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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Think Tank provides personal help

With a new location in the Student Recreation Center to complement its facilities in the Robert L. Nugent building and Park Student Union, Think Tank remains an invaluable tool for incoming students.

The program offers students one-on-one help with their coursework.

“”Think Tank didn’t exist when I was a freshman, but I wish it had,”” said Amelia Hanna, an economics and general business student and peer mentor at Think Tank. “”It’s a struggle as an incoming freshman to make the transition, and I think it’s a good service for freshmen to know about. I wish there would have been something like (Think Tank) that they would have pushed on me as a freshman. It would have helped me with that transition.””

Victor Mercado, academic resource coordinator for Think Tank, could not agree more with Hanna’s feelings about the center and its expansion.

Since Think Tank’s creation last year, the center has seen 23,915 visits by 4,827 UA students. That adds up to 32,009 hours of service provided for 377 different courses.

“”It changes every year,”” Mercado said. “”But we’re really excited for supporting some of those classes in Centennial Hall.””

The 1,000-plus-student classes being held in Centennial Hall, such as Love and Eroticism in the Middle Ages and Human and Animal Interrelations from Domestication to Present, are being additionally supported by supplementary instruction, where students previously enrolled in the class sit in on lectures and run review sessions. This is one of the center’s many free programs.

Mercado hopes that, especially with the expansion of the Rec Center, those who are unfamiliar with Think Tank and its services will be more apt to use them.

“”It will be a good space for students to go, even when they go work out, to bring tutoring to the forefront,”” Mercado said. “”(The Rec Center) really serves a dual purpose.””

Besides private tutoring and exam review sessions, all of Think Tank’s services are free for students to utilize. Funded by the Student Services fee, which every student pays in addition to tuition costs, the center works to fulfill the mission of serving students.

“”(Tutors) work with students to construct their own knowledge,”” Mercado said. “”You’ll never see someone re-lecturing or re-teaching. It’s about playing with what they’ve learned in lecture.””

Hanna noted that beyond just playing with knowledge from the classroom, Think Tank also provides additional support for students making the transition from their hometowns to a 40,000-plus public university.

“”I think one of the best-kept secrets (of Think Tank) is that we have peer mentoring. I know that students don’t know about it as much as they should. You can come in and talk to a peer about any of your problems, school related or in your personal life,”” Hanna said.

As a peer mentor, she felt that in helping students figure out what they need, she also gained a lot of help herself.

“”(Peer mentoring) was a pretty cool experience because it’s interesting to see students have the same problems that I had when I was a freshman and then I learn how I need to improve my organizational or my study skills. You can help people find resources that they didn’t even know existed.””

Mercado noted that the peer mentoring program, as well as the new ambassador program directed toward Tier One general education classes, are some of the ways the Think Tank helps students succeed.

Besides utilizing the center and its various resources, Mercado had just a few words of advice for new UA students.

“”Make sure you really go to class the first week,”” he said. “”Get a feel for how you do in the class by yourself and then come and get help when you need it. We want to help and catch them when it’s early.””

Hanna had a similar sentiment to share with incoming students.

“”Get on top of your classes right away,”” Hanna said. “”(Freshmen) should definitely come and check (Think Tank) out. I have people all the time come in their second semester and say, ‘I wish that I had known,’ so just come on in.””

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