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I am passionate about Science Education and making science accessible to people of all backgrounds. I have taught seven semesters worth of science classes at California State University, Long Beach. I coached the science section of academic decathlon at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove for two years. I am currently running an after school engineering program at Pacifica High School in collaboration with the University of California, Irvine chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

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Shawn’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: California State University-Long Beach - Bachelors, Chemistry/Physics

Graduate Degree: University of California-Irvine - Master of Science, Materials Science


Photography, trains

Tutoring Subjects


Algebra 2


College Algebra

College Chemistry

College Physics

High School Chemistry

High School Physics

Honors Chemistry


Middle School Math





Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe that all students who are motivated have the ability to learn and succeed. I believe that with the proper help and guidance, anything is possible.

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

Normally in the first session, I try to diagnose what topics a student is struggling with the most. I also look for possible weaknesses in study style or background knowledge.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I encourage students to look things up on their own. Oftentimes when I am asked a question, I will have a student use Google to find an answer that helps them attack the problem. I then help them analyze to see if the information found is reasonable.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

It would depend on what the student was struggling with. For physical sciences, I would try to arrange to perform demonstrations of chemistry or physics to make the student see things "in real life."

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

I would explain it many different ways and encourage the student to try many different sources to learn the material.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

I try to have them do diagnostic tests to determine areas of weakness. I also help them build "study plans."

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

I would find interesting demonstrations and applications. For example, in chemistry with acidity and pH, I would find do a demonstration with BTB indicator and carbon dioxide.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

I would question students and have them relate information back to me. I would ask them why answers make sense or why they don't.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Having them relate the information, ideas, and concepts back to me. A large emphasis will be placed on WHY things are the way they are.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Watching how they do their homework. That is a very easy way to tell if a student is struggling in something, such as reading comprehension or algebra, that is giving them difficulty in higher-level subjects.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Some students need a very laid back tutor. Some students almost need a drill sergeant. The first meeting is the perfect time to see what a student is struggling with.

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

Generally, for math and science, not much more is needed than pen, paper, calculator, and the textbook, although I often encourage my student to use the Internet to help learn information. This way they can learn to use more sources of information.

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