Ph.D. chemist that likes to help you learn chemistry, I have been told I have a gift of making complex ideas easy to understand and grasp. Science didn’t come easy to me and I had to learn ways to teach things to myself and this helps me explain things to other students. My education started a Wheeling Jesuit University where I received my undergraduate degree in Chemistry with a Minor in History. Then I went to Louisiana State University for my Ph.D. in chemistry (Physical Chemistry or Chemical Physics) and did my postgraduate work at the University of Colorado. I have always enjoyed working with students at any level, in just about any chemistry course. I have been a TA in Organics Chemistry and have taught Inorganic Chemistry.
Mountain biking and snowboarding are passions of mine. My style of teaching is like when I take someone new on the trail or slopes. Everyone has a first day and everyone can use some help getting a new skill. Those skills could be riding a rock garden or learning the tricks of the Periodic Table.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everyone has a "first day" and can use some help.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
Ask them what they feel strong with so we can use that to build on what they feel they are not strong in.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I try to teach the logic of problem solving; it's more important to think reason through a problem, as that will help you in many areas.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Make it fun. Chemistry is a blast!
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Take a step back and ask what are they thinking and what are they understanding. Then I have to see where the gap in understanding is, and work to get them there with what they feel strong with.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
As someone who has this issue, I suggest reading out loud and changing the screen font on the computer if they can, as those have both helped me.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Make them feel comfortable and impress on them that this was hard for me as well, and that you can't quit and keep going.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Connect it to the world they live in; it’s amazing that the things you learn in chemistry connect to almost everything that you interact with and do every day, from cooking to the screen on your phone.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
Ask them to apply the knowledge to a problem that they might not be working. Applying that knowledge to the unknown is great, as it is a way to see if you can apply and transfer your knowledge to something new.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Reassure them, "You got this", "You can do this." "These ideas are hard for a lot of people, and don't beat yourself up."
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Ask them questions and pay attention to what they are saying, doing, and their voice and expressions. Sometimes students might just need a few minutes to complain about their prof.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student is different; some respond to humor and some don't like it. It’s like being in any conversation; you have to engage them and see how they are reacting and adjust.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This depends on the student. For organic chemistry, model kits help, but I have used wheels from my bike to teach group theory. I really depends on the student and the subject.