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I am a young professional originally from Maryland. I spent 4 years in Philadelphia getting my degree in Mechanical Engineering from The University of Pennsylvania. I have always had a passion and a knack for all types of math and hands-on mechanics. When I was in high school, I restored a 1966 Morris Minor which is the British car that preceded the Mini Cooper. Over the summers I would tutor kids in my neighborhood in math and work on my car. In college my favorite classes were my mechanical labs, robotics, and environmental sciences. After graduation, I moved back to the DC Area and began working at a large construction company, which I love. I spend my time at work analyzing drawings, planning building sequences, coordinating between trades, and solving constructability issues as they come up. When I'm not at work I enjoy cooking big meals and taking yoga classes. Cooking is a great way to utilize my creative side, and yoga helps me relax and refocus my energy on what's important in life. On the weekend I go for hikes in the Shenandoah Mountains or snowboarding wherever there is snow!

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Lena’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Pennsylvania - Bachelors, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics


Snowboarding, Yoga, Cooking, Hiking

Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The best way to help students learn is to teach them how to think, not what to think. Engineering has taught me that knowing how to break down a problem into systematic, approachable steps is the key to solving complex problems. This applies to all levels of mathematical reasoning. When students master simple approaches, those become the building blocks for more and more complex concepts.

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

I like to find out a student's strengths during our first session. This can help me know how to frame problems for the duration of the tutoring, as well as boost confidence in the student.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Motivation is really important to me because it is a step toward becoming an independent learner. Students eventually need to be able to self-motivate, but they learn that behavior from their educators. I like to use plenty of praise so that positive messages become stuck in their head. Rewards such as a short break from the material can be helpful to encourage students to not give up.

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

Reading comprehension and grammar can be closely related. I find it helpful to break down each sentence and identify the subjective and the objective phrases. Since this applies to all sentences, it is a formulaic approach that students who struggle with reading comprehension can apply every single time.

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

It's important to identify a student's strengths and weaknesses before proceeding. Many times, difficult concepts can be broken down and explained using simpler ones that are already in a student's toolbox.

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

Real-world examples are everywhere around us. I pursued an education in engineering, which applies theoretical math and physics to real-world scenarios. Everything from video games and cars, to work-out machines and blenders, were developed using concepts that may be boring on paper. Framing a problem in terms of a student's interests can really help boost engagement.

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