One of Caltech’s many clubs is the RISE tutoring program, where undergraduate students connect with local high schoolers and provide tutoring in various STEM subjects. I only became a tutor this academic year, but the experience has been so rewarding for me and, hopefully, also for the students I tutor.
The RISE tutoring program has been around since the 70s under the Caltech Y, a campus organization that provides activities and community outreach ranging from camping trips to Yosemite, to hosting student activist speakers. Originally developed to help struggling high school students, administrators soon noticed that Caltech tutors were equally benefiting as mentors. Since its inception, the tutoring program has grown both in scope and number of volunteering and participating students. Below, you can compare early RISE tutoring from the 70s to the current program!
All that’s to say, RISE is definitely legit and proven to help high students academically and improve college students’ morale. Personally, I’ve seen this first-hand over the past year.
When I first joined, I was so nervous! I had been assigned to help two girls in their senior year with math. I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to help them solve problems, that it would be awkward, that I wouldn’t know what to say to them, that they might think I’m a bad teacher - you get the picture. It turns out that none of my fears came to fruition. When I joined that first online call to meet the students, we chatted about our favorite TV shows, which social media we like, and what they were hoping to learn. Before I knew it, the tutoring session was over and I felt invigorated - excited to teach and inspired by the students’ drive to learn.
I’ve connected with the students on many different topics like the newest songs or pop culture news - they keep me young! But we’ve also spoken about the college application process, what studying science is like in university, and some of their academic fears. Some of the math we work on together is below! Creating these bonds as a mentor has been incredibly meaningful to me, and I feel so lucky to have been involved in this process. I hope that if you come to Caltech or if you’re a local Pasadena high schooler, you look into RISE tutoring!
Photo Credits: https://www.caltechy.org/rise-tutor