Elle Newton: A Look Into the FSU Learning Assistant Program

Since the semester is coming to an end, we can take this time to reflect on those who have helped us through our classes. One of the people who has helped me through this semester was my lead learning assistant, Elle Newton. I am a learning assistant myself and looked up to Elle to guide me through my first semester in this new position. I know that saying that I am a learning assistant might confuse you, so I wanted to introduce this unique position through a conversation with Elle.

Her Campus (HC): Hi! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

Ellie Newton (EN): Hey! I’m Elle Newton, a senior Political Science major with a minor in Communications. I am applying to law school for Fall 2021, in hopes to become an immigration attorney. I am currently living in Orlando with my long-term partner and remote learning with FSU.

HC: Can you tell us a little about the LA program?

EN: The Learning Assistant program started in the fall of my second year at FSU. I was one of the first LA’s and this year was actually my fourth semester as an LA! LA’s are effectively undergraduate teaching assistants but differ from TA’s because we facilitate learning for the students rather than just helping the professor. We take a semester-long course in which we learn how to effectively teach, lead and communicate with students so we know how to be the most effective in the classroom. We attend lectures and hold office hours as well as being the middle person between a professor and their students.

HC: What made you want to become an LA?

EN: I was actually approached by the professor of MAC1105, the class I am an LA for, asking if I would be interested. I have always been someone who likes to help others and being an LA has really helped me to connect with a great group of people who also are like me.

HC: What is your favorite part about the LA program?

EN: My favorite thing about being an LA has to be the group of other LAs and my lead professor. A lot of us have been in the program since the very beginning and built a family and support system around us. I also met a lot of students that I mentored who are now LA’s and I love that I was able to have that impact on them. I am still friends with some of my students after they finished the course, so being an LA has really helped me meet some amazing people.

HC: What have you learned by being an LA?

EN: I have learned so much being an LA. One of the best things I have learned is that everyone approaches and learns things differently so being able to learn how to adapt my teaching to cater to all types of students has been a real-life skill. I also have gained so much confidence being an LA. I never thought I would be able to stand up in a room of 300+ students and talk, let alone help and teach. I am truly grateful for the LA program and its impact on my college experience.

Hopefully, this gave you a good introduction to the LA program. The LA program is growing here at FSU, with more classes implementing them every semester. Who knows, maybe a class you take next semester will implement this amazing program!