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From listening to my grandmother’s folktales as a child, to reading for pleasure and learning as a student, to writing with clarity and insight in my professional career, I look for the story that lies at the heart of a written work. As a tutor, my goal is to not only provide the student with strategies and confidence to perform optimally on exams and college applications, but to imbue a lifelong motivation to engage in reading for meaning, communicate ideas effectively and write with clarity and impact.

I begin by asking my student to write on a personal topic for ten minutes. Together, we read what the student has written in order that I may assess the student’s areas of strength and those that need development. From there, whether reading English literature, studying world history or writing a personal college essay, we seek to identify and understand the story or main theme. Through discussion and analysis of the core theme, the student begins to identify the writer’s style, the mood of the scene, grammar, structure and expanded vocabulary.

I utilize writing prompts to guide the student to reflect upon the passage, engage in further research on the internet and write a two page essay for the next class. Through reading the assignment aloud, the student author takes ownership of his or her work. I provide feedback on style, grammar and structure, use of vocabulary and overall effectiveness in how the student has communicated the idea to the reader. We build upon these reading and writing skills in each subsequent lesson.

I hold a BS in English and Psychology, cum laude, from the University of Pittsburgh. My master’s degree is from Columbia University School of Public and International Affairs Ten years ago, I transitioned from a successful career in financial services to nonprofit management where I have worked as Chief Development Officer and Executive Director. I am a published author who has enjoyed “coaching” our daughter, as she navigated through high school, college and graduate school. I mentor college juniors who are seeking careers in financial services, and I serve as a peer resource to professionals who are transitioning from private industry to the nonprofit sector.

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MaryAnn’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh - Bachelor of Science, English, Psychology

Graduate Degree: Columbia University SIPA - Master of Arts, Political Science, Russian

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1520

SAT Verbal: 760

SAT Writing: 780


Reading, writing, piano, tennis, cooking, languages & travel

Tutoring Subjects

College English

College Essays

College World History

Comparative Literature


Essay Editing

High School English

High School World History


SAT Reading

SAT Writing and Language

Social Studies

Test Prep

World History


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