber-Mayrer – Director of the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Approaches to Teaching and Professional Learning

December 17, 2020 

The power of place is the foundation of community, bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to create social ties and a common sense of purpose. In this panel discussion, local, state, and national experts discuss the Cincinnati community, placemaking, and the ways UC’s new Digital Futures building could become a place where technology and community intersect for the betterment of society. 


  • Jennifer Vey – Senior Fellow and Director of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Center for Transformative Placemaking at the Brookings Institution 

  • Andrew Deye – Managing Director at JobsOhio 

  • Jess Kropczynski, PhD – Assistant Professor at the University of Cincinnati School of Information Technology 

  • Russell Hairston - Executive Director of the Avondale Development Corporation

January 15, 2021 

Following the 2020 presidential election, this panel discussion explores highly charged political themes with nationally recognized thought leaders on democracy, trust in institutions, and the role of information in the digital age. Panelists also discuss how elections have evolved and how we can increase trust and efficacy in our republic moving forward. 


  • Katie Harbath – Director of Public Policy and Global Elections at Facebook 

  • Anna Palmer – Founder of Punchbowl News and former Politico reporter 

  • Trey Grayson – Director of Civic Point and former Secretary of State for Kentucky 

  • Richard Harknett – Professor and Chair of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Political Science and national cyber strategy expert

Flashpoint #4: Advanced Air Mobility 

March 31, 2021 

The final Digital Futures Flashpoint panel of the 2020-21 academic year focuses on advanced air mobility platforms, such as drones, air taxis, and electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOLs). Panelists discuss the role they will play in the 21st century and how Ohio is uniquely positioned to spearhead academic collaboration with industry, leading to jobs, positive economic impact, and advances in technology. 


  • Elaine Bryant – Managing Director at JobsOhio 

  • Daniel Cuppoletti – Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati 

  • Rich Granger – Managing Director at DriveOhio

October 28, 2021 

The Ohio River is a source of drinking water, jobs, and recreation for millions of Americans. Its importance to the region cannot be overstated, but the conversation about this natural resource is often lacking. Panelists discuss the Ohio River’s challenges, including environmental aspects, needs of people in the region, and how the river contributes to jobs and the economy, as well as how UC, the government, and the private sector are working to overcome these challenges. 


  • Patrick Ray – Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Cincinnati 

  • Jason Stephens – State Representative for Ohio’s 93rd District, which includes counties along the Ohio River 

  • Melinda Kruyer – Executive Director for Confluence Water Technology Innovation Cluster 

  • Brett Walton – Reporter for Circle of Blue 

  • Kyle McCune – Hydraulic Engineer for the Army Corps of Engineers

February 17, 2022 

In 2021, the market cap of cryptocurrencies exceeded $3 trillion, six new crypto billionaires joined the Forbes 400, and the CEO of Twitter sold a non-fungible token (NFT) for charity. The Giving Block, an organization that helps nonprofits with cryptocurrency fundraising, reported a 583% increase in cryptocurrency donations in 2021. Panelists discuss their experiences with accepting and using cryptocurrencies to advance their nonprofit mission. 


  • Michael Jones – Kautz-Uible Professor of Economics and Director of the Digital Futures Cryptoeconomics Lab at the University of Cincinnati  

  • Alex Wilson – Co-Founder of The Giving Block 

  • Erin Clemons – President and CEO at Northern Cincinnati Foundation 

  • Edwin Goutier – Vice President of Innovation at United Way

Flashpoint #7: Confronting Crisis 

March 30, 2022 

The Presidential Panel that ended the 2021-2022 Digital Futures Flashpoint series was held in person at the Queen City Club during Research + Innovation Week. In this panel, three leaders sit down to discuss how preparation, access to data, and an individual-focused approach helped them confront the crises of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid epidemic, and unemployment among a vulnerable population. 


  • Neville Pinto – President of the University of Cincinnati 

  • Steven Schierholt – Executive Director of the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy 

  • Daniel Meyer – Founder and CEO of Nehemiah Manufacturing

November 30, 2022 

Nationwide, people are waking up to the reality that many of our athletes are victims of repeated brain trauma, many times resulting in CTE and other long-term mental health issues. Former football players hope research, like that being done at the University of Cincinnati, will help them and future generations avoid the worst consequences of brain injuries. Panelists discuss the current state of play and what measures governing bodies and policy makers can take to help protect athletes. 


  • Tom Talavage – Professor and Head of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Biomedical Engineering 

  • Bob DeMars – former University of Southern California Defensive End (1997-2001); Filmmaker (The Business of Amateurs) 

  • Reggie Williams – former Cincinnati Bengals Linebacker (1976-89); Author (Resilient by Nature)

February 7, 2023 

The COVID-19 pandemic and the opioid epidemic have highlighted the disparities in health outcomes that residents of poorer communities, both rural and urban, face. Panelists discuss the all-too-real challenges that millions of Ohioans face every day, as well as the solutions that address those challenges. 


  • Andrew Filak – Senior Vice President of Health Affairs and College of Medicine Dean at the University of Cincinnati 

  • Bruce Vanderhoff – Director of the Ohio Department of Health 

  • Cara Dingus Brook – President & CEO of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio 

  • Diego Cuadros – Associate Professor of Geography and Digital Futures Epidemiology Lab Leader at the University of Cincinnati