Ryan Pelkey

Test Prep & Academic Tutor


I was born and raised in the country-suburbs of Atlanta, where heat and humidity were constant enemies and the Atlanta Braves were my reason for getting out of bed in the morning. My mother, an educator, and my father, an engineer, always shared their own love of learning with me and my three brothers. Our father always found new ways to introduce the beauty of mathematics to us, whether through riddles, puzzles, or simply showing us how we can use math to explain the world.

In college, I majored in philosophy and religious studies. I also became a pretty serious martial artist, ultimately reaching black belt. It was in the martial arts that I got my first taste of teaching. I learned quite a bit from teaching white belt classes! One of the most important things I learned was that it’s better not to tell a student everything you know all at once because it only overloads them with information. I believe the best approach is to introduce the most important concepts, let a student work with them, listen to their questions, and try to provide the guidance they need to make connections themselves. Like the buffers in bowling, we’re there to keep students out of the gutters and redirect them to where they want to be.

My first job after undergrad was teaching chess to elementary school kids. I wasn’t very good at chess (and I’m still not), so I taught the youngest kids how the pieces moved. Watching them really internalize just that most basic part of the game was such a thrill to me. You could almost see when the moment they got it. I went on to work in public relations for a few years before I decided a career change was in order. I got my master’s degree in systems science at Portland State University. While in grad school, I found myself reflecting on the tremendous amount of support and nurturing I had received in my life. I decided to become a big brother through Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I was matched with a 13-year-old boy, whom I mentored, helped through difficult times, taught new things, learned from, and laughed with. It was one of the most important and humbling things I’ll ever do.

Throughout my life I’ve been able to pursue whatever academic or intellectual interest I had. As an SAT/ACT prep tutor, I am profoundly excited to help my tutees set and achieve goals and broaden their own academic options. Being able to define your own trajectory is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and the SAT is an important tool to help students do that.

My mom says I have loved baseball since before I could talk. That love of the on-field experience has led me to try to understand the game on the deepest possible level. I spend a significant amount of my free time reading about baseball, understanding the advanced statistics, downloading data so that I can explore my own ideas, and just generally trying to understand and predict how to win baseball games. That’s why I’m so excited to be tutoring statistics! Students can expect lots of concrete examples (especially baseball-related). I think it’s a tremendous way to make otherwise difficult concepts more meaningful.

When I’m not tutoring I like to spend my time learning R (to further explore baseball-related ideas), reading comic books and non-graphic books, cooking from scratch (including making my own chili powder, kimchi, pickles, tortillas, and so on), and occasionally annoying my neighbors with bad guitar strumming.

Subjects Tutored

SAT
ACT
PSAT
SAT Subject Math2
SAT Subject Literature
Academic Algebra 1
Academic Geometry
Academic Algebra 2
Academic Statistics
AP Statistics

Offices Served

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