Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
March 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
In mid-February, we received some great news - the Ohio Department of Higher Education's Choose Ohio First (COF) Program approved funding the ACTION program for another two years.  Our extensive proposal built on the strengths of the current program and projected an even bigger and better opportunity for scholars in the years to come. This new round of grant funding will allow us to continue to offer our first-year students a $4,000 scholarship, sophomores $4,400; juniors $4,800, and seniors $5,200 - together with Summer Bridge, ACTION may provide up to a $20,000 package for our students. 
Acceptance letters were mailed out for Cohort 9 in late February, and we look forward to welcoming the new scholars for Summer Bridge 2017.  In addition, we are now permitted by COF to recruit up to 30 new freshmen that will be welcomed as Cohort 10 in the summer of 2018.  Summer Bridge will remain a critical component of the program, as will the research and practicum experiences.  We are proud to have been able to put forth such a solid proposal that was so well received in Columbus.
The new Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) made up of Marco, Danielle, and Taylor pose with Dr. Brahier during a recent meeting
This is an exciting time of year as we prepare for graduation and assist our seniors in finding teaching positions while also anticipating the arrival of a new cohort and the start of another academic year.  In late March, 15 Student Advisory Board members (9 current and 6 newly elected) will gather for an overnight planning retreat experience.  During that time, students will evaluate every part of ACTION and provide recommendations for how to improve the program to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our scholars.  I am grateful for the hard work these students do in offering recommendations, chairing committees, and providing invaluable service to ACTION and the university.
ACTION is now on Twitter (@action_bgsu) and on Facebook (@actionbgsu).  Be sure to follow us on either or both to keep up with the latest developments in the program (and to not miss out on some great pictures of our scholars!).  I wish our students a restful Spring Break and look forward to the homestretch as we work our way to the May graduation ceremonies.


Cohort 6 - Junior
AYA Integrated Mathematics
What brought you to BGSU?   Several factors impacted my decision to come here. Two of my sisters attended BGSU (one was in ACTION) and both had good experiences.  Of course, being accepted into ACTION was another influence. Additionally, I was familiar with H2O Church at BGSU and wanted to get involved to grow in my faith and take advantage of their many leadership opportunities.
Speaking of leadership, you are also working two jobs. Tell us about those.   I am a tutor at the Math in ACTION Tutoring Hub on campus that offers free tutoring for students taking
any high school math course.  Students can come into the Hub for tutoring, or we can work with them remotely if they can't come to campus. I am grateful for the teaching experience and enjoy being able to help these young students. I love it when I am able to explain something in a new way to help them understand a concept they struggled with in their class.  I also work as a campus tour guide for BGSU.  This is one of my favorite jobs I've ever had because it's great to give people a first hand look at BGSU and to leave a positive impression on visitors. It is an honor to be in this role since BGSU is like my second home.
How do you balance all of your responsibilities?
I keep a very strict schedule and keep my calendar on my phone with alerts so I don't forget things.  I like to stay busy as it helps me to focus and be productive.   Sometimes, one of my concerns is when I will eat, so I even plan out when I will have my meals.
What prompted you to pursue a career as a math teacher?
I have always loved math and initially considered a career as an engineer. I enjoyed roller coasters and the math behind them was intriguing so I thought mechanical engineering might be a good fit. However, one of my math teachers, Mrs. Wanamaker, was so awesome that she inspired me to pursue teaching. I also began helping my friends with math and realized I was able to make it understandable for people.
Give an overview of your practicum experience last year.
My practicum was at Pinnacle Plastic Products, which makes plastic molds for many companies; in fact, one of their big clients is Fischer-Price. It was neat to see how toddler tables and other toys are made. My practicum involved helping to streamline the entire production process from purchase order to shipment. I used numbers and graphs to illustrate recommendations and was excited to help the company save thousands of dollars! I also gained valuable insight that will benefit my teaching.
What has been one of your favorite parts of being in the ACTION program?   Cohort 6 is like a family and we love being together. We help each other and have supported each other ever since we met nearly three years ago at Summer Bridge. I can't imagine going through college without this group of people!
Do you have a favorite place to eat in BG?  I love Lola's Frozen Yogurt!  Even though I sometimes think I will try something new, I always get the cookies and cream flavor with cookie dough chunks, caramel and chocolate topping. 

Cohort 1 - May 2014 graduate
Middle Childhood Education
(Science & Mathematics)

What have you been doing since graduation in May 2014?   A year ago, I purchased my first home in Seven Hills, Ohio.  I have coached volleyball at Bedford High School for the past two years as the Junior Varsity coach and Varsity assistant coach. 
Tell us about your job and how it came about.   My grandpa is a neighbor of the treasurer for Bedford City Schools. My grandpa happened to mention to her that I had recently graduated from BGSU and was looking for a job. I gave her my resume and she passed it along to the superintendent. I had two interviews and was hired!  I taught 4th grade for my first two years at Carylwood Intermediate School in Bedford, Ohio. I had a self-contained inclusion classroom.  This year I am teaching 7th grade science at Heskett Middle School in Bedford. 
H ow has your teaching been impacted by your involvement in ACTION?   For my capstone research project, I focused on incorporating reading into a science classroom through literature circles. This helped to show me the importance of students reading in every subject and I have made sure to incorporate this in my science classroom more. The project also provided an excellent talking point during interviews that the administrators loved to hear!
What has been your favorite part about teaching so far?
I love the relationships and connections I develop with my students and sometimes their families. I feel I have become an important part of their lives (some more than others of course). My 4th graders used to joke that they wanted to live with me!

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Cohort 9  
After careful review of applications and the conclusion of the online interviews, acceptance letters and award notifications have been sent to top incoming candidates for Fall 2017.  Additionally, a number of students have also been selected for the waitlist. It's an exciting time, as we will begin to see Cohort 9 take shape over the next few months!

BGSU Presidents' Day Open House
The spring-like weather brought record crowds to the BGSU Presidents' Day Open House on February 20.  The day  was filled with the excitement of meeting potential ACTION scholars. Our current scholars did an amazing job hosting our display table by sharing information about ACTION; while ACTION staff was busy meeting with students and giving tours of the ACTION floor in Offenhauer West. 
Scott Knapke & Danielle Dastoli are ready to greet people 

Valentine Crafts
Mackenzie Rittner gives details of an event hosted by the ACTION Social Committee in the ACTION lounge on February 10:
The Valentine's Day Craft Event was a huge success! Tons of ACTION students came out to enjoy a night of fun activities, crafts, and food. We made sun catchers, cards, and friendship bracelets! Everyone was super creative and it was great to see how the projects turned out.

Kenzi passes out craft supplies to Karen, MacKenzie, Bonnie and Rachel
Jessica Thompson shows off the start of a project

A room filled with creativity

Hannah Schuster and Anna Karas enjoy crafting together

Meetings with the Director
Each senior recently met with Dr. Brahier for a "senior interview" to discuss their anticipated post-graduation plans. The information gleaned from this one-on-one meeting enables us to provide the most beneficial assistance with job hunting and also allows Dr. Brahier to tailor a letter of recommendation for each graduate.
Dr. B meets with Cohort 5 senior, Allison Bendel

In February, first-year Cohort 8 scholars and Cohort 7 transfers also met individually with Dr. Brahier.  The ACTION staff value connection with the students and this is another important avenue that helps to promote deeper relationships within our "family."