When Jacob Kane was struggling in one of his harder classes, he wasn’t sure what to do. He was a freshman and still learning how to navigate life on his own. Turns out, it was tough.
Then, he remembered about NAU’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) program—a series of peer-facilitated weekly review sessions for students taking challenging courses. With his exams coming up, panic started to set in, so he reached out for support. Not only did the SI leaders help him prepare, but the sessions were a lot more fun than he expected. He learned in those lessons that studying did not have to be boring.
“After going to just a few SI sessions, I approached the SI leader supporting the course and said ‘I want in on this. How do I do what you do?’” Kane said.
Though COVID delayed things, eventually, he did do what they did. He joined the team of SI leaders who were determined to help other students succeed.
“Being a student employee for the SI program fundamentally altered my experience as a student on campus. It helped me grow a lot, both as a student and young professional, enabling me to be more engaged in my classes and learning. It also taught me a lot of skills in communication, teamwork and leadership.”
Before long, he found himself fully invested in the students he was mentoring. Their A+ exam results felt just as, if not more so, rewarding for him. He was learning what it meant to be a leader, and that confidence soon affected other aspects of his life. When Kane started college, he struggled with finding a place on campus where he felt he belonged and could be his authentic self. The confidence he gained while being an SI leader led to his advocacy for other LGBTQ+ students—he took pride in bringing visibility to his community and being a mentor to other students like him around campus.
For the past year, Kane, who is majoring in management with an emphasis in human resources, has been working full-time with the SI program as a professional staff member where he is getting hands-on supervision experience as he leads a student team of 19 SI leaders.
“To get this kind of experience at this age has been hugely beneficial, and I can honestly say I’m learning new things each and every day,” he said.
Jane Gilbert, assistant manager in the Supplemental Instruction program, hired Kane as an SI leader in 2021. Until starting his role as a supervisor, he was facilitating ECO285 and ACC205 study sessions for students in The W. A. Franke College of Business.
“Jacob has always given his all when working with students. He seeks ways to push himself to grow and he thrives and demonstrates his abilities to lead when he is given opportunities to make a role his own,” she said. “As an SI Leader, Jacob succeeded from the start, gaining confidence and developing emerging strengths with each new experience; he never shied away from a challenge.”
After graduation, Kane plans to continue working in his role at NAU—after all, not many students are able to start their career before they graduate. He hopes he can continue making an impact in the lives of students.
“If I can make an impact, no matter how small, I’m thrilled and grateful for the chance to do so.”
Carly Banks | NAU Communications
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