Hello, I'm Dennis. I study physics, math, and computer science. I have done research about cosmic ray acceleration at supernova shock fronts in the Princeton University Department of Astrophysics, simulating how the turbulent plasmas push protons and ions. I have also worked at the Norfolk State University Department of Engineering, designing, simulating, optimizing, and building light filters for wavelength-division optical-electronic multiplexers. Another field I study is the mathematics of quasicrystals and aperiodic tilings, such as the Penrose tiling of rhombuses.
Outside of school I play the trombone and piano, and enjoy hiking and bicycling. I teach first aid skills and lead camping trips for freshman orientation.
Learning can be hard alone, but friends can make it easy.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Princeton University - Current Undergrad, Physics
ACT Composite: 36
ACT English: 36
ACT Math: 36
ACT Reading: 36
ACT Science: 36
SAT Composite: 2180
SAT Math: 750
SAT Verbal: 750
SAT Writing: 730
I play the trombone and piano, and enjoy bicycling, running, rock climbing, reading, and origami.
AP Computer Science A
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
AP Physics C: Mechanics
High School English
High School Level American Literature
High School Writing
Mac Basic Computer Skills
Middle School Science
Technology and Computer Science
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
I can show you the direction of the next step and catch you if you slip, so you can cross your learning obstacle with confidence.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a first session, I would look at the student's syllabus and see how the student approaches practice problems. I would identify strong and weak areas of knowledge and skill, and consider the student's learning and problem-solving style.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I can help a student become an independent learner by leading them to the answer using Socratic questions. I like to be hands-off as much as possible, letting the student try independently to solve the problem or formulate their ideas, only stepping in at mistakes. This way the student can find their own preferred problem-solving techniques.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
A student is best motivated by their own success, and to do so there must be enough difficulty to challenge, but not too much to overwhelm. Easy problems are useful for establishing basic patterns and review, but eventually boring. Problems that introduce too many new concepts at once can be overly difficult and cause the student to lose interest. Give moderate new problems, or creative variations on old ones, and show the student that they can do interesting things on their own. Then they will learn that the world is comprehensible, and the good grades might only be a bonus.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
A difficult skill or concept can be illustrated with simpler examples, or approached from different directions. Thought experiments can reduce the difficulty to a core or kernel of truth that is intuitively obvious, and there are usually multiple formulations of any problem or idea. Cater to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners with pictures and diagrams, different explanations, or even physical demonstrations.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
A student struggling with reading comprehension can slow down and focus attention line by line, or even a word at a time. Draw attention to the structure of a passage, whether at a scale of chapters, paragraphs, sentences, or words, and work out how the piece of writing is put together.