Science & Tech

Mentoring Sign at uOttawa
The mentoring sign outside the Mentoring Centre. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum.
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It’s that special time of year when we convince ourselves we’ll hit every single deadline, stay on top of our schedules, and ace all of our midterms/exams. 

To aid in the process of becoming your version of ‘the perfect student,’ the Fulcrum sat down with student mentors from both the science and engineering mentoring centres — as well as their respective coordinators — to discuss academics, common mistakes and helpful study advice.

Science Mentoring Centre

Located in STEM 203, the Mentoring Centre at the faculty of science is a bright and welcoming environment where students can ask questions related to academics, research opportunities, career options, and much more.

Front entrance of science mentoring centre
Image: Science Mentoring Centre. Provided/Bardia Boomer

According to Audrée Moynan, the coordinator responsible for mentoring and retention, “we’re really there to help them integrate and make the best of their university experience. Our mandate is to help students adapt and succeed in sciences.”

In terms of services provided, students can book a private session with a student science mentor, like Gabrielle Chong Foo Yuen, or attend group sessions. 

“When they book a private meeting, they have the option of choosing a topic, so they have the option to build a study plan or talk about time management tips or specifically study strategies for their classes. At the end of the meeting, students often feel more relieved, because they know that they are not the only one who struggles with the same struggles,” added Chong Foo Yuen. 

Moynan said during group sessions, “the goal is to guide them in the right direction on how to think about the question that they’re supposed to tackle. So it’s kind of like facilitating but not doing the actual work for them, they still do need to put in the work.”

In addition, students can also seek help at the Math, Chemistry and Physics Help Centre located in STEM 207. The Help Centre is led by graduate students hired by the department to review assignment questions, aid with lab reports, and explain concepts to students that go beyond the knowledge of a student mentor.

Science help centre and sign
Science Help Centre. Image: Bardia Boomer, Kai Holub/Fulcrum.

The Workshop (Engineering Mentoring Centre)

Situated in SITE 1030, the Mentoring Centre at the faculty of engineering, also known as “The Workshop,” offers similar services but is tailored towards engineering students.

Engineering mentoring centre
Engineering Mentoring Centre (The Workshop). Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum.

Similar to the centre at the Faculty of Science, The Workshop offers individual consultations which can be booked through the academic GPS. Additionally, there are group study sessions related to specific course material led by mentors like Soundouss El Yacoubi and Yasin Elmi. 

Most notably, the centre offers a program known as peer connect which, “is a platform for students to be able to sign up to be matched with a senior student. So, it’s a great way to make friends and connections and feel part of the engineering community,” said Phillion. 

This year, the mentoring team is interested in offering study groups located in the Henderson residence to better integrate themselves in the residence community. 

Helpful Study Tips

Chong Foo Yuen recommends students try to explain their notes to themselves rather than passively rereading, ensuring students fully understand each concept before moving on. 

Phillion explained, “the Pomodoro Technique has worked really well for several students I’ve worked with, because what happens is over time your attention span lessens. So the idea is that you stay focused for 20 to 25 minutes, take a break for five, get back into it for 20 to 25 minutes, come back to it, repeat again. Essentially, what we’re doing is creating little eureka moments more often, and giving the brain a break.”

Elmi added, “I feel like collaboration is great. You can learn a lot with others and so if you have the correct mindset, at least while studying with others, I’m sure it’ll be a fruitful study session.”

Common Mistakes and Advice

When asked about common mistakes students make, Chong Foo Yuen said “for me, it’s when students who just came out of high school don’t use a planner. So, they don’t plan anything, they don’t know when their assignments are, they don’t know when their midterms are. If you want to succeed in university, you need to be on top of your work.”

For El Yacoubi, “sometimes I study and I forget about eating, because it’s gonna take a lot of time to cook something. So I would say we need to focus on our studies, personal life and our health, too.”

Moyenne added, “it’s an essential thing to ask questions to your professor, the academic writing help centre or your lab coordinator for the lab report. So you have to go towards the resources yourself.”

For more information on the Mentoring Centre at the faculty of science, you can visit their link here. For those interested in learning more about The Workshop — the Mentoring Centre in the faculty of engineering — visit the link here.


  • Emma Williams was the Fulcrum's science & tech editor for the 2021-22 publishing year. Emma is a passionate third-year environmental science student at the University of Ottawa. As a returning editor she hopes to continue sharing her love for science with the U of O community. When she isn’t studying, she can be found outdoors hiking in Gatineau Park, reading or biking with friends.