Joseph Lombardo: Math Tutor with a Drive to Help


Compass News/Layne Groom

Joseph Lombardo, 25, of Centereach, goes over lesson plans for his next student at his desk in the basement of the Huntington Library on Nov. 1, 2022. Lombardo has been a math tutor for student support services for six years.

Layne Groom, Managing Editor

Joseph Lombardo has been a part-time math tutor at Suffolk for six years, working with as many as 10 students a week at 30 minute intervals.

Lombardo, 25, who works with students with learning disabilities to members of the armed forces in the TRIO program, which is a part of student support services and stands out as someone in the program that students turn to for extra help, said Jeffrey Lapouble, a PA for the student support services who supervises TRIO tutoring.

“Our students tend to ask for more time with him,” Lapouble said. “Our tutoring sessions run a half hour. If they want more time, Joseph is more than happy to stay with them. The other day, he was helping a student for well over an hour and a half.”

An average day of tutoring for the student support services involves an eight hour shift at his desk, which is located in the basement of Huntington Library. Lombardo’s students schedule appointments earlier in the week at available times slots. Each student is allotted three hours of specialized tutoring a week. Lombardo is currently the only tutor for higher math, so he mostly helps the students with Calculus 1 and 2. 

“Not all students in the program come to me for help,” he said. “However, once they do, they tend to come every week. I have a good retention rate for my tutoring.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the TRIO program has only been doing remote tutoring. However, the East and Grant campuses do not have the infrastructure to support virtual learning, so the tutoring center on the Ammerman campus has taken on the tutoring responsibilities of the other two. Lombardo now tutors students from all three campuses.

“I like that I am giving help where help is needed,” he said. “I’m glad the students on the other campuses aren’t losing tutoring opportunities because we are able to provide this kind of service.”

Lombardo is currently pursuing a master’s in mathematics with the University of Northern Alabama. He is completing this degree completely online. After he graduates, he hopes to become a math professor at SCCC. 

“To work full time in the tutoring department you need to have a master’s. So once I have my degree I can work full time in the tutoring department then work my way to becoming a professor.”

Lombardo started his schooling at Suffolk before finishing his bachelor’s degree at Stony Brook University. Originally wanting to go into medicine, Lombardo found the math classes quite interesting and decided to switch his major. 

“I learned quickly the medicine classes were going to be mostly memorization. I wanted to do more problem solving which I was having a good time with in the math courses, I wanted to see how far I could go with it, now I’m here.”

Shortly after switching his major, Lombardo became a math tutor for the math learning center and then went to work for the TRIO program. 

When he’s not tutoring students or studying for tests Lombardo spends his free time playing trading card games at hobby shops around Suffolk County. He has been playing these card games since he was eight and has many friends who also frequent the hobby shops. 

“I really like the math and strategy associated with card games, even when I’m away from work and school it seems I can’t get myself away from the math.” 

The hobby shop The META in Saint James is filled with tables and computers, packed with players from all over Long Island. Lombardo and his friends are either playing in tournaments or just spending time in the hobby shop as a communal place to meet.

“I’ve been playing card games with Joey for five years. He’s extremely smart and is always down for a good time,” said Anthony Czerniawski, 22, a card game player from Coram. “Every once in a while we need to switch up the time we meet because of his tutoring. It’s for a good reason, though.  He’s dedicated.”

Lombardo said he is dedicated to helping people.

“Whether it will be in the tutoring center or as a professor here on campus, I will always see myself as someone who is ready to help students.”