“I am so lost.” This was the overwhelming feeling I had during the first few weeks of my NYU science class, Energy and The Environment, and it was what made the prospect of taking this class so daunting to me. As an English major, numbers weren’t my ally—they had always seemed foreign, even intimidating to me. Words didn’t ask me for definitive answers. Virginia Woolf couldn’t be broken down using a calculator. Equations, on the other hand, dealt in the concrete, the black and white, the things that I’d gone to college to avoid! Luckily, I soon found out that I wasn’t alone—I had Dr Powers. Just when I thought I was going to fail one of my final college classes, a required course integral to me graduating, I started having private, one-on-one tutoring sessions with Dr Powers. What was so striking about these weekly sessions (sometimes more than weekly!), wasn’t just the fact that Dr Powers helped my exam grades go from a D to an A, but also, much more importantly, that she helped me see the beauty of science—the same things that made me so excited about language. What Dr Powers helped me realize was that science, like literature, was a framework that, in its most pure iteration, helps us understand the world around us. It might not come easily to all of us, but when we work with these scientific concepts, pushing ourselves to see the world from a different angle, it can be amazing to find the sheer joy that scientists like Dr Powers help infuse their subject with. I know well enough that there aren’t enough tutors like Dr Powers in the world. The kinds of mentors that don’t see their students as obligations or grade percentiles, but instead as human beings who may have been trained to believe that science only belongs to the academic elite, but soon realize that what makes science so unique is the way that it can bind everyone together.
- Tom Mackay