Survivor - Physics style

Feb 14, 2005

Kettering upper class Physics students help new students to survive Physics 114.

The Society of Physics Students (SPS), at Kettering currently donates two hours of their time each week to tutor Physics 1 students this term. Dr. Kathryn Svinarich, associate professor of Applied Physics, said that this initiative was the idea of the upper class students who belong to the SPS. "I appreciate their efforts and think this will provide important assistance to students enrolled in Physics 114," she said.

Specifically, Kettering's SPS group offers free tutorials in room 2-326 of the Academic Building every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. Tutorials are open to Physics 114 students only. Since all Applied Physics majors take classes taught by Svinarich at some point during their studies at Kettering and get to know her well, upper class Physics students decided to conduct free tutorials as a means of assisting the 176 freshmen currently enrolled in Physics 114.

Other Physics faculty members feel this is a great initiative and express pleasure that students are willing to help out in this manner.

"I am proud of our Applied Physics students for the noble volunteer action, which shows how much they care about our younger students and their professors," said Bahram Roughani, associate professor of Applied Physics.

Dan Russell, associate professor of Applied Physics and the SPS faculty advisor, echoed Roughani's sentiments. "If our freshmen Physics students require help understanding their Physics coursework, what better resource to turn to than upperclass Physics majors who enjoy the topic and have mastered the material themselves," he said. "I am very pleased to see the Society members taking the initiative to give something back to the Kettering student body. By undertaking this work, these students fulfill two goals of the national society: to improve science literacy and appreciation of Physics, and to enhance students'professional development, communication skills, leadership qualities, and professional networking in ways that cannot be realized in coursework alone."

Since Kettering's brand of cooperative education requires students to apply theory learned in classrooms to real projects at their co-ops, this tutoring plays an even more important role as freshmen learn from upperclass students. "As faculty, we've all experienced the maxim that one really begins to thoroughly learn a subject when explaining it to another," said Daniel Ludwigsen, an assistant professor of Applied Physics at Kettering. "This tutoring program not only helps the students in the introductory course, but also offers the advanced Physics majors a chance to deepen their own understanding. There's a sense of satisfaction a student experiences as well, when the light bulb comes on in the other person's head. Personally, it was through tutoring experiences like this that I decided to pursue a Ph.D. and become a teacher. It's one more example of how helping someone can change your life."

The initiative shown by student members of the Society of Physics Students characterizes the care shown by Kettering students for others. The school also has other tutoring options. Students struggling in other subjects can receive tutoring through the University's Academic Support Center (ASC). The ASC provides a wide variety of support to students and is primarily staffed by top Kettering students who are able to help students in all freshmen and sophomore level courses, as well as many upper level courses. Students have access to tutors approximately sixty hours per week. No appointments are necessary and tutoring is available to all students at no cost. For more information, visit the website at

Written by Gary Erwin