I earned a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology and, more recently, a Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance from the University of Central Arkansas. Both as an engineer for Dassault Falcon Jet and as a freelance musician in central Arkansas, I have learned that being friendly, patient, easy to work with and having good attention to detail are keys to success. While science, especially physics, and music are my passions, I also teach a variety of math and ACT test prep subjects. Physics is so interesting to me because it's the math of things we see every day. It's a way to use math to describe things we can predict easily but don't know why. I think our subconcious brains are secretly physics geniuses. Music and science are connected and I love to learn about how these seemingly contrasting areas are more similar than different. Having knowledge is awesome and learning new things is exciting.
Learning happens best when we come to discover answers through our own exploration of problems, but it can be very frustrating to get stuck and feel like we're falling behind. I find that students have the most success long term if I can guide them through a problem relatively hands-off and teach them how to think critically and understand the details. Things like test anxiety begin to fall away once students have confidence that comes from real knowledge and understanding. I really do honestly believe that anybody can learn to do anything they want if they have enough patience.
When I'm not practicing my trumpet or reading NASA's Twitter page, you can probably find me outside cycling, camping, or in the rock climbing gym.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Missouri University of Science and Technology - Bachelors, Aerospace Engineering
ACT Composite: 31
ACT English: 34
ACT Math: 30
ACT Science: 35
AP Biology: 5
Trumpet, music, camping, climbing, cycling, technology, aviation, space
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Learning happens most fully when we come to understand something through our own exploration of the problem. This is also how learning becomes fun, like solving a puzzle. My job is to guide you toward the right path to solving problems so you can keep making progress without getting stuck and frustrated.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would spend a little bit of time getting to know the student personally, learning about their interests and what subjects they like and why they like them. It's important to know each other on a personal level a little bit because everybody's experiences shape the way they learn.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I like to make sure students understand a problem as best as they can, even if they got the right answer, so they can be confident the next time they see a similar problem. When I help students work through a problem, I like to be relatively hands-off and give them time to try to work out the next step until they seem truly stuck. Practicing independence is the best way to learn it!
How would you help a student stay motivated?
When the frustration is real, it can be very hard to stay motivated. I experience it all the time! By focusing on successes and being excited when students feel that "click" of new understanding, no matter how small, it is much easier to keep moving forward.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Everybody sees things in different ways, and difficulties in understanding usually just mean the concept needs to be explained from a new angle. Usually new skills are built on old ones, and often what students need to learn a new skill is to discover something new about its building blocks.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I struggle with this sometimes, especially because for many math and science "word problems" the writers intentionally give a lot of extraneous information. It helps me to write out all the details very thoroughly in a way that I understand. Going very slowly is totally okay!!
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Most often I hear people say, "why does this matter?" or, "I'll never use this." This can be really hard sometimes because the classes you take give you a lot of tools to solve problems you don't even know exist. I think there are a lot of super exciting things happening in the world, and I'm always looking for really amazing things that relate back to the basics we learn in school, and hopefully I can find some that the student also thinks is really exciting.