Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
December  2016

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
As of the release of this December newsletter, we approach the last couple of weeks of the Fall Semester at BGSU.  When I took over as director in 2011, we had approximately 40 students in ACTION, spread across two cohorts.  Today, we are at the highest enrollment yet, serving 112 students across all four years of the teacher education program.  This semester has seen the establishment of a new Electronic Communications Committee, submission of a grant proposal to ensure continued scholarship funding, and our second year of offering peer mentoring so that freshmen are now being mentored by juniors, while sophomores are receiving mentoring from seniors - all cohorts are now involved in the process.
Dr. B meets one-on-one with Shawna Russell from Cohort 7

Over the past several weeks, I have had one-on-one meetings with every freshman, sophomore, and transfer student and, along with academic advising, I have had an opportunity to speak individually with over 75 of our scholars.  One element of those conversations that has been particularly striking - and humbling - is the vast array of activities and projects in which our students are involved.  ACTION scholars are serving as officers in student organizations (e.g., the Bowling Green Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Bowling Green Science Education Council, the Collegiate Middle Level Association, etc.), leaders in fraternities and sororities, resident advisors, members of athletic teams - from gymnastics to water skiing, baseball, lacrosse, and rugby - to name a few, tutors and teaching assistants in science and mathematics, volunteers in hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens, and animal shelters, leaders in their church communities and parishes, and the list goes on.  ACTION students are proving that they view their college education as much more than simply taking classes and attaining high grade point averages.  To this end, the Student Advisory Board has discussed ways that ACTION - as a group - might be more directly involved in providing service to the community.  Through meetings in the coming weeks, we are exploring the addition of a new ACTION Service Committee that might more actively seek opportunities for our scholars to work together for the greater good of the community.  Whatever the outcome of those meetings may be, I am confident that the vast majority of our scholars are already serving in significant capacities, both on BGSU's campus and beyond.
As we approach the holiday season, I want to thank our scholars, their families, and our supporters for all they do to make our program what it is today.  I hope you have some time to relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy the gift of family and friends over the break.  We look forward to serving all of you in another ACTION packed year in 2017!


Cohort 5 - Senior
AYA Integrated Mathematics
As a senior, what advice would you offer to younger students?  I encourage people to take advantage of all the opportunities available at BGSU and beyond. Getting involved made college more fun and helped prepare me for the future. Many great relationships were built simply because I stepped out.
What are some of the things you have been involved with outside of ACTION?  I've been very involved with Residence Life by working as a resident advisor, desk clerk, summer assistant and academic peer mentor. I also served as an Orientation Leader last summer. Math Camp has also taken up much of my time as I was in the role of executive co-leader until recently when the torch was passed to younger students who we will help train this year. I am also involved in my church, St. Thomas More University Parish.  
What extra opportunities have you had through ACTION?
I was elected to the Student Advisory Board last year, which enabled me to offer valuable input to the ACTION staff. I worked for three years during Summer Bridge to help Dr. Haney's with her the GLOBE sessions and most recently was also able to serve in a bigger capacity to Cohort 8 as a Bridge Assistant.  Presenting at the OCTM conference with Dr. Brahier was another highlight for me last year.
How did you decide to be a math teacher?   Early in high school, I decided to teach. I enjoyed interacting with my teachers and since my mom teaches elementary school, I would often be in her classroom helping with prep for a new school year. My study halls were usually spent as a teacher's aide and being involved in Big Brothers/Big Sisters also provided confirmation of my career path.  Math was easy for me in high school; plus, my math teacher was my favorite and I wanted to be just like him!
What has your experience been this semester in methods as you prepare for student teaching?  I t was rough at the beginning, and I totally bombed my first lesson! However, my Cooperating Mentor Teacher (CMT) was very encouraging and said most don't do well the first time. It has gotten much better since and I look forward to going everyday. It's fun to get to know the students and other teachers and I'm learning to balance everything.
Tell us about your capstone research project.   My topic is collaborative learning in the classroom as I have been curious if students would enjoy (and learn more) if they did group work rather than working individually.  I gave students a pre-survey, had them work in groups for two weeks and then gave them an assessment as well as a post-survey. I just finished collecting the data so have not had time to analyze it yet, but I am excited to review the results.
Any personal updates?   I got engaged over the summer and will get married in June 2018.  My brother is also engaged and his finance is Corrinne from Cohort 3 - it will be fun to have a sister-in-law who is also part of my ACTION family!
Cohort 6 - Junior
AYA Integrated Science

Tell us about your experience last semester as you studied abroad in Keele, England.
I have always enjoyed traveling and when I found out that Dr. Brahier would be leading the students to England in Spring 2016, it sounded like a great opportunity. Going with Dr. B and the other ACTION students gave me the courage to step out of my box to go to Europe for the very first time. While abroad, I visited 5 different countries and experienced many different cultures. My favorite place was Edinburgh, Scotland, because we were able to take a ghost tour through a place that I had seen in one of my favorite TV shows Ghost Adventures. It was hard to be away from my family for a whole semester, but we connected often by using WhatsApp; in fact, we communicated just as much then as we do now that I am back at BGSU.

What led to your decision to be a high school science teacher?  I decided to become a teacher my senior year of high school. I did not have many classes that I needed to graduate so I enrolled in the Teacher Academy through my high school. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but several months into it, I realized that I loved teaching!  I had a great mentor teacher who forced me out of my comfort zone and helped me have a positive experience. I loved science so that was an easy subject choice and the placement I enjoyed the most was with twelfth grade students so this led me to choose Adolescent Young Adult.

What do you like about being the science tutor for other ACTION students?  I r eally  enjoy working with students one-on-one and I feel as though I am actually helping people. Of course, it is great when I hear that someone earned a good grade on an exam I helped them with for a science class.  Tutoring also helps me continually learn.
What are your plans for winter break?  We will visit my extended family and rent a place in Bradenton, Florida.  Most of our time will be spent on the beach or playing cards!

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?  I did archery all throughout high school. In eighth grade, my mom told me to sign up for something and that is what I chose. I ended up really liking it.  Our team went to Nationals every year that I was involved. Now I just do it for fun. 

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Cohort 9 Updates
Only about six weeks remain until the January 15 deadline for applications to ACTION for incoming freshmen!  Take some time to consider anyone you know who might be interested in finding out more about ACTION and direct them to our website:

In addition to talking to students at BGSU events and via phone calls, it's also been enjoyable to meet several prospective Cohort 9 students who have recently visited campus. These prospective students had the opportunity to meet some current scholars, see our student lounge and tour Offenhauer West residence hall where most of our scholars live. We anticipate an influx of applications soon. 

Wendy calls high school seniors to make sure they know about ACTION

Student Advisory Board
Each academic year, ACTION scholars are asked to elect two members of their cohort to serve as representatives on the Student Advisory Board (SAB). Board meetings are scheduled twice each semester and prior to meeting, members are asked to gather input from their peers in order to bring items for discussion and/or suggested improvements. The Board provides valuable feedback to the ACTION staff and the students' ideas are implemented when feasible. Numerous staff decisions have been impacted after hearing the viewpoints of student members and we are truly grateful for their input. 

SAB members for 2016-17 (L to R): Sarah Miller, Jessica Thompson, Katie Allen, Ann Howard, Chris Irick, Kimberly Lentz, Bonnie Altstaetter, Ethan Peters, and Nicole Wainscott

Social Committee
With our big "Holiday Gathering" approaching on December 9, the ACTION Social Committee has been immersed in preparations.  In fact, three sub-committees were formed last month to cover all aspects of this event including decorating, food and activities.  The students have some fun things planned for this time when the ACTION family will gather together to celebrate. 

Marco, Harrison, Kara & Karen plan activities for December 9

Chelsea Mayer and Liz Baker pause from planning to smile

The decorating committee has many great ideas
Janelle Mangen, Sarah Spayd & Joe McGuinness chat over lunch 

Megan Gillen reads her capstone textbook 

Students interact with Dr. B in between school work