I'm a graduate student working on a degree emphasizing statistics, computer science, and biology. I enjoy working with students of all ages to find strategies to help them learn better and prepare for taking the next step with their education. I have a diverse background in many fields, including writing, music, biology, and mathematics. I've worked as a graduate school TA and been responsible for designing lectures at the graduate level. I've worked abroad and within the United States with language learners hoping to increase their mastery of English. I look forward to finding a way to find how you learn best for yourself, in the hope that you can apply what you learn over an entire lifetime and not just on this week's test.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: University of Wisconsin-Madison - Bachelors, Genetics and English Literature (double major)
Graduate Degree: Oregon Health & Science University - PHD, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
GRE Quantitative: 165
GRE Verbal: 163
Guitar, Spanish, Mandarin, Board Games, Literature, Painting
High School Biology
High School English
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Everybody has a different way of looking at the world, and a good teacher should find a learning strategy that fits the student instead of trying to fit the student to the textbook.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I think it is important to take the time to judge a student's current skill level and find out where they may have shortcomings in their understanding that are impacting their ability to learn new material.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
The best way to help a student become an independent learner is to give them a reason to believe that learning will advance their own goals. No matter what a student hopes to achieve, developing their ability to learn will help get them there.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
In order to keep students motivated, I believe it is important to focus on small amounts of progress even when they start to stall or regress in their achievements. Sometimes it may be necessary to come back to a topic at a later date in order to keep a student from becoming overwhelmed with new material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
The best way to help a student who is having difficulty with a concept is to find a way to demonstrate the concept in a fresh way, either through using a new thought experiment or by finding a new way to attack the problem. Often it just takes the right example for a concept to "click" and become intuitive.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Much of the time reading comprehension is a problem of getting in repetitions and time with a book. The best way to help a student who is having trouble is to emphasize continuous exposure to reading and to find subject matter that interests them. Finding a way to overcome their frustration with interest is the ultimate goal.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
What strategy is most successful depends entirely on the student. Some students respond well to worked examples, while others require an in-depth explanation of underlying concepts. The most important strategy is finding what works best for a given student.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
It can be difficult to revitalize a student's interest if they have built up a long history of frustration with a subject. Often it is necessary to double back and focus on more basic tasks so that they can build confidence and intuition with a lowered barrier to entry. With any subject, the key is to find a way to make it applicable to a student's goals while emphasizing that those goals are achievable with enough effort.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
If a student can't verbalize why something works a certain way, they don't understand the material. I'm bullish on discussion and communication of concepts from students. Learning to talk not just about a subject, but also about learning itself is a valuable skill for students to develop.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
Building confidence is often as much about removing the pressure the student feels based on past experiences as much as demonstrating that they can perform at the level of their peers. Understanding a student's current skill level is imperative to being able to find examples that demonstrate concepts well while also being approachable.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
Evaluating a student's needs depends on a number of things, the most basic of which is what their current course load expects from them. Beyond immediate needs, students often need help with study skills and tools that underlie comprehending and digesting information. Learning how best to help them in those areas can be much more important than teaching the actual material.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
Every student will have different goals and needs. Finding what works best for a student is a collaborative effort between the teacher and the student. As a teacher it's important for me to know how to adapt my lessons to different learners on the fly so that we don't get stuck on one way of explaining a solution.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I like to draw, so I use drawings whenever possible to explain concepts. The internet is also an invaluable teaching resource, as it allows demonstration of concepts as well as sharing of resources that students can review in their own time.