Stories

Mount Royal's Peer Tutors of the Year

At the annual Peer Tutor Appreciation event organized by Mount Royal University’s Student Learning Services, not one, but two exceptional students were acknowledged for their outstanding leadership skills within the Peer Tutor Program.

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Held on March 27, the annual event also celebrated over 130 peer tutors that have provided more than 3,800 hours of one-on-one tutoring to close to 500 students, as well as group tutoring through Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) over the academic year.

Mount Royal Peer Tutor Coordinator Sarah Rude says the peer tutors were so exceptional that they couldn’t just pick one to honour.

Hayedeh Jahandideh, a second year student in the Bachelor of Science — General Science program, and Jenny Limoges, a fourth year student in the Bachelor of Science — Health Science program, were the two exceptional tutors to receive the highly coveted Barbara Damour Tutor of the Year Award.

“I would never hesitate to match any student with Hayedeh or Jenny in a one-on-one environment or group environment because I know they are very attentive to the students,” says Rude about the top peer tutor prize winners.

“They have a way of making students feel supported and comfortable to open up in a safe learning environment and that’s a big part of the Peer Tutor Program.”

Peer tutor ambassadors

Jahandideh joined the Peer Tutor Program in Nov. 2011 and provides one-on-one tutoring support to students in calculus, physics, chemistry and biology while balancing a full course load and volunteering in the emergency department at Rockyview General Hospital.

Jahandideh, who aspires to go to medical school and specialize in neurology, has developed quite a reputation for herself as a passionate and dedicated tutor.

“I receive a lot of requests each semester from students who don’t even know Hayedeh, asking to be matched with her. They’ve just heard about what a fantastic tutor she is,” says Rude.

“Hayedeh has great communication skills and she really knows her stuff. She knows math like nobody’s business and the students love her. We’re absolutely thrilled to have her as a peer tutor.”

Since joining the Peer Tutor Program in Sept. 2012 as a one-on-one tutor, Limoges began group tutoring senior-level biology courses as a PASS leader in January 2013, all while juggling a full course load and volunteer efforts with the Bethany Care Society in Kensington and mentorship activities with high school youth.

“Jenny is very motivated and she has excellent communication skills. She’s always participating in our training and she has great ideas and great suggestions across the board,” says Rude.

“She has done such a great job facilitating PASS sessions that we wish we could send new PASS leaders to go and watch her in action.”

Barbara Damour Tutor of the Year Award

Retired Peer Tutor Coordinator Barbara Damour was dedicated to providing students with comprehensive training to become successful tutors and played a key role in the development of the Peer Tutor Program with Student Learning Services.

In honour of Damour, a $250 award was created in 2008 and is given to a full-time student each year that demonstrates exceptional leadership within the Peer Tutor Program and completes International Tutor Program Certification. The award-winning student’s name is engraved in a plaque that sits in the Peer Tutor office.

“It’s about more than just the monetary value, it’s really about what the award symbolizes,” says Jahandideh. “It looks great on your resume and if you wanted to be a TA or an instructor, winning this award means a lot — it shows that you have the potential to do really great things.”

Limoges, who aspires to attend medical school and become a doctor, was also ecstatic to win the award.

“It’s a huge honour, especially in my senior year to be leaving with this award. It means that what I did was important. I’m being recognized for my hard work and dedication in helping others achieve their academic goals.

“Sometimes I feel it’s almost a selfish thing when you tutor because you’re getting so much out of it too. It’s so nice when you’re with a student and they finally have that aha moment. It’s gratifying knowing that you helped them get to that point.”

Peer tutors needed

Student Learning Services is currently accepting applications for fall 2013 peer tutors, with training dates already slated for Sept. 3 and 4, so students will be ready to hit the ground running when classes start.

“We’re doing a big push right now to recruit as many tutors as we can for all the different course areas — some are more popular than others, but we need tutors right across the board,” says Rude.

For more information on the Peer Tutor Program contact Sarah Rude.

— Jondrea De Ruyter, April 18, 2013