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In 2011 I earned my PhD in the interdisciplinary field of International Studies. I am a historian in my interest, a political scientist in my approach, a writing and study skills aficionado in the classroom, and an artist in my spare time. I enjoy giving the gift of learning in as many fields and ways as possible to my students so that they can succeed in whatever professional path they may choose.
Here's a bit more detail about my academic background:
As I mentioned, my academic background is in International Relations/International Studies (MA 2004 and PhD 2011).
-I have taught domestically and internationally in my field for four years (in Colorado and Germany), with an emphasis on social scientific and historical research methods. My goal in the classroom was always to give students the tools to engage with the field themselves so that when they finish the course, they will not just remember content details, but they will know how to continue pursuing learning about the subject.
-I worked as a professional writing consultant and editor at the University of Denver for three years, which added to the two years I worked as a writing tutor during my BA and MA programs. In that capacity, I worked with over a hundred students individually to hone their academic and professional writing skills; examples of work included grant applications, course papers, cover letters and resumes and dissertations. I also was trained to work with students with different learning styles and/or disabilities, so I will always adapt a learning approach to a student's needs.
-I am well-versed in college admissions processes: My interdisciplinary background makes me particularly well prepared and sympathetic towards those students preparing for a liberal arts education. Having taught at the college level for several years, and having written references for college admissions officers, I am familiar with what colleges look for in applications and in college coursework. In addition to my work experience in education, I have also been a volunteer career mentor and admissions interviewer for my alma mater, Oberlin College, since I graduated in 2001.
-I have taught students of all ages and backgrounds: I taught students with learning disabilities at the University of Denver; I taught middle school students and teachers in multiple summer programs; I had many non-traditional students with families and full-time jobs in my classes; and I have taught native and non-native English speakers.
I have taught for four years in higher education (political science and international relations) and also worked as an academic writing consultant for three years. I have also served as a career mentor and volunteer admissions interviewer for prospective students to my alma mater, Oberlin College. Between these three contexts, I have worked with a broad cross-section of students at public universities (University of Colorado at Denver, for example), liberal arts schools (e.g. Colorado College, University of Denver), and internationally (the University of Tuebingen, Germany). This gives me breadth in my understanding of academic cultures and expectations, which are both important for students applying to college to consider. In interviewing students for Oberlin, and also advising current students about college and career paths, I always ask students about the kind of learning environment they value, and help them learn about the institutional culture of the places they are applying to. When your values and an institutions parallel one another, then it is likely a good fit; so I work with students to demonstrate that there is a good match between them and a school to maximize chances of acceptance.
I am a pastel artist who teaches at Fremont Abbey for the Arts. My classes are for everyone- whether they consider themselves artists already or not. I focus on developing artistic techniques by paying attention to the senses, the imagination, and individual learning styles. For example, a more kinesthetic learner may benefit from walking (or running!) around before drawing, and then imagining how to capture their movement on the page they are working on with different lines, colors, etc.
My second field in my PhD was political theory, which included the study of philosophy of the political world. I tend to always include primary source philosophical texts in history and politics courses I teach. My strength is ancient to medieval political theory because of my dissertation research.
I have experience presenting at international and domestic conferences in international relations. I also have a background in theater and speech and debate, both of which inform my experience in public speaking. I take a rhetorical approach to teaching public speaking by beginning with a student's clarity of thought in writing, then applying that to a public speaking setting.
My dissertation research is on fifteenth and sixteenth century Europe, which is the period of the Reformation(s), which gives me background in medieval political theology. However, because my PhD will be in International Studies, I also write on applying historical lessons to contemporary questions regarding how religion and politics interact.
In addition to my research training in Christian religious history, I also run a faith-based dispute resolution practice in Seattle, WA. This practice seeks to provide clients with resources to understand how faith and spiritually-based questions affect the way they address interpersonal conflict. I have taken courses in Christian Anthropology and pastoral care, which inform my work as a faith-based mediator.
I was a Social Science and Writing tutor at the Learning Effectiveness Program (LEP) at the University of Denver (1 year). The LEP was an opt-in program for students who had documented learning disabilities and wanted to work regularly with tutors to improve their abilities to master different subjects using good study skills. As a tutor, I was required to attend trainings with counselors who guided us in adapting our teaching techniques to specific learning disabilities. I therefore learned to adopt different strategies (such as using audio and visual materials) as learning aids with students.
After working at the LEP, I transferred my tutoring work over to the Writing and Research Center at the University of Denver for the next three years. This Center worked with the entire university population, so my skills from the LEP allowed me to identify when I needed to adopt different approaches with students with learning disabilities (whether or not they chose to disclose their disability or not). This allowed me to be flexible while respecting students' choices to be open or not about their learning capabilities.
My experience as a writing tutor and a tutor for students with disabilities gave me ample experience with integrating teaching good study skills into interdisciplinary subject matter. I take content-based questions (for example, a question about a text) as opportunities for teaching a study skill (e.g. how to read efficiently, synthesize and understand material.).
I also take a step-by-step approach in assignments, breaking up large tasks into many small ones so that each task can teach a student about how to approach their study. I believe study skills are learned by doing, so I encourage students to try new approaches and redo them if they do not work the first time.
I currently teach Western Civilization at Notre Dame College. Also, in my dissertation I studied the Reformation period (15th-16th century Europe) in the context of international political questions.
I tutored writing at Oberlin College and the University of Denver. In both universities, I tutored a range of levels from undergraduates to Ph.D. students. I also tutored writing in any academic subject, as well as professional writing, including resumes, grants and cover letters. I have also worked as a professional editor for an academic journal, "Human Rights and Human Welfare."
Very patient and does research before the lesson — Sarah was very patient and gave constructive advice during our lessons. She also does her research regarding the topic or subject you are writing on before the lesson. ...
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