I have always been interested in science, particularly biology. I received my bachelors was in Micro and Molecular Biology from Hampshire college in 2007 and I recently received my PhD in Cellular Biology form UCI in 2016.
I discovered my love for teaching in undergrad when I acted as a TA for 3 years for an intensive lab course called Gene Cloning. TAing this course provided me with the chance to help small groups of students (2-4) learn lab techniques and the material for introductory biology. While at UCI I took part in the HHMI professorship program for 3 years and taught discussion sections with a focus on active learning in which the goal was to give students the small class room experience that is often lacking at big universities. Throughout these experiences I have always enjoyed teaching students and my personal goal is to help students struggling with science course, particularly biology. I want to help people become more scientifically literate so they not only to do better in class, but have the tools to think critically about science in all aspects of life.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Hampshire College - Bachelors, Micro and Molecular Biology
Graduate Degree: University of California-Irvine - PHD, Developmental and Cell biology
Science, art, computers, reading, board games, video games
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is to use active learning to help students work through problems and give them the tools to think through difficult questions.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would go over the material with the students to discover what their goals are and the areas that they need the greatest help so we can make that our primary focus.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I would go over the student's study habits and make suggestions on how they might change them, and give them different ideas for methods they could try in order to help them find the best study method for them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
Try different approaches, such as drawing out the concept, making models of the concept, or different analogies that they can relate to.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
I find using notecards to cover up surrounding sentences so they can focus on one sentence at time works well, along with encouraging the students to try and rework the sentences so they make sense to them.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Using the VARK questionnaire to have a starting point to assess how the student learns best, and to go over the material they feel they are struggling with.
How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?
Science is full of real-world examples that are fun, exciting, and affect our everyday lives. I would try to expose them to that.
What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?
I like to have students explain the material to me and to ask them questions while they are going through the explanation to make sure they understand the material.
How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?
I like to make analogies and show people that biology can easily be related to other aspects of life that they are familiar with. This helps increase familiarity with the topic, which helps to increase confidence.
How do you evaluate a student's needs?
I work with the student to find out where they are struggling with the material by going over their past tests and homework. I would recommend if they are unsure, or if they are struggling with the material, to use the tutoring company's online assessments before we meet so we will know what to focus on during our session.
How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?
I like to use the VARK assessment to first try and find out how the student learns the best. If one method isn't working, I would work with the student to try and find new methods for them to study and for us to work together to find what fits them best.
What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?
I find using pen and paper to draw out the problem or objects like pipe cleaners to represent the materials often works well so students can visualize abstract concepts more clearly.