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I received my undergraduate degree, BA Cum Laude, from the University of Washington, Seattle. I earned a Ph. D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Cornell University. While I was at Cornell, I had my first experience teaching first with introductory biology students, then with struggling writers in the John S. Knight Institute's Writing Workshop. As a professor at California State Monterey Bay, I've taught biology, statistics, evolution, ecological methods, and writing. Although I enjoy teaching all of these subjects, I especially like the process of working on a piece of writing with students. Helping someone craft their work to clearly express their thoughts, to make their argument is very satisfying. I also enjoy teaching statistics, though it's a completely different process. With statistics, the learner has to work with a new way of thinking about data, to learn specific tests, and to understand how to interpret outcomes. I love the practicality and abstraction of stats and want to help students see how it's not as mystifying as it looks. Finally, Biology was my first love as an undergraduate. I really believe that understanding life and living organisms is a gateway into a world of great beauty and wonder. In my spare time, I read a lot of science fiction, draw, and listen to all sorts of music.

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Renee’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Bachelor in Arts, Biology, General

Graduate Degree: Cornell University - PHD, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


reading, drawing, cooking, music

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Math

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

Adult Literacy

AP Biology

AP English Language and Composition



College Biology

College English

College Essays



Essay Editing


Evolutionary Biology

Expository Writing

GED Prep

GED Science

General Biology

High School Biology

High School English

High School Writing




Statistics Graduate Level

Test Prep


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

People learn best when there's the fundamental expectation that they can succeed, that they have the necessary ability, and that all they need is support and guidance.

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

In the first session, I try to find out what the student's goals are for working with a tutor.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Students become motivated learners when they're not terrified by the content and can see how to apply class content outside the classroom.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

There is no one way to help a student stay motivated. The approach has to depend on what has demotivated the student in the first place. Why has he or she lost their interest? What has changed? Understanding that is the first step to re-motivation.

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

I try to take the material back to basics and break it down into more manageable components. I also find alternate ways of presenting concepts to engage different ways of thinking about them.

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