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Nathan

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I graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology with a Bachelor's of Science in Chemistry. While pursing my degree, I joined a molecular engineering laboratory at The University of Chicago and worked there for two years. That lab specializes in making biomaterials for cancer therapeutics and water purification membranes. Currently I work at MIT in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. My current project is focused on developing immunotherapies to treat early stage tumors. Both in the classroom and in lab, I have always been more than willing to help others with their assignments or troubleshooting an equipment problem. On top of my scientific pursuits, I have immersed myself in the worlds of classical Latin and Spanish. The beauty of language and its power are so wonderful. I am extremely passionate about biology, chemistry, math, and language. I have learned a great deal thus far, and really want to help others along their learning journeys! I firmly believe that with the proper guidance, we all possess the abilities to grasp and master complex topics such as calculus, chemistry, and Latin! During my free time, (outside of the laboratory) I enjoy reading and writing poetry, running, and nature.

Nathan’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: Illinois Institute of Technology - Bachelors, Chemistry

Test Scores

AP Latin: 4

AP US History: 4

AP Psychology: 4

Hobbies

Ice skating, running, being outdoors, nature.

Tutoring Subjects

Algebra

Algebra 2

Analytical Chemistry

Basic Computer Literacy

Biology

Biotechnology

Cell Biology

Classics

College Algebra

College Application Essays

College Biology

College English

College Physics

Conversational Spanish

Earth Science

English

Environmental Science

Genetics

High School Biology

High School Physics

Languages

Latin

Latin 1

Latin 2

Latin 3

Latin 4

Life Sciences

Materials Science

Math

Microbiology

Middle School Math

Middle School Science

Molecular Biology

Other

Physics

Pre-Algebra

Science

Spanish

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

Spanish 3

Spanish 4

Technology and Computer Science

Thermochemistry


Q & A

What might you do in a typical first session with a student?

The first session will seek to find the gaps of a student's knowledge in the said subject. Looking over previous work and speaking with the student is the crucial step to pinpoint where the misunderstanding lies, which would encompass the majority of the first session.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Learning a new concept in a subject is similar to unraveling a heap of tangled cords. At first glance, the situation looks confusing and stressful. How are all these wires supposed to be straightened out?! Even at the first try, untangling the infinite number of cords seems impossible. By taking a step back, taking a deep breath, and analyzing the situation, the beginning, middle, and end of the wires become clear. Just a pull here, move this here, go under there, and presto! The twisted and awful mess evaporates! In my view, teaching is untangling misunderstandings and demystifying the topics in order that the student can see the beginning, middle, and end on their own.

How can you help a student become an independent learner?

In Latin, it is written that repetitio est mater memoriae, translated as "repetition is the mother of memory." Encoding the specific logic and meaning behind concepts is the way that a subject can be mastered. The responsibility of the teacher/tutor is to effectively demonstrate the logic and meaning behind complex topics so that confusion does not exist. For a student to be an independent learner, what has been demonstrated by the tutor/teacher must be encoded through meaningful repetition via practice problems and the like.

How would you help a student stay motivated?

One of the first parts of motivation is having a long and short-term goals. I think that having clear learning goals and objectives are a key component for not only a student's motivation, but also success. Additionally, a great way to help a student stay motivated is by sharing my own enthusiasm and hands-on experience with a subject! With a shared sense of zeal for a subject and specific learning objectives, I believe a student can find everlasting intrinsic motivation!

If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?

First and foremost, I would ask the student where the difficulty lies in learning a skill. Communicating with the student to see where a concept becomes confusing helps me as the tutor to look for another way to explain it or even clarify what the problem may be. For a mathematics or science-related skills, going over a question and explaining each step of the way is a great way to ease the difficulty. For Latin or Spanish, breaking down a complex sentence/idea into manageable pieces is a excellent strategy to mitigate the difficulty for the student.

How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?

When it comes to reading comprehension, there are some helpful tips that I found to work quite well! Slowing down is the first and most important tactic. By decreasing the speed, thoughts are clearer and more systematic. Secondly, highlighting the main points of a passage will focus one's attention to the heart of the message. Lastly, rereading the given sample and then having an open discussion about the reading is very beneficial to patch up any confusion.

What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?

When beginning to work with a student, I find that adapting to their learning style and preference is a good start. A strategy I find helpful is to go through practice problems on relevant material to analyze where the misunderstandings are. During an exercise like that, seeing and hearing the student explain how or what they don't understand is a great start.

How would you help a student get excited/engaged with a subject that they are struggling in?

No one guaranteed that learning a new subject or studying for the AP exams would be a walk in the park! Learning and studying are challenging, and it is normal to struggle. Even though the struggle is very real, there are so many cool real world applications of chemistry, biology, physics, and math! It is very rewarding to learn how things around us operate, like computers, electricity, and medicine! Drawing on real-world examples of the subject in which the student is struggling can engage the student to continue on the path towards success.

What techniques would you use to be sure that a student understands the material?

After ample preparation on a concept, I would provide the student with an opportunity to go through a few practice questions on their own with no notes and no textbook. I would go through the student's work and provide the student with instant feedback if improvement is necessary. This would be a great chance for the student to feel really confident with the material. Going through the student's work would help me pinpoint any misunderstandings and help the student prepare for any upcoming exams.

How do you build a student's confidence in a subject?

Academic success is a lifelong journey that is built upon a pattern of small yet important accomplishments. As the academic year progresses, it is easy to lose track of how far a student can come in their understanding of a subject in a matter of weeks. It is therefore important to point out the progress made, with genuine praise for the student's efforts! By evaluating the student's understanding and providing them with beneficial commentary, one's confidence and knowledge can grow. With honest academic conversations on the particular subject, a student can be assured of how well they are doing.

How do you evaluate a student's needs?

I base the student's needs on the timeline of subject and how far along the student is in the academic calendar. Some topics may need more urgent attention than others, which ends up just being a matter of timing. I also think a few diagnostic practice problems will help the tutor determine where they need to direct their tutoring efforts the most.

How do you adapt your tutoring to the student's needs?

Being able to change like the wind is imperative for tutoring! Sometimes a student can struggle with some material, while at other times it's a breeze. The important aspect here is that the tutor quickly recognizes and attends to how well the student is progressing. Another side of this is based on which method the student prefers to learn. Understanding what method is best for the student is the way adaptations occur!

What types of materials do you typically use during a tutoring session?

During a tutoring session, I like to use the same textbook as the student so that the session maintains its relevancy. I also like to conjure up my own practice questions to assess the student's abilities. It is also beneficial to draw on older material found on different websites when practicing for standardized testing.