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Caitrin E.

Brooksville, ME

$40/hour

Caclulus, Comp Sci, & Physics for visual & hands-on learners

300+ Hours
Background check passed as of 9/13/14
4.9 average from 157 ratings
Very patient, positive and encouraging!
— Angie, Shreveport, LA on 2/7/14

$40/Hour


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Contact Caitrin

Tufts University
Computer Engineering
University of South Florida
PhD

Education

Tufts University (Computer Engineering)

University of South Florida (PhD)

About Caitrin

My teaching philosophy is that most topics are more easily understood with the hands than the ears. I personally learn best through experimentation, design problems, and analytical dialog, and I try to coach students through new or difficult material via these means whenever possible. Equations and proofs can quickly become overwhelming when what they actually mean (in English) hasn't been clearly explained. Once students understand the concepts behind these equations, working with them immediately becomes so much more manageable.

While textbooks and professors usually know what they're talking about, they sometimes are not very good at helping students with different learning styles reach the same understanding. I didn't realize until my twenties that the reason I had to study so much harder than other students in my science and math courses was that my learning style is strongly biased toward the visual and kinesthetic -- exactly the opposite of how math and physics are usually taught. I'm afraid that many people who think they're "just not cut out for science and math" might be suffering from the same condition. As I learned study techniques that suited my learning style, calculus and physics suddenly started to come to me much more easily. And that felt awesome. As a tutor, my primary goal is to help other students have that same experience: the sudden joy of knowing what you're doing. I don't want to lecture at you in the same theory-drenched monotone as your professor or textbook. I want to help you find the best approach to suit your own learning style so that you can learn more effectively on your own.

I think I am most useful as a tutor for those students who seem not to benefit as much as they would like from a traditional dictation-style lesson plan, or who would prefer an approach to calculus that includes what the heck it's actually used for in the first place. I absolutely love to help students dig into science projects of their own choosing, whether for an upcoming science fair or (even better!) just to understand theories that crop up in lectures. For those who enjoy tinkering, there are countless hands-on projects that can illustrate the principles of math and physics beyond the confines of a mind-numbing, soul-crushing textbook. Students and I have run outside and spun in circles to demonstrate rotational and translational transforms, discussed fluid dynamics and calculus in terms of trauma surgeries in the ER, looked at statics and dynamics in terms of the biomechanics of ballet, and worked with trigonometry to optimize a near-earth orbit death ray controller.

I am currently working as a postdoctoral research scientist at UC Irvine. I completed my PhD in Computer Science and Engineering in June 2015 at the University of South Florida, where my research focused on robotics and physics-based simulation. Several years of experience in robotics have helped me gain a deeper understanding of calculus and physics, and taught me what a huge difference context can make when you're studying math-intensive subjects. In addition to a few years of one-on-one tutoring experience, I have taught several undergraduate computer science and engineering classes, and have participated as a mentor in STEM high school outreach programs. I've had a wonderful time working with hundreds of students with diverse backgrounds and learning styles, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in so many "Aha!" moments.

The bottom line: I enjoy science and teaching, and I really look forward to helping others make their own peace with STEM. Thank you for your time and consideration!

Take care,
Caitrin
My teaching philosophy is that most topics are more easily understood with the hands than the ears. I personally learn best through experimentation, design problems, and analytical dialog, and I try to coach students through new or difficult material via these means whenever possible. Equations and proofs can quickly become overwhelming when what Read more

Policies
Cancellation
24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 15 miles of Brooksville, ME 04617
Background Check: Passed

"Very patient, positive and encouraging!"

- Angie, Shreveport, LA on 2/7/14

"Very patient and knowledgeable."

- Aimee, Santa Ana, CA on 12/3/16

"Very Helpful"

- Dalal, Irvine, CA on 10/4/16

"great tutor"

- Jonathan, Cypress, CA on 1/16/16

"Excellent!"

- Christian, Berkeley, CA on 12/9/15

"Very helpful!!"

- Yiting, Irvine, CA on 10/26/15

"Friendly and Down to Earth"

- Miguel, Tustin, CA on 9/28/15

"Great Tutor"

- Kalyan, Tampa, FL on 2/3/15

"Outstanding Tutor with Immediate Results"

- Tom, Lutz, FL on 2/4/14

"Great Tutor!!!"

- Brenda, Tampa, FL on 12/8/13
Math:
ACT Math,
Algebra 1,
Algebra 2, Calculus,
Elementary Math, Geometry, Logic,
Prealgebra, Precalculus, SAT Math,
Trigonometry
Science:
Physics
Test Preparation:
ACT Math,
SAT Math
Elementary Education:
Elementary Math

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.

ACT Math

The key to success in standardized test taking is to recognize the easiest way to get to a solution. Memorizing equations won't be as big a help here as building up a good sense of mathematical intuition. Being given an equation and shown how to solve a problem quickly will only help a student solve that specific problem. I think students benefit much more from a discussion of the different ways in which a problem can be solved, with a look at the pros and cons to each method. I advocate this approach for two reasons. First, there is no worse feeling than not being able to recall a formula that you know would be helpful during a high-stress exam. If you understand why that formula is useful, oftentimes you don't need to memorize it; with a little practice, you can see how the pieces fit together in your problem, and voila! Second, the experience of approaching a problem from different angles helps a student conquer his or her phobia of new problems and learn that math and science really do have room for creative solutions. You do not have to memorize the method with which your middle school or high school teacher first showed you how to solve each specific math problem. Building up a little mathematical intuition leaves you free to tackle new problems efficiently and with much less stress.

Algebra 1

This is one of those subjects that keeps coming in handy long after you're done with the course itself. I relied on a solid grasp of algebra throughout my undergraduate studies in computer engineering. Now, as a roboticist, I can honestly say I'd be lost without it.

C

I received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Tufts University in 2009. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Florida, studying robotics in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. I have used C and C++ for both coursework and research. Most of my recent work with these languages has involved interfacing sensors and motors with microcontrollers for the control of mobile robots.

C++

I received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Tufts University in 2009. I am currently a PhD candidate at the University of South Florida, studying robotics in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. I have used C and C++ for both coursework and research. Most of my recent work with these languages has involved interfacing sensors and motors with microcontrollers for the control of mobile robots.

Calculus

To be clear, I hated calculus in high school. I did my best to memorize the proofs on the blackboard, but they didn't help me truly understand the concepts. It was tinkering with robots that finally revealed to me the beauty and universal utility of calculus. The application of calculus to the design and control of legged robots now constitutes a hefty chunk of my daily routine. This experience has helped me recognize the calculus of things in the real world and to finally understand all of those theorems and equations that had seemed inaccessible before. Seeing calculus in context can make all the difference. Hands-on projects or just plain old doodling can make an equation much more understandable than 20 pages of a textbook ever could. Discussion of the calculus that underlies things in the real world that are already familiar to you can be a great help, as well. You see calculus at work in the world every second of every day! It's actually pretty cool when you learn to recognize it. You can even begin to understand the way things around you work in a whole new way--things like your skateboard, your car, even your own body. (You're chock-full of calculus, whether you like it or not!) The point here is that there are plenty of ways to learn calculus that do not rely entirely upon the mind-numbing, soul-crushing textbook that was forced upon you this semester. If you find yourself less than 100% satisfied with the derivations in the textbook, please know that you are not alone, and that there are MUCH less painful ways to learn calculus.

Computer Engineering

I received my Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering in 2009 from Tufts University. I have continued to apply Comp E concepts throughout graduate school at USF both for my research and as a teaching assistant within the department, where I have taught undergraduate courses in both Data Structures and Microprocessor Interfacing.

Computer Programming

I have been programming for over a decade. My graduate research in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering revolves around the modeling and control of robotic systems with C, C++, and MATLAB. I also recently taught an undergraduate Data Structures course at USF that required C++.

Computer Science

My graduate research in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at USF involves the simulation, optimization, and control of robotic limbs using C, C++, and MATLAB. I have worked as a lab aide, teaching assistant, and/or instructor for several undergraduate computer science courses including Logic Design, Data Structures, and Control of Mobile Robots.

Logic

I have lead several semester-long Logic Design labs at USF. These labs covered topics such as logic gates, Boolean logic, finite state machines, Karnaugh maps, and (everyone's favorite) wiring.

MATLAB

My graduate research is dependent upon the accurate simulation of the dynamics of robotic systems modeled in MATLAB. I have several years of experience with this tool, and have come to really appreciate it!

Physics

Even if you haven't realized it yet, you already know physics. It's just shorthand for how the world works--something you've been experiencing your entire life. Graduate research in robotics has made me realize that a lot of the pain and memorization can be taken out of the learning process if physics is approached first through a conversation that relates it--in plain English--to what you already know about the world. A discussion of the concepts with concrete examples can illuminate the link between abstract-sounding principles and reality before you need to worry about any math. Once you have established some context, equations stop looking like sadistic alphabet soup and start making sense. After all, they're just describing things you already knew.

SAT Math

The SAT loves to trick students with carefully worded problems. Many of the SAT math problems seem at first glance like they will take ages to work out. These problems are almost always much simpler than they appear. There are two tricks: First, recognizing what the problem is asking for (which can be harder than it sounds!). Second, if you feel like this might be a whale of a problem, take a second to think of multiple methods of solution before you bog yourself down with any actual math. Building up a little mathematical intuition through practice and a discussion of the different ways to solve practice problems will help a great deal. There are almost always several ways to solve any given problem, and understanding this is a giant leap toward efficient and stress-free test taking.

Trigonometry

Trigonometry is one of the first math classes that you get to take in grade school that shines some light on the real-world applications of math in art and engineering. This can be a really exciting class if you know how to apply it. Unfortunately, many teachers don't get into the applications of trigonometry, and students are left trying to memorize a mass of equations without any context. As a roboticist, I've had the pleasure of applying trigonometry to the design of legs for running robots, to the development of steering and maze-solving algorithms for robotic cars, and to the study of the animal musculoskeletal system. Trigonometry also forms the basis for a lot of interesting stuff like calculus (the mathematical study of how things change) and projectile physics (catapults!). This opens the door for lots of great hands-on learning opportunities (like catapults! ... as long as your parents say that's OK).

Tufts University
Computer Engineering
University of South Florida
PhD

Education

Tufts University (Computer Engineering)

University of South Florida (PhD)

Very patient, positive and encouraging!

We had a great first meeting with Caitrin! She was very patient, hands on and a great listener. She gave my daughter encouragement and positive reinforcement. My daughter gave her an "11" out of a possible "10"! We look forward to out next meeting! Thank you Caitrin!

— Angie, Shreveport, LA on 2/7/14

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $40.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

Caitrin will travel within 15 miles of Brooksville, ME 04617.