May 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

As the academic year winds down, I have the pleasure of seeing the final products of our ACTION students who have been involved in projects throughout the year. Freshmen completed their yearlong research projects and formally presented them at a symposium in April. Sophomores finished their practicum-internship projects throughout the year and presented to one another and the freshman cohort in fall and spring sessions. Graduating seniors wrote their final capstone project papers and shared their results at a "Capstone Conversations" gathering with junior scholars in April. Meanwhile, one group of students traveled to Washington, DC to present their research results last summer, while another group presented at the annual conference of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) in Dayton last fall, and two others presented posters at the Choose Ohio First Showcase in Columbus this spring. Additional ACTION students will present at BGSU's annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in early May and we were just notified that proposals for three other groups of students to present at this year's OCTM conference in Cleveland have been accepted, so plans for travel to that meeting are in the works. I will soon be submitting a proposal for a couple of students to speak with me at a research conference in Las Vegas next year as well.


I am proud of the work our students have done in the ACTION program and beyond, and the poise with which they present the results of their work on campus and externally is remarkable. We welcome 26 incoming freshmen in Cohort 6 this summer, and I am excited to provide similar opportunities for them as the program continues to build. Elsewhere in this newsletter, you will find details on some of the presentations our students have given, as well as a welcome to Cohort 6 participants, who will join the "family" in July. Meanwhile, I wish the best of luck to our new graduates and hope our returning students have a restful summer. I look forward to seeing them again in August. Our next newsletter will be published for September.


ACTION Graduates - May 2014


We asked those graduating this May to share what they feel has been one of their favorite and/or most beneficial aspects of ACTION, the topic of their Capstone research project, and any specific plans after graduation. Below are the responses we received: 


Lauren Barr:  One of the biggest benefits of ACTION has been finding a family and group of friends away from home. It was great coming in freshman year already having a core group of friends, and having classes together meant I had someone to go to with questions or help.

       My Capstone project focused on how teaching a "hard-to-teach/difficult-to-learn" topic in different ways would affect student self-efficacy and performance. I used formative assessments, hands-on activities, and relevant situations that helped build connections to the concepts to test my idea.

       I hope to get a teaching job in an urban area.


Alex Clune:  I really enjoyed my freshman research project that included field sampling to compare potential runoff sites. I enjoyed it enough to spark me to look into water quality summer work, as well as a manure feasibility study and two additional years of field sampling. I also enjoyed the tight knit feel I had from that group in collecting samples.

       For my Capstone project I researched the connection between the use of bell work and correlation of test scores (achievement). Results determined no strong support for bell work, and even possibly a negative result of use of bell work in terms of achievement, but I would want to do the study again.

       I plan to seek employment, save up the big bucks for a wedding, and possibly return to grad school within the next 5 years.


Georgia Ike:  Already having friends and study partners in place as I was coming into college was wonderful. It was nice to have a support group that I could rely on in classes and in life too!

       My Capstone project dealt with how inquiry-based problems worked on outside of class affect students' ability to construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others, the third Standard for Mathematical Practice. I assigned students' challenging problems, had them present one solution in class, and analyzed their work and presentations to make conclusions.

       After graduation I hope to find a job teaching junior high or high school mathematics close to home. I will be living at home for a year and planning my wedding, which will be in the summer of 2015! At that point I will go from being Miss Ike to Mrs. Gaier!


Megan Kemerley:  Summer Bridge was very beneficial, and I loved knowing people on campus before the school year started and knowing my way around campus.

       For my Capstone project I looked at misconceptions inside of the classroom and if finding out those misconceptions before teaching a unit helps students lose their misconceptions.

       I will be searching for a job in and around the Bowling Green area while still working at Pizza Hut and planning my wedding.


Josh Klein:  My favorite part of ACTION was the Summer Bridge program. This was such an awesome way to start my career here at BGSU, and I was able to make so many connections to the university and friendships before my freshman year began.

       For my Capstone project I observed how a safe classroom environment and effective teaching affects students' beliefs about mathematics and their ability to do mathematics.  

       My plans are to go directly into teaching. I currently have applied to multiple schools near the Dayton and Massillon regions of Ohio and have a couple interviews lined up.


Matt Lefevre:  The most beneficial aspect of the ACTION program for me was the community. Through ACTION I have developed lasting friendships that I cherish to this day. These friends were my motivation to strive for success, as well as my way of relaxing at stressful times.

       My Capstone research was about competition-based review games and their ability to motivate students to study the material, as well as raise test scores.

       My plan is to find a teaching position in Northwest Ohio. I want to remain in the area close to my family and friends.


Amber Mathias:  My favorite part of ACTION has been the Summer Bridge program. I loved the activities we did, the lessons we learned, and most of all, the friends we made. The experience truly made the transition into college very easy and helped me to not feel like a "freshman."

       I conducted a study consisting of the Biology Attitude Survey, a Classroom Format evaluation, a pre and post-test assessment, and midterm grades to determine how active learning affects the attitude and achievement of students in biology.

       I have been accepted to The Ohio State College of Optometry and will begin the 4-year doctoral program in the fall.


Melissa Matthews:  The freshman research project was my favorite part of ACTION. I worked with Dr. Underwood in the Herpetology Lab. I loved working with the animals and having the freedom to explore scientific topics and questions with my group members. It was a very rewarding year. 

       My Capstone research project was about the effects of experiential learning activities on student vocabulary comprehension. I provided a hands-on learning experience for one class about electrical circuits, and then I gave a lecture to another class about the electrical circuit vocabulary. I conducted written assessments as well as student interviews to collect my data. The results showed that experiential learning activities helped my students develop the ability to communicate their comprehension levels better than a traditional vocabulary lecture. 

       After graduation, I plan to return to Clevelend and continue my job hunt for teaching positions in the Columbus or Cleveland area. I will also begin to work on wedding plans this summer. 


Allie Mazza:  My favorite part of ACTION has been the community I have been a part of these past four years along with the many opportunities that have allowed me to grow as an individual and as an educator. 

       My Capstone research project consisted of researching reading motivation in students and seeing what factors motivate them to complete reading homework.

       After graduation, I will be getting married and moving home to the Columbus area in pursuit of a teaching job. 


Kayla Miller:  My favorite part of ACTION was (like almost everyone else) Summer Bridge. Learning the ins and outs of campus life before school started put me at ease. Plus, I made some bonds with some amazing friends! I am still very close with my ACTION friends.

       My Capstone project looked at the effects of collaborative learning when compared to traditional lecture-based learning in the high school chemistry classroom. I found that student learning increases with collaborative learning; however, my findings were not statistically significant, so more research needs to be done.

       After graduation I am headed down to The Ohio State University for graduate school. I will be a PhD agricultural engineering student in the Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering program. I have been fortunate to receive fellowships and assistantships for the entirety of my graduate career.


Leslie Russell:  The friendships I have made throughout my time in ACTION have been my favorite part of the program.

       My Capstone research project was about the impact that peer accountability groups have on goals and goal attainment in an eighth grade mathematics classroom. 

       I don't really have specific plans right now.  I'm just going to keep looking for a job and planning a wedding.


Ray Szparagowski:  My favorite part of ACTION was probably the Summer Bridge program. It was lot of fun to explore math and science while making new college friends. The most beneficial aspect was probably the Capstone research project.  I have learned a lot about my teaching and the importance of trying new education strategies.  

       My research was on the flipped classroom, a method of teaching in which some of the direct instruction is completed for homework in the form of videos or handouts. Then class time is used for other forms of instruction or projects.  

       I would like to teach for the first 1-3 years around the Bowling Green area. Then after I get some experience under my belt, I want to teach in Europe at an International School.  


Brittany Taylor:  My favorite part of ACTION was all of the great people I met through the program and my practicum at Imagination Station.

       For my Capstone project I researched how self-regulated learning affects student confidence.

       As of now, I am planning to find a job in the Columbus area.



Erin Ziems: The Summer Bridge program has been, in my opinion, the most beneficial. I became familiar with campus over the summer and I had a support system already in place. I took classes with many of my ACTION cohort, which was also excellent because I had friends to help me study.

       For my Capstone project I hypothesized that the type of homework assigned to students could positively impact student motivation and encourage more learning in the classroom. My results, however, were inconclusive, although I was surprised to learn that many of my students self-reported being motivated to learn in my classroom (which is indicative of the fact that I must be doing something right!).

       I intend to seek out a summer job back home in Toledo. Further, I intend to seek a job in my discipline area.

COF Research Symposium 


All four Choose Ohio First scholarship programs at BGSU participated in the COF Research Symposium on Friday, April 25. Students from BOSEF, Bioinformatics, and the Geology Summer Field Experience joined ACTION first-year scholars to display posters summarizing their research projects and experiences. Those in attendance included representatives from the Ohio Board of Regents, BGSU administrators and faculty, family members, and friends.


The second portion of the event included a welcome by Dr. Daniel Brahier, ACTION Director, and remarks from several others. Dr. Sue Houston, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, reminded the scholars that persistence in inquiry is vital and will serve them well throughout the future. She also applauded the faculty mentors who have been diligently working alongside the student researchers. Attending his fourth COF Research Symposium, Dr. Brad Colwell, Dean of the College of Education and Human Development, praised the students and expressed how the research projects seem to get more impressive every year. Dr. Briana Hervet, Director of COF, reminded the audience that the future is often determined by what happens in classrooms. She shared a personal example of how a teacher encouraged her as a youth and this sparked a desire to pursue a college degree.


Following these remarks, each of the five ACTION research groups gave a brief oral presentation outlining their research project process, theories, and outcomes. Much practice and preparation by each group resulted in professional presentations from these future educators who are completing their freshman year. Congrats to all COF scholars who participated!

 Mike Lipster discusses his group's research on geckos with  Dr. Briana Hervet, Director of COF


Kimberly, Jordan, Rebecca, and Devoney present their research project on the creation of slow release fertilizer 
Volume 3, Issue 5
In This Issue
May Graduates
COF Research Symposium
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Incoming Cohort 6 Scholars 

As we send off our second group of graduating seniors this May, we also look forward to welcoming a brand new
Cohort 6. These incoming freshmen will arrive at BGSU on July 6 for the 4-week Summer Bridge program. The 26 students who make up Cohort 6 come to us from all across Ohio including multiple students from the Columbus, Cleveland, Dayton/Cincinnati, and Toledo areas, as well as from Athens, New Bremen, Marysville, Piqua, and Versailles. Our current scholars are anxious to get to know our newest members of ACTION. 

Choose Ohio First Scholar Showcase


On April 14, Choose Ohio First hosted a Scholar Showcase in Columbus for students from across the state.


The Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program is a multi-million dollar investment targeting universities and colleges recruiting Ohio residents into current science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM) programs. The funding that they receive is used to offer scholarships for those programs to current and potential students. Choose Ohio First supports the increased success of students in those fields and makes substantial improvements to the pipeline of STEMM students and educators.


This year's class of scholars boasts scholarship recipients from 48 of Ohio's public and private colleges and universities across the state. As some of the state's most promising students, they are studying in several of the most innovative STEMM and STEMM education programs in the country.


During the program portion of the Scholar Showcase, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Chancellor John Carey communicated the importance of the Choose Ohio First Programs and applauded the impact that is already being felt in the STEMM fields. Two ACTION scholars, Rachel Gerges (Cohort 4 sophomore) and Alyssa Lustgarten (Cohort 5 freshman), accompanied Dr. Brahier and Wendy to Columbus in order to present a poster display of their first-year mathematics research projects. With much interest in their research, both girls had a constant stream of interested people inquiring about their posters and projects throughout the event. 

Rachel discusses her research project with Chancellor Carey and Dr. Brahier


Dr. B, Alyssa, Rachel, and Wendy

Alyssa explains her poster to Dr. Midden before the crowds arrive
 Capstone Conversations


As the culmination of the two-year Capstone research experience for ACTION, seniors presented the results of their classroom research on April 22. Divided into three groups based on major (AYA Mathematics, AYA Science, and Middle Childhood), the graduating seniors shared details of their project with other scholars. Interaction was encouraged, and questions often continued until the end of the allotted time frame. Watching these seniors present, it's evident that they've developed and matured into excellent teachers who will soon be impacting students in science and mathematics classrooms across the state. The ACTION Capstone project helps undergraduates develop a mindset of being ongoing researchers who continually inquire and improve as teachers. 

Erin Ziems presents to the AYA Science group


Matt Lefevre shares his research with those in MCE


Stacey Camardo and Allie Mazza with their faculty advisor, Angela Thomas (middle)


Additional May 2014 ACTION Graduates:


  Stacey Camardo

 Megan Chapman


 Kayla Fackler

Jimmy Grandowicz

Jaryt Salvo

Rebecca Szparagowski

Haley Marble from the COF Geology Field Experience poses with Director Dr. Charles Onasch
Dr. Meel with his research group - Allison, Alyssa, Justin and Andrew (Megan was unable to attend)

A crowd gathers around a poster created by Sandy Zirkes' group of Taylor, Collin, Calvin, Sam, Brittany and Courtney related to patterns of randomness


Sarah Jindra from BOSEF shares details of her research


Upcoming ACTION Events:
Graduation Luncheon for 2014 grads and guests:  Saturday, May 10...doors open at 11:00am with remarks starting at 11:15am

May 2014




















Amber Mathias 


Last Day of BGSU Classes

Andrew Slonkosky B-day









BGSU Finals week



Megan Kemerley 




Graduation Luncheon 













Taylor Ernsthausen B-day




Molly Fessel 













6-week Summer Term Begins


















Memorial Day














ACTION Summer Birthdays:


June 8 - Wendy Standinger

June 13 - Allison Bendel

June 15 - Shelby Fenn

June 16 - Courtney Wilcox

June 19 - Kayla Fackler

June 20 - Matt Lefevre & Alli Marino

June 22 - Jess Shearer


July 6 - Haley Coder

July 7 - Bailey Smith

July 10 - Brittney Poling

July 11 - Alex Clune, Sarah High, & Jessica Wright

July 18 - Stephanie Erwin

July 20 - Nikki Szymanski

July 22 - Rachel Wiemken

July 28 - Allie Mazza

July 30 - Larissa Van Der Molen


August 4 - Kayla Miller

August 14 - Erin Ziems

August 24 - Nick Buhrow

August 27 - Lance Kruse & Liz Remley

August 30 - Alex Garthrite

August 31 - Rachel Hack & Kevin Knapke

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 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