I strive to provide tutoring with a patient, courteous and professional demeanor. I encourage students to develop their knowledge and to take a step back and look at how much they have already learned. I would say working with students who transform in the course of a few short weeks from feeling intimidated and helpless to empowered and capable has been the most rewarding aspect of this job -- my favorite activity. As an inquisitive, creative person and a lifelong learner, another favorite... [more]

Algebra 1

I am able to help students who, for whatever reason, fall behind their expectations in algebra I. The polynomial and rational functions, exponents and logarithms, radical expressions, factoring, polynomial division, and equation-solving skills and principles studied in Algebra I are foundational skills for investigators in science, managers optimizing business decisions, engineers improving a design, or software developers cracking open new concepts.

Algebra 2

As an engineer, I routinely use the skills and principles taught in Algebra 2! Exponents, logarithms and roots come up all the time because many relationships between important factors in a design or description of a natural principle can only be treated as if they were linear, or that is, adequately described using straight lines, to the roughest of approximations. Not having these mathematical tools would make engineering work rather crude. Imagine how the drawings of a Corvette would look if the artist were restricted to use only straight lines! Similarly, complex numbers are very useful for describing periodic waveforms, predicting natural resonances in systems, designing control systems and many other things. I enjoy helping students understand and master the challenge of solving equations involving one or more of these non-linear equations, systems of linear equations.

Calculus

Calculus includes a wide range of powerful mathematical applications based on the idea that many types of analyses work better and reveal more interesting and useful truths (in many cases, surprisingly simple but non-obvious ones) when we exploit the ability to divide regions of interest into an unlimited number of small parts. Many of the most famous results students have learned in other parts of math and science, such as the volume of a sphere, for instance, were discovered using simple calculus techniques. Students expecting to earn credit for calculus in college should anticipate that topics of study to follow in later courses will use calculus. Also, certain kinds of homework problems one is expected to solve in upper-level college courses will use basic calculus skills. I tutor calculus at the level typically taken by high-school students, college freshmen and college sophomores in engineering and science programs. This includes high school calculus, AP calculus AB/BC, business calculus, calculus of sequences and series, multivariable calculus and ordinary differential equations. Sometimes juniors and seniors in other programs take the same courses too. I suppose the applications of calculus in those programs aren't seen as early, often, or as in depth in those programs so it is not as urgent to ensure the students master calculus. I also took partial differential equations and complex-variable calculus courses. I did ok at the time however, I do not tutor those now. Those courses are advanced enough that they mostly are not needed by students unless they are striving to earn their masters or PhD in certain fields, and as I have (so far) ended up choosing not to, I have forgotten too much of them and rarely encounter students looking for help with them.

Chemistry

I earned top marks in high school chemistry and completed the two college inorganic chemistry courses standard to most engineering programs with above average grades. I also took several related courses over the course of earning my engineering physics bachelor's degree, including classical thermodynamics, engineering thermodynamics, and statistical thermodynamics (acing the final!). Recently, I also completed a Stanford MOOC on photovoltaics and battery chemistry, which improved my understanding of the topic immensely. Chemistry education has certainly improved significantly with the advent of the information age, and I have enjoyed tutoring chemistry. I generally prefer to limit my chemistry tutoring to those students who also occasionally need math, physics, or test prep help.

Vocabulary

Grammar

Microsoft Excel

I have worked extensively with several versions of Excel (although not with the latest). In conjunction with my background as a software developer, I can readily handle comprehending and exploiting some of the most obscure features of the package, including the use of plug-ins, VBA, writing macros and setting up spreadsheets with custom formatting. I have set up numerous Excel spreadsheets over the years. I use it to help me do my taxes every year, to explore and compare various alternatives when making decisions at home and on the job, and to analyze data (even in three dimensions) including curve-fitting and statistics.

Geometry

Geometry is a fundamental tool with which it is important for every student to be familiar. I help students who have difficulties constructing geometrical figures using a straight-edge and a compass. I understand geometrical theorems and can demonstrate constructing geometrical proofs that require the conjunction of several of them. I can inspire students to consider the material relevant by recounting some of the roles geometrical arguments play in practical applications in engineering, science, business, medicine, and sports.

Microsoft Word

Physics

I developed strong practical physics problem-solving skills while earning my bachelor's degree in engineering physics at the University of Alberta. That term engineering physics confuses a lot of people because it is perhaps one of the least known engineering disciplines, so I will give a brief explanation here to help some of the college students decide whether they think I may be able to help them or not. An engineering physics degree's requirements normally skip a few good EE courses in favor of a few very interesting physics courses taught by the Physics department including material that EEs don't usually cover or in some cases, similar material but with a deeper insight. These physics courses were the kind taken by the physics majors, supplementing the more typical core electrical engineering courses with classical mechanics, modern physics, classical thermodynamics, statistical thermodynamics, quantum mechanics, optics, solid state physics and especially open-ended physics research labs. That research lab course was a lot of work but perhaps the most important learning experience. Students had to plan, conduct, analyze (with a complete error analysis), hand in a several page lab report in written form and give a presentation to the class on novel experiments developed using the available equipment and various modifications we (partner-based) came up with -- repeating the whole cycle on a new physics topic, every month. The purpose of all of this was to prepare students for careers in research and academia. Over the last few years, I have found a distinct pleasure in tutoring students of "regular" high school physics, AP physics, the SAT physics subject test, and college physics courses suitable for engineers and scientists in their freshman and sophomore years or general physics courses for mass Collegiate consumption, By the way, I think physics is a great choice for a science elective if your degree requires one and you are ok with math but you don't have a strong preference or interest in any of the other sciences. Your math skills and everyday life context will help you study this hard-science that (in the classical realm taught at this level) is extremely experimentally testable and repeatable and yet explains important aspects of how things work behind all other sciences and everyday life. I am no professor and probably not qualified or usually willing to attempt to tutor the really tough, advanced courses like classical thermodynamics or quantum mechanics. I will sometimes be willing to tutor for courses like electrostatics or electrodynamics or statistical thermodynamics but these usually require a little bit more prep time on my part so I typically need at least a few hours advance notice during my free time before our tutoring session starts in these cases.

Microsoft PowerPoint

Powerpoint is a Windows application designed to help you produce effective, readable, and attractive slide presentations. It can also help you apply an overall theme to your entire presentation, so that you can experiment with and customize the color scheme and choose from a variety of styles and animations to help jazz up your presentation. Video and music can easily be incorporated and accompanying handouts can be customized in myriad ways (although not always appropriate depending on the purpose, audience, and circumstances). I am qualified to tutor someone in Powerpoint because my most recent Powerpoint presentation drew specific praise for being a very effective use of the tool. If I recall correctly, I believe it was about a physics experiment on blackbody radiation. My background as a software developer often gives me special insights into the inner workings of such packages to allow me to notice, understand and explain behaviors and functionality that sometimes seem nonsensical to the average user.

Prealgebra

Precalculus

Precalculus is an important and interesting part of every student's life if they are considering taking calculus, arguably the most useful mathematical tool ever invented (and by reputation, perhaps the most intimidating). Building a solid foundation in the trigonometric relations, the relations between the manipulations of an equation and its graph, inverse functions, composite functions, domains, ranges, roots of polynomials, and the like ensures that the study of calculus will not become far more difficult and intimidating than it needs to be. Focus on doing well in precalculus so that you can get through calculus without a headache!

Reading

Trigonometry

Trigonometry is useful, nay crucial for students to learn. It is fundamental to several engineering, scientific and mathematical applications. The knowledge of the properties of triangles and familiarity with each of the trigonometric functions helps future college graduates, tradesmen, and artists alike. Although business calculus courses typically omit the use of trigonometric functions, students pursuing degrees in engineering or science must take a full-fledged version of calculus. They are expected to know and understand trigonometric functions and identities before they begin. Understanding triangles can help students planning to work in various trades. Advanced electric work (as a journeyman or master electrician, or with electronics) involves trigonometry because the math needed for understanding the measurement of alternating-current electricity requires it. Other construction jobs, such as welding, machining, carpentry, stonework, landscaping, earthwork, and plumbing, use trigonometry for making measurements, estimating costs, and constructing precise angles. Trigonometry is terrific, not terrifying! Set your heading in my direction, and I will convince you of that point!

Statistics

Even though I have never myself encountered a need to take a course purely dedicated to statistics, I have successfully tutored students struggling with concepts in statistics. Perhaps this is because I am very good at math, and tutor a lot of it, and therefore easily understand all of the math involved. It is partly because I have in the past signed out and studied statistics textbooks from the library in order to make sure I was prepared enough to help the stats students who had nowhere else to turn. Finally, part of earning my bachelor's degree in engineering physics required passing a course called "Statistical Thermodynamics" in which I learned about how the statistics of the motions of atoms in a gas, or atoms in a magnet, or molecules in a rubber band, for instance, can be used to help us study various aspects of our world and predict certain properties of it. I earned a perfect score on the final exam in that course. I also encountered aspects of statistics in other courses such as quantum physics, laser electronics, control system theory, and certain physics laboratory experiments. So if you can't find someone in your area who happily will tutor statistics with you, you might be able to twist my arm to help you. Yes, I can tutor beginning statistics students in some of the most basic aspects of statistics without much notice, but I usually do not want to tutor statistics except in person, unless it is the most basic introductory level material or if I can preview the material beforehand and am provided or have time to obtain access to relevant textbooks.

English

ESL/ESOL

If you are working on your English, rest assured that as a fellow language learner I can relate to the difficulties you face with the utmost sympathy. There are so many languages that seem to have much better and more logical rules than English does, sometimes, and many of the other languages sound nicer too. For those of you who began life abroad, please know I am also from another country (Canada) and have no bias toward you. Also, I have enjoyed having roommates and floor mates from all over the world as I stayed in residence one year and with various room-and-board arrangements as I spent seven years working through college in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Those experiences and the classes helped me meet and speak with many friends who used English as one of their secondary languages, many of whom had strong accents. I treasure their friendships and enjoyed learning about their cultures. I also started a badminton group here in Pittsburgh and since badminton is not a very well-known sport among Americans yet, many of my valued and popular members come from other countries!

HTML

SAT Math

The SAT Math test is typical of many standardized math tests in that often as not, two or more of the typically four offered answers can be eliminated if one knows some of the most important math shortcuts -- simple facts and observations that can save time or improve accuracy. In most cases, I coach students to put their calculators away. Most SAT questions can be answered correctly without pressing a single key. Only after all questions have been attempted would I normally consider checking work with a calculator. To improve SAT math scores, I work with a student to make sure their understanding of the subject is strong and help work the kinks out of any identified weaknesses in the tested skills. Solid understanding is a prerequisite of sane confidence, a prerequisite to keeping exam stress within healthy and helpful bounds.

GRE

I have worked with a small number of other undergraduates or bachelor's degree holders preparing to take the GRE. Perhaps math has never been your strong suit or perhaps you did ok or even excelled in math at one time, but didn't use much math in your program or maybe only in freshman year. It happens to many GRE applicants! I have the patience and the time to help anyone recover (or if necessary, develop) mathematical skills necessary to excel on the quantitative portion of the GRE. My first GRE student left me what I consider a very positive review. I tutor a lot of math which is more demanding and a wide variety of math courses. This is probably partly why I am able to tutor GRE quantitative section effectively despite never having taken the GRE myself.

GED

SAT Reading

SAT Writing

Physical Science

ASVAB

I'm an engineering physics graduate who grew up on a farm. This background gives me strong skills in math, physics, electric circuits and basic electronics, simple machines and engines , chemistry which make me able to help many of the students preparing for the asvab. Also, I got good at standardized tests. I was one of only 6 students in my county who earned a "100%" on the state- wide standardized final worth 50% of my final grade in senior high school math, making me class valedictorian.

Probability

Spelling

Elementary Math

Elementary Science

Macroeconomics

Microeconomics

Discrete Math

In the course of my education and past tutoring experiences, I have developed some familiarity with some topics that are considered discrete math and covered in some discrete math courses, such as Logic and boolean algebra, coding theory, probability, basic combinatorics of combinations, permutations, the basics of graph theory, proving relationships using induction, set theory problems using Venn diagrams or boolean algebra notation, binary number systems (other base number systems), recurrence relations, binomial expansion theorem, Pascal's triangle, conditional probability, and De Morgan's laws.

Differential Equations

Differential equations, and their digital counterpart, difference equations, are hugely important to the study of many fields. I can help any calculus student learn to solve separable ordinary differential equations, non-separable first order linear equations, second-order linear ordinary differential homogeneous equations with constant coefficients. Students often struggle with the methods of underdetermined coefficients, variation of parameters, and transform techniques such as Fourier transforms, and Laplace transforms. I can help because my degree included all of this material, much of which was applied later in several engineering courses.

MCAT

I have a degree in engineering physics, which qualifies me to help those MCAT students who may need help with the physics portion of the MCAT. I also have a decent understanding of chemistry and might be able to help with some of the chemistry concepts. I can customize the physics session to bring the student up to speed in any area of physics tested on the MCAT exam, and each online student may optionally have me scan them all the written example MCAT topic notes and example problems we work on.

CBEST

When I took the CBEST sample math section posted on the CBEST website and scored 100% on the first try. I can help any student who is struggling with the math section of the CBEST to improve their score. I believe anyone who is (or is willing to become) a good listener can learn the math skills tested on the CBEST exam with the help of a good tutor (like myself). Don't let a current low score on the CBEST math section cause you to give up your dream of becoming a teacher!

Computer Programming

I have several years of professional experience working as a software developer. I have developed a variety of control, measurement, analysis and testing applications using LabVIEW. I contributed a year's worth of feature development and expansion to an existing PC application for acquisition and analysis of PC-based semi-automated bio-medical microscopic imaging using Visual C++ and learned how to use XML as an effective and reliable human-readable information storage. I developed several versions of an application for controlling a printer that used a 30W C02 laser to permanently mark coated metals by burning the coating using Visual Basic and C#. I have also done a little bit of programming for embedded devices using cross-platform C and Basic compilers. More recently, I became reacquainted with Fortran and its multi-processing capabilities, and also gained a passing familiarity with Python, Ruby, and Javascript.

Linear Algebra

Linear algebra is the study of systems of equations described using matrix and vector notation. It can seem like a chore before you realize the practical applications of it, but it is a chore worth doing well, as it has myriad applications throughout engineering theory. The knowledge of linear algebra simplify the task of solving simultaneous equations. This is ginormous! Why? Because simultaneous equations arise that need to be solved to do structural design in civil engineering, circuit design in electrical, lens design in optics, control systems design. Aspects of it are used in physics to solve quantum mechanical equations, in mechanics to find torque vectors or moments, .... etc. In short, there are untellable numbers of applications, but you'll run into applications of linear algebra time and time again, so learn it thoroughly the first time!

Logic

I did very well in my electrical engineering faculties digital logic course. I am also comfortable with boolean algebra, Karnaugh maps, truth tables, flip flops. I can tutor for certain problems synchronous (Moore, Mealy) or asynchronous state machine design with enough advance warning. I also became familiar with the application of boolean algebra to close analysis, the analysis of an argument, thanks to an excellent MOOC course on the subject from Duke University.

Electrical Engineering

I have studied engineering physics (electrical engineering except with more of a research-oriented emphasis on developing an understanding of modern physics). I help students with electrical engineering topics such as circuit theory (DC or AC), signals and systems, digital logic, operational amplifiers, transmission line theory, microprocessor/microcontroller programming (assembly languages or embedded C, etc)., control theory (SISO or MIMO systems). I might also be able to help with certain image processing, PLC/ladder logic, motors, or electronics.

Mechanical Engineering

I have a degree in engineering physics. This is an engineering degree that is similar to electrical engineering. I am qualified to tutor mechanical engineers in any of the first year courses (since these courses are common to all branches of engineering) such as calculus, linear algebra, statics, dynamics, physics for engineers, electric circuits, possible vehicle dynamics and control, etc. In some circumstances I may be able provide some assistance with understanding higher level mech e topics in heat transfer, thermodynamics or fluid dynamics.

Civil Engineering

I am qualified to teach statics and dynamics , calculus, physics, circuits, and can often help students who have questions in linear algebra, or inorganic chemistry. These first-year engineering courses common to all branches of engineering are all courses that I passed with good grades in the course of earning my engineering physics degree. I also did well in my strength of materials course and my mechanics of rigid bodies course (2nd year courses in common with most engineering disciplines).

ACT Reading

ACT Math

The ACT math test can be challenging exam to prepare for, especially for students who completed the relevant high school math courses significantly earlier than their test date. It tends to have broader expectations on the depth of math knowledge, especially geometry, than does the SAT, which could catch unprepared students by surprise. I have recently worked through the math and geometry review section of an ACT math prep review book with students who needed a crash course. I have not yet encountered ACT math questions I could not answer, and I would be glad to help anyone who could benefit from additional help.

ACT Science