Leader Spotlight

Any exceptional educational program needs outstanding Leaders to make the program thrive. We are fortunate to have many of these Leaders with us semester after semester. Join us as we shine a spotlight on a few of our stars!

MAY SPOTLIGHT

Richard Suarez

What is your role in PLTL?

I am a Research Assistant Peer Leader (RAPL). My role involves the development of a critical thinking assessment known as the Critical Thinking Assessment in Biological Sciences (CTABS). This project is meant to evaluate the critical thinking abilities of Peer Leaders.
 What do you personally get out of PLTL? Why do you participate in PLTL? What motivates you to continue in PLTL?
PLTL offers me the opportunity to explore the various aspects of education research, exposure I would not normally have. I originally participated as a part of the office staff and was inspired by the program and all it does so I became a leader. When I saw the chance to conduct research, I chose to take it. I continue to be a part of the program because I believe in the effectiveness of the program on student performance; I also truly enjoy conducting research as it is eye-opening and has the potential to be impactful. The family community developed by the program is another motivating factor.

What are your goals, your life aspirations, and your career plans?

My goal is to attend medical school to become a doctor, specifically a neurologist. I also wish to continue my research, both in education (critical thinking) and HIV, in order to better my community.

Why do you think you were nominated? (Don’t be humble)

I believe I was nominated because of my hard work and progress on my team’s research project, which involves the development of a critical thinking assessment in biology.

What do you do for fun besides PLTL?

I attend salsa classes and conduct research in HIV.

If you weren’t a Science major, what would you do with your life? (Even if you aren’t a science major… what would have done other than your major?)

If I was not a science major, I would probably have pursued a degree in criminal justice to become a lawyer. I have always been interested in the justice system and I enjoy the idea of representing and defending my fellow man.

What advice would you give new leaders?

I would recommend to be a part of the program for as long as possible. Not only do you get the satisfaction of helping your peers succeed by facilitating discussions to increase their understand of difficult concepts, but also it strengthens your knowledge as well as your ability to communicate clearly and effectively.

What advice would you give to students?

I would try and take any class with PLTL as part of the curriculum. The program makes you think about the material on a different level, increasing your understanding and retention.

APRIL SPOTLIGHT

Viviana Montalti

What is your role in PLTL?

I am a PLTL Peer Leader. My role includes facilitating learning and enhancing learning activities of students through making them think critically and making them think of how they are thinking when it comes to biology.

What do you personally get out of PLTL? Why do you participate in PLTL? What motivates you to continue in PLTL?

I enhance my learning by helping others with their learning. It personally helps me understand my thinking and how to reach conclusions having to do with academic concepts in a discussion and having my opinions and questions based on background knowledge. I participate in PLTL because I find it fulfilling and a good experience specially because it helps me remember concepts important in my major that will help my future understanding. I like helping people and doing PLTL includes helping people and helping yourself simultaneously. I want to continue PLTL because I make connections and friendships with people through a subject that I love and I am part of a family with other PLTL Leaders that encourage and empower each other to do better, learn better, and facilitate the learning of others effectively.

What are your goals, your life aspirations, and your career plans?

I wish to become a physician in the future and volunteer in places where healthcare is not easily accessible.

Why do you think you were nominated? (Don’t be humble)

I think I was nominated because I usually substitute for the leaders that need me to and I took up another session because sadly another leader could not finish the semester of PLTL with his students so I stepped in to help.

What do you do for fun besides PLTL?

I travel a lot, I go to concerts, I volunteer with different organizations and play 18 musical instruments.

If you weren’t a Science major, what would you do with your life? (Even if you aren’t a science major… what would have done other than your major?)

I would probably become a social worker and save up until I am able to open an orphanage abroad and help children in need. If not I would like to become a biology or math professor.

What advice would you give new leaders?

Do not stress yourself with too many sessions if you know you are taking too many classes, take a breath. Also do not stress when you have to organize your binder, just stay organized and follow directions. Get to know your students and build a bond with them so they get more comfortable in your sessions and that will lead them to participate more with the other students.

What advice would you give to students?

Don’t be afraid of your leader or asking questions. We are students too and we just want to help. Let us help you, don’t be embarrassed if you do not understand something.