Devin Nelson

Academic Tutor

I was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada but emigrated with my family to the Bay Area as a small child where I have remained ever since. As a youth I always had a strong interest in science and art (particularly music) and gained a reputation amongst my teachers for asking a lot of questions (some say too many) and constantly wanting to know “why?”. While I was enrolled in “gifted and talented” programs I also had trouble with insubordination, paying attention, doing work in a timely manner, and understanding certain rules and regulations in the classroom. As an adult I’ve since learned that I’m autistic and have ADHD. As a result I will always strongly advocate for the needs of neurodivergent students and making sure they can get necessary accommodations.

I went to college at SFSU where I got a BS in biochemistry and a MS in chemistry (with a focus on solar cell materials) and briefly worked in the industry, including a fellowship at NASA. While it was quite interesting, it was then that I decided that the life of a laboratory scientist wasn’t for me; I learned that I liked talking about science far more than doing it. However during grad school I taught for multiple years as an undergrad chemistry lab instructor and truly felt in my element as a science educator. I went on to get my teaching credential and taught high school chemistry (at the general, honors, and AP level) for 6 years. As a teacher I developed a unique style of conversational lecture and excelled at explaining science in terms of analogy, which I learned from one of my popular science heroes, Carl Sagan.

I’ve since left the classroom to focus on tutoring while following my creative dreams. As an educator I like to make the content a dialogue with lots of back and forth between teacher and student, welcoming the barrage of questions that annoyed my teachers as a kid. I also think it is important to guide students in developing ways to show their work with a deeper level of understanding and a rigor for process.

On top of being an educator I’m also a regularly performing musician and freelance composer. I write and play music in a touring band and write music for podcasts and games. In my spare time I enjoy facilitating tabletop roleplaying games and making collaborative stories with my friends.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic Chemistry
AP Chemistry


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