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March 28, 2016

Student Club and SUNY Empire State College Team Up with Eastern Suffolk BOCES to Tutor Students in Pathway Programs

Minority Students in Action Seeks to Advance Adult Literacy

LIC Riverhead Unit at 303 Griffing Avenue
The college's location at 303 Griffing Ave., Riverhead, N.Y.

‌The MSiA * BOCES Pathway Program for adult literacy, a new collaboration with SUNY Empire State College, Eastern Suffolk BOCES and Minority Students in Action (MSiA), one of the college’s many student/alumni clubs, has been formed, primarily to assist students in the BOCES Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) preparation program – which has replaced the GED in New York state – to prepare for the writing portion of the TASC exam.

The pathway program came about after Ann Becker, who coordinates the college’s Riverhead, Long Island location, approached MSiA Faculty Advisor Erin Young, an assistant professor of cultural studies, about the possibility for the student group’s members to volunteer as peer tutors at BOCES.

The collaborative effort provides a greater number qualified tutors for BOCES’s three adult literacy programs and helps adults living on Eastern Long Island who are enrolled with BOCES greater opportunities to improve their reading skills.

SUNY Empire students have the opportunity to earn graduate and undergraduate credit through a peer-tutoring course designed by Young and gain valuable experience.

SUNY Empire students also may participate as peer tutors on a strictly volunteer basis.

Young and MSiA president and current graduate student Layla Abdullah-Poulos ’10, then began meeting with BOCES Administrative Coordinator for Literacy and Computer Technology Education Audrey Gottlieb to structure a program that would benefit BOCES students, as well as MSiA members, and began planning its execution.

Young and Abdullah-Poulos conducted an orientation session of the pathway program, which included a presentation and question and answer period, for BOCES students on Feb. 22.

“It is our hope to be a part of your attaining your high-school equivalency diplomas and to go beyond, if you choose to do so,” Young told BOCES students during her presentation.

The first in a series of pathway program workshops and tutoring sessions was held on Feb. 27, at SUNY Empire’s Riverhead location.

At that time, Abdullah-Poulos taught a workshop on digital literacy to prepare students for online interaction with the program's peer tutors.

“The ability for students and tutors to interact via a variety of digital platforms (e.g., email, social media, online learning environments) is essential to increasing accessibility and will help participants hone skills that are increasingly important to academic success in higher education,” explained Abdullah-Poulos.

In addition to Abdullah-Poulos, Tanya Thompson ‘14, a graduate student enrolled in the college’s Master of Arts in Adult Learning program, who is taking the peer tutoring course as part of her MAAL degree, tutors BOCES students one-to-one for their writing assignments Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at SUNY Empire’s Riverhead location.

Abdullah-Poulos provides workshops, which focus on digital literacy, critical reading and writing at SUNY Empire’s Riverhead location Saturdays, from 10-11 a.m.

Kelly Schaeffer, an undergraduate student in Interdisciplinary Studies, who is also taking the college’s peer-tutoring course, offers additional individual tutoring services on Monday evenings at 970 North Griffing Ave., Riverhead, one of Eastern Suffolk BOCES many locations.

More information about the Pathway Program can be found on the Minority Students in Action website at

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