Over 50 tutoring hours

Sam M.

Santa Cruz, CA


Learn biology with an experienced naturalist.

Replies in 2 days
Background check passed as of 10/12/12
4.6 Avg. Rating
24 Ratings
2 days Response Time
Wonderful tutor that is very knowledgeable about science
— Cory, San Mateo, CA on 12/20/12

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U.C. Santa Barbara
San Francisco State University (SFSU)


U.C. Santa Barbara (Biology)

San Francisco State University (SFSU) (Master's)

About Sam

Hi, I'm Sam! I'm a naturalist with broad and in-depth understanding of the natural world. I have a master's in Conservation Biology from San Francisco State University and graduated with High Honors from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Biology and a minor in geology. I've worked in several diverse field and lab positions, from marine biology to tropical entomology. I have taught college courses in Ecology and Introductory Biology, tutored high school biology students, given presentations to elementary school students, and led field trips to a variety of museums and natural spaces. In short, I love biology, and I love sharing my excitement with others.

In teaching I stress the importance of fundamental concepts as the core of biological understanding. Whether at the high school or college level, a biology student should become fluent in the basic 'language' of biology: from the process of cell division to the major groups of organisms that live on this planet. I can make learning these concepts fun.

Knowledge Strengths:
- Scientific literacy (e.g. Latin names, terminology, memorization techniques)
- Scientific and general writing (tone, style, grammar, etc.)
- Introductory Biology (the basics: genetics, cell biology, development, anatomy, evolution, biodiversity)
- Zoology (all major groups of animals)
- Ecology
- Paleontology

Research History
- Endangered Snake Research in the Central Valley
- Rare Trout Restoration
- Amphibian Conservation in the Sierra Nevada
- Insect Diversity in the Hawaiian Islands
- Fisheries Biology in Monterey Bay
- Marine Biology in the Santa Barbara Channel
Hi, I'm Sam! I'm a naturalist with broad and in-depth understanding of the natural world. I have a master's in Conservation Biology from San Francisco State University and graduated with High Honors from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Read more

20 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 20 miles of Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Background Check: Passed

"Wonderful tutor that is very knowledgeable about science"

- Cory, San Mateo, CA on 12/20/12

"Great tutor"

- Sasha, San Francisco, CA on 2/23/12
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Prealgebra
English, Grammar, Proofreading, Reading, Vocabulary, Writing
Anatomy, Biology,
General Computer, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Word
Elementary Education:
Elementary (K-6th), Elementary Science, Grammar, Reading, Spelling, Vocabulary
Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Biology,
Elementary (K-6th), English, Prealgebra, Reading, Writing
Corporate Training:
General Computer, Grammar, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Proofreading

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.


Biology is my passion and profession. As a biology major at U.C. Santa Barbara I studied everything from genetics and development to ecology and paleontology. I graduated with High Honors in 2006, and have since worked in a variety of ecosystems, gaining first hand familiarity with a wide range of topics. I have taught college lab sections in ecology and organismal diversity. I have a knack for remembering the obscure or cumbersome terminology that is key to fully grasping scientific concepts.


I have taught undergraduate lab and field sections of Ecology at SFSU, and all of my research positions have dealt with ecology on some scale, from insect diversity in Hawaii to amphibian diseases in California.


In addition to introductory genetics, development, and cell biology, I've taken advanced, graduate level courses in population genetics, developmental biology, phylogenetic analysis, and evolutionary biology. I am quite familiar with the molecular basis of inheritance, as well as the tools and methods used to study DNA, and I stay current with many new discoveries in the field through seminars and scientific literature.


I've been writing creative stories since elementary school, and I wrote for my High School newspaper. I have since written peer-reviewed, published scientific articles. I have a strong understanding of clear, well-organized writing, and how to develop a sense of style. I recently proofread over 100 short essays from college students; returning them with corrections and suggestions for clear, concise writing.


Throughout my collegiate and professional career I have extensively studied animal biology (i.e. zoology). Animals are my true passion. I am currently working on my Masters research in conservation biology at SF State University, where I perform field and lab work on amphibians involving routine dissections, animal handling, and wildlife surveys.

My teaching experience includes:

* Graduate Teaching Associate at San Francisco State University (2009-Present)
where I have guided activities in animal diversity and evolution, led field trips to zoos and museums, and prepared new supplementary teaching material for Introductory Biology and Concepts in Biology.
* Leading undergraduates on a Sierra Nevada field research trip last summer, introducing them to current field and lab research as well as natural history, with an emphasis on amphibians.
* Leading 1st-3rd grade students on a science field trip to San Francisco State University.

My zoological research history includes:

* Research Assistant at UC Berkeley: Capturing lizards and mammals for wildlife disease studies.
* Internship with National Marine Fisheries Service: Identifying and dissecting coastal marine fishes, and co-authoring a paper on fish biology.
* Internship with U.S. Geological Survey in Hawaii: collecting, identifying, and preserving native and introduced insects.

My Upper-Division College Courses in Zoology include:

* Ichthyology (Biology of Fishes)
* Invertebrate Zoology I (Lower Invertebrates)
* Invertebrate Zoology II (Arthropods and Annelids)
* Herpetology (Biology of Reptiles and Amphibians)
* Terrestrial Vertebrate Zoology (Emphasis on birds and mammals)
* Parasitology- Biology and diversity of parasites
* Deep Sea Biology
* Vertebrate Paleontology
* Developmental Biology
* Ecological Physiology
* Macroevolution (Biodiversity in Deep Time)
* Ethology and Behavioral Ecology

U.C. Santa Barbara
San Francisco State University (SFSU)


U.C. Santa Barbara (Biology)

San Francisco State University (SFSU) (Master's)

Wonderful tutor that is very knowledgeable about science — Sam was my tutor for zoology, he was very knowledgeable about the subject and was very insightful on ways to help me memorize specific traits about specific phyla. He made my understanding of zoology go from a low "C" level to a mid "B" level in about a month. He is flexible with scheduling and is great at explaining biology. To anyone struggling with biology, I recommend Sam to be your tutor. ...

— Cory, San Mateo, CA on 12/20/12

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $40.00

Cancellation: 20 hours notice required

Travel policy

Sam will travel within 20 miles of Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Background Check Status for Sam M.

Sam M. passed a background check on 10/12/12. The check was ordered by another user through First Advantage. For more information, please review the background check information page.

After sending a message to Sam, you will be able to order a new background check for $7.99. As part of your tutor selection process, we encourage you to run updated background checks. Please also review the safety tips for hiring tutors.