February 2014
Outliers: Students in ACTION

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

Note from the ACTION Director
Dr. B answers questions posed by Haley Coder

Since 2011, we have had a tradition of hosting an ACTION dinner or lunch to celebrate the success of our students who earned a 4.0 GPA in the previous semester. This event is now held during the Common Time (on Tuesday afternoons) and gives us an opportunity to relax and enjoy our successes as we begin new classes. When I received the grade report from Fall Semester 2013 to generate an invitation list, I was pleasantly surprised to see that 52 of our 101 ACTION students had earned all A's during that term. Recognizing that this was simply an amazing accomplishment for any group of students, the staff began to dig more deeply into the grades and completion rates of our students. We assembled a short sampling of academic accomplishments of our students and sent them to a variety of administrators on campus. Here are some examples that illustrate the level of success of students in the program:

  • 52 out of 101 ACTION students earned a 4.0 GPA in Fall Semester 2013
  • 72% of ACTION students currently have a 3.5 cumulative GPA or higher, with all GPAs ranging from 4.0 to 3.0
  • 15 out of 25 freshman ACTION students (Cohort 5) earned a 4.0 GPA in the Fall 2013 semester
  • The mean ACT score of the current freshmen in ACTION (Cohort 5) is 27.24
  • 100% of the 101 ACTION students from Fall Semester 2013 (excluding the 5 who graduated in December 2013) are enrolled at BGSU for Spring Semester 2014
  • 97% of the 134 selected ACTION scholars have either graduated from or are still attending BGSU since the inception of the program in Summer 2009

One could argue that we would expect students to perform this well because, after all, we carefully select students to enter into the program. However, research on university students in general shows that those who are successful in high school and/or who score significantly high on the ACT are not always the highest achievers in college. A key to success for ACTION students is that, by design, they form a community that works together and supports one another. For example, activities during the Common Time bring scholars together and encourage interaction across cohorts. This semester, all of the Cohort 5 freshmen who are in the Introduction to Teaching course are in the same class together and will share the same field placement, just as they took an Introduction to Educational Technology course together last fall. When students work (and play) together, they form bonds that push them to higher levels of achievement, while also helping them to make friends for a lifetime.


I am proud of the academic success of our ACTION students and look forward to celebrating with them again in September when we recognize those who earned a 4.0 GPA this Spring Semester. Best wishes to our scholars as we work through the semester and to parents, family members, friends, faculty members, and administrators who support them along the way.

ACTION Student Profile


Alexa Woodburn - Cohort 3

Middle Childhood Education 

Math & Science


Tell us about your unique academic background...I am an only child from the Cincinnati area and I attended a small public Montessori school from PK through my senior year. In spite of being from a large city, my graduating class had only 72 students. Being at a Montessori school provided opportunities that most students are not offered through school. I took multiple trips such as going to the Bahamas for two weeks in 8th grade as we studied the history of the island, marine biology, plate tectonics, and much more. While on our trip, the first week we lived on a sailboat and learned the basics of sailing, how to cook and clean up after ourselves, and how to get around the island. The second week was spent at a research center on the island living and working side-by-side with college students. We raised all the money for the trip ourselves and it was an amazing experience. Throughout high school the trips continued with some travels taking us across the country, others within Ohio and a final trip senior year to Costa Rica to enhance our study of rain forests. I wouldn't trade my Montessori experiences for anything!
Coming from this small school environment, how was your transition to BGSU?  The ACTION Summer Bridge was so helpful. It provided a low stress environment to get to know people and familiarize myself with campus. I was able to build a smaller community within the larger campus before fall classes started. The ACTION community on the 9th floor of Offenhauer West was amazing - without that I would have been in shambles.

Was it an easy decision to come to BGSU? Initially BGSU was not on my list of schools I was considering. However, when I decided to teach science and math, a relative mentioned this campus and initially told me about AIMS. When I came to visit to find out more, ACTION was mentioned and it was a great fit since I wanted to teach. BGSU is also in my blood since my grandfather, my dad, and five of his siblings graduated from here.


Tell us about your Resident Advisor experience in the Kreischer residence hall.  The second semester of my freshman year I was selected to be an RA. It started out being very challenging as I was thrust into the position, but it forced me to step out of my comfort zone. I had to branch out from my ACTION community and took on a huge responsibility as a first-year student. It was part of my process to get to taste everything BGSU has to offer. I love the campus environment and have discovered that the University is so much more than academics. For me, BGSU has become home!


What has been one of your favorite parts of being in ACTION? 

I loved my first year group research project working with geckos in the herpetology lab with Dr. Underwood. I was very lucky to have that chance to get to know her and build a relationship that has now allowed me to work with her as a learning assistant. In fact, since I was on campus over winter break for my RA position, I took care of all the critters in the lab so Dr. Underwood could travel to visit family.  

As one of the students who recently attended the 4.0 celebration dinner hosted by ACTION, what has helped you succeed at college? I guess my secret is...understanding! I try to not just memorize; instead my goal is to understand the material. I make sure to stay engaged and am constantly asking questions.  


As a college student, your world travels haven't stopped....

As a future teacher, I have made it a point to continue seeking opportunities to help me be well rounded and gain more direct educational experiences. Going to South Africa this past summer with International Student Volunteers enabled me to spend 2 weeks working with over 300 cheetahs and educating others about these animals, and 2 weeks traveling and learning. It was another experience that I have no doubt will impact my teaching. 
Cohort Updates


Leslie Russell gives details of her upcoming classroom research

Cohort 2 gathered for a follow-up session in January. As they are now busy with student teaching, Dr. Brahier reminded the group of ACTION due dates for the spring and requirements for their final research paper. Faculty advisors who were present chimed in about the importance of ethics and honesty related to research findings regardless of the outcome as well as the importance of including the limitations

Ray Szparagowski discusses ideas with his faculty advisor, Dr. Miles Blanton

of the research. Scholars then gave individual updates on their research topic, estimated when they plan to start collecting data, and explained the type of data that will be collected and analyzed. The next few months will be exciting as their research is conducted!


With Cohort 3 facing the rapidly approaching March 3 deadline for final research proposals, meetings with faculty advisors are becoming more frequent. One-on-one discussions related to the components of the final proposal are taking place between students and faculty, and soon drafts will be written and revised with faculty input during the upcoming month.

Unfortunately, due to BGSU classes being cancelled because of inclement weather, Cohort 4 practicum presentations that were scheduled for January had to be postponed until February 18. We look forward to hearing more details about the specific real-world science and math experience gleaned from the fall practicums and how these can relate to teaching. Additionally, two students will soon begin their spring practicum.


Rebekkah researches in the herpetology lab
Dr. Underwood's Cohort 5 freshman research group is researching two things simultaneously. First, they are studying 
geckos and examining the genetic phenotype passed down from parents to offspring. Second, the group is researching the ideal environment for axolotls (Mexican "walking fish") by attempting to discover the optimal frequency to change
One research subject smiles at the camera
the tank water based 
on number in the tank. They check the water quality (ammonia levels, pH levels, nitrates, and nitrites) at the same time each week. Rebekkah Gresh is learning a great deal though the project including the aspect of working as a team: "...it is a lesson in sharing workloads and having responsibilities that impact the entire group if we don't do our part." Stephanie Erwin, Mike Lipster, and Marina Stagl are also in the group, as is Sarah Miller. Sarah expressed the benefit of being exposed to the process of a long-term research project and also added, "I have been surprised at how skirmish geckos can be when they are being photographed!"
Upcoming ACTION Events:

EDHD 3160 Follow-Up Session:  February 4...4:30-5:50pm

Student Advisory Board Meeting:  February 11...4:30-5:50pm

Practicum Presentations RESCHEDULED: February 18...4:30-5:50pm

Spring Seminar: February 25...4:30-5:50pm

Choose Ohio First Research Symposium:  Friday, April 25

February 2014






















Anna Bailey & Alyssa Lustgarten B-day











EDHD 3160 Follow up session


Cory Fischer & Marina Stagl 














SAB Meeting


Kali Irvin B-day















Practicum Presentations Cohort 4 & 5














Spring Seminar 

All Cohorts





Nancy Hoose 







Volume 3, Issue 2
In This Issue
Student Profile - Alexa
Cohort Updates
Alum Update - Kaylee
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 ACTION 4.0 Celebration Dinner


We are so proud of our 52 ACTION scholars who worked extremely hard and were rewarded for their diligence with all A's for Fall 2013. The dinner hosted in the ACTION lounge to celebrate their accomplishment of receiving a 4.0 GPA was a wonderful way to start the New Year and the new semester. 

The ACTION lounge is packed
with 4.0 scholars

Cohort 5 students are happy to participate in this ACTION tradition as a reward for hard work

Nancy chats with Kristi Frank at the conclusion of the dinner

Scholars from various cohorts interact while eating

A happy group of seniors
following dinner after a day
 of Student Teaching

Dr. B interacts with Cohort 5 students during dinner


Laughing and sharing
teaching experiences


 ACTION Alum Update 


Kaylee Paul

AYA Mathematics


What have you been doing since graduation last May?  In August, I moved to Marysville, Ohio to live with a friend from high school who also teaches at my school. I am working at Ohio Hi Point Career Center in Bellefontaine and teach Algebra 2 and Geometry. I am also currently being trained to teach a STEMM course for a senior math class.


After interviewing for this position at the Career Fair at BGSU and then getting called back for a second interview, I was offered the job! Teaching at Hi Point Career Center is different from the teaching environment I had originally expected, but the structure of the school is very interesting and I love my staff and students! It's really fascinating to see all of the different labs that are offered and trying to tie in my lessons with their labs.


How did ACTION help prepare you to be a teacher? Being an ACTION student helped me to learn how to use my time wisely and multitask as a teacher. It also provided multiple opportunities for real-world examples that I use all the time in my classroom!


What have you enjoyed most about teaching? My favorite part about teaching is helping my students have a positive attitude about math. I've had numerous students tell me they used to hate math but they enjoy my lessons and say that I explain things in a way that they can understand.

Kaylee got a puppy right before the holidays and now is working hard with training!


  Incoming Cohort 6 Applicants


The application deadline for incoming students for Fall 2014 was at the end of January and now the first round of interviews for top candidates for Cohort 6 will begin in early February. This online interview via Skype, FaceTime, or GooglePlus enables Dr. Brahier to get to know prospective students and also provides a chance for students to ask him questions about ACTION.  Last year we found this interaction to be helpful on both sides.


Although our deadline has passed, interested applicants may still apply at our website. If all openings are filled, they may 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 
308 Math Sciences Building, BGSU, Bowling Green, OH 43403 
Phone: 419-372-6562
Fax: 419-372-6092
[email protected]

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