I'm currently completing my doctoral dissertation on a religious group operating inside the United States. Part of my research involved taking courses on American History, as well as archival and library studies of my own. These included studying the historical, political, social, economic, and of course, religious, background and institutions of American culture and society.
I hold a BA in anthropology/archaeology from the University at Buffalo, an MA in Anthropology from San Diego State University, and am currently in my third year of a PhD in socio-cultural anthropology from Oxford University. I have several years of fieldwork experience in Mexico as an ethnographer and in the US as a contract archaeologist.
I have extensive experience in English grammar, vocabulary, and literary devices. I've been writing essays, papers, and theses over the course of my entire college career in anthropology. Advancing to the point of my doctoral dissertation for the University of Oxford would have been impossible without a command of the English language and how to write professionally in an academic setting, as well as adapting it for presentations to general audiences. I also manage my own blog, where my writing style is in the first person and employs a wider range of writing styles than in an academic context. Early in my college career, I was offered a course in tutoring English by an English professor at ECC in western New York. I consider writing to be art form, and have a deep and abiding interest in etymology, parts of speech, and the structure of words themselves.
I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of political and human geography. In high school, I accepted an extra credit project to redraw the borders of countries after the fall of the Soviet Union. As a result, I now know the positions, climate, terrain, and demographics of nearly every nation on Earth. I enjoy looking up random facts and landmarks about any country, state, or province, and I like to travel with just a map and compass (no GPS!)
A firm command of grammar rules and applications is a necessary condition for advancing in academia. I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation for the University of Oxford, which is is some respects the epicenter and authority for English grammar. Excelling in my studies, both at Oxford and at previous universities for my AA, BA, and MA, degrees, would have been impossible without a solid grasp of grammar rules and techniques. Achieving this involved a combination of focused reading, a lot of writing, and frequent corrections and advice from teachers, professors, and advisors over the years.
I proofread everything, from text messages to news stories to billboards and refrigerator notes. I do this because the last ten years of my life have been dominated by a continuous sequence of reading and writing for several university courses, projects, exams, and other assignments. I also worked for a time with a tutoring center in San Diego, and part of my duties was to both proofread student papers and to ensure that the students understood why the corrections were made.
Reading, and in particular critical reading, is a vital part of anthropology, a field I have been training in for nearly a decade. The bibliography for my dissertation, for example, covers over 172 articles and books I read, dissected, and referenced in order to give my research its theoretical and ethnographic foundations and structure. I'm well versed in reading dense scientific and philosophical material, and weighing their relative strengths and weaknesses in terms of specific and general research questions. I'm also an avid reader of science fiction and non-fiction, and consider my collection of books to be my prime asset. Reading always should involve understanding both what is explicitly said and what is tacitly implied; the spaces between the lines are just as important for a proficient reading of any written work, as well as for capturing the tone and mood of the author and the social climate that existed when the work was written.
I have over two years experience tutoring the reading section of the SAT. I'm also currently a postgraduate in anthropology: a discipline that measures expertise in terms of aptitude for critical thinking, reading, and comprehension. All three are crucial to performing well on the reading and writing sections of the SAT, and I would not have gotten as far along in my studies without being proficient in them.
I write for a living. I have been continuously enrolled in university for ten years, and am currently completing my doctoral dissertation for the University of Oxford. I study anthropology, which relies as much on writing as it does on fieldwork and theory. I also manage a blog, where I employ several types of writing styles, including satire and first person perspective. SAT writing prompts often ask the student to develop a point of view on various topics. I do this myself in both academia and on my blog. My writing is thus nearly always structured to analyze arguments and take a reasoned and informed stance on them. I also worked for a time at a tutoring center in San Diego, and often assisted students in preparing for the writing portion of the SAT.
Success in my academic career has been dependent upon a firm grasp of the English language. My readings and written works over the past decade were comprehensible only to the extent I was able to both digest and utilize a large vocabulary. Vocabulary is more than just knowing words; it's knowing exactly when and how to use them. Context is everything, especially in standardized testing where sentence completion tasks feature prominently. I have two years experience tutoring the verbal SAT/PSAT and essay writing sections, and favor using recall-enhancing methods related to word stems, prefixes, and so on, than more traditional memorization techniques.
I am a big-time history buff. I started my academic career studying Mediterranean and Mesoamerican archaeology and ancient history, but in later years I have mainly been studying contemporary Latin American and U.S. history, especially in areas related to culture contact, colonialism, modernization, and the two world wars. When I have free time, I enjoy reading mythologies of different cultures and times, and I'm particularly well-versed in biblical narratives and Roman mythology.