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Feb 3 / Francesca Fernandes

Congratulations Storm!

Thanks to everyone who came to our Tutor Meet and Greet event Jan 20th and 21st. We hope to have another very soon. Congratulations to one of our raffle winners, Storm. Keep an eye out for the next raffle announcement which will be posted soon!


Jan 21 / Francesca Fernandes

Meet the Winter 2016 SI Leaders

Are you taking BIO 1500, BIO 1510, BIO 2200, BIO 2600, BIO 2870, CHM 1040, CHM 1220, CHM 1240, CHM 2200, PHY 2130, PHY 2140, or PSY 1010?

If so, you have the opportunity to take part in our SI sessions this semester. Our SI leaders are ready to further guide you through lecture material. In SI sessions you will have opportunities to practice the application of content and processes to questions, challenges and discussions. By participating in SI you will take an active role in your learning while guided by someone who has been there, done that, and achieved success at the end.

We are proud to call these 12 students our SI leaders. You’ve probably seen their faces in lecture already but they’d like you to get to know them better.

You can find the SI session schedule here:




BIO 1500: Antonio Dekhou

My name is Antonio but most people call me Tone. I grew up in Southfield but currently I reside in Troy. I am a second year student here at WSU and pursuing a BSc in biology. I am currently a pre-med student and on my way to becoming a physician. Fun fact, I have a burning passion for my dogs and biology.






BIO1510: Razi Antoon

Hello, my name is Razi Antoon. I was born in Baghdad, Iraq and moved to Detroit when I was two years old. I now live in Sterling Heights. I am a junior at WSU, working on a bachelor’s of science in biology degree on a pre-med track. I also work as an emergency room medical scribe at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. I enjoy all outdoor activities; especially water activities.


BIO 2200: Hana Kallabat

My name is Hana. I am from West Bloomfield and a second year student at Wayne State. I am pursuing a BS in Biology and on the pre-med track. I’m a nerd, I love food and puppies!





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BIO 2600: Taania Girgla

Hello! My name is Tania Girgla! I am currently a junior at WSU pursuing a major in Biological Sciences. I am in the pre-med route with the MedStart program and I hope to be a physician one day! This is my 3rd semester working with the ASC and SI-ing for BIO 2600. I love working with people and this topic and I hope to be able to help others foster a love for this topic as well as succeed in this course. I enjoy running and playing tennis and hiking and anything that allows me to be outdoors basically. I would say I am a curious person with a passion for adventure!


BIO 2870: Nicole Utterbeck

My name is Nicole. I love movies, food, Disney, yoga, and cats. I am an SI leader for Bio 2870 and a tutor for bio, math and chem. I have a passion for helping people. This is my 3rd year at Wayne State and my 5th semester with the ASC. I am a nursing major hoping to someday work in pediatric ICU. I can’t wait to get to know you!


CHM 1040: Malek Ghandour

My name is Malek. I grew up in Dearborn, relatively close to Detroit. My family is originally from Lebanon. Currently, I am finishing my undergraduate studies in biological sciences with the intention of applying to medical school.


CHM 1220: Ken Nash

Hello my name is Kenneth Nash, but most people call me Ken. I was born and raised in New Baltimore, MI with a passion for fishing and running. I am currently pursuing a Chemical Engineering Degree. My father is an engineer for GM so it isn’t strange that I too want to become an engineer. During my last year I did Undergraduate Research and for the past year I worked at the Academic Success Center as a tutor. I am thrilled for the experience to be an SI leader for all of you in the upcoming semester!


CHM 1240: Eva Makki

My name is Eva. I am currently in my first year in nursing school. I enjoy traveling to new places, reading and spending time with family. Oh! Not to forget, I also enjoy tutoring students.





CHM 2220: Aditya Agrawal

My name is Aditya and I am a junior in Biomedical Engineering. I am also a pre-med student. I am from Livonia, Michigan but live on campus. I enjoy watching TV, playing basketball, and eating food in my free time. I am going to be an SI leader for CHM 2220 this semester and hope that I can help you succeed in class.




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PHY 2130: Joshua Kovoor

My name is Josh Kovoor, I am a 4th year biomedical physics student. I currently live in Detroit, I grew up here but moved to Livonia when I was 9. I enjoy watching boxing and basketball with friends. I am also trying to become proficient in Spanish.


PHY 2140: Mohammad Alhourani

My name is Mohammad Alhourani. I was born and raised in Syria. I majored in biology and graduated last fall semester. I’m a pre-med and hoping to start medical school soon. I’m currently an SI leader for Physics 2140 and a tutor for some science classes including biology, chemistry, and physics.

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PSY 1010: Andrew Lebbos

Hello! My name is Andrew Lebbos. I am a junior who studies/loves psychology. I am currently working in a Social Psychology lab with Dr. Kopetz. I hope to attend Graduate School in psychology. When I am not in the lab or library, you can find me playing pool, playing basketball, or writing.

Dec 15 / Francesca Fernandes

Happy Holidays from Peer-Assisted Learning

Happy Holidays and all the best to everyone as we close another successful semester. From all of us at Peer-Assisted Learning, have a lovely and safe winter break.FullSizeRender

Dec 10 / Francesca Fernandes

Attention Students: The Collaborative Study Session Schedule Is Here!

Fall 2015 Finals Week

Collaborative Study Sessions Schedule

The purpose of the study session is for students to get last minute clarifications and peer support.  Students are welcome to be in the study session to study independently or with a group, and help will be available in the room.

Click the link to view the full schedule.


Dec 8 / Francesca Fernandes

Meet Shiby!



1. Tell us about yourself Shiby. What is your major at Wayne State and what do you do in your free time?

I am a junior electrical engineering student. Whenever I get free time, I enjoy jamming some praise and worship with my friends (I play the piano), or having a movie night with my sisters. Since engineering is making me very technical and practical, I try to brush up on my creativity skills by picking up hobbies like baking cupcakes, or designing humorous greeting cards.

2. What do you enjoy about being a tutor?

I went into tutoring with the impression that my only role is to ASSIST students with conceptual and numerical problems in math and physics, but over the past few months I have learned that tutoring is beyond all of that. It is about identifying the students’ needs, helping them gain some study skills for a particular course, and training them to be independent. Helping others work on these 3 aspects for studying, has in return helped me work on these skills for myself too.

This semester, tutoring other students has taught me about humility, a lot of times, being academically higher, I tend to have too much of pride in my heart, and serving others by helping them in understanding concepts, has helped me keep myself grounded.

3.  When a student is unsure how to study, what three important pieces of advice do you give?

  • At the end of every chapter in math and physics, making study cards or detailed formula sheet, will help you in keeping track of all the concepts you have learned in that chapter. It will be a good memory refresher when looking back at it for finals preparation.
  • Being a textbook addict is very important, if you want to get a good grasp of a topic. Even if the professor’s notes are easy to read, I always recommend my students to read each and every section in the textbook, and solve in text examples BEFORE working on the homework problems. Initially, reading textbooks might seem boring, but it will increase a student’s understanding level, and help them become a little more independent.
  • With finals and project deadlines coming up, we are always anxious about our pending tasks, and a lot of times, this anxiety could pose as a distraction, hindering us from completing our current task.  Writing each of our tasks on separate post-it notes, and numbering them based on their level of priority, helps us keep our thoughts aside for those tasks, and work efficiently without any distraction in completing our homework or studying . This is applicable for non-academic work as well.

4. The two of us have talked about what it means to be an advocate for strong women in various fields, do you have a message for women who feel like it is struggle to be heard in work or school?

It is our passion that drives us to reach for the stars. Similarly, women who love science and engineering continue in this field because of their passion to do hands-on problem solving, and to be pushed beyond the limits.  I was always told that men are technical, and women can handle only work that deal with arts and creativity. I think we are influenced by the toys that girls and boys are given to play with. Boys are introduced to toys that help them improve their problem solving and critical thinking skills, whereas girls play with Barbie dolls and dollhouses that make them more creative minded and imaginative. It is important that we make the boys and girls interact with these 2 kinds of toys, so that they have a balance of both, creativity and technical skills. To be a successful researcher or engineer in the STEM field, it is important to have a balance of both.

Being a minority in this field, I feel a responsibility to encourage more girls into the STEM fields. I think a majority of the women who earn their undergraduate degree in engineering either leave the profession or never enter the field, and one of the biggest reason is the work culture. In my experience, if a woman is part of a project team, she is more likely given the role of secretary to take care of the paper/computer work in spite of her technical skills, whereas her male co-workers get to experience the hands on work. We need to get out there, and stand up for ourselves, as we are spending money and time for these courses, and it is important to take advantage of these opportunities to make mistakes, learn from them, and increase our knowledge in our field. Most of the time, it takes another senior female mentor, to motivate new female engineers, and over here at Wayne State University, we have the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), and the go-girl program, both of these groups aspire to inspire young girls in STEM fields.

5. You recently attended the Michigan Tutorial Association Conference at Ferris State University, what did you learn there that you will bring back to the students at Wayne State?

I had the opportunity to attend 3 sessions at the Michigan Tutorial Association Conference. I learned a lot about understanding the student’s needs in the first session that I had attended. The presenters brought up experiences of the things that tutors did which hindered students from communicating with the tutors, and I was able to reflect from that. One of the methods they taught was the “Socrates’ Method”, where we ask questions on the topic, and explain the concept using different scenarios. One of the most important points that the presenters discussed was about understanding the student at a HUMAN LEVEL first, then at an ACADEMIC LEVEL. Through this session, I also learned a lot about the importance of understanding my students, and keeping them engaged in the session, rather than having them as passive listeners.My next favorite session was “Inviting new tutors through speed dating and role play”, this session was very interactive and I was able to meet more people in the tutoring profession. A lot of the times, tutors will just come for their sessions, and leave immediately, and don’t see the necessity for communicating with fellow tutors. This session helped me learn the necessity for connecting and communicating with my fellow tutors, in order to build each other as better tutors and students.

6. Are there any campus activities, services or student organizations that you would recommend to other students?

  • I am part of CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ International), and the Design Movement (a branch of CRU), which is an organization that seeks to reach South Asian students with the Gospel, encourage them to walk by their faith, and share about the gospel to everyone.
  • I am also part of SWE (Society of Women Engineers), where I am helping out with the FutureSWE event that is happening in February, 2016. The FutureSWE event is for highschool girls in the Greater Detroit area, our aim is to expose them to different fields of engineering, and give them an opportunity to interact with female engineers.
  • Apart from being a student, I am also a research assistant at the Microfluidics and Bioinstrumentation Lab (MB Lab), from the department electrical and computer engineering. I currently work on a project where we are developing a Continuous Heart Rate Monitor (CHRM). My role in this project is to develop an Android application for our lab’s CHRM. Wayne State University is a research oriented school, and as an undergraduate researcher, I would strongly recommend other students to gain a research experience.

7. You recently presented at the Wayne State Undergraduate Research Conference, which is incredible! Tell us about your research.

Chronic cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in urban populations in the United States. Lack of proper monitoring, and costs of medical treatments, are the 2 main causes for increase in deaths among heart patients. In order, to solve this problem, we make use of the Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) model, which is outside the clinical setting. It makes use of wearable sensor technology to grab health data, and send this information wirelessly through a cloud storage (such as google fit), and simultaneously send this data to clinicians and health care providers. Through the mobile technology used to track their health data, and send it to its users, the person would be able to get feedback, and manage their health. Based on long term health information given to the doctors, they will be able to give better diagnosis, and could also lead to earlier detection for this chronic disease. RPM has been shown to reduce mortality and the cost of care by preventing hospital readmissions. Hence, our lab collaborated with the Cardiovascular Research Institute, for developing a wearable sensor technology to continuously monitor heart rate.

My role in this project is to develop the user interface, i.e. the Smartphone application for our wearable miniature heart rate monitor. Through this experience, I have learned more about bluetooth low energy communication (to send data wirelessly between the app and our sensor), and mainly Android programming. Overall, the success of this project lies in the accuracy of the heart rate data, small size of the sensor (due to the patented technology we are using), good battery level, and an efficient app to not only act “Heart rate tracker” app, but also provide instant feedback as a motivator.


Shiby presenting her research at the Wayne State Undergraduate Research Conference.

Dec 7 / Francesca Fernandes

Congratulations Niha!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our mid-semester survey. Feedback is critical to help us support students in the best ways possible. Special shout-out to Niha, a student participant randomly chosen as our school supplies package winner!


Dec 1 / Francesca Fernandes

Let’s form an alliance.



“Remember: Your focus determines your reality.” -Qui-Gon Jinn

Nov 19 / Francesca Fernandes

‘Tis the season to be hungry.


Nov 19 / Francesca Fernandes

Why not book a tutoring appointment today?


Nov 11 / Francesca Fernandes

The 33rd Annual Michigan Tutorial Association Connections Conference

On October 30th four representatives from the Wayne State University Academic Success Center traveled to Big Rapids Michigan to attend the 33rd annual Michigan Tutorial Association Connections Conference. This was a great opportunity to connect with other universities and professionals to discuss the best practices that are happening in peer-assisted learning across the state.



We are extremely pleased and proud to announce that Kenneth Nash, a Wayne State student, was nominated as tutor of the year. This was a well deserved accomplishment for Ken, who goes above and beyond to support his peers at every appointment. He engages students with manipulatives, real-life scenarios, a positive attitude and a willingness to try new strategies. Ken also supports a number of courses and disciplines ranging from chemical engineering to geology. If you see Ken please give him a congratulatory high-five for his success in making Wayne State a better place to learn.


The following reflective statement was provided by Francesca Fernandes, SI Leader Coach, who attended the conference:

“What I took from this experience is that relationships are an important part of successful tutoring and peer assisted learning. We are constantly communicating with faculty, students, leaders and administration to make sure the goals we wish to achieve have strategic action plans behind them. We all depend on one another to design ways to support students and help them develop independence and we all have perspectives and experiences that are rich in educational value. Also, I realized that ongoing professional development is so important to help meet the needs of our students as new tools for learning are made available everyday outside of lecture. I was excited to listen to the key note speaker discuss how new technologies might support tutors and students. It inspires me to look for apps and online programs that will help my SI Leaders make the best use of the technology in some of their session rooms. Anytime I can help make learning more sensory for students I get excited about engaging learning potentials.”

Those who also attended the conference were Christine Huang (Peer Assisted Learning Coordinator), Kenneth Nash (Tutor), and Shiby George (Tutor).



For more information on the Michigan Tutorial Association please visit their website at