Doctoral student is giving back to fellow students through new biology tutoring center

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

A doctoral student in applied bioscience will run a new tutoring center created this semester to help biology students at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Azure Yarbrough, 40, of Conway, will staff the new tutoring center in Room 350 of the Science Laboratory Building. She has served as a graduate instructor in several biology courses and currently teaches microbiology.

The center is open Mondays from 5-6 p.m., Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 p.m., and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I think that it is important to provide students with all possible tools to insure their academic success, and I feel that additional instruction can be instructional for some students,” Yarbrough said. “I think it is vital for students to understand how they learn best, and I know that students learn in different ways, so I try to adjust my teaching techniques accordingly.”

She will tutor students taking Introductory Biology (Biol 1400 and 1401), Anatomy and Physiology I and II (Biol 1411 and 1412), and Microbiology (Biol 2401).

The biology department plans to add additional staff members who will tutor more classes in the future. Yarbrough will help tutor students in additional biology classes and outside the tutoring center’s scheduled times as she is able.

Yarbrough is a 2013 graduate of UA Little Rock with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She said she understands the value of education well since she earned her undergraduate degree after a 12-year gap when she was first enrolled as a full-time college student.

Yarbrough attended college for two years directly after high school and originally dreamed of going to work for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. But her education was placed on hold following the birth of her daughter, who had a bleeding disorder. Five years later, her son was also born with the disorder and diagnosed with autism.

To support herself and her children, Yarbrough worked two and sometimes three jobs. But whether she was bartending, assisting at a veterinarian clinic, or helping disassemble vehicles at a garage, she never stopped dreaming of returning to school.

In 2010, her grandmother generously offered to pay her tuition, and Yarbrough has been back at UA Little Rock ever since, finishing her undergraduate degree, earning a master’s degree studying cellular and molecular biology, and plans to graduate with a doctorate in December. After graduation, Yarbrough hopes to complete a post-doctoral fellowship and then work as a professor.

For more information, contact Yarbrough at alyarbrough@ualr.edu.

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