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As far as my educational background is concerned, I received a B.S. in Physics and a B.S. in Mathematics with a minor in Spanish from Northern Arizona University in 2004 and my final GPA was a 4.0. While there I received such awards as the Senior Slipher Scholar, the Hooper Undergraduate Research Award, and the Chair's Scholar. Later, I earned an M.S. in Physics and finally a Ph.D. in Physics from Georgia Tech in 2013 with a GPA of 3.8. I won two travel grants to attend conferences in order to present my research and also received the Chair's Fellowship and a Thank a Teacher award.
So, after cooking in restaurants in Arizona for a couple of years, I finally realized that Physics was my true passion and decided to go back to school. I started out at Yavapai College and, outside of classes and homework, I spent most of my time on campus running the tutoring lab. I tutored a wide variety of subjects and held weekly group sessions at the whiteboard. Later, at Northern Arizona University, I worked at the Learning Resource Center tutoring all levels of Math, Physics, and Spanish, as well as several other subjects. I also took various tutoring certification courses while employed there and worked my way up to the highest level of certification before I graduated. At Georgia Tech, I started out working for a few semesters in the Physics tutoring lab. As a Graduate Teaching Assistant, I held weekly group sessions in my office helping students to understand the concepts and to learn how to apply them to solve problems.
As far as my teaching philosophy is concerned, I think it is important not to overthink things and take them too seriously, but it is also important to focus and not to get sidetracked. I find this to be true both for the tutor as well as the student. I think the student should come well-prepared to a tutoring session and already have specific questions and/or concepts they might be confused about. In my experience, everything runs more efficiently this way. On my end, I try to balance (especially with Math and Physics) teaching a concept both visually as well as through equations and logical reasoning. This is also my approach in demonstrating how to solve problems. Finally, the student should also work problems on their own during the sessions so that they are more confident when attempting the homework by themselves.
I took AP Calculus in high school and scored a 5 on the AP exam, which is the highest score possible. Because of this I was able to skip Calculus I and II in college and went straight to Calculus III where I got the highest score in the class on all my exams. As a Physics major as well as a graduate student in Physics, we used Calculus on a daily basis to solve Physics problems. I have tutored this subject extensively both privately as well as for the two universities I attended and have had much success in improving students' grades in all of Calculus I, II, and III.
As a physicist, I have to solve differential equations all the time. In fact, that is the majority of what physics is -- using the tools developed over the past few centuries by mathematicians to solve/gain insight into physical problems in order to better understand how the universe works. I've tutored countless students at Northern Arizona University in this subject while working for the Learning Assistance Center. And at Georgia Tech, while working on my Ph.D., I have tutored several students privately in this subject as well. Whether it be Ordinary Differential Equations or Partial Differential Equations, I have many years of experience tutoring both.
I took this course as an undergraduate at NAU and earned the highest grade in the class (a high A). I also tutored numerous students in this subject while working as a tutor in the Learning Center at NAU. And at Georgia Tech, I tutored several students privately in this subject as well.
Physics is definitely the subject that I am most qualified to tutor. I have been interested in Physics for as long as I can remember. I took AP Physics in high school and scored a 5 on the AP exam. I have a B.S. in Physics with a 4.0 GPA, an M.S. in Physics, and recently I earned a Ph.D. in Physics. I have tutored and taught this subject off and on for over 13 years and plan to continue teaching this subject well into the future.
Calculus as well as Physics are the two subjects that I am strongest in. I have tutored these two subjects and used them in my academic career more than any of the other subjects on this list. So, I don't feel arrogant in saying that my foundations in Calculus are very strong. Precalculus is precisely that -- it is a subject which lays the foundation in order to prepare a student to do well later on in Calculus.
In middle school and high school I took Spanish I, II, III, and IV. In my senior year I took AP Spanish and scored a 5 on the AP exam, which is the highest score possible. Before enrolling at Northern Arizona University, I spent 6 months travelling around Costa Rica during which time I became quite fluent. At the university level, I have taken all sorts of Spanish grammar, oral, composition, and linguistic courses with a 4.0 GPA. I was only two classes away from getting a Bachelor's in Spanish but decided to go ahead and graduate so I could pursue my Ph.D. in Physics at Georgia Tech. I have tutored numerous students at both the high school and the college level and I feel that, besides English, it is the most useful language to know.
I have used Trigonometry so much over the course of my academic career that I don't even really think about it any more (kind of like walking). I have used it to solve problems in Geometry, Calculus, Differential Equations, Engineering problems, Physics, etc. I don't like the way it's normally taught though. Hardly any memorization is required and most textbooks fail to show that almost everything in trig can be derived from a few basic principles. I have tutored this subject for many years from this perspective and have had quite a lot of success in improving students' grades.
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