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I am a nascent neurobiologist who has a background in Cognitive Neuroscience and Political Science-International Relations from the University of California, San Diego. I am currently researching the neural correlates of alcohol addiction at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) by investigating the interplay between the brain and the immune system. I will begin my PhD training this fall at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York!

When I began college in 2008, my career goal was to become a human rights lawyer and move to Europe/Middle East. However, my career aspirations shifted when I realized I could help people in a more impactful and pragmatic way by studying science and medicine. By taking both science and social science classes, I was able to develop multiple skill sets that are useful through a variety of disciplines.

I love to write and I love science! However, by pursuing such divergent subjects for my undergraduate education I was faced with new challenges and test-types I was not accustomed to. Therefore, I would love to help anyone who thinks they "cannot" do well in a subject. I challenge you- you can! All it takes is shifting your study and test-taking style to the subject at hand. Writing an essay in 3 hours is much different than a 3 h multiple choice and short answer test on neuroanatomy. The key is to prepare accordingly and to also identify your strengths and weaknesses.

In addition to loving neuroscience, I also love the outdoors, to challenge myself athletically through running, biking, or soccer, and I also love to read sci-fi novels and the classics. I cook when I can, especially Asian cuisine or protein-packed meals. If I have spare time, I will watch old movies from before 1950, catch up on the times via current releases, or jam on my guitar.

Sarah’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of California-San Diego - Bachelors, Cognitive Neuroscience (BS) and International Relations (BA)

Graduate Degree: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NY) - PHD, PhD in Neuroscience

Test Scores

GRE Analytical Writing: 5.5


Soccer, running, biking, hiking, guitar, cooking, reading, old movies, symphonies, and art.

Tutoring Subjects

Anatomy & Physiology

AP Biology



College Biology

College Essays

Essay Editing

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Analytical Writing

GRE Verbal

High School Biology

Homework Support






Public Speaking


Social Sciences

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

The key to being successful in any subject has 3 parts: 1) Motivation! Nothing gets done without hard work. 2) Identify the subject and test-taking format; multiple choice is a different animal compared to essay writing. 3) Identify strengths and weaknesses; what sub-discipline of the material is confusing to you and also what aspects of the tests and assignments are hard for you?

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

The typical first session with a student will include brief introductions and motivations. It will also include the discussion of personality-type or even a personality-type quiz. The subject’s material of the class will be reviewed as well, so the student and I can make a timeline and a list of goals!

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

I can help a student become an independent learner by working with them to uncover which learning style works for them best - flash cards, diagrams, etc.- and by also helping them build confidence in their own ability to find the right answer.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

I would help a student stay motivated by focusing on short term and long term goals. Doing well academically is achieved by getting small wins, pushing aside the losses, and focusing on the big picture i.e. medical school or becoming an engineer.

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

Make them take a deep breath! This is not the end of the world. The first step would be to approach the skill or concept from a variety of angles- auditory, visual, and physical (writing). Then reinforce this knowledge by self-made tests or by acting as "the teacher” and explaining the concept or skill to me.

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

The fundamentals of reading comprehension are rooted in attention and interest. You must have both of these, even if you have to feign interest, to be an excellent critical reader. The first step would be to make reading fun- read only topics that interest and inspire the student. The next step would be to have this student read difficult passages on subjects they lack. The last step would be to have the student read difficult, uninteresting passages, and assess their critical reading. Improving attention and focus would be parallel initiatives.

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

The student must want to do well in order to do well. Identifying motivations, personality, strengths, and weaknesses early are all important in helping the student to become successful.

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

By exposing them to an aspect of this subject that they may have found boring or frivolous in the past.

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

Practice tests! I also think it is helpful when the student has to explain and teach the material to another person (that being me).

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

By starting with the most basic building blocks, waiting for them to master them, and then move forward.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

A student's needs can be examined by looking at how they have done previously in classes and also by discussing what they believe their biggest weaknesses are.

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

Once the student figures out what works best for them (making diagrams, explaining a concept, taking mini-quizzes) we will use these methodologies to digest the material.

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

Flash cards, diagrams, conversations, mini-quizzes, podcasts, pictures, etc.