More math tutoring hours available now!

Requests for more tutoring hours in the Math & Science Learning Center have been granted! The center will now be open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday during summer quarter “based on feedback from students,” said Dan Tarker, Student Learning Center director.  The math/science center offers tutoring in math, chemistry, physics and statistics.


Summer tutoring is here, including in the Bio/Chemistry Lab


SEATTLE, WA                                    July 10, 2019

Bring in your grammar books, readings, essays, math problems, science questions and university applications! Tutoring is now available in a wide variety of subjects for summer quarter.

Tutors will be available to help through Thursday, August 15. General hours in the Student Learning Center will be from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

Tutoring centers are located in the Health Sciences and Student Resources Building. Below are summer quarter hours for each center.

    ** Accounting & Business Learning Center, Room 1636-A, Room 1639 (general accounting, business, economics, IT 102 and 125).  Hours will be from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday.

. See schedules online at

    Biology & Chemistry Lab, Room 2642-A, second floor, upstairs(biology, biochemistry, microbiology, basic and organic chemistry, anatomy and physiology).

Monday, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., Marcus (biology, chemistry and all other subjects).

Tuesday, 1:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m., Marcus.

Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Chris (anatomy & physiology, microbiology, biology and some chemistry), and Connor (anatomy & physiology)

Thursday, 1:20 p.m. to 5:20 p.m., Anna (anatomy & physiology)

Friday, 11:00 am to 3:00 p.m., Marcus.

Saturday, 9:50 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., Marcus.

Sunday, starting July 7, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Connor (anatomy & physiology)

See schedules online at:

    ** Math & Science Learning Center, Room 1639(math, computer science, physics, chemistry). Hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Monday through Thursday.

See schedules online at:


    ** Page One Writing & Language Center, Room 1634,(reading, grammar, pronunciation, essays, personal statements, resumes and other writing). Hours will be from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Two workshops will continue during the week: “Talk Time” for listening and speaking, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday; and “Focus on Vocabulary,” from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday.

See schedules online at

    Note: Requesting tutoring help,you can sign in at whichever center you need to use. You can also sign in for services online, from anywhere on campus, using a laptop, phone or a campus desktop computer. To do that, log in at You’ll need to set up an account, using your student ID number.

Once you log in you’ll get a page with the headline “SLC.” Click on “Dashboard” to get a menu asking you to pick which tutoring center you want. You then type in the subject you’re working on, and if you’re sitting in a tutoring center you can also type in the number on the table or the computer where you’re sitting. You can also pick the tutor you want from a drop-down list.

Next, you click on “submit” and a tutor in the center you’ve chosen will come to help you. The system will say your request is on “hold” while you’re waiting and will say “start” when your session begins. It will also record the starting and ending times.






Page One tutor publishes her memoir


Loreen Lee

SEATTLE, WA                                                    March 20, 2019

After years of work, Page One Writing & Language Center tutor Loreen Lee has published her memoir..

Her book, “The Lava Never Sleeps: A Honolulu Memoir,” was released on Monday, March 18. It is about her growing up in Hawaii in a Chinese American family and defining her cultural identity.

The book is a long-standing work by Lee, who has been a Page One tutor since 2015.The aim of it is “to give readers an inside look at what growing up in Honolulu was like, a clearer appreciation for the local culture, and the influence of the Hawaiian culture, especially its deep connection to the land,” she said.

In addition to the sale of the book at major bookstores, Lee will be giving two readings from the work. The first will be 12:00 p.m. Saturday, March 30 at the Passage Bookshop in Portland. Locally, there will be a second one at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at 3rd Place Books in Lake Forest Park. On April 10 she will deliver a presentation about writing and her journey to becoming an author, at 2 p.m. in the seminar room at the North Seattle College Library.

Lee was born in Hawaii and grew up in a Chinese-American household with four brothers and two sisters. Her parents spoke both Chinese and English at home and sent her and her siblings to Chinese language schools.  Lee’s early education was on the island but she graduated magna cum laude from the UW at Bothell, earning a bachelor’s degree in American studies with an emphasis on multicultural issues and writing.  She was a speaker at her UW commencement ceremony.

Previously in her career, she held several administrative positions with private companies, then took those skills to higher education. She was never far from other cultures. At Edmonds Community College she did communications work at the college’s Center for Equity and Diversity, which worked to unify and encourage students of color.  Later she was an administrator at Health Alliance International, a nonprofit entity based at the UW that ran public health programs in developing countries.

Being a writer has been a lifelong ambition for Lee. After graduating from the UW she began writing short works about her childhood. The UW program “made me think about my dream of being a writer” and it occurred to her that “there hadn’t been enough stories about Asians in Hawaii.” Her classwork “made me realize that if I’m going to do any kind of personal writing, this is the time to do it.”

She began writing personal stories after her UW graduation and began assembling them into a initial manuscript in 2001. It took her four years to finish the second draft and several more years to find a publisher, Willow Books.

In addition to writing her book, she taught a short course in writing, published essays and poetry and has given public readings of her work at locations from Seattle to Portland to Whidbey Island.


Check out these helpful workshops!


The Student Learning Center is conducting a variety of workshops throughout the quarter designed to help students strengthen their English and academic skills. All workshops are held in the SLC Seminar Room (HSSR 1637A) unless otherwise specified.

Tuesday January 22 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Comma Workshop 1: Comma Splices, facilitated by Rita Smilkstein and Dan Tarker

Wednesday January 23 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Personal Statement Workshop, facilitated by Jamie Wilson

Monday January 28 from 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm – Talking to the Text Workshop, facilitated by Vivien Warwick

Tuesday January 29 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Comma Workshop 2: Other Comma Challenges, facilitated by Rita Smilkstein and Dan Tarker

Wednesday January 30 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Time Management Workshop, facilitated by Jenny Mao, Counseling Faculty

Wednesday February 6 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Personal Statement Workshop, facilitated by Jamie Wilson

Wednesday February 20 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Exploring Careers & Majors Workshop, facilitated by Jenny Mao, Counseling Faculty

Wednesday March 13 from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm – Finals Preparation Workshop – facilitated by Jenny Mao, Counseling Faculty

Winter-quarter biology and science tutoring is available at two places!

Nursing students and those taking science classes – winter-quarter tutoring for your studies is available now at two different locations in the Health Sciences and Student Services Building!

The Biology & Chemistry Tutoring Lab is now open seven days a week with tutors on duty to help you. It is located in Room 2642-A, on the second floor.

Here is the schedule for tutoring at that center:

Monday, 2:50 p. m. to 5:50 p.m.: Marcus tutors for all subjects and Allison tutors for chemistry.

Tuesday, 2:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.: Marcus tutors for all subjects.

Wednesday, 2:50 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.: Allison tutors for chemistry.

Thursday, 1:50 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Gloria tutors for anatomy and physiology, biology, and microbiology. She also tutors during those hours for non-major chemistry.

Friday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Gloria tutors for anatomy and physiology, biology, and microbiology, as well as for non-major chemistry. From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Taylor tutors for anatomy and physiology and for biology for majors.

Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Marcus tutors for all subjects.

Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Marcus tutors for all subjects.

At the Math & Science Learning Center, Room 1639, chemistry tutoring is available five days a week.

On Monday and Wednesday  Daniel tutors from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. On Tuesday and Thursday he tutors from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

On Tuesday Danny tutors from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. On Thursday he tutors from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

On Thursday Quynn tutors from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.. On Friday he tutors from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and on Sunday he tutors from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

From Monday through Thursday Thomas tutors from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

On Tuesday and Thursday Uyen tutors from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.


The way to pronounce English


Sarah Donnelly

SEATTLE, WA    January 10, 2019              By SARAH DONNELLY

Do you say “couldja, wouldja, don’tcha, wanna, gonna, hadta, havta,…?” Is this good English, bad English, or just English?

There are over 6,000 spoken languages in the world today, about 163 in the Seattle area, and each language speaker, or family of languages, has its own particular difficulty learning to speak English. For instance, Spanish speakers especially need practice to learn the stressed words, the rhythm, in an English sentence. Most dialects of Chinese do not have a “z” sound, so “rise” sounds like “rice.” And speakers of Arabic often need help with the two “th” sounds, as in “this” and “throw,” which they may reduce to “d” and “t.”

Pronunciation is about more than clearly saying an individual word. English is made up of about 44 vowel and consonant sounds, plus rhythm, intonation, linking words, and word stress, all vital to signaling new or important information. Try this: say out loud, “I am going to climb to the top of the Space Needle.” Which words are stressed, and thus important? Which words almost disappear? It varies depending on the context and message. Then say it with no inflection in your voice and equal stress on every syllable: “I am going to climb to the top of the Space Needle.” Hmmm. Not much to go on.

My goal is not to teach the perfect way to say a word, or perfect English, or accent-free English, but to help students be intelligible to others.

This is the first pronunciation workshop offered by the Student Learning Center.

It will meet winter quarter on Wednesdays from 2:00-3:00 p.m. in Room 1637-A of the Health Science and Student Resources Building (the large seminar room across from the SLC greeter’s desk). Each meeting will include work on at least one sound from spoken American English, and answering questions from students about how to speak our challenging language. I will use a computer and overhead projector to show useful ESL resources on the Internet, such as:

* Learn English with Let’s Talk on YouTube

* Learning English at Voice of America News,

or *, where we’ll watch a close-up of Rachel’s mouth, teeth, tongue, chin and jaw, a lovely image, saying, in slow-motion, “sixth,” a difficult word for most to pronounce.

Now say “squirrel.” Slowly.

Sarah Donnelly has been a tutor at North Seattle College since 2014. In 2015 she received a certificate for teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at the School of Teaching English as a Second Language (S-TESL). Many other graduates went abroad to teach, but she chose to stay in Seattle and find adults who need help learning English. 

“Since working at Page One, I have enjoyed working with many students from around the world. Many want help with their English pronunciation, and I love to help them,” she says.




Working for success, and finding it

MATINA                                                                Matina Kpassira

SEATTLE, WA,       December 30, 2018                            By LARRY LANGE

As long as she can remember, math tutor Matina Kpassira has loved numbers.

Growing up and getting her early education in Togo, West Africa, her favorite things was counting. She would pick up sticks and other objects to do it. She also amused herself by drawing figures like triangles or squares or other rectangles, because she enjoyed them so much.

She studied the usual variety of subjects in school but “I was more interested in doing calculations,” she says. Now “I think numbers rule the world.”

Kpassira came to the United States in early 2016 after winning a U.S. immigration lottery.  She wanted to “go and see what is here, take my chances and have a better education.”

Settling in Seattle, she got a job as a Starbucks barista, something that immersed her in a new culture and helped her polish the very basic English she’d been taught in her first country. But she wanted to attend college. A friend told her about the English as a Second Language program at North Seattle College, so we went for more information and enrolled.

She began taking additional courses at North Seattle College in January of 2017. She took ESL courses her first two quarters and studied English 101, a higher-level discipline, to continue adding to her English skills.

But she didn’t forget math, which became her major. By the fall of 2018 she had completed every math course NSC offers, and began focusing on other areas: psychology, communication and computer science. But she keeps her hand in mathematics by tutoring five mornings each week at NSC’s Math & Science Learning Center.

Unraveling the mysteries of math for others is fun for her. “I just also like the fact that I can help people,” she says. “It’s much easier because it’s something I really like.”

There’s one lesson Kpassira learned first-hand that she uses frequently in her tutoring: failure can be inspiring.

During spring quarter of 2017 she failed her first attempt at completing English 101. It was difficult for her as someone who had been raised in a nation where the dominant language is French.  “I was pretty depressed, to the point of giving up on the whole English thing,” she says. “I finished the course but I didn’t put that much effort into it because I knew I was failing.”

But she picked herself up and made another, successful attempt, using the kind of objective logic she’d learned from studying mathematics: identify the facts and then develop a solution. She went through her stack of classwork, “to see where I had failed…then I made a new plan, to do things better than I did before. Doing math gives you a logical way of thinking about things.”

She took the course a second time during the summer of 2017, finishing with an almost-perfect grade. She moved on to English 102, and along the way her 101 teacher “made me love reading books. I was really happy that I did it again.”

She frequently uses that lesson to help students she tutors. When they’re stuck on problems she can help them reach solutions by looking for new approaches, in the same way she tackled English: she faced her failure and “I made a new plan” in order to succeed.

When math students feel like they want to give up, “I tell my own story about how I failed” but later succeeded. She also tells them about not giving up too soon. She was frustrated for a time with English but “then I thought about it like a math problem…if something doesn’t work we can try other ways.” She does this in her tutoring, sometimes by using visual techniques like drawings to explain math concepts. She advises students to practice math every day, and to see it as “something you can actually get better at.”

Kpassira hopes to transfer to another college, perhaps the University of Washington, to obtain a four-year degree in math (perhaps with a minor in electrical engineering).  Meanwhile, she’s enjoying tutoring as part of her own education. “You learn more than you teach,” she says.