Outliers: Students in ACTION Newsletter
March 2018

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
I serve as President of the Research Council on Mathematics Learning (RCML).  RCML is a national organization of university-level professors and graduate students who are interested in writing and discussing research on how to best meet the needs of learners in math classrooms around the country.  

In late February, we hosted our annual conference on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Among the attendees was Dr. William Speer who is an Emeritus Professor from BGSU and taught me in my methods course nearly 40 years ago.  Also among the attendees were Davis Gerber, Alyssa Lustgarten, and Rachel Wiemken - three graduates of the ACTION program who are now in graduate school. Rachel 
Dr. Speer, Alyssa & Rachel with Dr. Brahier
graduated from BGSU in 2016, taught high school mathematics for a year,
and then retur ned to BGSU for her
advanced degree.  In one room, we had three generations of  BGSU mathematics teachers, making Davis,  Alyssa, and Rachel "grand-students" of Dr. Speer!
 

The thought occurred to me as to just how rich of a tradition of teacher education we have at BGSU.  For generations, we have produced some of the best teachers in the State of Ohio.  One of our BGSU graduates - Kim Yoak - went on to serve as the youngest President in the long history of the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics and is now their Executive Director.  And while the ACTION program is still fairly young, with all of our graduates having taught five years or fewer, we are already seeing individuals assuming leadership positions in their school districts and in professional organizations.
 
One of the many goals of ACTION is to develop science and mathematics teachers who are focused on improving their practice.  For that reason, we require all of our scholars to learn to conduct "action research," which is classroom research on how students are learning so that teaching practices can be improved.  I personally did not learn this skill until I was in graduate school, so ACTION scholars are learning to engage in activities ordinarily reserved for graduate students.  At the RCML conference, two of my colleagues (Dr. Jonathan Bosic and Dr. Gabriel Matney) who have mentored some of our seniors in their action research Capstone Projects presented a session with me in which we shared with professors around the country about the successes we are seeing in the ACTION program.
 
We could not be more proud of our ACTION scholars - current and alumni - and look forward to seeing them continue to grow and emerge as leaders in years to come.  Meanwhile, we are making preparations to welcome our new Cohort 10 this summer as we celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the ACTION program!

ACTION Spring Seminar
Important updates were communicated by Dr. Brahier at the start of the recent Spring Seminar in order to keep all ACTION students informed. Afterward, scholars divided by cohorts to focus on their specific needs.   Seniors welcomed a retired  princ ipal to discuss job hunting, juniors covered "what to expect senior year," Cohort 8 (sophomores) used FaceTime to connect with cohort members who are in England for the 
Rachel Hack (Cohort 3 grad) 
gives tips to Cohort 7 juniors
semester and also wrote  letters to their "future selves" to be opened at graduation, and the Cohort 9 freshmen discussed conflict management and building strong relationships before participating in an activity to affirm one another.  

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Choose Ohio First Scholar Showcase
Chancellor John Carey poses with ACTION scholars Logan Bretz, Brooke Davis, Emily Ryan and Anna Karas

The Choose Ohio First Scholar Showcase held February 14 at the Columbus Convention Center was an opportunity to recognize COF scholars from across the state. Four ACTION scholars joined Wendy to represent ACTION at the event. Each of these students presented a poster about their first-year research to Ohio legislators, administrators from the Ohio Department of Higher Education and others.

Logan Bretz gives details about his science research 
 
During the program portion of the event, ACTION was singled out and acknowledged due to the high academic achievement of our students.  At the conclusion of the Showcase, our scholars were excited to interact and pose with those who continue to make Choose Ohio First programs possible.

Secretary Jon Hosted was instrumental in starting the COF grant initiative. The ACTION students also met Maddie Maxwell, Assistant Director of COF.