I slammed the hammer on the cotton ball so hard I thought the table below might splinter, but it didn't, instead - it burned. The cotton exploded like dynamite, leaving a dark purple blotch in my vision. At age twelve, I had successfully produced nitrocellulose in my backyard using tree stump remover and drain cleaner. As my vision cleared, my head filled with questions: How can a cotton ball explode from pressure alone? Does the change in the cotton ball have anything to do with what happens in our bodies when we eat food? When we take medication?
I began my mission as a STEM educator from a young age, when I needed to share my excitement about exploding cotton balls and other wonders with anyone who would listen. I also found that teaching others was the best way for me to truly understand a topic. Throughout my high school years, I tutored friends in math and science. Throughout my teenage and adult life I have privately tutored many individuals from elementary to high school in a variety of subjects, often using my own passion for education as a driver to help my students grow and build strong academic skills. While attending community college during high school, I volunteered at various STEM related events, especially those focused on educating youth. I became known as "Mr. Dan the Science Man," a title that still follows me today. These early years of teaching and volunteering planted the seeds of what would eventually develop into an integral part of my life: a dedication to education and the wellbeing of underrepresented and underserved individuals around the world.
When I graduated from high school, I volunteered for six months in Kolkata, India, a city considered home to the "poorest of the poor." As a volunteer with the Missionaries of Charity, a nonprofit organization that cares for dying and disabled individuals around the world, I taught developmentally disabled children English, maths and science while assisting them in a variety of basic needs. During these six months, I also volunteered in a small medical dispensary where I would triage and care for sick and acutely wounded homeless individuals. As a 17-year-old alone in a world of destitution, where I would walk past malnourished children sleeping in the street every day, I decided I would not allow my passion for academic research impede my immediate responsibility to help others.
My experiences in Kolkata, particularly the satisfaction of educating children, informed my plans when I returned home. For several years, I worked at a YMCA in my hometown as a STEM program coordinator and after-school teacher, providing a variety of educational programs for school-aged children. As a lead teacher, I was responsible for managing and providing guidance for other teachers. Each week, I would demonstrate different science experiments the children could participate in and teach basic lessons on chemistry, physics, biology, engineering and social studies. Eventually, I began hosting large events for upwards of 100 children where we would make giant foaming fountains and pools of non-Newtonian fluids. My legacy as Mr. Dan the Science Man only grew.
Today, as I work towards my PhD in molecular therapeutics at Columbia University, my passion for educating is as strong as ever. I continue to tutor students in STEM, English, Math, Social Studies, and a variety of other subjects with great success. My teaching philosophy centers around consistent positive feedback and ensuring that the student is comfortable and excited to learn and work with me, a technique that has been very successful for the many young students I've worked with. Each student is remarkably unique and requires significant adaptation in my own methods. For this reason, I prioritize getting to know the student's strengths and weaknesses and strong communication to determine what works and what doesn't.
Undergraduate Degree: Rutgers University-New Brunswick - Bachelor of Science, Biochemistry
Graduate Degree: Columbia University in the City of New York - Doctor of Philosophy, Molecular Pharmacology
SAT Composite (1600 scale): 1480
SAT Composite (2400 scale): 2130
SAT Math: 760
SAT Verbal: 710
GRE Quantitative Reasoning: 166
GRE Verbal Reasoning: 165
GRE Analytical Writing: 4.5
My interests and hobbies are centered around my passion for cancer research and my zeal to further the education of others. In total, I have spent over three years in India and Nepal where I teach English and Math to street and slum children while running a non-profit organization. While I work towards my Ph.D. I volunteer with multiple mentorship programs serving underprivileged youth interested in STEM careers. Outside of my academic pursuits, I love to travel, spend time with my friends, and go on hikes.
Elementary School English
Elementary School Math
Elementary School Reading
Elementary School Science
Elementary School Writing
High School Biology
High School English
High School Physics
High School Writing
Middle School English
Middle School Reading
Middle School Reading Comprehension
Middle School Science
Middle School Social Studies
Middle School Writing
Study Skills and Organization