Campbell med school honors outstanding peer tutors

Anna D’Agostino has a passion for teaching. For learning, too.

D’Agostino, entering her third year of medical school, was recently named Academic Center for Excellence Tutor of the Year for her work with students in Campbell University’s Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine.

She is one of several students recognized for their outstanding service during the 2023-24 academic year, says Dr. Amy Hinkelman, associate professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the medical school. Hinkelman also helps oversee tutors at the med school.

Honored with the Outstanding Peer Tutoring Service Award were: Mason Dermott, outstanding tutor for in the Master of Sciences in Biomedical Services students at Campbell. D’Agostino, David Mueller, Sidharth Patil, Mary Richfield and Peter Sells were named outstanding tutors or second-year med students, and Tim Galen was the outstanding tutor for third-year med students.

Collectively, these tutors, who are paid for their time, delivered more than 60 percent of the total ACE peer-tutoring hours for the year. 

For her part, D’Agostino, devoted nearly 80 hours in service to her student peers, Hinkelman says.

Her reasoning for tutoring is two-fold.

“I’ve always had a love for teaching and working through hard problems with others,”  says D’Agostino, who will do her clinical rotations with WakeMed next academic year.

She also enjoys the social aspect of tutoring. 

Fostering and building relationships with another cohort.

“I do find people I’m working with have better understanding of problem when we think through it together.”

D’Agostino says tutoring upcoming students gives her the chance to review material from the previous year or semester. Sort of a refresher course, keeping her excited and motivated.

“In my mind, I really don’t know something until I have to try to explain it in simple terms. “It’s very helpful with staying up to date on previous material.”

Says Hinkelman of D’Agostino, “I can’t say enough good things about Anna. I’m so thankful for her, and she really cares.”

As do her tutor colleagues, who must perform in the top 25 percent across multiple courses to become a tutor, and also must be in good academic standing. Tutors — there were 27 this past academic year — are then trained and certified. Although tutors are paid and tutor no more than 10 hours each week, their services are free to medical students and students in the MSBS program.

“These are definitely a group of students who are performing very well and also have a passion to serve their fellow peers and support their academic success, as well,” Hinkelman says.

She says learning from peers, and that extra help, is both beneficial to the med school programs and the students in them. This past academic year, too, was the first time for drop-in sessions. Sign-ups weren’t required, so students, or a group of students, could get the specific help they needed, whether online or in-person.

This was the first time the med school honored an ACE Tutor of the Year, says Hinkelman, who says D’Agostino will stay on next year to tutor second-year med students.

“She’s incredible,” Hinkelman says.