Tutor Spotlights

Alvana Abedini

Math and science tutor Alvana Abedini loves to help students solve problems. She tells them that they won’t know how much someone can help until they ask. Alvana came to the US in 2014. She went to college in Albania to study Electrical Engineering and hopes to finish her degree next year. Outside of studying and working at CCC, she loves to cook and is a translator.


Jose Arce

Jose Arce has a passion for teaching and helping others. He not only helps his students in Math, Biology, and Chemistry, but mentors them throughout the struggles of being a college student. He advises them that “going to college will increase your chances of being a better person in many aspects of your life.” He has a BS and is pursuing an MS (do you know in what?)


Kelley Bates – humanities tutor

As a tutor, as someone who came to Capital Community College to take a refresher algebra course and ended up staying longer because the Academic Success Center is a nice place to work while completing a master’s degree in English, I find that I have tremendous respect for those juggling family lives with work and study. I’m not alone in this regard. Balancing is hard; as tutors, we all know this, we all know that juggling, that balancing, requires one to prioritize, to organize, and to stay focused when all one (occasionally) wants to do is to catch up on sleep. But what students need to know is that every tutor – math, science, the humanities and language — has his or her own priorities, his or her own styles. Given time, and rarely is there ever enough of this invisible stuff, I find myself wanting to ask student writers to enjoy the writing process by choosing language that’s within their comfort level and then, and this is the hard part, to hold themselves to standards that meet their own personal sense of authenticity when completing writing assignments by asking, “did it really happen this way; did it really look like that, smell or taste like that?” If not, change it. Make it real; make it right; make it authentic. This is a tall order, one that can’t be achieved overnight, but with practice one’s own writing style begins to emerge, and that is exciting.


Gizaw Beyene

Gizaw Beyene uses Cicero’s quotation, “A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation” to inspire his students. He has an Associate’s degree in Engineering Technology and is currently pursuing a BS in Civil Engineering at Central Connecticut State University. He loves tutoring, and his tutees say he makes it easy to learn concepts in math, chemistry, and physics. Outside of his studies and tutoring, he plays soccer in East Hartford and is working in fundraising to build a church.


Suela Bruko

Math tutor Suela Bruko is dedicated to changing a student’s mindset about math. She did not like math as a child until she had a teacher who gave her confidence by showing her a different perspective and figuring out how she learned best. She moved to the US in 2008 from Albania and is able to help diverse students. She has a BS in Math Engineering and computer Programing, a BGS from Charter Oak State College, and an MA in education from Quinnipiac University. She speaks three languages, teaches middle school in Hartford, and has a three-year-old son.

Richard Charron

“When it feels discouraging, reach out,” is advice that tutor Richard Charron gives to his tutees. Because of his years of education and experience, Richard tutors reading and writing, math, accounting, and business law. He continues to be a lifelong learner, and plans on earning an additional degree in English or French to add to his B.S. in Business Administration, J.D. in Law, certificate in Black Ministries, and Associate’s Degree in Liberal Arts. Tutoring allows him to keep material fresh in his mind, and he enjoys meeting students. Richard is a volunteer at ConnectiCon and collects comic books, especially Spider Man & other Marvel characters. He is an organist and choir director at his church.

Vlash Deda

Math and Chemistry tutor Vlash Deda prides himself in explaining everything in detail to his tutees. He is demanding of himself and teaches his students to do the same. He has an Associate’s Degree in Science and a BS in Chemistry and has been tutoring for 5 years. In his free time, he studies other languages.


George Demetrion

George Demetrion is a Reading and Writing tutor who believes the educational journey is as important as the end result. He advises students not to be afraid to change their minds and to enjoy the process of learning. He has a BA in History and is also student at the PhD level. He enjoys helping his tutees to narrow in on a problem then develop steps to work toward a solution. In the past, he’s taught in adult literacy programs and taught college classes. Outside of the ASC, he teaches Adult Basic Education classes in Hartford. He enjoys karaoke.


Barbara Farris

Math tutor Barbara Farris tutors because she remembers how difficult her freshman year of college was and wanted to share the strategies that helped her. She advises students to continually practice what they learn. She is dyslexic and is a role model for students who have learning disabilities. She also takes courses related to that field so that she can further help her students.


Frances Gibson

Reading and Writing peer tutor Frances Gibson enjoys witnessing a student’s aha moment while helping her tutees with the learning process. She tells her students that getting a degree is not an easy road, but it will be worth it if they truly want it. She has an inpatient/outpatient coding certificate and is current taking classes to meet prerequisites for the nursing program. She is a mother and wife and is joining the Phi Theta Kappa Club.


Gene Glotzer

Reading and Writing tutor Gene Glotzer has a BA in Philosophy and enjoys interacting with college students. He advises them not to spend too much money so they can pursue their education further. Outside of CCC, he’s studying for a Fellow Secure Retirement Institute designation.


Robert Huestis

“Always be willing to ask for help because nobody gets it all.” Reading and Writing tutor  Robert Huestis advises his students to persevere and that learning is a long-term process. Rob admires CCC students for juggling family life, work, and their education, and he believes that his tutees sense his support of them. Rob has a BS in pre-law and two Master’s Degrees: one in Public Administration and one in Public Finance. He loves reading and uses his students’ assignments as his personal reading list. Outside of tutoring, he sings, plays the acoustic guitar at open mics and friends’ gatherings, hikes, plays golf, and birdwatchers.


Zoraida Jobrán

“Education changes how you see the world around you” Spanish and English tutor Zoraida Jobran has experienced this throughout her life, and she encourages her students to persist no matter what is happening in their lives. Her infectious smile and uplifting manner keep her tutees coming to see her.

Zoraida started her education at CCC then joined the army. Deciding that the military wasn’t for her, she returned to CCC to earn her Associates and Bachelor’s Degrees in Spanish from CCSU. She recently got her MA in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) from St. Joseph’s University.  Zoraida believes students would be surprised to hear that she dropped out of high school then received her GED.

Zoraida also tutors outside of CCC and is an avid reader of dystopian novels, collects vinyls, and is the mother of two children ages 3 and 12.


John Kiely

Reading and Writing tutor John Kiely refers to himself as a septuagenarian.  He retired from 40 years of high school teaching. A voracious reader, he keeps current with what students are learning. He advises students not to overextend themselves by taking too many courses. He enjoys tutoring because he can develop a rapport with each student. John has a BA in English and an MA in English education. He also has a sixth-year degree from Trinity College. At one time, he wanted to pursue a career in sports journalism, but his educational journey led him to teaching and tutoring for 51 years.


Eric Kouyo

Blank Placeholder Image - No picture.“Teaching is my passion and tutoring is the beginning of my dream.” English peer tutor Eric Kuoyo loves sharing ideas and learning from others. He advises other students to be focused and courageous and to have confidence in themselves. They should also be on time and respectful of their teachers and classmates. He’s building more confidence in himself by taking a public speaking course to learn better group communication skills.


Rudina Kosova

Rudina Kosova loves that aha moment when students understand a new concept or see how a lesson applies directly to their lives. She believes teaching is her calling in life having taught first grade to college for 22 years. Rudina came to the US from Albania nine years ago. She enrolled in Capital’s ESL program and was a student worker at the ASC. She has a BS degree in Mathematics and Education and will graduate with an MS in Instructional Technology in 2020.


Jennifer Medina

Jennifer MedinaJennifer Medina is an English peer tutor who knows what it’s like to struggle. She transferred schools twice before coming to CCC when she was at risk for losing a semester. She loves tutoring because she can learn along with the students, believing that every student has a story and leaves a mark. Her best advice to students is to celebrate the victories and find healthy ways to cope.


Colleen Mullaney

“It’s never too late! Don’t let fear or others people’s opinions or advice hold you back.” This is Colleen Mullaney’s advice to students, and she herself lives by this philosophy. She recently completed an ESL methodology class to obtain an ESL endorsement on her educator certificate. She’s also a substitute teacher in adult education. She tutors because she enjoys “helping students in an environment where people are committed to lifetime learning.”

Colleen has a BA in Music and an MA in Counseling. In the past, she sang with an opera company and the University Symphony Orchestra in Missouri.


Chevelle Myrie

Chevelle Myrie quotes Henry Wadsworth to inspire her tutees. “The heights by great men reach and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night.” Persistence and hard work leads to achieving one’s educational goals. Chevelle helps her tutees by breaking concepts down to the simplest level and explaining them well. She has an Associate’s degree in Humanities and is working on an Associate’s degree in Business Management Entrepreneurship. Chevelle is proud to say she once bench pressed 300 pounds prior to attending CCC.


Roy Nelson

“Stick with it!” Roy Nelson tells his Math tutees. Now retired, Roy was a pension actuary with a BA in math from Northwestern University. Outside of tutoring, Roy loves to read, garden, and play tennis.


John Nickleach

English and ESL tutor John Nickleach tells his tutees, “don’t give up and don’t feel the need to rush.” He believes that repeating a class is a good thing because students will be better prepared for future coursework. John is genuinely interested in them and works from the heart. John has taught conversational English classes in the Ukraine and Philippines to children and adults. Outside of his work at CCC, he teaches ESL at the Hartford Public Library and is a substitute in the public schools. He has a BA in Labor and Management Economics and a Master’s degree in Industrial Relations. He’s pursuing an Adult Education certification and taking an engineering class at CCSU.


Godfred Oppong

Godfred Oppong is a nursing major here at CCC. He tutors math, biology, and chemistry. His tutees say he makes the tutoring process comfortable by creating a non- judgmental environment. His favorite quotation is, “if you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs.” He enjoys cooking but jokes that “people love my food until they taste it.”


David Pontrelli

“Surround yourself with good people,” is tutor David Pontrelli’s advice to college students. David became a tutor because he enjoys working with adult learners. He has a BA in English and tutors English, ESL, and public speaking. Students here at Capital motivate him to do his best to assist them because they have real life challenges. Outside of CCC, David works with autistic middle school students and plans to pursue a certificate to teach ESL. He’s a longtime vegetarian.


Kevon Porter

Blank Placeholder Image - No picture.“Choose courses that will benefit you immediately but also fit your degree requirements,” is practical advice Kevon Porter shares with students the four years he’s been tutoring Computer Science. Kevon is an honors student enrolled in the CSCU Pathway Transfer Program. He believes CCC provides the same level of education as a four-year university. He relates real world analogies to his tutees to give them a better understanding of the concepts. Outside of his classes and tutoring, Kevon leads a trading group where he teaches people about the stock market.


Jamil Ragland

Reading and Writing tutor Jamil Ragland advises his students to take their time and remain determined. He began his education at CCC and then went on to receive a BA in American Studies at Trinity College. Jamil’s tutoring sessions are two-way. He enjoys learning from his students. Outside of CCC, he’s a 3rd grade teacher resident through CREC and is working on his K-6 teaching certificate. His hobbies include the study of foreign policy and national security.


Stephen Roberts

Stephen Roberts has had several roles at CCC, from student to teacher to tutor in math, accounting, statistics, economics, and finance. While working with students, he likes thinking of new ways to explain concepts by using real world examples. He believes students should have several options in life. A world traveler, he plans on visiting Guatemala next. He has an MBA and a BA in English.


Luljeta Shehu

“A college education is an investment for a bright and successful future,” is frequent advice Luljeta gives to her tutees. She tutors math & physics and enjoys the satisfaction of helping students study difficult concepts. She’s completing her Associate’s Degree in construction management leading to a career as an architect. Outside of tutoring, she enjoys drawing.


Simone Smith

English tutor Simone Smith believes that “there is always room for improvement,” and that everyone should have the chance to prove themselves more than once to effectively pursue their goals. She is studying for an Associate’s Degree in Social Services here at CCC and then she plans to transfer to CCSU or the University of Saint Joseph to obtain her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Outside of CCC, she works as a companion for a home care agency and enjoys singing and dancing.


Tanica Thompson

Chemistry and math tutor Tanica Thompson believes the best part of tutoring is “when the light bulb goes off” and her students realize the subject matter is not that difficult.  Her advice to students is that when choosing a major, it should relate to a job in high demand.  Tanica has a B.S. in Chemistry from Howard University and is working on a Master Gardener program this winter.


Phuong Tran

Math tutor Phuong Tran believes that a better education brings a better life. She enjoys tutoring Math at the ASC and loves to garden. Phuong is a veteran tutor who has worked at Capital for over 22 years, starting back at the old campus at Woodland Street.  She has a BS in accounting and worked in the accounting department of a major insurance company for 12 years.


Thu Van Le

Thu Van Le is a Computer Science tutor. She loves the environment at the ASC. She has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems and would like to return to school to study more science and higher her level computer classes. Her best advice to students is to take the time to practice and be patient.


Lydia Vine

Lydia Vine may have retired from the Southington Public Schools as a teacher and school counselor, but her work is far from over. She tutors English and public speaking here in the Academic Success Center and also tutors privately in the areas of SAT essay and college application writing and grammar for Farmington’s Continuing Education Department. She also does pre-employment criminal research and analysis. She’s an avid reader and is taking a creative writing class. Her best advice to students is to believe in themselves and become familiar with the help available to them here at CCC. The tutors, teachers, and counselor genuinely care.

Lydia has a BA in English from Smith College and two Master’s degrees: one in English Education from Tufts University and one from Boston College in Educational and Counseling Psychology.