LA Profile : Kristina Clarin
I’ve been a Learning Assistant since my sophomore year of college and it has opened doors and led me to opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had if I had taken other job opportunities on campus. I first came into the Learning Assistant program only expecting to hold office hours, review sessions, and attending the weekly seminar. However, it was through the weekly seminar led by former Mason Professor Mary Ewell and one of the NOYCE Scholars that opened my eyes to everything that I could make my Learning Assistant experience into. They inspired me to seek opportunity every chance I got and to make my Learning Assistant position not just a job, but a learning experience as well. Through the seminar, I learned a lot about communicating with a ton of different learning styles as well as how to make learning material more relatable.
By serving as an LA for Environmental Science and interacting with all the professors and Graduate Teaching Assistants, I’ve had the opportunity to apply for volunteering opportunities, jobs, and help professors with their courses. I’d sometimes be approached by a professor to be a part of a project just because I happened to be hanging around the department that day! In addition to the endless opportunities to be involved in the ESP department, I’ve also strengthened my understanding of Environmental Science in general. I meet upwards of 500 new students every semester between the two EVPP introductory courses and they all bring a unique perspective of environmental science that I may not have otherwise thought about before.
One of the big reasons why I decided to work as an LA for so long is partly because of the professors in the STEM Accelerator. They all care about our progress and what our career goals are and they are constantly informing the LA program of opportunities for internships, research opportunities, and scholarship/fellowship opportunities. Because of my experience with the LA program and the people I’ve met in my department, I feel confident translating these skills I’ve acquired in my time as a Learning Assistant into the professional world and beyond.
– Kristina Clarin, Learning Assistant for EVPP
Under the direction of the STEM Accelerator faculty, the LA Program provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to help their peers succeed in College of Science classes, work closely with a faculty member, and deepen their own knowledge of a subject. The LA Program also supports faculty who are teaching COS courses. Students typically serve as an LA for a class in their major that they passed with an A or B.