Hi! I'm enthusiastic about helping young people become outstanding students by assisting with writing skills and tutoring in math and physics. I'm most interested in improving reasoning and communication skills essential for academic success. I prefer to work with families and students who value education; I'm not so interested in assisting someone whose only concern is passing tomorrow's test. A student who insists on simply being told the steps to solve a particular homework problem, who is... [more]
I have a lot of experience writing and helping college and high school students improve their writing. I'm the author of a book (Argon Desaki's Report from Earth) and of various articles, especially on topics related to the future of humanity.
I'm a skilled writer myself and enjoy helping students with their writing skills. I've had good success helping students who are sufficiently motivated to work on improving their writing. I'm less likely to succeed with (and less eager to work with) students who lack motivation.
I've gotten top scores on SAT, GRE, and GMAT tests, have experience working at an SAT test preparation organization, and have successfully helped students prepare for SAT and ACT tests.
I have many years of experience with application of discrete math in development of computer programs. I have studied and developed algorithms for encryption and many other purposes. I have studied logic and metamathematics at U.C. Berkeley. I have taught logic and set theory at U.C. Berkeley and Cal State University at Chico.
I have many years of experience programming in C, primarily in Windows and Unix environments. While a grad student at U.C. Berkeley I used C to develop a computer-based system of exercises for improving English writing skills. I later used C to develop simulations of psychological processes. I wrote a popular Windows screensaver (Seascape) in C (using Microsoft C and later Visual C++). I have extensive experience in software development in C and other languages (including Java, Lisp, and SQL) at Sun, HP, and several startups.
As an undergraduate majoring originally in math, I studied standard linear algebra topics such as vector spaces, linear maps, determinants, and eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Later, doing graduate work in business administration at Berkeley, I applied linear algebra in operations research and finance. In tutoring linear algebra and other math subjects, I focus first on making sure the student has the solid understanding of fundamental concepts and theorems needed for success with more advanced work. Generally, I favor a Socratic approach, asking questions or offering hints to help students gain experience solving problems themselves, rather than telling them in detail what to do. I encourage students to take time to be clear about the details of definitions and concepts, rather than simply memorizing theorems and procedures for solving particular problem types. For linear algebra, I find it especially helpful to use realistic examples that reveal the value of studying what otherwise can appear to be elaborate theoretical construction lacking any clear motivation.
I have many years of experience with Linux as a user, developer, and system administrator, including 12 years as Test and Tools Architect and then as Director of QA at Dorado/Corelogic. Prior to working with Linux, I had many years of experience with Unix, including 5 years working at Sun doing QA work that involved a lot of scripting and some programming, always working with Sun's version of Unix. I wrote an article on "Varieties of Unix" that was published. (In case any readers don't know it, Linux is an open source operating system so similar to Unix that it is often described as a Unix clone; thus Unix expertise largely translates into Linux expertise. For instance, expertise with bash, a standard Unix shell, carries over directly to Linux, where bash is also standard.)
I have taught critical thinking courses at CSU Chico and CSU Fresno. These courses included substantial coverage of topics in propositional logic and predicate calculus. I have done tutoring on logic topics for students in discrete math courses. I studied logic as a grad student at Berkeley.
I have many years of experience using, administering, and doing development on Unix systems. I began using and doing development on BSD Unix as a grad student at Berkeley. During my 5 years of employment at Sun Microsystems I worked daily with Unix. I have successfully tutored students who needed help with various Unix topics including Unix utilities and shell scripting.