Tutoring with Heart

May 16, 2017

By Liz Dossa

UDM staff Felicia Mitrovich (left) and Emilie Wetherington (right) with Sister Sarah and Bentley (center).

UDM staff Felicia Mitrovich (left) and Emilie Wetherington (right) with Sister Sarah and Bentley (center).

Sister Sarah Foster tutors college students at University of Detroit Mercy (UDM) for a very good reason: she can see herself in them.

“I graduated high school with honors, was placed on academic probation after my first semester at Saginaw Valley State University, and was academically dismissed from the college at the end of my freshman year,” says Sister Sarah. “I was a first-generation college student and know well what it is like to be overwhelmed in the midst of academia without role models to ask questions or to even understand the transition from high school to college.”

Extra Support for Struggling Students

After two years at Delta Community College, she returned to graduate from UDM where she now tutors others. “For several years, here at UDM I supervised student teachers, and taught a course, ‘College Reading and Study Skills,’ to students accepted into the University with low ACT/SAT reading/writing scores. For the last five years I have been ‘tutoring’ the course material one-on-one to students as a Professional Mentor or Student Success Coach. Along with a team of five other mentors, we track the academic performances of all students and make every effort to contact any student having difficulty or at risk for failure in one or more courses.”

A Furry, Four-Legged Assistant

Sister Sarah doesn’t work alone. Bentley, a trained therapy dog, comes to work with her daily. “He serves as a stress-release and comforter for the entire UDM Community,” she said. “He is so popular on campus that he is mentioned in the virtual tour on the University’s homepage, and the library has his picture and office hours on their electronic posting.”

“I find satisfaction in seeing a student succeed a challenging semester. Had someone reached out to me when I was struggling as an undergrad student, it could have been my saving grace. If I can keep other students from having to go through an experience like mine, I am more than satisfied.”

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  1. Kerry

    I am so very PROUD of you xo

  2. Dawn

    Recognition that is well deserved. Honored to know you!