February 2013
Outliers: Students in ACTION

Outliers: Students in ACTION is a monthly publication during the academic year highlighting the students and events in the Science and Math Education in ACTION Choose Ohio First program at BGSU. 

Dr. Brahier shares a laugh with Nick Buhrow at the 4.0 dinner
Note from the ACTION Director

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a time when 100 college students, from freshmen to seniors, are free and available at the same time? Even when scheduling a meeting with nine students on the Advisory Board, comparing calendars becomes a daunting task. As we reached a point this year with four different cohorts, each having its own schedule and needs, it was time to institute a new feature for ACTION. The Common Time was established beginning this semester. ACTION students were asked to clear their calendars from 5:30 to 6:50 p.m. every Tuesday for events related to our program. Publishing a pre-planned schedule months in advance, dates were set during the Common Time for practicum presentations, research meetings, Advisory Board sessions, and a host of other ACTION events. While the time was set aside for all students, no one will be committed to more than four or five Tuesdays, but at least we know that everyone is available at the same time for sessions.


Along with instituting the Common Time, we have established another new event for ACTION, known as the Seminar - in this case, the ACTION Spring Seminar. This 80-minute session will take place each semester and will feature a keynote presentation featuring "big names" in mathematics and/or science and education as well as a "business meeting" of all ACTION students. The inaugural Spring Seminar will take place this month on Tuesday, February 26, and the keynote speaker will be BGSU's President, Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey. We are excited to welcome Dr. Mazey to the event and look forward to hearing her vision for BGSU and our program. In October, the ACTION Fall Seminar will feature a prominent mathematics educator and dean who will make a trip of nearly 2,000 miles to visit us - details will be revealed later, as will the final day and time of the Fall Common Time around which our students will schedule.


The deadline has passed for applying to Cohort 5, so the ACTION Team is busy with reviewing applications, interviewing, and selecting the next group of scholars who will join us this summer. I look forward to selecting that group and seeing all of the ACTION students in one place, at the same time, for the Seminars. The Spring Semester is going to be a busy but fruitful one in the program!

Megan Kemerley - Cohort 2 
Junior AYA Chemistry and Physics 


When did you decide you wanted to be a science teacher? I have always wanted to teach. I love little kids. Growing up everyone used to ask me how to do certain problems and I was happy to help. Science and math are my two favorite subjects so I was debating between the two areas. I didn't really like Precalculus or Calculus too much, and then also didn't like my Biology class in high school since it was "too much science." Chemistry and Physics are both a good fit for me because they have lots of math in them.

Do you have a "dream job" when it comes to teaching? I definitely prefer a small school since that's what I'm familiar with. In fact, the city of Bowling Green is big for me! I'd probably like to teach Chemistry to high school juniors; but if the school was very small, I'd be happy to also teach Physics.

We're proud of you for maintaining a 4.0 GPA. What's been your "secret"? 

I study all the time and do homework for hours on end. Often my days consist of going to work, attending classes, and doing homework. And, I actually read my textbooks before I go to class. Since I am here to get an education, I want to make the most of it. I am very self-motivated since I really dislike the possibility of getting anything less than an "A."

You are obviously very disciplined. What do you do to have fun? I run a lot. In fact, I am entered in a 5K race soon. Running is a great way to de-stress. I'm used to running outside so the weather doesn't bother me. I also enjoy shopping - Maurices is my favorite store - and cooking when I have time.

In addition to being a full-time student, you also work quite a few hours.

Yes, the second week of my freshman year I started working at the Bowling Green Pizza Hut. I do everything: prep, cook, drive, and serve. I have learned a lot of responsibility through this job and spend almost every weekend at work. My co-workers are interesting people, and some have ended up being my best friends.

What has been one of your favorite parts of ACTION so far? My practicum. I really enjoyed seeing real-world science as I worked with my practicum supervisor at Environmental Water Engineering to test to see if certain chemicals worked better than others at killing bacteria in a cooling system. Collecting samples from different heating/cooling rooms in different buildings at Eastern Michigan University was an eye-opening experience and provided a unique opportunity that I will be able to take with me into my classroom.

Anyone who knows you is aware that your favorite color is purple. It's true; over half my wardrobe is purple. I have a purple phone, chair, comforter, backpack, glasses, etc. When I moved into the residence hall during Summer Bridge, it was obvious that purple is my favorite. I am trying to branch out by not wearing purple every day! 

Kevin Knapke - Cohort 4
Freshman AYA Mathematics 


Tell us about yourself. I grew up in Saint Henry, which is a small, close-knit community about an hour north of Dayton. With only 69 students in my graduating class. I knew all the students in my entire high school. Band, cross country, basketball, track, student council, and more kept me busy during high school. Living in a small town was great and I wouldn't change a thing about it.


What brought you to BGSU? With three older siblings all attending BGSU, I have been part of the University for many years. Coming to visit all of them helped me get to know the campus and feel comfortable here even as a youngster. Plus, with my desire to teach, I knew the education program here is excellent.


How did you hear about ACTION? I was not considering teaching until my junior year of high school. My math teacher was very inspiring, and I was motivated to teach and follow in his footsteps. The school counselor assumed I was going to BGSU, the same as my siblings, so when she heard of my desire to teach she told me about ACTION. I thought the Summer Bridge would give me a good head start and enable me to meet people ahead of time. Even though I was familiar with campus, being from such a small town it was overwhelming coming to a bigger campus. The Bridge was very helpful in the transition.


Tell us about your freshman research project. I really like my research project with Dr. Zirbel. We are looking at the circle of circumference of one and trying to decide if there is a pattern with either rational or irrational numbers. Currently, we are concentrating on irrational numbers and how their total scores behave as you go around and around the circle. We are running programs with Java Script, interacting and looking to see any patterns that develop. It is really different working with an unanswered question, but I feel that we are making progress. It gets challenging at times, but it has been a good experience.  


Any fun facts about yourself? I am terrified of heights! And, up until recently, I have only worn one contact lens. I love to run and hope to run a half marathon sometime, and eventually a full marathon. I was in much better shape in high school with all the sports I participated in, but I hope to get back into running more. A group of us go to the Rec weekly to play wallyball. My family is planning a trip out west this summer!


Cohort Updates


Cohort 1 members are now "Student Teaching" - meaning they are in local school districts full-time! Their Methods experience last semester was preparation, and now they are acting as teachers in their own classrooms by coordinating lesson plans and running classes with only minimal supervision from their Cooperating Mentor Teachers. Soon (if they haven't already), these ACTION scholars will also be conducting action research in their classrooms as part of the Capstone Project. 


Cohort 1 students, Adam, Kaylee, Jessica and Allison, in the ACTION lounge during a recent session to discuss the final Capstone project requirements


Data are being gathered by Cohort 2 as they lay the groundwork for developing a research proposal that is the first part of the Capstone Project. This group of juniors is using various resources to research information they can uncover about their chosen topic. Faculty advisors continue to guide them in this process, as students' topics get refined and more specific.

Maggie Dowe sharing a classroom activity idea with Cohort 3 that she thought of from what she learned during her practicum
During recent 
Cohort 3 practicum presentations, eight students shared their experiences with the cohort. As always, their projects were diverse with varied applications to teaching. Some potential real-world activities suggested for future classrooms included converting units, calculating interest rates on loans (such as car, college, etc.), using sports examples to teach concepts, calculating customer savings, and more. 
Ray Szparagowski (Cohort 2) trains Rachel Wiemken (Cohort 4) how to take a water sample from a branch of the Portage River

Cohort 4 freshman research projects are in full swing with the Choose Ohio First Research Symposium a little over two months away on April 12. Dr. Bob Midden is overseeing a team of ACTION students who have been testing the water in different branches of the Portage River for a variety of contaminants. Mostly they have been looking for elevated levels of E. coli, phosphate, and nitrates. These are commonly found in fertilizers that farmers apply to their fields; however, they often apply too much or apply the fertilizers at times when it will be washed away before it can be absorbed by the plants, such as before it rains. When these contaminants get into the water, algae can bloom in large amounts, harming the aquatic environments. Working in teams, students take samples at various sites; then, back in the lab on campus they test the samples and analyze the findings to report to government agencies such at Wood County Health Department, the Ohio EPA and others.

Upcoming ACTION Events:

Student Advisory Board Meeting:  Tuesday, February 5

President's Day for Prospective Students:  Monday, February 18

ACTION Spring Seminar - Dr. Mazey guest speaker:  Tuesday, February 26

Choose Ohio First Research Symposium:  Friday, April 12

February 2013




















Anna Bailey 


Ariana Sampsel B-day











Student Advisory Board Mtg. 5:30-6:30





Adam Kaverman 














Kali Irvin 















President's Day














March 1





ACTION Spring Seminar 5:30-6:50 1104 OW

Keith McBride & Nancy Hoose 







Volume 2, Issue 2
In This Issue
Student Profile - Megan
Student Profile - Kevin
Cohort Updates
Welcome to Rachel Hack
Join Our Mailing List

Congratulations are definitely in order!


After reviewing final grades from last semester and doing the math, we were delighted by the results.


Nearly 40% of all ACTION scholars received a 4.00 GPA during fall semester 2012! We think this is something to celebrate, so each semester a lunch or dinner is hosted to honor the students who have worked so hard to get all "A's" during the previous term. With 37 students receiving an invitation, the ACTION lounge was packed on January 22. The celebration dinner was a wonderful opportunity to reward them for their discipline and hard work.

 We are so proud of all our ACTION scholars!

Rachel Hack transferred to BGSU this semester. She briefly shares her journey over the past year and a half and how she ended up here...

Rachel Hack - AYA Math
New Cohort 3 Member
Upon graduation from Pickerinton North HS, I didn't want high school sports to end. This desire led me to Ohio Christian University (a very small college in Circleville of only 500 students) where I ran cross country and played softball. The problem was that I have always loved math, and OCU did not have a math major; in fact, College Algebra was the highest math course offered. 


My folks are divorced and when my dad moved to Georgia, I decided to attend Georgia State. This larger school had more options for majors and a good Actuarial Science program that I was considering as a career.  Being so far from home was hard. Shortly after I arrived, I knew that I belong in Ohio, and I don't want to be behind a desk in the business world. I want to teach math!


As I considered transferring back to Ohio, BGSU was an obvious choice because of the strong education program. I also gravitated toward this campus because of the care I felt from administrators and faculty. And, now that I am here, I love the people! It's been great to get to know ACTION scholars who have the same major and are successful as students. In fact, I just moved to Offenhauer to be closer to the ACTION community that I have already developed. Dr. Brahier made the decision to consider me as a transfer student even though I was not part of an ACTION program elsewhere. Apparently, I'm a "guinea pig" in this regard as ACTION may allow other transfers in the future - I am extremely grateful for the opportunity! 

Applications for ACTION
Review and evaluation of all complete applications for Cohort 5 has begun! Next, Dr. Brahier will conduct short online interviews with the top potential candidates and all final decisions will be made by March 1. We have another great group of applicants to choose from!
Our official deadline for Fall 2013 has passed, but applications can continue to be submitted online via our website. However, once all spots have been filled, late applicants will only be considered for the wait list. 

As a Choose Ohio First grant program sponsored by the Ohio Board of Regents, our goal is to produce exceptional science and mathematics teachers who will impact the next generation across the state to improve in STEM areas. The need is great for good teachers in these areas.

Science and Math Education in ACTION 
Mailing Address: 450 Math Sciences Building, BGSU, Bowling Green, OH 43403 
Campus Location: 308 Math Sciences Building
Phone: 419-372-6562
Fax: 419-372-6092

Director: Dr. Daniel Brahier
Program Manager: Wendy Standinger
Program Secretary: Nancy Hoose