Monday, November 24, 2014

Recent OU-C alumnus Olivia Muntz blazing an adventurous teaching career trail in Alaska


Bush plans are a common form of transportation for Muntz.

Olivia Muntz is learning the ways of bush Alaska culture and villages.
In addition to the culture change, Muntz is adjusting to life as a classroom teacher.

By public relations student writer Megan Valentine

Recent Ohio University-Chillicothe graduate Olivia Muntz is having anything but a typical first-year teaching experience. Over the summer Muntz, moved across the country to pursue her passion for education in the village of Eek in bush Alaska.

Muntz, a 2014 graduate and middle childhood education major, first learned of the opportunity while attending the Teacher Recruitment Consortium on the Athens campus last April. She met with representatives from several schools in Ohio and out of state, including the Lower Kuskokwim School District in Alaska. Muntz, who graduated from Adena High School, initially expressed her interest in the position out of sheer curiosity. However, she received a packet of additional information and an article written about the experience of teaching in bush Alaska and a spark was lit.

After her initial conversations at the Teacher Recruitment Consortium, Muntz was put in contact with the district’s assistant superintendent and the principal of the school for Skype and phone interviews. She prepared a variety of questions for her interviewers about everything from the curriculum to the wildlife to help her form a better idea of what she would be getting herself into. The entire process spanned over about two weeks before she received an offer, and Muntz decided that this was an opportunity that she couldn’t pass up.

In addition to this position being her first official teaching job, this is the first time that Muntz has moved away from home. She has overcome challenges in both areas in her time in Eek.

“Being away from my family and friends is especially difficult, but I talk on the phone and Skype with them often so that really helps. I have also made new friends and I have become really close with the other teachers. I do miss my family, but I am very grateful for the opportunity I have been given. This is the experience of a lifetime, and they have been here for me every step of the way,” Muntz says of moving so far from home.

In the classroom, she is faced with the responsibility of teaching mathematics, language arts, science, history, health and physical education to a total of 18 students between the ages of 11 and 14, grades ranging from sixth to eighth.

The first-year teacher training sessions Muntz participated in helped prepare her for curriculum, but also touched on some more unique aspects of the bush Alaska experience. On the first day of training they reviewed the Yup’ik culture of the villages, learned a traditional dance, were taught about the subsistence lifestyle in the area and tasted a variety of native foods. The new teachers also learned the importance of non-verbal communication in the villages. For example, an eyebrow raise is often interpreted as “yes.”

“OU-C has an amazing education program with even more outstanding teachers and professors. I feel OU-C truly prepared me with the education I needed to be a great teacher. I gained valuable knowledge through my teaching and content courses, field observations and my professors. I don’t think I could have earned a better education anywhere else and I definitely would not have developed the relationships I did with peers, local schools and professors,” Muntz commented on her experiences on the Chillicothe Campus.

Muntz also added that her academic advisor Karen Corcoran guided her on the right path throughout her time at OU-C and helped to make her experience as smooth as possible.

On her blog, “Teaching Alaska,” Muntz frequently posts updates about life in Eek and expands on many elements of Yup’ik culture in the village. Visit the page to keep up with her adventures: http://oliviateachingalaska.blogspot.com.

Current educators share insights during recent panel discussion



Educators shared practical tips about topics such as unique job opportunities for education majors, preparing for the job interview and the Educator in Residence program during the recent “Searching for a Career in Education” panel discussion on campus. The opportunity allowed for those in the field to provide practical advice to OU-C students who plan to have their own classrooms, as well as others interested in the teaching profession.

Participants included Huntington Local Schools Middle School Principal Alice Kellough, Ross-Pike Education Service Center curriculum consultant Robert Crabtree and Olivia Muntz, a 2014 OU-C alumnus, who was connected by Skype from her teaching position in Alaska.

The panel discussion was part of the “In the Know” Professionals with the Profession Series and was sponsored by the Ohio University-Giving Circle, OHIOwomen.

Seminar on Athens campus to address strategies for grant-writing success

A grant-writing seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 2, 2015, in the Walter Hall rotunda on the Athens campus of Ohio University. John D. Robertson, Ph.D., will lead the session, “Write Winning NSF Grant Proposals.”

Seats are limited, and RSVPs are due by Dec. 12 to Roxanne Male’-Brune at male-bru@ohio.edu.

The seminar will address both practical and conceptual aspects that are important to the grant-writing process. It is designed for faculty and administrative staff members who have some exposure to grant-writing, as well as those just getting started.

Emphasis will be placed on:
•    Idea development and identification of how to locate grants from the National Science Foundation
•    How to write for reviewers as well as tips and strategies for presenting an applicant’s case to reviewers
•    Hypothesis-driven proposals vs. need-driven proposals
•    In-depth discussion of overview and objectives; expected significance; and broader impacts
•    How to write with a linear progression of logic, which leads reviewers through the applications

Robertson is the author of 27 peer-reviewed journal articles and three book chapters. He has been a member of grant review panels, a review for a number of peer-reviewed journals and has served on editorial boards.

TechGROWTH Ohio calls for nominations for third annual Innovation Awards


TechGROWTH Ohio is seeking nominations for its third annual Innovation Awards, which celebrate innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in Southeast Ohio.

Nomination categories are Outstanding Faculty Innovation, Outstanding Student Innovation, Social Innovation, Outstanding Woman in Innovation and Entrepreneur of the Year. Nominees must operate a business or be primarily located or employed within the Southeast Ohio region.

Applications should explain how the nominee demonstrated excellence and success in entrepreneurship, technology development or innovation between September 2013 and September 2014.

Nominations must be made by Dec. 31, through the Innovation Awards website, http://www.gala.ohio.edu/.

Finalists will be invited to attend the Innovation Awards gala at 6 p.m. on Tues., March 31, 2015 in the Ohio University Baker Center Ballroom, where recipients of each category will be announced. The recipient(s) of Ohio University’s 2014 Konneker Medal for Commercialization and Entrepreneurship also will be recognized during the event.

For more information, rules and eligibility and a list of previous winners, please visit: http://www.gala.ohio.edu.

The Innovation Awards are hosted by TechGROWTH Ohio, a public/private partnership administered by Ohio University's Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs. Sponsors include the Voinovich School and the Ohio University Vice President for Research and Creative Activity.