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I earned a BA in Philosophy and Italian Literature form the University of Pittsburgh and an MS in Logic and Computation from Carnegie Mellon University. I have taught and served as a teaching assistant for undergraduate level courses in philosophy at both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pennsylvania. This gives me first-hand knowledge of what level of academic excellence is expected at some of the best universities in the country. All of these courses, with the exception of logic, required students to write essays. A substantial portion of my time was dedicated to helping students improve their academic writing. This experience taught me the most common problems students encounter in academic writing including lack of clarity, redundancy, the inability to structure an argument, and the most common spelling and grammar mistakes. It also forced me to develop ways of getting students to identify and correct these errors. This involved spending a lot of individual time with students and helping them through the revision process. The most important aspect of this was getting them to see that writing is a process. This understanding generally made them more patient and open to feedback.

Philosophy and logic are both exceptionally abstract subjects. Teaching them to undergraduates requires patience and the ability to explain things as simply as possible. It is also important to recognize the signs of confusion. Students do not always tell you when they are confused (and sometimes they themselves do not think they are confused), and so it is vital to maintain interaction with students and to continually check for understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges of teaching, and I always conveyed my enthusiasm for the subject and the learning process. This is vital to maintain students' motivation and to keep their attention. For my efforts, I was nominated by my students for the Graduate Student Teaching Award at Penn.

Since that time, I have continued teaching as a private tutor in English, Writing, Italian, and Philosophy. I have also edited countless undergraduate essays. I particularly enjoy helping students with the writing process. It is extremely satisfying to aid in the development of an important lifelong skill.

When I am not tutoring, I enjoy cooking. I am particularly interested in traditional methods of food processing from all over the world. Many of my favorite recipes have been given to me by my students. My other great love is travel. I have lived in Europe and travel often to Italy where I have family.

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Joanna’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Campus - Bachelor in Arts, Philosophy and Italian

Graduate Degree: Carnegie Mellon University - Master of Science, Logic and Computation


Cooking, traveling, reading, anthropology

Tutoring Subjects



College English

College Essays

Conversational Italian

Elementary School Reading

Elementary School Writing


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing

Essay Writing

High School English

High School Writing



Middle School Reading

Middle School Reading Comprehension

Middle School Writing




Social Sciences


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