Kids’ Tech infects students with a love of science

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maybe it takes something creepy like a parasite that controls its host to hook children on science. That’s what Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, of Rice University, hopes when she presents “When Sci-Fi Comes to Life: Parasites that Control Host Behavior” at Kids’ Tech University @BGSU. The program for children, 9-12, will be presented at Bowling Green State University in four Saturday sessions, starting Feb. 3 and continuing through March 24, when Weinersmith will present. This is a way, she said, to show “students there’s all kinds of crazy stuff in nature, mind blowing stuff, and you can spend a lifetime asking interesting questions and let them know how much fun it is to be a scientist.” Kids’ Tech is open to 150 students. The cost is $90. For more information visit “We want the children to feel that the study of science is something that they should consider, and that they can be comfortable in a university environment,” said Dr. Paul Morris, who adopted the program from one developed at Virginia Tech. The daylong sessions begin with presentations by the guest scientists in the morning. In the afternoon, the students assisted by BGSU graduate and undergraduate students participate in hands-on, activities that relate to the morning presentation. Working with the university students in the campus labs and classrooms gives them a feel for life as a university science student, Morris said. “We are able to provide them with a true university experience, by directly introducing them to distinguished scientists that they can relate to talking about their work. … The speakers in our program, are chosen for their ability to reach this audience, and their effectiveness is seen in the sea of hands that are raised during their morning presentations.” Weinersmith, who has her bachelor and master degrees from BGSU, said that talking about parasites with elements that could come from a science fiction film helps engage the students. “It gets them excited and interested in how the brain and immune system can help…

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Girls sink their teeth into STEM … and sharks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The slimy, smelly spiny dogfish sharks were placed on the lab tables in front of the young girls. “Ewwwww,” one girl said squeamishly. “I can never eat gummy sharks again,” another girl said. This was the moment they had been waiting for at Tech Trek week – shark dissection. They were armed with gloves, scalpels and scissors to open up the gray sharks native to Australia. Some were a little timid about slicing into the sharks. “Oh my goodness,” one girl said with apprehension. Others were ready to explore. “I call dibs on making the first cut,” another said with glee. The shark dissection class Wednesday at Bowling Green State University’s Tech Trek week was just one of several sessions to help the participants realize that their female gender should not keep them from careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The fifth annual Tech Trek, supported by the American Association of University Women, is intended to make STEM educations and careers more accessible to girls. The program is only open to girls, so they are encouraged to pursue their STEM interests in an environment free from stereotypes, and given the chance to believe in themselves. Tech Trek is based off of the research titled “Why So Few?” which shows that women enter STEM fields at much lower rates compared to their male peers.  The research also showed that the crucial time to get to girls before they give up on STEM careers is in junior high. “The most critical time to impact them is between seventh and eighth grade,” said Dr. Deborah Wooldridge, professor and director of the BGSU School of Family and Consumer Sciences, who is head of the Tech Trek week. “We expose them to all areas of STEM.” The 55 girls all came to the camp with existing interests in STEM subjects. The camp builds on those interests, and teaches them that their gender should not dampen their enthusiasm or slow their success. “There are lots of…

BG high science teacher Gloria Gajewicz finalist for national honor

Bowling Green High School teacher Gloria Kreischer Gajewicz is in the running for the Presidential Awards in Mathematics and Science Teaching.   Gajewicz, who teaches physics and geoscience, is one of four Ohio science teachers of grades 7-12 named finalists in science. Two Ohio teachers are finalists in math. All will move forward to the national competition. In the coming academic year, a panel will choose 108 teachers to receive national honors. For more information, visit:

Michael McLaughlin, Robert Snyder win BGSU classified staff awards for caring for lab animals

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Like most classified staff members, Michael McLaughlin and Robert Snyder serve the needs of students and faculty. But their responsibilities also include nonhuman clients. As the Bowling Green State University Animal Facilities technicians, they care for research subjects such as pigeons and rats. In addition, they maintain the research facilities for faculty and students in the areas of biology, forensic science and psychology. Their dedication to their wards and to enabling research to be conducted in a clean, safe and compliant situation have earned them the 2017 Classified Staff Team Award. The award was presented May 17 at the annual Classified Staff Council reception and ceremony. The team will share a $1,500 award and their names will be displayed on a commemorative plaque in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Caring for animals is a seven-day-a week job, with no holidays and no two days the same. The University has two on-campus facilities plus a satellite location. McLaughlin and Snyder work diligently to ensure that not only are the needs of the animals met, but also the needs of the faculty, staff and students who utilize the facilities in their own important work, said Jenifer Baranski, director of BGSU animal research facilities. Each research project is different, with different requirements, but all must meet strict federal guidelines for safety and the well-being of the animals. McLaughlin and Snyder are thorough and careful in maintaining these standards while making sure that researchers have what they need to conduct their studies. Dr. Jon Sprague, Bureau of Criminal Investigation Eminent Scholar and director of the Center for the Future of Forensic Science, is also now the chair of Bowling Green’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), which is tasked with ensuring that the University is in compliance with all regulations. “BGSU has received and continues to receive positive inspection reports, which is due predominantly to the efforts of Mike and Rob,” he said in his letter of nomination for the Team Award. Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus Lee…

Children urged to honor Earth Day all year long

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   “Bob” the crayfish was a big hit at the eighth annual Earth Day Community Celebration on Sunday. But it was his bigger buddy “Chompers” with very active pinchers that drew shrieks from the young children. “You can touch a Maumee River crayfish and go tell your friends,” tempted Christina Kuchle, of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The annual Earth Day event on the open field next to the Montessori School in Bowling Green was focused on fun – with the hope that children and their parents would go home knowing a bit more about how to protect the environment. “It kind of ties everything together,” said Amanda Gamby, of the Wood County Solid Waste Management District. “It brings us all together for one last hurrah. It drives home the Earth Day, Every Day message.” At one booth, Jamie Sands of the Wood County Park District was pushing the message that bees are not bad. Though much maligned creatures, they are very important to humans, she said. “Ninety-five percent of what we eat is possible because of pollinators,” Sands said. “We love bees. Yeaaaaa bees.” Next to the booth, children were trying to “pollinate” towering flowers by throwing balls into the centers of the posies. “We want them to know the importance of pollinators and the importance of pollination,” Sands said. And in the process, maybe parents were learning a bit, too. Instead of spraying to kill bee hives, Sands suggested a phone call instead. “There are agencies they can call to move the nests,” she said. “We need bees.” The Bowling Green Tree Commission was also on site, encouraging folks to take note of the value of their trees. By going to people can type in a few facts about their trees and find out the environmental value of them. Partners for Clean Streams showed fishing line recycling bins. Though stray fishing line may seem harmless, the line can get wrapped around animals and cause them great harm. Plus, the…

Earth Month events planned throughout county

(Submitted by Wood County Solid Waste Management District) April is Earth Month and multiple agencies are collaborating throughout Wood County to provide events geared toward conservation, education and family fun. The Eighth Annual Community Earth Day Celebration will be the culminating event held on Sunday, April 30th, 2017 from 2-4 pm.  This free family event is open to all and is filled with fun hands-on learning stations. Try your hand at archery hosted by the Wood County Park District, take a nature walk with the Bowling Green Parks & Rec Department, power a light bulb with the City of Bowling Green’s power generating bicycle, give the Solid Waste Management District’s giant Earth Ball a roll, and hold a crayfish at ODNR’s Scenic Rivers station.  Interactive games will be provided by the Northwestern Water & Sewer District, BGSU, and Snapology.  The City of Perrysburg, the Wood County Master Gardeners, and Partners for Clean Streams will host earth friendly activities, and the Wood County Library’s CNG bookmobile will be onsite providing earth friendly stories! The Montessori School of BG, located at 515 Sand Ridge Road, provides an ideal backdrop for this Earth Day Celebration!  Enjoy 14 acres of land, visit a Learning Lab, play on the playground and spend some time at the Black Swamp Preserve and Slippery Elm Trail. We encourage you to get involved throughout the month of April to make Earth Day every day!  For a full list of volunteer and educational activities, please visit    

BGSU industrial & organizational psychology rank 2nd on U.S. News list

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked Bowling Green State University’s industrial and organizational psychology program one of the best in the nation. The program is tied for No. 2 on the recently released list of 2018 Best Grad Schools. “We are excited by BGSU’s No. 2 ranking,” said Dr. Michael Zickar, a professor and chair of the Department of Psychology. “Our program’s reputation is a function of our great faculty and the success that our alumni have had over the years.” U.S. News & World report shared this about the ranking: “Industrial and organizational psychologists strive to make workplaces more efficient, pleasant and productive through research and application. These are the top psychology programs for industrial and organizational psychology.” BGSU’s industrial and organizational psychology program regularly appears on this list, having placed No. 4 and No. 3 in previous rankings. Rankings are based on input from department chairs and senior faculty. BGSU shares this year’s honor with Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and University of South Florida. Industrial and organizational psychology aims to prepare students for careers as active contributors to the psychology of work. Learning and developmental experiences are provided through coursework, research and applied projects. Graduates of BGSU’s program can be found in a variety of professional settings, from academic to applied. Employers include Dow Chemical, IBM, Procter & Gamble and Wells Fargo. “Industrial-organizational psychology has been labeled one of the fastest-growing occupations by Money Magazine and the Wall Street Journal,” Zickar said. “Our graduates help increase the productivity of organizations as well as improve the daily lives of individual employees.”