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Two BCC Tutors Receive Recognition
May 25, 2011
Melissa Smith and Alethea (Ali) Couchman were selected as Tutors of the Year by the Berkshire Community College (BCC) Tutorial Center. Nominations for this award are submitted by students and faculty.

Chosen Peer Tutor of the Year, Couchman has just completed her first year of tutoring. The tutorial staff reports that she was shy and reserved at first, but as she gained confidence her intelligence, humor, and kindness came to the forefront.

Couchman's tutees had many wonderful comments, including "She is pleasant and encouraging, and she makes me feel not so ‘slow' in learning the basics of math" and "Patient, patient, patient. Ali always knows numerous ways to teach the same thing until I finally get it."

Couchman will be attending Westfield State University in the fall, where she plans to major in computer science. She hopes to continue her work as a tutor at Westfield. Eventually she would like to work for General Dynamics, where her parents and her brother are already employed.

Community Tutor of the Year, Melissa Smith was also selected after her first year of tutoring. A 1989 graduate of BCC, she returned in 2009 to study Business Software Systems, and transferred to MCLA, enrolling in the Fast Track to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Sociology in 2010. She was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa and won BCC's Acts of Kindness Award in 2010.

"The amazing thing about tutoring is that you can be a tutor in one subject and a tutee in another, allowing each person to mentor, grow and capitalize on their respective strengths," Smith said about her tutoring experience. "BCC's tutoring program and staff offer a tremendous grant-subsidized service to our community."

Sandra Rinaldi, Tutorial Assistant, remarked, "I cannot say enough about Melissa being an excellent tutor. She is kind and committed to her students and goes above and beyond to accommodate them."

Her students comment, "She has a wonderful sense of humor and a great personality. She can tell me that I have made a mistake without making me feel bad" and "Miss Smith goes above and beyond her call of duty as a tutor to make sure not only her tutee understands the material but owns it. She will meet any time until her tutee owns the material."

Smith recently took a position with Crane & Company, but she continued meeting some of her tutees to finish out the semester. The Tutorial Center is hopeful that she will be able to continue her fine work as a tutor next fall as her time allows.

For more information on BCC's tutorial services, visit or call 413-236-1650.


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