Rowan’s new club, Running with Einstein, is seeking to inspire and bridge the gap between Glassboro High School students and Rowan University.
Despite being across the street from Rowan’s campus, Glassboro High School students may not have access to all of the education and resources that are available to them. According to US News, only 9% of students at Glassboro High School are proficient in science, only 32% are proficient in reading and 20% are proficient in mathematics. Their statistics also show that 48% of students come from economically disadvantaged homes.
As a way to try and help students who may be struggling, co-presidents and childhood friends Harris Khan and Erica Tran came up with a way to make an impact on the community, outside of Rowan. The two Rowan juniors attended Cherry Hill High School East, where they were a part of a “Bridge” club, which tutored middle school students who were getting ready to go to high school. After getting to Rowan, they saw an opportunity to bring what they learned there to Glassboro and Running with Einstein was born.
High school students that receive tutoring from this club also are working with college students who are not much older than they are. Rather than speaking with an authoritative figure, they can talk to a college student, similar to an older sibling.
“For me personally, like, in high school, if I ever like talked to a college kid, I wouldn’t really look at them as a person of authority, which I think is like a long way making them comfortable, which I think sets us apart from a lot of tutoring services,” Tran said.
The tutoring started as a way to help kids academically, but as time went on the club, members began to see relationships form with the students that they were tutoring. Since tutors are so close in age, they can offer a level of familiarity and relatability to the students at Glassboro High School.
“I know what goes on in class because I was just there like a few years ago. So, they like to joke about that kind of stuff. They like to ask advice a lot about their friends, which I think is really cute too,” Tran said.
The club is open to any major at Rowan who is interested in joining. Students must apply and be approved before they begin tutoring, but Running with Einstein welcomes students from all departments and backgrounds to teach the students.
“We have every portion you could think of: math, english, science, but if you’re not good at those, we have like business development, we have, like entrepreneurship… if you want to teach your kid how to write a resume, but you don’t want to teach him how to do an integral. That’s fine. Like we have kids that want that,” said Tran.
The club tutors students but they also can help them prepare resumes and provide them with resources. It is important to them that no matter what a student wants to do after high school, they are supported and encouraged to do their best.
“Tutoring is only one-tenth of the job. It also includes mentoring and then providing those kids with the extra resources that they need…workshops that they need, book fairs, career sessions, anything to help these kids,” Khan said.
Khan also noted that all of the money the club receives through SGA or fundraising will go directly towards the students at the high school and getting them what they need to succeed, like SAT books, textbooks and calculators. However, the main focus of the club is getting Rowan students to join.
“The main resource that we need is… people. Like books, they come second, like pens, that comes second, SAT books, they come second, because that’s not going to matter if you don’t have people to teach them,” Tran said.
Daniel Obeid, a sophomore biophysics major, is the club’s public relations chair and is a co-founder of the club. Obeid also graduated from Cherry Hill East where he was friends with Khan and has been a part of the club since the beginning. He has also gotten to see how the students have grown with the program.
“The biggest thing that shifted, it went from a ‘we have to go to school’ to ‘we get to go to school,’ you know what I mean? That’s where it begins because learning high school math isn’t gonna make or break you. But the attitude is what is important,” Obeid said.
Perhaps the biggest focus of the club is to give students that extra encouragement to show them that their circumstances do not define who they can become.
“If you demonstrate to them that they’re capable and they’re more than their surroundings, then that mindset will change…then they’ll start to dream bigger, you know, that it’ll open their eyes to all the possibilities,” Obeid said.