Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
April 2017

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 grant program at BGSU. 
Reflections from the ACTION Director
by Dr. Daniel Brahier
On March 24-25, 15 members of the ACTION Student Advisory Board (SAB) gathered for an overnight planning retreat.  Nine of the students are current members, while six were recently elected to serve on next year's Board.  There were three purposes for the retreat: (1) to allow students to bond as a leadership group, (2) to provide for a smooth transition from this year's SAB to the next, and (3) to evaluate the current programs
Current and incoming SAB members 
that ACTION offers students so continual improvements can be made.  Needless to say, when we gather this many exceptional students who are committed to refining the program, we can anticipate a highly productive experience - and it was!  Students brought a high level of energy and contributed insightful ideas on how to continue to build the ACTION program.
 
At the planning retreat, students evaluated everything from the function of the Board to academic support provided to our scholars.  In all, 12 different aspects were examined, with small groups defining objectives and noting strengths, challenges, and recommendations in each area.  Then, subcommittees shared
Nicole Wainscott shares  thoughts with the group
their thinking with the entire group and each area was further refined to create a final document.  Many recommendations were given that will be considered in the coming year.  For example, SAB members are energized by the use of Facebook and Twitter for ACTION and recommended several ways to further improve communication, both internally and externally.  They also provided a list of professional development workshop topics that ACTION might pursue - topics that extend beyond what is typically offered in the standard education courses at BGSU.  Using graphs and tables of survey data collected over the past four years from ACTION scholar surveys, the SAB examined trends and suggested new programs that might be considered, as well as activities that should be changed or eliminated.
 
By the time the weekend was over, the SAB had formulated a stronger vision of who we are and what programs are necessary to carry out our mission.  They even rewrote the mission statement, which will soon be reflected at the website.  I am grateful for all of the hard work and commitment that our students provide for the ACTION program.  We are preparing the best science and math teachers in the state and, arguably, some of the best in the country.  I look forward to continuing to work with our student leadership in the coming year.
ACTION STUDENT PROFILES

NATALIE MILLER
Cohort 7 - Sophomore
AYA Life and Earth Sciences
 
What brought you to BGSU?   I heard about BGSU from my high school counselor. He found out I wanted to teach and recommended I consider coming to school here. While at Preview Day, I visited the ACTION table and was very impressed by this fantastic program. As soon as I received my acceptance letter from ACTION, I decided to attend BGSU.
 
How have you changed since arriving on campus?   First, my people skills have grown. In high school I only hung out with band kids who were similar to me. At college, I broke out of my comfort zone and got to know people with very different upbringings. I have improved my listening skills and enjoyed learning about others. Second, I learned how to study! In high school, I never had to study; but in college, studying is a necessity! I learned how to read a textbook and create my own study guides. I watched and learned from friends who have good study habits and then figured out what works for me. 
 
How did you decide to be a teacher?   All the careers I picked as a kid were related to helping people such as a vet, social worker, teacher, etc. As I got older, teaching seemed the way to go. I have always adored school and my life was enriched through teachers so I want to give back. Teaching is the cornerstone for everyone no matter if you end up being a lawyer, doctor or whatever. I want to change the world, one kid at a time!
 
What led you to want to teach life and earth sciences?
Social studies has been my favorite subject, but I worried I might get bored teaching that since it's so familiar.  I also like science and especially enjoyed my high school courses that were more specialized. There are so many fun things you can do to teach science.  Coming to BGSU, I definitely wanted biology and didn't know much about earth science so tried something new.
 
Tell us about the practicum you completed in the fall.
Ethan Peters and I were tasked with building a personal weather station for the Wood County Parks District that would upload data to the Weather Underground website (wunderground.com). After considering compatible weather stations, we assembled the station and determined the best location and height. We then installed the system, stabilized it and synced it to the transmitter.
 
Tell us about some of your travels.   I love to travel and am lucky to have parents who enjoy exploring.  Many family trips were in the continental U.S., but in high school I went out of the country several times.  I went to Puerto Rico and Mexico with my family, to Belize to study marine animals, and to Europe as an educational trip through school.  I am certified in scuba diving and got to dive in Venice, Florida. I also hope to study abroad in Korea next summer since I know a little bit of that language.

MAKENNA GEISE
Cohort 8 - Freshman
AYA Mathematics

How did you decide BGSU was the place for you?  I always considered being an education major and BGSU is an awesome college for education so I considered it.  I visited several campuses and loved the size of BG - it is not too big and not too small.  Everyone I met was very friendly and seemed to truly care about me.

After considering art education, what prompted you to switch to math? 
I always had an interest in teaching. Many great teachers, starting in the first grade, inspired me to pursue education as a career. I love art and have taken lots of art classes. However, I also love math and had the opportunity to be a math tutor while in high school. I could make math understandable for students, and I loved seeing the smile on their faces when they got something right. I realized that since many students struggle with math, being a math teacher would be a way for me to have a bigger impact and help students. I can always do art for fun.

As a future teacher, what inspired you during the Summer Bridge?   I really liked the educational psychology session that included first-hand stories from an educator. I desire to make a difference and the instructor shared specific examples about the impact that teachers can have on their students. I look forward to being a role model and getting to know my students on a deeper level, not just teaching them math.

Tell us about your first-year research project. 
My group is working with Dr. Meel, and we are researching the Math Emporium on campus. This research project has been a highlight for me since it is not something students get in a regular education course. As we examine the attitudes of BGSU students taking pre-college math courses at the Math Emporium, we are looking for ways to improve student learning and examining trends that might help us determine how to motivate these students.  I am excited to see the final results and just what kind of connections we can make!

As an ACTION scholar and a member of the Honors College, has it been challenging to balance both?  Balancing both hasn't been as difficult for me as I had imagined. I took many AP and Honors courses in high school that prepared me for college. Even though I was nervous about the heavy coursework at the beginning of the school year, it has been a fairly easy transition for me.  My BGSU Honors courses are more individualized which I like; and while some require additional work, it seems to depend on the specific course. And, I am glad to know that the ACTION capstone project counts as my Honors project.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.  I love to run and workout. I am training for my first half marathon on April 23 that is part of the Glass City Marathon.  I am following a beginner-training regimen and a friend who has run the course gave me advice on where to expect some of the hills. I am excited about it!
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Cohort 9  
The incoming class of Cohort 9 is proving to be another top-notch group boasting a high school GPA average over 4.1 and ACT scores above 27.  Our acceptance rate is the highest it has ever been with 93% accepting our offer to participate.  We've begun to hear from many of the excited scholars as they begin to plan for Summer Bridge during July.

Spring Dinner
Our first ever ACTION Spring Dinner was a success! Nearly 50 scholars gathered for a taco potluck on March 21 to enjoy good food and to bond as an ACTION family. 
 
The past few years, feedback from students has indicated a desire for more connection during spring semester since we host more events in the fall. This dinner was the brainchild of the Student Advisory Board, and Kimberly Lentz and Jessica Thompson took the reins to make the potluck come together.  Some students signed up to bring an item for the taco bar or dessert, while others helped set up or tear down.  All seemed to enjoy the opportunity to catch up during a busy semester.
Kimberly gives directions

Cohort 6 scholars catch up 

Makenna, Josie & Katelyn from Cohort 8 hang out before dinner

 
Bekkah Gresh joins Cohort 7 scholars to talk about life

Seniors Megan, Courtney & Jordan enjoy a meal after a long day

Advising
Class scheduling for Fall 2017 has begun and Dr. Brahier made himself available for student appointments and for drop-in advising as well. Rachel Lundeen is one of many ACTION scholars who took advantage of getting assistance with scheduling.

Teacher Question of the Month
Two ACTION graduates teaching high school science were asked to respond to a question from our current scholars:  As a science teacher, how much do you use the 5E Model?
 
Scott Green - Cohort 1:
I don't explicitly plan lessons around the 5E model; but I do implement the concepts. Modeling is a way of life.  All lesson cycles should start with a form of engagement; and, it's important to evaluate at every step, even if it's visual or verbal evaluation instead of written.
  Those evaluations can be used to modify or confirm the process of implementation being used.  With a shift towards having teachers demonstrate usage of data driven instruction, it's important to modify plans based on data collected in real time.

Kayla Fackler Burg - Cohort 2:
I use the modeling curriculum, which translates into the 5E model. Each unit starts with a question or an idea to engage students and then follows with a lab to explore. After the lab, we explain how it fits into our model. Worksheets are designed to expand students' understanding and help them solve the questions they will see on the test.
 
I recommend all science teachers explore the modeling curriculum and summer workshops are very beneficial. 
A course list can be found at: 
modelinginstruction.org