In the Fall 2012 semester, Ms. Jennie Friedman, then a Biology student, decided to start a study group for Dr. Stowe’s Introduction to Life Sciences Course. Under the guidance of Learning Specialist Ms. Laurie Staiger, she has built this group to be quite a help to fellow students. Many students have a phobia of science, but Jennie has shown them that it can be quite understandable. This semester (Spring 2012) Jennie, now a Peer Mentor, has seen a large increase in the number of students who join her for coffee, and sometimes cookies, and a night filled with studying. Dr. Stowe has also reported that students who attend the group have significantly higher grades in his class than those who do not. While this is not a scientific study, the results are quite promising and a great testament to Jennie’s ability as a teacher.
The dynamics of this group are great. All of the students are willing to help each other and share their strategies to remember the information. They have created a community of learning within themselves under Jennie’s guidance. The students were very willing to share their thoughts on the group and Jennie. Sean Marley commented, “Science group is very helpful and Jennie makes it fun. I might not have been able to pass the quizzes with such high grades without the help from Science Group.” Samantha Resnick had this to say, “I Love It! It makes more sense of the information for me. The group works well together and it helps me a lot on the quizzes. The grade on the quiz that I took before I came to the study group was a “D”, and all of my quizzes have been A’s and B’s since I started going to Science Group.” Selena Lewis was very excited about giving a testimonial about Jennie and Science Group:
I Love It! Jennie is an amazing teacher and she knows science so well. I was lost in science before I came to Science Group and now it is like ‘WOW!’ The memory hooks are great because I can remember the information. She should keep doing it because it is so worth the hour you spend to get the good grades. I am spreading the word and telling everyone how amazing it is.
Jennie shared her own thoughts on the group:
I always knew that science and I did not get along well and it was my plan to put off taking Introduction to Life Science for as long as I could. As a junior, in the Fall 2012 semester, I took Introduction to Life Science. The first day of class, I told Dr. Stowe that I would work really hard in his class but that I do not like nor did I understand science. From that point on, in every class, I would ask questions to try to understand the material better. Luckily for me, Ms. Staiger who was my Learning Specialist at the time, is really good at science and enjoys it. I went to her and I asked her if she would not mind leading a weekly science study group. I think she was more excited about it than any of the students were. So, every Friday night from 6 p.m.-7 p.m. we would gather in her office for massive amounts of coffee and come up with memory hooks so that we could better understand the material we learned in class. I realized that every class I attended after we started the science study group made more sense because I would remember the memory hooks. Before I even put my name on a quiz, I would write down all the memory hooks on the top of my paper and refer to them as I was going through the questions on the quiz. As a result, my quiz grades were mostly very good, my grades were improving in the class overall and, most importantly, my confidence was improving. When Dr. Stowe wanted to continue the study group this semester, I had no idea he was going to ask me to lead it. I was apprehensive about leading it, but that feeling quickly went away when I saw all of the students who wanted to learn and be successful in the class. Leading this science study group has been a great experience because I can identify exactly with the student and their needs and concerns with the class. It has also taught me to be more patient and listen to the students. Dr. Stowe has always believed in my abilities when I was his student and that is why he chose me to lead science study group. By being his student and now a peer mentor for him, I have gained a new respect on him.
Science study group meets every Wednesday at 6:00 pm, and any student who may benefit is welcome to join!
~ Laurie Staiger