Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Interview by: Abigail Cali
Caroline Meister is an Oberlin resident who works as a tutoring coordinator for America Counts. She hires, trains, and supervises college students who work as math tutors for K-8 students. She is a member of the Oberlin College class of 2014 and enjoys her work with Oberlin Community Services connecting college students and children and families in the community.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job right now?
A: The big part of it is Ill actually be running an afterschool program. Im definitely looking forward to that because its not just math tutoring. The first hour is partnering with various community and college organizations to lead workshops for kids that are arts things. Im excited for that! I enjoy being in a hub that connects different places. Working at OCS and doing education, I am linked with the Bonner Center, and the public schools and with LC and some high school students. So just getting to connect with people who are in all different places.
Its an awesome thing to work with student tutors...theyre really committed and it means a lot to them.
Q: As a former college student, do you feel that the relationship between the college and community has changed?
A: When I was a student, I worried a lot that people in the community were really frustrated
with students or totally hated me and I would feel guilty about it and worry about it. And now I see more that people dont mind students for the most part, its more the college should pay taxes or do these things to help us out and share resources more. Sometimes students can be unreliable because they have too much on their plate, but theyre smart and theyre friendly and they want to help out and be involved for the most part.
Q: What is your favorite instance of college and community working together?
A: Definitely in my job we couldnt have tutors if the college didnt give us work study money. And its an awesome thing to work with student tutors; theyre really committed and i think it means a lot to them. And there are some parties, like I just went to the Hootenanny at George Jones, which was definitely a collaboration, and it was run by community people but college students felt welcome and I think so did townspeople.
Q: Are there things that you think college students learn and benefit from working through America Counts?
A: Definitely. I think its so weird how we isolate young people and say, here you are, only young people, just talk to each other and these totally professionalized grownups who act like they know everything. Which isnt how most people in the world act. Having slightly less anxious adults or mentors in [the students] lives is a main thing. And definitely with America Counts and working in the schools, there are opportunities working with teachers, and with the principals and administrators. And [you learn and benefit from] working with families. You get to know kids and you get to know their families, and I think thats grounding.
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