Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
February 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
February always brings with it the selection of a new cohort of ACTION scholars.  I am in the midst of interviewing candidates for Cohort 9 who advanced to this round of the process, and by the end of the month, we will have chosen the incoming freshman for 2017.  The interviews are always energizing, as they provide opportunities to share dreams with high school students who aspire to teach science and mathematics. Meanwhile, we have already begun to review applications from
Dr. Brahier shares information with Catherine Hildebrand after the research session for juniors
individuals who are interested in transferring into Cohort 8 as sophomores this fall.
When reviewing files and speaking with candidates, I am reminded that by the time our May graduation has occurred, more than 100 ACTION graduates, spread across six cohorts, will be in the field.  The majority of those alumni are (or will be) teaching science and mathematics across the State of Ohio.  Some of them are becoming experienced teachers, as our first set of graduates has now been in the classroom for four years.  As a result, we have begun to ask them to share those experiences.  This month, we will be hosting our annual Spring Seminar.  The seminar agenda includes a panel discussion that will feature interactions with ACTION alumni who are anywhere from their first year of teaching through the four-year mark.  Current scholars will be invited to ask critical questions, such as how ACTION influenced their classroom teaching, how the program helps our graduates to get the jobs they seek, and advice on what a new teacher to the field - who has ACTION in his/her background - should know to be successful.  Meanwhile, plans are also in the works to involve some of our alumni in the Summer Bridge program to teach and assist our incoming freshmen.
Several of our alumni are now following us on Twitter (ACTION @ BGSU), as we continue to keep in contact with them and track their teaching careers.  I encourage alumni reading the newsletter to follow us and to keep us posted as your professional careers develop.  Meanwhile, I look forward to meeting all of our Cohort 9 candidates and Cohort 8 transfers in the interviews in the weeks to come.  The program continues to strengthen and grow, and we are also seeing the fruits of our labors in the work force.  Have a Happy Valentine's Day - we love our ACTION scholars - current and graduated! 


Cohort 5 - Senior
AYA Integrated Mathematics

What brought you to BGSU?  BGSU  is close to home and offered many opportunities to become a better teacher. Being accepted into the ACTION program was also a big factor in my decision to attend.
How have you changed since freshmen year?    I've learned to relax and enjoy certain aspects of life more. Rather than worrying about the future, I am better able to appreciate the moment. I am less focused on things that are not important.
Tell us about some of the challenges you have faced.
  I had a kidney transplant during high school.  Recovering from this surgery was hard enough, but I also have a condition known as neurocardiogenic syncope (NCS) where my heart rate and blood pressure drop suddenly causing me to lose consciousness. Since my immune system was weak after the transplant, it was difficult for my doctors to treat my NCS. Now, I have gotten much more stable and rarely have episodes of passing out. In fact, most people tend to grow out of NCS, so I am hopeful for the future that by my mid-twenties, it will not be an issue at all.  I have been very fortunate to have very supportive ACTION friends who have been with me on this journey since freshmen year.
How did you decide to pursue a career as a teacher?
  I have always had a passion for math. My decision to be a teacher was solidified in high school when I got close to one of my teachers after my kidney transplant. I realized that teaching is so much more than just teaching content. Teachers are role models and can make a difference in young lives.  I chose high school math because although I like younger kids, I wanted to focus solely on math. Plus, I am excited to get involved with many of the extra curricular activities that are part of high school.
What are the details of your Capstone research project for ACTION?    I am placed at Otsego High School for methods and student teaching. It has been a great experience to shape me as a teacher as I work with a broad spectrum of students and encounter varied scenarios on a daily basis.  My Cooperating Mentor Teacher (CMT) and all the staff have been very supportive to provide an excellent foundation for my future teaching career. My Capstone research is focused on determining how effective the cooperative learning technique, Jigsaw, is in a mathematics classroom. I already conducted the research as each student was given a small part of a lesson; then, and after learning that portion on their own, they taught it to the rest of the class. It was a foreign concept to them and the students were a bit skeptical, but I am excited to analyze the data.

Cohort 8 - Freshman
Middle Childhood Education
(Science & Mathematics)

What has been a highlight of your freshman year?   Meeting all the great people! Attending the ACTION Summer Bridge was so helpful to allow me to meet many amazing people before starting classes in the fall. I have someone around if needed 24/7. I'm involved in Collegiate Middle Level Association (CMLA), which is a professional development organization for middle childhood education majors.  And, as a member of Centennial Hall Council, I serve in the Four Senator role (act as liaison to communicate to the residents) and as co-chair for party planning.
Tell us about your job.   I was recently hired to tutor several Chinese students in English. The catch is that they are in China so we do video conference calls for the lessons.  The 13-hour time difference is a challenge and some of them speak English better than others; but it's been an interesting experience so far.

What led to your decision to teach?   I 've al ways wanted to be a teacher. However, I considered a career in forensic science for a short time before I realized that I didn't want to work with dead people! I was very involved with the drama club (I helped with 14 productions in high school); and, as the high school light designer, I often assisted with middle school productions. Getting to know these students sparked my interest to work with this age group. Currently, my dream job would be teaching sixth grade science. I like the content and this age. They aren't too old that they think they know it all, but are old enough to be self-sufficient. 

What's been your biggest challenge this year?    It took a while to get used to the difference between high school and college. Before, I could slide by and get good grades without working too hard. Now, I need to apply myself and put effort into my classes. It was also an adjustment with how exams are such a big part of the final grade.
What is your favorite restaurant in BG?   I love Campus Pollyeyes! In fact, my neighbors at home are BGSU alumni and each time I travel to my hometown, they ask me to bring some breadsticks! 

Follow us on Twitter
ACTION Applicants
Applications for Fall 2017 incoming freshmen are being reviewed and top candidates are being asked to schedule a time for an online interview with Dr. Brahier. It's always exciting to consider what the new cohort will look like when all is said and done.
While the Cohort 9 application deadline has passed and students who have already submitted completed applications will be given first consideration, applications continue to be accepted.  Those who completed applications by the deadline will be given first priority; however, other applications will be considered if there are any remaining spots or if all the slots are filled at the time of submission, they may be placed on a wait list.
A number of potential Cohort 9 scholars recently attended BGSU's Honor Scholar Day. This visit provided them with an opportunity to interact in person with Wendy, ACTION Program Manager, as well as current ACTION scholars. In the afternoon, tours of Offenhauer were available to any prospective scholar considering living on the ACTION floor next year. 

Many scholars appreciate the benefits of living on the ACTION floor in Offenhauer

Students hoping to transfer into ACTION as rising sophomores can find more information by visiting our website: 
bgsu.edu/action. The deadline 
for transfer applications is March 1.

Academic Excellence
With the average GPA from fall semester 2016 at 3.77 and the overall cumulative GPA of all scholars nearly the same at 3.78, we have reason to celebrate!  To acknowledge their hard work, all scholars were invited to our Academic Excellence dinner hosted the first week of spring semester in early January.  With over 90 joining us throughout the 2-hour event, the ACTION lounge and overflow room were wall-to-wall people. However, no one seemed to mind as plates were piled high and laughter and conversation filled the air.  We're proud of our scholars! 
Cohort 8 is happy to celebrate their first Academic Excellence Dinner

Bryant, Scott, Allie, Megan, Anthony  and Katie get caught up 

The ACTION lounge is packed

Jessica, Erin, Alexandria and Emily enjoy time together

Community Service 
As one of the service projects hosted by ACTION, students helped decorate the Wood County Senior Center facility in Valentine's Day themed decor. D ecorating advice was given by their staff members and from the seniors as well!

Bonnie has fun putting  hearts on the wall

Logan and Natalie show off the festive piano to the seniors