I'm currently a student at Saginaw Valley State University pursuing my Bachelor's in English with minors in history and creative writing. As a young tutor, it wasn't long ago that I took high school and college writing courses, so the course materials are fresh in my memory.
At SVSU, I am a member of the Honors program and will have completed my undergraduate thesis project by April. I have been recognized for my writing through both the Tyner Prize and the Braun Award for Writing Excellence. I have served as Editor-in-Chief of Cardinal Sins, a biannual literary arts journal based on SVSU's campus, for two years. During the Fall and Winter semesters, I also work as a tutor at SVSU's Writing Center and a reporter for the Valley Vanguard. I am vice president of our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the unfortunately named English Honors Society.
I've been attracted to stories for as long as I can remember, and when my teachers gave me the opportunity to respond to these stories and write some of my own, I realized just how powerful the act of writing could be. Since I received a formal training to become a tutor through the Writing Center, I have developed a love for sharing my passion and knowledge with other students. I have tutored over 150 sessions at the Center to date. I look forward to expanding my tutoring experience and having more conversations with students in the subjects I am passionate about through Varsity Tutors. I hope to not just sharpen students' skills but also encourage their own confidence in and passion for writing.
Undergraduate Degree: Saginaw Valley State University - Current Undergrad, English
I do a lot of reading and writing in my free time--surprise, surprise! I also adore traveling--especially in Europe! So far, I've traveled to Haiti, France, and England, and I've planned out a number of other trips for my future, as well. I'm a bit of an Anglophile, and sometimes you'll catch me watching the BBC. I just wrapped up my undergraduate honors thesis project at the moment, which is focused on Victorian fairy tales from a disability criticism perspective, so if you want to start a long conversation with me, that's the topic to bring up.
What is your teaching philosophy?
My goal in each session is to have students leave with something new, whether that means a new writing technique for their toolbox or a boost in confidence necessary for developing a strong writing voice. I want the students I have sessions with to leave with clarity rather than confusion.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When it comes to writing, I think students often lose motivation because they feel like they'll never be a strong writer. I see writing as a skill, though, and I believe that, with practice and dedication, a student can improve their writing abilities dramatically. Moreover, I find writing to be enjoyable (though that has not always been the case), and I want to help students find that passion, too. I want to help them use writing as a platform to express their own ideas and interests, rather than use it because their teacher expects it of them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start to work with a new student, I want us to feel like we can talk with one another. Writing is oftentimes a very personal act, and it's hard to talk about the writing process with a total stranger. I like to take some time at the start to get to know the student and make it clear that I'm also a student, and I plan to learn alongside them and guide them to better writing and study techniques rather than instruct them in a more directive fashion. One of the joys of tutoring is that it can be tailored to the student's needs and preferences, which can lead to much more progress than that of a one-size-fits-all classroom.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I always make sure to show the student what they're doing well. This is not in an effort to coddle the students, and I don't lie to them about a strength; I actually see this as an important part of the session. Oftentimes students are told only what they're doing wrong, but knowing what they're doing right is equally important--perhaps more so in boosting their confidence. In writing and test-taking especially, I think confidence is incredibly important because it does wonders for the student's voice and helps mitigate potential test anxiety.