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Steve

I hold a B.S. (highest honors) in Physics from the University of Michigan, as well as a M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. I privately tutored three students as an undergraduate at Michigan, and was a teaching assistant my first year at Wisconsin. I taught calculus-based first-year physics (classical mechanics, EM, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, basic relativity and quantum mechanics). After graduation, I taught for a year at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, a four-year campus of the University of Wisconsin system. I taught non-calculus-based first-year physics for students outside the department, as well as classes in "descriptive" (i.e. non-mathematical) astronomy and a survey class on the physics of sound and music (for a broad range of students and math backgrounds, from first-year students to returning adults). In addition, I am well versed in optics from my work.

My favorite subject to tutor is Physics. What I like the most, and believe I have a talent for, is explaining Physics concepts to those who are not necessarily into, or going into, the field. Physics is all around us, and most people have an intuitive understanding of many of its concepts. What I enjoy most is turning that intuitive understanding into a systematic understanding, which can then be applied to other systems in nature, showing how seemingly disparate situations actually share many similarities. I really enjoy showing how the simple act of knowing how to open a door can lead to a full understanding of torque, or how the same mathematics describes both a mass oscillating on the end of a spring and charge transferring between elements in some simple circuits. It's a wonderful world.

I also tutor Astronomy, Pre-Algebra and Algebra, Trigonometry, and beginning Spanish.

I firmly believe in tutoring with a lot of empathy toward how the student sees the material. It is very easy for someone intimately familiar with a subject to fall, without thinking about it, into a mindset that everyone can see those connections of familiarity just as easily. I always try to remember how overwhelming it can be to see this material for the first time, and teach accordingly, breaking things down to as simple a set of parts as possible.

Beyond my work, I very much enjoy writing music of all types (rock, country, pop, orchestral, R&B). I am not a musician, and don't really play an instrument live, but I enjoy composing very much. I am also an avid movie fan, of films from all eras (Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a personal favorite), and I enjoy writing trivia questions for academic competitions at the high school and college levels.

Undergraduate Degree:

 University of Michigan - BS, Physics

Graduate Degree:

 University of Wisconsin - MS, PhD, Physics

ACT Composite: 30

SAT Composite: 1370

SAT Verbal: 700

GRE Quantitative: 780

GRE Verbal: 690

Movies, Songwriting, Trivia

College Physics

Cosmology

Electromagnetism

High School Physics

IB Physics

Quantum Physics

Thermodynamics

What is your teaching philosophy?

I firmly believe in tutoring with a lot of empathy toward how the student sees the material. It is very easy for someone intimately familiar with a subject to fall, without thinking about it, into a mindset that everyone can see those connections of familiarity just as easily. I always try to remember how overwhelming it can be to see this material for the first time, and teach accordingly, breaking things down to as simple a set of parts as possible.

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

Assess the student's understanding to determine how best to present and discuss subjects and problems. Determine which material the student would like to cover. Introduce me and my style.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By helping them learn how to read descriptions of situations to extract the information important to solving a given problem, and how to ignore irrelevant or confounding information.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I find that helping students be able to read and understand material they could not get to click before is very motivating in itself.