A photo of David, a tutor from Central Washington University

David

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You are the expert in understanding what you need from your turtoring sessions. I feel one of my most important jobs is to listen carefully to your needs, observe and understand your struggles, and then use my years of experience in tutoring and instruction to craft discussion, lessons, and practice examples to best assist you with your academic goals. I am patient, I am always willing to look for and use alternate explanations when needed, and I will do everything I can to make the material we are covering mean something, to make it interesting and to make you want to learn it.

You can expect honesty from me. If I don’t believe I can fully answer your questions, I will tell you. You will not get partial explanations from me that I pass off as complete. I will follow-up on these topics, revisit them if needed, until you indicate to me that you are satisfied.

I am a Washington State native, raised in the city of Lynnwood, and have a great love for the Pacific Northwest. I received my bachelor’s degrees from Central Washington University in Chemistry (BS) and Biology (BA) in 2001. As an advanced undergraduate student at CWU, I was involved with the Chemistry Department as a teaching assistant for numerous labs (Intro Chem, Quantitative Analysis, Analytical, Organic and Physical Chemistry) and as a stockroom assistant. Upon graduating, I moved to the University of Montana in Missoula where I pursued a PhD in Chemistry, focusing on Synthetic Organic and Medicinal Chemistry. After completing the degree in 2006, I moved to the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy as a postdoc where I completed two years of additional work in Synthetic/Medicinal Chemistry before accepting a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Montana in 2008. In 2011 I made the tough decision to leave academia and relocated to the Seattle area where I began work in analytical environmental chemistry and strived to focus on a more family oriented lifestyle.

Through all my years in academia, I have had many experiences as an instructor, tutor and mentor. I TA’d extensively for the organic chemistry curriculum in graduate school and was the instructor for three graduate level and two undergraduate level organic chemistry courses as a professor at UM. I also had the wonderful opportunity to run my own synthetic chemistry research lab at the University of Montana, mentoring graduate and undergraduate students during my three years there a professor.

My experience instructing students of chemistry at many different levels has provided me with a demonstrated ability to help you gain mastery of the material that you are working on. I hope to be able to accomplish this in a comfortable, low stress, entertaining and tangible way, where you will be able to put rhyme and reason behind all of the ‘who cares?’ questions that may go through your head. I look forward to helping you as best I can.

David’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Central Washington University - Bachelors, Chemistry

Graduate Degree: The University of Montana - PHD, Chemistry

Hobbies

Outdoor activities with friends and family, music, home brewing, cooking and baking, watching soccer.

Tutoring Subjects


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Nearly everyone who has ever been involved with instruction knows that there are different types of learning styles which work best for people to uptake and retain information in a classroom setting. Perhaps as a student you have even taken a survey to determine what ‘type of learner’ you are. Accommodating the personal learning needs of every student is challenging in a typical classroom setting and, I would argue, nearly impossible when class sizes reach >100 students. However, being involved with one-on-one tutoring allows for more intimate interactions, a cooperative approach to learning, and the ability to better adapt instruction to individual needs. My philosophy is that I must maintain an attitude of flexibility, accommodation and innovation to meet the diverse, individual needs of my students. In a large classroom this meant using different approaches to teaching to try and hit as many ‘styles’ as possible. Key to this is the ability of the instructor to listen to the students, observe their work, and try to modify their approaches to ensure the best experience possible for everyone. In a tutoring environment, the student has an important responsibility to be open and honest about what they need, what works best for them and what does-not. My goal as an instructor is to create an environment where you can be comfortable to share, open to new challenges, and not afraid of failure. I will be a careful listener, a keen observer, and approach the sessions with flexibility and creativity to give you the best experience I can.

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

I see a first session most importantly as a learning opportunity for myself, since I have previously had no experience with the student. I need to determine what they need help with, question them about those needs, and try to develop a strategy moving forward. It is very important to me to be able to watch a student work through problems, listen to them describe concepts and carefully review any previous work they have done, so I can better understand their strengths and weaknesses. I will work with the student to identify what they think their academic priorities are, and then collectively use this information to develop a plan and begin providing the best assistance I can. In the past I have worked with students who needed help with say, ‘Concept-B’. However, upon watching a student work through questions related to Concept-B, it became clear that the issues resulted from an incomplete understanding of Concept-A, which is a foundational aspect of B. Sometimes moving forward means taking a small trip backward to ensure comprehensive understanding of difficult topics. I would encourage all students to try and provide their tutors with as much information as possible, prior to their first session, so that precious time can be used more efficiently.