I graduated from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas with a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering. I earned my Bachelor of Science at Colorado State University in Chemical Engineering with minors in Mathematics and History. Im passionate about learning and while I enjoyed working on my research, part of my responsibilities included teaching students. One of my favorite classes to teach was an Introduction to Mechanical Engineering where we used Lego Mindstorms to build robots. I tutor a wide range of subjects in math and science. What I love about math is that once youre able to gain a basic understanding of the principles, you can learn to apply them to more complex problems. Theres no better feeling than the absolute certainty of understanding a problem all the way through, and I enjoy helping students come to that same realization. I like to have a whiteboard or lots of paper to work out problems because in my mind, its important to play around with the problem in order to best understand it. In my spare time, I love reading science fiction and fantasy novels, writing fiction and playing volleyball.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Colorado State University - Bachelor of Science, Chemical and Biological Engineering
Graduate Degree: University of Nevada, Las Vegas - Master of Science, Biomedical Engineering
In my spare time, I love reading science fiction and fantasy novels, writing fiction and playing volleyball.
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in teaching by doing as much hands-on as possible. I encourage students to ask as many questions as they want. The more they ask, the more they'll learn.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I like to figure out what the students know already and what they think they're struggling with. For things that they know, I like to do a quick review to make sure they're on track before we move on to new material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I encourage students to learn by practicing and, if it's possible, to check their answers. This way, when they're working on their own, they know whether they're doing things correctly.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Motivation can be tough for challenging subject matter. I like to help students by starting with small things or aspects of a subject that they already know well and then talk about what's interesting about what's coming next. If they learn the skills they're working on now, the next material will be easier.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I try to break the skill down into easily manageable steps. This way, it's more clear which part of the problem the student is struggling with most.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I talk about what they found from the passage and ask them leading questions about other information they can find. It's also helpful if a student makes a statement about the passage to encourage them to search the passage for the reason they made that statement.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
When I start working with a student, it's important to establish a common basis. If the student wants help in the class, I establish myself as the person that can help them. This is most easily done by taking something obvious that they're struggling with immediately and helping them with that. Once that trust is established, we can move on to working more problems. Encouraging questions and feedback is critical as well.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
One way to get a student excited about a subject is for me to be excited myself. While it's a job, it's also a privilege to help students understand. If there's little chance the student will be excited about the subject, it's at least possible to get them engaged by helping set goals and identify what they need to get done. It's always better to have something to work towards.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Asking students to defend their answers is a great way to find out whether a student is confident in the material. I also like to watch a student work out problems without providing any input and see if or where they struggle. Assigning extra work is helpful too.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
If a student says that a question is hard or looks hard, I immediately ask them what part of the problem looks hard. Often, there's something specific that we can identify and tackle. Once it's clear that the student is picking up on the material, I'll mention that it looks like they're getting it. Sometimes, I'll ask them to work a more difficult problem, and once they master it, it's a huge confidence booster for working the whole section.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Once we start working together, it becomes obvious how the student prefers to learn. If they like to hear more explanation, we'll do that. If they mostly tune out anything verbal, we just start with the hands-on stuff and use a question/answer format to solve problems. If they're having difficulty with the way the material is presented, I show them different ways and encourage them to take notes.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
While it is often the case that students have specific material they need to work on, if I feel that they need more practice in some areas, we'll work on that too. Especially in math, most concepts tend to relate to each other, so it's helpful to make sure the building blocks of what we're working on make sense.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I bring lots of paper, pencils, erasers and a calculator for in-person lessons. I have graph paper and a ruler with me if necessary, and extras of everything else. For online lessons, I have a tablet.