I first picked up tutoring in college, when I helped some classmates with understanding some concepts in trigonometry that they were struggling with. Since then, my favorite part of every job I’ve had has been teaching new things to people. Every person has aspirations in life, and I enjoy providing the stepping stones to help get them to where they want to be.
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and when I was 18, I enrolled at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where I received a Bachelor of Science in wildlife biology. A real takeaway from my college experiences was to not take everything at face value and to employ critical thinking skills when arriving at a conclusion.
My interest in math goes back to a newspaper cartoon I remember reading when I was a kid, where a dad was explaining to his son that every job requires at least a little math. To this day, I cannot think of a single job in modern society that does not require any math at all. Also, as I got older, I started designing things using geometry. I built a Native American teepee by calculating the dimensions of a 30-60-90 cone, and it was fun to bring on camping trips.
Before coming to AJ, I spent a year working as a 4H youth project instructor, teaching leather-crafting. I learned how to lead a group and encourage participation and creativity. In college, I was a resident assistant for two years. I learned how to better empathize with the challenges that many college students experience in an academic environment away from home. Much of our student body was from rural areas, not easily accessible by roads, and the transition was challenging for them. I learned to look at situations from the perspective of another person. I also tutored in-home for three years, and I learned how to prepare lessons that would best suit individual students based on how they learn and subjects that challenged them. In addition, I spent several months as a resident advisor at an educational farm that served at-risk youth. While I was familiar with the challenges rural students face, this opportunity opened my eyes to the challenges faced by students from the inner city.
At AJ, my tutoring approach revolves around self-directed learning, and I work with students to find their own incentives to learn. The 1-on-1 format allows me to prepare materials that challenge individual students in areas where they are struggling, and a common tactic I use is asking questions such as “How do we figure this out?” or “What resources are there that will tell help us get our answer?” By doing so, I’ve been successful at helping students understand the problem-solving process itself.
Identifying as transgender, I understand some of the challenges that nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals face in the working world. One of my aspirations is to help trans youth develop the building blocks to pursue higher education. Employment discrimination is an unfortunate reality in America today, and I am driven to help LGBTQ youth equip themselves with the skills and knowledge-base to be the applicant that is offered the position.
Outside of tutoring, I really enjoy camping and building things in the outdoors. I also like to draw cartoons and spend time in my hometown of Pacifica, California.