I am a graduate of SUNY Binghamton with a B.S. in Environmental Science and a B.A. in Biology. I have additional post graduate coursework in teaching science and have spent most of my years since graduating teaching in one way or another. My past teaching experiences are varied: I've taught in classrooms, outdoors, in museums and tutored both one-on-one and in small groups.
I enjoy working with students for two major reasons. First, I think learning is valuable in its own right, and beyond that is the key to opening up new avenues in our lives. Second, I genuinely enjoy seeing new understanding or comprehension in a student's eyes. It's a rare moment when suddenly, the contents of one's mind are shuffled and reorganized in such a way that new insight emerges, and I love helping make that happen.
My favorite subjects to teach are the life sciences: most any Biology, and some Environmental Science and Chemistry too. I also have a lot of experience with standardized tests and enjoy helping others become more comfortable and capable in tackling them. Lastly, I really like teaching Algebra for some reason. I can't explain that one.
I am currently working towards a graduate degree in Psychology. In the course of studying Psychology I've focused on learning and behavior modification in order to understand how we learn best. I now apply what I've learned in my own study habits and in my approach to teaching others as well. Working and studying hard is important, but there are proven ways to make your study time more effective and I think it's important for every student to take advantage of those techniques and knowledge.
When I'm not teaching, studying or working, I enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing and generally just being outdoors. I love good science fiction, I paint (mostly watercolor) and enjoy trying to keep my houseplants green.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: SUNY Binghamton - Bachelor of Science, Environmental Science/Biology
Meditation, science fiction, painting, rock climbing, cooking, vermiculture
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy revolves around empirically proven techniques to enhance learning. I believe in taking advantage of concepts like distributed learning, state-dependent memory and retrieval practice to aid in learning. I also believe in setting and meeting goals, and making the learning experience less of a chore and more interesting.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, we would get to know each other briefly before discussing the student's goals in the subject area. We would review the circumstances surrounding the goal (class, time available, background knowledge) and collaborate on a plan for meeting those goals. Once we have a good sense of where we are, where we are going, and how we'll get there, we can then dive into the material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
One way is to model effective learning: I would verbalize what's going through my head as I would try to solve a new problem or understand a novel concept. Another way is to work with the student to develop and strengthen their learning habits with the goal of building a routine that works for the student in the long run.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
To help keep up motivation, we would occasionally refer back to their goals and take stock of the progress made so far. That way, we don't lose sight of our purpose and can develop a sense of accomplishment as we make steps toward that end.