I recently completed my Ph.D. in Comparative and International Education and Adult Education at The Pennsylvania State University and have returned home to Seattle, where I completed my undergraduate and graduate studies at University of Washington and Seattle University respectively. My dissertation research focused on health and accessibility issues related to hypertension in rural Uganda and Tanzania.
As a doctoral student, I led and participated in numerous informal writing and advising groups. These groups were designed to be a fun and safe environment to develop writing projects, negotiate graduate studies, and explore research topics and design. I found that through these groups my writing became stronger, and I no longer feared the ‘blank page’ due to small steps that can be easily implemented to get ideas out of the head and down on paper.
I believe the fundamental goal of education is to foster a passion for life-long learning. Education is a continuous process of self-discovery through self-inquiry, reflection, and critical examination of ones beliefs, values, perceptions, and attitudes based on knowledge, experiences, and a holistic understanding of the world. Learning occurs in multiple contexts and is informed by our unique interests and experiences. This is to say, that most learning takes place outside of what we may define as the ‘classroom’. My tutoring style is to incorporate fun and creative strategies that meet you at your place of need and to help you move forward in reaching your full potential. I am interested in understanding you as an individual with unique interests and experiences that have shaped you as a learner. We will use these unique interests and experiences to co-create knowledge and collaborate on how best to accomplish your goals.
Outside of academia, I have a passion for travel! Over the last twenty years, I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world. I have backpacked in Europe, lived, studied, and taught in the Czech Republic, conducted dissertation research in Uganda and Tanzania, and traveled in Rwanda and Kenya. I place significant value on international travel, and my experiences have been invaluable in shaping my understanding of the world and my place in it. My other interests include participating in physical activities (running, yoga, and tennis), cheering for my beleaguered Washington Husky sports teams, cooking, reading, and spending lots of time with my wife and two young children.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Bachelors, Speech Communications
Graduate Degree: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus - PHD, Comparative and International Education
GRE Analytical Writing: 5.5
Travel, running, yoga, reading, cooking, global health, writing
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that to be most effective as an instructor, one must create a safe environment that is interactive and collaborative, and that promotes problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. A welcoming environment accommodates a variety of learning styles and encourages students to present their opinions while respecting the opinions of others. I encourage students to ask questions and give their views on the material we are covering. I combine this with ideas of participatory education, student-centered learning, and praxis--the ongoing dialogue, critical reflection, and action that engages the learner as a co-creator of knowledge. I view the classroom as a shared community where students and professors can negotiate content as well as meaning, for example, by collaborating to revise a syllabus, or giving students flexibility in assignments (e.g., a final project) that fits the course content and their personal interests while furthering their academic growth. Assignments and discussions should lead to a critical understanding of course topics. They should challenge students to examine and critique their own personal assumptions, beliefs and practices. Learners should be able to understand and articulate various perspectives and make well-reasoned verbal and written arguments supported by evidence. Furthermore, readings and assignments should be provocative. They should elicit a strong response from the learner and discussed in an environment that fosters dissenting and differing viewpoints, with the aim towards a deeper understanding of the author's perspective, as well as our own and those of others. To do this requires a safe learning space that supports the needs of the learner and facilitates a partnership between the learners and the teacher. The classroom should be a non-threatening, non-judgmental atmosphere in which learners share in the responsibility for their learning.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
A typical first session would involve listening to the student and understanding their goals for our time together. We would discuss their needs and implement a plan that best suited their learning style. The session would be collaborative and engaging.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
To become an independent learner is to discover the wealth of resources available to the learner and how best to navigate these resources. Additionally, I can help learners design and format their own projects to fit their interests. It's much easier to become an independent learner when you are engaged in the topic and the process of its discovery!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
If you can do a little every day, you can accomplish any big goal that you set for yourself. I can help you by taking those big goals and working them into smaller and more manageable tasks that can be accomplished on a daily basis.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I will always try to relate difficult concepts to student interests using relevant and real world examples. I can also provide additional resources and examples the student can use to gain a better understanding of the skill/concept. Finally, difficult concepts can often be broken down into segments whereby relationships between constructs can be established.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension can be difficult because often the content/questions are written to confuse the reader! We will work on identifying the authors main ideas and how their ideas are supported within the text. Additionally, we will work on identifying those sentences and words that are meant to confuse us so that we become the expert!