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STUDENT PROFILE

Natasha Stewart

Photo of Natasha
Major:
Mathematics
Minor:
Elements of Computing
Graduation Year:
Spring 2019
"The most rewarding part of tutoring students at the Sanger Center is helping them acquire the critical thinking skills and study habits to become more independent learners."

What has been the most surprising aspect of your job?
Working at the Sanger Center has been extremely beneficial to me as a student – something that I was not expecting. My experiences as a tutor have helped me to improve my own study habits, set realistic goals for improvement, and reach out for help when needed.

What has been the most rewarding part about working at the Sanger Center?
The most rewarding part of tutoring students at the Sanger Center is helping them acquire the critical thinking skills and study habits to become more independent learners. I had the privilege of working consistently with several students in a couple of upper-division math courses over the duration of the previous semester. By the time that finals were approaching, I had noticed a drastic change in my tutees’ approaches to hard problems. They were not only more willing to attempt challenging questions but also better able to recognize their own mistakes by questioning the implications of their results.

Tell us about a time you worked with a student (or group of students) and were particularly proud of the outcome. What happened? Why was it special?
In various sessions, students have had eureka moments where they are finally able to draw connections between theorems or grasp difficult concepts. I am extremely proud of my students in these moments and also proud of myself for helping to facilitate their learning. During one particular tutoring session last semester, a tutee received the results from a recent midterm. The student had scored in the 80’s on the second exam after earning a score in 60’s on the first exam. It was rewarding to share this moment of excitement and relief with the student. I was proud of the tutee for working extremely hard to improve.

What do you think is the biggest myth about learning/studying in college?
Many students believe that sacrificing sleep will help them improve their grades, but this is definitely a myth. Sleep is extremely important to one’s health and necessary to perform well academically. I have regretted every time that I have stayed up extremely late or woken up extremely early to study for an imminently approaching test.

Tell us about an academic challenge you encountered when you got to UT. How did you handle it? What advice would you give to someone in that same situation?
During my first semester at UT, I took M408D (sequences, series, and multi-variable calculus) and earned a score of 63 percent on my first exam. After scoring so poorly, I reached out for help from my TA and sought out tutoring. I also visited the Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) to seek help in resolving non-academic problems that were interfering with my coursework. I ended up doing well on the next two midterms and the final, ending the class with an A-.