I have both an MS and PhD in Biological Sciences. Throughout my career in the sciences, I have taught several biology courses and laboratories to students with both extensive and minimal scientific background. Therefore, I understand how to break down complex information to digestible subsets of information that are relevant for and understandable by people ranging from those who lack a scientific background to MDs and PhDs.
Recently, I have been working as a biology editor and writer. Specifically, I edit research manuscripts for non-native English speakers on a variety of biology and environmental science topics. I have also been writing content for higher education companies on medical topics ranging from genetics to anatomy and physiology. Consequently, I am very familiar with clear, direct scientific writing and communication over an internet platform.
Given my background in science education and communication, I think I am a good fit as a tutor for Varsity Tutors.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Bard College at Simon's Rock - Bachelors, Biology, General
Graduate Degree: University of Nevada-Las Vegas - PHD, Biological Sciences
Dog training, traveling, writing, hiking, camping
What is your teaching philosophy?
I believe that students learn best when they can relate the material to their everyday lives. Consequently, if a student is having problems with a theoretical concept, or even specific details of a topic, I find ways to connect the materials to topics they can relate to; from medical case studies to environmental issues they may see in the news. I have also found that students best understand concepts when they are taught in a comprehensive manner, especially when they are expected to know very specific terms and details. When those terms and details can be connected to a bigger picture, students are often better able to make those connections again in the future, such as during a test. However, I ultimately acknowledge that every student is different, so I try to talk with individual students to understand their specific strengths and struggles. This allows me to find unique ways to approach the information that is most effective for each individual.
What might you do in a typical first session with a student?
In a typical first session, I try to determine the student's background in the subject, why they are taking it (e.g., if it's mandatory or an elective), what aspects they find interesting or uninteresting in the subject, their strengths and weaknesses, and their goals for both tutoring and course outcome.
How can you help a student become an independent learner?
I've found that students develop independence in learning when they are tasked with figuring out the material themselves, with the help of guidance. As a tutor, my role is to help guide the student to figure out the correct answer using their background and the materials at their disposal as opposed to just answering questions for them.
How would you help a student stay motivated?
I have found that making the material relatable to students' everyday lives helps them stay motivated. For example, for a student who wants to be a nurse or a doctor, relating biological material to actual scenarios that could affect them as a medical professional tends to make the material both more interesting and inspires students to want to understand the material better.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
When a student has difficulty learning a concept or skill, I try to work with the student to determine where this difficulty originates from. Sometimes this requires backtracking to very basic material that he or she may have forgotten, and other times it may be a conceptual issue that can be addressed by referencing real-life situations in which the material can be applied. Every student and issue is different, so it is important to treat them as unique to identify how to best resolve the issue.