I was born in San Jose, CA and moved to Cupertino at the age of three. I attended Rainbow Montessori until first grade and then transitioned into the CUSD/FUHSD school district soon afterwards. I attended Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, and its notoriously challenging academic environment lead me to attend the University of Washington where I earned my B.S. degree in biology: physiology. For a majority of my academic career, I relied on brute memorization. This carried me until I hit my freshman year of college, where my memorization lead to many downfalls on exams. Once I began understanding the logic behind concepts rather than memorizing what I was told in class, my grades drastically improved and I actually started loving the subjects that I was learning. That experience has become a huge part of my teaching philosophy: genuinely understanding why and how certain things happen will prepare you for not only any test question, but also for any conceptual application beyond academic goals.
Growing up, I was a kid that loved puzzles and problem solving; this inevitably led to me gravitating towards STEM subjects, especially the biological sciences. While I enjoyed studying these subjects, my passion only developed once I learned enough to apply them to relatable, real world examples. When students first encounter problems in biology or other STEM subjects, they usually find it to be a little overwhelming, which is a natural feeling because these subjects involve a lot of interplay between different concepts. Once a student breaks down each problem down into its bare essentials, they find it so much more approachable and easier to understand.
My first experience in teaching was infrequently teaching guitar to some of my friends in high school and directing small groups in my choir. While few and far between, these opportunities allowed me to start formulating ways in which I interact with students and how I convey certain concepts. At the University of Washington, I become music director of my a cappella group. This was the first time I had to really learn how to interact and teach 15 people, all with differing levels of musical understanding and ways of taking feedback. My music directorship lasted for two years, and while it was difficult, it molded me into the patient, supportive, and passionate teacher I am today. After graduating from the University of Washington, I became an academic and SAT prep tutor for a tutoring company based in Bellevue, WA. I traveled to students’ houses for one-and-one sessions, and it really allowed me to re-familiarize myself with the small details of each subject and specialize my teaching for each student so that the student could more easily understand and grasp difficult concepts.
I find 1-on-1 sessions especially helpful in light of my philosophy that students need to genuinely understanding why and how things happen, as I can tailor my explanations of concepts specifically to how each student learns best. I often employ diagrams along with my verbal explanation so that students can have both visual and auditory cues when learning concepts, and I introduce application questions once students feel like they have a grasp of the subject in order to push them more in their understanding. A common problem I’ve seen with students is a lack of confidence in academics, which can lead to a student becoming very dependent on the tutor for explanation rather than having them critically think on their own to solve problems. To counteract this, I constantly work with the students on collaborative learning especially with asking thought provoking questions that allow them to come an understanding of a concept by themselves.
When I’m not teaching, I enjoy singing; playing guitar and piano; playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons, video games, and boardgames; and hanging out with friends.