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As an archaeologist, my research has not only taken me all over the world, but has also given me the opportunity to teach a variety of subjects and to serve as a mentor to hundreds of students. I received a BA from UCLA and an MA and PhD in Anthropology from the UCSD with a focus on historical archaeology and how the application of social network theory can be used to examine Viking Age Iceland. I value using an interdisciplinary approach in my work, a style that has profoundly shaped my teaching philosophy and my commitment to helping students build a well-rounded and productive academic foundation that draws upon both the hard and social sciences. My unique teaching approach and passion for learning has lead to numerous academic positions, teaching courses most recently at UCSD and at Stanford University. While I have taught a wide variety of courses, I enjoy teaching writing instruction and analytical thinking the most. I have seen firsthand how learning proper reading and writing skills profoundly changes the way students think, providing them with the confidence and the ability to tackle any academic challenge. With my background in Anthropology, a field of study that examines all facets of human culture, I am also passionate about teaching Literature and History. I truly believe that a life well lived is one guided by a passionate pursuit for knowledge. When not teaching or excavating in the freezing cold setting that is ICE-land, I enjoy running, hiking, and daydreaming about the day I can have a dog.

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Tara’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-Los Angeles - Bachelor in Arts, Anthropology and History

Graduate Degree: University of California-San Diego - PHD, Anthropology


writing short stories, reading history and fiction, watching science fiction films, running, biking, playing and watching sports, hiking with dogs

Tutoring Subjects

AP Comparative Government and Politics

AP Human Geography

AP U.S. Government & Politics

AP United States History

AP US History

College English

College Essays

College Geography

College Level American History

College World History

Comparative Literature


English Grammar and Syntax

Essay Editing

European History


High School English

High School Geography

High School Level American History

High School World History




Public Speaking


Social studies

World History

World Religions


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My goal as a teacher is to facilitate student development, help students realize and cultivate their own potential, and to be a model for learning. My adviser in graduate school used to say, “You will learn only what you teach yourself.” I work to instill this sense of responsibility for learning in students while also demonstrating that I am a resource and facilitator in this process. I also work to convey my genuine investment in their learning and success. Transparency, openness, and cooperation are the words that describe my teaching philosophy the most. Teaching, like learning, is not magic. There is no muse that comes to visit in the middle of the night that fills the brain with perfect words or makes the perfect assignment simply emerge effortlessly from the tip of a pen. Most of the success an educator has in the classroom, in writing effective assignments, or in leading others through those processes is the product of hard work, critical thinking, and planning ahead. We may not necessarily cognize these things, making them feel like magic, but when we step back to critically examine why a particular lesson plan worked so well or why a writing assignment failed so miserably, we often find that there are specific steps, specific components or structures, that made up the process. By interrogating the process more and being mindful of the choices we make in the classroom, we can uncover these underlying structures and understand more clearly the relationship between what we do in the classroom and student success. This process is about clearly articulating goals and then planning lessons that are designed to realize those goals. Likewise, as a member of a department the process also includes clearly communicating the goals to colleagues and facilitating a discussion on different strategies they might employ to reach the goals.

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