A Great Tutoring Opportunity

by Lorien E. Menhennett

purple-diatoms-527157-gaMy goal, eventually, is to go into academic medicine. In that capacity, I hope to do some teaching. This semester, I will be getting some experience doing just that – by being a tutor for General Biology 2.

I received an e-mail about a week ago from my former Gen Bio lab professor, telling me that because I did so well in the class last spring, she was inviting me to be a tutor for the class this spring (along with some other students). Dominican University offers drop-in biology tutoring at its Academic Enrichment Center, but this will be different – it will be an “invitation-only” small tutoring group for students who did not do so well in General Biology 1, and who might otherwise slip through the cracks grade-wise.

I’m really excited about the opportunity. It will be great teaching experience, and will (hopefully) help these students do better in class. Part of the tutoring will be helping students with concepts, of course. If they come with questions, great; if not, I am supposed to be prepared to lead a discussion about what was covered in lecture that week (no problem there). One of the nice things is that they will be covering basic genetics in the course – meiosis, Mendel, Punnett squares, etc., and I excel at that, especially just having taken an actual genetics course. So I will definitely be prepared for that material. I also made flashcards for the entire Gen Bio 2 class when I took it, so that’s another resource I can share with the students. Some of these students may also have issues not only with the material, but with general study skills – how to study, and how much to study, for this class. That’s another arena in which I can definitely be of some assistance.

I will be attending all of the Bio 2 lectures (a total of 3 hours each week), and then leading a 1-hour tutoring group one afternoon a week. I even get paid for all 4 hours, which is a nice bonus. (It doesn’t pay much, so the monetary part certainly isn’t the main reason for my wanting to do this.)

This tutoring project certainly adds to my plate, but in a good way. I’m looking forward to giving back to the Dominican community, a community that has given so much to me.

Background: These are marine diatoms, specifically Pleurosigma angulatum, at magnification x200. Diatoms are unicellular organisms often characterized by a silica shell. This image is from National Geographic. Diatoms, along with other unicellular organisms, and their phylogenetic classifications/relationships, are some of the things I will be helping students with in General Biology 2.