November 2021 – Student Academic Hub Newsletter

Stories from The Hub

Hello Marymount faculty and staff,

One of the (many) terrific aspects of working at The Student Academic Hub is seeing the students we employ – 47 peer academic leaders – engage with our undergraduate and graduate student populations as integral contributors to our student success services, programs, and initiatives. They are a key reason why we are such a robust academic resource center, and they hold us accountable as we strive to provide assistance with an eye toward equity, accessibility, and effectiveness.

The Hub’s professional staff interviewed some of our student staff to discuss what they appreciate about working at the Hub, what they’ve learned as part of our staff, and how being a part of the Hub has transformed their ideas of leadership and learning (among other things). We thought you’d appreciate hearing what a few of them have to say.

This Hub newsletter is dedicated to our student staff – thank you for ensuring we evolve as a unit as the needs of our students change, and for your commitment to excellence as you help navigate such an important academic journey with your fellow Marymount peers.

Have a great rest of the semester,

Michelle Steiner

AVP for Student Success


Kia James, Senior, Health Sciences major; 

Tawonga Mtawali, Senior, Nursing program

Kia and Tawonga are Front Desk Assistants at the Hub

Favorite part of working at the Hub:

“Overall, just being that helping hand around the office and to my fellow peers and students as well. The staff here has a very important role in students’ overall time at Marymount concerning their classes, so being that smooth transition to connecting them with their advisors and a means of helping them.” (Kia)

Memorable experiences helping someone at the Hub:

“One experience that really stands out to me was during the summer when we were doing the orientations. A student came in and he was an admitted student…and he didn’t know how to navigate the Portal. So he and his mom came in and I helped them figure out the Portal, figure out textbooks… it was nice to have someone come in actually and be like “Thank you so much, you really helped me.” It made me remember how I was confused, and now I could help someone who was confused and they could have better clarity going into everything.” (Tawonga)

“My best experiences are helping…setting up appointments or giving them knowledge and information they knew nothing about before. Using my experience and what I’ve learned from the Hub I offer and give that to them, so they can in turn have the resources they need to go on and continue to do whatever they needed to get done.” (Kia)

What have you learned at the Hub that you’ll take with you into your future career?

“…definitely the professionalism: You come in contact with many different people here, believe it or not. In the future I want to become a licensed Physical Therapy Assistant so I’m going to be working with many different people in that field, so I think this has led me to a little bit of exposure in working with different people and communicating back and forth with them, so I’ll definitely be taking that with me.” (Kia)

“Definitely customer service and choice of words. When you’re talking to people on the phone, they can’t really see your body language and how you’re trying to convey a message, so you have to be very careful with what words you use because sometimes words you think are okay can sound harsh or rude to someone else. So it definitely taught me how to use my words. It’s definitely something that I’m going to take with me into nursing because there are certain ways you’re supposed to ask patients questions to make it open-ended and make them feel comfortable, so I think it was good learning skills to start here at the Hub.” (Tawonga)

Has working at the Hub made you a better student?

“Yes, I think working at the Hub has made me more organized. In general, I feel like when I have more on my plate I’m more organized, so knowing that I have this job to come to, and I have to wake up early, and I have to work efficiently, has made me be organized on my own, making sure I get all my homework done on time or all my other obligations on time. It’s definitely made me more of an organized student.” (Tawonga)

“Definitely I would say discipline-wise. Here at the Hub I have my duties and responsibilities and if I’m not doing what I need to be doing then it’s a domino effect causing conflicts to you or to the other advisors. In school if I’m not doing what I need to be doing then that’s gonna cause a domino effect on my grades, so it’s really made me stay on top of my work and stuff.” (Kia)


TJ Arnold, Senior, Psychology/Criminal Justice double major, Forensic Psychology minor; 

Taylor Jackson, Graduate Student, Forensic and Legal Psychology Master’s program

TJ is a Peer Tutor at the Hub, and Taylor is a Graduate Assistant Writing Consultant

What about your experience with the Hub had the most impact on your leadership development and learning (LD&L)?

Facilitating and creating a workshop on SPSS: helped with time management, planning abilities, identifying strengths and areas for growth; Identifying how to talk about things, working with students in a larger setting, how to ensure that people are understanding the information (vocalizing how to learn something new; identifying where to pause, when it is appropriate to go off-script; how to tailor presentations to the audience); helped in other areas of education and career; through tutoring, learned to stop and wait for questions in Teaching Assistant role; helped in class to not rush ahead and wait to see if others have questions – to gain the fullest understanding in those realms. (TJ)

Engaging in the required tutoring course and learning how to tutor following the Hub’s tutoring philosophy, i.e., how to help students without doing the work for them in an unorthodox, unexpected environment. Tutoring students helps me understand my own writing process; while taking courses, couldn’t articulate the why behind good strategies but learned more about how to articulate it – tips now able to share with other students. Facilitating a class visit helped to effectively convey what the Hub does without disappointing students (especially with writing when students want a grammar checker) while also sympathizing and empathizing with them – to shift towards what can be done; helped leadership abilities to be able to communicate what people may not want to hear but still have a positive impact and exceed expectations in a different way than initially expected; the approach to writing encourages students to learn versus doing the work for them. (Taylor)

How did these experiences impact the way you think about LD&L?

Evolved from viewing a leader as someone who just leads, to a leader as being a guide, following alongside others when they are getting lost, and providing assistance and encouragement along the way… Helpful in group projects to hear the group instead of focusing on own thoughts and own areas of responsibility… Reign self in to hear others; gives a moment to pause to think about learning and hear input from other people; able to absorb the perspective of others, considering their thoughts in learning. Points brought up in discussion-based classes from outside of current perspective and allow for other worldviews to influence one’s own; broadening perspective. (TJ)

Seen it in a job outside MU; throughout the duration of being a GA tutor, learned balance of reaching the customer’s interest/who you are serving and what is within the bounds of the policy/rules. Changed view of learning; if someone asked for help, would have a discussion to collaborate on how to fix it; extended to the classroom, having the student go through and see where things can be addressed and improved, and how that transcends the classroom experience. (Taylor)


Annie Zinnen, Graduate Student, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s program; 

Rumana Tarin, Graduate Student, Cybersecurity Doctoral program

Annie and Rumana are Graduate Assistants for Student Access Services (SAS)

How has working at the Hub provided opportunities to practice/develop skills that will be advantageous for your graduate program, potential career, and learning overall?

“My experience with SAS has been an interesting complement to my time in the counseling program. In the same way that being a therapist requires compassion, validation, and boundary-setting, I have gotten to use many of those same skills working with SAS, and I have genuinely enjoyed working with individual students during my time in this role.

SAS has also given me the chance to grow my administrative skills. Communication is critical in our office, whether it is with students or faculty/staff, and I have learned more about professional communication during my time as a graduate assistant. Additionally, I have gotten to use my writing background by helping with policy development, and this has given me insight into the importance of policy in establishing safety, consistency, and support for students and faculty across campus.

In addition to the professional growth opportunities, this position has helped me to feel connected to our college campus, literally! Because of my busy schedule and the demands of my program, I do not have much time to be part of the campus community. Without my position with SAS, I would not have gotten to enjoy Marymount’s main campus.” (Annie)


“Much of the work I do with and for SAS allows me to expand my technology skills, in ways that have a direct impact on the office functions while supporting students with disabilities. Historically, my role has been as a team contributor amongst other technical persons. My work with SAS allows me to grow my knowledge of the human technology interface. As an introvert, my work with SAS has enabled me to be more comfortable operating as an extrovert while engaging one-on-one with students. This has increased my comfort level communicating in English about technology and technical applications.

I actively connect students with alternative text formats, such as audio books, or pdf versions that can be used with different software platforms to function like audio books. Additionally, I frequently research equipment and technology that helps the office provide services that connect students with alternative access options to their courses and course materials. For example, a student who is deaf needed to learn and use technology in order to gain full benefit from her real time captions. I researched appropriate microphones that would be compatible with her unique combination of cochlear implant in one ear and hearing aid in the other, with her professors and the company providing the captions!

I have learned new technology via research about web accessibility, safety accessibility concerns and am currently researching technology for blind and visually impaired access needs. It’s great to see my love of technology be used in real world situations for Marymount students and staff.

As an SAS Graduate Assistant, I mentor students unfamiliar with various technology platforms and encourage them to step beyond their comfort zone so they might engage technological access tools with which they may be currently unfamiliar. By doing so, I have come to understand the reluctance and apprehension some students have when engaging unfamiliar technology. I am looking forward to helping students overcome their fear of engaging new technology that may ultimately help them to achieve more complete access than their current situation. I appreciate being able to share my technical knowledge and skills with students and look forward to more mentorship opportunities as I continue to collaborate with students in need!” (Rumana)


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