First Niagara Intern Spotlight: Dareika Palmer

Name: Dareika Palmer
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
College: University Of New Haven
Major: Criminal Justice (Juvenile and Family Justice)
Tutoring Site: Science Park
Clubs: Math I, Arts & Crafts and Drama
Favorite Children’s Book: The Magic Tree House series, by Mary Pope Osborne

I learned about the New Haven Reads Summer Internship while working at the Bristol Street location as the Education Department assistant. In that position, I helped Mrs. Hayley and Ms. Kascia with administrative tasks and occasionally, I got the opportunity to tutor some of the students at both the Bristol Street and Dixwell locations. I truly enjoyed tutoring the students because of all the different personalities that I encountered, and the fun times that I had. With the experiences I had in the tutoring sessions, I decided that applying for the Summer Internship would be a perfect opportunity to help more children and have a bigger impact on them with my leadership role in the clubs.

Over the course of the summer, I have learned so much about myself as well as the students that I have worked with so far. Each student is very different, so you are on your toes to find new ways to engage them. In Math I, I have some students that get bored easily, so I have implemented incentives for them to strive toward for each session. I understand learning through different methods because as a student, I was a tactile learner—so being able to touch and use objects was very beneficial. I have learned how to empathize with students but still keep a stern grounding to gain their respect. This technique is very important for managing classrooms and also a tool that I’ll have for when I move into my career.

Overall, tutoring is a small opportunity for each of us to be a role model, or someone for a student to look up to.

Along with leading clubs, I have had the opportunity to tutor some students at Science Park this summer. My favorite part of tutoring is “choice time” because it brings out the joy in each student. I have had experiences where some students came into their session sad, but when it was choice time, they brightened up so much and many conversations arose over a simple board or card game. The students get to know more about us and we get to know more about them, whether it is about their future or what they want to do this weekend. Overall, tutoring is a small opportunity for each of us to be a role model, or someone for a student to look up to. I am very appreciative of the opportunity that both New Haven Reads and the First Niagara Foundation have given me. I hope that I have been a good leader and role model to the students that I have interacted with. Thank you to the whole team!