As a participant in the Emory & Henry Tutoring Program, I am always looking for new and interesting teaching opportunities. This semester, I was introduced to a great service site at the William N. Neff Center for Science and Technology in Abingdon. At the Neff Center, vocational students from four area high schools learn various trades, such as cosmetology, culinary arts, auto body mechanics, and graphic design. I was interested in learning and contributing new skills to the graphic design course offered at the Neff Center because I am studying Studio Art with an emphasis in advertising at Emory & Henry.
My new assignment was to work with high school freshmen who rotate from one course to another every two weeks as a way of sampling different trades and finding what interests them the most. There are also older high school students at the school who are considering graphic design as an occupation after graduation. Since I was available to tutor only on Fridays, I worked with each group of freshmen students twice, but I still connected to these students on a personal level by becoming familiar with their names, interests, and concerns. I found that knowing the students personally helped me better relate their interests to graphic design. This connection between the students and the subject is very important, and it was my favorite part of the tutoring assignment.
After I linked their interests to creative graphic assignments, the students and I used an amazing array of technology and equipment to put their ideas on paper. The Neff Center is equipped with the most recent versions of computer graphic programs, such as Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator, as well as Autodesk programs that include Sketchbook Pro and Maya. Other high-tech tools at the school are pen tablets for the computers, large-scale printers, and screen printing machines for making T-shirts, mugs, and key chains, all of which help to create a modern classroom for graphic art students.
I used my background knowledge and practiced skills in graphic design to help these students advance. Aside from assisting the students with their projects, I helped them become more aware of teaching tools that are available to them. I never had access to these technologies in high school, and I am amazed at these opportunities. The Neff Center really does an amazing job of helping vocational students find their niche while in school, and inevitably a place in society.
I truly enjoyed working with these students, and I hope to continue this tutoring assignment in the fall as a Bonner Scholar at Emory & Henry College.
by Lillian Minix, Class of 2014
For more information about the Emory & Henry Tutoring Program, contact Carolyn Wilson, 276-944-6877