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Originally from California, I spent much of my academic career there, earning my B.A. in Psychology at San Francisco State University and starting graduate studies in Psychology (Behavioral Neuroscience focus) at Sacramento State University. Since moving to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2011, I have obtained an M.S. at Colorado State University with the focus of my studies and research being Cognitive Psychology. I have taught small labs and lecture courses at CSU for the past four years as a grad student, where the main skill objectives for the classes were: writing APA style, psychology concepts, designing and conducting research, and analyzing research using statistics. I have also had opportunities to teach high school students during a few different summer programs, teaching such topics as Sleep and Dreaming, and The Brain. I enjoy mentoring students as well and have had many discussions with undergraduate research assistants about preparing and applying for grad school, GREs, writing personal statements, etc. Outside of academia, I love to get outdoors, either hiking and climbing in the summer, or snowboarding in the winter.

Thank you! I look forward to meeting and getting to know you and helping you through your studies to get you to your academic goals!

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Shelly’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: San Francisco State University - Bachelors, Psychology

Graduate Degree: Colorado State University-Fort Collins - Masters, Cognitive Psychology


Hiking, climbing, snowboarding, knitting, reading, guitar

Tutoring Subjects

10th Grade Math

10th Grade Reading

10th Grade Writing

11th Grade Math

11th Grade Reading

11th Grade Writing

12th Grade Math

12th Grade Reading

12th Grade Writing

1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade

6th Grade

7th Grade

8th Grade

9th Grade

Adult Literacy


Algebra 2

Algebra 3/4


Anatomy & Physiology

AP Psychology

College English

College Essays

Elementary School

Elementary School Math

Elementary School Reading


Essay Editing

High School

High School English

High School Writing

Homework Support


Middle School






Social Sciences


Study Skills and Organization



Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Overall, good teaching consists of leaving students with more knowledge, more insight, and more tools to take on their future goals. Three main objectives are vital in carrying out this task. First, it is important to challenge the students to think critically and develop higher-order teaching skills that will allow them to see the world in new ways. Second, I believe it is important to help students learn not only the concepts of the topic at hand, but how to apply those concepts to real world situations and how those concepts apply to them in their everyday lives. Finally, it is important to help students foster an interest in the topic, an interest in learning in general, and a personal responsibility for their learning and their work.

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

I would first try to get to know the student to learn a bit about the student and his/her history with the subject, as well as the student's goals for our sessions. I would want to identify the area(s) within the subject that he or she reports to struggle most with. To do this, I might start with a general assessment or might walk through a homework assignment with the student.

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

I believe that confidence is built through successful performance. The pressures a student may get in the classroom are absent with me, so the student is left with a place to make many attempts at the subject matter without judgment for errors. During sessions, they will be given feedback that will lead them to trust me in guiding them through the learning and themselves and their own abilities.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Much of what makes a student an independent learner is having the motivation and the resources to seek out information on his/her own. My goal is for all of my students to become independent learners. I try to foster an interest for the subject in my students, while also providing them with those resources and giving them practice using them in our sessions.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

Breaking up a task or a subject into mini parts can help a student to stay motivated. With smaller units that a student is tackling one at a time, he or she is able to feel the achievements and the progress of their learning. I think that this can help keep the student motivated to continue on.

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

I would approach the topic from a different viewpoint and try to relate the concept to something relevant in the student's life.

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

Getting to know a student and their particular strengths and what they struggle with within the material can help me adapt to each student's needs. With tutoring I really get a chance to develop an individualized approach - I first have to assess what the student needs and wants out of a session and then I create a plan to address student learning goals.

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

I often refer to the materials a student has for the course since those are the materials that the student is used to and has immediate access to. I also use textbooks, as well as computer programs (such as in statistics). Sometimes (depending on the subject) there are online sources that can be used. Additionally, I use lectures and PowerPoint slides that I have already prepared during my time teaching.

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

I would dissect passages word by word in order to help the student find the commonalities in language and detect what part of the passages the student is struggling with. We would then be able to target and discuss the readings by their parts.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

To begin with, I would listen to what they identify as their goals for each session. I would also evaluate within a session by asking questions and having the student lead me through his or her thought process so that I could evaluate reasoning and identify what areas a student may need more assistance in.

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

I think there is an aspect of every subject that triggers a bit more interest, however, it varies for each subject and for each student. I would assess to find that aspect for each student. I also have hope that my own excitement for a subject might catch on and I like to talk to students about what makes a particular subject cool or interesting or important and useful.

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

Listening to determine the student's goals for learning the subject is an important strategy. Some students are looking for help with one particular concept or assignment while other's goals may be an understanding of the body of material. Therefore, understanding the goal that the student has helps me to more efficiently help the student. Another strategy I like to employ is to have the student explain to me his or her understanding of the subject. I have he or she solve the problem and I like to play the role of a guide, leading them to the answer rather than providing it.

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

My goal is to assess the student by asking him or her questions and by playing devil's advocate in order to get the student to come to a conclusion on his or her own. When one has to reason through a problem, he or she will have a better understanding of it and will likely remember it better than when a solution is provided.

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