BGSU graduate student receives statewide recognition for excellence in teaching

BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A Bowling Green State University graduate student was recently recognized for her exceptional performance in the classroom by receiving the Emerging Leader Award from the Ohio Council of Teachers of Mathematics – an honor given to a current mathematics pre-service teacher or a mathematics educator who has taught for five years or fewer.

Kaitlyn Solymosi '22, who earned a bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education and has been involved in the University's Math Camp, Math Emporium and was a Thompson Family Scholar, said she found herself immersed at BGSU from the start.

“I was going to math conferences as a freshman, and I joined the math-ed community way before I was in my own classroom student teaching, Solymosi said. “My experience at BG was definitely more than I expected to get out of a math-ed degree.”

Set to complete her master of education in curriculum and teaching degree in the spring, the greater Cleveland native is thrilled about the prospect of transferring her love of mathematics to students once she graduates.

“My ultimate goal is to teach everything,” Solymosi said. “I am trying to help my students realize that math is more than just a formula or plugging in numbers. Helping them figure that out is exciting.”

Dr. Gabriel Matney, a professor in the College of Education and Human Development and a mentor to Solymosi, said that over the past five years he has watched her grow into a leader for mathematics education, both among her peers and in the communities where she has taught.

“Kati deeply understands the mathematics content in a way that allows her to find ways to help students understand math,” Matney said. “Kati is not satisfied with knowing how to do mathematics, she must know why mathematics makes sense. Due to this, she has a love of deep mathematical knowing and a constant fascination with mathematics and the learning of mathematics.”

As one of Ohio’s largest producers of teacher education graduates, BGSU has long been regarded for the caliber of its graduates. BGSU graduates log more than 1,000 hours of field classroom experience before graduation, far exceeding the state's minimum requirement of 100 hours.

“If you ask administrators and teachers around the region and throughout the state of Ohio, they’ll tell you BGSU teachers are among the most highly prepared,” said Dr. Art Lewandowski, assistant teaching professor in the School of Inclusive Teacher Education and coordinator of the adolescence to young adult social studies education program.

In addition to her comprehensive education, Solymosi said she was intrigued by the prospect of doing research as an undergraduate student, a unique experiential opportunity the University presented.

“That was very enticing to me, plus there was this incredible math education program,” she said. “Bowling Green is unique since what you learn is much more than math. Not only do you learn the math, but you learn how to explain it to a sixth-grader, and then they raise the bar to show you how to explain calculus, and so on. Bowling Green offered everything I expected, and more.”

Matney said he believes that Solymosi is the embodiment of an emerging leader.

“One of the things she has been very passionate about is Math Camp. She has taken the leadership helm and helped other pre-service teachers develop their teaching prowess,” he said. “She is not afraid to give good feedback to ensure that they are thinking about how we make it better. She wants every teacher to help students learn better and enjoy mathematics.”

“Kati is what we hope the future of our society is full of – people who are thinking and solving the most complex problems,” Matney said.

Solymosi said her experiences as a BGSU undergrad allowed her to grow comfortable as an innovative thinker and an instructor, and she's looking forward to a career in education, and possibly the pursuit of a doctorate.

“It is hard to narrow down what I love most about BGSU because the list goes on and on. There is so much to praise,” she said.

“But I would say the people side of the experience was exceptional. I would not have done a lot of those things without the support of the professors I had here and the doors that were presented to me. That didn't mean those doors were open, but I took it as a challenge – if you have an idea, make it happen.”

Updated: 12/18/2023 11:33AM