I am a second year graduate student attending Oklahoma State University studying geology with a geophysics emphasis. My thesis involves investigating the influence of pre-existing structures on strain localization and evolution of the Malawi Rift, Africa.
I enjoy studying diverse subjects. Although I am a geology major, I enjoy english, math, all science, and history. I have participated in a variety of research opportunities in geology. I began as a teaching assistant my sophomore year at Brigham Young University. Since this time, I have performed as a teaching assistant for nine semesters of Historical Geology, one semester each of Dinosaurs, Geology for Engineers, Mineralogy, and Physical Geology, one week of Field Camp (structural mapping), and two semesters of Geomorphology. At Brigham Young University, I began a mentored research project, creating illustrations and maps of the Indian Peak Caldera region. I also used statistics and mathematical modeling to predict first order Jahn Teller distortion.
When I am not working on my graduate thesis, I like to spend time with my cat and two bunnies, create wheel-thrown pottery, play guitar and piano, read, cook, or spend time outside.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Brigham Young University - Bachelor of Science, Geology
Graduate Degree: Oklahoma State University - Master of Science, Geology
Playing guitar, piano, ceramics, painting, animals
10th Grade Reading
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College Level American Literature
Elementary School Math
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High School Chemistry
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High School Level American Literature
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Introduction to Fiction
Middle School Reading
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Study Skills and Organization
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that teaching a student the process behind finding answers is even more important than the answer being correct. When I tutor, I like to cater my teaching to individual learning styles so each student is able to develop their own process for understanding and completing problem sets and projects.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In the beginning of the session, I will go over what the student is studying (briefly). After discussing classwork, we get into the more personal part of the first session. For me, the most important thing I do in a first tutoring session is get to know how each student thinks and what "hang ups" they may be experiencing that are preventing them from moving forward at their full potential. Through years of teaching, I have learned how to recognize and better understand numerous learning styles. I also think it is important to get to know the student: What classes are they taking? What are their hobbies outside of school? What are their goals, both academically and generally? I think that understanding these key aspects is vital to gaining mutual trust and respect, in addition to giving me more information on ways to relate problems and solutions to each individual student.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
There is no set template for learning. Everyone is different, and that is not a bad thing! Because of our differences, however, I think a student easily becomes sucked into the idea that the way they are taught in class is the only correct way. They try to conform to the way they were taught instead of developing their own individual learning tools. I try to help students become independent learners by helping them develop their own personal, unique process for solving problems effectively and efficiently. If they are a tactile learner, for instance, we can work on multiple sets of problems encountering key subject principles until they understand the key concepts and it "clicks." For a visual learner, we can use diagrams and charts to better understand important concepts. For an auditory learner, we can logically discuss the problems and relate them to things we already understand so they can better grasp the concepts necessary to understand the subject of study.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It depends on the subject and how interactive it is or how much responsibility the student has for their learning. In the past, I have had great success with keeping an enthusiastic attitude about what I teach, building the student up when I can, and reducing anxiety. I also try to connect the study subject to the student's interests and the outside world.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
If a student is struggling to learn a skill or concept, I try explaining/showing/doing the problem a different way. Typically, I prepare two to three different ways of working and explaining a concept. I find that if I teach first auditory/visually, then follow up with real world examples or actions, most of the time, we can figure out a way that works!
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I think it is important to understand at what point comprehension is lost. To start, we can go through the steps together. Is the student aware of problem areas that are confusing them? If so, then we can move onto the next step: what is the problem? We can then restate the problem sentences using our own words, which can help clear up language or comprehension barriers. I then recommend rereading the question and looking for context clues from other areas in the text. If the student is still struggling, we can try diagramming character relationships/motivations, etc.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
I have found I am most successful working with students using strategies tailored to their learning style and teaching them how to create their own learning process.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I like to try to relate the subject to the student's interests or real world problems. For younger students studying math, for instance, we can use the names of their basketball teammates and have an actual scenario.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
The techniques I use to make sure a student is understanding the material usually change with the learning style of each individual. In general, I use a combination of summarizing in their own words, coming up with their own example problems, and explaining them to me.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I try to reduce the anxiety most students feel when they don't understand something and turn it into excitement over a new problem to overcome. I emphasize the things they do well, and I acknowledge their progress along the way. When they make mistakes, we calmly take a step back and make sure the understanding is clear before we move on. I also like to make it clear that all mistakes are a learning opportunity. We practice first so we can learn together.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
If the student is young, I rely on the parents and the class syllabus to develop an understanding of what the student needs before consulting the student. When the student is more mature, I like for them to articulate what they deem their problem to be. Then, we can work on some practice problems, and I can see their process and where they may be getting hung up.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I love psychology and understanding the way the brain works. Because of my interest, I have read many books discussing social, emotional, and intellectual quotients, which I think has broadened my understanding of the different ways people think and the best ways to help them work through their barriers while maintaining a positive atmosphere.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
If the student is a tactile learner, I typically like to use a pen and paper, which will help them see and remember processes. I like to work through problems (or practice problems) with my students, and I often use diagrams, flashcards, calculators, or even hand signs to help learn and remember key concepts.