Alum Aims to Provide Free Tutoring With Nascent Nonprofit Initiative

An ordinary FaceTime conversation with his aunt inspired Stephen Boe ’18 to pursue an extraordinary idea.

Recently, the Masters alum’s aunt shared with him that his 11-year-old nephew was struggling with the online school format that is now prevalent across the United States and the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Boe, a sophomore at Bowdoin College, realized that “there are thousands of other students facing the same struggles” as his nephew, and he is now aiming to help them by providing free one-on-one tutoring. 

The concept of providing K-12 students with personal access to a college tutor, which Boe named Think to See, quickly took off; by reaching out to his network on social media, he has enlisted more than a dozen college students to participate as free tutors, and about half of them are Masters graduates from the Classes of 2016 through 2018. “I have access to peers scattered across dozens of universities that major in all sorts of interests, and that reality made the idea of this being a larger-scale movement appear very achievable,” Boe explained. Currently, students interested in receiving free tutoring can fill out a brief form on Think to See’s Facebook page to schedule an initial session. 

“Think to See removes that financial barrier and opens the door to accessible tutoring for all families,” the recent Masters alum shared. “As a result, I hope for this to benefit any and all students, and to rid the academic playing field of economic advantages.”The need is even greater during the COVID-19 health crisis, Boe said, noting that in-person, one-on-one academic support is currently not available for students, and the options they do have may not fit their learning needs. “During COVID, we hope to supply that sought-after one-on-one assistance, and to build relationships that last beyond this crisis and extend into all of our students’ further education.”

Although Think to See is still in its elementary stage, Boe is currently working to raise funds to register it as a 501(c)3 charitable organization that is eligible to apply for federal grants. Eventually, he would like to compensate tutors for their work, which would appeal to college students looking for a source of income and who are also interested in making a positive difference. In the end, though, his goal is simple: “I hope that this continues to grow, and grow, and grow!”