Inspired by past educators and tutors who have guided her education, Shelby Brandt desired to do the same for others.

shelby brandt

While Shelby, a rising senior and Marketing major at the Mount enjoys the challenge of her business coursework, she expands her scope beyond the business world through a transformative experience as a tutor at Delhi Middle School.

“These [business classes] have definitely made me think more deeply about what I want to do with my degree in business,” she says. “I just know that I want to make a difference wherever I can.”

Shelby and her MSJ colleagues tutor seventh and eighth grade Math and Literacy several times a week at Delhi Middle School. With markers in hand, the tutors map out problems on a whiteboard to help math students better visualize the problem, while flashcards help students learn multiplication and division tables. “In literacy, we use fluency tests to help them read more accurately and workbooks to practice grammar, spelling, and writing skills,” says Shelby.

So far, these experiences have showed Shelby the significant impact her contributions can make on young minds to awaken newfound confidence and enthusiasm for learning.

“Seeing the long-term impacts that tutoring has had on these students is incredible,” she reflects. “Several have jumped letter grades, and my seventh graders in math are starting eighth grade level work. The time that they are getting with us is having such a positive impact on their school work, and on them as individuals.”

The most special and rewarding moments to Shelby are witnessing the remarkable transformation from shoulder shrugs and second-guessing their abilities to increased confidence for students. “Seeing them go from that to being able to definitively give an answer, state why they chose that answer, and defend the answer, is incredible. I remember a couple times where it had been a rough week, but then a student finally grasped the concept, or remembered something, or progressed in some way and that made it all worth it—even if we don't see it on a daily basis.”

Shelby recalls a time when one of her students was incredibly shy at the beginning of the semester and would not speak to her. The student would ask questions by writing it down on a whiteboard, and then writing her answer down with a question mark. “I let her know that this was okay, as I was a new tutor to her,” Shelby affirms. Shelby worked on building trust with the student through small talk, and eventually discovered that the student is more open and talkative when she works with another student who is also in tutoring.

“So, another tutor and I now sit together during tutoring time with all of our kids, and it has benefited all three students. Over time, she became more comfortable speaking to me and confident in herself. I hope this gives her hope and the power to ask her teachers and other students’ questions in the future, and to open up to others in her community.”

Looking back, Shelby did not fully realize the impact her teachers and tutor had on her until she arrived to the Mount. Lucie Collier, instructor in undergraduate education at the Mount, played a pivotal role in helping Shelby throughout the course of this two-year program.

“When she interviewed me for the position, she asked why I wanted the job, and I told her it was because there was a time where I myself needed a tutor and I wanted to do the same for others. She has helped me, and every other tutor, navigate this program with all the patience and understanding in the world, while helping us celebrate our accomplishments as well as the kids. She is truly amazing at what she does herself as an educator, and in helping myself and the other tutors become better educators, too.”

Furthermore, Shelby credits her mom. In the beginning, the tutoring program presented unique challenges with roadblocks the tutors had to learn from and work around in order to succeed. She is grateful her mom was always willing to listen if she had had a bad day to offer advice on what Shelby could do.

“My mom has taught me so much about resilience, hard work, and putting everything you've got into what you love,” she adds. “She has been my biggest supporter, cheerleader, and source of encouragement.”

Already demonstrating her drive for the future, Shelby has secured a spot in the Mount's 4+1 MBA program, allowing her to earn both her undergraduate and MBA degrees in just five years. This program opens exciting opportunities for her to lead and manage others, and continuously develop her skills to make a positive difference, whether that be in a teaching environment or beyond.