Science

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 www.communityearthday.com.    


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.”


Lee Meserve delivers his swan song in Last Lecture series

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When you teach at a university for 44 years as Lee Meserve has at Bowling Green State University, a lot happens. Yes, there are the budget committee meetings, the lectures and labs, the advising sessions with students, the research, and presenting research results at conferences. There’s discussions of various bodily functions and demonstrations of the male and female sexual response Sometimes there’s even an airborne mouse. Lee Meserve gave a Last Lecture Monday night. Not his last lecture – he doesn’t retire until the end of the semester. But rather a talk in a series sponsored by the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. The conceit is: If this was the last lecture you would give what would you talk about? In a twist that Meserve relishes, this was in fact his second Last Lecture. Meserve, a professor of biology, used the occasion to review his long career at BGSU. It started not long after receiving his doctorate at Rutgers University. The journey started before then, growing up on a “hard scrabble” dairy farm in Maine where the family milked 25 to 40 cows. The farm was a place he learned that of there was something to do, you’d best get to doing it whether it was fixing the milk parlor floor or the barn roof. That’s a work ethic he brought to academia where a 50, 60 hour week is the norm. He poured himself into the institution to such an extent that his wife, Marge, once gave him a t-shirt that read: “Stop me before I volunteer again.” He didn’t get the message. Meserve didn’t go to the University of Maine with the intent to become an academic. Rather he was majoring in animal husbandry. Then in his junior year, his father sold off the herd. Meserve made other plans that sent him to Rutgers to continue his studies. In New Jersey, he also found Marge, his companion for the adventures that would follow. Teaching anatomy he discussed the diarrhea and vomiting, subjects he allowed were not discussed in others courses. In reproduction he discussed the amount of ejaculate a man releases and had a choreographed strut that demonstrates the difference in male and female sexual response. And for the respiratory system, he pulled out his harmonica, and played a tune. He can even put it to his nostrils and toot it that way. “Some people play by ear, I play by nose.” It was while teaching endocrinology that the incident with the mouse occurred. Two female students were having a hard time getting a needle into a mouse in the proper place to draw a sample. Meserve offered to help. His grip was no better and the mouse clamped onto his finger with its teeth. Meserve reflexively tossed the rodent into the air. One of the women was wearing a low-cut jumper. Meserve said he saw the geometry of the situation play itself out as the mouse came to rest inside the jumper. “Get it out!” the student cried. He obliged, reaching into her dress. “Luckily the first thing I grabbed was mouse.” His career was not all slapstick. The subject of his research, in which he engaged his students both graduate and undergraduate, revolved around the harmful impacts of PCBs – polychlorinated…


BGSU’s Eric Dubow named Distinguished Research Professor for work of a lifetime

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When Eric Dubow, professor of clinical psychology, takes on a research project, he’s in it for the long run. One study he’s been involved in started about the time he was born. Now his graduate students are using its data as the basis for their theses. That’s more than a life’s work. Earlier this month the Bowling Green State University Board of Trustees designated Dubow as a Distinguished Research Professor. From the beginning of his graduate work at the University of Illinois-Chicago, Dubow’s scholarship has focused on “how the observation of aggression and violence, whether it’s in the media, the family, the neighborhood, leads someone to be more aggressive. … We develop a way of thinking, attitudes that justify violence as a behavioral choice. … But certainly there are some kids who observe these things who don’t become aggressive. So we look at protective factors.” Positive parentings, social engagement, education, all can help foster resilience in young people, he said. His graduate mentors were working on a longitudinal study of a cohort of people in Columbia County in New York, an area on the east side of the Hudson between Albany and New York City. The study started in 1960. Researchers interviewed all the third graders in the county and their parents. Those subjects were 30 when Dubow joined the study as a graduate student. Now they are about 65, and the study includes interviews with their children. In a longitudinal study ‘“you keep going back and interviewing them again and again and again.” The study is now being conducted through the Institute for Social Research, a free standing research institute located at the University of Michigan. Dubow is a researcher at the institute as well as holding his position at BGSU. He affiliated with the institute in 1994, eight years after joining the BGSU faculty. The study, he said, was the first to determine a link between seeing violence on television and aggressive behavior in children. The institute is also studying children aged 8, 11 and 14 in Palestine and Israel. Every four years they’ve gone back and interviewed the youngsters and their parents in the home. “We’re looking at violent behavior and post-traumatic stress that develops as a result of exposure to political violence.” While it’s obvious that exposure has a tendency to make these children, on both sides, more violent, Dubow is more interested in the factors that serve to protect them, even in a war zone. “The real story is the amount of resilience they have in toxic environments,” he said. “A lot of the research focuses on resilience,” he said. “Many Palestinian kids don’t turn out to be violent or have post-traumatic stress syndrome. We’re going to have to know why are these kids are resilient if we’re going to develop programs to try to lessen the impact of exposure to violence. We might not always be successful in lowering the exposure, but we may be able to lessen the impact.” Positive parenting clearly helps. But “as parents observe more violence, they become more stressed. They become more violent… … It’s about trying to bolster the parenting skills in .these kind of environments to use more positive punishment … rather than harsh punishment.” Academic achievement and building kids’ self-esteem…


BG searches for science to clear up pipeline confusion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards is tired of hearing conflicting “facts” about the pipeline proposed to cross city property and run close to the city water treatment plant. So he set out himself to find some “good science” instead of “unsubstantiated political statements.” The city has been asked by those opposed to the Nexus pipeline to try to intervene in the FERC approval process, but council has been reluctant to get into a losing court battle. So Edwards turned to two scientists for help. One is Dr. Charles Onasch, professor emeritus of geology at BGSU, a researcher who has probably studied the BG Fault more than anyone else on record, Edwards said. The other is Larry Wickstrom, president of Wickstrom Geoscience of Worthington, Ohio, who is the former chief of the Ohio Division of the Ohio Geological Survey. “In that important role, he warned of some of the potential dangers associated with fracking in southeastern Ohio, and as a result lost his job,” Edwards said of Wickstrom. While other geologists have presented some alarming information about the pipeline route, the geologists the mayor talked with do not share those concerns. “I take science very seriously,” Edwards assured those at the council meeting. “We’ve been doing a lot of investigating and trying to reach out to some of the best minds we know.” The geologists the mayor contacted said the most recent activity on the Bowling Green Fault can be no younger than the 10,000- to 20,000-year-old glacial sediments that are undisturbed by the fault. An extensive network of pipelines cross various fault lines in the area with no reported difficulties. And the Ohio Geological Survey has identified all the karst (natural sinkhole areas) in Ohio, with none in Wood County. “In summary, the probability of any complications developing with the water treatment process and the water supply in BG in relationship to the Fault and the proposed gas line is extremely low,” the mayor said.  That cannot be said for other areas of the state, where the geological characteristics cause more concerns. Edwards said he has plans to speak with more geologists about the project. Council member Daniel Gordon questioned why geologists have varying opinions, given the same factors. Edwards said that is unclear, but added that all of the geologists involved so far have pointed to Onasch as the expert. Council president Mike Aspacher thanked the mayor for the report and said council will welcome additional information gathered by Edwards. Council member John Zanfardino said he appreciated the mayor’s information, but noted that data presented on the risks of the pipeline have been mixed. Lisa Kochheiser, an opponent of the Nexus pipeline, also thanked Edwards for his report. “I appreciate you for taking it seriously,” she said. But she said the pipeline company is skirting science evaluation by failing to identify the BG Fault and the city’s water treatment plant in the pipeline plans as potential risk factors. She said the high impact drilling technique used for the pipeline will put the river at risk. “The city should be demanding a halt,” Kochheiser said, asking City Council to intervene in the pipeline approval process. “It is absolutely our right, and our obligation to protect our water.” Council member Bruce Jeffers said…


Photochemist Alexis Ostrowski brings $850,000 in grants to BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University photochemist Dr. Alexis Ostrowski and her lab are venturing into a whole new world of materials with properties as yet unknown, but that offer the promise of beneficial applications in health, industry, agriculture and other fields. In recognition of the potential of Ostrowski’s work, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded her a CAREER grant of nearly $600,000 to fund her research over the next five years. Ostrowski also recently learned that she has received another $250,000 in funding for a second project looking at using the power of light to transform animal waste into usable fertilizer. “The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious awards in support of the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization,” according to the NSF. “Such activities should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of integrated contributions to research and education.” “The overall goal of my lab is to make photoresponsive materials,” Ostrowski said. “And those materials have in them metal ions for unique reactivities.” By mixing metal ions with polymers, or plastics, and exposing the resulting materials to light, Ostrowski aims to open up new avenues of discovery. “We may be making materials with really interesting properties we don’t even know yet. This is fundamental research,” she said. “Alexis is a rising star in the field of inorganic photochemistry, applying well-constructed experiments and syntheses to novel materials and photochemical reactivity,” said Dr. Malcolm Forbes, director of the Center for Photochemical Sciences. “She combines her excellent training in mechanistic inorganic photochemistry with creative ideas that push the field of biomaterials to new directions, in particular to make light-responsive polysaccharides and to study light-induced modification of surfaces.” For the past four years, Ostrowski and her students have been conducting research and gathering preliminary data on which to build the foundation for the current project, “Controlling Mechanical Properties of Materials Using Photoactive Metal Coordination Bonds.” The papers she and they have published in scholarly journals have drawn the attention of other researchers and led to her also recently being named one of 16 “ Emerging Investigators in Inorganic Photochemistry and Photophysics” by the American Chemical Society. The CAREER grant will allow her to continue her work and will fund graduate research assistants and undergraduate students in her lab.   As a chemist, Ostrowski said, she sees the world through a different lens than do nonchemists. “A basic difference between chemists and nonchemists is that we tend to think a lot on the molecular level,” she said. “It all comes back to what are the interactions of the molecules with each other. You want to very selectively control the interactions of those molecules, so you build into the material certain kinds of interactions. And then if we shine light on the material, what does that do? How can we change those interactions to change the mechanical properties of the materials?” Once the researchers gain an understanding of how to manipulate the variables to achieve the desired mechanical properties, it will be a matter of customizing them for specific uses. They are already finding that some materials work better together than others. Although…


BG seeks scientific facts surrounding pipeline

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials would like to dig into the facts around the Nexus pipeline but have no interest getting tangled in a lawsuit. City council was presented with some unsettling scientific information Monday evening, and was asked to file a motion to intervene with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – which is on the edge of approving the pipeline plans. “We still have the right to insist that the dangerous situation at the pipeline river crossing be fully analyzed,” Lisa Kochheiser, of Bowling Green, said to council. “Time is of the essence here.” A grassroots group opposed to the Nexus pipeline as it crosses Wood County has worked with a Bowling Green State University professor who is a geologist and environmental policy expert. Based on the information found by Dr. Andrew Kear, the group filed a formal motion to intervene with FERC. Kear spoke directly to city council. “I’m not an advocate against natural gas,” he said, noting his appreciation for hot showers. However, the route of the Nexus pipeline, “poses unnerving public health and safety risks.” The initial report submitted to FERC said the Bowling Green Fault Line is deep below the surface, so it is not a concern. However, the fault is so close to the surface that it is visible in places, and is even pointed out by a marker in Farnsworth Park on the other side of the Maumee River. “The pipeline crosses the fault right near the Bowling Green drinking water supply,” Kear said. While the fault line is not active, drilling and lubrication can cause earthquakes, like those in the Youngstown area, he said. The pipeline would be 700 feet from the water plant and a quarter mile from an active blasting quarry on the Waterville side of the river. Also, little research has been done on the suspected karst geology in the area which should be avoided by pipelines. “They screwed up horribly,” said Terry Lodge, the attorney who filed the objections on behalf of local residents. “Now is the time for the science to be seriously indulged and engaged.” And the city would have a legitimate reason to question the pipeline plans, he added. “You certainly have a very serious dog in this fight.” Having a city get into the battle on behalf of its water plant would give the concerns more credence, Lodge said. “FERC might hear a little bit better.” “They should take a hard look at this location and see if they can find a better one,” Kear said, noting that an alternate route was proposed but it was 41 miles longer. Council member Bruce Jeffers inquired about the value of Bowling Green getting involved in the fight – especially since FERC is quite close to the final approval process. “It’s worth the effort to try,” Kear said. Council member Sandy Rowland said this latest information brought up some concerns. “I’m not a scientist, but I am a city council member who cares about water for our citizens,” Rowland said. She suggested that council take some action, “To assure our residents, our taxpayers, our neighbors and our businesses that we will have safe water.” Council member Daniel Gordon also weighed in. “Dr. Kear knows his stuff,” he said. And the fact…


Ostrowski named ’emerging investigator’

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Alexis Ostrowski’s childhood fascination with light and its properties led her to a career in photochemical sciences and a faculty position at BGSU. Since joining the chemistry  faculty in 2012, she has published novel research on using light to control the mechanical properties of biomaterials and metal-containing polymers. Ostrowski was recently named as one of 16 “ Emerging Investigators in Inorganic Photochemistry and Photophysics” by the American Chemical Society and was featured in the ACS Select Virtual Issue. The 16 researchers, all of whom received their doctorates in 2004 or thereafter and are working in inorganic photochemistry and photophysics, were chosen based on papers published in such journals as Inorganic Chemistry and Chemistry of Materials. Ph.D. student Anton Razgoniaev and recent Ph.D. graduate Giuseppe Giammanco are co-authors on the two papers published in 2016 and 2015 in Inorganic Chemistry and Chemistry of Materials, respectively. The 16 researchers’ work “highlights the exciting diversity of research surrounding the utilization, generation and/or manipulation of photons (fundamental particles of light),” according to the ACS. Ostrowski’s BGSU group’s research focuses on the development of photoresponsive materials that utilize metal coordination. The group is interested in understanding the fundamental photochemistry of these materials, specifically how the polymers affect the photochemical mechanisms and dynamics of the metal coordination groups. Her group’s publications highlighted by the ACS build on research by students in her lab on a method of making biomaterials light responsive. “These are just a few representative examples of new, promising classes of optomechanical materials that are poised to emerge from this laboratory,” wrote Dr. Felix Castellano in the editorial introduction to the virtual edition. Castellano is a former colleague of Ostrowski’s at BGSU’s Center for Photochemical Sciences. Ostrowski received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Occidental College in Los Angeles in 2004. She then completed her Ph.D. in 2010 at the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), where she received a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship fellowship. After receiving her doctorate, she was awarded a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at The Molecular Foundry, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


Top scientists engage youngsters in Kids’ Tech University at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Paul Morris knows that Kids’ Tech University presented at Bowling Green State University has a lot going for it. Each of the four weeks features an esteemed scientist who knows how to talk to children age 9 to 12 about their research. And then the kids have carefully designed activities related to the science that allow students to do the work of science themselves. Then there’s Morris’ hair. He sports a frizzy mop of white hair. Morris said he’s gotten enough comments on it, he’s decided to stop cutting his hair. “I look the part.” It’s a silly way to get across a key element of the program. “The idea that children are being directed by a real scientist that’s part of the excitement we want to capture.” Registration is now underway for the program that runs four Saturdays throughout the semester starting Feb. 11 and continuing Feb. 25, March 18, and April 8. Each starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. or so. Registration is $90. Visit http://kidstechuniversity-bgsu.vbi.vt.edu/. The mission is to get children excited about science, technology, engineering and math before they get into middle school. The Feb. 11 session will feature Dr. Jennifer M. DeBruyn, who works at the Body Farm in Tennessee, a lab which studies decomposition of human bodies. DeBruyn is a microbiologist who studies how all manner of matter decomposes. Her talk is: “Life after Death: Exploring the decomposer organisms that recycle corpses back to soil.” In the afternoon, Morris said, students will do an array of experiments involved in forensics, including fingerprinting and DNA analysis with the assistance of BGSU faculty and students. “The strategy is to enable them to meet and interact with scientists who talk about what they do, and as a second component we give them a variety of hands-on activities that we run that are related to speaker’s talk.” Morris said he looks for activities “that I think the children would expect to do at a university.” That includes using lab equipment. “We do a lot of microscope work.” As far as the speakers are concerned, he has an easy measure of their effectiveness: “To what extent is the speaker interrupted with questions, and how long does the speaker section extend with questions? If no questions, it’s a failure.” When his BGSU colleague Peg Yacobucci talked about dinosaurs and climate change, the kids asked questions for 40 minutes. Only once, in the first year, has that been a problem. In the first year one speaker got too technical, he said. “I’ve had talks that I thought were somewhat boring, but the kids loved it because it was a subject they really, really liked,” Morris said. “By and large I’ve been really pleased with the reaction the talks get. I’m glad I’m not doing it because I don’t know that I can live up to the standard.” He said he gets plenty of satisfaction recruiting other scholars and working directly with the children during the hands-on portion of the sessions. The other talks scheduled for the 2017 session are: “Life on Eight-Legs: Science and Discovery in the Enigmatic Archids” with Dr. Eileen Hebets, University of Nebraska, Feb. 25. “Roots – the hidden half of plants and how they are made” with Dr….


Ohio EPA: Lake Erie ‘impaired’ status unnecessary

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Commissioners were asked this year by an environmentalist to sign onto a request that Lake Erie’s Western Basin be declared “impaired.” They were also asked this year by a farmer to not seek the “impaired” designation. Not certain of the best course of action, the commissioners asked the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to help clear up the issue. But the issue seemed to get more complicated instead. “As clear as mud,” Karl Gebhardt said as he left the commissioners’ office on Tuesday. Gebhardt, deputy director of the Ohio EPA Water Resources and Lake Erie Programs and executive director of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, said the phosphorus causing algae problems in the lake is already being worked on by the state – and federal involvement is not needed. Ohio EPA officials hear the complaints: “Why is Lake Erie green? Why can’t my grandchildren go swimming in the lake?” But efforts are already underway, Gebhardt said. Based on the marine life in the lake, the shoreline of Lake Erie has already been declared “impaired.” And based on the water treatment steps needed, the areas of Lake Erie around water intakes have been declared “impaired.” The U.S. EPA would like Ohio to designate the Western Lake Erie Basin as impaired, Gebhardt said. But there is currently no science-based criteria for that designation. “We really want to base this on science,” he told the county commissioners. Ohio EPA officials have asked the U.S. EPA to establish “impaired” criteria for open waters. But so far, that has not been done. “We’re saying it’s multi-jurisdictional,” but the U.S. EPA wants each state to set standards, Gebhardt said. “We don’t feel it’s right to establish criteria that is just for Ohio.” “We have to look at the entire lake and not just Ohio’s portion,” he said. Gebhardt’s other concerns about labeling the lake as “impaired” are that “tag” stays with the lake for at least two years and there is no defined process to get rid of that label. “Do we really want the headlines and do we really want people to think it’s always impaired,” he asked. “We just want to be careful that we don’t put a tag on the lake that’s not warranted.” Gebhardt said Ohio EPA and the Ohio Lake Erie Commission already have a plan in place to limit the phosphorus creating algae in the lake. “We don’t really need the feds coming in and putting more regs on us,” he said. The U.S. EPA would require the region to identify sources of phosphorus and address the problem. “We’re already doing that.” An existing Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement with Canada has set the scientific standard that phosphorus entering the lake be reduced by 40 percent. That means Canada’s portion must be reduced by 300 metric tons, while the U.S. portion must drop by 2,300 metric tons. Originally, the plan was to start the reduction efforts in 2018. But Gov. John Kasich and Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler decided that was not soon enough. The plan looks at the primary sources, such as agriculture, septic systems and stormwater. “Everyone has a piece of this issue,” Gebhardt said. The Maumee River is the biggest contributor to the phosphorus levels in the lake,…


BGSU graduate Julia Arroyo receives sociology fellowship

BGSU alumna Julia Arroyo ’14 is one of five individuals selected for the American Sociological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program. The national program recognizes and supports exceptional minority Ph.D. candidates. Arroyo, who is pursuing a doctoral degree at the University of Florida, worked as a research assistant at the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at BGSU. Arroyo’s research interests include race and ethnicity, child welfare systems and families, children and youth. Her work promotes positive outcomes among racial-ethnic minority youth and youth in zero-parent households, which includes living with grandparents or foster parents, and creates space for their experiences in theories of their well-being. Her dissertation examines the changing prevalence and characteristics of zero-parent households in the United States. Applying qualitative and quantitative methods, it links the formation of these households, and the destinies of those within them, to broader social, economic and political circumstances. Arroyo’s co-authored works address historical change in women’s age at first birth and marriage, and child welfare caseworkers’ attitudes toward nonresident fathers. Among works that are forthcoming are an interdisciplinary brief on preventing children’s use of racial-ethnic stereotypes and a review of “Spheres of Influence” by Massey and Brodmann (2014). Her in-progress works problematize the role of caseworkers’ attitudes in father-engagement outcomes, critique measurements of family environments and characterize young adult pathways out of non-parental households. Her awards include the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research summer program’s Clifford C. Clogg Scholarship (2014); UF Sociology, Criminology and Law’s Gorman Award for Innovative Methods (2014), and the UF Connor Dissertation Award (2016). Learn more about the Minority Fellowship Program.


STEM in the Park makes learning loud, messy & fun

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Learning can be pretty loud and messy. Just ask the kids covered in foam bubbles. Or the kids making concrete. Or the ones building rockets. For the seventh year in a row, a whole lot of learning masqueraded as fun at STEM in the Park at Bowling Green State University on Saturday. “We want to make learning fun and we want to spark interest in the STEM fields” of science, technology, engineering and math, said Jenna Pollock, coordinator of the event organized by the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education. An estimated 5,000 grade school kids, their parents and volunteers showed up to play. All the events were hands-on, with the messier ones relegated to the outside. There was a “Cootie Camp,” where kids could enter a black tent to get a peek at the germs covering them. There was a giant foam machine shooting foamy bubbles all over kids. There was a sloth and a vulture from the Toledo Zoo. And yes, before you ask, this is education – just in a sneaky form. “We do make it fun,” Pollock said. “They are learning without thinking they are learning.” One outside tent was devoted completely to water issues. Children – and in some cases, their inquisitive parents – got to use a remotely operated vehicle, similar to those used by oceanographers to study shipwrecks and coral reefs that are too deep for divers to venture. “They go places man cannot,” explained Matt Debelak, of the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. Another display showed kids about erosion in watersheds. Powdered hot chocolate represented the dirt, powdered Kool-Aid represented pesticides. As the young scientists sprayed water onto the “terrain,” they could see how rain sends soil and pesticides into waterways. At a nearby display, dirt and roots were turned into a lesson on how plants can hang onto nutrients and water. “They are really into shaking the jars of dirt,” said Jessica Wilbarger, of the Lucas Soil & Water Conservation District. “They’re really impressed when the water reaches to bottom,” following along roots that extended about two feet deep. One of the hot spots of the STEM event was the foam pit, where an endless stream of bubbly foam was shooting out at kids. Jodi Recker, of Spark Enriched Classes for Children, called it a “sensory extravaganza.”  Next to the foam pit was a “bubble pond,” where kids dipped hoops and created giant bubbles.   “We are not constrained by a test,” Recker said. “We are here digging in, taking it to the kids’ level.” Kids were learning about the surface tension of bubbles and how foam is formed. “We are helping kids see that learning is for our whole lifetime,” she said. And experiments are good – whether they are successful or not. “You won’t know until you do it.” At the construction area, kids were pulling on ropes to see how pulleys make it easier to lift weight. They also got to make “concrete popsicles,” that set up in about 15 minutes. “It’s about as fast of a concrete lesson as we can do,” said Scott Gross, an instructor with the BGSU Construction Management program. Inside the Perry Field House, other experiments were taking place. Kids were looking through virtual reality…


Wendy Manning appointed president elect of national population association

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Dr. Wendy Manning, Distinguished Research Professor of sociology, is president-elect of the Population Association of America (PAA). She was elected to the position at the association’s recent conference. Manning, who is director of BGSU’s Center for Family and Demographic Research and co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research (NCFMR), begins her term in January 2017 and will be president in 2018. Her key duties include organizing the 2018 annual meeting and delivering the 2018 presidential address. “I am honored and excited about the position,” Manning said. She has been actively involved with PAA, serving on several committees, as a member of the board and as vice president. She credits the visibility and strong reputation of BGSU and her colleagues as an important factor in winning the election. Manning is a family demographer; her research examines how family members define and understand their obligations to each other in an era of increasingly diverse and complex family relationships. She led the research for the ASA Amicus Brief filed to the U.S. Supreme Court in same-sex marriage cases. She has examined the meaning of cohabitation with her work on the measurement of cohabitation, fertility in cohabiting unions, the stability of cohabiting unions, transitions to marriage and implications of cohabitation for adult and child well-being. Her work has focused on adolescent sexual decision-making as well as the patterning and quality of young adult relationships. “This is a significant achievement in Wendy’s exceptionally distinguished career,” said Dr. Susan Brown, NCFMR co-director with Manning and chair of the Department of Sociology. “Simply put, she is a luminary in demography. Her election as PAA president affirms the high esteem and regard she has earned in the field of population science. It’s a tremendous honor to have her as our colleague here at BGSU.”


BGSU hosting STEM in the park, Sept. 24

From BGSU MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS STEM in the Park, a free family day of hands-on fun at Bowling Green State University, will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Perry Field House, with plenty of free parking available. STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in the Park will feature interactive displays and activities created by community partners, local businesses and area universities to engage children of all ages in the STEM fields. More than 140 unique hands-on STEM activity stations will be offered for individuals and families to enjoy. This event allows participants to make ice cream, dabble in robotics, launch pop rockets, pet lizards and much more. Everyone who attends the event will receive an event map, take home free STEM materials and activity ideas, and enjoy a complimentary catered lunch. Last year’s event drew more than 4,300 visitors from northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Back by popular demand is the “Science of Sports” zone, which displays activity stations that examine how fast participants can run, how high participants can jump, and how far participants can throw a ball. New this year will be a golf simulator where participants can take part in the longest drive contest. A “Roots to STEM Pre K-2” zone also returns this year, which features activities that cater specifically to younger children. The STEM Stage will once again feature super-sized demonstrations from Imagination Station and the Soar & Explore Bird Show presented by the Toledo Zoo. New activities for 2016 include the H2O Zone, where visitors can explore the science behind all of water’s amazing uses; the Food Science Zone for budding food technologists; and the Digital Arts Animation Station for getting immersed in the world of virtual reality. Activity Station hosts include BGSU’s Marine Lab and Herpetarium, Verizon, Toledo Botanical Garden, Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West, Nature’s Nursery, Ohio Northern University Engineering, Wood County Hospital, plus more than 80 other institutions and organizations. STEM in the Park is the brainchild of Drs. Emilio and Lena Duran, both faculty members in BGSU’s College of Education and Human Development. Inspired by Literacy in the Park, an on-campus spring event that brings families in for a variety of literacy-boosting activities, STEM in the Park seeks to increase public engagement in the STEM disciplines. According to Jenna Pollock, education program manager, “the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education at BGSU (NWO) is committed to increasing attendance among low-income and at-risk children. For the fourth consecutive year we are able to provide transportation for families from several school districts in urban and low-income neighborhoods.” NWO organizes the free event on campus for the entire northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan community. NWO is a partnership among a number of area universities, K-12 schools, and community partners who all come together at this event to showcase innovation and educational opportunities and promote positive attitudes toward STEM teaching and learning. STEM in the Park’s Presenting Sponsors for 2016 are Bowling Green State University, BP, First Solar, Lubrizol, PPG and Verizon. Community Sponsors include Carolina Biological, Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education, Perrysburg Rotary Club, SSOE, Thayer Family Dealerships and The Andersons. AT&T, Biggby, BG Community Foundation, Bostdorff’s, Environmental Water Engineering, Master Chemical, Tony Packo’s and Walmart are General Sponsors. Visit…


The nose knows…more than we may suspect

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   It wasn’t exactly scientific, but the simple test did prove how powerful the sense of smell can be. At the request of Dr. Paul Moore, a professor of biology at Bowling Green State University, the roomful of adults plugged their noses, put the jelly beans in their mouths, started chewing and tasted nothing. The second their released their nostrils, the flavors came rushing in – apple, cherry, cinnamon. “As soon as you let go of your nose, you know,” Moore said to the members of the Bowling Green Kiwanis Club during their weekly meeting last Thursday. Moore has been studying the sense of smell for 30 years. “Every animal makes a lot of decisions based on smell,” including humans, he said. We often aren’t even aware of it, but smells play a big role in most people’s lives. Far back in history, the sense of smell was necessary for survival. “Odors played an essential role if you lived or died,” Moore said. Bitter odors would warn people the food was poisonous or meat had gone rancid. “It’s the most ancient sense we have,” he said. And the least explored. “It is the last frontier of the brain.” Unlike colors or noise, odors are more multi-dimensional and harder to define. “Odors don’t lie on a linear spectrum,” Moore explained. Odors are sometimes used to influence people’s behavior – often without them knowing. For example, it’s long been a tactic when trying to sell a house to add the smell of fresh baked items – with chocolate chip cookies being the best, Moore said. Auto dealers are now “branding” their dealerships with odors that potential buyers find appealing. There are “power odors” that are comparable to a “power suit” in the business world. Unlike sight and hearing, which call on the thinking part of the brain, the sense of smell calls on the subconscious. Smells evoke emotions and memories stronger than any other sense, Moore said. “You feel about it,” he said. “It’s almost like you have no control over it. They bring up these really rich, vivid memories.” Moore told of a man who lost his wife in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He found great comfort in spraying her perfume on her pillow. The scent evoked a powerful emotional connection. And unlike imperfect vision which can be corrected with glasses, and failing hearing that can be improved with hearing aids, there is no cure for people who can’t smell. “We have no way to fix the loss of smell,” Moore said. It has been found that people who lose that sense often experience depression. Moore told of studies performed in Germany where the subjects were asked to rate women in photographs. The people in a room with a pleasant rose smell rated the same women much higher than those people viewing the photos in a room with an unpleasant odor. The same conclusion occurred when the subjects were asked to judge the competency of the women in the photographs. The subtle smells affected the people in ways they didn’t even realize. Moore also talked about animals and their sense of smell. Eighty percent of a dog’s decisions are based on its nose, he said. Some dogs are being trained to smell certain…