Sammy Blum ’21
Rock Valley, Iowa
Sammy Blum


A future physician assistant, Sammy is a member of the Red Raiders women’s basketball and track teams. She also works for the college’s audiovisual department and belongs to the Pre-Health Professions Club.

New recruit

At the end of General Biology my freshman year, Randy Van Perseum, the Peer Learning Center staff member who works with science majors, emailed several of us and asked us to be peer tutors. I had admired the tutors who helped me during my freshman year, and I wanted to be a part of it. Randy and Tom, the center's director, took us through a PowerPoint at the beginning of the year to go through strategies for helping someone with academic work. That helped me tremendously.

In-house or on call

The time commitment for a peer tutor is as much as you want it to be. You can work anytime in the center from Monday through Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m., or you can be an “on call” tutor. That just means you are put on the list of tutors for a particular class, and people contact you if they need help outside of the tutor center hours. I typically work in the center at night for an hour or so twice a week. If someone needs help, they sign into the center and go to the designated subject table where the tutor will help them. When no one comes to your table, you can just sit and do homework. That’s really nice, because if you need help, your fellow peers are there to assist you.

Tutoring techniques

Usually I first ask what they want to accomplish from our meeting. That helps me figure out the best way to help them with what they need. I usually tell them to ask questions whenever they have them. Then I just guide them through their homework or help explain a topic that is confusing to them. When I am done explaining, I usually ask them if they understand, and if not, I explain it again.

Job well done

I’ve always liked helping others in need. Not only does helping people in the tutoring center give me satisfaction, but the part I love the most is when the student leaves the center understanding the topic. Sometimes it’s hard for students to get the courage to come to the tutoring center for help. When they leave confident in their knowledge or homework, that’s when I get the most satisfaction.

Here to serve

The Peer Learning Center is an enriching environment to work in. Everyone there has a servant heart. If you need help with anything, your peers are just a question away! My fellow tutors are also always willing to help me with a student. After all, teamwork makes the dream work!

Good advice

Come, come, come to the Peer Learning Center! I was scared at first too. Not a single person will judge you, because we all use the tutors too! Plus, you’ll feel better about asking someone else for help instead of struggling through it yourself.