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I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Biology and English. Since then I have worked in various capacities in education, both on the curriculum development side and in formal classroom teaching. I worked as a lab instructor for Genetics and Evolution courses in Duke University's Department of Biology, and developed and taught science programs for the Duke University Center for Science Education. I also spent a year and a half teaching English conversation and writing to high school students in Japan. I have a passion for science education and am currently working to understand and improve the way science is taught in American schools. I place a high value on education and believe that in order to get the most out of it, students should be challenged and take full advantage of all of their educational resources. It's very rewarding to see a students succeed and reach their goals through hard work. I most enjoy teaching life sciences and writing, but I have a diverse background in many areas. In my spare time, I enjoy running, reading novels, baking (and eating) bread, and spending time with friends over coffee.

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Shelby’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: UNC Chapel Hill - Bachelors, Biology, English

Test Scores

SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1510

SAT Math: 720

SAT Verbal: 730

SAT Writing: 730

GRE: 328

GRE Quantitative: 166

GRE Verbal: 162


Running, reading novels, baking bread, watching basketball

Tutoring Subjects



College Biology

College English

College Essays

Comparative Literature


English Grammar and Syntax


Essay Editing



Graduate Test Prep


GRE Analytical Writing

GRE Quantitative

GRE Verbal

High School Biology

High School English



Life Sciences



Quantitative Reasoning



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe teachers should be mentors and advisers rather than lecturers. The best way to learn is to discover, and so teachers should provide resources and guide students in the right direction without actually handing them the answers to difficult problems.

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

Spend some time getting to know them as a person and understanding their likes, dislikes, and personality a bit. It's important to establish a rapport. From there we can choose material to practice and review, and dive in.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

You learn more by doing things on your own than by watching someone else do it or having the answer handed to you. Students need resources and a guiding hand to move them in the right direction so they can reach the answer independently.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

We have a tendency to forget why we're learning something when it doesn't immediately seem practical. Sometimes it's good to put things in context to show students why they're important. It's also a good idea to set small, achievable goals so that progress is visible and motivating.

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

First, we might take a break and come back to it later with a fresh outlook. We could also spend some time reviewing the fundamental skills or concepts that serve as building blocks with an eye towards making new connections.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

Through a combination of listening to the student and diagnostic materials such as problems, short writing assignments, or simple questions.

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

Tutoring is by nature based on a student's needs, so everything--material, pacing, approach--changes depending on how the student learns best.

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

Reading comprehension is all about maintaining focus while reading and breaking things down into digestible pieces. Slowing things down, checking for understanding as we go, and summarizing at the end are all good strategies. Patience is definitely key.

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

Asking students what they want to work on and what they have done in the past helps lay the groundwork for successful sessions. We don't want to practice things they are already comfortable with or repeat old material that they've mastered.

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

Making the subject relevant and practical can get them excited. This can range from drawing connections to daily life to talking about what people can do with the subject.

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

Frequent checks for understanding. The "I do, we do, you do" method is very useful for making sure a student is comfortable with material on their own. Also, offering higher-level problems and questions that challenge a student's mastery.

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

Reminders of what the student has already learned and bringing everything back around to the basics can show a student that what seems complicated and unconquerable is doable.

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

Practice problems, writing samples, charts and guides to organize information, etc. It also helps if the student can share their materials in order to ensure we're hitting their goals.

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