Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
February 2019
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.
Table of Contents
Reflections from the ACTION Director
ACTION Capstone Research & Practicum Experiences
10 th Anniversary Section - Top Ten, That was Then/This is Now, Grad Spotlights
Upcoming Events
Reflections from the ACTION Director
by Dr. Daniel Brahier

There is an unusual feeling in the air (other than the bitter cold temperature and wind chill) on campus this week. In past years, we would be in the fourth week of the semester by now. But due to the new, three-week Winter Term in January, we did not return to classes until January 28 and the Spring Semester has just begun. Over the break, our ACTION scholars participated in a wide variety of activities. Some took classes, while others traveled abroad, worked on their capstone or practicum projects, or worked extra hours to earn spending money. Two of our students headed off to England to spend the spring semester studying at Keele University. 
 
As I continue to reflect on the 10-year history of ACTION, our scholars studying abroad in England is an example of something people assume we have been doing for many years. In reality, although individual scholars have had this experience, our first group did not travel to Keele University until the Spring 2016. We have had multiple scholars studying at Keele each spring ever since, and their experiences have been consistently outstanding. Another example of a feature of ACTION that was added later is the Common Time (CT), featuring Fall and Spring Seminars. The first year that ACTION had a CT and a Seminar was Spring 2013. At that time, Cohort 4 scholars were freshmen and there had been no CT to that point. The original timing was 5:30 – 6:50 p.m., but so many students had conflicts with classes that began at 6 p.m. that the schedule was changed to 4:30 – 5:50 p.m. by Fall 2013 and has remained the same for the past five years.
 
This semester, our Spring Seminar will take place on March 12 and will be the official 10 th Anniversary celebration. This event will feature the return of several alumni and a keynote presentation given by Dr. Barbara Moses, the first Director of ACTION who served until the summer of 2011 when she retired from BGSU. Other surprises are in the works for this culmination of a year of celebration.
 
Meanwhile, we received significantly more applications for Cohort 11 than we have seen in years, as the popularity of the program continues to grow. After reviewing applications and conducting interviews of top candidates, final decisions will be made this month. Thank you to all scholars, alumni, faculty, parents, and friends of ACTION who have helped us to spread the good word and to recruit another outstanding cohort of freshmen.
Capstone Projects

Newsletters in the fall have highlighted our six science/math research projects involving our first-year scholars. The rest of the ACTION scholars have also been engaged in hands-on learning and/or inquiry-based projects.
 
BGSU’s Winter Term provided an opportunity for junior and senior ACTION scholars to have additional time to focus on their ACTION Capstone research projects. Juniors have now selected a topic and are beginning to investigate what research information is available related to their chosen topic. Seniors have the option to collect data in the classroom during methods (in the fall) and/or student teaching (in the spring). Those with data already gathered this fall were able to begin the analysis portion of the Capstone project in January. Next steps will include pulling all the data together and working with their faculty project advisor to complete their final paper and presentation due later this semester.
Dominic & Lauren learn about invasive species
Practicum Experiences

The majority of Cohort 9 sophomores have now completed the hands-on science and/or mathematics practicum projects that are a required component for second-year scholars, with two pairs of students beginning a practicum this Spring semester. As always, the projects completed to date have spanned a wide spectrum that will provide real-world lesson plan scenarios for these future teachers, including the projects below:
 
·     Survey and analysis to make recommendations on coffee pricing
·     Designing and building a drip irrigation system
·     Assessment of best time frames for teaching swim lessons
·     Analysis of cost effectiveness of various semi-truck trailers based on repair expenses
·     Study to improve packaging efficiency
·     Cost analysis and comparison of swim lesson pricing
·     Development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for micro green products
·     Research and analysis to determine feasibility of solar panels
·     Survey and plotting invasive plant species
·     Data analysis related to increasing attendance at park programs
In honor of ACTION's 10 th Anniversary, our newsletters this year contain a special Anniversary section each month with highlights from the past, top ten lists, spotlights on graduates, and more.
Top Ten Reasons Parents Appreciate ACTION

We asked some parents of our current students and our graduates to rank what they most appreciate about the ACTION program. Their responses are compiled below.
 
 
#10 - Supportive mentors
 
#9 - Personal and academic growth from completing individual and group projects
 
#8 - Relationships between parents and ACTION staff / parent involvement
 
#7 - Job placement / additional support and opportunities after graduation
 
#6 - Collaboration with like-minded students
 
#5 - Financial support through Choose Ohio First scholarship funds
 
#4 - Summer Bridge experience / assistance with college transition
 
#3 - Variety of opportunities & experiences to prepare them to be better teachers
 
#2 - Lifelong friendships /close relationships
 
#1 - Personal support for each student by ACTION staff

That was THEN, this is NOW

THEN: When ACTION began, the offices for the Program Manager and Secretary were housed in the Math Sciences Building in what had been a portion of the storage area for the Math Sciences Library on the third floor. Over time, the space belonging to ACTION expanded to include a Student Lounge and then the Falcon Room that was a conference room used for meetings including first-year research groups. After eight years, ACTION students had grown to love this “home” and its convenient location. 

NOW: At the end of Summer 2017, ACTION relocated to the heart of campus in the newly renovated University Hall with a larger Student Center (shared with AIMS) and third-floor office space with great views.
Spotlight on ACTION Graduates
Justin Flory
Cohort 5
AYA Mathematics
Miller City-New Cleveland Local Schools teaching 8th Grade Math, Geometry, Digital Electronics, Computer Integrated Manufacturing

ACTION helped me build relationships and created a network of amazing people who I can collaborate with about teaching ideas. Also, it provided me opportunities and experiences (such as Freshman Research and Sophomore Practicum projects) that helped me understand what the real focus of mathematics education should be, which is showing how it relates to the real world.
Molly Conroy
Cohort 3
Middle Childhood Education
Van Buren Middle School
teaching 7th grade science

ACTION helped connect me with professors and professionals that made my experience more diverse than my classmates. I had a greater resource pool to draw from when needing additional support. I also find myself reaching out now to other ACTION grads for lesson ideas, grading concerns, etc. and trust their advice. I was well-prepared to enter the classroom due to my experiences.
Upcoming ACTION Events
ACTION Spring Seminar - Tuesday, March 12
COF Research Symposium - Friday, April 26
High Ropes Course - Saturday, April 27
Capstone Colloquium - Tuesday, May 7

To find out more specific details about what is happening in February, click on the image of the calendar.
As a Choose Ohio First grant program sponsored by the Ohio Department of Higher Education, our goal is to produce exceptional science and mathematics teachers who will impact the next generation across the state to improve STEM areas.
Science and Math Education in ACTION
Director: Dr. Daniel Brahier
Program Manager: Wendy Standinger
Program Secretary: Cindy Fuller
Phone 419.372.6561