Head of the Class
By Shay Carroll
Two alumnae from the College of Education and Human Development recently won teaching awards for their outstanding work as educators.
Alyssa Lustgarten received the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics Emerging Leader Award, which is presented to a teacher with either fewer than five years of experience or a pre-service teacher who has demonstrated initial leadership within mathematics education in the state of Ohio.
In addition to her work as a teacher, Lustgarten has worked as an executive leader for BGSU’s Math Camps, served as president of the Bowling Green Council of Teachers of Mathematics (BGCTM) and presented six times at the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics (OCTM) Conference and at Women in STEM.
“I chose BGSU for my undergraduate career because I was accepted into the Choose Ohio First Science and Math Education in ACTION program, the only STEM-based teacher education program of its kind,” Lustgarten explained. “I knew the program would provide me with a strong support system during college as well as provide me with undergraduate research opportunities.”
Later, Lustgarten attended BGSU for her graduate degree as well, where she earned a graduate assistantship position through the School of Teaching and Learning alongside Dr. Gabriel Matney, who nominated Lustgarten for her teaching award.
Alumna Lyndsey Eicher Fox received the Ohio Middle Level Association Northwest Ohio Regional Award, which is intended to acknowledge middle school level teachers who are outstanding in supporting all learners. Nominated by her colleague Melissa Stanton, Fox received her award due to her hands-on teaching strategies and interest in making sure her students know about the topics she covers in class versus sticking to one way of assessing.
“Throughout my four years in the education program, I was offered a variety of classes that prepared me for my teaching career,” Fox said. “Many of my education courses took place in small class settings, which made it possible for instructors to form connections with students and teach using hands-on techniques.”
Fox also said that in addition to the outstanding education program, the BGSU Honors Program helped enhance her overall college experience, providing her with opportunities to develop both critical-thinking skills, as well as a focus on her educational areas of interest. Lustgarten agreed, saying that BGSU provided her with multiple opportunities to serve in leadership positions, attend professional development sessions and work with students in the local community.
Both teachers noted how the professors at BGSU helped prepare them for their future career by teaching them the importance of engaging students in interactive, inquiry-based lessons and passing on their evident passion for education.
“Some of the most valuable information that I obtained from BGSU came from my instructors modeling and teaching successful sample lessons and activities related to my teaching content area,” Fox explained. “These experiences provided me with a comprehensive toolbox of teaching strategies that I can now utilize daily in my life as a teacher.”
Throughout their career at BGSU, both Lustgarten and Fox were given the opportunity to learn and expand their knowledge about topics that interest them. In addition, through learning, they are now able to pass on their knowledge to their students and help them develop important life skills like critical thinking and problem solving.
“These skills and knowledge are invaluable in future careers, Fox said. “I would advise that students soak up every single experience during college. It is a wonderful place with many amazing opportunities. Be as involved as you can.”
Lustgarten agreed, saying that students should welcome every opportunity that presents itself.
“My other piece of advice for BGSU students is to build relationships with their peers, colleagues and professors,” Lustgarten said. “This helps in establishing a strong network of mentors to guide and support you, which will then help you to achieve your professional goals.”