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Above, from left, are math tutors Megan Richardson ’19, Anya Pesce ’18, Phoebe Pelzer ’18 and Taurus Londoño ’18.

New Drop-in Center Offers Help with Math

09/27/17

Students now have access to a new Math Drop-in Center in Room 101 of the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation (CSI), where their peers will tutor them with their math coursework, and as they prepare for exams.

“If it’s math-related, we can help!” said Taurus Londoño ’18 of Lenox, Mass., who majors in biology and math. “Having the privilege of being able to help people succeed is a deeply rewarding experience. Tutoring also lets me see familiar material in a new light from the many perspectives of the fellow students I help.”

The goal of the Drop-in Center, said Megan Richardson ’19 of Adams, Mass., is not only to attract students who take core-required math or science courses, but also those who need help with higher level math courses. So far, students have come in with questions from classes that range from “Intro to Statistics” to “Number Theory” and “Calculus III.” 

Dr. Elizabeth Hartung, assistant professor of mathematics, said the Math Drop-in Center is a great resource for students – whether they are taking a course that involves math, or are studying for exams like the math portion of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL). “Our first two weeks have been really successful, with students getting help in various math courses, as well as physics, chemistry, and GRE prep.”

When assistant math professor Dr. Erin Kiley asked Richardson if she would serve as a tutor in the College’s new Math Drop-in Center, she jumped at the opportunity. A double major in math and education, “I can use this opportunity to gain valuable experience in working with students.”

Like Richardson, math major Anna Pesce ’18 of Williamstown, Mass., plans to teach. This year, she is working to finish her license to teach middle school mathematics. She said she learns best when she looks at things from a variety of different perspectives, “And especially when peers explain the information to me.”

It’s a great resource for all students, Pesce continued. “We have tutors who have multiple majors and minors, and we have future teachers who already have passed their MTELs.”

At its core, Londoño said, the Drop-in Center will help students to overcome the ‘deer-in-headlights’ feeling that math can sometimes bring. “It’s about achieving those wonderful, empowering ‘aha!’ moments, when you finally realize that you can do it. No matter the class or the challenge, we’ll do our best to help you get there.”

The Drop-in Center is a result of a meeting of the QUAC (Quantitative Understanding Across the Curriculum) faculty group last semester. The interdisciplinary group of MCLA educators wanted to create an easy and accessible way for students to get math help when needed.

No appointment is necessary for students who wish to meet with a peer tutor in the Math Drop-in Center. Hours are Mondays from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesdays from noon to 2 and from 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m., and on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.mcla.edu/mathcenter.