Thiel College Tutor and SI Appreciation Week  

By: Samantha Walker  

After receiving an unsatisfactory grade or leaving a class without understanding a second of it, the first group of people there to help are the Peer Tutors and SI Leaders in the Learning Commons. To recognize the hard work and commitment of these students, Thiel celebrated Tutor and SI Appreciation Week to start off the month of November.  

For those unfamiliar, the tutors and instructors are all students who have excelled in specific subjects or courses throughout their time at Thiel and have chosen to help their peers with homework, course topics, test preparation, study strategies, and the mastery of course content. 

According to the Student Research Lounge, subjects covered by tutors within the Learning Commons include: BADM, BIO, CHEM, CSCI, CSD, ECE, ESM, HIST, HONS, HPI, MATH, NSCI, PHIL, PHYS, POSC, PSY, REL, SOC, SPAN, SPED and study skills.  

Not all tutors offer aid in a subject within their major, rather just a field they enjoy and do extremely well in.  

A prime example of this is Raquel McDonald, a Peer Tutor, who is a Criminal Justice, Sociology, and Cognitive Psychology major with a minor in Spanish who, on top of offering aid in these majors, also offers tutoring in Calculus 1 and any Honors Course.  

Another tutor who offers aid in multiple courses is Kara Baumgardner, a Super Tutor, who specializes in Calculous II, College Algebra, and Pre-Calculus. Previously, Baumgardner was an SI Leader for Principles of Accounting I and conducted test reviews for Microeconomics.  

In a similar vein, Steven Wright, a Secondary Education major focusing on mathematics who tutors students in most math classes, precalculus and calculus being his strongest subjects.   

Not all tutors in the Learning Commons focus on Mathematics and the Sciences. Another piece of the Learning Commons is the Writing Lab, which offers help with basic writing skills, resume review, and essay outlines.  

Molly Shelper has been a Writing Lab Tutor for a significant portion of her college career. Shelper is an English major with a specialization in professional writing and literature with minors in Business Administration and Fine Art.  

Though these are paid positions, the money is not the determining factor for these students.  

When asked why she became a tutor, Molly Shepler said,  

“I decided to become a tutor because I wanted to be able to help other students directly. For many students, learning and using the writing process is challenging, especially in their freshman year. Being able to help them learn and use major writing skills is a rewarding experience for me, but it is also an honor to work with other students to help them become the best writers they can be.”  

Kara Baumgardener said, “I became a tutor because I was interested in helping students become their best self. It wasn’t always about the specific class you were helping them with, but it was about helping them become a better student overall.” 

Steven Wright, a future high school math teacher, said,  

“I have told my students before; I could get a job at Walmart if I wanted to. However, that would not be near as rewarding as what I get to do. The reason I became a tutor is simple, for the students.”  

Even after becoming tutors, the job for these students continues to be littered with rewards. When asked what they enjoy most about their jobs they all had enthusiastic responses.  

Raquel McDonald said, “My favorite part of learning with another is seeing the light of comprehension in their eyes. It takes different techniques and time for each individual to reach that point, but I never give up until we succeed. For as long as I have been working and helping others achieve their potential, the absolute enlightenment and realization I have observed in my peers is what drives me to succeed.”  

Molly Shelper said, “My favorite part of my job is when I connect with a student who understands and is able to start applying the writing concepts we discuss in the session. The goal of any kind of tutoring is for the student to learn new skills that they can use and build on in the future. The Writing Lab is not simply an editing service; we really work with students to help them build those writing skills for themselves so that they can learn to write better on their own in the future.”  

Overall, these exceptional students appear to love their jobs as Peer Tutors and SI Leaders as they are able to help their peers succeed. Considering their dedication and passion, it is understandable for them to receive an entire week of recognition.  

Peer Tutors and SI Leaders, thank you for sharing your knowledge and time with the rest of the Thiel community. Your commitment does not go unnoticed.  

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