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Hello there! I've just recently graduated from UC Irvine with a B.S. in Biological Sciences, along with a minor in Spanish. In addition to taking many science courses, I have also tutored for several of these courses the past three years as part of the Biological Sciences Peer Tutoring Program at UC Irvine. My focus was on lower division courses because I wanted to be able to help underclassmen as much as I could with acclimating to college-level courses. I believe that building a solid foundation as soon as possible will lead to better study habits, a better understanding of how to approach the material, and ultimately, more academic success. By recognizing the individual needs of the tutees, I believe that tutors can more successfully tutors their students, and I have made it a focus of my tutoring career to make sure that my tutoring style is customized to each of my students' needs. Through tutoring, I have realized my passion for teaching as I can honestly say that tutoring is one of the most rewarding experiences and I hope to be able to share that experience with more students.

Shelby’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Univeristy of California, Irvine - Bachelor of Science, biological sciences

Test Scores

AP Biology: 4

AP Calculus BC: 4

AP Statistics: 4


Music, Drums, Art, Drawing, Movies

Tutoring Subjects

AP Biology


College Biology

Conversational Spanish

Drum and Percussion

General Biology


High School Biology


Life Sciences

Molecular Genetics




Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

My teaching philosophy is that understanding of any subject is attainable with a little hard work and motivation.

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

I would ask the student why they are there for tutoring, ask about the class that I would be tutoring for, and ask what the student's interests are. I think that the first tutoring session would definitely incorporate me asking the student questions about themselves so that I can begin to understand how motivated the student is and how they might learn best. I would also ask them about what they learned in class thus far.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I think the key to making a student an independent learner is to first make the subject sufficiently interesting by incorporating "real world" examples. The second way is to have the student set realistic goals for his/herself.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

To help keep a student motivated, I would try to insure that the subject piques the student's interest by trying to apply the topics to the world around us. I would also remind the student that this course is not permanent and maybe keep a countdown until the class is over.

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

I would explore different methods to present the information and give different study techniques that the student could try. Maybe the student would learn better through flowcharts and drawings as opposed to verbal presentations. Or, if a student studies by rewriting their class notes, I might suggest flashcards or doing drawings instead.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

I would try to break down the readings into smaller segments and ask what each segment was saying at the end. For example, I would have the student divide their passage into each paragraph and then ask what the main point of each paragraph was.

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

In my experience, students have really seemed to like when I start my tutoring sessions off by allowing the students to ask any questions that they may have. That way, they don't forget their burning questions, and I can immediately address their concerns.

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

I think talking about real world applications really helps make students excited about the topic. For example, with genetics, you could do Punnet squares based on actual human diseases instead of always using the textbook pea plant examples.

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

In order to insure that the student understands the material, I always have my students demonstrate to me their understanding. I do this by asking further questions, giving problem sets, or asking students to write on a whiteboard everything they know about a topic and tell them to explain their answers to me. In this way, I can gauge where my students are with their understanding, and I can address any issues.

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

Praise! Praise is very important. I always make sure to let my students know when they are doing a good job by telling them so.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I ask the student where they are having some difficultly. From there, I would ask questions about those areas to see what else I need to cover with them that they may not have realized.

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

I try many techniques with my students so that I can see firsthand what works the best. I do verbal presentations. I write notes on a whiteboard or paper. I draw pictures. I draw diagrams and flowcharts. I give out multiple choice questions, and I give out free response questions. From there, I can decide which method seems to be the most effective for that particular student.

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

I usually use a whiteboard with markers and eraser and either guidelines or set of questions for the session. I give the students either a guideline or set of questions and they usually write in a notebook or type on a laptop. I also welcome the student to use the whiteboard with me.