October Graider of the Month: Sophia Sun

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Do what moves you.

“Guiding someone through the complex legal process, advocating for them, supporting them every step of the way - exactly what our lawyer did for my mom, I want to do for others.”

October is always a stressful month at The Graide Network.

This year was no exception. Between a fleeting fall and a record-breaking number of essays and assignments to score, our team was hustling, to say the least! Amidst the chaos and noise of the new school year, our CTO quietly rolled out a tiny new feature into our team chat: The Feel Good Bot. Once a day, this simple piece of software was programmed to scan all of our recent assignments and share out a single teacher review. There wasn’t much thought behind the Feel Good Bot, other than it might be a nice way to keep teacher feedback top of mind. We could never have predicted what a tremendous impact these messages would have on all us. They have become a daily dose of affirmation and inspiration for The Graide Network team, helping to energize and guide us through our busiest days and most challenging season.

The Feel Good Bot’s teacher review on October 23rd was especially moving:

Sophia gave clear, detailed, superbly written feedback to each and every one of my students. Her comments were highly individualized, constructive, and encouraging. Just keep doing what you’re doing, Sophia!!
— Ms. Bloom, SAR Academy

Wow.

At The Graide Network, we go gaga over this kind of teacher feedback. And even more so, we go gaga over our awesome Graiders who deliver such exceptional and high-quality work! And thus, thanks to this glowing review and many more just like it, I’m excited and honored to announce our October Graider of the month, Sophia Sun.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Sophia and learning more about her experience this year as a Graider, as well as her future academic and career plans. Spoiler alert: she’s awesome and has a super bright future ahead of her. You should absolutely read on to learn more!

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“Sophia is fantastic in every way, and I hope to work with her on future assignments!”

- Mrs. Glassberg

You might be wondering how we found such a fantastic Graider. The truth is, she found us!

“I was looking at my school’s career database for a part-time job this semester. I’ve done tutoring and peer editing in the past, and I wanted to find similar work. When I saw The Graide Network job post, I was immediately intrigued by the opportunity. I loved the idea of being able to work remotely but still support teachers and students in the classroom. I liked that I would be able to reach a much greater number of students than I could in past tutoring jobs.”

What’s been your favorite part of working with The Graide Network this year?

“Honestly, it’s been such a fun experience getting to work with students of all different ages, but my favorite assignment was reviewing college essays. Every single student story was amazing. I was moved by how vulnerable, honest, and mature the students were in their writing. Their college essays were deeply personal and powerful. It reminded me of when I was applying to college and how stressful that time was as you’re trying to show your whole and best self to a complete stranger. I loved how every essay I read wasn’t made up or trivial or about someone else. These students were honest and really willing to share their story.”

As a second-year law student at Boston University, you’re not the “typical” Graider. What are your own future career goals and ambitions? Why did you choose to pursue a degree in law?

“When I was growing up, my mom owned her own small business. At one point, the business had some legal issues that she needed help with and we had to hire a lawyer. And, wow! I got to see firsthand that a lawyer does so much more than what you see on TV or in movies. I was just starting college across the country at this time, so I couldn't always be there for her, but when I went home for breaks, I would go with my mom to the lawyer’s office. I’d help her translate, sit in on meetings, read legal documents - whatever I could do to help. Our lawyer was amazing. He made my mom feel like her issue was the most important thing he’d ever done, even though I’m sure he had many more and much bigger clients. We always felt so important and so cared for. I realized then that I wanted to be able to help others in a similar respect. Guiding someone through the complex legal process, advocating for them, supporting them every step of the way - exactly what our lawyer did for my mom, I wanted to do for others people. This passion grew in me when I became an RA at NYU. I realized even more how much I loved being a mentor, advisor, and source of support for others. I haven’t decided just yet what type of law I’ll practice - right now I’m busy exploring a bunch of different options. But I’m excited to start getting some hands-on experience soon outside of the classroom.”

Thank you, Sophia!

From future teachers to future lawyers, we are super proud to have a diverse cohort of Graiders who work hard each school year to support classrooms nationwide. We are especially grateful for our October Graider of the Month, Sophia, for brightening our day on October 23rd (and really, all semester long). We are thankful that she has chosen to lend her time and her talent for advising and supporting others to Graide Network students and teachers this year.


P.S.

We didn’t ask for legal advice just yet, but we did ask Sophia for grading tips.
“I noticed that for a lot of assignments, many students are struggling in the same few key areas and I’m giving very similar feedback on a particular topic or component - for example, maybe it’s their topic sentence or their analysis. What I’ll do is write a clear, high-level feedback snippet that’s aligned with the rubric, and I’ll use that to start my feedback. I’ll copy and paste the starter, and then I’ll add specific examples from the student work to make it more personalized and actionable for each individual student (For example, …). It’s a great way to make sure I’m giving feedback that’s consistent, rubric-aligned and personalized.”