March 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

How do you spell "success"?  In the ACTION program, we are constantly evaluating our activities to measure the strength of our work.  There are a variety of metrics we use to determine

Nicole Winhover, Dr. Brahier, Larissa Van Der Molen, Jake Musal & Sarah High at the RCML Conference

our level of success, as well as to identify challenges we need to address.  In February, four ACTION scholars and I traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, to present at the annual conference of the Research Council on Mathematics Learning (RCML).  During our presentation, we described the research components of the ACTION program and how our academic experiences and community-building events set us apart from every other teacher-preparation program in the country.


In preparation for our session, we looked back over the first five years of the program and identified three areas that point to the success of ACTION. First, we examined the academic performance of our scholars.  The graph below shows the average grade point average, by year, of the general BGSU population when compared to students in ACTION after the Fall Semester of 2014.


The graph shows that our students average about one full letter grade higher (1 point on a 4-point scale) when compared with their peers.  The overall GPA of all ACTION students is approximately 3.75.  This semester, when we hosted a 4.0 Dinner to congratulate students with a perfect A-average in the Fall 2014 Semester, more than 50 of 95 scholars were invited with many others close to a 4.0 by receiving only one "B".


The second area we examined was our scholars' retention in the program and at BGSU.  Since the inception of ACTION, 84% of our students have remained in the program, and over 98% of them have stayed at BGSU even if they decided to change majors out of education.  The community we build in ACTION has promoted not only strong academics but also a sense of belonging at the university and within the program.


As a third measure of success, we considered the job placement rate of our students.  To date, ACTION has graduated a total of 39 students (with approximately 20 more graduating this May).  Of these 39 students, 30 actively sought a teaching position and all of them - 100% of our graduates - found teaching jobs right out of college.  (Six students chose to attend graduate school, while three others decided not to seek a full-time teaching position immediately after college.)


The numbers here are very clear:  We are accomplishing some amazing things in the ACTION program.  The students and their instructors are to be commended for all of their hard work as we move forward toward another academic year that will usher in Cohort 7 as we continue to expand the program with the backing of the university.


ACTION Student Profiles

Megan Schlosser - Cohort 3, Senior

AYA Integrated Mathematics


What brought you to BGSU?  ACTION! I applied to three other schools and wasn't sure where I wanted to go. When I found out I was accepted into the ACTION program, I knew BG was for me.


What has been one of your favorite things about BGSU?

The people. It seems cliché but it's true. College is what you make it and I am grateful for the people that I've been involved with. Everyone is enjoyable from the professors who care, to my best friends, to the cashier at the Union. These people have really made my time here at BGSU the best it could be.


You have been involved with many things during college, what are some of the highlights?  I most appreciate the service opportunities. Being involved with the St. Baldrick's Foundation for two years and shaving my head twice was inspiring.  Similarly, riding my bike for 180 miles from Cincinnati to BG with Bikes for Tikes and pushing through the pain had a long-term impact on me. Even as an RA for two years, my goal was to serve my residents-I wanted to be a resource for them and help them have the best experience possible. These opportunities have really shaped who I am and sparked who I want to be.


What led to your decision to be a math teacher?  I've seen the impact that teachers can have in shaping young lives. My teachers reached out to me beyond academics and supported me through hard times, and I want to help others in the same way. When considering options I originally thought I might teach English; however, the morning I came for a visit to BGSU, math stuck in my head and seemed to be a better choice. During that campus visit I heard about ACTION and the rest is history. Since then, although I've doubted my math ability at times, I've never swayed from being a math teacher.


Tell us about student teaching and the ACTION/Honors capstone project you are doing in the classroom.  Although I always pictured myself teaching in high school, I love my seventh grade classroom placement where I am student teaching. The students are young and fresh. I get to help them develop and mature and establish a foundation for learning math. They are not checked out. Overall, student teaching is what you make it. Because of my personality, I jumped in with both feet the first day.  Student teaching is a trial and error period - now is the time to try anything.  My capstone project for ACTION and Honors is an analysis on alternative assessments in math. My research focuses on using methods that can be used in place of the traditional paper and pencil tests.  I'm preparing to do interviews with the students and may also consider another alternative. My faculty advisor, Dr. Bostic, has been a wealth of wisdom for me and been so supportive through this process.


Any reflections as you consider graduating in May?Graduation can be a scary thing. The unexpected is nerve racking and I used to cry every time I'd think of it. Now I have moved on from that mentality and am incredibly excited.  I've learned so much during college, grown in my faith, and become much more open-minded. Now, as a new, single teacher I'm not tethered anywhere and can teach anywhere.  It's literally a fresh start. I get to write my own chapter, I can be who I want to be.  


Aaron Clune - Cohort 6 (Transfer)

AYA Integrated Science


What developed your interest in science? I have always loved my science classes but had no idea what I wanted to major in. My freshman year in high school, I broke my collarbone playing football. I was referred to a specialist and was fascinated by all the x-rays and everything in his office. This doctor actually put athletes back together and I thought this was the coolest thing. Plus, he fixed me! After this, I initially wanted to be a doctor and started as a pre-med major at the University of Cincinnati.


What changed your mind to be a science teacher and how did you end up at Bowling Green? While taking classes at UC, I was also working at a hospital. I saw nurses and doctors that were not happy with their jobs and were often complaining. This turned me off to that career so I took an introduction to education course at UC and really liked the teacher. I also did some tutoring and fell in love with the idea of being a teacher.  I want my career to have an impact on young people and love to see when things "click" for them. Once the decision was made to pursue an education degree, I considered other universities. After checking out BGSU and getting accepted into the ACTION program I could not turn it down.


Was it challenging to come to BGSU as a transfer student?  Change is always hard, but I felt this would be a good fit for me. I had attended a community college for a while and didn't meet anyone so I was hoping this experience would be different. ACTION was an extremely big help and opened up so many opportunities. During the Summer Bridge I got to know students and got my foot in the door with professors. I was able to hit the ground running in the fall and had people to answer questions and help me. These connections made the transition easier and helped me feel like I fit in. I have friends at BGSU from home so this has helped as well.


Anything specific you like about BGSU now that you've been here for a semester?  I like the smaller class sizes. I like to participate and be active in class. With fewer students in my classes it's easier to ask questions, participate and be engaged.


What are you learning from your first year research project?  My research group is focusing on water quality analysis and this hits close to home since I live near Grand Lake St. Mary's, which has been severely impacted by algae. For a year we could not even use the lake. I am excited to be part of something that will benefit my hometown area and have a real impact on helping the environment.


Any interesting facts about yourself?  I have been to Europe twice since my grandpa has lifelong connections with German band members who come to our hometown periodically and stay with us. They invited us to come visit, so my family went oversees when I was 5 years old and then again when I graduated from high school. Both trips were amazing.


Cohort Updates


Cohort 3 seniors are in the middle of student teaching (in between all the snow days) and will be either gearing up to start their research with the students in their classrooms soon, or have already begun. They are working closely with their faculty advisors during this critical stage of the research projects.  March will be a crucial month to gather data to ensure time to analyze results and submit a final paper in mid-April.


Introducing Dr. Snyder to Cohort 4

During a recent session hosted for Cohort 4, Dr. Hilary Snyder from the Office of Research and Compliance presented an overview of the Human Subjects Review Board (HSRB) process. Most ACTION scholars will not need HSRB approval since their research will be specific to their classroom and is not designed to be generalizable. However, it is beneficial for all to be aware of this important step involved in broader research that involves a systematic investigation dealing with human subjects.


Becca Shroka uses the board to illustrate

Cohort 5 practicum presentations by our sophomores continue to be impressive. The goal is not to just lecture for 10 minutes with information about their experience. Instead, the objective for the presentation is to engage the ACTION 

Steph Erwin passes out an activity 

scholars in attendance with an activity based on the practicum  experience that could possibly be used in a future science and/or math classroom. We have some very creative pre-service teachers and students have enjoyed the hands-on lessons!


Dr. Underwood's Cohort 6 first-year research group fell in love with her reptiles from the herpetology lab during a session at the Summer Bridge. Now, the group members are thrilled to have a chance to interact and conduct research with the geckos throughout the academic year. Details on their research is below (with comments from each participant  at the right):


Our group started working together in September to determine a research topic. After considering several ideas, we decided to look into the different phenotypes (patterns) of the gargoyle geckos. As the geckos mated, we identified about 6 different groups of crosses (one cross is two females and one male). In each of the crosses there were at least six hatchlings (baby geckos) and at most thirteen. To research we took pictures of each of the individual hatchlings and their parents. With the pictures we labeled each gecko with a pattern. Through the research we determined three main phenotypes including striped, banded, and reticulated. We are in the process of determining if there is any genetic inheritance, and if so, our research group will track it.


Through this process we each have learned how important it is to be detail-oriented and organized. We took pictures of all of the geckos and with each picture we were recording the information including their weight, pattern, color, hatch date, and length.  We used google docs and worked with multiple spreadsheets and word documents. It is interesting working with animals because they are unpredictable in their actions. When working with the geckos, we have also learned how important teamwork is because communication is key in working with a diverse set of skills.

Katey, Allison & Madi examine the geckos closely
Jesse & Anthony work together
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The ACTION Social Committee continues to provide events to increase connection among cohorts. Two Friday night events hosted in February by this student-run group included a hockey game and movie night. Both brought various cohorts together while resulting in good times for all who attended.

Cheering for the Falcons 


Spring Break!     


With BGSU having a break from classes next week, we asked ACTION scholars to let us know of any special plans. Below are the responses with their cohort number included:


Sheri Klatt and Rachel Gerges (4):  We are going to New York for part of Spring Break together!  We are very excited to see some Broadway shows and explore the Big Apple.


Sam Laderach (5):  I am going down south to visit my two brothers; one lives in Charleston, SC and the other in Jacksonville, FL.  I'm going down with my mom and dad.  It should be a fun and hopefully warm time.


Marina Stagl (5):  For spring break this year I am renting a cabin with friends in Tennessee for the first weekend. We have a hot tub and will be out in the woods, so there will probably be lots of hiking! After that, I'm going home for a couple of days and then traveling to St. Louis with my family to go to my cousin's wedding which is the last Saturday of break!


Jessica Thompson (6):  I'm going to a Magic Man concert and the next morning, Erin Janecko and I are going to Canada to see Niagara Falls with my mom! 


Kristi Frank (3):  I am taking off on a Mexican adventure with my family by renting a car out of LA and travelling through the Baja Peninsula local style.  Since I don't eat any seafood it should be a fun adventure!


Rachel Wiemken (4)I am going to Daytona Beach with friends!


Anna Bailey and Nicole Winhover: (4)  Over spring break, we will be traveling to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic with 14 other people from St. Thomas More Church on a mission trip. We will be working with children with disabilities, working with the homeless that live and work in a garbage dump, and doing some type of a manual labor project. We will be living in a community and have the opportunity to really experience something that so many normally would not be able to. It'll be a humbling and rewarding experience and we're both really excited to go on this trip since we know it will impact our lives for years to come!


Harrison Brunner (6): I will be traveling to San Diego California to visit a friend.


Alyssa Lustgarten (5):  I am going to Disney with an organization called Hillel.  We will be volunteering at a place called Give Kids The World.  It is a resort for children with terminal illnesses and their families.  We'll be volunteering at many places within the fun-filled village.  


ACTION Student Lounge 


Our student lounge space continues to provide place for our scholars. Especially with arctic February weather, many are grateful for the space to take cover from the elements in between classes.

"Dining with the Director" lunch with students from each cohort


Kali Irvin catches up on classwork 
Harrison, Zoe, Ally, Courtney & Jordan have fun playing cards
Cory and Jordan offer to help
Nick, Liz & Amanda work together during a capstone session
Dr. B conducted one-on-one meetings with all Cohort 5 & 6 scholars in February



Cohort 7 Decisions


Much time was spent this past month carefully reviewing applications for incoming students and conducting online interviews with the top candidates. Those who applied by the deadline were promised a decision by March 1, so letters were mailed last week! Now, we anticipate hearing back from each of these students to confirm who will join our ACTION family starting this summer. 


 Dr. Underwood's First-Year Research Group

The enthusiasm is evident as each member comments on the research experience:


Sarah Adams:  I love working as a group and learning about the geckos. It's been a great experience for me because I love working with animals.


Jesse Westfall: Dr. Underwood is the best!


Bailey Smith:  This is a unique experience I can take into the classroom! Geckos would make a great classroom pet!


Madi Pittman:  I liked taking pictures of the geckos and seeing their patterns change throughout the process.


Katey Wendel:  Throughout this experience, I enjoyed playing with the geckos and observing their phenotypes.


Anthony Boddy:  This project has taught me a lot about organization and being able to pay attention to small details.


Allison Lamming:  This research group is amazing. I love the geckos so much I want to buy all of them!


Dr. Underwood:  It has been a great group to work with, and the gargoyle geckos are proving to be challenging as always.

Sarah & Bailey look up info

Upcoming ACTION Events:
Spring Seminar for All ACTION scholars:  Tues, March 3...4:30-5:50pm in 228 BTSU
Practicum Presentations for Cohorts 5 & 6:  Tues, March 24...4:30-5:50pm in 123 Overman
COF Scholar Showcase Event in Columbus:  Mon, April 20

Choose Ohio First Research Symposium:  Fri, April 25...doors open 4:15pm in 117 Olscamp 

ACTION Capstone Colloquium:  Tues, April 28...4:30-6:30pm in BTSU Theater

ACTION Graduation Luncheon:  Saturday, May 10

March 2015














Application deadline for current & transfer students

Jessie Wiandt 


Spring Seminar 

228 BTSU


Sam Laderach B-day

Due date for EDHD 3160 papers


Felicia Beverick and Corrinne Sulivan










Tyler Stevens 


Spring break starts





Spring break ends

Bekkah Gresh 










 Erin Janecko B-day




















Practicum Presentations 




Jessica Thompson 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: Cindy Fuller