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I graduated in 2011 from Vassar College. Although I went into college expecting to major in History, my favorite high school subject, one of my freshman courses was in the Earth Sciences department and I quickly changed course. After graduation, I attended graduate school at the University of California Riverside in Geophysics, specializing in modeling earthquakes. Graduate school afforded me the opportunity to teach discussion sections as a Teachers Assistant, and I found that I loved working with the students one on one and in groups to further their knowledge of science. Often, I would also work with my students on writing, so they could communicate their ideas more clearly, and on math, which I feel is a necessary skill to understand the world around us. I also had the opportunity to work with middle school-aged children for outreach events and found that equally rewarding. I found that patience and building on the basics were vital to learning for students of any age, and I prefer strengthening a student's grasp of underlying concepts, then letting them learn to make the necessary connections, to rote memorization. I am happy to tutor students in math of various levels, the sciences, history, and English - both reading and writing skills - but I have a special passion for science. In my spare time, I read probably too many books, listen to recordings of Broadway musicals, and play with my small menagerie of pets.

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Erika’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Vassar College - Bachelors, Earth Sciences


Theater, animals, gardening, history books

Tutoring Subjects


AP United States History

AP US History

College English

College Essays

College Level American History

Earth Science



Environmental Science

High School English

High School Level American History


Homework Support


Middle School Math



PSAT Critical Reading

PSAT Writing Skills



Social studies


Test Prep

US History


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe it is necessary to fully understand the fundamentals of any subject first, and then to learn to make connections that will lead one to an answer.

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

I would get to know them, especially their learning style, and assess their level of understanding of the subject. Taking both of those things into account, I would then work through a few sample problems or questions, as relevant to the subject.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

Letting a student find their own way to an answer is always the best method of teaching, and guiding, but not leading, questions can help them learn to "connect the dots" using their existing knowledge.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would make the subject relevant to them by connecting it to real-world examples and their interests.

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

I would work with them on their understanding of the fundamentals of that skill or concept, then guide them through the steps to a more complex understanding, using examples along the way. If necessary, we would pause and come back to the specific topic in a few minutes so that they could take a more clear-eyed look at the subject.

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