November 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

Last month, I initiated a new activity of meeting with six ACTION students for an informal luncheon. Taking a page from the playbook of the Dean of my College, I selected a group of students across four cohorts and spent an hour with them, having lunch and just getting to know one another better. I also used this opportunity to ask them for input on the ACTION program and BGSU in general. This luncheon that we titled "Dining With The Director" has become a regular monthly event to involve as many students as possible this year.


In the course of the conversation, there is one student comment in particular that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. When asked to comment on how ACTION has changed over time, a junior commented, "I think the program has become much more student friendly every year. It's clear that you're listening to us and keep making improvements to serve our needs better." I have always been a believer in participatory leadership - paying attention to the people you serve and addressing their needs - so I was glad to hear the comment coming from a student who has been with us for three years.


Changes in ACTION are always data driven. The staff relies on the input of students through the luncheons, annual online program evaluations, meetings with the Student Advisory Board, and other metrics from grade point averages to retention of students in the program. These data sources have motivated us to make a number of changes to ACTION in the past couple of years, such as:  

  • Renovating the ACTION Lounge to provide new tables and chairs, a Smart Board, computers, and lockers
  • Creating weekly Common Time schedules that enable students to attend events without experiencing time conflicts with classes
  • Instituting Seminars that bring together all of the students in the program twice a year for building community and for providing professional development
  • Introducing a Capstone Colloquium for the Spring Semester that allows seniors to formally share and celebrate the results of their research projects with juniors, faculty, parents, and one another

 None of these types of events and activities were "my" idea - they came from the students in the spirit of continuous improvement. It is my hope, however, that our ACTION scholars will use this model in their own professional lives. No one is in a better position to help a teacher make changes in the classroom than the students themselves. Through course evaluations and informal conversations, teachers need to be willing to listen to those whom they serve and collaboratively modify their programs and instructional strategies. It has been one of my greatest pleasures as Director of ACTION to listen to our students, their parents, and others on campus to make the improvements that have resulted in a program as strong as it is today.


ACTION Student Profiles

Zoe Winkelman - Cohort 3, Senior

Middle Childhood Education (Science and Mathematics)


What helped you decide to attend BGSU?  I was looking at a couple other schools out of state, but then I found out about ACTION. Once I was accepted into this program, I knew I wanted to come here.  


As a senior looking back, how have you changed since your freshman year? Honestly, a big part of the changes that I've experienced have come from my involvement with ACTION. Starting with the Summer Bridge, I met some of my best friends and grew in confidence, taking away the nervousness of my freshman year. Having people to rely on, both friends and the ACTION staff, has made a huge difference for me. Another change was that after commuting for a few months my freshman year, I ended up moving to the ACTION floor in Offenhauer. I'm grateful I experienced the campus life and have had the same ACTION roommate ever since! I also met my current boyfriend through this program and we've been dating for three years. All around, without the ACTION program, my college experience would have been completely different.


When did you decide to become a teacher?  When I was little, I loved playing school. I made my little sister be my student and I would "teach" her. It was fun to make worksheets, write on the board, etc. In 4th grade it really clicked for me. I wanted to be just like my 4th grade teacher. Each year I became more convinced. As an 8th grader, I was able to shadow a 4th grade teacher and this confirmed that I wanted to work with kids and that the middle childhood range was my favorite.


Last year you presented at the OCTM Conference.  Yes, six ACTION scholars had the opportunity last fall to present with Dr. Brahier at this statewide conference for mathematics teachers. We shared how our practicum experiences with real world science and math projects related to practical classroom application. It was amazing that a packed room of over 200 teachers came to hear college sophomores present!


What is your topic for your Capstone Project as you prepare to implement your research next semester?  I knew I wanted to do something related to test taking, but my topic started out a bit too broad. After several attempts to narrow it down, I now have a final topic that I think will work well with my school placement. My plan is to focus my research on comparing test taking using a computer versus using paper and pencil. I am curious if one seems better than the other.


Tell us about your involvement with ballet...Ballet has been a big part of my life ever since I started taking lessons at age five.My focus has remained classical ballet all these years. This is a very structured and disciplined type of dance, which fits my personality perfectly. In high school I joined the company at my studio, which is an elite group of dancers, and was part of that for four years. I have not only participated in dance but also taught lessons off and on throughout college. It is great exercise and I'm very passionate about ballet so I hope to continue being involved as much as I can in the future.


Marina Stagl - Cohort 5, Sophomore

AYA Chemistry and Life Sciences


How did you end up at BGSU and what do you like about campus? I had looked at other schools, but when I visited the BGSU campus, it just felt "right" and I liked the atmosphere. My aunt is an alumnus and I had heard about the excellent education program. Another benefit is that there are no hills to climb! I really appreciate the community and the friendliness of the students, staff, and faculty.

When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher? I had thought about it for many years. I'd sit in class and ponder how I'd teach a certain subject and actually consider different lesson plans. My senior year in high school I volunteered as an aide in a second grade class and loved it, but I knew that I wanted to teach chemistry rather than little kids. They're cute, but I preferred harder content.

What do you love most about science? I really like figuring things out. I love to learn about everything related to science such as planets, universe, nature, and more. I look forward to passing on my passion to learn and make sense of the world around me to others as a high school teacher.


You just started your ACTION practicum experience. Tell us what you are doing.  I'm really excited about the practicum project to create a natural playground for the Wood County Parks District. Bekkah Gresh and I are researching potential ideas to present to the Parks District. It is really interesting to get to help "make a park." And, I may be able to follow up later in the summer to help them actually design the natural playground just for fun.


What has been your favorite part of ACTION so far? I really liked Summer Bridge. I was worried about being at college two hours away from home. The Bridge enabled me to get very close to my cohort members, which made the transition to college much easier. In fact, the Bridge was a catalyst to build confidence and help me break out of my comfort zone and meet other people even outside of ACTION.  


Tell us about your new job on campus. I was recently hired at the Student Enrollment Communication Center that is housed in Harshman. I get to call prospective BGSU students. I answer questions and pass along information about BGSU. It's fun, especially when some of them have questions about ACTION.


Interesting "fact" about yourself...Because of my heritage, German dancing has been a big part of my life since 3 years of age. I have participated in competitions all over America and Canada. And, in 2010, I traveled to Germany and danced in 10 different cities while being immersed in the culture by staying with host families. It was an amazing experience.


Cohort Updates
Dr. Sherri Horner meets with Jen Tomasko after a session to discuss the capstone research

Cohort 3 scholars strive to stay on top of things as they balance time in their classroom placement with their course work. Final decisions are being made to confirm the specific direction of their capstone research project with the help of their ACTION faculty advisor. With data collection starting next semester, research methods are currently being considered and finalized.


Liz Remley raises her hand to indicate she has some comments about literature reviews
During sessions hosted for Cohort 4, Dr. Brahier has been reviewing the steps in the research process. Learning how to write a literature review has been a focus for these scholars this past month. Most are still narrowing down ideas they have regarding topics to research; but once a subject is chosen, gathering information and writing a literature review will be a crucial step for these juniors in preparation for their final project senior year.
Alyssa Lustgarten gets Cohorts 4 & 5 involved and moving around the room during her presentation
Seldom do sophomores have
the opportunity to conduct a cost analysis and product efficiency for a company, determine trends in data for a salon regarding updos and 
products sold, work with the U.S. Forest Service Department of Agriculture to examine and analyze data related to emerald ash borers, conduct a survey and complete an analysis for the annual book sale hosted by the Wood County District Public Library, gather quantitative data for Choose Ohio First, or analyze the impact and reduction of factory errors. These are all practicum projects completed by some of our Cohort 5 second-year scholars who recently presented details of their projects, what was learned, and how to apply this experience to their future classrooms. As upcoming teachers, each presenter engaged those in attendance with some type of hands-on learning.
Sarah, Devoney, Kimberly, Allyson, Alyssa, Megan, Taylor, Sam, and Davis after their practicum presentations


Bidding our Secretary Goodbye
Nancy always has a smile on her face no matter what she is doin

Nancy Hoose has been an amazing secretary and wonderful asset for ACTION during the past three years. She is now ready to enjoy retirement starting in November and we wish her the best in this new season of life. Nancy has done so much behind the scenes to make ACTION run smoothly and has often provided suggestions that have increased our efficiency. She will be greatly missed by all!


Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Each year, the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) awards scholarships to students across the entire state. Of the eight scholarships awarded this year, two of the recipients were ACTION students. Join us in congratulating Haley Coder (Cohort 3) and Alyssa Lustgarten (Cohort 5).

The first week of November, over one thousand math teachers will gather in Cleveland, Ohio, for the OCTM conference.  A number of our scholars and graduates will be presenting so look for an update in our December letter.


Volume 3, Issue 8
In This Issue
Student Profile - Zoe
Student Profile - Marina
Cohort Updates
Join Our Mailing List

Prospective Incoming Scholars


Every fall, much time is spent getting the word out about ACTION. We want all considering science and/or mathematics education as a major to know about this amazing Choose Ohio First program that is producing exceptional teachers! To help with promotion, our staff team relies heavily on current scholars.


When sending out over 1,000 letters to high school counselors all across Ohio, a team of students happily stuffs envelopes in a very short time. During BGSU Fall Break, many take home information to share at their high schools. The BGSU Preview Day and Education Day also provide excellent opportunities to meet prospective scholars. Additionally, letters and phone calls, as well as follow-up notes, assist in our attempt to cover all bases. You can help as well - please join us in spreading the word. The application deadline for Fall 2015 applicants is January 23, 2015. The application and detailed information about ACTION can be found on our website:
Cohort 4 students have a blast at whatever they do...including stuffing envelopes
Harrison, Jessica, and Megan are excited to talk to prospective ACTION scholars at BGSU Preview Day on October 18
Nicole Winhover shares about ACTION as a student panel participant at BGSU Education Day on October 25


ACTION Fall Seminar 


Many of you know how hard it can be to get your whole family together. That is why we love having a Seminar once per semester when all 97 scholars gather in one room during the ACTION Common Time. Of course, the time always goes by too quickly.

Allison Lamming (Cohort 6) & Cory Gallagher (Cohort 2) share thoughts about the Common Core

To facilitate interaction among different cohorts, time was spent during this Fall Seminar mingling with groups building a block tower together at each table as they bonded and answered questions about themselves. Dr. Brahier then shared pertinent information that related to every future teacher in the room regarding the Common Core standards. Scholars discussed their thoughts and perspectives on some of the issues presented.

We even took advantage of our time together to take a "family" group photo. 

The whole "family" squeezes together to fit in the photo
Dr. Brahier shares relevant information with the roomful of ACTION scholars 
Dr. B gives Alexa Woodburn the mic to share comments with the whole room
Scholars from different cohorts interact while working to build a tower together
Zoe, April, Linda, & Allison pose with Dr. B after the seminar

 Dr. Zirbel's First-Year Research Group


Cohort 6 scholar Linda Li is one member of Dr. Zirbel's research group. She gives details on their project:


Being in this research group has been an amazing experience because it has allowed me to see how math works in the real world rather than just on paper. Instead of working on a large overall project, we are completing many small ones. The topics are interesting and can be applied to my life now and in the future. First, we compared the costs of printing at BGSU versus off campus, and we wanted to know whether or not buying your own printer was a good alternative. After gathering the data, we constructed a letter to the editor, which was submitted to the BG News (click here for link to see the letter).
Our next project was to find the potential salary in the school district where we want to work, and then to determine all our expenses in order to find how much we would have left over. In this process, we learned about taxes, retirement, and savings, which are very relevant and important. Finally, we just finished a project on how many years it would take for a person to become a millionaire based on how much money they put into a savings account when the interest is at 6%. Being in the research group has already helped me relate math and big numbers to the real world through daily functions.
Dr. Zirbel discusses the research project with Megan, Alexandria, Emma, Linda, and Mackenzie

 Dining with the Director 

As mentioned in his article, Dr. Brahier enjoyed interacting with students from each cohort during his first "Dining with the Director" (DWTD). It was mutually beneficial and he looks forward to more luncheons with different scholars each month. 


The first "Dining with the Director" luncheon was a huge success with Zoe, Josiah, Kaitlynn, Alyssa, Rachel, and Nikki joining Dr. Brahier in the ACTION student lounge to connect
Upcoming ACTION Events:
NWO Symposium: Monday, November 1 from 8:30-4:00 in Olscamp Hall
Student Advisory Board Meeting: Tuesday, November 18 from 4:30-5:50 in Falcon Room
BGSU Preview Day:  Saturday, December 6
Holiday Open House (all Cohorts): Tuesday, December 9 from 4:30-7:00 in 1104 OW

November 2014






















NWO Symposium
Alli Brown B-day









Linda Li B-day  



Alexandria Stough  


 Justin Flory & Taylor Nicholson B-day 












Veteran's Day NO CLASSES  














Harrison Brunner 





Student Advisory Board Mtg 







Jessie Huot B-day










Megan Simon  





Allison Linn 




Megan Schlosser B-day







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