Hi, I have a strong background in chemistry, organic chemistry, paleontology, and meteorology. I have a life-long fascination with the natural world, and I learn new things everyday. I enjoy sharing what I've learned, and hope that it will spark an interest in the amazing world in which we live.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: The University of Texas at Austin - Bachelors, Chemistry
Graduate Degree: University of California-Irvine - PHD, Organic Synthesis
paleontology, storm chasing
What is your teaching philosophy?
In my experience, many of the students that have problems in chemistry are at least in part a result of merely memorizing the equations. This leads to easily being frustrated, which leads to a mental block. Then, the panic and time wasted blanking out on this question leads to a mental block on the next question on the test. I emphasize understanding the physical/chemical basis of the problem that they are trying to solve, so they are not relying completely on memorization. I also break up the problem into the following questions: Do I understand what am I being asked to solve? What are my knowns and unknowns? Based on this, what equation do I use? How do I solve the equation without a lot of calculator entries/re-entries/missed entries? There is always some memorization, but I put a greater emphasis on analysis and understanding the problem.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
I would introduce myself and find out more about what course the student is trying to pass, as well as what they expect to get out of the tutoring.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
My emphasis is on critical thinking rather than on memorization.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I think that helping them understand problem solving will help them be more confident in tackling difficult problems.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
I would use my experience to try to look at the problem another way and maybe provide some insights.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
You have to break it down into parts. Do I understand what I am being asked to solve? What do I know? What do I not know? Do I have all of the information that I need to solve the problem? Do I know how to formulate a solution based on the information given?
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Chemistry is a very visual science, so I find pictures and molecular models work really well.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Practice is important in grasping concepts. Also, changing a negative attitude that some students bring to a subject might make them more engaged.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
After working with them, I have in the past asked questions to see their thought process.