Learning Assistants Enjoy Offering Support to their Peers and to Professors
The Center for Learning Resources offers students the opportunity to become educators through its Learning Assistant Program. Learning Assistants have found the experience of tutoring their peers to be challenging and rewarding.
April 6, 2023
By Samantha Novo ’23, Monica Kaczynski ’25, ’26 M.S., and Corey Flynn ’23
The University’s Learning Assistant Program enables students to serve as tutors in the classroom. They offer support to their peers by being present in classes and by offering office hours. They are also a valuable resource to the professors.
The program, offered by the Center for Learning Resources, covers a variety of courses and programs of study, including many science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses. Learning Assistants serve in classes they’ve already taken and exceled in. They support their peers in small groups or one-on-one.
Below, three students reflect on their experience in the program as peer tutors.
Samantha Novo ’23
I have been a learning assistant for three semesters. During the first two, I was a learning assistant for Organic Chemistry I. This semester, I am a learning assistant for Organic Chemistry II.
My experience and knowledge have grown since I started this position. My first semester was a bit challenging. It was not always easy to interact with students, and I did not always assert myself enough. I had a total of six individual appointments throughout the semester.
During the second semester, students flooded my office hours. On average, I had about a dozen students in each session. I received multiple emails daily, created numerous practice worksheets, and hosted review sessions inside and outside the lecture.
Since I was an LA for Organic Chemistry last semester and this semester, I am now an LA for Organic Chemistry II, enabling me to work with the same group of students. As the weeks progress, I continue to learn more about my students and gain insightful experiences that have shaped me into the LA I am today.
Monica Kaczynski ’25, ’26 M.S.
As a learning assistant, I consider my main goal to be to alleviate the anxiety of students who do not understand course content. I am currently a LA for Dr. Poplawski in a PHYS1150 section. I have found that anxiety surrounding not understanding the material to be something that a lot of students experience, especially in STEM courses.
To help them, I sit in on their class to pay attention to the professor’s methods, and I help them with any group work they have. I hope the students realize that I am a resource they should utilize and that they are comfortable around me, even if they don’t understand the material.
I also hold office hours outside of class to allow the students to come to me for questions, test review, or even to just do their homework next to me for when they get stuck. In addition to being an LA, I am also a peer tutor at the CLR for a few different courses. I enjoy tutoring so much because it allows you to not only help the student with their courses, but it allows them to feel like not understanding is not the end-all-be-all. They learn that they are capable of learning anything.
The basis of this course is to help students understand the three aspects of environmental, social, and governance, and how they relate to investing. It has long been thought that a company’s sole purpose is to maximize profits for shareholders. However, there has been a shift towards ensuring companies are operating with social and environmental responsibilities.
As an LA, I have assisted students both in the classroom and through office hours for those who may need additional help. I hope to help students formulate their own opinions about ESG in investing, whether or not they are in favor of the concept. I have enjoyed giving my own insight into the topic, and I’ve enjoyed hearing different perspectives from students in the class.
Ultimately, there are no right or wrong answers in regard to ESG, and it is great to teach and converse over something that I have become passionate about in a class dedicated to this concept.