REACH Up acts much like a general social work practice and resource center, supporting students in whatever ways they need, connecting them with resources on campus, and creating and providing resources for them as well. One such resource is REACH’s twice-monthly study sessions.
After dinner, students have a chance to study with each other or with tutors from several fields that come to the sessions. Math tutors are a staple of Alabama REACH. They are provided by David Cruz-Uribe, department chair of the math department and self-proclaimed REACH groupie. Cruz-Uribe schedules graduate teaching assistants with extra time to work as math tutors for REACH Scholars not only during the study sessions, but 10 hours a week as well.
According to Cruz-Uribe, having math resources available is necessary for and beneficial to REACH Scholars since math is often harder for them due to their transient childhood, which makes it hard to develop a stable and strong math foundation. He said the tutoring is beneficial for the REACH Scholar because it opens them up to opportunities in STEM fields that, without math skills, would be unavailable.
As for the GTAs, he thinks it prepares them to be better teachers.
“I think it’s helpful for graduate students who are learning to become teachers to learn about those things outside the classroom which impact on students,” Cruz-Uribe said. “Because that is what makes a teacher a better teacher.”
Math graduate students participating in the tutoring program are Arum Lee, Gokul Pokharel, Khalid Said, Quan Tran, Harry Watts and Sam Whitfield.
Those interested in learning more about Alabama REACH and finding out how to donate can visit reach.ua.edu.