Douglas Magowan

Academic Tutor

I am very nearly a California native; I moved to the Bay Area at the age of two and have lived in San Francisco and the Monterey Peninsula before settling in San Mateo. In high school, I attended a New England boarding school for two years. While the educational environment was excellent, the natural environment was just a little bit too cold, so when I had the opportunity to return to California to attend UC Berkeley, I jumped at it. I pursued mathematics at Berkeley, and I hold a B.A. in applied mathematics.

After graduating, I spent most of twenty five years applying my math skills in the finance industry. Over the course of my career, I applied elementary algebra, linear algebra, linear programming, quadratic programming, calculus, and statistics. When students wonder, “When will I use this?” I often tell them that they will be able to apply as much mathematics in their lives as they wish to. I also emphasize that, in a broader sense, math provides a framework for critical thinking and rational problem solving that is useful in any field.

I was a student with learning disabilities. For many years I struggled academically, but as I grew older, I developed my coping strategies, learned how I learn best, and began to excel. Because of my own experiences growing up, my earliest experience tutoring was in the special-ed classroom. I learned patience and empathy for students who don’t immediately “get it,” and I understand that there is frequently more than one way to attack a problem. I believe in introducing students to diverse approaches and explanations in order to identify the ones they understand best. 

While math can be both beautiful and creative, I appreciate that students often perceive it as rigid and difficult. I work to help students appreciate both aspects of math and to develop the fundamental critical thinking and problem solving skills that will help them both in their math classes and in life moving forward.

When I am not tutoring, I am an active volunteer in the community, giving time to organizations such as Peninsula Family Service and the San Francisco Zoo. Additionally, I am a private pilot.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic Algebra 1
Academic Algebra 2
Academic Pre-Calculus
Academic Calculus


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