Janelle Ruiz

Test Prep & Academic Tutor

I was born in Tucson, Arizona, and attended college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. At LMU I studied biology and psychology, and I received degrees in both. Performing research on metacognitive teaching strategies in middle school science classrooms sparked my interest in education, specifically with regard to the challenges and rewards of working with students beginning their introduction to life and physical sciences. After college, I spent two years at the National Institutes of Health working as a research intern in a neurogenetics lab. I am in the process of completing my M.D. at Stanford School of Medicine, and I have had the opportunity to work with first- and second-year medical students as a teaching assistant in genetics and microbiology.

The study of life, whether it be in the tide pools of Baja, Mexico, where I did research in college, the incubators of the NIH, or the anatomy labs of medical school, has always fascinated me. Being able to explore the mechanisms of disease through manipulation of model organisms like E. coli and yeast is extraordinary and illustrates why the study of biology is so important to our everyday lives. Science is nature’s interpreter; math, physics, and chemistry, though they may sometimes seem obscure, are crucial to the understanding of the life sciences. I strive to impart this knowledge and passion to my students.

Educating others has always been an interest and a priority of mine. In college, I spent a year as a teaching assistant in cellular biology, working with students in a one-on-one setting, demonstrating biochemical experimental procedures. During medical school, I taught genetics and microbiology as a teaching assistant for first- and second-year medical students; I conducted interactive lectures and participated in curriculum innovation. I also helped lead a Bay Area education seminar for high school students from underrepresented backgrounds with an interest in medicine. Introducing cardiology, ophthalmology, and neurology to these students through dissection and the teaching of physical exam techniques was especially rewarding and reminded me of how much I enjoy working with high school students.

One of the best pieces of teaching advice I have received came from a medical professor who had traveled to a foreign country to give a lengthy presentation of her research. Because her audience did not speak English as their first language and was largely unfamiliar with her field of study, she simplified her talk considerably. She approached delivering the information simply and with extensive use of images. Though she feared she had oversimplified her presentation, her graduate students who were present for the talk informed her that it was the best lecture she had ever given. I took away from her story the importance of simplicity in communicating complicated ideas. Focusing on the big picture, building on the basics, not assuming a student has extensive background knowledge, and using familiar analogies to help describe unfamiliar topics are all important to successful one-on-one teaching. As a tutor, my goal is for students to walk away from sessions being able to teach back the material we work on with comfort and ease.

Outside of tutoring, I am an avid rabbit enthusiast: in addition to owning three bunnies myself, I volunteer for a local rabbit rescue, assisting with adoptions and educating the public. I also enjoy playing Pokémon Go with my local community and am currently learning how to play the ukulele.

Subjects Tutored:

SAT Subject Math2
SAT Subject Literature
SAT Subject Biology E/M
Academic Biology
AP Biology


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