Jennifer Gebes, a dental hygiene technology major with Summa Cum
Laude honors, has been selected as the Owens class
representative and will address the graduates during the
The 1991 Fostoria High School graduate already has two
certifications and a bachelor’s degree, completing the Pharmacy
Technician non-credit certificate and Medical Transcription
certificate from Owens and Applied Health Science bachelor’s
degree from Bowling Green State University.
“She is a diligent worker and pays great attention to detail,”
Beth Tronolone, Dental Hygiene Chair, said. “She is kind,
caring and provides a high standard of care with her clinical
Ms. Gebes, 46, is a single mother to two boys, Brendan, 16, and
Landon, 14, the youngest who had significant special needs in
his early childhood years.
As an infant, Landon Gebes was exposed to a virus that caused
encephalitis on the left side of his brain, which controls
speech and language. Despite years of doctors’ visits and tests,
a correct diagnosis was not made until closer to his 5th
birthday. Some medical professionals suggested he would never
speak. Ms. Gebes said she would not accept that outcome for her
Ms. Gebes began working with a Ph.D. from Sylvania, who now works
at the Cleveland Clinic, on behavioral replacement
therapy, learning a picture communication system with positive
reinforcement to in turn teach her son. She started with a
picture of a cat and piece of candy. She said “cat,” and until
her son said “cat,” he could not have the candy. It took eight
weeks, working 50-hours a week, before he said that first word,
“and then our world was open.”
Assisted by two BGSU graduate students, the learning evolved to
the point Ms. Gebes immersed her son in a public school full
time in third grade. Today, Landon speaks, reads and continues
to learn with his classmates.
Her time freed up, Ms. Gebes returned to Owens to pursue an
Associate of Science degree – a degree she said she was one
class short of completing. She transferred the credits to BGSU
for her bachelor’s degree, graduating with a 4.0 GPA and Summa
Cum Laude honors.
Wanting a career that would provide for her sons, she applied to
Case Western Reserve University’s master’s degree program for
anesthesia. From a pool of 1,200 qualified applicants, she was
one of 18 accepted. She lived in an apartment in Cleveland
during the week and came home on the weekends for two semesters.
But she did not complete the five-semester program, giving it up
in 2017 because she said her boys needed her at home.
“For me, that meant coming home to Owens. I found a degree in
dental hygiene that seamlessly adopted my bachelor’s degree and
used my knowledge of head, neck and oral anatomy.”
Rodney Rogers, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University, will serve
as the keynote speaker.
Rogers assumed the role as the 12th president of Bowling Green
State University on February 23, 2018, after serving in the
interim post since January 1, 2018. Prior to being named
president, Rogers had served as provost and senior vice
president since 2012 and, before that, dean of the BGSU College
of Business since 2006.
Before joining BGSU, Rogers served as associate dean and director
of academic programs within the School of Business at Portland
State University, in Oregon. He has taught financial reporting,
performance measurement and international financial reporting at
various universities including Portland State, Case Western
Reserve, Thunderbird: The American Graduate School of
Management, and the École de Management at EuroMed-Marseille, in
Experienced in both academia and business, Rogers has a Ph.D.
from Case Western Reserve University, an MBA from BGSU
and a B.A. in music from Ohio Northern University. Before
completing his doctorate at Case, he practiced as a CPA for 10
Rogers is a former member of the Wood County Hospital board and
currently serves on the board of directors of the Toledo Zoo and
Aquarium. In addition, he serves on the executive committee of
the Regional Growth Partnership and on the board of trustees for
the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.
PHOTO OF JENNIFER GEBES COURTESY OF OWENS COMMUNITY COLLEGE.
For more information regarding Owens’ commencement ceremony,