Public 2-Year Schools

Essex: Math Peer Tutoring Big Success

Math tutor Chioma Anaemejeh (standing) with Ikarma Brown (right) and Renea Thompson

Since its inception five years ago with funding from a Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Formula Grant, the math tutoring program at Essex County College has proved to be an overwhelming success with students. For the Spring 2017 Semester, the popular program which focuses on Math 100 (Introductory College Mathematics) has expanded with Saturday hours as well as tutoring time Tuesday through Friday.

“Math 100 is a gateway course to the other math classes,” said Mathematics Professor Ines Figueiras. “I expect our numbers to increase this semester by having the tutoring lab open on Saturdays and during College Hour” (2:30-3:50 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays when there are no classes scheduled). The lab is also open for tutoring/online homework help for six hours on Saturdays.

Last semester, 178 different students participated in tutoring services and/or review sessions from 29 different math sections. These students spent a total of approximately 759 hours in the lab, located in a glass enclosed computer lab on the 2nd Floor of the College’s Newark campus.

The lab is staffed by six Teaching Assistant (TA) students who Professor Figueiras said were carefully selected by her and fellow mathematics faculty member Carlos Castillo. Both faculty members of the Division of Mathematics & Physics oversee the tutoring program.

Tutors (from left) Kaleem Graham, Chimoa Anaemejeh and Chisomnazu Nwigwe

“I was a chemistry tutor at the time I received an email about the math tutoring position and I was like why not,” recalled Biology, Pre-Medicine major Chioma Anaemejeh who is in her second semester in the position. “So far it has been an incredible experience and opportunity for me,” said the Belleville resident.

This semester’s other tutors include Josue Deidan (Engineering), Kaleem Graham (Engineering), Chisomnazu (Biology, Pre-Medicine), Lawrence Onyekwere (Biology, Pre-Medicine) and Leonardo Ruales (Engineering).

“We are very proud of our TAs and we are certain that they have instilled a significant amount of confidence in many of our students,” said Professor Castillo. “Their clarity, patience, knowledge, and amicability have made the mathematics enjoyable and obtainable for students to learn.” He added that he has seen improvement in his students who have availed themselves of the PBI funded tutoring.

On a recent afternoon, friends Ikarma Brown (General Science) and Renea Thompson (Physical Therapist Assistant) were working with Chioma in the lab. “This program is really helping me a lot,” said Renea. Both students are from Orange.

Chisomnazu Nwigwe said she enjoys helping her fellow students. “And it also helps me overall in my classes,” she added.

Professor Figueiras said the data summary from last semester clearly shows that students enjoy the program. She noted that, for example, 73 students participated in the midterm review last October.

In her view of the program, Chioma noted math is her favorite subject. “And I love helping others, especially when it comes to academics.”