Ash takes initiative to meet student needs

Beginning a new job is challenging enough, but Bethany Ash, research program manager for COSMOS (Northwest Ohio CenterBethany Ash (left) with her Rookie of the Year nominator Jessica Belcher of Excellence in STEM Education), has not only mastered her own duties since joining the University in February 2016, she has already made improvements to the program to further benefit students. She has also taken on an additional role left vacant by a departing staff member.

Ash was recognized for her many contributions with the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award at the Administrative Staff spring reception and awards. The Rookie of the Year is awarded annually by Administrative Staff Council in recognition of an administrative staff member who has played an integral part in implementing an idea, program or procedure designed to enhance or improve student recruitment, retention and/or engagement. To be eligible for the award, employees must have worked at BGSU a minimum of one year but no more than three years.

As manager of the research program, Ash works on multiple projects and grant programs. She works very closely with students who conduct water quality research, providing them with an experiential learning opportunity and a chance to be a part of local, state and national discussions surrounding water quality and farm run-off.

“In mid-2016 Beth learned that the grants covering the research did not have funding for students to work in the lab and that the students were volunteering their time,” said her nominator, Jessica Belcher, COSMOS associate director. “She took it upon herself to write a grant specifically to fund the students’ work. Because of her efforts these students now receive funding to pay for their time in the lab and the materials needed to conduct their own research. She went above and beyond to ensure that these students can succeed at BGSU. She is not funded in any way by this new grant but has to do the work to manage it. She added work to her own plate in order to help students and ensure their success.

“That is a true sign of an amazing BGSU staff member!”

In addition to her primary role in the department, Ash assists in the coordination of the Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science scholarship program. “Beth has made countless improvements to the AIMS program including a restructuring of the AIMS summer bridge program to make it more cohesive and beneficial to the incoming freshmen,” Belcher said. “She regularly meets with AIMS scholarship students to guide them in their academic goals and keep them on track to meet the scholarship requirements.”

Although she was not hired to work on AIMS, during Ash’s employment it became clear that the program needed a lot of help, Belcher said. Ash stepped up and once again took on extra work to ensure the success of this program. In February 2017, the assistant director of the AIMS program left BGSU, and for the past several months the program has been without this position.

But once again, Ash has stepped up to help out. “Her work on AIMS ensures that the AIMS scholarship students are given the support they need to be successful at BGSU and meet the scholarship requirements for next year,” Belcher said.

Recently Ash worked with several faculty members to submit a new grant program that would provide scholarships for underserved populations to ensure that even more deserving, high-needs students have the resources needed to attend and be successful at BGSU.

“Beth is an amazing asset to not only our department but the University as a whole,” Belcher said. “She has the respect of the staff, but more importantly, the respect of the students in the research project and AIMS. Beth is an amazing collaborator who works hard to help anyone in need. She goes out of her way to help students, staff and faculty achieve success.”