December 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

Beginning last year, I instituted a new process by which I survey and interview each of our graduating ACTION students individually with two purposes in mind.  First, I want to find out exactly what each student's plans are so that I can help him/her to find a job and to get settled after graduation.  Second, I use the opportunity to evaluate the ACTION program by asking questions about what the graduates viewed as the most valuable components of their experience, what they would change, and how they would change it. 


As I have conducted the interviews, the response that clearly jumped

Dr. Brahier meets with Kim Allaire who will graduate this December

out last year centered on the role of research in the undergraduate teacher preparation process.  ACTION graduates felt that they had been extensively prepared to be teacher-researchers.  The idea of developing solid research skills of undergraduates is unique to our program - no other programs in Ohio or in the country provide the same experiences to scholars preparing to be teachers.  Our ACTION scholars learn about how "bench" research is conducted by scientists and mathematicians (first year), how scientific and mathematical principles are used to do research in the workforce (second year), and the role of classroom research in the teaching profession (third and fourth years).  By the time they graduate, students are telling me that they are "thinking" like researchers by examining situations, generating hypotheses, and gathering and analyzing data to explain phenomena.


For several years, ACTION scholars have presented research on our BGSU campus as well as at state-level and national meetings.  Two years ago, a group of rising sophomores traveled to Washington DC to present science research at a conference sponsored by NASA.  This coming February (2015), we are excited to be taking four ACTION students to Las Vegas to present at the annual conference of the Research Council on Mathematics Learning.  Two juniors and two seniors will present on the role of research in their preparation as teachers as they share experiences of the types of projects in which they engaged as undergraduates.  It is our hope that we can connect with individuals from other institutions around the country that may be interested in conducting some additional joint research with our students and faculty.  I feel privileged to be able to take those four students to present at this prestigious conference and look forward to similar opportunities in the future.


At last month's conference of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics, I interacted with a Cohort 1 scholar who graduated in December 2012.  She mentioned that she was "jealous" of all of the opportunities that ACTION students are getting today, both on and beyond BGSU's campus, that were not available in years past.  Of course, these new programs are made possible by the fact that we now have four cohorts of students and enough experience to know what has worked best for us.  We continue to refine the ACTION program to make it even better each year.


May you have the best of the Holiday Season - one that is relaxing and allows you to spend quality time with family and friends.  I look forward to another ACTION-packed year in 2015!


ACTION Student Profiles


  Rachel Gerges - Cohort 4, Junior

  AYA Integrated Mathematics


What brought you to BGSU? It was a combination of things. The education program is very well known so this interested me. I also have many cousins who came to BGSU to get an education degree. ACTION was obviously another big incentive. And, a tour guide that I had when we came for a visit of campus finalized my decision. He was very fun and motivating and made the difference for me. This also inspired me to be a BGSU tour guide since I realized that I could help impact others' decisions. I like being the first person high school students see when they visit BGSU.


What helped you decide to be a teacher? As a high school student, I wasn't encouraged to take higher-level math courses so I was not challenged the way that I wanted to be. Most of my teachers in the regular classes did not make math classes motivating or fun. I want to be different as a teacher. My desire is to motivate kids and make it challenging and interesting to learn no matter what level of math they are taking. And, with so many family members being in education, this was motivation to teach as well!


What have you been involved with at BGSU? When living on campus for the first two years, I was part of Offenhauer Hall Council. Freshman year I was the Resident Student Advisor (RSA) representative for Offenhauer and sophomore year became the President of Hall Council. I also was selected to be in National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH); and, although I now live off campus, I'm considered an alum and can attend meetings. Last year I was also inducted into the co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APhiO), which has led to many hours of various service events such as Dance Marathon and St. Baldrick's.


Tell us more about your experience with the St. Baldrick's event. St. Baldrick's is an organization that funds childhood cancer research. BGSU hosts an event each year for people to shave their heads to raise money and to stand in solidarity with kids who often lose their hair due to cancer. With the encouragement of other ACTION scholars, I had my head shaved January of this year and it was definitely an experience I will never forget.


You just had the opportunity to present at the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) conference... Yes, presenting to educators from all across Ohio to give them some examples for classroom activities based what we learned through our ACTION practicum experience was amazing! It was exciting to share ideas at the OCTM conference that might be used in classrooms throughout the state! And, it was a major step in me being closer to being an educator.


Interesting facts about you? Both of my parents were born and raised in Lebanon so my brother and I are not only first generation college students, but also first generation Americans! When my folks came to the U.S., the only thing they knew was how to run a business. They've been restaurant owners ever since; so I grew up helping with cooking, doing dishes, and managing the cash register by adding and subtracting in my head. I am very proud of my family heritage!


Katey Wendel - Cohort 6, Freshman

Middle Childhood Education 

Science and Mathematics 


What has been your favorite thing about BGSU so far?  I love the people here. Everyone is very kind. I don't think I have run into one person who has been rude to me since I arrived. Coming from a small town, this has really helped make it a smooth transition. I am just now becoming more active during my first semester on campus by attending some of the band events and getting involved at St. Thomas More University Parish.

When did you decide you wanted to be a teacher? I've wanted to be a teacher since I was a little kid. I come from a long line of teachers and I've always loved helping my brothers with homework problems. I find joy in being in front of a classroom. I knew for sure I want to teach science and decided to choose math as my second area of concentration for Middle Childhood because of the ACTION program. These subjects go great together.

One of the many cakes designed by Katey

Tell us about Katey's Kakes!... I started my own business my freshman year of high school. What began as a 4-H project with my cousin soon turned into more. I needed a job, but was also very busy. I knew it would be hard to fit something in between cheerleading, musicals, and band practice. At my mom's encouragement to consider my talents, Katey's Kakes! was started. I haven't had any formal training, but instead learned by trial and error and use my own homemade recipes. I actually considered baking as a career, but I love kids so much I knew I couldn't give up my desire to teach. Baking will always be a hobby for me though. As word has spread of my business, customers call with requests for all sorts of decorative cakes for occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and even weddings. The orders have been coming in, so I already know I'll be busy in the kitchen over break baking my little heart out!

You are also very musical...Yes, in addition to playing the clarinet in high school, I've taken piano lessons since kindergarten. I would say this is my second love. My piano teacher gave me the idea to give lessons to younger kids. I thought it would be a great way to share my talents and get a feel for teaching. I started with two students and have had as many as five. Throughout high school this not only resulted in additional income, but provided wonderful hands-on teaching experience as well.

Do you have any advice for a high school student considering applying for ACTION? Don't be nervous! I was nervous about coming here and it can seem hard to give up part of your summer to come to BGSU for the Bridge during July, but it is beyond worth it. I made so many friends. Being part of ACTION was one of the best decisions of my life!

Which first-year research group are you in? I am in a research group with Dr. Underwood and I absolutely love it! Every week we spend about an hour in the herpetology lab studying gargoyle geckos. We've spent the past three months taking pictures of the little critters and watching them grow. Our hope is to find dominant and recessive traits in the geckos' patterns and colors through our research. The geckos can be jumpy and feisty at times, but I enjoy getting away from school and playing with the animals for an hour every week.


ACTION Student Advisory Board
Elected by their peers, two representatives from each cohort serve on the Student Advisory Board (SAB) each year to offer feedback and suggestions to the staff on ways to improve ACTION. Meet the Board for 2014-15...
Front (left to right): Corrinne Sullivan, Allison Bendel, Emma Hall, Liz Remley. Back: Aaron Clune, Jordan Truitt, Rachel Wiemken, Megan Schlosser.


Cohort Updates
The classroom methods experience is winding down for

Cohort 3 seniors. This means that for the remaining two weeks of the semester, these students will be back on campus finishing up fall classes. Then, when spring term starts in mid-January, they will hit the ground running with student teaching and will gear up to conduct their classroom research for the ACTION capstone project.


Shelby and Kali work together to group potential research topics

Cohort 4 scholars are beginning to meet with their capstone faculty advisors in order to discuss and finalize a research topic by January. During our most recent academic session with them, the students brainstormed potential ideas and grouped them by themes. This was a good exercise to get the creative juices flowing and will spur them on to consider their specific interests to ultimately choose a final topic.

Those in Cohort 5 who are engaged in fall practicums are finishing up their projects. They will soon submit their final results to their supervisors and will write a reflection paper about their experience regarding how it might benefit them as future educators. Reflecting on the practicum is a vital component to enhance the experience and increase the lasting impact.


Dr. Midden has been overseeing another group of first-year

Cohort 6 scholars this year as they conduct research. Harrison Brunner, Aaron Clune, Zoe Hatfield, and Kaitlynn Jensen have been busy in the lab. The students give details on their research project:

Our group is working on a water quality research treatment project to make raw manure into a fertilizer that keeps harmful nitrates and phosphates out of the water so that farmers can fertilize their crops without harming local water sources.  This entails working in the

Aaron Clune conducts research in the lab
laboratory to test how specific manure treatments affect Ohio's runoff water from fields. Our goal is to eliminate chemical runoff from fields into Ohio's water systems including Lake Erie and other smaller lakes and rivers. We hope to put in just enough of the chemicals needed for proper fertilization and nutrients to be added back to the fields in order for the crops to still get what they need without having leftovers that are currently contaminating our waterways. We run water we get from our tests through a chemical analyzer to see if our treated samples come back with less harmful levels of nitrates and phosphates than the raw manures. With the help of Dr. Midden, we are given an opportunity to try to make a difference in our state.  Due to his hard work and expertise, we have been receiving generous funding from all over the state and are beginning to see promising results in our research already. 


OCTM Conference


We were thrilled to have 18 current scholars and one graduate present at the recent Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) Conference in Cleveland November 6-7. Mathematics teachers from all across Ohio attend this annual event so it is an honor for our undergraduate students to have the opportunity to share their experiences with this audience. Some of the ACTION scholars who presented give insight into what they experienced below (with photos to the right.)


Anna Bailey: Not many can say that they presented at a statewide conference as an undergrad. Our group worked hard to prepare to present our experiences and ideas of how math is used in the real world. It was neat to have our presentation come together and see how well it was received. About 75 attended our session and many wanted to know more about what we did and wanted us to explore and take our topics across all of the age levels.


Jessica Wright: This was an incredible learning experience! I gained a lot of new information at the conference that I can't wait to implement in my own classroom. Our session on "when will we ever use this" was a huge success as well. We all flowed through the presentation with ease and it honestly couldn't have gone better! The people who attended were engaged and asked a lot of good discussion questions after.


Kevin Knapke: Presenting at the OCTM conference was an experience I will never forget. I was shocked to see how many educators were in attendance. Although I was shaking in my boots throughout our presentation, all went well and many educators approached us afterward to congratulate and compliment us on a job well done. The highlight of the conference was interacting with individuals who are just as passionate about mathematics as I am.


Nicole Winhover:  It is still hard to believe that teachers that already know what is going on were sitting there listening to me talk. I liked the idea of sharing something that I learned with other people and the fact that they can put that to good use in their classrooms!


Alli Marino:  Presenting was nerve wracking at first once I saw the size of the room. But it ended up going well, and the audience seemed very interested in what we had to say. A few came up afterwards wanting us to do more with it! 


Alyssa Lustgarten: As a participant, one of my favorite parts was hearing Dr. Brahier's keynote speech and I also enjoyed visiting different booths to learn about different manipulatives to help make abstract concepts of mathematics more concrete for students. Furthermore, I had a blast presenting my freshman research project with Justin Flory and Dr. Meel. I feel that teachers benefited from our session by seeing how students can expand upon the mathematical concepts of the ancient Greeks by relating it to Scrabble.  Having the opportunity to present at the OCTM conference as an undergraduate student was definitely an enlightening experience and I gained a lot of professional development experience, too.
Volume 3, Issue 9
In This Issue
Student Profile - Rachel
Student Profile - Katey
Cohort Updates
Grad Profile
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Spread the Word

We are hopeful that the Choose Ohio First program will continue funding ACTION scholarships. In anticipation of this funding, we are accepting applications for Cohort 7. Please continue spreading the word about the advantages of being a member of ACTION. Many high school students already know they want to be a STEM teacher and could be good candidates. Others may need a nudge, such as one high school senior we talked to recently who performs well in science and math classes but had not considered teaching until we mentioned it. Sometimes all it takes is a seed being planted for a young person to pursue a career as a teacher who can have a profound impact on future generations. Jobs are available and the need is great!


 Advice for Upcoming Final Exams

As the semester end approaches, we asked our Cohort 3 seniors to share advice regarding their best study strategies for finals. Read below for what has helped them be successful when it comes to taking final exams.


Sarah High:  I have found that it is really beneficial to start studying early. Trying to study for everything the weekend before makes it really difficult. Also, I like to jump from subject to subject while studying. Too much of one class really bores me and deters me from studying. And for me, working with a group to study is one of the best things. Make friends in your classes throughout the semester and study together when it comes time for the final.


Rachel Hack:  Go to the ACTION lounge! There are usually beverages and snacks, and lots of other hard-working students around. It reminds you that you're not alone in your quest for good grades, and gives you a chance to ask your peers some math/science/education class questions.


Kristi Frank:  Prepare all semester long so you can sit back and enjoy finals.  If you have worked hard you will know the information and you will only need to refresh your memory.  Cramming the night before only gets you a mediocre grade and you miss the whole point of the college experience - to learn!


Lance Kruse:  The best tip I have for studying is to first determine which finals to study first, second, third, etc. The first step is determining what grade you need on an exam to keep your desired letter grade in that class. Based off this, study most for the finals that you need to do better on and the ones that you believe will be most difficult to achieve that certain score. Don't waste time studying for a class in which you could do poorly on the exam and keep an A. Instead, study most for the exams on which you need a better score!


Alexa Woodburn:  My biggest suggestion is to try and group the things you're studying and connect them. It helps you learn the concepts better and acts as a reminder if you blank on a test to help you remember.


Megan Schlosser:Don't pull an all-nighter studying...the next day you'll be too busy fighting sleepiness than actually taking the exam. Rather, study right before a good night's sleep so all that info can marinate over night. Then you'll remember the material better the next day.


 Graduate Profile

Scott Green 

 Cohort 1

AYA Physics & Chemistry 


What have you been doing since you graduated? Soon after my December 2013 graduation, I was able to secure a long-term sub position at Perrysburg High School. Since one of the mentor teachers that I worked under during methods and student teaching was going on maternity leave, I was able to take over her position by teaching Freshman Physical Science and

College Prep Physics. Then, this year I was able to transition into a full-time teaching job at Bryan High School. Now I teach General Physics
for juniors and seniors,
Introduction to Physics
for sophomores, as well as Accelerated Physics
for sophomores. I feel very fortunate for having secured a physics job straight out of the gate. 

How has your involvement in ACTION impacted your teaching? Being in ACTION obviously exposed me to many different experiences and various professionals in the educational field, all of which combined to give me a more holistic and well-rounded approach to teaching.  The biggest impact that ACTION has had on my teaching though, by far, has been my capstone research project. I studied Modeling Instruction for my project and worked with two incredible mentor teachers who practice modeling at Perrysburg HS. This project helped form me as an educator, and I use the framework and main concepts of Modeling Instruction every single day in my classroom.


What has been your favorite part about teaching so far?  My favorite part is the interactions with the students. With the right engagement and relation to practical application, it's amazing to see how enthusiastic students can become about what they are being taught. Genuine interest in science isn't necessarily uncommon, but it still makes my day when students want to explore concepts learned in class on a much deeper level. Bryan High School has been a very positive environment for me as a first-year teacher and I'm constantly amazed by how bright and thoughtful many of my students are. 

Scott (left) interacts with his students
Rachel, Kevin, Allison, and Jessica are all smiles after their presentation
Anna Bailey presents details of her practicum with examples of real-world mathematics
Leslie Russell (grad) and Haley Coder presented information about their classroom capstone research alongside Drs. Bostic and Meel
Justin Flory teams up with Alyssa to share details about their freshman research project

Upcoming ACTION Events:
EDHD 3160 Session #5:  Tuesday, December 2...4:30-5:50pm
BGSU Preview Day:  Saturday, December 6

ACTION Holiday Event:  Tuesday, December 9 ...4:30-7:00pm


December 2014
















EDHD 3160 Session #5




BGSU Preview Day










Holiday Event 4:30to7:00pm 1104 OW 

Jen Tomasko 



Betsie Naylor 



Lauren Brunswick B-day













Finals week starts



Davis Gerber


Finals week ends



Allison Lamming 





































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