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MTA Tutor of the Year Award Winners

Click on the years below to read about our past award winners.

2009 ·  2008  ·  2007 · 2006 · 2005 · 2004 · 2003 · 2002 · 2001 · 2000 · 1999 · 1998

2010 Tutor of the Year:John Womack

Oakland University graduate student John Womack is the MTA Tutor of the Year for 2010. John started holding informal study sessions in a coffee shop ;faculty quickly referred to the Academic Skills Center where he has worked as a Peer Tutor and Supplemental Instruction Leader.CRLA Level 1 and certification and SI Leader Training are evidence of John's professional development.

After three years running his own moving company and twelve years at Daimler Chrysler, John decided he wanted to teach math in college. Overconing a serious illness in late 2009 and early 2010, John was awarded the Jon Froemke Graduate Assistantship at Oakland, which helps him be a perfect liaison between the ACS and the Department of Mathemetics and Statistics.

In the community, John volunteers in a variety of roles combatting drug and alcohol use and domestic violence.

John's dedication to his schooling, his work as a tutor, and his community involvement make him a model recipient of MTA's Tutor of the Year.


2009 Tutor of the Year: David Vincent

David Vincent, MTA Tutor of the YearMuskegon Community College student David Vincent received the 2009 Tutor of the Year Award from the Michigan Tutorial Association. Kathryn Schrader, Tutoring & SI Supervisor at MCC, was one of David’s nominators, and fans. “I’m sometimes amazed at the energy that some young people have,” she says, “and David is one of those people.”

David has tutored math since 2007, when he first started at MCC, and according to Schrader, has an “uncanny” ability to relate to people, and ease their math anxieties with his sense of humor. “He knew just what to say and just when to say it to elicit the response that he was looking for,” said Schrader. “Each semester students seemed to gravitate to him just for that reason.”

David has done one-on-one tutoring, online tutoring, volunteer tutoring with Upward Bound, Supplemental Instruction at MCC, is a member of MTA, a volunteer wrestling coach at his former Newaygo high school, and a member of MCC’s Phi Theta Kappa Chapter. David is transferring to Ferris State University in the fall, where he plans to major in Math Education. “I’m always happy to see my students go into education,” said Schrader. “My loss is their gain.”

2008 Tutor of the Year: Jessica Lounds

"Jessica was really helpful and encouraging."
"She always made sure that I understood the material."
"She's wonderful!"

These are some of the ways the 2008 Michigan Tutorial Association Tutor of the Year Jessica Lounds of Lansing Community College has been described by her students.

Jessica is kind and compassionate when working with students. She has the abuility to help students feel comfortable when striving to learn new and difficult material. Jessica is a very talented, caring person; she is excellent at individualizing her tutoring strategies based on the needs of her students.

Jessica is willing to step up and take responsibility where needed in order for the LCC program to run smoothly and efficiently. Each year she completes the requirements for CRLA Master Tutor even though she has already acheived that certification. She actively participates in planning and implementing training for others, and she inspired and initiated a mentoring program for our tutorial staff.

Jessica has been employed by LCC Tutoring Services for the past five years. When she began, she had earned on associate's degree, and since then she has earned three more-- two magna cum laude and two summa cum laude. In addition to her many LCC responsibilities, Jessica added a new role to her repertoire when she and her husband Derek welcomed new arrival Kelda Jo to their family.

Renee Mickelson, Coordinator of Services for LCC, nominated Jessica for the Tutor of the Year Award.

2007 Tutor of the Year: David Fekel

David Fekel (L) receives his Tutor of the Year Award from his proud supervisor, Beth DeVerna of Oakland University.

Dave became a Supplemental Instruction Leader at Oakland's Academic Skills Center in January of 2005, working with classes in calculus and physics. Faculty and students find him very caring and effective, using creative hands-on approaches, games, handouts, and even pizza to enhance his SI sessions.

Dave received his degree from Oakland and has been working for the Math Department as a Grader and the Physics Department as a research assistant.


2006 Tutor of the Year: Mary Grocholski

Mary Grocholski

Mary Grocholski is a Peer Mentor for Vickie VanSteenhouse's ABS (Applied Behavioral Studies) Becoming a Master Student classes at Delta College.

Mary began mentoring in Winter 2005 and worked through Winter 2007, assisting with as many as three class sections a semester, and she has Advanced/Level 2 tutor certification from the College Reading and Learning Association. In April 2006 she received the Teaching/Learning Center's Mary Jane Cooper Peer Mentor of the Year Award.

Vickie describes Mary as "always looking for new ways to help . . . patient beyond patient . . . [and] more organized than anyone I know!" An older returning student said that Mary is sincere and professional, and "definitely contributed to my successful 'A' grade"!

Mary will be finishing her degree at Delta in Fall 2008, and plans to go into education.

2005 Tutor of the Year: Daniel Agauas

Schrader and Deverna with the 2005 Award
MTA President Kathryn Schrader presents the award to Beth DeVerna, director of Oakland's ASC, who accepted for Daniel in his absence.

Dan started as a Peer Tutor at Oakland University's Academic Success Center in 2002 and quickly moved into the role of Supplemental Instruction Leader as well, working with students in math courses from elementary algebra through statistics.

He has Master/Level 3 tutor certification from the College Reading and Learning Association, and "His willingness to share his experiences and expertise has been invaluable," says Beth DeVerna, ASC director. Not only does Dan assist with SL Leader Training at Oakland, he was a presenter at the 2004 MTA conference!

2004 Tutor of the Year: Matthew Kleinberg

Besides working in the Oakland University Academic Skills Center (ASC), Matthew Kleinberg attends classes, does the homework and takes the quizzes and tests with his students. This kind of initiative is why he was named Tutor of the Year for 2004 by the Michigan Tutorial Association (MTA).

Matthew Kleinberg
and MTA President Charles Clark

"I make it a policy to sit through the storm like they do. It helps me see how a professor does things and see where their questions lead," said Kleinberg, a spring 2004 graduate with a dual major in mathematics and economics. Kleinberg is a supplemental instruction (SI) leader and peer tutor for math, economics and physics.

"He is willing to do what it takes to reach students," said Beth DeVerna, tutor coordinator. "Matt's students succeed in large part because of the job he's done. He has a knack for making students comfortable enough to ask all the questions they need so they understand a concept."

As a tutor, Kleinberg finds creative and innovative ways to teach the material. He provides his students practice tests, quizzes, formula sheets, definition sheets and calculator tutorials. He plays Jeopardy with the SI groups, rewarding the students with candy for correct answers. He also started a tradition and throws a pizza party at the end of each of his SI sections.

Kleinberg has worked in the ASC 20 hours a week for the past three and a half years.

"Matt's bound by the university rule to work only 20 hours per week, but he realistically puts in an extra five to 10 hours every week," DeVerna said. "He's one of the most dedicated employees I have ever had working in the Academic Skills Center."

When Kleinberg graduated, he took a job as an assistant to a vice president at Flagstar Bank in the Loss Mitigation Department. Although he has moved on to the next phase in his life, he continues to assist at the ASC. He arranged two-hour lunches each day with his employer, and instead of eating, he's back at the ASC as a supplemental instruction leader for a pre-calculus course.

"I enjoy helping people," Kleinberg said. "I know firsthand what it feels like to struggle with classes. I want to help others so they don't have to go through what I went through." Kleinberg knows he's doing his job when students pass the class and move on to the next one. "I don't want to see them the next semester for the same class," he said. "It's not always my fault, but it feels like I didn't do my job if they don't pass."

Not only does Kleinberg assist students, his extraordinary work has helped professors, too. In a nomination letter, Curtis Chipman, professor of mathematics, said Kleinberg provides him feedback on the areas students are having difficulty with, ultimately benefiting the entire class.

Candidates for the award are rated on criteria including community service work, acting as a role model and showing initiative and creativity.

"I am the president of the Michigan Tutorial Association this year, so it is my good fortune that I get to present this prestigious award to one of our own," said Charles Clark, director of the Academic Skills Center.

Kleinberg plans to wrap up his SI and tutoring career after the summer semester, and future plans include working on a master's degree in economics. "When Matt leaves, there will be a big hole to fill in the ASC program," DeVerna said.

2003 Tutor of the Year: Maggie Zimmerman

Maggie Zimmerman

Here is a message from Maggie, who works at Mid-Michigan Community College, emphasizing the importance of tutoring in her life and in the lives of her students.

" would like all of you to take a moment and think back to when you got to the point in a class that you were taking was just too hard and you felt that you couldn't make it.  Then a tutor helped you, it was like a pair of reading glasses that made the material seem so much clearer.  You make more of an impact on students than you will ever know.  You as a tutor have created a bond, even a friendship with them and it does not stop at the end of the semester.  I had a great group of students that I tutored in the fall semester, when the winter semester came a handful of those same students no longer were my tutees, but my fellow classmates.  However, they still looked at me as their tutor.  Knowing that, it put a positive amount of pressure on me because they were watching how I studied, how I acted in class, and how I completed my assignments.  There was no way that I could slough off.  I was mentoring them without even knowing it.  You are their role models!"

2002 Tutor of the Year: Mychal Thom

Mychal Thom is from Oakland University and lives in Auburn Hills. He has both his Bachelor and Master Degrees from Oakland. Mychal works in the Academic Skills Center at Oakland and tutors Biology, Chemistry, Math, Statistics, French, Physics, and Psychology. We appreciate Mychal's dedication to helping students through his tutoring and SI efforts. This commitment to learning is truly the backbone of an outstanding tutor. We offer him our heartiest congratulations.

2001 Tutor of the Year: Sally Seedorf

Seedorf, like many fresh out of high school, took a run at a four-year school, took a run at a four-year school, enrolling at Michigan State University to major in veterinary medicine. While academically it was a challenge, she could handle that.  Not so the financial barriers. So home she came and took a job at Western Michigan University (WMU) as a member of its custodial and grounds-keeping crew.  It was grass in the in the summer and snow in the winter for the next 10 years.

"I had always been good at math," Seedorf said,"but it never dawned upon me that I could teach it." What did seem a likely path was drafting and designing. That brought her to alamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC), where she earned associate degrees in drafting and in occupational education. "I actually got two jobs in drafting and designing," she said. "Something told me it really wasn't for me."

But mathematics was, and back she came to KVCC to tutor in the subject and position herself for a transfer to WMU. "Suddenly, every thing began to fall into place and things seemed right. There are so many neat things you can do with math," Seedorff said. "When I tell people that about calculus, their eyes kind of get foggy.  I really like taking a student with initially poor math skills up the ladder and to see the look in their eyes when they finally figure it out."

"When they learn how math is used and how it relates to their lives," she said, "it won't be long before they begin to earn top-notch grades.  That is very rewarding." Seedorff's plans are to earn a bachelor's in math and a master's in education, credentialing her future as a teacher of math.  Instead of cleaning the windows at Western, she'll be going through a window of opportunity.

Written by Tom Thinnes for the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Career Source Magazine.

2000 Tutor of the Year: Steve Kowalski

Steve Kowalski started working as a student math tutor at the Delta College Teaching/Learning Center (T/LC) in Fall 1998. His excellence in math and his calm, cheerful attitude made him a great tutor from the start, and a favorite among students. Steve earned Level2/Advanced CRLA tutor certification through the T/LC. In the next semesters, he worked with an increasing range of students and classes, served as a Peer Mentor and Study Group Leader, and was the T/LC's resident expert with a graphing calculator. Student and professional tutors alike valued Steve's advice and expertise.

In April 2000, Steve won the T/LC's Mary Jane Cooper Award as Peer Tutor of the Year, and was then Delta's nominee for MTA Tutor of the Year. In October 2000, Steve received the MTA award at the annual conference at Michigan State University, where he was then a student.

The T/LC hired Steve as a professional staff member after he left Delta College; he continued to work nights nights and weekends, while attending MSU, until March 2003.

1999 Tutor of the Year

1998 Tutor of the Year: Apryl Clay

Apryl Clay, a Western Michigan University graduate student, won the first Outstanding Tutor Award from the Michigan Tutorial Association.   Clay, a supplemental instruction leader in the WMU Academic Skills Center, was chosen from a field of seven candidates based upon her contributions to student tutoring, her community involvement and her stature as an exemplary role model to other tutors and WMU students at large.

Since 1995, Clay had served in a variety of capacities within the WMU Center for Academic Support Programs. She had tutored and mentored students, worked with small groups on study skills and provided tutor training and evaluation. More recently, she had served as a supplemental instruction leader while also conducting seminars on college success strategies for undergraduate students.

"Apryl loves helping her students learn and grow," said Marilyn V. Duke, director of the Academic Skills Center, who nominated Clay for the award. "Her ideal appears to be for her students to become independent of her assistance as well as the most successful students in their classes. She epitomizes the model of a first-class tutor, peer leader, mentor and upcoming student academic affairs professional."

Clay received $200 and a plaque recognizing the honor, presented at the MTA 1998 Fall Conference at Muskegon Community College.   A native of Detroit, Clay is currently pursing a master's degree in counseling in higher education. She earned her bachelor's degree in mathematics from WMU in 1997.

Western Michigan University News - May 5, 1998

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