My academic path has been a rambling one, but it has a unifying theme, which is hard work. I think this is an important point to start on because I am not a super-genius who has breezed through school. I have had to work hard every step of the way to meet success. This means that for every subject I teach, I have had to grind through the material myself, learning tricks and ways of mastering the material.
As for my personal history, I went to a math, science, and technology focused high school. I worked hard, took hard classes and achieved over 30 AP points (perfect scores in Bio, Chem, Calculus, and US Govt). High school is where I started tutoring, when I was asked to tutor middle school students in both math and science. For undergrad, I went to a private liberal arts college on scholarship. I started off as a Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology major, but luckily took an intro course in Psychology Freshman year. I liked the class enough to take a few more psych courses and before I knew it, I was a double major! By my senior year, I knew psychology (specifically clinical psychology) was my passion and my future, so I have worked towards making that a reality every day since. While an undergrad, I spent time volunteering as an adult literacy tutor, helping adults improve their reading abilities to take their GED exams. I also tutored peers in Organic Chemistry and Statistics.
To get into grad school, I self-taught for the GRE and the GRE Psychology subject test. I learned a lot of tricks and tips for making the tests a lot less daunting. I did well on the main test (164 Q, 167 V) and exceptionally well on the subject test (800, 99th percentile). I have since helped a number of people improve their own scores and make grad school a possibility.
I most recently completed my MS in Psychological Sciences from UT Dallas, graduating with a 3.9 GPA. I am currently a doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at UNT. As for my research, I am a published co-author in both peer-reviewed journals and in a book chapter, with several more publications upcoming.
Then a short segment about me: I am an avid reader. I read the news daily and try to finish a book at least every other week. I ride my bike as often as Texas weather permits. I also play soccer and tennis. Finally, I love to cook, bake, and most importantly, eat. I have never met a carb I didn't like! I have invented several new cookie recipes, like hatch-lime.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hendrix College - Bachelors, Psychology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Graduate Degree: The University of Texas at Dallas - Masters, Psychological Sciences
GRE Quantitative: 164
GRE Verbal: 167
GRE Subject Test in Psychology: 800
Reading, Tennis, Soccer, and Cooking
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
If a student is willing to work hard, I can provide the help and insight necessary for them to reach their goals.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
The first session is to diagnose the situation. I want to find out exactly what the student wants and what their stumbling blocks have been. I then want to design a plan to make their goals possible.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I don't just teach the solutions to problems; I help students develop the tools necessary to solve problems. I do this both from sharing my own experiences and drawing on the student's strengths.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
It is important to identify goals, both immediate and long term. I'll help outline how our work achieves both types of goals. I also bake amazing cookies.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
Two things are important when a student hits a roadblock. 1- Figure out what elements are tripping up the student and then develop the skills to master these elements. 2- Identify patterns in the roadblocks to develop the basic skills that will help the student more successfully navigate the material.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
There are dozens of strategies for improving reading comprehension. What is important is to test a variety of these methods to see what resonates with the student. Then you hone the skills involved with the best fitting strategy.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Starting off with a broad conversation about the student's interests and goals. Then converging on more immediate interests. I need to get a feel for the student's knowledge and skill set, so that I can work from their perspective in designing a study plan.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Realistically speaking, not every subject will be a student's favorite course. But every subject feeds into their overall experience and education. I will help them find their own form of motivation, often referencing my own experiences as examples.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I check understanding through fluency. I assess this through two means: how well can you teach the material back to me and how well can you hold a fluid conversation with me about the material?
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
No one does things perfectly at first. What you have to do is start by just throwing yourself into something. Then you focus on your successes. As we practice, we can focus on the improvements the student has.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
First I ask the student. I want to know what their perceived needs are? I then use whatever resources (exams, homework, etc.) that are available to look for trends and areas I can help the student improve in.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to scaffold my work with students. At first I might be very active in identifying their struggles and providing solutions, but over time I want the student to take more control in self-correction. Then as subject material changes, I help the student adapt their existing skills to the new material.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
This will really depend on the student and the context. I like to look at their given materials (such as textbooks or class materials). I often bring my own textbooks and notes, but also like to find articles and other texts that help provide context for the subject material.