Tutors Advance to Esteemed Doctoral Programs
Four peer tutors from the University of St. Thomas Tutorial Services Center, will advance to graduate schools this fall. The tutors, Sunita George, Eric Mabry, Michelle Rubin and Eduardo Mulanovich, join 323 undergraduates and 747 graduate students graduating during the 62nd Commencement Ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 12 at Reliant Arena, One Reliant Park.
Dr. Constantina Michalos, director of tutorial services, said the tutors help fellow students learn new concepts, assist non-native speakers in navigating cultural and linguistic differences and help others to adjust to learning differences.
“These tutors have strong academic backgrounds, and are clearly goal-oriented,” Michalos said. “They are focused on their studies, participate in extra-curricular activities and often have off-campus jobs.”
Following graduation, senior psychology major Sunita George is moving to Indianapolis, Indiana, to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology this fall at the University of Indianapolis.
The daughter of UST faculty member Dr. Beena George, Sunita George is vice president of the Best Buddies club and was named to Who’s Who Among American Students.
George tutored psychology and enjoyed seeing the light bulb turn on for students she tutored, including one who recently had a paper accepted at a conference.
“She told me she could not have made it this far without my help, and she asked me to be there when she presented this paper,” Sunita said.
Eric Mabry is a philosophy graduate student who tutors in theology, and occasionally Latin and writing. He converted from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism after his junior year at New Saint Andrews College in Idaho, and transferred to St. Thomas in 2008. Last May, he graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in philosophy and theology, as outstanding graduate in theology, and this May, he will graduate with his master’s in philosophy. Mabry will enter a doctoral program in theology at Regis College at the University of Toronto in the fall.
“I believe that a thorough grounding in philosophy is essential to the pursuit of higher theological studies,” Mabry said. “Good theologians need rigorous training in philosophy.”
Mabry said his most memorable experiences have been conversations with religious and lay faculty, especially in the theology and philosophy departments.
“These faculty have spent countless hours in conversation with me, shared meals with me, instructed me and guided me,” Mabry said. “They have shown me what it means to be true Magistri and have given me a vision for what a university ought to be.”
Senior biology major Michelle Rubin is originally from Calgary, Canada, and will attend Baylor College of Medicine to pursue a doctorate in cell and molecular biology. She tutors biology in the Tutorial Services Center because she is interested in becoming a professor and enjoys the excitement of students as they begin to understand new concepts.
In graduate school, Rubin wants to study aging.
“Cell and molecular biology – that’s what governs how the body works,” Rubin said. “Even if we cure cancer, everyone ages, and we can’t find cures for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases fast enough.”
Rubin said her research experiences have helped her prepare for graduate school and her future dissertation work.
“My research experiences at the University of St. Thomas have taught me everything that I need to know – techniques in the lab and knowledge of biology and cell biology,” Rubin said.
Senior bioinformatics major Eduardo Mulanovich also tutors biology, as well as physics. He is originally from Lima, Peru, and will attend medical school at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, after graduation.
With the goal of becoming a doctor, Mulanovich believes bioinformatics is an important field to study.
“As medicine gets more personal, you start to get in to the genetics of the person,” Mulanovich said. “I want to be ahead of what’s going to happen in the future of medicine.”
Mulanovich will also graduate with a minor in philosophy, and he was attracted to St. Thomas because of the University’s mission to educate in faith and reason.
“I like being able to have a good background in philosophy, to understand future medical issues like abortion, euthanasia and genetic engineering,” Mulanovich said.
Michalos said the tutors must not only be smart, they must be able to effectively communicate their knowledge to other students with patience and respect.
“In their capacity as tutors, they have helped innumerable students understand difficult material, complete assignments and achieve their academic goals,” Michalos said. “In the process, they have achieved their own goals.”