I was born in Boston but raised primarily in the San Jose area. I went to Monta Vista High School and was accepted into Vanderbilt University, where I completed my Bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. At Monta Vista and Vanderbilt, I noticed that there were two distinct groups of educators: teachers who lectured most of the time without involving student interaction, and those who actively sought to incorporate students into the lesson plan. As a student, I appreciated my teachers in the second group because I was getting hands-on experience that could not be replaced with even the most thorough lectures, and I follow that model with my own teaching now. Going through both a competitive high school and college also taught me the necessity of pushing myself harder and never being complacent – something can always be improved.
I recall becoming very interested in the natural sciences early in elementary school because I was fascinated with how things worked in the world around me. That passion has never diminished, and I slowly learned to appreciate the humanities and social sciences as well. My interest in standardized testing picked up when I was in high school preparing for them myself. It was exhilarating to see the hard work I put in translate into a concrete score increase. It is always fun to guide students new to these topics from a wary attitude in the beginning to one of enthrallment later.
I picked up the bulk of my teaching experience when I was in college. I joined VSVS (Vanderbilt Student Volunteers for Science) in my freshman year and would drive out to local public middle schools to teach hands-on laboratory science over the next four years. Beginning in my sophomore year, I volunteered at the Santa Clara Kaiser Permanente over summer and winter break. In addition, my managers frequently assigned me to train new hires (and even new managers!) during my part-time food service job on the weekends. Through VSVS, I learned how to work with younger students. The expectation of providing excellent training to new employees and volunteers at Kaiser and the cafeteria taught me how to interact with other age groups and how to modify my explanations to be more fluid and incorporate new material.
In a world where memorization is increasingly taking a backseat to reasoning on standardized tests, I find that tutoring is best spent focusing on efficient methods that could be used to approach a problem. 1-on-1 tutoring best contributes to this because I can observe how a student solves each problem on the page rather than just one problem per student per section. By understanding the thought process behind why a student chose a certain answer or took longer than allotted to arrive at the correct answer, I can suggest a new method that could be more helpful in the future across a variety of problems that follow a similar reasoning pattern. If a student does not initially understand, I can draw simpler problems or analogies to help explain the bigger picture.
In my free time, you can find me playing video games or trading card games, volunteering, and swimming.