Sophia Brakeman

Academic Tutor


Ever since Harry Potter effectively taught me to read (as my mom describes it), I thought that my love for words and desire to understand how the world works would lead me to a career in the humanities. However, having an AP Biology teacher as a mother and a doctor as a father lead me in a different direction. I realized that, for me, the most satisfying way to understand the world is by looking at it through a biological and intrapersonal lens. I found it fascinating to understand the evolutionary forces that prompt us to love butter or partnership with others, as well as the processes that occur when our biological systems are affected by our environment. Thus, after a lifetime in the Bay Area, I moved to LA and graduated from UCLA as a human biology & society and psychology double major.

At UCLA, I discovered that I enjoyed going home to my roommates and teaching them about the cool facts I learned in class. I enjoyed breaking down compelling ideas into versions that my roommates (none of them STEM majors) would understand, appreciate, and find interesting themselves. Although they may not have considered themselves “science people,” I believe that when information is presented in a digestible, personalized way it is possible for anyone to appreciate knowledge from a discipline or perspective different from their own. This belief was exemplified by my experiences as a volunteer tutor for children in under-funded areas of LA and for children of healthcare workers during the pandemic: I recognize that oftentimes one-on-one, customized educational support is crucial for fostering a love for learning and deeper understanding of material.

As a high school and UCLA club sports athlete, I understand that there are many factors that get in the way of students reaching their full academic potential. These factors include difficulty executing beneficial study skills after an exhausting practice or a simple lack of interest in the material. However, as a tutor, I help teach organizational skills and delve deeper into topics to relate them to concepts a student does find interesting in order to create meaning for the student. For example, we might explore how cellular repair mechanisms are underway when tanning at the beach or how we resonate with J. D. Salinger’s protagonist’s propensity for rebellion. With this process, students become more engaged and simultaneously practice their critical thinking skills, which are crucial in all academic arenas.

When I’m not tutoring, I love to spend time outside, be it by playing spikeball with friends, hiking, camping, or reading a book in a hammock.

Subjects Tutored:

Academic English
Academic Biology
Academic K-8
AP Biology
AP English Language and Composition
AP English Literature and Composition

Locations:

Happy Parents and Students

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