Brian · Chris · Connor · Dave · Jack · Jin · John · Julia · Michael · Mimi · Phil · Sara · Tim

One of our calculus tutors in action!


Brian is a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Washington, specializing in the History of Science. He received his BS in Biology from the University of Michigan and an MA in the History of Science from Oregon State University. He has worked as a teacher and teaching assistant at UW. He has had articles published in Scientia Canadensis and Endeavour, and is the recipient of numerous academic fellowships. When he is not madly writing his dissertation or looking for creative ways not to write it, he enjoys cooking, urban exploration, reading everything he can about everything (and only partly succeeding), and finding order amid chaos. Brian’s wide-ranging curiosity is something that informs his tutoring and in turn motivates him to bring out the curiosity in each student. The Society for the History of Natural History once declared Brian one of the world’s leading historians of science, a label he heartily embraces.

Tutoring Subjects: History, Study Skills, English, Reading, Writing, Biology

Test Prep: SAT II History (US, European, and World), Literature

Students: K – Adult

Favorite Links: Scientia Canadensis, Endeavour, Society for the History of Natural History

Brian’s Teaching Philosophy:

I view learning as, fundamentally, a process of discovery. Students have particular interests and talents that they begin to uncover and develop over the course of their education. My role as a tutor is to serve as a guide in this journey. Putting students at the center of their own education makes for a much more satisfying educational experience and helps ensure that what students have learned stays with them. Students have significant ability to teach themselves by bringing forth new ideas about and interpretations of the material they’re learning.

It’s important for me to establish a good rapport with a student early on. I start out by giving students space to articulate, in their own words, both what they enjoy about learning and what is frustrating them. Out of these discussions, we can work together to identify short-term and long-term goals, and these goals can change in response to the students’ discoveries that they make over time. We can then move on to more specific discussions and activities. I endeavor, at every tutoring session, to help students arrive at their own understanding of the material that they’re learning. This means that I not only focus on content, but also on more general writing and study skills that students can apply in a number of ways and with respect to a number of subjects. I also highlight students’ accomplishments as we go along; it’s not unusual, in my experience, for students to find that they’ve actually learned much more than they originally thought after starting a new subject or new topic. Different students also have different learning styles, and I adapt my tutoring based on how students engage with their course material; some students, for example, may respond to a step-by-step method when figuring out how to write a history essay, while others prefer a looser, more conversational approach.

In the end, I believe I’ve succeeded as a tutor if I’ve not only been able to help students realize their goals, but also if students have discovered something new and enriching that they can take with them as they move forward.


Chris triple-majored at the UW, graduating with degrees in Physics, Astronomy and History. Four years later, Chris added to his accolades an MS in Mechanical Engineering. His passion for engineering and alternative energy led to a job at the Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment. Chris believes “patience is the key to tutoring” and loves helping students with difficult concepts. In his words, “education is a joint exploration of ideas. I lead the way and share my experiences so that students will develop their own understanding of the subject matter. This experience is so fulfilling, it motivates me, and in turn the student, to achieve the educational goals that we both desire.” In his spare time Chris enjoys playing basketball and softball, and rocks in Nefarious Jones as singer and guitarist.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Physics, Chemistry, History, Computer Skills, Study Skills

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT I, SAT II, ACT, GRE, GMAT, Praxis, West-B, West-E, ACT Explore, MAT, ISEE, SSAT, Compass Test

Students: Grade 8 – Adult

Favorite Links: UW Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Lifecycle Environmental Assessment

Chris’s Teaching Philosophy:

My philosophy for teaching is founded on a love for knowledge and learning and a desire to dedicate my life to educating students. As a teacher, I believe that I have a responsibility to inspire students to pursue knowledge actively and to become independent thinkers. In considering how one goes about sharing one’s love of learning, it is important to consider that learning strategies differ widely and that teaching strategies are not always easily matched with students’ needs. In addition, students bring widely varying knowledge bases to the table in each subject area. Each tutoring session is unique and varies according to the background and learning preferences of that particular student. A further complication is that students also bring different levels of maturity, interest and motivation. My challenge is to make course materials accessible to all students and to be responsive to individuals who are having difficulty integrating new material while not boring others with a more qualified background.


Connor holds the privilege of being the youngest member of the University Tutoring family and recently graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in Biochemistry, Chemistry, and French. Connor originally joined us as a French tutor after returning from studying abroad, and he quickly branched out into a variety of other subjects.

Connor began tutoring his peers during his senior year at Prairie high school and later became involved with the Seattle MESA program at Ingraham high school. He has been with us for two years. Understandably, Connor is capable of providing support in a wide variety of topics. As a recent student, he can clearly identify with the academic challenges facing students.

When Connor is not tutoring, he works as a research scientist with the Hurley lab at UW Medicine studying photoreceptor metabolism. He enjoys exercise, cooking, reading, and playing music. He plans to apply to medical school following a post-graduation break from school.

Tutoring Subjects: Biology, Chemistry, Math through Precalculus, Study Skills, French

Test Prep: PSAT, PLAN, SAT, ACT,

Students: Grade K – Adult

Connor’s Teaching Philosophy:

As a tutor, the theme that underscores my teaching philosophy is that all students are capable learners. While concepts come more intuitively to some students than others, each one has the capacity to learn and should be encouraged to do so. My goal is to turn “I don’t know” into “Well I think that…” into “I’ve grown to understand.”

Learning is an active, self-feeding process: the more you ask, the more you uncover, and the more you find, the more you want to know. I can’t count how many times a seemingly simple question has led to 25 pages of research articles or a scramble to cobble together a few sources to explain an answer. I encourage students to seek the solutions to their own questions by thinking the situation through. Memorization may be an important component to some areas of study, but understanding concepts is a cornerstone on which a better understanding can be constructed. While it may be difficult at first, learning comes with time.

Like anything in life, learning is something that people approach from all sorts of angles, and flexibility is key to teaching. Students and teachers come from a variety of backgrounds and have learned things in just as many different ways – and sometimes the way a teacher tries to explain it is not the way that a student understands. Tinkering around and finding an effective way to communicate an idea is essential to an effective learning experience. As a tutor, I strive to build upon the foundation of skills that students have already built in order to utilize critical thinking and ask questions to approach new challenges.


A math specialist, Dave joins University Tutoring after earning his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Willamette University, and his Masters in Teaching (Secondary Mathematics) from the University of Washington. Dave started tutoring while at Willamette University, and eventually decided that he wanted to pursue teaching. In addition to his experience at Willamette and the University of Washington, Dave spent a year in Thailand, where he broadened his tutoring repertoire.

Dave’s tutoring strength comes from his patience and his ability to take time to really discuss concepts and tackle challenging problems. Complimenting his knowledge of mathematical concepts is Dave’s innate sense of humor and his ability to provide a low stress environment that focuses on learning.

In addition to tutoring, Dave is an avid sports fan and enjoys hiking, biking, backpacking and traveling.

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Calculus, Study Skills


Students: Grade K – Adult

Dave’s Teaching Philosophy:

Dave’s teaching philosophy coming soon!


Jack’s Biography Coming Soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Precalculus, Chemistry, Biology

Test Prep:

Students: Grade 8 – Adult

Favorite Links:

Jack’s Teaching Philosophy:
My philosophy of teaching is founded on the fact that knowledge is not based solely on the memorization one can achieve but on the problem solving abilities and concepts one can acquire. As a student, I always struggled with my ability to read and to memorize and so as a teacher, I don’t expect my students to memorize how to solve each question they come across. Instead I try and give students the tools and confidence to tackle their own problems so tests, quizzes, or homework can be viewed as just a collection of mental puzzles. Understanding the concepts and the reasoning in math and science is what makes these subjects fun.


Jin’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Test Prep: SAT, ACT, SAT IIs Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Math 2

Students: Grade 8 – Adult

Jin’s Teaching Philosophy:

Jin’s Teaching Philosophy coming soon!


John’s bio coming soon!

Tutoring Subjects: Study Skills


Students: Grade K – Adult

John’s Teaching Philosophy:

As a teacher, I feel that my most important tool is observation. If the goal of teaching is
learning, then a teacher must be able to know as much as possible about a student’s learning
preferences. Before any materials can be chosen, or course matter organized, before students are
broken up into groups and given activities, before any work is ever completed – before anything
else, a teacher must know how to find out where the greatest need is, and how to provide it best.
Unfortunately, not every student is conscious of his or her own needs and preferences, and in a
large classroom setting, the task of assessing each student’s individual learning style can become

In a one-­on-­one environment, however, an educator can learn a lot about a student. I was
trained in D. Ross W. Greene’s Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) model when I worked at the
Children’s Institute for Learning Differences, and a core belief of the CPS model is that all
behavior is communication. I feel that this belief is important to keep in mind, not only in the
environment of problem solving but also in an academic environment. A student might not know
why he or she dislikes math, or reading, or any subject – but a careful observation of the student’s
approach to the disliked subject will reveal a lot about how to get over it. As a tutor, I have the
distinct advantage that I can ask students numerous questions about their homework environment,
their classroom environment, the way they set goals and the way they structure their time. Often it
turns out that students have never even considered the factors that have been holding them back.
Dr. Greene’s motto is that “children will do well if they can,” which places an imperative
on the teacher to facilitate an environment in which students can do well. That is my goal with
every student I work with. And, when that goal is realized, an incredible transformation occurs:
students begin to understand their own learning preferences, and can facilitate their own successes
every day.


Currently at work earning a double degree in Psychology and Biology, Julia’s ultimate goal is to earn her Masters in Occupational Therapy. Julia’s laid-back tutoring style helps maintain a comfortable, low stress environment for students. Adaptable to different student learning styles, Julia works to ensure that each student has a supportive environment in which they are confident both giving and receiving feedback on the tutoring process. “I like being able to help people,” Julia says, “and to not have them feel like their goals are out of reach because they cannot perform well in one class or on one test.” During her downtime between tutoring and pursuing her own academic goals Julia enjoys yoga and recently completed her first half marathon.

Tutoring Expertise: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math through Algebra 2, History, English, Study Skills

Test Prep: SAT, GRE

Students: K-Adult

Julia’s Teaching Philosophy:

Coming Soon!


A self-confessed work-a-holic, Michael keeps himself incredibly busy both inside our office and out of it. He approaches tutoring as a cooperative effort, striving to empower students as he works alongside them to bolster their content knowledge: “Tutoring for me is a connection between peers. We are working together to meet a common goal.” This year, he is serving as a Writer-in-Residence with Seattle’s Writers-in-the-Schools (WITS) program, and was accepted into the Teaching Artist Training Lab (TATL). When he’s not tutoring, Michael can be found writing, reading voraciously, fueling his broad interests through documentaries, news outlets, and non-fiction, or spending time outside: hiking, camping, or kayaking.

Tutoring Expertise: Academic and Creative Writing, Reading Comprehension, Math through Algebra II, Spanish, German, US and World History, College Application Essays, Journalism, Study Skills

Test Prep: SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, SAT Subject Tests, AP Subject Tests

Students: K-Adult

Michael’s Teaching Philosophy:

I am a firm believer that education expands far beyond the reach of the classroom. As teachers, I believe that it is our responsibility to coach and mentor students in a way that will empower them to take control of their own education. Since each student posesses his or her own unique set of skills and abilities, it is essential that we, as teachers, alter our approach to maximize student abilities. As a teacher, I focus on building a positive, encouraging, and enjoyable atmosphere for students, while simultaneously providing honest and specific feedback. Ultimately, I feel that students and teachers are a team working towards a common goal. As a life long learner and writer, I believe that there is no single way to learn and no single approach for academic success. What I do believe is that we should all be in a process of continual refinement, maintaining what Shunryu Suzuki called “The Beginner’s Mind.”


Mimi has earned her B.S. degree from the University of Washington in Developmental Psychology where she became spellbound with young children and their development and learning in those early years. She became interested in how children adapt and learn in their early years and how very differently learning can be for each individual child. This led her to obtain additional graduate degree in Special Education from the University of Washington. Mimi believes that all children have great abilities and are keen on learning given the proper tools and environment. Mimi challenges the students to develop these tools to learn, to explore and to solve. This will help them feel empowered and successful all around.
In her free time Mimi enjoys reading, athletic workouts, traveling, and helping family and neighbors in need.

Tutoring Expertise: Reading, Math and Social Sciences, learning skills and self-organization, Study Skills

Test Prep:

Students: K- Grade 5

Mimi’s Teaching Philosophy:

My philosophy in teaching is to support, encourage, and motivate students to love to learn and to seek answers and in so doing apply themselves to the highest level. I believe that each student has a set of skills and many strengths and this is where I begin which each student. I encourage and inspire them to use their skills and strengths as a building block to the next step and the next. I like to be positive and accepting of each student yet I want them to achieve the goals and plans that we set up for their tutoring sessions.


A Canadian-Southern Californian and die-hard Angels fan, Phil brings experience in teaching, tutoring, and the mind of a middle-schooler to his work at University Tutoring. After earning a BA in Philosophy from UCLA, Phil tutored elementary through college students while getting his single subject math credential in California. He has taught math to sixth through eighth grades; he has also worked for a national non-profit environmental organization and has experience with work in the legal and corporate worlds. He says, “working with each student is a process, a puzzle, and always a pleasure. Little victories such as an A on a test or an ‘Aha’ moment can be the building blocks to excellence.” Phil was our Administrative Assistant for 2009-2010 and enjoyed quizzing students on what they had just learned.

Tutoring Subjects: Math, Study Skills


Students: K – Adult

Favorite Links: UCLA’s Philosophy Program, League of Conservation Voters

Phil’s Teaching Philosophy:

For me, tutoring is a scaffolding exercise moving a student forward to achieve both day-to-day and long-term goals. Those goals tend to be grounded in a combination of student needs from content to study skills to coping with anxiety. Each student’s needs are different “ while one may need help with the material, another may need help staying organized. Needs are different even day to day with the same student, based on the world of experience the student brings in each meeting. That said, most students can benefit from a mix of content and process work while maintaining a look at the big picture of the student’s stated goals and metrics. My goal as a tutor is to provide a comfortable learning environment for my student while providing my knowledge and insight aimed at achieving both short-term and long-term learning goals. As programs develop, I like students to be a part of goal building and assessment. I really enjoy the tutoring experience and make a point to have a good time in my sessions.


A true global citizen and upbeat teacher, Sara has a BA in Hispanic Studies and Global Studies from PLU and a Masters of Education in Curriculum & Instruction and Language Literacy & Learning from the University of Washington. Sara thrives teaching students in a one-to-one setting, saying that “because one-to-one tutoring allows the tutor time to identify the student’s optimal learning style and environment, the student often is able to learn and do more than they ever have in a classroom setting. The student is able to increase their self-confidence as a result, which leads to even more successful learning.” She lived and studied in Grenada, Spain, for six months. When not tutoring, she is most often found reading, cooking and trying new foods, and developing her gardening skills.

Tutoring Expertise: Spanish, Writing, Reading, Math through Pre-Algebra, Religion, Study Skills

Test Prep: ISEE, SSAT, SAT II Spanish

Students: k-Adult

Sara’s Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching and tutoring has brought me across oceans, age spectrums, and languages. From this journey, the most important thing I have learned is this: everyone can learn. Without a doubt, every student is capable of seeking and acquiring new knowledge. The qualifier to this is that every student must seek that new knowledge in their own way and at their own pace. Thus, the job of the successful teacher is to listen to each student to identify the strategies that best suit that student’s particular learning style and learning needs. Often times, this “listening” means giving just as much consideration to what the student isn’t saying as to what they are saying.

Learning takes a lot of trust — trust in yourself and trust in your teacher. As such, encouraging confidence in my students in their own abilities is one of the cornerstones of my teaching philosophy. When students have confidence and trust in their own capability, they are able to take risks in their learning, and in my experience, the best type of learning takes place when we take risks. Likewise, I establish a strong rapport with my students from the very beginning in order to create a relationship founded on trust and mutual respect between student and teacher. Being a student can mean being in a very vulnerable position, and I do whatever I can to minimize those feelings of vulnerability. I take a genuine interest in the lives of my students and always strive to be a source of support for them.

Finally, I believe learning is a life-long process. It is something that takes place on a daily basis. Sometimes we learn new things, sometimes we re-learn things we thought we already knew, and sometimes we even learn without realizing it. With that said, I look forward every day to seeing what my students have to teach me, as we all have the dual capability of being both student and teacher.

Photo of Tim Coming Soon!


Tim comes to University Tutoring as a seasoned instructor of both math and standardized test prep. After earning his BA in mathematics from Colorado College, he taught all levels of math, from pre-algebra to calculus, at The Vanguard School in Colorado Springs. Tim has a student-centered approach, preferring to guide his students toward developing the critical thinking skills they will need to tackle difficult problems. “I like building rapport and getting to know each student, then using their natural curiosity to lead them to a greater understanding of the material. I enjoy helping students achieve their goals and accomplish whatever they put their minds to.” Tim puts his student-centered mentality to work every day as one of our most talented math tutors.

Outside of the classroom, Tim fills his time with snowboarding, photography, woodworking, hiking, ultimate frisbee, and rock climbing. Tim is currently working on starting a snowboard binding company. This project bridges his love for the outdoors with his passion for math and science: “I don’t have a degree in engineering, although I may pursue one at some point, but binding design is mostly applied geometry and a little bit of physics and material science.” In ninth grade, Tim was named one of the top ten K’nex builders on the continent. To this day he still occasionally builds with K’nex — he even built his first, very rough model of his binding design out of K’nex.

Tutoring Subjects: Math through Calculus, Study Skills, Excel, French


Students: Grade 6 – Adult

Favorite Links: Fraction Worksheets and Visual Aids, Math Worksheet Generator, Another Worksheet Generator

Tim’s’s Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy is grounded strongly in the belief that every person can learn if given the proper resources and guidance. I firmly believe in nurture over nature, especially when it comes to education, and that an individual’s success depends largely on his or her self-motivation, not on his or her ability.

In order to nurture a student’s intellect, it is imperative to establish a connection early on. Learning requires trust, and a student who does not trust his or her instructor will not learn. I make it clear to my students that I care not only about their success, but about them. I let them know that we are in this together, and that I am invested in their well-being and achievement.

To help students achieve their learning goals, I teach content knowledge as well as develop critical thinking and logical reasoning skills. I focus first on understanding the basic tools of mathematics, and then on how to use those tools as a math craftsman. I use direct instruction to teach the basics of a concept, and then use Socratic questioning to flesh out a greater understanding of both the small details and the big picture. My goal is always for a student to not only be able to explain how a concept works, but also why it works. That natural curiosity that drives us to ask “why?” and question everything is something we all possess (especially as children) and it is ultimately what results in a lively mind. I work to harness that curiosity to turn students into lifelong learners.