BGSU trustees approving funding for College of Technology renovation

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News In technology time, 40 years is an eternity, so the irony that the 1971 building housing the College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering  hasn’t had a major upgrade since it was built in 1971 wasn’t lost on the Bowling Green State University Trustees. The board voted Friday to approve $9,315,000 to pay for complete renovation of the building. The total cost of the project is $10.4 million. The board had previously approve architecture and engineering costs. The project will be paid for by state capital appropriations. Chief Financial Officer Sheri Stoll reported that all the building’s systems will be replaced. The goal, she reported, will be to create interdisciplinary lab and classroom environments and a faculty office area that encourages student collaboration and interaction.  The building’s arrangement is “a bit odd,” , Stoll said, with two separate structures of more than 52,000 square feet, connected by a second floor lobby. The work will be done in phases. “We’re not emptying out the building.” The work is scheduled to be completed in summer, 2021. The trustees also recognized a “significant donation” by graduate Ray Marvin by naming the Center for Leadership, the C. Raymond Marvin Center for Student Leadership. Marvin is a 1960 graduate in liberal studies from BGSU. He went onto a career as an entrepreneur in technology and a distinguished career in law, including serving as an assistant attorney general and as a captain in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate Corps. Marvin said that he believes leadership is a crucial skill students need to develop. He also funds three cash awards for students engaged in developing leadership skills.  The trustees also approved the naming of a conference room in the Center for the Forensic Science after fellow trustee Betty Montgomery. Montgomery is a former state attorney general, who advocated for the expansion of crime investigation labs during her term.  The naming reflects donations by other members of the board of trustees to the project. President Rodney Rogers called her a “trailblazer,” and a role model, especially to female students.

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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 influence behavior.” Weinersmith said a workshop in forensics science at…

Library offers help getting the most out of digital devices

From WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARY Two workshops in January at the Wood County District Public Library (251 N. Main St., Bowling Green) will help demystify your tablets, smart phones, and other devices as well as get you ready to borrow free digital content. Kristin Wetzel, who works closely with the library’s digital content providers, will lead both workshops.  The first is Wednesday, January 17 at 10 a.m.  and the second workshop is Monday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m. Both workshops will take place in the second floor meeting room.  “We are offering the workshop at two times so people who are not available during the day can also take advantage of the training and get the most from their devices” said Wetzel.  “There is so much wonderful, free material to download from your library,” said Wetzel. “I have helped people who came straight to the library from the store with their devices still in a box.  When they leave the library they are ready to read, listen, or watch whatever they like,” she said.  Reservations are not required to attend the workshops. Additional personalized help with your technology and computer questions is available Monday through Friday by appointment.  To take advantage of this service, simply call ahead to 419-352-5050 for an appointment with library staff. “We have been asked when the next class on using computers will be offered, but we have found that computer classes leave a lot of people in the dark because the class doesn’t relate to people’s specific needs,” said Michele Raine, Assistant Director at WCDPL. “The appointments allow us to focus on exactly what people would like to learn during their appointment.” Appointments can cover everything from how to format a Microsoft Word document, how to set up basic commands in an Excel spreadsheet, or how to create contacts in your smart phone. For more information on either the workshops or the personal assistance appointments, contact WCDPL’s Information Services Department at 419-352-5050.

BGSU students help senior bridge the digital divide

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kate Magsamen-Conrad was inspired to create the course to help teach seniors about technology before she arrived on the Bowling Green State University campus. During the period of transition before starting to teach at BGSU she was home in the New York area. Given that she teaches media and communication, she was called upon to help her grandmother learn about the laptop that she’d gotten a year before and hadn’t touched. “It was really terrible,” Magsamen-Conrad said of the experience. She realized all the knowledge and technical savvy that’s a given when learning to use these devices.  “I can’t even think about all the different steps to do things.” Technology is everywhere, from the supermarket to the parking lot, and there’s so much potential for it to benefit elders. “But it’s underutilized … because they haven’t grown up with it and don’t have the familiarity.” So in spring 2013 the class was launched in collaboration with the Wood County Committee on Aging and the Wood County District Public Library. The class links elders with students from small group communication and a research methods classes. Earlier this month the most recent class graduated. Magsamen-Conrad said the class gives students a way to contribute to the community and put their learning to use in a way that matters. “This is a real human being who is going to benefit from your preparation for this assignment. I don’t think there’s a better way to improve presentation and professional skills.” Each class has about 30 seniors in it, though one class had about 60, she said. Many take the class several times, building on their knowledge. Jo Zbiegien, of Fostoria, said it was the fourth time she’s taken the course. “I got so frustrated not being able to find anything I wanted to find on my cell,” she said. Then her husband got her an iPad, and all she could figure out to do was play a few games and get text messages. Now the course has expanded her abilities.  Zbiegien has learned about the capabilities of Google and how to…

BG Schools takes drudgery out of math, science & tech

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For a few hours last month, the gym at Conneaut Elementary School was transformed into a wetlands, prairie, woodland and river. For one day last week, all of Bowling Green’s fourth graders took part in the BG Math Invasion 2017. And every week, girls are beating the odds by joining the “Girls Who Code” program held after school every Monday. This is science, math and technology being made fun. “They are really into it,” Nichole Simonis, fifth grade science and reading teacher at Conneaut said about the COSI on Wheels program. “They are so excited about science. They were talking about it all morning. They saw the COSI truck and started cheering.” The COSI visit was funded by an anonymous donor, Simonis said. This was not a typical science lesson, nor a typical science teacher. With her portable mic on her head, Alex Wilkins quickly paced around the gym and fired off questions to the kids about ecology, habitats, and food chains. In the prairie setting, one student was decked out with wings and fuzzy feet and told to “be a bumble bee.” She slurped the nectar off one flower and shared it with another. They talked about seeds. “So seeds don’t have legs. I’ve been walking all over this gym, but seeds can’t do that,” Wilkins said. So another student came up to turn on a giant fan to blow seeds across the gym. They talked about other seed options – like burrs sticking to pant legs. “That’s seeds being really sneaky,” Wilkins said. Then came the topic that triggered giggling among the students. Seeds also travel to other sites when animals like bears eat them. “Every animal does it – they poop,” Wilkins said. “Poop is really high in nutrients. That seed comes out ready to grow.” Next, in the river area, the students learned little tidbits like American bullfrogs have no necks, large mouth bass are carnivorous, Eastern box turtles’ shells grow with them, and dragonflies can fly upside down. “Which is pretty cool, not a lot of bugs…

BGSU marks Jerome Library’s 50th year

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Fitting for a library that doubles as a work of art, Jerome Library will unveil a new piece at its celebration of the 50th anniversary. The program will start at 4 p.m. Friday. There’ll be short presentations on the history of the library as well as a presentation by Librarian Amy Fry on the mural. Then a piece by sculptor and book artist Vince Koloski, that draws inspiration from those murals, will be unveiled. The eight-story tall building with six floors of abstract art running up both the west and east faces first opened in 1967. Dean of University Libraries Sara Bushong said she’s been assured by the artist Donald Drumm that the designs have no hidden meaning. Bushong said that at the time, students “either loved it or thought it was the most atrocious thing they’d ever seen.” Now it’s hard to imagine campus without it. While the mural has been a constant landmark on campus over the past 50 years the services within it have evolved. When it was built it was devoted mostly to stacks of books. Now every one of its floors have been repurposed, sometimes several times over, Bushong said. The change is most evident on the first floor. “The goal is to have the first floor to be a very student services focused,” she said. The floor hosts the Learning Commons, Student Athletic Services, and, most recently, the Collab Lab. And, she added, “we’re still circulating books, which is good.” A member of the accreditation team for the architecture program commented that he was “impressed with how many people were coming in the building,” Bushong said. “There’s a lot of reasons to come here.” The library has about 450,000 visitors a year, that’s students, faculty, community member, and tour groups. The library went up in the midst of a university building boom. With its step down entrance and the dramatic murals, it was intended to add contrast to the flat landscape, Bushong said. Like any 50-year-old structure it has shown its age. The battle against leaks has been…

Daniel Eisinger: Energy Star program should be maintained

As a business owner, I do not use the term “invest” lightly. As anyone with a mind for business knows, a favorable return on investment (ROI) signifies a prudential investment. Some simple math will illustrate the point. Imagine a program that has saved Americans $430 billion since 1992 at a cost of roughly $50 million per year; the programmatic profit (herein meaning America’s saved capital expenses), is $428 billion. By dividing this profit by the total invest of $1.25 billion, we find that the ROI of said program is 343%, or roughly 13.72% per year. But this ROI is very real, since the above example is actually of the Energy Star Program. Energy efficiency is the driver behind Energy Star’s ROI. Individuals and businesses pay lower utility bills because they are using (or losing) less electricity, water, heat, etc., and my business provides the analyses that illustrate where money can be recouped through greater energy efficiency. To discontinue the Energy Star program would be senseless. The program beautifully models the interplay of efficient free-market economics and effective public policy. Washington must act prudently; continue investing in America by investing in Energy Star. Dan Eisinger Toledo