I graduated this past May from Cornell University with a double major in biological engineering and biological sciences. Within biology, I concentrated in computational biology with an additionally strong focus in ecology and ecological applications of computation, because of my personal career ambitions. I intend to study large carnivores, especially tigers, with a heavy focus on mathematical and modeling approaches. To this end, I am beginning my doctorate in Environment and Resources at Wisconsin-Madison this fall, studying large carnivores with Bayesian modeling techniques.
My tutoring strategy is to tackle topics of highest combined difficulty and priority first, and to do so in a manner that accommodates both myself and my student. I've found in past teaching experiences that the most rewarding and meaningful results come from direct engagement with students, and so that is what I aim to do. I've had experience with several modes of teaching and learning, and I am confident that I can successfully adapt my style to any student's needs.
My personal interests, beyond an unhealthy obsession with tigers, include drawing and kickboxing. Though to be fair, I mostly draw tigers.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Cornell University - Bachelors, Biological Engineering and Biological Sciences Dual Major
SAT Composite: 2300
SAT Math: 700
SAT Verbal: 800
SAT Writing: 800
GRE Quantitative: 168
GRE Verbal: 169
Tigers, Drawing, Kickboxing
High School Biology
High School Physics
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe in a 'divide and conquer' strategy when it comes to tutoring, starting where the student may be struggling most, and moving on only once they are fully confident in that area. Within each area, the journey must be taken together with the student, tailoring strategies for mutual success and always progressing from guided learning to more independence.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would introduce myself and learn a little bit about the student so that the rapport is more natural and comfortable. Then I would ask the student about the areas they believe they are either struggling the most in or weakest at. Based on that and their course or assessment's emphasis of topics, we would come up with a lesson plan for the next several sessions. If the student is not quite sure about where they are in various subjects, I would have a diagnostic test on hand that I would ask them to complete for the next session, and simply begin with any topic for that session. I would also ask if the student has any preferred learning strategies, and factor that into the lesson plan. In the remaining time, we would begin working on the topic.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
Before addressing problems or questions in any topic, I think it's important to formulate a general strategy for thinking about the topic. Then when guiding the students through the initial problems, I can keep going back to that strategy as a motivation for our process and solution. As I let the student do more and more on their own, they can keep using that broader strategy as a framework for different tools in solving or addressing problems and so their thought process is organized similarly throughout. As they become more independent they will be able to modify the strategy to suit themselves, but establishing an initial strategy allows continuity through different levels of dependence.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think positive reinforcement is the most helpful, because negative comments create a negative feedback loop that makes it harder for the student to focus. Pointing out improvement and the volume of work done come to mind. Envisioning a positive outcome in the course or assessment is also a great way to remind the student of their ultimate goal in an uplifting manner.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would devote more time to that skill or concept in particular but I would also reassess my teaching strategy for that topic; sometimes all it takes is a different point of view.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
Part of it is walking them through passages and asking questions, but a great deal of it is also getting the student to read on their own outside the sessions. If we can find a topic or genre that excites the student, I'll look for material that the student can look at and enjoy, because I think a lot of reading comprehension becomes intuitive with experience.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
I would try to find applications of the subject to both the real world and their interests; people are more excited by information that is relevant to them.