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I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing from Pepperdine University and a Masters of Humanities degree in Philosophy of Language and Ethics from the University of Chicago. I also have a Certificate in Publishing from NYU's intensive Summer Publishing Institute, and I am currently working on a TEFOL/TESL certification to teach English as a Second Language.

My background in tutoring and teaching is wide and varied - I served as a kindergarten teacher assistant for many years, a private tutor in my time as an undergraduate, a Visiting Professor of English Language at Pammukale University in Turkey as a Fulbright scholar, and a preschool teacher on the South Side of Chicago. I am a published poet, a children's book author, and have developed curriculum for elementary, high school, and university-level students in early literacy, English Language Arts, and test prep. I currently work for a nonprofit organization that trains young adults who have committed a year of their lives to service in the community to provide critical interventions (tutoring, after-school programming, class assistance) in the most under-resourced public schools. I love to tutor because I believe that education can be the key to opportunities that change the course of a student's future - it's why I have traveled the world to work with and teach the neediest students, and it's why I am so excited to be a Varsity Tutor! With students, I focus on developing a way of thinking and an enjoyment of learning, rather than rote memorization or endless worksheets.

When I'm not helping a student achieve academic success, I volunteer with a therapeutic horseback riding program. I also love to build and drag race performance cars, snowboard, bake cupcakes, and spend quality time with my family and friends!

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Alissa’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Pepperdine University - Bachelors, Creative Writing

Graduate Degree: University of Chicago - Masters, Philosophy of Language and Ethics

Test Scores

ACT Composite: 34

ACT English: 36

ACT Math: 32

ACT Reading: 34

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1430

SAT Math: 720

SAT Verbal: 710

GRE: 1420


Building and drag racing performance cars, snowboarding, baking, and spending quality time with family and friends

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning should be fun, and you should be able to relate tasks we tackle in our sessions to your real life. Your success is my success, and that can only come if you feel motivated, inspired, and capable.

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

I'll get to know you - how does your brain work, how do you learn best, what interests you in and outside of the classroom? This will allow me to better structure our future sessions, customized to your style. Then, depending on the curriculum focus, we might tackle some vocabulary through learning games.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

By encouraging their strengths, and teaching them to not be afraid of areas where they might be able to grow. Instead, we'll work on embracing those areas as challenges--challenges that they're fully capable of tackling.

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