Free summer tutoring has begun!

Blossoms in the North Seattle College courtyard

SEATTLE, WA                            JUNE 29, 2022

You see more sunshine now. It’s warmer, and there are more people outside walking, jogging, and having picnics.  Boats have returned to Green Lake. Summer is here, and summer quarter has begun! While you’re enjoying the great weather, check in online or stop by the Student Learning Center for tutoring that will help you succeed in your course work.

We’ll have plenty of sessions and workshops to offer, including face-to-face help for you.

We started tutoring on June 29 and will be open most days of the week through August 18, with free tutoring for registered students.  We’ll help with language, math, science, business, computer science, accounting and business courses and other subjects.

Most tutoring will still be done online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Online tutoring is different for many of you, but we’ve been doing it for more than two years, and it works. Tutors will be on duty five days a week in both the Math & Science Learning Center and the Page One Writing & Language Center for English and writing tutoring. The Professional and Technical Learning Center, for accounting, business, economics and computer science tutoring, will offer online tutoring and wil be open four days a week.

But we’re also keeping our English and math/science tutoring centers open again so you can also get tutoring in person. The tutoring center on campus is on the first floor of the Health Sciences and Student Resources Building on campus.

Face-to-face tutoring will be offered four days a week through the Math and Science Center and four days a week at the Page One Center; those sessions will be held in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building. 

Either way —  by using Zoom or dropping in — talk to us, and let us help you learn.

One note: If you come in for face-to-face tutoring at the language or math centers  we recommend that you wear a face mask. If you plan to visit campus, check out the COVID vaccination requirements at

https://www.seattlecolleges.edu/coming-campus/covid-19-vaccination-requirement

And be sure to write an online report about your health conditions every day you plan to come to campus, at

Here are summer opening dates and daily hours for each tutoring center:

ACCOUNTING, BUSINESS, and COMPUTER SCIENCE   

The Professional and Technical Learning Center will open Tuesday, July 5, for online tutoring. Hours will be from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, and, on Thursday, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The center will be closed Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The center tutors accounting, business, computer science, and economics.

Tutoring for IT 102 and IT 125 is by appointment, from classroom instructions, and is available only to students registered in the class. 

Check for other information about this center online at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/accounting-business-tutoring

BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY  Biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology tutoring will be offered in the Math and Science Learning Center.

Check for other information about this center online at  https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/biology-chemistry-tutoring

* MATH and SCIENCE   

The Math & Science Learning Center will open for the quarter on June 29.

Hours for online tutoring will be from 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, and from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.  

In-person tutoring will be offered from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building. The center will be closed Friday and Saturday.

This center provides tutoring for pre-college and 100 level math, computer science, physics and chemistry classes.

Check for other information about this center online at 

https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/math-learning-center

* WRITING and GRAMMAR

The Page One Writing & Language Center will open June 29. That day and on June 30, only online tutoring will be offered, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The center will be closed for the holiday on Monday, July  4. But starting July 3, regular hours for summer quarter for online tutoring will be  from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, 11:00 am, to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday, and from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday. All Sunday tutoring will be online.

 Starting July 5, face-to-face tutoring will be offered from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, also in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building. The center will be closed Friday and Saturday.

Starting Tuesday, July 5, the center will resume group tutoring sessionsonline for international students and for those taking courses in English as a second language.  Under Courses in Canvas you will find links to “online workshops” on the page entitled, “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page, sign in to the Learning Center and then click on the title of the workshop you want to attend. 

Nine of them are offered this quarter, all online, through August 11:

       * ESL Games, using vocabulary, grammar, and stories, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Attendees will win a game by improving their English.

       * To improve English writing skills, “Writing Basics,” from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.

        * For conversational development: Three “Talk Time” workshops.  One will be from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 pm on Tuesday, another from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. The third one, designed for Level 1 and 2 ESL students, will be from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Students will discuss current events and other subjects, to practice English.

       * “Focus on Reading,” from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Thursday.

The center tutors for all English classes and offers assistance for speaking, pronunciation, college transfer applications, and any student writing work that is related to their classes or their college education.

Check for other information about this center online at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/page-one-writing-language-center

WORLD LANGUAGES.  Tutoring is available on weekdays for American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.   Hours are different for individual tutors; check the printed schedules posted in the lobby of the tutoring center, or read the world language website at:http://webshare.northseattle.edu/Student%20Learning%20Center/World%20Languages%20Schedule.htm

For other dates, look at the Student Learning Center calendar, at:  http://webshares.northseattle.edu/Student%20Learning%20Center/Student%20Learning%20Center%20%20Calendar.htm

HOW TO GET ONLINE TUTORING  

You can get online tutors several ways. 

* Zoom Tutoring, the newest and quickest way to reach North Seattle tutors. It uses the Zoom online conferencing program. First you log into the tutoring center at slc.northseattle.edu. Then you get to Zoom tutoring by logging into Canvas (https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008) and then clicking on “Courses.” From there you click on the link titled “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page you’ll find technical suggestions. There are also links to the tutoring center you want. Once you get the right center, click “Enter the tutoring room” and wait for the host to start the meeting and let you in. You’ll be placed in an online “breakout room,” where the next available tutor will join you and start the session (If you need to wait for a tutor, someone will tell you).

* Submit a piece of writing online. Tutors will review it and return it with comments and suggestions, generally within 48 hours. This quarter you can begin submitting your work online on July 6. Check it out at 

https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008/assignments/17979738

* e-Tutoring, which connects you with tutors in a variety of locations.

Find it at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/e-tutoring

To access your e-Tutoring account: 

  • Go to eTutoringonline.org 

  • Click “Login Now” on the right side of the screen. 

  • Select “Western e-Tutoring Consortium” from the menu on the left side of the screen. 

  • Choose North Seattle College from the Select Your Institution Menu on the right side of the screen. 

  • Enter two items in the “Login Here” box:  Username: (your NSC Student ID Number) and a password:  SUCCESS

IF YOU NEED ACCESS TO A COMPUTER, the college has laptops available. You can obtain one by contacting three college staff members: D’Andre Fisher (Dandre.Fisher@seattlecolleges.edu), Christie Santos (Christie.santos@seattlecolleges.edu), or Ann Richardson (ann.richardson@seattlecolleges.edu).

If you need assistance using a computer you can get it online at https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008/pages/general-computer-tutoring

Computer tutors are available through Zoom to help you in math, physics, chemistry, statistics and computer science.

A tutoring calendar and hours are at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/slc-hours-operation-and-calendar.  

Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Student-Learning-Center-at-North-Seattle-College-108724410807477/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Spring is here, and so is free tutoring!

Spring foliage at the North Seattle College entrance

SEATTLE, WA                             APRIL 3, 2022

You may have noticed more colorful blossoms sprouting on the branches of trees or pushing up through the soil. If you listen, you may hear the cries of geese migrating back here from the south, now that temperatures are getting higher. Things like these mean it’s spring, we’ve started a new quarter, and we’re tutoring again. We have plenty of sessions and workshops to offer, including face-to-face assistance to get through your courses.

We’re open most days of the week with free tutoring for registered students.  We’ll help with language, math, science, business, computer science, accounting courses and other subjects. Most tutoring is still online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. But we’re keeping our writing and math/science tutoring centers open again so you can also get tutoring in person.

Online tutoring is different for many of you, but we’ve been doing it for more than two years, and it works. Tutors are on duty five days a week in the Math & Science Learning Center. They’re available six days a week at the Page One Writing & Language Center for English and writing tutoring, and at the Professional and Technical Learning Center for accounting, business, economics and computer science tutoring.

Face-to-face tutoring is offered four days a week through the Math and Science Center and three days a week at the Page One Center; those sessions will be held in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building on campus. All tutoring at the Professional and Technical Learning Center is online.

Either way, use Zoom or drop in, talk to us, and let us help you learn.

One note: If you come in for face-to-face tutoring with language or math/science tutors you are strongly encouraged to wear a face mask. If you plan to visit campus, check out the COVID vaccination requirements at

https://www.seattlecolleges.edu/coming-campus/covid-19-vaccination-requirement

You can get online tutors several ways.

* Zoom Tutoring, the newest and quickest way to reach North Seattle tutors. It uses the Zoom online conferencing program. First you log into the tutoring center at slc.northseattle.edu. Then you get to Zoom tutoring by logging into Canvas (https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008) and then clicking on “Courses.” From there you click on the link titled “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page you’ll find technical suggestions. There are also links to the tutoring center you want. Once you get the right center, click “Enter the tutoring room” and wait for the host to start the meeting and let you in. You’ll be placed in an online “breakout room,” where the next available tutor will join you and start the session (If you need to wait for a tutor, someone will tell you).

* Submit a piece of writing online. Tutors will review it and return it with comments and suggestions, generally within 48 hours. This quarter you can begin submitting your work online on July 6. Check it out at

https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008/assignments/17979738

* e-Tutoring, which connects you with tutors in a variety of locations.

Find it at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/e-tutoring

To access your e-Tutoring account:

  • Go to eTutoringonline.org

  • Click “Login Now” on the right side of the screen.

  • Select “Western e-Tutoring Consortium” from the menu on the left side of the screen.

  • Choose North Seattle College from the Select Your Institution Menu on the right side of the screen.

  • Enter two items in the “Login Here” box:  Username: (your NSC Student ID Number) and a password:  SUCCESS

IF YOU NEED ACCESS TO A COMPUTER, the college has laptops available. You can obtain one by contacting three college staff members: D’Andre Fisher (Dandre.Fisher@seattlecolleges.edu), Christie Santos (Christie.santos@seattlecolleges.edu), or Ann Richardson (ann.richardson@seattlecolleges.edu).

If you need assistance using a computer you can get it online at https://canvas.northseattle.edu/courses/1935008/pages/general-computer-tutoring

Computer tutors are available through Zoom to help you in math, physics, chemistry, statistics and computer science.

A tutoring calendar and hours are at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/slc-hours-operation-and-calendar.  

Check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Student-Learning-Center-at-North-Seattle-College-108724410807477/?modal=admin_todo_tour

Here’s where to go for help when the centers open for the quarter:

ACCOUNTING, BUSINESS, and COMPUTER SCIENCE   

The Professional and Technical Learning Center hours are from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday; 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Wednesday; and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday. The center is closed Friday and Saturday,

The center tutors accounting, business, computer science, and economics.

Tutoring for IT 102 and IT 125 is by appointment, from classroom instructions, and is available only to students registered in the class.

Check for other information about this center online at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/accounting-business-tutoring

BIOLOGY AND CHEMISTRY  Biology, chemistry and anatomy and physiology tutoring is offered in the Math and Science Learning Center.

Check for other information about this center online at  https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/biology-chemistry-tutoring

* MATH and SCIENCE   

The Math & Science Learning Center hours for online tutoring will be from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Monday; 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday. Hours for in-person tutoring are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building.   The center is closed Friday and Saturday.

This center provides tutoring for pre-college and 100 level math, computer science, physics and chemistry classes.

Check for other information about this center online at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/math-learning-center

* WRITING and GRAMMAR  

At the Page One Writing & Language Center, spring quarter hours for online tutoring are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, and 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

Face-to-face tutoring is also offered, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, also in Room 1634 of the Health Sciences & Student Resources Building. The center will be closed Saturdays.

Group tutoring sessions will also start April 11 online, for international students and for those taking courses in English as a second language.  Under Courses in Canvas you will find links to “online workshops” on the page entitled, “Student Learning Center – Online Tutoring and Learning Support for Students.” On that page, sign in to the Learning Center and then click on the title of the workshop you want to attend.

Nine of them are offered this quarter, all online, through June 10:

       * “Focus on Reading,” from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Thursday.

       * To improve word knowledge and understanding, “Focus on Vocabulary,” from1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

       * ESL Games, using vocabulary, grammar, and stories, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Monday. Attendees will win a game by improving their English.

       * For conversational development: A TED Talk from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday. Students and a tutor will watch a filmed talk and discuss it afterward, to practice English.

        * For conversational development: Three “Talk Time” workshops, one from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 pm on Tuesday, another from 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, and a third one from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.  Students will discuss current events and other subjects, to practice English.

       * To improve speaking: Two “Focus on Pronunciation” workshops, one from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, and another from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Friday.

       

Check for other information about this center online at https://northseattle.edu/tutoring/page-one-writing-language-center

WORLD LANGUAGES.  Tutoring is available on weekdays for American Sign Language (ASL), Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish.   Hours are different for individual tutors; check the printed schedules posted in the lobby of the tutoring center, or read the world language website at:

http://webshare.northseattle.edu/Student%20Learning%20Center/World%20Languages%20Schedule.htm

For other dates, look at the Student Learning Center calendar, at:  http://webshares.northseattle.edu/Student%20Learning%20Center/Student%20Learning%20Center%20%20Calendar.htm

Our creative programmer and tutor

Poul Nichols

SEATTLE, WA, March 18, 2022                                            By LARRY LANGE

Poul Nichols likes building things, and his life has made him adaptable and accepting of other cultures: perfect for tutoring.

“I like helping others with the challenges that I have overcome,” says Nichols, a tutor in the North Seattle College Professional and Technical Learning Center. “I also feel that I have a lot to offer because I have tripped, stumbled, cried…through this process of learning. I know what they are going through and know I can help them overcome it, because I have.”

Nichols’ background extends from electronics training in the U.S. Navy through experience in the information technology industry, and includes some time as a project manager AT & T. He built computers and managed Windows, UNIX and Linux servers.

After his military service he continued his education at North Seattle College, where he’s earned associate’s degrees in networking administration and telecommunications electronics, plus a bachelor’s degree in application development that he completed just last September.

Computer science for him is an extension of his creative impulses.

“I enjoy making and building all kinds of things,” he says. The results, he says, include computers and electronic devices but “can be woodworking, building small furniture, fences, tables, picture frames, sewing, paper projects, whatever grabs my attention and I think is really cool, I want to grab onto it.”

He describes himself as “Always curious. I like learning how things work.”

He became interested in web development the moment he first saw it.

“I just decided to pursue it later in my career.,” he says. “Basically, I
just l like build things and software programming is another medium that I use to build cool stuff. The job market for programmers is growing, which is a very big bonus. I remember creating my first very simple mobile app. It just was a very simple splash screen on my phone. I showed it to everyone.”

His most fun project was an American football app that he developed with some friends. It was challenging and hasn’t been put into commercial use, “but I was pretty proud of it,” he says.

His naval service took him to a variety of places. “I’ve traveled and lived in many parts of the United States. I even lived out of country for a few years (Central America, Panama Canal Zone),” he says, and he visited Hong Kong, Singapore, and places in Malaysia and Australia.

 “Those experiences didn’t really shape my chosen field, but they did shape how I see others,” he says. They taught him “that we are all the same…, same dreams, same goals, same beliefs…No matter the age, sex, skin color, religion. It has shaped me in looking at people as myself. Their culture is a side bonus.”

He has been tutoring computer science at the center for more than two years, starting in the summer of 2019. He tutors for classes in IT 102, 115, 125and 161 – introductory courses in programming, software development, structured query language and website development.

He says he took the tutoring job because “I wanted to share my experience and knowledge with others so that they can have a more enjoyable experience in their studies. In return, I wanted the same from the students I tutored, which I got.”

“A benefit for me (is) it also helps me learn to be a better student, programmer, and person,” he says. Other benefits for him working with students are developing friendships, learning more in depth, understanding other points of view and “seeing them succeed.”

There are challenges, he says, including trying to keep up with ongoing changes in the technology and “always having the right answer for the student, wanting to provide 100 percent satisfaction.”

Another challenge: “Devoting enough time. Programming is like learning another language.,” he says. “It requires time and practice. That’s it. Unlike learning a foreign language, you are practicing your language skills with a machine, and I can understand that it can be hard to do this for hours without talking to someone. It can be hard to devote a lot of time to it.”

Helping students with this, “I just tell them they have to decide this is what they want to do, and do it,” he says. “We can decide how far we want to go with programming and make that our goal. If I want to go to that level I just keep practicing until I get there.”

One mistake learners make is making IT “more complicated than it needs to be,” he says. In earlier times, he says he caught himself “thinking that technology is so complicated, I thought that my solution must be in a complicated format.” But there are solutions. “In reality, we are using our everyday simple logic and telling a computer how to do it. So (the solution is), keep it simple.”

Caught in a layoff during a recent corporate reorganization, Nichols is preparing for the day he’ll return to the IT industry fulltime. Meanwhile, he’s an available source of help and advice.

“Here’s another secret,” he says: “Feel free to use the Student Learning Center as a place to study, because when you get stuck and have a question you’re right there where all the tutors are at,” he says. “It’s also a great place to have group studies.”

“Just visit the Student Learning Center.,,” he tells students. “Introduce yourself. Talk about the classes that you’re taking. Ask how this all works. I know it could be a little bit scary, because you don’t know anybody there and you don’t want to seem foolish. But we love to talk.”

Where to listen to the tree frogs

SEATTLE, WA, February 17, 2022

By PETER LORTZ

Hi all,

I was helping my daughter practice for her driving test last night in the North parking lot (a popular place to practice!) when we heard the wondrous annual chorus of the Pacific Tree Frogs.

North has one of (if not the) largest populations of Pacific Tree Frogs in the area and this time each year, the males head to the ponds (primarily in the north wetlands) to call in the females.

If you have never heard them, it is a worthwhile listen.  Basically, go to the north parking lot (at the base of the new pedestrian bridge) and you can hear them after dusk.  When they really get going it is louder than the cars on I-5!

When the females head to the ponds, they lay their eggs just under the water level and because there are no predators in the ephemeral ponds, the tadpoles have a relatively easy life.  Metamorphosis occurs through the spring and they graduate from the ponds as young froglets just around the time our students are graduating.

One of the many pleasures of having a greenbelt right on campus.

Have a great rest of the week, and three day weekend!

(Peter Lortz is Vice-President of Instruction and Accreditation Liaison Officer at North Seattle College)

The retired teacher who won’t stop tutoring

SEATTLE, WA, February 1, 2022.                 By PHYLLIS MACCAMERON

Phyllis Maccameron

I started tutoring at North Seattle College in the fall of 2011, when the Student Learning Center didn’t exist as a unit and when the English tutoring center was called The Loft (because it was upstairs in the library). But for me the work is another chapter in a life of teaching, and I don’t intend to stop it anytime soon.

My career was as a college English teacher, but during it I did quite a lot of tutoring. As a graduate teaching assistant, I ran some of my composition classes as writing sessions with individual tutorials. After that, before I got my faculty job, I ran a small tutoring lab at Erie Community College, in Buffalo, New York. I was also for some years a part-time faculty member at Empire State College, a non-traditional school where courses were run as individual tutorials.

My full-time faculty job was in the English department at the North Campus of Erie Community College. By the time I moved to Seattle in 2011, I had taught there for over twenty years. I was retired, and a part-time gig as a tutor seemed like an obvious step.

I guess I’d describe myself as a “made” teacher as opposed to a “born” teacher— as someone who may have been born to teach (and intended to pretty early on), but who spent a career trying to figure out how to do it as best I could. I can’t imagine having done anything else for my life’s work, but part of the charm of the work for me (and the frustration it entailed) was the difficulty of doing it well. By the time I retired, I kind of knew how to be the best teacher I could be, but to this day I think of ideas that would have been good for my courses.

I was born in Western Massachusetts, in a country town—in an area where it took six or seven towns to make up a high school class of, in my case, 69 students. I was the only child of parents who had made the tremendous leap of moving from a town near Boston to the western part of the state—a whole 100 miles away. My childhood was spent in two adjacent country towns where cows probably outnumbered people by quite a lot and, from the age of ten, I Iived in the middle of an apple orchard.

When it was time to go to college, I stayed fairly nearby, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in English from Mount Holyoke College. After college, I started moving around and lived in California, Connecticut, and Colorado before settling near Buffalo.

I earned my master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and my Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

My move to Seattle happened because of my daughters, one of whom was already on the West Coast and one of whom was about to move here. My whole family, including four grandchildren, is now in North Seattle. That means that I spend a good bit of time with them.

In my leisure time I particularly enjoy going for walks, reading, and knitting. I’m an experienced knitter, and a good bit of my social life revolves around knitting and spinning. I have also spent a significant amount of time learning French, and in 2018 I spent a month in France at a French language institute. Other than that, my travels in recent years have been domestic. Periodically I go to visit friends and relatives in the Northeast. However, I’m basically quite a homebody.

I feel very lucky to have been able to tutor at North Seattle all these years. It started almost by chance: I drove past the college, noted that it was fairly close to my home, and decided to find out if there was a tutoring center. There was, and here I am, ten years later.

Tutoring never gets boring. There is always something unique about each session. To me, it’s quite a lot different from teaching a class, where the responsibility of explaining things is to everyone, not really to any one particular person. With tutoring I can see from facial expressions whether I have explained something adequately or not. I can find ways to make sure the student really does understand. And I’m interested in the conversations that happen in tutoring—conversations that just can’t happen the same way in the classroom. I like to help students be clearer to themselves about what they are thinking. Also, I enjoy explaining grammar to ESL students. It’s a nice challenge to find just the language that will help a student understand what he or she needs to understand either to write correct sentences or to do exercises on a specific topic.

I couldn’t begin to specify any one kind of situation that I like best in tutoring, but some of the most memorable have involved cross-cultural conversations, where I have learned about the way people from other cultures see the world, or about the things they are used to in daily life or the journeys their lives have required. I also love it when a student comes in with complex ideas but a confused sense of what to do in a piece of writing—and leaves with a clearer sense of purpose.

If I were to give advice to students about using tutoring services, I’d tell them—regardless of level—to make use of the resources here. Tutoring conversations can occur on any level. Students who know very little English can still get something out of a tutoring session. And high-achieving students who feel very confident can come in to bounce ideas off someone or to get reactions to their compositions. Page One is for everybody.

Math and computer tutor, jazz pianist, and political activist

Sebastian Pallais-Aks

SEATTLE, WA. December 5, 2021                            By LARRY LANGE

Sebastian Pallais-Aks, a North Seattle College math and science tutor, has done a lot at age 18.

He’s a math whiz and jazz pianist who has been active in politics and the marriage-equality movement. He has his eyes on law school or a career in computer science. And he’s still in high school.

Since April, he’s tutored North Seattle College (NSC) in math and computer science, both long-time passions, and helps students not only learn formulas but figure out new solutions.

“I really like the pressure that it puts on me to ask questions that prompt learning,” he says of tutoring. “With math and Computer Science, there’s really a new frame of mind that you have to enter to be an effective thinker. That is what interests me.”

Pallais-Aks was born and raised in Seattle, lives in the Wallingford neighborhood

“with my two moms and my sister” and is in his senior year at Lincoln High School. He’s been a student leader, as general student body treasurer and as senior class treasurer.

He served on a student team advising the school staff about curriculum and student life before the school re-opened after being closed for 38 years.

In addition to his treasurer duties, he is a member of the Seattle Public Schools Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board, which advises Seattle Schools, and of the Association of Washington Student Leaders’ Student Voice Advisory Council, which advises the state.

His other notable political activity is his involvement in the marriage-equality movement that reflected his status as the child of a same-sex couple. He’s attended rallies and both of his parents’ wedding ceremonies.

 “As the son of two moms, I often serve as a spokesperson for the community,” he says. “Most of the time, I’m one of the first, if not the first child of two moms that people meet, so I play a role in educating people about same-sex households.”

He says he feels “lucky to live in a place where I’ve experienced minimal homophobia most of my life.

His tutoring work follows a lifelong passion.

“I’ve always loved math – I’m a co-founder of the math club at my high school, and my work as treasurer in the student leadership uses a lot of math for the purpose of maintaining fiduciary accountability at school,” he says.

He’s charted much of his own course in studying the subject. “In 9th grade, I wasn’t feeling enriched by the content of my math class, so I started self-studying farther up the math sequence at my school.” he says .

He began studying Calculus II the following year, one of just two students in a class. He started studying further at NSC after he completed all the other math classes offered at his high school.

 “I discovered a bunch of really cool facets of math, my favorites being probability and basic linear algebra that first year, and I just kept going,” he says.  “I love math because it is a set of tools that can be harnessed to do all sorts of things.”

 At North, he tried computer science classes.   “The new way of thinking has really clicked with me, and I was able to bring myself to the next level,” he says. Soon, “I realized that this was something I would enjoy pursuing as a career.”

Since studying at North, “my love for math has grown exponentially, and I’ve really been able to engage with a lot of different interesting topics,” he says. A friend, now a fellow tutor, encouraged him to apply for tutoring work, and he started during spring quarter.

“I applied fully excited by what I might learn, and I was thrilled when I got accepted,” he says.

At 18, Pallais-Aks looks every bit as young as he is, and he’s younger than many other tutors.  “I’ve had several clients ask about it, some even commenting that I am half their age,” he says. “I’ve never had a client derive anything openly negative from that, though I do tend to get a lot of ‘wow, you’re really smart!’”

Most of Pallais-Aks’ students come with computer-science problems and often those “come down to a lack of understanding that originated in the design process,” he says. “When a student comes in to ask about a problem they’re having with their code, the first thing I do is ask them to explain what it is (they’re) supposed to do. This starts as a big-picture exercise, for the whole method or class in question, and then zooms down into line-by-line analysis.”

“With math, the questions generally have to do with the application of specific formulas and strategies to solve math problems,” he says. For that, “I like to write down the formula or strategy in question, and then ask the student to solve the problem, filling in any specific gaps that they have along the way.”

Besides his tutoring and high school activities, Pallais-Aks has a recording-studio  internship with the Jack Straw Foundation, learning recording techniques and software programs. In the first grade he began playing piano — “a really therapeutic activity.” Today he plays in his school band and has formed several groups, including one called Sharp 6, which can be seen on Spotify.

And he dabbles in photography. “I love to play music, travel, and take pictures” and spend time with family and friends, he says.

He plans to enter college regularly next year, with a double major in physics and computer science. He’s not yet thinking in detail about his career.

“I am currently in the thick of college applications, so the next 4.5 years will be spent finishing up my senior year of high school and then fully enjoying college,” he says. “Beyond that, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing; the two potential post-graduation pathways I have identified for myself are going to law school or pursuing a PhD in Computer Science, but we’ll see what pans out.”

His advice for students? Come to tutoring sessions with a goal. Without one, tutoring time may not be used efficiently. “If students come in with a clear idea (like) ‘I need help understanding this concept’ or ‘I need help figuring out what’s going wrong with these three lines of code,’ that means we can use our time much more effectively, and students are able to leave more satisfied than if they came in with little to no plan,” he says.

How a family death helped me grow

               

Kareena Lauer

Editor’s Note, November 2, 2021: Education is part of growing, but we learn in other ways, as well. This essay, written by first-year psychology student Kareena Lauer, is about one of her major growing experiences and how powerful it became. The essay was written during fall quarter, 2021, for the English 101 class taught by Jamie Wilson. Lauer has allowed us to share it.

By KAREENA LAUER

I am nineteen years old. I am upstairs in the home my father and stepmother own in Puyallup. I am sitting with my younger sister in her bedroom looking out her window at the budding trees of the neighborhood. We are surrounded by Beatles posters, art projects, and stuffed animals. We had been chatting but now we are quiet. Hungry, I am waiting for the pizza my uncle ordered to arrive. The house is still despite so many people being stuffed inside its walls. My brother walks up the stairs, slowly with his head down. I can see his shaggy blondish brown head top. He is carefully studying his feet while he takes decisive steps toward his own bedroom. He is only fifteen, but hard experiences and these past couple of months have mentally aged him. As he walks, I can see him trying to figure it all out. I can see the chaos in his head, the loud, intelligent thoughts bursting through his eyes. But he is quiet. His head down, moving methodically.

 My sister is sitting on her bed across from me trying to find a ringtone for the cell phone my father gave her for Christmas just three months ago. It is silver and it can take pictures. We can now take pictures wherever we go without even needing a camera. She is the strongest of the three of us. She has suffered more silently. She is intelligent in her emotion. I think she has been quietly trying to organize the turmoil for us. This is impossible right now. Three months seems like years.

Downstairs voices pick up. We can hear footsteps moving more chaotically now. I hear someone walking from the living room through the dining room and toward the stairs that lead up to our bedrooms. I think dinner has finally arrived. My aunt appears. I look up and smile at her, “Pizza?” She shakes her head, sorrowfully. “Something is happening.” My siblings and I get up with a sense of urgency. We are moving quickly. Down the stairs past the bathroom with the tall, goose shaped, doorstop staring at us inquisitively. Through the dining room. It is dimly lit and full of flowers. I can smell the sweet flowers blooming with life and assaulting my nostrils with their invasive pollen. We move through the dining room; past the cot my grandmother has been sleeping on to be close by. I see my grandfather sitting on the cot as we walk past. He looks pale, drained, defeated. We walk toward the door where my stepmother is waiting for us. She is red and raw. Her blond hair unwashed. Her makeup gone days ago as there is no point in putting on something that will be washed away with tears almost immediately. We walk toward the bed and my family comes to the door behind us. My Grandparents, my aunt, both my uncles, and my cousins are in the living room right outside the door. We are surrounded by family but all we can see is my father. I don’t know how he has conveyed that he wants his children right at this moment. He hasn’t spoken in about a week now. He is just 47 years old, but he looks 90.

The cancer has drained him. It has only been a month and a half since he sat the three of us down and told us, “We have fought this so hard, but it has won. It’s gonna get me.” He spoke those words to us and now all he can do is lie there in his bed. He is looking at us though. He knows we are here. My brother leans in close to him. He whispers, “It is ok, dad, you can go. I love you.” My sister and I hug our brother and our father. I can feel my brother holding on like he is afraid of being torn away by a hurricane. I can feel my father’s bones. He still smells like him. Like soft laundry detergent and pepper. But he is a shell. A skeletal shell of the man who raised me almost alone. My father, who picked me up with his strong arms, held me when I cried, and taught me to ride a bike. The man who actually told my boyfriends “I have a shotgun and a shovel.” That strong man is already gone. And now this weak, elderly person has invaded his body and made it decrepit. He starts to move. We sit back with our hands still holding his. He looks as though he is sitting up, but he has been unable to do so on his own for several days. He gasps loudly as though he is in pain, holds very tight to us and then drops. Gone. He is gone. I think he is gone. I put my head on his chest to listen to his heart, as I have done so many times this past month. There is no heartbeat. He is dead.

I look to my stepmother and stand up. I say, “I will call hospice and have them bring the wagon.” She sharply tells me “No!” She looks at the bed where he now seems to be resting. She then she softens. “I want to be with him a little longer.” I walk from the bedroom to the living room and sit down next to my grandfather. He is crying. He is an old farmer and military veteran; I have never seen him cry in my life. I hug him. He tells me in a voice, usually deep and commanding, now cracking and vulnerable: “It’s not supposed to be that the children go before the parents.” I start to hear people sobbing around me. I start to understand what has just happened deep in my chest. The noise in the room has gone from a soft murmur to roaring in my ear quickly, as though a train has just come barreling through the silent night.

 I stand up to walk to the kitchen. It is dark outside. I stand next to the brown tile kitchen island. I look out the mudroom to the farm style white door with crisscross windows, into darkness. In the middle of the counter sits the pizza I have been waiting for. I grab a slice, open the door, and enter the night. I sit on the steps and just stare. “What do we do now?” I knew he was sick. I knew he was dying. But it hasn’t fully sunk in yet that the only stability we have ever had would be missing. It has happened so fast, and I am hurting too much to consider who will compel my siblings to go to school. Who will make our dentist appointments? I have never even cut my own steak. I will need to grow up fast. He has only been married to my stepmother for seven months. Although they had been dating for years. Will she keep her promise to care for my siblings?

 My sister comes to the porch. She has been looking for me. “We are going to tell dad goodbye.” I walk back into that room. I hate that room now. I hate the soft yellow of the walls. I hate all the decorative pillows. I hate the windows that looks out to the perfect street my father wanted for his children. I lay with him for a long time. I tell him I love him and kiss him. We can hear the big van coming to take him away. The hospice people come in. They are warm and kind, but I hate them too. They take him out and drive away.

It has been my responsibility to pick up family from the airport and my cousin Troy’s plane will arrive shortly. I pick him up. He has spoken to his mother on the phone. He knows he is too late. We drive around for a bit. He is so close to my father. They even look alike. Both men with blond hair parted on the side, piercing blue eyes and distinguished noses. He grew up constantly being called George by my aunt. He is so sad he did not get to say goodbye. When we get home my siblings are already in bed. I go to bed too, but it is hard to fall asleep. I lie awake staring at the ceiling. Listening to the noises of our small town. I hear the train in the distance, a car pass by slowly on our little street. Finally, it is midnight. The last day my father was ever on this earth is gone and it is tomorrow. I can sleep now.

It has been 18 years since my father’s death. His illness leading up to it meant my time was spent at hospitals and not preparing for college. After his death I was catapulted into adulthood. My stepmother did not keep her promise to care for my siblings. Six months after my father passed, she had another man move into the home my father died in. They bought a Lexus and a boat and continue to live quite well with the assets my father left her. My siblings did not feel provided for and did not want to live with her. She had no issue with this. My sister was 18 and I was 20 by this time. We moved into an apartment. My siblings had social security and I had a job as a legal assistant.  My brother spiraled. We tried to get him to go to school, but we were his sisters. He did not respect us as parents. He simply wouldn’t go. He started using drugs. My mother and I had been estranged for 5 years, but with my brother needing help we reconciled and came together. My sister was very motivated. She got herself to school and graduated. I helped her with homework. I went shopping for a prom dress with her. I attended her graduation with an air horn. I made our dentists appointments.

We became each other’s parents and mentors. We motivated each other. All three of us have a closeness that is not easily had. We all have the knowledge of what our father wanted for us. For me, my father had a passion for helping people. Especially those who found themselves disenfranchised. After his death I needed to work to pay bills. The legal field was all I had known as that is where he, my mother, and my stepmother all worked. I started as a legal assistant and quickly moved on to work with offenders as a diversion counselor to help them get help. I am going to school to be able to do this at another level and help more people.

This experience changed me from a child into an adult. It changed me by helping me to see my father, my grandfather, and all the “adults” around me were human. My grandfather cries. My stepmother makes mistakes. My father was mortal. The day I wrote about was the defining moment in my life where I knew I was on my own. I, of course, only know my own experience. But I think it is a unique one in that I can pinpoint the exact moment of that change in my life. This experience helped me to grow into a self-sufficient person. It taught me the value and fragility of life. It taught me how to self-reflect. I did not really hate the hospice people. I loved them. I hated what they represented.

This is a very powerful defining moment in my young life where I can note a feeling that I had toward a person that they did not deserve. They earned respect and love. But, to me they represented my family’s agonizing. I feel that is an amazing lesson to learn at a young age. Many things that came from this experience were devastating. I am grateful, though, that I was able to grow. I am grateful my siblings and I had each other to find the healthy lessons through the devastation.

This is a tutor who knows how to lead

Diana Kang

SEATTLE, WA, October 13, 2021                               By LARRY LANGE

Diana Kang is someone who can advise and lead students by example. Her own life has been a determined, steady move from childhood to career, and it’s involved self-discovery, a change in countries, and learning a new language.

“I believe I am good at tutoring because I used to struggle myself — with English, with the culture difference, with feeling different altogether — so I know how to approach things and make the student feel comfortable,” says Kang, a tutor at the North Seattle College (NSC) Professional and Technical Learning Center.

Kang began tutoring computer science at the center last spring but she’s had a long-standing love for the subject.

 “Ever since I was 6 years old I have been passionate about computers,” she says. “My mom got me a second-hand PC and I was immediately in love and fascinated about what I can do with it — from using Paint to draw silly shapes, to playing Solitaire and beating the computer’s AI. Later on, I found out that everything we interact with on a computer is because of programming languages, so I knew I wanted to learn some of them.”

She was born in Bucharest, Romania, and lived there until she was 18 and graduated from high school.  She still has family in her first country and still has warm feelings about it, as the place where she spent her childhood.

But, like many other Romanians, she was disenchanted with the low wages, poor health system and corruption there and decided to leave and find a better future elsewhere.

She lived for a while in Korea, but eventually settled in the U.S. There were stressful, even scary moments.

She arrived in Seattle late on a foggy night in 2013, and had to immediately start looking for permanent housing the next day. It was difficult to do. She ended up in an extended-stay hotel in the Northgate area for about three months. “The hotel was nice. The surroundings were not,” she says.

Once, while she was munching a fast-foot meal and waiting with her dog for a bus back to her hotel, a shaggy-looking man “approached me and started asking me all sorts of questions…I didn’t know much English back then so I just handed him my fries in hopes he would leave me alone.”

He didn’t, following her onto a bus and sitting down behind her. He followed her off the bus, as well, and Kang spotted a knife in his hand. She began running with the dog and entered the hotel but it was late and there was no receptionist or security staff on hand. To avoid showing the strange man her room, she knocked on the first door and was met by a friendly, drunk couple who also had a dog. The animals began playing together, she met new people and the strange man left the hotel.

“The next day I found a new place to move to,” she says.

She had learned some English in school in Romania but also from online video games. She picked up advanced words listening to music and watching Hollywood movies. She took an English class at North Seattle College “and that fixed my grammar,” she says. She found work as a receptionist and in sales and as a computer technician, installing, maintaining and troubleshooting software applications and hardware.

She began taking computer-science classes at NSC, and enjoyed them. She obtained certificates in Web Applications Technology and Windows Network Administration, as well as an Associates of Applied Science degree in Programming/IT Network Support. She was recommended for a tutoring job by an instructor, Robert Bunge.

“I took the job because I am confident in the subject I am tutoring, but also because I wanted to experiment and see what it is like,” she says.

The work “is very meaningful to me because I get to help others,” she says. “I am a very patient person and I recognize the struggles of not understanding. “

She says the best part of tutoring is when (students) reach that answer all by themselves “and you can tell that they understand the topic; they get very happy and confident. The most challenging situation is when the student comes with zero lines of code or pseudocode. The problem with this is that I cannot do the homework for them, and they still have to put in the work. I would rather have them write pseudocode and we can work on the actual lines of code, than to see nothing and not know where to start. So far, that hasn’t happened very often. Most of the students I had started slowly but once they got the hang of it they just come to tutoring for 10 minutes just to ask a clarifying question.”

Kang’s ability to lead has been recognized by the college. This fall, in addition to continued tutoring, she’ll be one of several “peer leaders” selected by the college’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. That means she’ll be  providing leadership and guidance to new students, helping them with computer-related questions but also giving them information about college programs, such as financial aid.

“I am really excited to be working with other peer leaders and helping with the growth and development of first-year students,” she says.

When not tutoring or studying, Kang spends time cooking, sailing with friends or enjoying being with her dog, a Beagle named Smudge. “I’m always up for learning new languages, drawing and watching documentaries,” she says.

Kang’s eventual goal is to obtain a bachelor’s degree. In addition to her other work, she’s begun studying in the Application Development Bachelor’s of Applied Science program. She expects to graduate by mid-2023 and is aiming for a fulltime job developing “apps.”

Her advice for students about tutoring? “Don’t be hesitant to drop in! I know it seems intimidating. I, myself, used to refuse help in the past because I thought it makes me look bad — NO..” she says. “This could not be further from the truth!” 

“Everyone I met loves to help students, and more often than not we can’t wait to get someone who is asking us questions,” she says. “I never met a student who was unhappy after the tutoring sessions. Students leave stress-free because they understand the material better and feel like they can tackle the problem on their own.”

First, around the world. Then, tutoring at Page One

Matt Warburg

SEATTLE, WA, July 19, 2021

By LARRY LANGE

When a lot of students come to the Page One Center for help, tutor Matt Warburg can say he’s been in places they’re from.


Warburg, an English tutor at the center since 2017, spent five years in China, where he steeped himself in the culture and taught English to Chinese students. He’s one Page One tutor who can converse in Chinese with students from that country.

“What I like the most about Page One is both the people I work with and how interesting and passionate about learning the students are,” he says. “As someone who has been lucky enough to have travelled extensively, I really enjoy working with students from other countries and hearing their stories.”

Raised and initially educated in San Francisco, Warburg attended Washington University in St. Louis, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1992. He later attended graduate school at Carnegie-Mellon and Duquesne Universities in Pittsburgh, earning a master’s degree in public policy at Carnegie-Mellon in 1996 and a master’s degree in education from Duquesne in 1998.

He developed his sense of internationalism early, almost naturally.  Both his parents were bilingual.  He visited and traveled through the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s as part of a U.S.-U.S.S.R. educational exchange program. He spent the summer of 1994 traveling in Western Europe by rail, spent time in Eastern Europe and Russia two summers later.

He first traveled to China in 1997, on an educational trip organized by one of his professors. By that time he had been introduced to his future wife, Maggie Jiang, who is from a Chinese family and was also seeking a master’s degree at Carnegie-Mellon. They began dating later that year, after he returned from China.

After graduation, Warburg took the plunge into education. He taught at a high school in Silicon Valley (“a miserable experience,” he says) and stayed a year there and left to join his wife in Washington, D.C. They were married in China in 1999 because his father-in-law could not leave China at the time; they had another ceremony the following year in San Francisco, and moved to Seattle.

He held a number of teaching jobs in Seattle, including several years at a private tutoring center, and his wife worked in technology.

They moved back to China in 2010 so she could take over temporarily as chief executive officer of her father’s company. By that time the couple had been making annual trips to Beijing, and Warburg was learning more about Chinese culture.

“As an American, I was very well received, as many Chinese people admire Western education systems,” he says. “The fact that I was Jewish was also a plus, as Chinese and Jewish value systems are very similar, in terms of how they value family and education.”

Warburg had been familiar with one-party political systems before moving to China.

“In terms of day-to-day life, nothing is that different from living in the U. S. except for the fact that certain news websites are blocked by the Chinese government (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CNN, etc), the air pollution is worse, and the public transportation is much more efficient,” he says.

“My most interesting experiences generally revolved around either food or exploring ‘old’ Beijing, (i.e. the hutongs),” he says.  He explored places on his own using the subway and bus systems, “and younger Chinese people often tried to practice their English with me on the bus. Probably the coolest experience I had, however, was hiking on an unrestored section of the Great Wall.” 

He also kept studying while in China. He had learned “tourist-level” Chinese before  that time, but he spent his first year there studying the language intensively. He describes himself as currently “conversational” in the language “but my vocabulary is somewhat limited.”

He soon returned to education.  He got a job teaching social studies at an international school in Beijing, then switched to teaching English after the head of their English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) program left, and Warburg  was asked to take over; he was the only English-speaker on staff with a graduate degree in education.

He taught there for four years and enjoyed the experience.

He and his wife returned to Seattle in 2015, after Warburg’s mother died and the couple decided to stay closer to his father.   Upon returning to the U.S.  he realized that he enjoyed teaching ESL just as much, if not more, than social studies, and added an ESL endorsement to the Washington Teaching Certificate he’d obtained earlier.

When his wife enrolled in art classes at North Seattle College she learned about the Page One Center and told him about it. He sent in his resume and was hired in the fall of 2017.

The work at Page One also elevated him to the college level and away from the K-12 education system “so that I could spend less time ‘baby-sitting’ and dealing with misbehaving students, and more time actually teaching motivated students who wanted to learn.”  Also, he was looking for a part-time job “that would enable me to make a positive contribution to the community with a minimum of stress.”

What Warburg likes most about Page One “is both the people I work with and how interesting and passionate about learning the students are,” he says. “I’m passionate about teaching and helping others, and having grown up in a multi-lingual household ….I have found that I really enjoy teaching immigrants about the many intricacies of the English language.”  

“I think the most challenging aspect for me is adjusting my teaching methods to the different ways each student learns. Obviously, this has been harder to do via Zoom than in-person.” The most fun part? “Practicing my Chinese with the Chinese students I’ve worked with.”

Warburg and his wife love and collect art ; she produces it and has displayed her work in local galleries. He loves reading, hiking, collecting sports cards, photography, and playing chess.  He plans to continue traveling as much as he can. When he’s not tutoring, he might also read a good mystery or historical fiction book.

His advice for students? “Never be afraid to ask for help….be organized and manage your time as best you can.”

Tutoring math and science, and enjoying life

SEATTLE, WA, MAY 20, 2021

By LARRY LANGE

Danny Inga found out how much fun it is working with science. Now he’s sharing the enjoyment by helping other students. It seems to be a natural outlet for a guy who has a lot of fun in his own life.

“I love helping people and if I can use my brain and skills to help other students succeed while also getting paid for it, it’s a win-win situation,” says Inga, a tutor at North Seattle College’s Math and Science Learning Center (MSLC).

Born in Glendale, Calif., he grew up in Santa Clarita, Calif., and finished high school at Hart High School in Santa Clarita.  He began tutoring by helping friends in high school and later, but mostly worked in the food service industry at outlets such as Chipotle, Zeeks Pizza, and Evergreens Salads.

At an early age, when he started playing around with technology, he found out that he was good at math and he began enjoying it.

“I have been playing video games and messing around on computers since I was a kid,” he says. “I also found out I was pretty good at math and this gives me a way to apply the logic skills I picked up. I took AP Computer Science in high school and loved it. It is very fun for me to get behind a computer, start writing code, and solve a problem or come up with something cool and fun to use.”

Growing up, Inga liked science, but his interests developed further. By the time he was in a high-school advanced-placement physics class “I was actually very happy with my knowledge of math,” he says. “I have since come to love the utility math provides in my life, from finding the price per ounce of different cat foods, to placing things equidistantly on my room walls.”

After high school he attended College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. but moved to Washington state to escape the ultra-hot California summers and his hometown “drama.” He didn’t immediately make use of his math/science skills while working, but he’d practice it when he could.

“Besides the MSLC, I haven’t had a job that required math,” he says. “However, I have used math while at work to solve fun puzzles for myself while it’s slow. As an example, it was slow when I worked as a server in a restaurant and we had two different kinds of salad dressing bottles, a skinny one and a fatter one. I was curious about how much more volume the fatter one held, so I made rough approximations using the volume-of-a cylinder formula and equidistant wine titles on the menu as my unit of measurement. I found out that it was about 60% more. A completely useless puzzle, but a fun way to kill time and satisfying to solve.”

In 2016 he enrolled at NSC , drawn to the college by its STEM programs. He finished his  Associate’s of Science in computer science during spring quarter of 2019. By that time, he was already tutoring in the math-science center. Like math and science, tutoring is also fun for him, he says. “I love the emotional reward when it ‘clicks’ for a student. I also love my coworkers and the friendships I have made with students as a result of this job.”

He says the most common problem students have with math is “teachers in the past that made them hate math. It usually only takes one bad math teacher to turn a student off from math forever. I try my best to make math as least stressful as possible and show them the fun in solving problems and getting an answer, as well as help them understand it on a more conceptual level instead of memorizing a bunch of formulas.”

At the MSLC, Inga tutors computer science, physics, statistics, and math courses up to Calculus II.  Like other staffers, he works to overcome the difficulties students face in learning math, trying to provide answers but also to teach students how to find them themselves.

“The most challenging part is having patience when working with a student who doesn’t understand your explanation after you have explained it in more than one way,” he says. “It is also challenging when a student comes in and expects me to lecture to them instead of answer questions they have. Additionally, when students come in expecting us to give them answers to homework problems, it becomes tricky water to navigate, since I want to help them both get a good grade on homework as well as understand what they’re doing.”

He says the most interesting situation he’s encountered tutoring was winter quarter of this year, when “a student stalked me on Facebook and complimented me on a photo of me in a suit in 2015. I just had to tell him, ‘Look if you don’t have a question, then I’m going to leave.’ “

When he’s not tutoring, Inga is completing his studies for a bachelor’s degree in computer science at Western Washington University in Bellingham., where he lives and connects remotely to work at MSLC.  He plans to finish in the spring of 2023, if not sooner. “I plan to try and find a job in the virtual reality industry or somewhere like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Nintendo, or some other tech company,” he says. “Ideally, I’d be working in some area of video game development.”

If he does, it would be creating work from fun, which he is already good at. Right now, he spends most of his free time playing video games with his brother and friends online. “I also enjoy going out into nature, whether that’s hiking, backpacking, putting up a hammock at the beach, or car camping.,” he says. “I also enjoy landscape photography, drumming, video production, snowboarding, and cruising through Bellingham on my Spongebob Heelys” — shoes with wheels that Inga says once allowed him to move “faster than a peak human sprint” down a steep hill. “My background in skateboarding (and owning heelys when I was a kid) helped me keep my balance as the wind rushed past me.”

His advice to students coming to the tutoring center? “Come in with questions prepared. Do not expect us to do everything for you or give you a lecture because you missed your Zoom lecture,” he says.  “Attempt the problems yourself first. Use the internet as a resource for self-teaching. Use our services as a way to help you understand what’s happening, not as a way to just get answers on quizzes and homework.”