I am a recent graduate from Georgetown University with an M.S. in Biological Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Disease. I previously attended Virginia Tech and earned a B.S. in Biology that focuses on Microbiology. I am currently an Industrial Hygienist, a type of Occupational Health Specialist, and get to use science very practically to try to protect workers as they do their jobs. I am excited about science and do my best to stay up on current events and news in the scientific community.
In high school, I was fortunate enough to have an AP Biology teacher who laid the groundwork for my major and career, and I am passionate about providing this same opportunity to other students. My experiences in research provide a valuable wealth of knowledge for students in science classes. My style of teaching includes introducing current research and modern scientific technology to inspire and make classes more relevant than simply reading from a textbook. I have firsthand experience with genetic modification of bacteria and other interesting biological techniques, as well as interesting stories and facts from professors of Ecology, Immunology, and other biological fields. It's my belief that students learn most if the material is made relevant and interesting and they are encouraged to ask questions.
Additionally, I enjoy helping students to prepare for the SAT and ACT because I see the tests as puzzles that can be solved and can make a huge difference in a student's future career. I still remember the stressful environment of standardized testing and can help students find ways to improve their test taking strategies so they can relax more on test day. One on one practice tests give students a chance to ask questions and understand the fundamentals while gaining familiarity with the layout of the tests themselves. My strongest SAT and ACT sections were the Verbal and Writing sections, and I continued to foster my language skills by taking Professional Writing classes while at Virginia Tech.
In my free time, I love to watch football and ice hockey and play with my cat Auri (named after a character from my favorite book The Name of the Wind). I also enjoy cooking, trivia nights, and whitewater rafting.
Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University - Bachelor of Science, Microbiology
ACT Composite: 32
ACT English: 33
ACT Reading: 33
ACT Science: 31
SAT Writing: 780
Reading, Cooking, Whitewater Rafting, Board Games
What is your teaching philosophy?
I teach from the point of view of someone who still tries to learn something new every day. I get a sense of accomplishment from mastering new skills and try to transfer that mindset to my students, giving them a reason to learn that motivates better than "because you have to".
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session gives me a chance to speak with a new student and understand what motivates them to succeed. I also try to identify problem or sticky spots within the subject as things we can tackle early on and foster confidence for future sessions. If there is a specific homework assignment or practice test that is a source of stress to the student, I like to work on it during the first session to eliminate the source of stress. If not, I try to assess the student's current knowledge by asking general questions and reviewing old tests and homework.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Independent learners are intrinsically motivated, and to get to this point the student must feel like they are capable and the subject material is worthwhile. Capability comes from addressing problem topics, completing homework in a timely manner (not under a looming deadline), and studying for tests and quizzes ahead of time so that material "sticks" past the test date. Convincing a student that learning is worthwhile is often more difficult, but I try to foster this spirit with personal experience, passion, and applicable real world examples to provide some context for the topic we're studying.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Learning a difficult topic is all about re-framing the problem in a different way and using all available resources. If a student is trying to understand photosynthesis, their textbook may be dry, and I may not explain it verbally in a way that clicks, because the student may be a very visual learner. At that point, I would use online resources to find a visual explanation that we could walk through together and that may be the change needed to help the information stick. If the student is still unsure, breaking down information into smaller manageable parts is a great tool to prevent them from becoming discouraged but still make progress. In the photosynthesis example, this may be a process of memorizing terms first, and then focusing on each specific stage of the process before looking at the process as a whole.