Pass Leader Appreciation

By Alyssa Wilson ~ Assistant Editor

Photo depicting three students smiling around a table. Retrieved from 

The University of Lynchburg’s Peer Assisted Supplemental Study (PASS) program 

has been helping the student body for over 20 years. 

The program was first created by Neil Summerland and has made leaps and bounds in the years since its creation. 

What makes the PASS program different from other tutoring programs is that PASS leaders are sitting in on the classes they PASS for, so that they are receiving the same information as their students and are able to help them better understand the material. 

Director of the PASS program, Dr. Edith Simms said, “They work collaboratively and they work independently. They can explain the material in multiple different ways since they have heard how the professor explains it in class they can take that leadership upon themselves if a student is not comprehending what’s happening and find a way to make that lightbulb go off.” 

The program has seen 2,200 visits this semester across 520 students meaning that the program is reaching and impacting one third of the student body. 

PASS leaders choose this role for a variety of reasons. 

For example, senior, nursing major, and PASS Coordinator Megan Leggett wants to become an educator so PASS helps her build those skills. 

“I never thought I would become an educator. That’s actually the part that intimidated me most about nursing. I want to become a nurse and a teach other nursing students. It’s really a passion of mine that I don’t think I would have had without the PASS program here,” said Legget. 

This semester is Tresor-Ange Oertel’s third semester with the PASS program. 

Oertel is passionate about neuroscience and helping other students to understand the concepts. 

Last school year, with most neuroscience classes being online and asynchronous not many students were showing up to the sessions he would host. 

Tresor-Ange Oertel said, “I want to become a doctor so in a way this helps me to help people in another way. […] I was seeing the looks on their faces as they starting to understand the concepts and it just felt so much more interactive.” 

PASS leaders do a lot of behind the scenes work to help their peers succeed. 

Leggett said, “They’re the unsung heroes of campus, to be honest, I think a lot of people will say they have a PASS session but not realize the amount of work and training that PASS leaders put into what they’re doing.” 

In order to be a PASS leader these students must have a list of criteria : 

  • 3.0 cumulative GPA 
  • 3.0 in the class they would intend on being a PASS leader for 
  • Recommendation from faculty member who teaches the class 
  • Interview with Dr. Simms, Director and Leggett, Coordinator 

PASS leaders put in much time and effort to help other students while also being students themselves. As the semester comes to a stressful end, visit the PASS program for help in classes:


Dr. Edith Simms – 

Megan Leggett – 

Tresor-Ange Oertel – 

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