Many students choose a medical career because they want to help people. That’s also why many DMU osteopathic medicine students volunteer every summer through the University’s educational support services office to tutor students in the physician assistant program.
Dante Samuel, D.O.’13, began tutoring two PA students who then invited others to join the group, which grew to 10. Because PA students attend classes during the day, Samuel met with his students on weekends and in the evenings, with sessions going sometimes as late as midnight.
“He helped a tremendous amount. He explained things in very simple terms so they were easy to understand,” says Ashley Jones, PA’12, one of the students originally matched with Samuel. “He was truly a lifesaver in physiology.”
Her roommate and fellow member of the group, Brooke Schweitzer, PA’12, agrees. “He would explain information that we didn’t understand, he was prepared for our sessions and he understood that we are given so much information that it is hard to soak it all in at once,” she says. “It made me more confident about the way I studied, more confident about taking the exams, and it helped me score better on the exams themselves.”
Peer tutors benefit, too, because the activity gives them reason to review materials they covered in their first academic year. “I found myself studying even more, because they wouldn’t have just one question, but lots of questions,” says Samuel, now a surgery teaching assistant and president of the College of Osteopathic Medicine student government. “And it gave me a new respect for PAs. They have to know as much as I do.”
Scott Lundgren, D.O.’13, became a peer tutor because of his goal to work at an academic medical institution some day. “I felt the experience helped me work on my ability to explain and discuss information with the students in a concise yet understandable way,” he says. “[Tutoring] also allows you to help out future health care professionals like yourself so that they are as successful and learn as much as they possibly can.”
Peer tutor Christina Jamros, D.O.’13, says the activity allows tutors to evaluate their own understanding in a collaborative way. She adds: “I would recommend it as a great opportunity to practice ‘see one, do one, teach one.'”