Matthew Murray joined the CIANA team this past summer as a math, ELA, and science tutor. After his own schooling experience at Duke University was drastically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he wanted to do what he could to help younger students.
Who did you volunteer with and why did you choose to volunteer with those individuals specifically?
I volunteered with middle school students in math, ELA, and science. Due to the assignments I do in school and the projects I work on outside of school, I figured that I would be able to teach a diversity of subjects. I decided to work with Middle Schoolers because I felt that since I am closer to them in age, I would be able to relate to them more.
What has your experience working with CIANA's students been like?
My experience working with CIANA’s students has been great. It was my first time working in the immigrant community. As expected, the students are all very different; some are more outgoing than others and some kept more to themselves. It has been great getting to know the students throughout the summer and seeing them adjust to working with me.
For one student in particular, it was difficult to get her to speak over the microphone during the first session; however, by the last session I could tell that she was much more comfortable talking aloud, and had really come out of her shell. I could also tell she began to enjoy the computer science classes so much more, and she got more out of them as a result.
What have you learned throughout the experience that you’ll take with you?
I have definitely learned the importance of strong communication skills and establishing good relationships with students. I have noticed that we all flourish at something when we start to look forward to/enjoy doing it. In other words, I have learned about the importance of establishing a healthy and comfortable work environment with the students.
How does volunteering at CIANA fit into your long-term career goals?
While I don’t plan to go into teaching right out of college, I have always considered being a professor when I’m older, so volunteering with CIANA has given me the hands-on experience of actually working with students. Furthermore, volunteering at CIANA has allowed me to further develop my soft and communication skills, which will certainly be applicable and useful to any field I go into.
What kind of a difference did you hope to make in the lives of our clients? Did you feel like you made one through volunteering?
My personal motto is to serve not only as a tutor to my students, but also as a role model to whom they can look up to in many different aspects, not just school. I believe I was able to give my students a space where they were comfortable with learning, working, and being themselves.
Thank you so much, Matt, for tutoring with CIANA and making a difference in the lives of our students. It is amazing to see you grow parallel to the students you are a tutor and mentor to.