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I originally majored in history and minored in astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, before becoming a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, where I researched the history of modern astronomy. I ultimately decided to switch fields and obtained a second bachelor's degree in physics and astrophysics (double-major) at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I most recently worked on detector development (hardware) at the Space Sciences Lab associated with UC Berkeley and am now wrapping up some previous research with my group in Colorado at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Astronomy.
In addition to formal training in education gained through coursework, I have more than a decade of experience tutoring a number of levels of math and science to both groups and individuals and years of experience tutoring subjects related to the humanities. I have designed curricula for several math courses, ranging from algebra to calculus, and a number of astronomy-related courses specifically targeting younger students. I also have experience working with pre-written curricula provided to me by supervising organizations, such as Mad Science (in case you're familiar with the program).
Over the years I've worked with an extremely broad group of students, including students with various learning disabilities and certified geniuses. I am a firm believer in highly individualized instruction based around a student's particular needs and situation, and I always attempt to make the learning experience an enjoyable one!
That said, I strongly prefer to meet with students once or twice for one to two hours at a time. I often find that, if a student is struggling with a certain subject, an hour is generally not sufficient to fully explain a concept, and less than two meetings a week doesn't always allow that concept to really be absorbed by a student. I also don't like my students to burn out or feel exhausted as a result of working with me, so I almost always end my lessons after we've worked together for two hours and rarely meet with a student more than three times in a week so that they can comfortably absorb the material without unnecessary pressure, stress, and work.
My tutoring shows clear results, and my general, overarching goal is to make my students confident and independent enough to eventually proofread and correct their own work. Almost every student I've worked with for at least two months has been able to raise their grade in a course by at least two letter grades, and many of my AP students, regardless of their overall grade in the class, have been able to obtain a 4 or 5 on the associated exam. On several occasions I've helped both individuals and groups learn at least a full semester's worth of material before an exam (they all passed, even in cases where some were failing at the time), so I'm also pretty experienced with exam triage if that's your priority.
As an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz my focus in history was United States history. My areas of research were bottom-up history (I enjoy Howard Zinn's writing), telecommunication and broadcasting, and the history of science. I despise simply memorizing dates and figures, and I love discussing history within a memorable context. I also attempt to make learning about history enjoyable (there are some very entertaining figures and events in our nation's history!).
I spent several months teaching week-long, intensive astronomy and astrophysics classes to children between the ages of five and twelve. I have also worked as an astronomy tutor for several introductory college courses, primarily performing examination preparation.
I have performed undergraduate advising for students at a number of universities around the United States and advising for high school students on a number of different subjects (primarily getting into and paying for college), and I continue to provide educational and career advice to a number of individuals in many different fields.
I've personally designed college graduation schedules for more than fifty students at more than twenty colleges and universities throughout the country and have years of experience making recommendations on where my students should consider going to school and preparing them for the process.
I recently prepared a student for the HSPT, meeting once a week for roughly two months. Initially, while taking diagnostic tests, she was scoring 30% on math and 70% on the other sections. After our time together I had her take a timed practice exam to make sure that she was ready for the test, and she scored a 98%. We weren't able to view her final results on the actual HSPT, but my student was accepted to every high school she applied to, so her family and I are all pretty sure she performed well (we're also all looking forward to the results of her upcoming math placement exam at the new school).
I spent a year working at a public elementary school through an educational program associated with my honors program at UC Santa Cruz, primarily assisting fifth graders (many of which were ELD students) and kindergartners with basic math and reading comprehension. I also have several years of experience teaching different scientific concepts to children between the ages of four and twelve years old.
Most recently I worked with a high school senior enrolled in a physics course with students of different mathematical backgrounds (making it difficult for him to keep up with the more mathematically advanced students). After six sessions with me my student went from failing a number of quizzes and exams in the class to receiving a 29/30 and 19/20 on his most recent quizzes, raising his overall course grade to an A.
The majority of my experience in tutoring physics has occurred during intensive examination preparation group sessions. To be more specific, as an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz, I would often receive frantic phone calls from a friend or group of friends who had failed an exam and/or quiz and were attempting to increase their understanding and performance enough to ace an upcoming exam (to compensate for their previous performance). Depending on the size of the group, to my knowledge, almost all of my students (in the least) received a passing grade on the exam and frequently were able to raise their cumulative grade in the class.
I also spent approximately a year occasionally assisting one of my high school mock trial students with his physics homework. His dyslexia made completing relatively long problems difficult, so we primarily worked on a strategy that would allow him to arrive at the correct solution.
I spent most of the previous school year working with a 7th grader to raise her overall grade in prealgebra from a C. After approximately two months of tutoring, she began receiving A's on her exams, and, by the end of the year, she was able to raise her cumulative grade to an A-. Because of my proven results in this area, I am very confident that I can be of assistance.
I've had several precalculus students over the past few years, and I have proven results, evident in their cumulative grades. One of my current students went from receiving two consecutive F's on his quizzes to an A on a quiz covering material that we discussed during our first session.
I spent roughly four years coaching high school mock trial and one year coaching college mock trial. I have also competed in quiz bowl competitions on television and have years of experience performing public speaking in a number of different settings, ranging from career panels to scientific outreach.
I have years of experience working with students with a number of disabilities, including ADHD, Autism, and dyslexia, and I've learned how to deal with these students through a variety of techniques. I have also worked with a certified "genius" student and a number of other high-functioning individuals and have spent time researching their specific needs, although these needs (for all of my students) obviously vary depending on the student.
Great, Great Find — Helen teaches with great enthusiasm and is able to approach physics questions in so many different ways. She has been tutoring my son in high school physics for several weeks, but we saw a 3 letter increase in his grade after the first visit! Helen brings a high level of professionalism to each lesson and I highly recommend her. Five star tutor! ...
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