‘Lived and breathed Math Camp’

BGSU senior Kelly Largent receives 2017 Charles J. Ping Student Service Award for leadership, community service

Largent KellyBowling Green State University senior Kelly Largent recently received the Charles J. Ping Student Service Award from Ohio Campus Compact.

The Charles J. Ping Student Service Award was designed to recognize and honor Ohio Campus Compact member undergraduate students for their outstanding leadership and contributions to community service or service-learning on their campus and within their community. These students represent the next generation of civic leaders and problem solvers. 

Largent was nominated for the award by BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey.

“Throughout my college experience at Bowling Green State University, it could be said that I have lived and breathed Math Camp,” Largent said. “While I have been highly involved in other service opportunities such as MLK Day of Service, tutoring programs and opening weekend events, the experiences I am most grateful for are those involving Math Camp.”

Largent, a middle childhood education major from Strongsville, Ohio, said BGSU’s version of Math Camp stems from Thailand’s Kamphaeng Phet Rajabhat University, where preservice teachers serve local grade schools in day-long math adventures in an exciting camp-like atmosphere.

BGSU preservice teachers volunteer their time on Saturdays, traveling to schools in northwest Ohio to impact the lives of students in first through eighth grade. Largent most recently volunteered for the Napoleon Elementary School Math Camp on Feb. 25. She led teams of students in a problem-solving activity and assisted with the other team-building and energizing components of the camp.

“On my drive home, I reflected on the day with great pride and joy,” said Largent, who also previously served on the Executive Math Camp Leadership Team as the station's coordinator for a year. “This made me responsible for creating several new mathematical and problem-solving stations for a variety of age groups as well as working with a team of leaders to plan the logistics of Math Camp.”

Countless hours of research, brainstorming and innovating went into Largent’s leadership role. It even took her across the world for two weeks to Thailand, where she learned new ideas and strategies from the KPRU students.

“I can easily say Math Camp tremendously impacted me as a person and a future teacher, which is why I was so reflective when I left Napoleon Elementary.

Volunteering at Math Camps over the past year, as a former leadership team member, has given Largent time to reflect on the impact the program makes on the communities it serves, the University students who volunteer and her own growth.

“Elementary and middle schools welcome us back each year because they see that their students have become more engaged and more confident in their own abilities to problem solve and use mathematical reasoning,” she said. “At every camp, students who once were apathetic toward mathematics and lacked confidence in their problem-solving abilities, beg us to come back next Saturday.”

The University student volunteers show growth in the areas of teacher self-efficacy, classroom management and rapport with students, Largent said.

“I can attest to this personally because Math Camp has given me a purpose as a Bowling Green community member and the means to continuously reflect and grow as a preservice teacher,” she said. “I love being able to reach individual students and make their Math Camp experiences positive. I have gained confidence in my ability to impact students’ lives and in my ability to lead others to do the same. I will be forever grateful for my service learning experiences through BGSU’s Math Camp.”

Ohio Campus Compact is a statewide non-profit coalition of 42 college and university presidents and their campuses working to promote and develop the civic purposes of higher education. The Ping Award is named in honor of Ping, who served as president of Ohio University from 1975–1994. He has been a tireless advocate for campus-community partnerships and increased opportunities for students to become active and engaged citizens. Award recipients receive two $250 Legacy Award mini grants to be given to a nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice.