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As a tutor with extensive experience in education and beyond, I can help you find the inspiration and tools to succeed. I received my undergraduate degree from Duke University in Biology and Art, a unique combination which gives me a perspective on both the analytical and creative elements of successful learning. I received my PhD in Plant Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, where I taught both undergraduates and graduate students. This education and teaching experience along with subsequent work in science policy gives me the diversity of experience to help you find the motivation to achieve success.
I believe everyone can excel. Some elements of success are universal, and some are unique to each student. I can help you find your motivation, and the approach that works best for you, and teach you the tools and strategies to master the subject or test that is causing you stress.
When not tutoring I am a potter; and I run, read, garden, and spend time with my family among other interests.

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Ben’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Duke University - Bachelors, Biology/Art

Graduate Degree: University of California-Berkeley - PHD, Plant Biology

Tutoring Subjects

AP Biology


College Biology

General Biology

Graduate Test Prep

GRE Verbal

High School Biology

Life Sciences

Plant Biology


Q & A

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning is easier for a motivated student. One key role of the tutor is to help find the interesting, important and exciting elements of the field of study to engage and motivate. Part of this is to take the time to help the student see the subject from different perspectives and provide the necessary tools and motivation to learn. Every student can learn. It is the tutor's responsibility to help find the approach, tools and motivation to allow the student to learn the material and skills to succeed.

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

A typical first session would establish the goals the student is hoping to achieve and a reasonable approach for meeting them. This process would include understanding the current status of studies, the scope to be covered, and the challenges so far encountered; followed by working together to establish a framework, explicit steps, and a schedule that will address the challenges and meet the goals.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

There are two key elements students often need to become independent learners, and ultimately make the tutor obsolete: to find the motivation--what in the subject or the class is relevant or engaging for the student and will keep him/her attentive; and the study skills to learn, retain and use the information. I will help a student address both of these elements.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

An early, crucial element in tutoring is to establish the motivation required to allow the student to succeed. Whether it is finding the excitement in the material, the utility of the knowledge to the student's life, or even the importance of scholastic success to future achievement and happiness, there are many possibilities. Finding this motivation and mutually agreeing to it will allow the student to undertake the necessary effort. Helping the student find motivation and reminding the student of that motivation is a primary role of the tutor.

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