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Learning hub offers drop-in tutoring for college students

‘You basically have a peer right by your side to help you out’

GRCC Senad Ajdarevic drops by the Seymour Branch of the Grand Rapids Public Library a few times a week to take advantage of tutoring services from Nathan Reinke.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Ajdarevic was working on a cover letter for an English 101 assignment. “I’m getting ahead in my work,” said the first-semester GRCC student. 

A member of the Bosnian community and a 2021 East Kentwood High School graduate, Ajdaravic is the first in his family to attend college. He is pursuing  a criminal justice degree and hopes to become a police officer. He explained, “My goal is to get a bachelor’s. That’s my number one goal.”

Reinke is helping Ajdarevic and other GRCC students meet their goals. Thanks to a grant from the AT&T Foundation,  the GRCC Seymour Learning Hub started in September, offering a quiet place to study, snacks and English tutoring from Reinke, 24 hours a week, at 2350 Eastern Ave. SE. He is the sole tutor, normally working with about 12 to 15 students and as many as 30 per week.

A lot of his time is also spent helping students navigate GRCC’s online platform, Blackboard. He also helps them set up for Accuplacer testing and complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. Drop in hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 1 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. The program was recently extended to continue on the same schedule next semester.

Nathan Reinke, left, GRCC coordinator and tutor for Seymour Learning Hub, works with student Senad Ajdarevic

Serving Southeast Side Students 

“You get the one-on-one help, and what’s best about this program is it’s not limited,” Ajdarevic said, referring to the fact that he can come five days a week in addition to attending in-person classes. “Time flies by … it’s amazing. I’m here a lot.”

Reinke said the learning hub was created to offer the community in the 49507 zip code a neighborhood go-to place for GRCC tutoring. The area is home to many students who are minorities and English-language learners. 

“We are also specifically trying to target non-traditional students – students who are going to college after five or more years of being out of school,” he said.

Many students are taking online courses, so it’s a benefit to have someone like Reinke to check in with if they have questions.

Reinke, a 2021 graduate of Grand Valley State University, has a bachelor’s degree in professional and classical language. 

“I recommend Nathan. He’s a very big help,” Ajdarevic said. “He’s very nice, and what is good about Nathan is he has experience with college students. You basically have a peer right by your side to help you out.”

From left, students Ray Harig, Diego Suarez, and Jimena Velasquez work with tutor Nathan Reinke (Courtesy GRCC/Andrew Schmidt) 
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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio

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