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Sean M.

Berkeley, CA

$70/hour

Berkeley Computational Neuroscience PhD Student (CS, Phys, Chem, Math)

600+ Hours
Background check passed as of 9/18/11
4.9 average from 248 ratings
Devoted and Dedicated
— Lisa, Mc Lean, VA on 6/19/12

$70/Hour


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Northwestern University
Chemistry
George Mason University
Master's
University of California, Berkeley
Enrolled

Education

Northwestern University (Chemistry)

George Mason University (Master's)

University of California, Berkeley (Enrolled)

About Sean

Hello prospective student! I'm a 30-year-old PhD candidate in computational neuroscience at UC Berkeley. My other credentials include a BA in chemistry from Northwestern University, a Certificate of Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from International House Krakow, and an MS in computational biology from George Mason University. I taught English in Poland and South Korea for two years, and have seven years and ~1500 hours of experience tutoring science and math at the high school and undergraduate level.

I know how school is. I've spent plenty of time in the roles of both student and teacher. There are serious issues with the way our education system both motivates and tests students. All too often, the time and grade pressures of school stunt exploration and incentivize the memorization of the exact procedures needed to succeed on exams-- i.e. school implicitly "teaches to the test". The students that get sucked into this trap are missing out intellectually, but there are also serious consequences for their future grades. If a student is unable to apply concepts from algebra and calculus outside of the limited context of math textbook exercises, she will have a *very* difficult time with high school and college-level physics and chemistry.

I live in reality and know that most students are not going to be scientists. My first priority is to ensure students do well on their exams, because high grades are the ticket to a good university. However, I also try to instill in my students the intellectual motor necessary to develop deep understanding. They must learn how to teach themselves. Concretely, this means I constantly ask questions to check understanding and select difficult problems that force them to apply concepts in multiple contexts. My hope is that they will internalize my role and learn how to continually evaluate and improve their own understanding.

This tutoring philosophy and methodology is complemented by years of experience teaching difficult students. In Poland, I taught ESL to busy and tired adults at Motorola Krakow and other Krakovian businesses. In South Korea, for one and a half years I gave private lessons to a few adults while teaching full-time at a private English school for kids of age 6-15. In both cases, many of my students were... less than motivated. The Korean kids had been raised on a steady diet of rookie, 20-something foreign English teachers from a young age. They knew *exactly* how to exploit the weaknesses of this species, and were typically more interested in drawing cartoons, cell phone games, and wrestling each other than they were in learning English.

These experiences taught me to grab my students' attention and hold on like a friendly pit bull. Over the last seven years I have applied it in a 1-on-1 setting here in the USA. While living in the Washington DC area (2010-2013) and obtaining the necessary academic credentials and research experience for a transition from chemistry to computational neuroscience, I worked with over 50 students tutoring the full gamut of high school science and math courses. I came to Berkeley in 2013 to begin a PhD program at the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience. My daily work keeps me sharp in the core mathematical and programming skills needed to be an effective tutor. I've also expanded my teaching experience here as a Graduate Student Instructor in two neuroscience courses (Systems Neuroscience, Drugs and the Brain) and a tutor for challenging Berkeley CS and Chemistry undergraduate courses. The specific curricula I have tutored include AP physics (all levels), AP chemistry, AP calculus (all levels), AP statistics, Berkeley CS 61A (Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs) Berkeley CS61B (Data Structures), Berkeley Data8 (Foundations of Data Science), and others.

I tutor only on campus or in the adjacent areas of Berkeley (downtown, Telegraph, northside). My tutoring schedule is very flexible. Thank you for your consideration!
Hello prospective student! I'm a 30-year-old PhD candidate in computational neuroscience at UC Berkeley. My other credentials include a BA in chemistry from Northwestern University, a Certificate of Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) from International House Krakow, and an MS in computational biology from George Mason University. I taught English Read more

Policies
Cancellation
6 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 1 miles of Berkeley, CA 94704
Background Check: Passed

"Devoted and Dedicated"

- Lisa, Mc Lean, VA on 6/19/12

"An hour well spent"

- Heidi, Oakland, CA on 10/20/16

"Adept and Skilled at Tutoring Calculus"

- Brian, Berkeley, CA on 9/30/15

"Highly recommended. Better teacher than the teacher!"

- Alison, Mc Lean, VA on 4/30/13

"Great Tutor!"

- Noemi, Mc Lean, VA on 11/19/12

"Great Tutor"

- Catherine, Mc Lean, VA on 9/3/12

"Great tutor for tough subjects"

- Laurie, Vienna, VA on 6/17/12

"Great tutor! Wish we found him earlier!"

- Gale, Mc Lean, VA on 6/17/11

"Great tutor"

- Casey, Great Falls, VA on 5/18/11

"EXCELLENT"

- Peter, Vienna, VA on 12/15/10
Science:
Chemistry,
Physics

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Calculus

I am one of the few people lucky enough to actually use my high-school calculus education in daily work -- computational neuroscience models are built on it! I have also been tutoring AP and college-level calculus for 7 years. I can help with a calculus curriculum up through multivariable ("Calc 3"), as well as differential equations.

Chemistry

"Chemistry is your baby, right?" This question was once asked to me by a student's mother-- she'd overheard a tutoring session. Being next door to the main chemistry building at UC Berkeley, I'd be embarrassed to lay claim to this particular baby. Nonetheless, I did major in the subject and I have spent 100+ hours tutoring AP and first-year college chemistry over the past 7 years. I know the fundamentals and elementary curricula very well. If you are struggling in any level of chemistry up through organic, I can help you out.

Computer Science

I code every day: neural network algorithms, web applications (for analysis/visualization of neuroscience data), and one-off scripts for all kinds of data manipulation tasks. I am most proficient in Ruby and Python, but I have experience in Julia, Javascript, Java, LISP, Perl, Vimscript, and C. I have tutored students in both AP CS and in UC Berkeley's challenging first and second year core CS courses (CS61A/B). I can provide assistance with these or related courses, as well as standalone instruction in coding basics (control-flow, syntax, etc), databases (MySQL, SQLite), object-oriented programming concepts, and data science / numerical programming.

Geometry

Geometry has perhaps the most varying curriculum across all high school math courses. Proofs and constructions make up the core of some geometry curricula but are nearly absent from others. This can make finding a tutor difficult, since a particular geometry course might include niche subjects that are not a large part of future standard math education. Over 7 years of general science and math tutoring, I have instructed students in many geometry courses. I know what to expect and can help with any high school geometry course.

Physics

I have tutored many students in AP physics over the past seven years. In addition to this direct experience, my day-to-day use of math in computational neuroscience (a favorite field of "refugee physicists") keeps me fresh in the requisite mathematical skills. I can help with any physics class up through a first-year calculus-based college course.

Python

I have implemented many systems in Python: machine learning algorithms, data processing pipelines, data munging scripts, parallelized algorithms for clusters, and command line applications. Most of this work has been in the context of my research, since Python is a kind of community standard in computational neuroscience. I have also tutored students in UC Berkeley's challenging Python-based introductory CS course (CS61A: Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs).

Ruby

I have been coding in Ruby for the past 8 years. It is my favorite language. I use it on a daily basis for various data processing tasks in my work as a computational neuroscience researcher. In addition to many scripts, I have written several larger libraries including a graph database interface, an extension to the popular testing library RSpec, and a parser for formal algebras. I know the language thoroughly and can help students with virtually any Ruby-related topic.

Northwestern University
Chemistry
George Mason University
Master's
University of California, Berkeley
Enrolled

Education

Northwestern University (Chemistry)

George Mason University (Master's)

University of California, Berkeley (Enrolled)

Devoted and Dedicated

Sean has provided tutoring services to our children for the last two years in both advanced math and AP science subjects. Our only regret is that we didn't find him sooner! He always arrived right on time and got right to work. Teaching is his gift; he has the ability to take complex AP science material and complicated math problems and explain them in a way that makes sense and enables his stude

— Lisa, Mc Lean, VA on 6/19/12

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $70.00

Cancellation: 6 hours notice required

Travel policy

Sean will travel within 1 miles of Berkeley, CA 94704.