National Tutor Appreciation Week October 5th-9th, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Our Student Success Center on campus is quiet without the usual buzz of many students, but rest assured our tutors are hard at work remotely through Zoom! This semester we welcomed eight new tutors to our remarkable team of 39 current students, recent graduates, and community members. Each tutor, just a few of whom are featured in this newsletter, has a unique and special story. This week we are recognizing their contributions to student success at AWC. We invite you to share any experiences and comments and celebrate National Tutor Appreciation Week along with us.

As always, we thank you for your support. Please continue to encourage students to take advantage of the available help. In one SSC survey, close to 70% of students said they found out about our services through a faculty member or our visit to their classroom. We're happy to visit your physical or virtual classroom for a brief presentation of our available services or share written materials with you. Consider us your partner in student success and let us know how we can support you and your students.

Warmest regards, Vanessa & the SSC Team

Nancy Gilkey is a writing tutor at AWC and NAU-Yuma, and her idea of a good time is helping students with academic writing. She grew up in Gila Bend, where her high school English teachers taught students composition and sentence diagramming using a ruler and a pen with black or blue ink. Students were required to write in cursive and use neat penmanship. They were allowed only one mistake per page, which they could cross out with a single horizontal line. If they made additional mistakes, they had to start over on a blank piece of paper. Not only did Nancy learn to write deliberately and take pride in her work, but she also enjoyed the process. One afternoon as she drew straight and diagonal lines on which verbs, prepositions, and other parts of speech would be labeled, she thought, This is really fun, but when am I ever going to use it?

As it turns out, Nancy has been using those skills for decades in her various roles as a journalist, public relations and marketing writer, freelance writer, adjunct professor of wellness, victims’ rights advocate, mental health advocate, and writing tutor. Helping students learn to become more confident, more effective writers is just as much fun to her now as diagramming sentences was back in high school. She’s not just a writing nerd, however. She also enjoys painting, photography, and cooking, and she has great fun laughing and joking with others.

Allan Walker has been a writing tutor at the AWC Student Success Center since the fall semester of 2019. He is a Marine veteran and was assigned as the AWC Vet Center writing tutor until the COVID-19 closures. Since the closures, Allan and his wife, Hailey, have spent most of their quarantine time painting and fixing their house, watching movies, and exercising in their new home gym. One activity they enjoy is driving late at night to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. There is minimal light pollution out past Yuma Proving Grounds, so you can see the night sky perfectly.

After noticing he enjoyed helping students find ways to write or explain their ideas, Allan decided to become a tutor. He was recommended to tutor by both Professor Cooper and Professor Burris, and he believes that in most cases confusion can be resolved by using different explanations and examples. He also enjoys seeing people have their “a-ha” moments. Allan is available through email and Zoom and is happy to help any AWC student or veteran with their written assignments.

Samantha "Sam" Urquidez graduated this spring with a degree in Veterinary Science and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona. After graduating, Sam worked as an aquatic invasive species technician for Arizona Game and Fish at Lake Powell. She was able to collaborate with outside organizations such as the National Park Service and the Utah Department of Natural Resources to reduce the spread of invasive species such as quagga mussels. In addition to tutoring at the SSC, Sam works as an English teacher at Gila Ridge High School teaching incoming freshmen the basics of writing to help prepare them for future careers and college.

Lam Tran is an international student from Vietnam. This is her second year at AWC as a Systems Engineering major. Lam was recommended to be a mathematics tutor during the spring semester by recently retired Professor Light Bryant. She was surprised at the recommendation because she considered herself reserved and lacking confidence in her English conversation skills. However, she credits the pandemic and time spent tutoring and communicating in online platforms with helping her improve her communication skills from a distance. When she's not tutoring or doing homework, Lam enjoys playing the guitar and cleaning to relax.

Lily McNair grew up in Yuma and is a proud Matador. She graduated from Arizona Western College in May 2019 with an Associate of Science, Associate of Arts, Honors Liberal Arts while dually enrolled in home school. Lily has been a tutor/Supplemental Instruction Leader for General Chemistry I for approximately two years and was recommended by Professor Scott Donnelly.

Currently, Lily is a junior at University of Arizona-Yuma majoring in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics. She aspires to protect and improve the health of individuals and the public through enacting change in policy in the role of both healthcare provider and public health/science educator.

As for why she chose this career path, Lily says, "I want to include future opportunities for policy making, healthcare reform, and public health, while engaging in the research to support positive change. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to observe people like Amanda Aguirre RD, former legislator and Border Health CEO, create programs and centers that help improve society through health care outreach and education. I am inspired to move proactively in order to procure the knowledge and wisdom to become a healer and health educator of excellence, with the goal of helping others throughout my career path."

Andrea and Erick Silva are one of the SSC's brother-sister dynamic duos. Andrea started tutoring six years ago while a student at AWC. She has since graduated from University of Arizona-Yuma with B.S. in Systems Engineering and works full-time for a contractor at Yuma Proving Grounds. Luckily for AWC students, she still finds time to tutor math one day a week.

Erick is following in his sister's footsteps as a tutor and also at UA-Yuma; however, he is pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering. He became a math tutor just over two years ago and says, "Honestly, it's the best thing I could have done. My sister Andrea would help me with my coursework here and there , and I really liked how she helped me. I thought to myself I can do this!" Three months after graduating high school, he applied and started working at the Student Success Center. Though he says the first few weeks as a tutor were challenging, not long after he began making friends with coworkers and connections with students. "It just got better from there," he says. "Students slowly started to know me and even reach out to me specifically for help. It made me so happy. I truly love being a tutor; helping students and my peers to understand the problem and seeing them smile and relax is so emotionally rewarding, I could do it forever."

Writing Center tutors from top left: Alanis D. , Anna R., Ashley C., Alejandra S., Gricelda M., Alexis B. (desert), Marco M., Marisol M., Cynthia M., Lena P., Jennifer L., Lesslye A., Paola R. Not pictured: Liz M.
Left to right: Eva S. (SPA), Alanna A. (ASL), Vanessa R. (MUS)
Math Center tutors from top left: Abigail E., Andee O., Cejae P., Raymond H., 2nd Row: Madelina M., Matthew C., Abigail M., Alejandro M., 3rd Row: Rusty W., Trenton F., Nina A., Sandra D., Bottom Row: Flormari G., Bria F. Not pictured: David Z.


Using the Tutoring Schedule feature on our website (azwestern.edu/ssc), students can search by course, tutor, and/or their preferred appointment day.

Students can click on the red text in the information box to select either a live Zoom session, or to send an email submission for review. Selecting either of these options will redirect the student to the appointment request form.

The Student Success Center's tutor training program is certified through the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) at Level 1. Tutors who successfully complete the requirements can earn a professional credential that is recognized internationally in the field of learning assistance. The SSC's program was just re-certified in August for another five years.



AWC photo gallery