March 20th, 2012
As a high school English teacher, my post-secondary and graduate school training was heavily focused on literary and linguistic studies. Until this year, I had no exposure or training in math since my freshman year of college more than eight years prior. Once I began my PhD last fall, I learned that I was required to take several advanced and multivariate statistics courses which covered subject matter that was far beyond my skill level. I began tutoring sessions with Mark M. feeling incredibly apprehensive about my potential for success in these courses; however, he demonstrated great faith in my potential and encouraged me to proceed with confidence.
Approximately halfway through my first tutoring session with Mark, a sudden spark of enthusiasm and curiosity blossomed within me. In less than an hour, he had managed to successfully guide me through several practice problems by using his own experience with engineering in order to explain the theories underlying the equations. I was able to visualize and understand incredibly complex aspects of mathematics, because he took the time to make them relevant to our lives by demonstrating their purpose in real world situations. By our second and third sessions, I was already thinking mathematically on my own and finding new ways to apply the skills he had been teaching me in my day-to-day life.
In just a few months of tutoring, I was able to move quickly and successfully through an advanced multivariate statistics course that was taught at the PhD level. On top of that, I enrolled in additional math courses simply because I wanted to learn more about this fascinating subject that Mark brought into my life. Never before had someone managed to make mathematics so invigorating and enjoyable, and as an English major, I never imagined that I would one day find a passion for an entirely different brand of knowledge. I would not have achieved the successes that I have today without Mark M. He was attentive to my strengths and weaknesses, patient with my struggles, and encouraging every step of the way. He continuously challenged me with new goals and guided me to higher levels of thinking and application with every session.
As a student, I am incredibly grateful for the time and commitment that Mark dedicated to me. However, as a teacher, I have enormous respect for his knowledge, enthusiasm, and ability to bring excitement and relevance to an otherwise daunting academic subject. Yet, above all of that, Mark is an incredibly compassionate and genuine human being who truly cares about his students and their success. I cannot think of anyone more deserving of recognition and praise than Mark M.