Berkeley Computational Neuroscience PhD Student (CS, Phys, Chem, Math)
Berkeley Computational Neuroscience PhD Student (CS, Phys, Chem, Math)
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...
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!
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 students to not only grasp the concepts but really understand them. His devotion and dedication to helping his students goes above and beyond the hourly tutoring sessions. He was available to his students 24/7 by email and would always take the time to give a reply. He once even dedicated his own time to type out the step by step solutions to a few AP Chemistry review problems that seemed to be particularly troublesome. He was willing to offer his help, even remotely if necessary, if he thought it would help to better prepare them for the classroom. If his schedule permitted he was always willing to extend a tutoring session or even add on an additional session if my children asked him or if they thought it would be helpful to them. Sean is a great communicator and very approachable, not only to his students but to their parents too. I always felt that I could send him a quick email for any questions, comments or concerns and he would get right back to me. He has been a pleasure to work with and we will continue to use his skills and talents in the future if necessary. Helping others succeed seems to be his passion and his talent, but he is also a very kind, nice, responsible young man too.Lisa, 56 lessons with Sean
An hour well spent
My son struggles with math and dreads having to study it. The best recommendation we could make about Sean is after the lesson my son said "That didn't feel like an hour". That is a huge compliment from someone who dreads every minute studying Math. We will be going back for more tutoring.Heidi, 6 lessons with Sean
Adept and Skilled at Tutoring Calculus
Sean is an above par tutor of calculus and a pleasure to receive instruction from. He is also always responsive and professional. A fantastic tutor in all regards.Brian, 2 lessons with Sean
Highly recommended. Better teacher than the teacher!
We can't say enough positive things about Sean. Really. He is a natural teacher: very down-to-earth and easy for students to talk to, but keeps lessons focused on what he knows the student will need to demonstrate in a class situation to show mastery of a given topic. Sean takes time each week to re-assess any learning gaps so that our son keeps up in class. Through his knowledge of the subject and ability to figure out how to explain material in a way that our son will best understand it, he has earned real trust and respect as a teacher. Previously, our son would do ANYTHING to get out of tutoring sessions with other tutors. But for Sean, he voluntarily re-arranges his weekend plans, to make sure nothing conflicts with Sean's visit.Alison, 10 lessons with Sean
Sean is a great teacher! Absolutely recommendable! He works very good with my son in Precalculus honors. Very patient and respectful!Noemi, 6 lessons with Sean
Very personable. My son connected with him and he explained things clearly and concisely. Would use again if need be.Catherine, 3 lessons with Sean
Great tutor for tough subjects
Over the past year Sean has tutored my son (a HS senior) and daughter (a HS junior) when they needed help with pre-calculus, calculus, chemistry, and/or AP Physics. Sean is a nice young man. He has the ability to communicate well with teenagers and knows how to help them with advanced math and science classes. It wasn't easy to find a good tutor for these advanced subjects. We looked no further once we found Sean. Highly recommended.Laurie, 41 lessons with Sean
Great tutor! Wish we found him earlier!
Sean tutored my daughter in AP Chem - a class she was struggling in from day one. Unfortunately, we waited until the last few months of the year before finding her a tutor. Wish we had started earlier. In a few sessions, Sean was able to explain complicated subjects to her in a manner that she understood. He is very busy and it was, at times, difficult to find an available time that worked for both of them.Gale, 20 lessons with Sean
Sean was a really great tutor, very patient and helpful and explained things to me in a way I could finally understand. He really helped me improve my grade.Casey, 2 lessons with Sean
My daughter has had several math tutors over the years. She said, "I wish all tutors were that good." Sean is a gem and is EXCELLENT!!!Peter, 2 lessons with Sean
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