Facts and Friendship: Brown PAL Program Celebrates Another Successful Semester

By Sara Porcaro | January 4, 2018

On a peaceful December night, over one hundred friends and family enjoy each other's company in Brown University's Alumnae Hall, smiling and talking about the productive 2017 semester in the Partnership for Adult Learning (PAL) Program. This night is one of celebration, as all manners of projects and poster boards line the display tables, monuments to the great learning and accomplishments of individuals and their tutors.

PAL, a program that has been in operation since the late 1970s and has recently partnered with Perspectives Corporation, is one dedicated to developing new relationships and personal growth between Brown students and individuals through continuing education. Some topics seen at this celebration include creative writing, mathematics, foreign language, and animal studies. Oftentimes, the projects that a tutor and learner choose continue over several semesters.

Lorraine and her tutor, Erin, for instance, spent five semesters learning German. After learning phrases and numbers, as well as computer and typing skills, Lorraine has a beautiful display of the hard work she'd done with Erin.

"I have family in Germany,” says Lorraine, "and I wanted to learn how to speak with them. It was fun, and I want to continue with Erin in the spring.”

PAL Site Leader Hailey Jacobson and learner Andy have completed seven semesters of education on all manners of curiosities, from math and history to this year's topic, cephalopods.

"Andy would dress up as historical figures during our history semesters,” says Hailey, "and he would even memorize and recite the speeches those figures made. It was amazing!”

New learners also had a fantastic experience. Stephen spent his first semester with tutor Sicheng, and they learned more about Stephen's favorite theatre shows, as well as learned to read Chinese characters -- a rigorous combination of topics that proved to be quite fun for the pair.

"I enjoy the Chinese language,” says Stephen, "and I'm glad I had the chance to start learning it.”

According to Hailey, "seven semesters ago, PAL had twenty-two learners, and that number has increased to fifty-three.” With more knowledge, resources, and training brought to tutors by Perspectives professionals, the program has expanded and become more accessible to all.

At the end of this cheerful celebration, PAL Site Leader Nini Nguyen notes with a smile that she's "proud of everyone [in PAL]” and what they've accomplished, and that the program "is a step forward, and a really great place for anyone that wants to give it a try.” And with the spring semester well on its way, there's a community of education and friendship with open arms to welcome anyone interested in the program. Here's to another successful semester for the great partners in PAL!