I obtained my M.S. in chemistry at Brandeis university, and my B.A. in chemistry and environmental studies at Williams College where I spent 4 of my 5 years as a teaching assistant, serving in both laboratory and classroom settings. I also operated as a private tutor for 3 years. Moreover, at Williams College I was a chemistry tutor for the Math/Science Resource Center for 2 years, in addition to being a peer tutor for an environmental studies class: Humans and the Biosphere. During my prior teaching experience, I discovered my favored teaching method: getting to know my students in a one-on-one environment, and learning about their interests. I then try to relate my teaching to my student's interests. If I can find an example relevant to their interests, I will use it. And if I'm using a metaphor, again, I try to choose metaphors most relevant to them.
I specialize in a mix of organic chemistry and biochemistry, but I have a broad liberal arts background, so my knowledge can range from astronomy to theater to art history to baking. Some of the most fun chemistry occurs in the kitchen.
Undergraduate Degree: Williams College - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: Brandeis University - Masters, Chemistry
science fiction and fantasy writing, game design, star gazing, karate, Dungeons & Dragons, Pokemon, steampunk
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe it's best to get to know the student - their interests and their goals. Tailor the examples and comparisons to what they care about most. Furthermore, this establishes a more friendly relationship, different from what the student likely has with course instructors. I believe the comfort of a casual relationship helps the process.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Get to know the student - their interests, their hobbies, their goals. Ask about the syllabus, so I can prepare in advance for the current subject matter.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I would learn what interests the student, and try to find connections between their interests and the subject. For example, in my experience, pre-med students may not care very much about organic chemistry beyond what they need to know to become doctors. However, they are often fascinated by my stories of research & development for next generation treatment approaches. Caveat: a nondisclosure agreement in industrial settings limits my discussion to academic pursuits (further from clinical trials) and older examples.