January 2015
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 we begin 2015, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and wish you all the best in the New Year!

Dr. Brahier shares some thoughts with Kim Allaire and Haley Coder who graduated in December 


Perhaps the best compliment one can be paid as Director of a successful program is to be asked to expand it - to offer the opportunity to more students.  Over the past six years, ACTION has served approximately 175 undergraduates preparing to be middle or high school science and mathematics teachers.  We have accepted about 25-30 new scholars each year into the program.  Beginning this year, ACTION intends to grow each cohort to 35 students, eventually raising the total number of students in the program from about 100 to an estimated 140.  In order to reach this goal, our first step will be to recruit new students into Cohort 6 - our current first-year group.  There are 27 students in Cohort 6, so we are seeking to identify up to 8 additional students to the group for Fall Semester 2015.


In mid-January, the ACTION website will include a new link for students to apply to join the program as sophomores in the fall.  The application process is similar to that of incoming freshmen, in that it includes submission of grades, ACT scores, essays, a letter of recommendation, and will conclude with online interviews.  Specifically, we are looking for students who are considering transferring to BGSU from another institution or current BGSU students who might not have heard about ACTION while in high school or have recently changed majors into education.  I can't begin to count how many students over the past three years have told me that they wish they had the opportunity to be in the program but didn't realize they wanted to be teachers until their first year of college and it was too late.


The application deadline to become part of Cohort 6 is March 1, and final selection of these incoming sophomore scholars will be made by April 1.  We are looking for students who not only were high-achievers and leaders in high school but can also provide evidence of strong academic performances in their first year of college.  Accepted students will not receive scholarship money in their sophomore year but will attend a three-day "mini" Summer Bridge along with Cohort 7 in the last week of July and will participate in all ACTION events for the academic year, including first-year research groups and practicum experiences.  Upon successful completion of their first year in Cohort 6, students will be eligible for at least $10,000 in scholarship money over their final two years.


We are busy in the ACTION office as we continue to recruit incoming Cohort 7 scholars who will begin this summer while also launching the new campaign to add on to Cohort 6.  This is an exciting time for the program, and as a reader of this column, if you know of any high school senior or college freshman who might be interested in applying, please direct them to our website (bgsu.edu/action) or have them call or email our office.  We are excited to grow the size of ACTION and to offer more students the opportunity to be part of what has become one of BGSU's signature programs!


ACTION Student Profile

Larissa Van Der Molen, Cohort 3 Senior, Middle Childhood Education (Math & Science)


When did you decide you wanted to be a science and/or mathematics teacher?  Teaching is something I've always wanted to do. When I was little and played with my friends or siblings, I was always a teacher.  Then, in one of my 8th grade classes we had the chance to work with special education students to help them one-on-one. I realized we were actually teaching them and helping them to read. It was an amazing feeling! Choosing to teach math was easy since I've loved it since first grade.  Flash cards were so fun and I enjoyed competing with others. This passion for math has stayed with me. Science, on the other hand, was not something I enjoyed during school. ACTION encouraged me to consider teaching this subject, and of course science and math go together. Unlike my earlier years, in college I found science to be much more interesting and fun. Now, I want to make science more enjoyable for kids so they develop a love for it at a younger age than I did. My dream job would be teaching science and math in 4th, 5th, or 6th grade within a two-hour radius of Findlay so I'm not too far from home.


How did you hear about ACTION?  I was at BGSU to apply for a totally different scholarship when I heard about ACTION. It literally sounded perfect for me so I went home right away and began the application process that same night.


What have been some of your favorite parts of ACTION?

Summer Bridge built really strong connections with everyone in our cohort. It also provided the opportunity to explore many interesting aspects of science and math. I've also enjoyed working closely with BGSU faculty members. The freshman year research project enabled our small group to work side-by-side with Dr. Meel, and now I've been teamed up with Diane Mott as my advisor for two years on the capstone research project. I have learned so much from them and others who I can talk to about things related to teaching. These experiences have helped build me into a stronger teacher and as I complete my capstone research this semester, I am excited to focus on the impact of reflective journaling in my fifth grade classroom.  


What have you been involved with at BGSU?  I worked for a couple  years at the Observatory on campus where I gave star tours to University students and the community. One of my instructors saw that I might be good at this position and I did have fun sharing the information about the night sky with others.  Currently I tutor at the Learning Commons. I especially enjoy that I get to tutor education majors to help them in the process of becoming future teachers. I was an RA for one year in Founders and also assisted with Math Camps alongside other ACTION scholars.


Tell us about your methods experience last semester and how you feel about starting to student teach.  The best part of methods was getting to know my 5th grade students. They say the funniest things and are so excited and curious to learn which is really refreshing.  Because another ACTION scholar was also assigned in the same grade at my school, we were able to team up for lesson planning which was beneficial and a lot of fun! I did have some challenging times at the beginning when some of my lesson plans seemed to be a disaster and I had some doubts about teaching. However, at the encouragement of many, I persevered and now I am genuinely excited to be in the classroom and look forward to student teaching. 


As you prepare for graduation in May, any advice to pass along?  College has gone so much faster than I thought it would and at times I focused so much on the academic portion that I may have missed some of the fun. Looking back, I wish I had done more outside of academics. Make sure to enjoy yourself and not get so consumed with classes. Recently I have been trying to make an effort to have one night each weekend when I do something fun with friends. It has made a difference.  


Cohort 6 First Year Research Group


Dr. Meel has been working with one of groups of ACTION scholars this year to do a mathematics-focused research project. The group has been looking at Denny's restaurant and their $2, $4, $6, $8 value menu. The students describe the project in their own words:


We wanted to come up with an equation to express all the possible combinations of meals with different dollar amounts. To start, we began by breaking down the problem into smaller parts. We wrote out all the combinations to double-check our work and then we also put the data into an Excel spreadsheet. We wanted to generate a way to come up with an explicit formula to use with any dollar amount. We analyzed the combinations in order to potentially find patterns within the many different possibilities. Then with much trial and error we formed a recursive equation to formulate a methodology to determine the final answer.


Overall, this project has affected the members of our group in many ways. It has taught us to break up one big problem into smaller parts. It also helped us listen and understand each other's points. In addition, we learned how to help each other out and explain things in a new or different way in order to better understand the issue at hand.


We have had the benefit of getting to know each other more and bond as a group. And having lots of fun! Now, we look forward to tackling another project together this semester.
Allison Linn, Jessie Huot, Nick Mazza, Taylor Nicholson, Josiah Fox, and Catherine Hildebrand enjoy working closely with Dr. Meel 
Volume 4, Issue 1
In This Issue
Join Our Mailing List

Accepting New Scholars


Now that 2015 is here, our application deadline of January 23 for incoming freshmen is not too far away. Join us in reminding any prospective high school seniors you know who are considering applying to go to our website. All complete applications received by the deadline will be processed first, while submissions received after this date will be considered only if an opening is still available or may be put on a waitlist.


And, as mentioned in Dr. Brahier's article, if you know a transfer or current BGSU student interested in ACTION, an application for them will be available on our website by January 15.



The ACTION Lounge 


The end of any semester, and especially finals week, can be busy and stressful for students. To support our scholars, we've started offering extended hours for the ACTION student lounge along with providing refreshments.  Additional science and math tutoring is also available. The lounge was a busy place during December!

Jessica Wright and Nick Buhrow work out some problems in the lounge during finals week

 Student Interactions 


One of our goals for this academic year is to increase interaction among different cohorts. Our recent ACTION Holiday Event hosted in December helped to accomplish this goal with activities planned specifically for scholars to mix with other members of ACTION they may not know very well. By holding this event during our ACTION Common Time, it limited scheduling conflicts that enabled nearly all to attend.


Our newly formed Social Committee (comprised of scholars interested in helping to plan events) was put to task with making the occasion a success and they diligently spent time planning and prepping. The day of the event, this group did not rest from the moment set up began until the lights were turned off. They brightened the room with holiday decor and the activities they facilitated produced connection, laughter, and good memories for our ACTION family. We could not have done it without the amazing Social Committee!

A group of scholars from various cohorts get to know each other
Courtney Wilcox helps Wendy get things set up for the event
Molly Fessel and Rachel Gerges are definitely in the holiday spirit
Allison Marino, Rachel Wiemken, and Kaitlynn Jensen enjoy an activity to build connections
Allison Lamming has fun helping Linda Li with a game
Marina Stagl and Nicole Winhover use questions provided by the Social Committee to interact with others at their table 
Alyssa Lustgarten laughs while trying to find the snowman on the wall while blindfolded
New Staff Member 

In light of Nancy's recent retirement, a new ACTION secretary has been hired to help keep things running smoothly in the office. We are thrilled that Cindy Fuller joined our staff team in mid-December and she is already adding value to the program with her skills and knowledge.  She graciously agreed to share with us so we could all get to know her better as the newest member of our ACTION family. 


Cindy Fuller 
ACTION Program Secretary

Tell us about your history at BGSU. I have been on the BGSU campus for over 35 years.  The first two years were as a student receiving my Associates Degree in Applied Business and then for 20 years I worked in the College of Education and Human Development in what is now named the Technology and Resource Center on the 2nd floor of the Education Building.  Additionally I worked in Information Technology Services (ITS).  The first several years I was in ITS I supervised nearly 100 student employees who worked in "open" labs (Union, Tech, etc.) and then in 2002 I moved to a position as the Coordinator of Communications for ITS and I retired from that position on June 30, 2014.  


What are you most looking forward to about your new role as the ACTION program secretary?  First of all, I am very happy to be a part of the ACTION program and I look forward to being a team member with Dr. Brahier and Wendy in providing support for the ACTION program scholars.  In my role as Communications Coordinator in ITS, I missed interacting with students. I look forward to learning the "ins and outs" of this position and hopefully being a positive resource for the program.


How do you spend your time outside of work?  My activities mostly revolve around my family, church, and volunteer opportunities.  My husband is AJ Fuller and he works in ITS.  My sons are Nick, Phillip, and Ryan Wichman.  Nick has two children, Kendal (4) and Brayden (3), and Ryan is married to Kaley.  In addition to loving being a grandma to Kendal and Brayden I get the pleasure of being grandma to three "grand dogs" - Murphy, Amasa, and Thunder.  I am a member of committees and Bible study groups at St. Mark's Lutheran Church on South College and enjoy volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and the Wood County Senior Center.


What is one thing that we'd be surprised to know about you?  I retired from my previous position at the end of June and was away from campus for a few months.  In being back on campus I am somewhat surprised to find that some say they do not recognize me.  As a pivotal year for me, in 2014 I lost 65 pounds.  The decision to undergo stomach reduction surgery last spring was mostly medically based and I am happy to say that I am no longer classified as a diabetic following the surgery.  The weight loss is, of course, also a positive - along with a new wardrobe!


What is one thing you are anticipating in 2015?  A new challenge that I have accepted for 2015 is being chair of the family selection committee for the Wood County Chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  The chapter will start building a new house in the first few months of 2015 and while I have only been a part of the committee for a few months, I was honored to be asked to guide the group in selecting a family to benefit from the house build.


If you could sit down with each ACTION scholar individually, what would you want to tell each one?  First of all, enjoy your college career and find a positive in each day.  You are preparing for the next phase of your life and while that can be stressful and busy, remember to take time to enjoy this special time of your life.  Second, I would remind you that you are an example to those you encounter each day and the students you will be instructing in future years.  Think about the qualities of the role models who have been a positive influence in your life and use their example as you strive to be a positive to those around you.


Upcoming ACTION Events:
Application Available on Website for Current & Transfer Students:  Thursday, January 15
Application Deadline for Incoming Freshmen:  Friday, January 23
Application Deadline for Current and Transfer Students:  March 1

Choose Ohio First Research Symposium:  Friday, April 24...4:15-6:00pm

Capstone Colloquium:  Tuesday, April 28...4:30-7:00pm

ACTION Graduation Luncheon:  Saturday, May 9

January 2015






















Catherine Hildebrand B-day








Megan Gillen 










Katey Wendel 











First Day of Spring Semester



Application Available for Current & Transfer Students













MLK Jr. Day 

EDHD 4160 Session #3



Application Deadline! (Incoming Freshmen)











Hannah Schuster 




Maria Nielsen 


4.0 GPA Celebration Dinner


Jesse Westfall B-day



Jake Musal 




BGSU Honors Scholar 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: Cindy Fuller