While working toward her doctorate in chemistry at the University of Texas, Jamie Ludwig witnessed the advantages of wealthier students over their less fortunate peers.
“I saw that students from wealthier families often spend a lot of time and money towards tutoring, and this seemed to tip the balance further in their favor in terms of standardized testing, GPA and ultimately, admittance to top colleges,” says Ludwig, now an assistant professor of chemistry at Rider University. “From that point in my graduate training, I knew that providing tutoring services to less advantaged students was something that I really wanted to work towards in my career.“
Once she earned her doctorate and moved to Lawrenceville from Texas in the summer of 2015, Ludwig made such work a priority. She reached out to local teachers and organizations, among them, Nicole Cody at Every Child Valued (ECV), a local nonprofit that works to eliminate achievement gaps among participating children in the Lawrence Township Public Schools.
Cody responded enthusiastically to Ludwig’s willingness to help. The two helped build off of ECV’s focus on elementary students to include older students while also addressing the need for STEM tutoring for their middle and high school children.
“Their obvious interest and our offer of tutoring made everything fall into place very smoothly, and we’ve been so lucky to have really excellent student tutors from Rider and wonderful ECV students from schools in Lawrence to partner in this program,” Ludwig says.
The partnership between Rider and ECV began in the fall of 2015 with Ludwig and four students providing tutoring every Wednesday night. In spring 2016, the project expanded to include eight Rider students who provided tutoring on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
Ludwig credits her Rider students for volunteering their time for this project. They include Rushit Madeka, Thomas Stein, Jade Miller, Katrina Monta, Corrina Hansen, Jeremy St. Thomas, Jennifer Londegran and Gretel Torres.
“Our students are really the most important piece of the puzzle and they have been exceptional,” Ludwig says. “We’ve really been so lucky to have wonderful and dedicated Rider students to get this program started, and we’re hopeful that this is something that will continue to grow and be a great partnership between Rider and Every Child Valued for years to come.”