Stevenson student creates free math tutoring service with peers

  • Meera Khare, a junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, has started a free math online tutoring service.

    Meera Khare, a junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, has started a free math online tutoring service. Courtesy of Meera Khare

  • Sharmin Shahjahan

    Sharmin Shahjahan

  • Nazneen Hashmi

    Nazneen Hashmi

  • Toni Crenshaw

    Toni Crenshaw

  • Stephanie Johnson

    Stephanie Johnson

  • Nabeela Syed

    Nabeela Syed

  • Darryl Tyndorf

    Darryl Tyndorf

  • Anuja Gupta

    Anuja Gupta

Updated 3/7/2022 7:20 AM

With e-learning and COVID-19 restrictions during the early days of the pandemic, Meera Khare of Vernon Hills said it didn't take long for students to hit a slump listening to endless virtual lectures.

The 17-year-old junior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire said she and her peers also found it hard to achieve any meaningful community service during lockdown that would look good on a college application. That was Khare's light bulb moment.


It prompted Khare to found Math-Aid Free Tutoring in October 2020 as a service to help struggling students. Tutors are all Stevenson advanced math students who provide one-on-one help in sessions conducted via Zoom.

Khare said she always was a "math nerd" and it's a subject that can be standardized across schools. Initially, she began tutoring a few people from her neighborhood, family members and friends. Then, she and her peers started reaching out to area middle schools.

"We kind of started accumulating students here and there, and we built a little foundation," Khare said. "It just kind of built from there, and we (started) reaching out to more schools, tried Facebook advertising, I tried flyers at a bunch of different restaurants and libraries."

Math-Aid tutors have spent more than 1,100 student hours working with nearly 300 students from first grade through high school throughout Illinois and some other states. Khare now has a team of about 30 tutors volunteering their time. She plans to continue with the service in her senior year and then pass on the baton to future students.

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"I built this foundation with the belief that students who desire to learn and improve their mathematics skills should have access to help without any financial obstacles, which is why Math-Aid will always remain free of charge," Khare said.

For tutoring help, visit

Taco talk

Los Angeles Times columnist Gustavo Arellano, author of "Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America," will talk about multicultural foods and food ethics tonight at Benedictine University's "Teach In for Social Justice."

Gustavo Arellano
Gustavo Arellano

The free program will run from 7 to 8:30 p.m. and is open to the public. Register at


Arellano's talk will focus on food and justice in multicultural America, and how to uplift communities by appreciating their food culture. He also will talk about how the food that is characteristic of Mexican culture has become so widely popular in the U.S.

Breaking gender bias

For International Women's Day, suburban women leaders will share their stories about overcoming stereotypes and breaking through the glass ceiling, during a virtual program at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

"Women Breaking the Bias" panelists are: Darlene Ruscitti, DuPage County regional superintendent of schools; Lisle village Trustee Sara Sadat; Sharmin Shahjahan, former Hanover Park village trustee; and Kate Melekhova, Iris Bess and Alma De Casas, homeowners with DuPage Habitat for Humanity. The discussion will be moderated by Wheaton Councilwoman At-Large Erica Bray-Parker.

The program is being hosted by DuPage Habitat for Humanity, Wheaton Public Library, and League of Women Voters of Wheaton.

Register at

Women's day

South Asian Seniors and the Humans at Help Foundation will host an "International Women's Day" virtual event from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday on Zoom.

Speakers are: Toni Crenshaw of Hoffman Estates, senior human resources analyst and a member of the DePaul University Board; Stephanie Johnson, a chiropractor at Physical Medicine Group of Illinois & Roselle Chiropractic; Dr. Anuja Gupta of Frankfort, entrepreneur; Nabeela Syed of Inverness, a community organizer and candidate for Illinois' 51st House District; and Darryl Tyndrof of Geneva, chief economist/lead data scientist for Equifax.

They will address building inclusive workplaces where women can thrive, women's choice in health, South Asian women entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, and progressive and feminist politics. The discussion will be moderated by Nazneen Hashmi of Streamwood, a community volunteer.

Join the Zoom event at The pass code is 548017.

Distinguished award

Karl Brooks, Oakton Community College's vice president for student affairs, will receive a Distinguished College Administrator Award from the international Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Karl Brooks
Karl Brooks -

Brooks will be among 28 college administrators nationwide to be recognized at the society's annual convention April 7-9, in Denver.

Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for 2-year colleges.

Awardees were nominated by students and selected from among thousands of eligible college administrators.

Brooks is being honored for his work mentoring and developing student leaders amid racial and political unrest and a global pandemic.

"I am honored and humbled to be recognized with this prestigious award," Brooks said. "Such recognition would not be possible without the vision, integrity and support of Oakton's dedicated staff, faculty and student leadership."

Prejudice and health

People living in communities with higher levels of racial prejudice have worse health outcomes, according to research published by the American Psychological Association.

That includes more heart disease, mental health problems and higher overall mortality rates, per the research published in the journal Health Psychology.

Researchers conducted a systematic review of 14 papers that used data gathered from Google, Twitter and other big-data sources to look at how prejudice and health are intertwined in communities nationwide.

The studies used a variety of sources to measure community-level racial prejudice and included tens of millions of data points from large-scale surveys, internet searches and social media.

The studies analyzed data from Google Trends on how often users' searches included a racial slur, tweets that included negative sentiments toward people of color, General Social Survey on social and political attitudes in the U.S. and Project Implicit on people's implicit biases toward various groups.

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