STEM in the Park embraces every day science & fun

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – are infused in daily living. Don’t believe it? Take a stroll through STEM in the Park that sprawled inside and outside of the Bowling Green State University Field House Saturday. You’ll see feats of engineering, and owls, starfish and other fauna from around the world, and bottles with multicolored water  that illustrate the ocean layers. You’ll also see kids making pizza dough, and taking those first tentative sounds on musical instruments. You’ll see kids tumbling and watching bubbles float high above them. And don’t forget the slime. That was the favorite of Melissa Works’ four children, age 4 to 10. Logan, 8, was especially enthusiastic about the slime, his sister Rozlyn, 6, liked the bubbles and gymnastics, and all including Benjamin, 10, and Serena. 4, were enjoying the free hot dog and mac and cheese lunch provided by Tony Packo’s. Well, Serena was more interested in leaving her mark with a crayon to the paper table coverings. Work said that the activities held the interest of her crew. They still had the outside to explore, she said. This is the eighth year the event has been staged on the campus of Bowling Green State University, Emilio Duran, who teaches in the College of Education and Human Development, said the idea for the event first occurred to him and his wife, Lena Duran, who also teaches in the college. The college, they realized, offers many events for students and teachers. “We wanted to do something for families,” Duran said. “This is a community event. It’s about learning about science together.” The event is presented by Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education. People don’t realize that STEM can be fun, he said. The first year drew about 1,200 people. “It keeps growing and growing.” Duran estimates about 6,000 people will attend STEM in the Park this year. There are more booths, about 160 and activities about 180. “It’s all hands-on,” Duran said. “This is the essence of the event. You always have to do something. That’s how you learn science, not observing and listening. You do science.” Those activities appeal to a range of ages. The organizers work all year, he said. Much of that work involves rounding up the corporate support that makes the event possible. Student volunteers working at booths are another key element, he said. Three students in the Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science program were taking a lunch break from their volunteer duties. Griffin Spilman, who is studying to be a veterinarian, was helping kids make kaleidoscopes. He, Denaja Haygood, and Kapri Burnett said they all enjoyed seeing how they kids reacted to the various activities. “It’s nice to see the excitement on their faces,” Haygood, a biochemistry major, said….

All Wheels and Robotics theme of STEM in the Park, Sept. 23

STEM in the Park, a free, family day of hands-on displays and activities geared toward science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Bowling Green State University, will feature two new, must-see zones Sept. 23: All Wheels and Robotics. Participants can get their wheels turning with STEM by encountering all types of wheels, tires and gears in motion in the All Wheels Zone. Sponsored by Thayer Dealerships, this zone features The Right Direction, a local organization whose mission is to empower youth by increasing action sports’ impact and access as a tool for positive youth development. “We are thrilled to have The Right Direction at STEM in the Park this year, especially because of its strong positive message for youth, its STEM application in physical science concepts and the high-energy demonstrations,” said Jenna Pollock, STEM in the Park coordinator. In the Robotics Zone, participants will interact with organizations that highlight cutting-edge technology involved with the design, construction, operation and application of robots. More than 150 unique, hands-on STEM activity stations will be offered at STEM in the Park, which will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Perry Field House. Community partners, local businesses and area universities created the interactive displays and activities to engage children of all ages in the STEM fields. Back by popular demand for the eighth annual event are the Food Science Zone, the Digital Media Zone, the high-energy Science of Sports Zone and the H2O Zone, which explores the science behind all of water’s amazing uses. As part of Food Science Zone, attendees are invited to bring a food or basic household/personal care item to donate to Food for Thoughts. Donations will be taken to the Cocoon Shelter. A Roots to STEM Pre K-2 Zone is also back this year, featuring activities that cater specifically to younger children. The STEM stage will once again feature super-sized demos from the Imagination Station and the Toledo Zoo. Activity station hosts include BGSU’s Marine Lab and Herpetarium, SSOE, Verizon, Challenger Learning Center of Lake Erie West, Nature’s Nursery, Toledo Zoo and 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, and seeks to increase public engagement in the STEM disciplines in a family-friendly atmosphere. The event allows participants to become a food technologist, dabble in robotics, launch pop rockets, pet lizards, take home free STEM activities and much more. Everyone who attends the event will receive take-home materials, activity ideas and a complimentary catered lunch from Tony Packo’s. Parking is free. NWO, the Northwest Ohio Center for Excellence in STEM Education, organizes the free event on campus and is committed to increasing attendance among low-income and at-risk children. For the fifth consecutive year, transportation will…

Collab Lab aims to make its mark by sparking innovation at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Collab Lab in Bowling Green State University’s Jerome Library has plenty of top notch technology—virtual reality headsets, video for 3D modeling, 3D scanner and printers, laser etchers, a suite of graphic programs, and markers. “You never want to be out of reach of a marker and a dry erase board,” said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director. All the high-tech equipment is ready at hand and in its place – at the periphery of the lab. The center of the space are comfortable chairs, arranged in semi-circles, partitioned off with white boards. Other prototyping materials are ready at hand, sheets of butcher paper, pipe cleaners, and magnets. These humble tools are “things that will help you get your ideas out of your head and tangible,” Schnepp said. The Collab Lab opened last week. It was funded with money from the state’s Next Frontier fund. The university received about $350,000 in state money, which it then matched. ( The lab is opened to students, staff and faculty from all disciplines, Schnepp said. The idea is to foster cross-disciplinary collaborations. The lab is also open to community members, as a way of spurring entrepreneurial ideas. The mission of the lab is not to bring innovations to fruition, but rather to germinate the ideas. On a recent morning Emily Aquilar, of the Department of Theatre and Film faculty, was on hand with a number of her students. She directs the Treehouse Troupe. The troupe will present Dennis Foon’s “New Kid” at area elementary and middle schools this fall. She brought her students to the Collab Lab to work on the teaching materials that will go along with the show. Khadirah Hobbs, a marketing major, was busy working up a presentation for a client about an advertising campaign. She said she loves the space. “I like the way it flows.” It has technology she needs. The space itself is inviting, encouraging conversation. “It has an executive feel.” In developing the lab, Schnepp said, he drew on expertise from faculty across the university. Designing it involved the kind of collaboration the space hopes to encourage. There were discussions of various locations for the lab before deciding on placing it on the first floor of the library. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said earlier this summer as the intellectual heart of the university, the library was the best place for the Collab Lab. The space had been used as a computer lab and two classrooms. In developing the Collab Lab the first charge was it not look like a computer lab. The lab employs a dozen students as digital media assistants. Schnepp said that there’s no metric to measure the lab’s success. How the lab is used is the true test of whether it’s working….

Net neutrality backers target Latta with billboard

From FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE Today (Tuesday, Aug. 29) digital rights organization Fight for the Future unveiled 3 more crowdfunded billboards targeting Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers,  Bob Latta, and Greg Walden, members of Congress who have publicly supported the FCC’s efforts to gut net neutrality protections that keep the web free from censorship, throttling, and extra fees. The three new billboards are the latest in an ongoing campaign focused on lawmakers who oppose Internet freedom. Earlier this month the group launched an initial round of net neutrality billboards targeting six different lawmakers in states across the country. The move comes just hours before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their controversial plan to repeal net neutrality. With lawmakers still in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in three different states. Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters — including Republicans — overwhelmingly oppose it. The billboards encourage constituents to contact their elected representatives; for example, Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden’s (R-OR) billboard in Medford, Oregon asks, “Want slower, more expensive Internet? Rep. Walden supports CenturyLink’s plan to destroy net neutrality. Ask him why: (541) 776-4646.” The outdoor ads feature some of the few members of Congress who came out with early support for FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules, including: Spokane, WA – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (N. Monroe Street at W. Broadway Ave) Findlay, OH – Rep. Bob Latta (corner of E Main Cross St and East St.) Medford, OR – Rep. Greg Walden (N. Pacific Hwy at Elm Ave) “It doesn’t matter which party you’re in, or how charming you are on TV — if you attack net neutrality and Internet freedom we will make sure everyone knows that you’re corrupt to the core” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “every member of Congress should take note: supporting the FCC’s plan to allow censorship, throttling, and price gouging may get you a few extra campaign donations from big telecom companies, but it will infuriate your constituents, and will come with a serious political cost.” The billboards highlight the increasing scrutiny on Congress – who have important oversight authority over the FCC. With no viable legislation on the table, net neutrality supporters remain opposed to any attempt at legislation that would undermine the strong rules at the FCC, which were…

‘Making It’ camp builds kids’ interest in manufacturing

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Their assignment was serious: Design a glider that can carry a spectrometer over Lake Erie to identify algal blooms before they reach dangerous levels. Their supplies were not so serious: A shoe box, cardboard, duct tape, popsicle sticks, yarn, aluminum foil, Saran wrap and pennies. The young engineers were middle school students, mostly from Bowling Green, who signed up last month for a five-day manufacturing camp, called “Making It.” The camp was designed to help Wood County students learn about manufacturing, teamwork and local production facilities. In addition to spending one day engineering gliders at Bowling Green State University, the students also visited manufacturing sites in Wood County, including Owens-Illinois, Home Depot, Lubrizol and Northwood Industries. Students toured each of the sites to get a better picture of what modern industries look like. Penta Career Center also hosted an advanced manufacturing lab using robotics. The goal was to show students that manufacturing no longer means repetitive, thoughtless processes. In many cases, it involved high-tech engineering skills. “This is some really good hands-on experience,” said Maria Simon, of Wood County District Public Library, which was one of the camp sponsors. “It’s not just ‘Let’s make a glider.’ But let’s make one that does what we want it to do.” As the students struggled with their gliders, they heard from two NASA engineers from the Glenn Research Center, Nicole Smith and Eric Reed. “I hear you guys are going to be doing some pretty incredible stuff this week,” Smith said. Both women work with the Orion spacecraft in Sandusky. Smith is an aerospace engineer. “That actually does make me a rocket scientist. You can make all the jokes you want,” she said with a grin. Reed works on the vacuum chamber and contamination control for the spacecraft. “Our technicians won’t be eating cheeseballs,” Smith joked. Both women talked about the thrill of being part of a project that will help humans reach Mars. “We are pushing beyond what we’ve ever done before,” Reed said. “This is why I went to school,” Smith said. They encouraged the students to not give up in school – even when it gets really tough. “I got Cs in physics. I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. “I failed the first physics test I took in my life,” Reed said. “Don’t give up. It’s pretty tough stuff, but it’s so rewarding,” Smith said. And never be afraid to be smart, they added. “Let’s be honest, it is really cool to be smart,” Smith said. Helping to organize the camp was the office of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. Community partners for the camp included BGSU, Wood County Economic Development Commission, Ohio Means Jobs Wood County, Bowling Green City Schools, Northwest Ohio for Excellence in STEM Education, Wood County District Public…

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 subliminal messages out there – that’s just not what women do,” Wooldridge said of STEM careers. Many STEM professions are still male-dominated. “Computer science is tough to break into,” she said. By the end of the week, the girls should have no doubt that they are mightier than the glass ceiling that may have held back earlier generations. “It’s interesting to watch the change in the girls,” Wooldridge said. In addition to core courses and workshops, the girls also go on field trips and have chances to talk to women who have made their careers in STEM professions. The girls visited Owens-Illinois, where they met with women researchers. “They have a large group of women in STEM,” Wooldridge said of O-I. “We are letting them see other women in STEM…

Programs on using iPad & books for WWI soldiers on tap at library

Submitted by WOOD COUNTY DISTRICT LIBRARY Each Monday in June (6/ 5, 6/12, 6/19, and 6/26) the Wood County District Public Library (Bowling Green) offers iPad for Beginners classes in its 2nd Floor Meeting Room. Class sessions start at 11 am, and will cover new material each week. The workshops will provide an easy-going, fun environment in which to explore the basic functions of your iPad. Areas covered include: the hardware, settings, navigation, app basics. Registration required. To register, call 419-352-5050. Join us Tuesday, June 6 at 7 pm, for “Books Wanted for Our Men Over There.” Learn how the Library War Service, established in 1917 by the American Library Association, used money from private donations to create camp libraries and distribute over 7 million books and magazines to U.S. soldiers serving in World War I. WCDPL’s Michele Raine shares the history of this service and insights into the impact access to books had on those serving in the war. 2nd Floor Meeting Room. All programs are free and open to all. For more information, contact the library at 419-352-5104,

BGSU taps state grant to get ideas flowing at Collab-Lab

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A state Third Frontier grant will help Bowling Green State University launch new research, teaching and commercial ideas. The money comes part of $8.7 million in funding that’s half state money and half matching funds from the institutions. The money was awarded  to NextTech, a collaborative organization comprised of BGSU, Mercy Health, ProMedica, and the University of Toledo, which is the Entrepreneurial Service Provider for Northwest Ohio. Michael Ogawa, BGSU vice president for research and economic engagement, said the university’s share is about $707,000, half from the state, half from BGSU. That money will help to create the Collab-Lab, a new initiative to help faculty staff, and students work together to create new ideas. The lab will be in the first floor of Jerome Library, across from the elevators. Now there’s a technical support lab and a classroom in the space. That area, said Jerry Schnepp, the lab director, will be gutted to create a 2,000-square foot lab. Work begins May 10 and the lab will open of the start of the fall semester. The library as the intellectual heart of campus is the right place for the lab, Ogawa said. Though the space itself isn’t open, the initiative is already getting the ideas flowing. Schnepp said he’s been approached by faculty members who have ideas but need other skills to bring it to fruition. Workshops have been held to bring together faculty members, who have ideas to share, with other colleagues. One of the matches was someone from Women’s Study who has a store of oral histories with a librarian who had a knowledge of metadata that can be used to make the information in the interviews more accessible. Schnepp said he hopes the lab draws in people from a wide range of academic areas. The lab will be intended to get ideas started, not necessarily bring them to fruition. If a product needs further development that work can be done at the University of Toledo’s Launch Pad or Pro Medica’s business incubator. Together all the partners form an ecosystem for innovation, Schnepp said. The Collab-Lab is a good fit for BGSU, Ogawa said. BGSU has neither an engineering nor medical school. Those fields typically generate a lot of ideas for technology. What BGSU offers is “not as natural a link to the business sector,” he said. “The question is how do we begin to start activities in an entrepreneurial space? BGSU has strengths education, visual communications technology, data science, and computer science. “That could be our tech base,” he said. In visiting other institutions with similar facilities, including Harvard, MIT, and Case-Western, they were told “not to get too caught up in the technology,” Schnepp said. The space will have 3D printers, laser etcher, a 3D scanner, a visual reality station, and…

Phishing attack hits several BGSU employees in pocketbook

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Four university employees recently had their banking information hacked, with three having their pay redirected, and one of them had a fraudulent tax return filed by hackers. John Ellinger, the university’s chief information officer, reported on the incidents at Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting. He did not notify campus through a mass email because he did not want to tip off the hackers about how the university was responding. He assured the senate that no university data had been accessed. However, the way that information could be endanger is if hackers find a pathway using personal data of those who have access to university information. Ellinger said the problems began in January when the employees – three faculty and one staff member – clicked on a phishing e-mail originating from an account at Texas Tech. The e-mail subject line read “get you pay here.” With that connection, he said, the hackers were able to shadow the accounts. None of the four had completed the new Duo security protocol being implemented on the university’s MyBGSU system. As of today everyone will have to have signed in the two-step authentication process to access MyBGSU. Using information culled from the shadowing, the hackers were able to get onto MyBGSU and set up Duo accounts. Once there, they changed the routing for the employees’ direct deposits. Ellinger said that unlike in the past, these hackers were astute enough to send the paychecks to four different accounts set up at four different overseas banks to avoid detection. They used burner phones with four different area codes to supply the needed telephone number. One employee discovered the change before the pay was rerouted, three, however, did not and only realized the problem when their pay did not appear in their bank accounts. The university was able to make those employees whole. However, the hackers did file a tax return for one employee, who “is now in limbo land where the IRS has to determine who is authentic,” Ellinger said. Ellinger said that the incidences of compromised accounts “where someone has given away their password” to a hacker, is skyrocketing. In 2015, the university had 250 compromised accounts. In 2016 that number jumped to 1000. In 2017 already as of March 14, 450 accounts have been compromised. The activity has spiked in the last 90 days in institutions around the country, Ellinger said. His only explanation was that there is money to be made through phishing by waylaying pay and tax returns and by stealing personal data, including Social Security numbers, that exposes someone to other forms of fraud. He said that BGSU is the first Ohio public university to make the two-step authentication required for access to its system. Compliance was 95 percent as of Tuesday afternoon, and more are signing…

Air Force & School of Human Movement, Sport & Leisure Studies form partnership

From 88th Air Base Wing Office of Public Affairs The Air Force Research Laboratory’s 711th Human Performance Wing has signed an Educational Partnership Agreement with Bowling Green State University’s School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies due to a mutual interest in the areas of human biomechanics and three-dimensional (3D) motion analysis. An EPA is a type of technology transfer agreement between a federal laboratory and an educational institution that enables the transfer or development of technological resources and applications, such as equipment, facilities and professional expertise. Under this agreement, AFRL’s 711th Human Performance Wing and Bowling Green State University, a public university in Ohio, collaboratively developed research projects to be conducted at BGSU. The 711 HPW loaned motion analysis equipment to BGSU, which enabled BGSU students and faculty to conduct research of benefit to both parties. Several research papers have been published regarding the multiple projects that were conducted through the equipment loan. “The purpose of the EPA is to encourage and enhance study in scientific disciplines. AFRL/711 HPW found that working with BGSU was mutually beneficial and validated the importance of partnering with academia,” said Jennifer Whitestone, biomedical engineer, AFRL 711 HPW. “Sharing technologies and assets with our BGSU colleagues offers a unique collaborative opportunity that can lead to new ideas, innovations, and solutions to help solve our current Air Force challenges as we help to develop the bright young minds that will become part of tomorrow’s workforce.” Access to collaborative resources allowed researchers to analyze concealed objects of various sizes in the torso and the changes that occurred to the size, shape and motion of an individual. The datasets collected are expected to result in improvements of defense and security processes for the military. Research efforts were also made in the area of simulated entry control point development for evaluating human deception and its influence on human dynamics when individuals were near a simulated air base, town or other restricted security checkpoint. When illegal objects made it through the checkpoint undetected, individuals received a monetary incentive of $100. Projects of interest to the School of Human Movement, Sport and Leisure Studies have been conducted to analyze soccer kicking and hockey slap shot techniques. Results from this research included a discovery in the differences between how skilled and unskilled soccer players use the torso when kicking and developing novel gait assessment models for a specialized non-motorized treadmill. “The partnership with AFRL has helped every facet of our research to grow and has added significantly to our opportunities for student instruction,” said Dr. Matt Laurent, an associate professor of exercise physiology at BGSU. This agreement supports the Air Force goal of promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM education. In addition, undergraduate and graduate students of BGSU were also provided with invaluable opportunities to participate in innovative research….

Peace Lutheran powers Christian mission with light from the sun

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Peace Lutheran demonstrates its faith by the cross that rises high atop its steeple. The solar panels that were installed recently are also a demonstration of the congregation’s faith. “Here’s a faith expression that God is resourceful and generous,” said Pastor Deb Conklin. The solar panels fit in its Creation Care ministry. The solar panels were paid for by a behest from long-time neighbors Leonard and Margaret David. On Sunday, Feb. 5, at 10:30 a.m. the church will dedicate and give thanks for the solar panels and donation as part of its 10:30 a.m. worship experience. The donation was a surprise, Conklin said. The Davises were not members of a congregation, though Mrs. Davis did attend some of the church’s many community functions. Conklin had already been considering what environmental action the church could do and had attended an Ohio Interfaith Power & Light conference. She’d also discussed the environment and what the church could do with local activist Neocles Leontis. Then in 2014 the lawyer handling the Davis estate stopped by the church with a $5,000 check. That was, he informed her, just the start. She wasn’t at the church, she said, when the rest came. A check for $120,000. Conklin said the church already had a vision fund in place and that’s where the money was put. Working with Harvest Energy Solutions of Jackson Michigan, the solar panels were installed this winter, and have been operating for several weeks. The contractor also provided an app that allows the congregation to monitor how much electricity is being produced. Conklin said the church expects to save 25 percent on its utility bill with the solar panels. That won’t just come off the budget’s bottom-line, she said. That money will be used for its ministry. “That’s what’s important,” she said, “not to save money for us but to do more ministry.” That means “to enhance our vision to create a Christ connection to the community.” The goal is not to proselytize “but we’re trying to connect people with the best in Christ.” Part of that is being good stewards of the earth and its resources. It’s up to people to use what God gives them and that includes science, to take care of the creation, the pastor said. Using solar power is a way of achieving that by reducing the church’s carbon footprint. The solar panels are not the only way the church is looking to reduce its carbon footprint. The church is working with Ohio Interfaith Power & Light and its Energy Stewards program to monitor and analyze its energy use and to advocate for creation care and smart energy consumption. It has also upgraded to LED lighting .The church purchased a solar picnic table equipped with lighting and outlets. The church is also using…

LEGO teams face off in robot tourney at BGSU

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS Bowling Green State University will host a FIRST LEGO League event Saturday, Jan. 14 on the second floor of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Guided by adult coaches, FIRST LEGO League teams research a real-world problem such as food safety, recycling or energy and are challenged to develop a solution. They must also design, build and program a robot using LEGO MINDSTORMS technology, then compete on a tabletop playing field. This event, organized by the Sylvania STEM Center, northwest Ohio’s regional gathering space for STEM education and exploration, consists of teams of students in grades four through eight. This year’s challenge is Animal Allies and teams have been tasked to identify a problem when people and animals interact and design a solution that makes the interaction better for animals, people or both. This tournament is the second-level competition for 23 teams from northwest Ohio. Each of these teams earned their place in the tournament by securing top spots at regional tournaments. The top nine teams will advance to the state championship in Dayton in February. FIRST LEGO League allows kids to combine science, technology, engineering and math concepts with imagination to solve a problem. During the process, they also develop critical thinking and team-building skills. The BGSU College of Technology, Architecture and Applied Engineering is supporting the event by paying for the venue and volunteering. To date, more than 255,000 kids have participated in 1,464 FIRST LEGO League events in 88 countries. WHAT: Second-level FIRST LEGO League competition WHO: 23 fourth- through eighth-grade teams from northwest Ohio WHEN: noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14; an opening ceremony parade begins at noonin the Lenhart Grand Ballroom of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union WHERE: BGSU Bowen-Thompson Student Union

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 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…

Faculty Senate acts on degrees in aviation, software engineering

 By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate last week took action on degrees in aviation and software engineering. Now students who study aviation at BGSU get a Bachelor’s of Science in Technology degree. That doesn’t reflect what they’ve spent four years studying, said Carl Braun, the liaison for the aviation program. When BGSU graduates apply for aviation jobs, they face questions about exactly what that degree means. “This helps the industry recognize Bowling Green as having an aviation program,” Braun said. For students, he said, “they finally get to have a reflection of their four years of hard work.” The new degree, Braun said, is simply a name change which he expects will go in place next fall. And despite requests by some alumni, it will not be retroactive. The senate also approved a new degree a Bachelor’s Science in Software Engineering. Robert Dyer, a professor of computer science, said there’s a growing need, about 17 percent a year, for software engineers. “We see a lot of demand in industry,” he said. “They want software engineers. … Software drives everything we do.” This will be only the second such program in the state, and one of the few in the region. Jake Lee, professor of computer science, said the course will require 40 credit hours with another nine electives. The curriculum was developed, he said, with an eye toward achieving accreditation by the Association of Computing Machinery. Both resolutions passed unanimously. At the meeting, Provost Rodney Rogers said BGSU was looking into adopting a 15-week semester. This comes as the University of Toledo and Owens Community College move to that calendar. The three institutions closely collaborate some programs. Having a 15-week semester would allow the university to offer a brief winter session in January during which students could take a course.    

BG Women in Computing gets Google grant

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The BG Women in Computing (BGWIC) student organization at the University has received a Google igniteCS grant for a proposed mentorship program benefiting middle school girls (grades 5-8). The $10,000 grant to promote computer science education provides funding and resources for Code4Her, a new computer science mentorship program for girls. Proposed and administered by BGWIC, the program will connect middle school-aged girls with BGWIC mentors to learn about computer programming. In the session that will begin in January 2017, lessons will be come through exploration of Lego EV3 Mindstorms robots. Each girl will work with her own BGSU student mentor; the mentors are all computer science majors and BGWIC members. “Our members are very passionate about supporting girls in computer science, and we wanted to expand our outreach to the community,” said Rebeccah Knoop, BGWIC president. “We have deep admiration for Google’s commitment to making computer science accessible to all, so we are incredibly honored to have been selected. We are not a large organization, but we believe that we can have a great impact on the community and are very thankful to igniteCS for recognizing that and supporting our program.” The Google igniteCS website indicates only one other program in Ohio has received funding. “This is a wonderful opportunity for the middle school girls and the BGSU student mentors,” said BGWIC adviser Jadwiga Carlson, a computer science faculty member. “The girls are paired with BGWIC members to learn about programming and computer science education. The BGWIC members are able to share their enthusiasm and interest in computer science in hopes of encouraging the girls to pursue computer science careers.” Knoop pointed out that she and other members of BGWIC did not have access to computer science education until college. “We are beyond excited to give these girls that opportunity. We want to introduce young women to programming concepts in a fun way and inspire them to pursue computer science in the future.” According to Google igniteCS website, the company is “committed to developing programs, resources, tools and community partnerships which make computer science engaging and accessible for all students.” A computer science education offers “a pathway to innovation, creativity and exciting career opportunities.” BGWIC’s inaugural session will be held from 1:30-4 p.m. in 020 Hayes Hall computer lab on five Sundays starting in January: Jan. 22, Feb. 19, March 19, April 2 and April 23. Spaces are limited; registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will close Dec. 9. All forms and additional information can be found on the CODE4her website. For more information, contact Carlson at or 419-372-8704.