December 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. 

Note from the ACTION Director

With Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday season approaching, this is the time of year when I like to reflect on the people and events for which I am most thankful. The ACTION program has undergone several changes in the past year, and I want to specifically thank the members of last year's and the current year's Student Advisory Board (SAB). The SAB consists of students who are elected by their peers - generally two students from each of the current cohorts (this year, Cohorts 2, 3, 4, and 5). These students meet with the ACTION staff at least four times a year and are responsible for being the voice of the students, representing the needs and concerns of others in the program. In addition, they are the workers who take on the tasks of running our events, from the Parents' Weekend food tent to the December holiday gathering.


The recommendations of the SAB have prompted numerous changes over the past year. Just a few examples of things that have been improved in the past year due to the SAB's input:

  • The redesign of the ACTION Lounge to include a larger refrigerator (with ice), computers, lockers, microwave, graphing calculators, new whiteboards, and a SmartBoard.
  • Establishment of Fall and Spring Seminars - once per semester - that bring together all ACTION students into one room for a keynote presentation and an update on the latest news about the program and teacher education in Ohio.
  • Creation of an annual Spring Survey administered online to all ACTION students to evaluate the program and to provide suggestions for improvement.
  • Development of a new plan to acclimate ACTION students who are admitted after freshman year and have not experienced a full Summer Bridge program.
  • Addition of a Science tutor so that the program now features Math and Science tutoring two evenings per week.
  • Extension of the service hours of the ACTION lounge. Last year, the lounge closed by 5:00 p.m. each day, but this year, it is open Monday through Thursday until at least 9:30 p.m. so that students can work into the evenings.
  • Creation of a Finals Week study program that includes extended hours, special tutoring, study group opportunities, and snacks for ACTION students as they prepare for exams (we will be doing this for the first time this month).

The members of the SAB this year are Alex Clune and Allie Mazza (Cohort 2), Peter Edwards, Betsie Naylor, and Brittney Poling (Cohort 3), Jess Shearer and Nikki Szymanski (Cohort 4), and Kimberly Lentz and Alyssa Lustgarten (Cohort 5). These students have done outstanding work in the past few months, and I very much appreciate their time and effort to keep improving the program.


The end of the year is also an appropriate time to say "thank you" to Wendy Standinger and Nancy Hoose for their untiring work in the ACTION office. I am also grateful to the program officials at Choose Ohio First, the Colleges of Education and Human Development and Arts & Sciences, the Office of the Provost, and Jack and Louise Jadel for their continued support of scholarship and programming dollars. I look forward to continuing to serve as Director of ACTION in 2014 as we welcome Cohort 6 next summer. Meanwhile, may you and your families be blessed with a restful and happy holiday season and New Year.

ACTION Student Profile

Maggie Dowe - Cohort 3

AYA Integrated Mathematics


When did you decide you wanted to be a math teacher?  I've always loved math and consider myself a "math nerd."  As a youngster I saved math homework until the end because I knew that would motivate me to get the other work done. Multiple things seemed to point me toward a career as a teacher, and my senior year in high school it was confirmed when I was asked to tutor an Algebra student. That experience made me realize that I am good at teaching and that it brings me great satisfaction to help others learn.


Do you have a dream job?  I'd like to teach in the suburb of a large city and would be happy to teach any math subject, but preferably not Geometry! Really, the most important thing is that I am making a difference no matter what I teach.


What are some of your favorite things about BGSU?  I love walking on campus and being able to see someone I know. It is not such a big campus that I don't see familiar faces frequently. I also love how the professors treat me--not just like the current student I am, but more as the successful teacher I will become. Many are like mentors to me.

Maggie tutoring in the ACTION lounge
You have several jobs and are involved with other things at BGSU...Yes, I play on the Women's Club soccer team. I love soccer and we made Regionals this year! I also assist with the BGSU Men's soccer team (last year I was one of their managers, but this year I just help when I can). I'm a member of BGCTM and work as the math tutor for ACTION and as a Student Instructor (SI) for Pre-calculus.


What have you enjoyed most about being in ACTION?  It is hard to sum up because the entire program is so awesome. Starting with the Summer Bridge and the required ACTION courses each year, there are also many additional opportunities that cannot be found elsewhere. For example, heading up the math activity table at STEM in the Park in September was a lot of work but I absolutely loved being a leader and overseeing the planning and implementation of it all. This had been one aspect I was most nervous about related to teaching. Seeing the success of the math activity at an event with nearly 1,000 kids gave me a lot of confidence for my own classroom.


You also had an amazing ACTION practicum experience...Yes, I did a project for my high school Athletic Director to create a budget from scratch to help them not only keep track of their program spending to ensure it is meaningful and appropriate, but also to assist with reporting their finances to the School Board. The project ended over a year ago, but he continues to thank me for my assistance each time he has to submit a report and the numbers are easily accessible using the budget I created.


As you prepare for your senior year when you will be student teaching, what is your anticipated research topic?  I just solidified my topic with my faculty advisor, Dr. Matney. I will be researching how doing math discovery while working in groups may influence performance and self-efficacy. I am really excited about doing this research.


How have you changed since when you first stepped foot on campus as a freshman?  I feel like a different person! I've grown up in terms of things I care about and how I want to live my life. I am no longer as focused on me and I try not to worry about the petty things any more; instead, I'm much more aware of how my actions impact others and the world around me. Being from a small town, everyone had a similar mentality. Coming to BGSU has opened my eyes to other viewpoints and I have now made a conscious choice how to live my life.


Favorite restaurant in Bowling Green? Kermit's for breakfast!

ACTION Alumni:  Where Are They Now
Ariana Sampsel (Cohort 1)

 Ariana Sampsel graduated in May 2013 with an AYA Integrated Math degree and this fall is working at Penta Career Center in the Toledo area. The ACTION staff was informed that a Penta teacher would be on maternity leave and after passing on the information, Ariana was hired a few days later to fill a long-term sub position teaching Geometry.


The timing and location were perfect, since Ariana had just moved to Toledo. After her boyfriend graduates from UT in December, she may relocate so she wasn't looking for a full-time teaching commitment. However, she just found out her employment at Penta will extend at least until February so she is very excited about that.


She teaches three Geometry classes on a block schedule and also assists for 45 minutes at "the success center" every day. The Penta success center is a place where students can go for extra help or for a place to make up a test or quiz. 


Ariana confirms that ACTION has impacted her teaching and specifically aided her experience at Penta: "Having the practicum experience at an industry in Bowling Green helped me relate math to the workplace which is very important to these career and technical students." She continues, "My favorite part of teaching has been getting to develop a rapport with my students and watching students succeed."

Cohort Updates


Cohort 2 seniors are getting closer to student teaching. They are now attending their classroom placement daily and teaching a few lessons to ge

Faculty advisor, Barb Childers, discusses research topics with ACTION students at a session

t more and more familiar and comfortable with the role of "teacher." This group will continue to meet with their faculty advisors to finalize plans for gathering data in the classroom next semester. Some have had the chance to do a "practice run" by testing out some of the research methods they hope to use to gain insight into their topic. Most seem excited about being able to do hands-on research in the classroom as a foundation for what they will be able to incorporate into their future teaching career.  

Dr. Brahier reminded Cohort 3 students that good educators always have questions in their heads as they continually look for ways to improve their 
Potential topics for research are discussed with Cohort 3
teaching and increase student success. His comments came at the beginning of the recent session "Choosing a Topic" for those starting the process of research for their ACTION Capstone Project. Most students have some ideas for possible topics, and time was spent putting potential themes on Post-It notes to group into similar categories. Often topics start out too broad and need to be narrowed down to make the research more manageable and meaningful. Topics will continue to evolve over the next several months as students unearth what others have published related to their area of interests. 
Sansanee Longbrake (faculty advisor) discusses methodology with Cory & Felicia

Another session on "Research Methodology" had 
ts pairing up to discuss the 10 different methods of gathering data that may be considered when doing their classroom research during student teaching next year. They have often been reminded to "triangulate" research, where data is gathered using a variety of methods to get perspectives from different angles.
 With the semester coming to a close, Cohort 4 members who have been engaged in fall practicums are finishing up their projects. Each practicum is unique and the benefits provided to the company or agency are also varied. One constant for each is that scholars get to see science and/or math used in real-world settings beyond the classroom. For example, Jess Shearer and Amanda Pummell were in 
Jess and Amanda taking crop and soil samples in the fields

the field, quite literally, with their supervisor Alan Sundermeier from the Wood County OSU Extension office who specializes in agronomic crop production focusing on cover crops, soil quality, and organic grain production. The girls spent time taking crop and soil samples at the Hirzel Research Farm north of Bowling Green and then analyzed the samples to test several different variables. Since Alan frequently publishes articles and gives presentations, Jess and Amanda's project results will be included in some of the data he passes along. 


At the halfway point of the practicum, participants spend time discussing their project in a small group setting either in person or via an online virtual classroom by sharing their specific project, what they are learning, challenges they may be facing, and how this experience could be applied to teaching. It gives them a chance to reflect in the middle of their project. 

Four freshman ACTION students in Cohort 5 are working with Dr. Bob Midden as they research ways to improve water quality in Northwest Ohio. Since this is considered one of Ohio's urgent economic and environmental issues, their research will have a long-lasting impact. Past research has shown that when farmers use manure to provide nutrients to crops, rain often was
Jordan in the process of gathering a water sample
hes away not only the nutrients but also harmful substances such as E. coli, phosphates, and nitrates. When these substances eventually work their way into lakes, damaging algae can result. Their goal is to research remedies to this problem.

These students are getting varied experiences through the research process.  "Sometimes we go out into the field to do water tests to see where the nutrients are coming from," Jordan Truitt summarizes. "We also work on making slow releasing fertilizers that are basically cakes of dried manure that have been treated to partially trap the nutrients."

Devoney Miller and Kimberly test samples



Kimberly Lentz explains further: "We are helping to 

Rebecca enjoys the field work 

create different 'recipes' for converting manure into fertilizer that releases phosphate at a slower rate that allows plants to still grow, but does not run off into streams allowing harmful algal blooms to overpopulate."


As a future Chemistry teacher, the research project has confirmed Rebecca Shroka's interest in research and she adds, "I feel like we are really making a difference and I love that I'm learning so much in a hands-on way!"

Upcoming ACTION Events:

EDHD 3160 Session #6:  December 3 ... 4:30-5:50pm

Student Holiday Event:  Friday, December 13 ... 5:30-7:30pm 

December Graduation:  December 21 

Choose Ohio First Research Symposium:  Friday, April 25

December 2013





EDHD 3160 Session #6 - HSRB









Lauren Barr





BGSU Preview Day










Jen Tomasko B-day


Betsie Naylor   


Collin Nissen & Lauren Brunswick B-day



ACTION Holiday Event 

5:30-7:30 Ice Arena Lounge














Final Exam Week Starts








Davis Gerber 




Rebecca Szparagowski B-day


Last Day Fall Semester


Georgia Ike 















Winter Break Starts














Jan 1

   Jan 2

Jan 3

Jan 4









Jan 5












 Jan 6


Jan 7
Sheri Klatt & Megan Chapman B-day

Jan 8

Jan 9

Jan 10

Jan 11

Volume 2, Issue 9
In This Issue
Student Profile - Maggie
Where Are They Now
Cohort Updates
December Calendar
Join Our Mailing List

December ACTION Grads


When our five December graduates were asked to describe one of their favorite things about ACTION, they all expressed the importance of the opportunities they've had as well as how much they appreciated the people they have met through this program -from their peer friendships to the staff members to the faculty mentors they have gotten to know.


We asked them to share the topic of their capstone research project and to also let us know their plans for after graduation.


Allison Bailey 

MCE Science and Math

For my research I studied the impact of mnemonic devices on comprehension. After graduation, at this point, I plan to substitute teach in Northwest Ohio.


 Patrick Nightingale 

AYA Earth Sciences

My capstone project topic was "The Effectiveness of Reflective Journals in High School Science Classroom." I plan to stay in Bowling Green after graduation while working short-term substitute teaching positions in this area. In the summer my plan is move to Columbus to pursue a full-time teaching position. 


Jessica Stephens 

MCE Science and Math


My capstone research project was all about math manipulativesin the classroom. I wanted to see whether or not the students were actually able to learn from the manipulatives. In my college classes, we relearned a lot of concepts with manipulatives and I wanted to see if my students could actually learn these concepts for the first time with the manipulatives. As of now, I plan to move home to Cleveland in December while subbing in as many schools that I can to get my foot in the door for a future permanent position.



Nicole MacAlpine 

MCE Science and Math


My research project focused on mnemonic devices in a science classroom. After graduation I plan to continue working my current part-time job while substitute teaching in local schools to get some experience. 



Scott Green 

AYA Physics & Chemistry

My capstone project examined a particular topic in physics to identify specific student misconceptions, and then implemented a type of teaching called "modeling instruction" to aid students in overcoming the identified misconceptions. I am very excited about the modeling instruction method and hope other science teachers consider this method. After graduation I plan on applying for (and hopefully getting) a long-term substitute position at Perrysburg towards the end of February, and that would be teaching four sections of freshman physical science and one section of senior physics. After that concludes, I will be seeking a permanent teaching position!  

ACTION Community Space 


As a gathering place for numerous activities, the ACTION lounge in 308 Math Sciences Building is getting a great deal of use by our scholars. Extended access to the lounge during weekday evenings not only allows the science and math tutoring to take place here from 8:00-9:30pm Monday through Thursday, but also enables students to use the space for afterhours individual or group studying. Our smaller "Falcon Room" space is used frequently for meetings such as research groups, Student Advisory Board, practicum sessions, and more. In fact, when a recent BGSU Board of Trustees member came for a campus visit hosted by the College of Education and Human Development, the ACTION lounge was one stop on their tour. Several ACTION students were able to meet with Megan Newlove and College of EDHD representatives to describe their experience in ACTION. And, looking ahead to Finals Week in December, we plan to offer even longer access to the lounge during that week along with extra tutoring and of course munchies to provide a boost!

Brittney and Lance discuss research during a EDHD 3160 session in the lounge


Dr. B hears details about practicums


Kimberly, Justin, Alyssa, and Taylor from Cohort 5 take advantage of the lounge
Getting the Word Out 

As word continues to spread across the state about ACTION, applications are starting to come in for Cohort 6 well in advance of the January 27, 2014 deadline. Word-of-mouth, letters, emails, phone calls, and promotional events are being effective. In mid-November nearly 80 school counselors visited BGSU for an event hosted by Admissions, and at the end of the month STEMS day hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences brought a large number of students interested in science and math to the University. Our office has also reached out to the Ohio Future Educators Association (FEA) Chapter Advisors so they can pass along this Choose Ohio First scholarship opportunity to their high school students. Meetings with different departments on campus have enabled discussions about using social media more effectively to promote ACTION. We anticipate a large number of Cohort 6 applications with a plan to accept approximately 30 incoming freshmen. 


Wendy speaks to school counselors who visited campus on November 15


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 
308 Math Sciences Building, BGSU, Bowling Green, OH 43403 
Phone: 419-372-6562
Fax: 419-372-6092

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