Director of Tutoring
Pace University, Masters of Science in the Teaching of Mathematics, 2006, 4.0 GPA; Yale University, 2004, major in African American Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in the Major; perfect scores on SAT I Verbal, SAT Writing, Math II, Physics, and French Subject Tests; recipient of the AP Scholar Award for the student with the most and highest scores on Advanced Placement Exams in Illinois; score of 5 on AP exams in Physics C, Calculus BC, English Language, English Literature, French Language, French Literature, Economics, Art History, U.S. History, and European History.
Lily spent her time at Yale taking a wide range of classes from Anthropology to Mathematics. As a freshman, she was selected for the Directed Studies Program, a highly rigorous interdisciplinary course of study in the Philosophy, Literature, and Political Science of the Western tradition from Herodotus to Hannah Arendt. While pursuing her diverse educational interests, she also tutored in the New Haven public schools and started Ballroom Dance Outreach, a student group conducting free dance lessons in local high schools.
After graduating from Yale, Lily was accepted into the New York City Teaching Fellows Program and began teaching at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School in fall, 2004, where she taught until spring, 2012. She simultaneously earned her Masters in Teaching and Professional Teaching Certificate. She has eight years of classroom experience teaching Mathematics and Physics, with subject areas ranging from Algebra remediation to calculus-based Physics, and has successfully shepherded her students through NYS Regents, SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, and AP exams alike.
As Director of Standardized Test Preparation, Lily brings to bear her years of experience with curriculum development, group instruction, and individual tutoring in both public and private schools to the challenging task of mastering standardized assessments, approaching them from both a strategic and a content-based point of view. She has worked to amplify and maintain test-specific guides totaling over 500 pages in length which focus on critical thinking skills and thorough understanding of content as a foundation, bridging the gap between the exercise of test preparation and the goal of becoming a well-educated and well-rounded student in any context. Students’ content mastery is bolstered by test-specific strategy and timed practice, which ensures accountability for students and their instructors and allows tutors to tailor their methods to the needs of each learner. Lily specializes in effective use of technology to add to students’ confidence and scores, and her review classes have helped test-takers maximize their performance and contributed to CET’s development of curricula based on detailed analysis of each exam’s structure and content. Additionally, she trains every one of CET’s test prep tutors and oversees their work with individual students, focusing on continuous improvement and expansion of CET’s teaching techniques.
Lily herself has helped dozens of students improve their test results both in and out of the classroom and has become one of the most sought-after tutors at CET with her unique blend of expertise and relatability. She has seen great improvements working with students in a wide variety of subjects and grade levels and knows that every student can and will learn with the right approach. Lily believes strongly in a conceptual, discovery-based, and student-focused approach to learning. She is well acquainted with the challenges and pressures of a rigorous academic atmosphere and works to engage students through both her own passion for the subjects she teaches and her naturally enthusiastic and supportive personality.
Lily considers boredom to be a sin and spends her non-teaching time immersed in her other career as a Latin Ballroom dancer. (She also teaches, performs, and competes in the cha cha, samba, rumba, paso doble, and jive!)
Director of Operations
Smith College 2003, double major in Latin American Studies and Luso-Brazilian Studies, 4.0 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude; member of Phi Beta Kappa; STRIDE Scholar, winner of Arthur Ellis Hamm Prize; Near-perfect score of 1590 on SAT I Exam (800 Verbal, 790 Math); score of 790 on Writing and 770 on Spanish SAT II Subject Tests; Score of 5 on AP Exams in Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, and Biology.
Sharon spent her time in college between Massachusetts and Latin America, studying abroad with the Brown-in-Brazil program in Rio de Janeiro and working as the Project Director with Amigos de las Americas, a youth development non-profit. She graduated after just three years, and continued her work with AMIGOS as the Director of Training, combining her passions for education, language, and international development. Back in her Chicago hometown, Sharon tutored a wide range of students, from teaching Portuguese for the Workplace to employees in a nut import company, to tutoring inner-city second graders in literacy and numeracy, and lots of high school math in between.
Now based in Brooklyn, Sharon works for the New York City Department of Education as a School Business Manager, running the operational and logistical side of new, small, public school development. She is also the director of an intergenerational religious education program that brings together elementary aged kids and adults of all ages to delve deeply into textual analysis and interpretation.
When tutoring, Sharon’s approach is to help students build confidence through focusing on what they know, either by drawing a picture when a math problem feels confusing at first, or re-phrasing a difficult sentence in their own words. She encourages students to think logically about whether or not an answer makes sense. This avoids getting sidetracked by trick responses written using common errors. She also personalizes test prep by reminding students that the writers of tests are people, too, and the idea is to get inside of their heads to figure out what they tend to be looking for test-takers to demonstrate. Humor is essential in learning any subject, and studying isn’t boring when you find ways to laugh about it, so she finds ways to make work funny whenever possible.
If she’s not tutoring, working at a school, or reading, you are likely to find Sharon practicing Vinyasa Yoga, pretending that milk chocolate is healthy, listening to cheesy ‘90’s Latin pop music, or obsessively planning her family’s next travel adventure.
Senior Standardized Test Preparation Specialist
Duke University, 2010, double major in Classical Civilizations and Theater Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude; recipient of the Edward H. Benenson Grant in the Arts, 2010; Jessie Chambers Scholarship, 2006; U.S. Air Force Commendation in Mathematics and Science, 2006; National Merit Scholarship, 2005; Wayne Duff Excelsior Award for Excellence in Latin, 2005; 52 academic awards at the National Junior Classical League competitions, 2003–2006; Four-time Gold Medalist on the National Latin Exam, 2003–2006; perfect score on SAT Math II Subject Test.
From the 2012 to the 2015 school years, Michael served as Competitive Edge’s Director of Standardized Test Preparation. During this time, Michael undertook research to create guides and practice materials for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE totaling over 500 pages in length. These materials focus on critical thinking skills and thorough understanding of content as a foundation, which is then bolstered by test-specific strategy and timed practice. Using these materials as a template, Michael has designed curricula and taught test prep courses for some of New York’s most prestigious schools, and the results have been universally positive. Michael has also acted as a test prep consultant for these schools, helping students craft preparation plans, advising college counselors on the best resources for their students, and even helping school officials modify class curricula to better prepare students for SAT Subject Tests.
In the summer of 2015, Michael shifted his focus back to helping students one-on-one. Michael has helped dozens of students dramatically raise their scores to impressive levels on the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE. Part of his success is the result of doing exhaustive research on these tests, analyzing literally tens of thousands of questions to determine the most common question types, trick questions, and topics covered. Additionally, Michael is an expert at identifying habits which limit students’ scores and coaches students to overcome them with confidence and consistency. Michael uses a curriculum combining original standardized test material, test-taking strategies, and critical thinking skills which pushes students to achieve their highest possible scores. This unique methodology has been spectacularly successful.
Outside of tutoring, Michael is a writer and comedian as well as an avid sports fan and card player.
Columbia University, 2011, major in English and Comparative Literature, 3.96 GPA, graduated Magna Cum Laude with English Departmental Honors, Dean’s List Fall 2007-Spring 2011; member of Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Finalist, 2007; Recipient of the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, 2007; Near-perfect score of 2350 on SATs, (with perfect scores on Writing and Reading sections), 770 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test, 800 on Spanish SAT Subject Test; AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, Latin, Spanish, and BC Calculus.
A lifelong academic high-achiever and extremely versatile and experienced tutor, Alice has worked with hundreds of students to help them excel in such diverse subjects as English, history, Spanish, geometry, chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus; she has also tutored dozens of students for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, GRE, and various SAT subject tests with consistently spectacular results.
As a native New Yorker and graduate of the New York City private school system, Alice is well acquainted with the stress and anxiety created by its pressure-cooker academic environment. She employs empathy, humor, and enthusiasm to help her students solidify their skill sets and develop confidence in their own academic abilities, while having as much fun as possible along the way. Her methodology consists of a systematic, step-by-step breakdown and explanation of concepts and strategies, as well as a keen attention to the details of each student's unique personality and learning style.
When she is not tutoring, Alice may be found reading at home, running in various NYC parks, or pursuing her career as an actress/singer/dancer.
Princeton University, 2012, major in Religion with a certificate in Theatre, top quintile; Member of Phi Beta Kappa; Award for Outstanding Original Research in Islamic Studies, 2012; Sophomore Award for Excellence in Theatre, 2010; Shapiro Award for Academic Excellence as a Freshman, 2009; score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, US History, and Psychology.
Clayton has worked with Competitive Edge since 2012, working with students in virtually every area of test prep and coursework. He is uniquely qualified to support students in both the humanities and advanced science and math courses, and shifts seamlessly between these disciplines. As a test prep tutor, Clayton has worked with students to prepare for the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement exams, Regents Exams, ISEE, and the SSAT. Though his plan for students is always based on their individual needs, Clayton strives to make his sessions fun and engaging, while also holding his students accountable. He takes great pride in letting his students gradually take more ownership over their test prep program, and has helped them gain admittance into some of the top colleges in the nation. Clayton loves to make personal connections during his sessions, and still regularly keeps in touch with many of his former students.
Prior to his work with Competitive Edge, Clayton tutored for three years as a Fellow with the Princeton University Writing Center, an undergraduate and graduate resource for academic writing. He worked individually with hundreds of students on a wide variety of academic papers, becoming known for his calm and approachable demeanor, and his ability to explain concepts clearly while letting students take ownership of their work. He later became a Head Fellow at the Writing Center, training other Fellows to become more effective at their craft.
Clayton is also a certified high school science teacher for the subjects of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. He has experience teaching science in the classroom at Sharpstown High School, part of the Houston Independent School District. His passion for science dates back to the earlier years of his education, when he won the Bausch and Lomb Award for Excellence in Science in 2007. Through Competitive Edge, Clayton has designed curricula for and taught full classroom based courses on the ACT and the SAT Physics subject test. In the classroom setting, Clayton focuses on finding a balance between creating engaging content for all students, while making sure no students feel left behind.
Lastly, he is a nut for all things creative—he loves theatre, writing and music, so much so that he has trouble determining which of these is his true love! Currently, he is writing a book, while occasionally performing his award winning one man show at colleges along the East Coast.
Junior Standardized Test Preparation Specialist
Georgetown University, 2014, major in International Politics with a certificate in International Law, Norms, and Ethics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service; graduated Cum Laude with an advanced proficiency in Mandarin; High school valedictorian, Recipient of the Robert G. Hazo Award for the highest weighted-GPA, 2010; National Merit Finalist, 2010; Near perfect SAT score: 2320.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Alex has always been both a political junkie and an arts enthusiast, pursuing his passion for international relations and musical theatre since childhood. In his senior year in high school, Alex won the 2010 Gene Kelly Award for Best Actor, the highest accolade given to a Pittsburgh high school student for musical theatre acting, and went on to become first runner-up at the 2010 National High School Musical Theatre Awards, held at the Marquis Theatre in New York City. Changing his focus in college to political science, Alex enrolled in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service in 2010, where he majored in international politics and Mandarin, concentrating his research on China’s role in the global community.
While at Georgetown, Alex tutored for Capital Educators, a standardized-test prep company catering to the DC-Baltimore area. During his tenure, he consistently received top ratings from the more than 200 high school students he tutored. His enthusiasm, energy, and sense of humor promote strong ties with his students, transforming the way they approach standardized tests and empowering them to successfully reach their test goals. At Competitive Edge, Alex has blended his experience as an SAT tutor with Competitive Edge’s proprietary materials and methodology to become an exceptional, all-around standardized test tutor, specializing in the ISEE, SSAT, ACT, and SAT.
While in New York, Alex is pursuing the musical theatre career he put on hold briefly while at Georgetown. You may also catch him occasionally performing stand-up around the city, taking every dance class he can find, and playing softball in the park.
Teachers College Columbia University, 2016, M.A. Initial Certification in Art and Art Education; Williams College, 2012, B.A. in English Literature; Class of 1960 Scholar, 2011-2012; Gates Millennium Scholar, 2007-2016; National Merit Scholar, 2007; National Honor Society, 2006-2008; Scholastic Writing Awards, 2004; Prep for Prep Valedictorian, Contingent XXIV; scores of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History and English Literature and Composition; scores of 800 and 790 on the Writing and Critical Reading sections; perfect scores on Essay sections of the SAT and GRE.
Raised in New York City, Paisley attended Hunter College High School and the Brearley School. While attending, she was involved in the literary journal and school newspaper, and was the President of the Music Appreciation Club. On Saturdays, she first attended the Parsons School of Design Precollege, then the Manhattan School of Music Precollege Jazz Division. During her time at Williams College, Paisley was a leader in the Student Government, serving as Neighborhood President. Always active and thirsty for outdoor adventure, she was a member of the Equestrian and Cross-Country teams. Her curious nature led her to take courses abroad in Argentina and Egypt. In addition, she contributed to the Williams Record newspaper as the restaurant critic.
Paisley has been teaching and tutoring for over a decade, and she loves every second of it. After college, she taught in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New York City, during which she gained many valuable skills in lesson planning, curriculum design, classroom management, and fostering the most effective student-teacher relationships. Some of the schools she worked in include Berkshire Arts and Technology and Coney Island Prep, where she taught grades 6-12 Visual Art and grades 6-7 English, respectively. Paisley tutors the SAT, ACT, AP, ISEE, SSAT, and SHSAT, in addition to academic subjects including Social Studies, History, Algebra I/II, Geometry, and English. All of her students see clear improvements in their grades and test scores. She has also worked with students on college essays and applications for college and awards. Her students have won honors such as the Scholastic Writing Awards. A methodical tutor, she believes in zeroing in on any weaknesses right away and constantly drilling the difficult concepts (grammar, math, science, reading comprehension, or vocabulary) until they are internalized. However, her aim is not only to teach her students the strategies and content knowledge they need to succeed on their tests and courses, but also to be a mentor and motivator. With her sense of humor, she strives to make students laugh and to make tutoring an experience they can look forward to.
When she is not tutoring or planning lessons, Paisley spends her time cooking, exploring new restaurants, going to museums and jazz concerts, or playing music.
Stanford University, 2008, double-major in Human Biology (concentration: International Women’s and Children’s Health and Rights) and Drama; California Scholarship Federation member; National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Score of 1520 (99th percentile) on the SAT, 780 on the US History SAT II.
At Stanford, Jill was active in the drama department (producing and acting in “How I Learned to Drive” for her senior project) while studying public health, eventually teaching about HIV and reproductive health in Tanzania as well as studying abroad at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Jill is now in her seventh year of preparing students for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, and the HCHS entrance exam. She enjoys working with a wide range of students, including those with learning disabilities. She’s seen some students score 2400’s and 36’s, and others raise their scores enough to move their “Reach” schools into the “Match” category. Since moving to New York, she estimates that she’s worked with well over two hundred students.
Jill is familiar with how stressful test prep can be, and strongly believes that levity is an important tool in conquering the test prep and school admission process. She also encourages her students to teach her concepts they’re mastering, as teaching is often the best way to learn. Every student is unique, so Jill doesn’t agree with one-size-fits-all approaches; instead, she likes to figure out the best strategies for each individual student.
When not tutoring, Jill is probably acting, seeing plays, or auditioning. She spends her spare time hiking, rooting for the Stanford football team, seeing theatre, and reading every book she can find.
Université Capitole 1, 2010, Ph.D. in Economics and Applied Statistics; perfect score on GRE Quantitative Section; Harvard University, 2003, major in Economics, graduated Cum Laude with Departmental Honors, recipient of the Duesenberry Fellowship; National Merit Scholar, 1999; AP Scholar with Distinction: score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, French Language, English Language; 760 on French SAT Subject Test; 4th in State of NJ, 1998, on National Spanish Exam.
Ruby is a lifelong academic: after graduating Harvard, she studied Multivariate Calculus and Linear Algebra in addition to pure mathematics including Sets, Groups, Topology and Real Analysis. She has also mastered graduate level Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Statistics, Numerical Analysis and Stochastic Calculus.
Ruby has over 10 years of teaching experience: at Harvard, she was a peer tutor for Economics, Calculus and French with the Bureau of Study Counsel. She also tutored low-income students in Roxbury, MA with the Philips Brooks House Association. After graduating college, Ruby was a private tutor for both a national tutoring agency and a boutique tutoring service in the New York area. She helped students with Algebra, Calculus, Geometry and Trigonometry. She also tutored the Quantitative section of the GRE and French.
Ruby enjoys tutoring individuals and small groups to customize the approach to the needs of the student. A unique aspect of her teaching is that she asks questions and follow-up questions to lead students to the correct reasoning or answer. She finds this active style creates links between theory and application and the students can soon implement techniques independently because they have developed confidence and become intuitive regarding their studies.
When teaching quantitative subjects, Ruby encourages students to derive theorems and relationships rather than rely on memorization. Past students have appreciated her ability to create simple, basic examples to illustrate technical concepts.
When helping students with language, she favors learning in context rather than with algorithms. Contextualizing vocabulary and grammar facilitates retention.
Outside of tutoring, Ruby writes narrative non-fiction testing the extent to which natural boundaries affect the rate of change in population settlement patterns. She also keeps up with foreign film.
Williams College, 2015, major in Biology with Biology Departmental Honors, graduated Cum Laude, Dean’s List 2011-2015, pre-medical coursework complete; score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, Biology, AB Calculus, BC Calculus, Statistics, and Literature and Composition; near perfect score of 35 on ACT; member of National Honor Society since 2009.
A native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, Becca developed her love of science at a young age and has long dreamed of going into medicine. While she fostered her love for science and medicine in both high school and college, it was during her time at Williams that she developed new passions in other subjects, for example, Global Health and Music. For Becca’s senior thesis, she studied the biological relevance of small molecule inhibitors developed in her lab. Since graduating, she has been working as a Medical Assistant for Tribeca Pediatrics in New York.
In high school, she tutored her peers one-on-one in coursework and exam preparation. In college, she delved into community service events that had teaching components that she found particularly rewarding. During two springs she tutored after-school science programs at the Williamstown local elementary school. For four years she also worked at William’s Math and Science Resource Center (MSRC) as a tutor in Biology, Organic and Physical Chemistry and as a mentor for specific courses, assisting students with homework problems, lab work, and general concept comprehension. For Competitive Edge, Becca focuses on Biology, Chemistry, and ACT Test Preparation.
In order to ensure the success of her students, she spends time, particularly at their initial meeting, learning the manner in which he or she best absorbs information. She teaches by asking questions and guiding students in the right direction to find correct answers. Becca also believes that allowing students to teach the teacher is an invaluable tool that offers both a sense of empowerment to the student and also elucidates how much material they are fully grasping.
In her free time, you can find her playing soccer, playing and listening to music, and frequenting as many boutique coffee shops as she can.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in Nanotechnology and Materials Chemistry; Rollins College, 2013, graduated Magna Cum Laude with Honors in Chemistry and Mathematics; American Institute of Chemists’ Outstanding Senior Chemistry Major Award, 2013; Archibald Granville Bush Award (excellent standard in academic pursuits), 2011 & 2013; Thomas R. Baker Memorial Prize (excellence in chemistry), 2012; Centennial Award (academic excellence), 2009-2013; Cram Science Scholarship (excellence in the sciences), 2009-2013; Deans Scholarship, 2009-2013; CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award, 2010; ranked 3rd in Deer Park High School, NY, 2009; scores of 5 on AP exams in Macroeconomics, English Language and Composition, Chemistry, Physics B, and US History; 800 on Critical Reading SAT I, 780 on Math SAT I.
While at Rollins College, Justin not only studied broad interdisciplinary concepts in an Honors Degree Program, but also specialized in science and mathematics. His understanding of the development and implementation of scientific reasoning allowed him to draw connections between intellectual and academic paradigms. As he made the transition from being a chemistry tutor for the Rollins Chemistry Department to a math, science, and test preparation tutor at a private tutoring company, this skill made it possible to develop novel strategies for students to have a more dynamic interaction with subject matter.
Justin’s approach lends itself especially to ACT and SAT test preparation. By showing his students the underlying patterns in the type and content of questions on standardized tests, he helps them establish the confidence and familiarity required to radically improve their scores. Once students realize that tests like the SAT and ACT are predictable, they see the benefit of practice and also lose the edginess that is so often associated with and detrimental to test taking. Justin prides himself on not only helping students achieve higher scores, but also on reducing any associated stress.
While tutoring dozens of students at Competitive Edge Tutoring, Justin has demonstrated the efficacy of his approach, with his students scoring up to and including a perfect 36 on the ACT. Additionally, he was able to prove his versatility by teaching an SAT II Physics prep course at a prestigious NYC school, Avenues: The World School. Despite setting a high bar for his students, and himself, his track record continues to improve.
Justin also works as an inorganic radiochemistry Ph.D. student at Hunter College, researching topics related to cancer imaging and nuclear fuel remediation. While his graduate work is far more advanced than the subjects he teaches, his research helps maintain and hone an intellectual edge, generating an intensity and passion that stimulates his students.
Beyond his work as a scientist and instructor, Justin is a voracious consumer of literature, fiction and non-fiction, as well as an avid outdoorsman.
University of Pennsylvania, currently matriculated, post-baccalaureate pre-medical studies; Dartmouth College, 2014, 3.5 GPA, major in Neuroscience and minor in Linguistics, graduated with honors in Neuroscience; Selected as 1 of 55 students from a national applicant pool of 600+ collegiate science majors to participate in Research in Science and Engineering (RiSE); Score of 5 on Advanced Placement exams in Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, French Language, French Literature, Psychology, European History, English, and Biology; Certified as a national emergency medical technician (EMT), 2012.
Olivia was salutatorian of Charlottesville (VA) High School, where she was president of the Spanish Club for three years, a leader in the French Club, and a member of her high school soccer team; and, as a consequence, the difficulties of balancing scholastic demands and extracurricular activities are very familiar to her. After exhausting the thirteen Advanced Placement courses offered at her high school, she began supplementing her high school curriculum with courses in Italian and Russian at the University of Virginia.
While at Dartmouth, Olivia was employed as a teaching assistant for three years. She began as a Spanish TA with her own class of students, teaching grammar and grading exams. After two and a half years in the Spanish department, she was promoted to TA in Linguistics, holding office hours, giving lectures, and tutoring Dartmouth undergraduates. She participated in RiSE during the summer of 2012, and researched how Arc protein distribution in the hippocampus correlates with different types of learning. During her senior year, Olivia wrote her honors thesis, conducting her own neuroscience experiment, which examined the effects of empathy on facial mimicry. In the same year, she also worked as a private tutor in the Hanover community, teaching pre-algebra, algebra, and writing to 5th graders.
At Competitive Edge, Olivia tutors the SAT, ACT, Writing, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Spanish, and French. She is a passionate teacher, striving to help her students not only to manage but also enjoy academic challenges by teaching them how to make memorable and creative connections.
In her spare time, Olivia enjoys playing with her pet hedgehog, reading, and cross-country skiing.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in English Literature; Columbia University, 2011, M.A. in English and Comparative Literature; St. John’s University, 2009, M.A. in Secondary Education; Smith College, 2006, double major in English and Fine Arts, recipient of Highest Honors.
As a senior at Smith College, Erin spent a year on her first major writing project: a senior thesis on the psychology of Alice in Wonderland which was awarded highest honers and the annual award for best honors thesis in English. After graduating, Erin pursued secondary education, teaching English to high school students in Red Hook, Brooklyn. After two years in the role of English Teacher, Erin was promoted to Educational Interventions Coordinator. In this position she was responsible for implementing strategic individualized learning programs for students who were struggling. During this time, Erin worked as a consultant for other schools, creating and facilitating professional development days designed to help other teachers implement the strategies that had been so effective in Erin’s classroom. Meanwhile, Erin attended Columbia University part-time, completing a master’s degree in English literature.
After four years in public education, Erin returned to academia full-time, and is currently matriculated in CUNY Graduate Center’s English PhD Program. Her research interests include the history of the novel and narrative theory. She teaches at Queens College and continues to work as a private tutor for high school and college students. Erin is a master editor, bringing her knowledge of genre and her years of experience into play in order to help her students write as effectively as possible. Her role as the head of a team designed to bring struggling students up to grade level taught Erin how to help struggling learners see their own potential; she excels at sensitively holding students to high standards.
Erin is an animal and nature lover, an avid reader and writer, and a passionate consumer of arts and culture.
Teachers College, Columbia University, 1993, M.A. in Student Personnel Administration; the State University at New Paltz, 1988, major in Spanish.
Steven brings almost 20 years of professional experience in educational counseling and program development to Competitive Edge Tutoring. In 1996 he founded One World Education Consulting (since 2007 called Omega Educational Consulting), which provides admissions and personal assistance to middle school, high school, and college students.
During the time Steven was an M.A. candidate at Columbia, he worked as a program coordinator and graduate assistant in the Office of Student Activities. After graduating, he joined New York University in 1993 and remained there until 1996 in the highly visible administrative position of Director of the Office for African American, Latino and Asian American Student Services. His responsibilities included managing a university-wide program for comprehensive financial planning and counseling services for its diverse student body. Steven also created programs to recruit international students, whom he advised, mentored, and subsequently assisted by providing career placement and graduate school application services. Using his skills as a speaker, program developer, communicator and facilitator, he forged a strategic alliance between New York University and the United States International University in Mexico City, where he instructed groups of exchange students in international relations and Mexican cultural traditions.
Steven has been a featured keynote speaker at New York University, Columbia and the Juilliard School of the Arts conferences dealing with student issues. In 2009, he was a recipient of the Twenty-Five Most Outstanding Latino Men in the New York Area Award, sponsored by the Spanish language daily newspaper El Diario La Prensa, a distinction Steven shares with internationally known celebrities such as Geraldo Rivera.
In his spare time, Steven is an enthusiastic fan of the performing arts, particularly avant-garde off-Broadway theatrical productions.
Sloan Kettering, currently matriculated, ph.D in Cancer Biology, Princeton University, 2009, major in Chemical Engineering and minor in Biological Engineering.
Scott’s enthusiasm for science and math are impossible to mistake. He has two publications (in 2007, a study involving crude oil Polymer additives and, in 2011, a study of the enzyme Mmel and DNA) and a resume of lab work conducted at Princeton University, Onconova Therapeutics (New Jersey), the University of Melbourne (Australia), Wuxi Pharmatech (China) and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Structural Biology. It was at Wuxi in Shanghai that Scott first discovered his love for teaching while informally instructing English classes during his lunch break. What excites him in particular is the challenge of introducing completely new subject matter in uncomplicated and understandable terms to his students.
Scott specializes in tutoring Mathematics—everything from Algebra to Multivariable Calculus—as well as Chemistry, Molecular Biology and Physics. He is an experienced test prep tutor for New York State Regents exams and SAT Subject Tests in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Math I, and Math II. His teaching methodology is to help students understand the concept as a part of the larger picture, which improves comprehension and provides motivation to continue learning.
When he is not teaching, Scott enjoys sports. He was a member of both the Princeton Varsity Squash and Soccer Teams. Currently, he participates in the Metropolitan Squash Racquets Association Squash League and the Metro New York Men’s Soccer League.
Harvard, 2015, major in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, graduated Cum Laude, awarded language citation in German, 2015, David McCord Prize for Unusual Artistic Talent, 2015, Doris Cohen Levi Prize in Musical Theater, 2015, Office for the Arts at Harvard Developing Artist Fellowship, 2014, Weissman International Internship Program grant, 2014; 780 on SAT Writing section; 790 on Biology M SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in English Literature, Law and Government, US History, Biology, AB Calculus, and Spanish.
Elizabeth split her time at Harvard between biology and theater due to her fascination with both the literal and figurative study of life. A passion for evolutionary biology and conservation led her to enroll in numerous animal diversity classes. When she wasn’t rehearsing for a play or singing with her R&B a cappella group, Elizabeth could be found in the lab, attempting to understand the anatomy and behavior of a wide variety of organisms. In her favorite class, entomology, she was tasked with creating and cataloguing an insect collection, which she maintains and expands to this day. Elizabeth’s love of living creatures began in her AP biology class in junior year of high school, and she seeks to inspire that same passion in current high school biology students.
At the beginning of each academic year at Harvard, Elizabeth participated in a pre-orientation program for incoming freshmen. As an upperclassman, Elizabeth’s job was to create a welcoming environment for the newly matriculated students while introducing them to life on campus. Elizabeth’s upbeat attitude and the compassion she developed during the three years she mentored freshmen as well as her excellent academic record make her a fun, supportive, and articulate tutor.
Elizabeth primarily tutors test preparation with Competitive Edge. She approaches standardized test prep with long term benefits in mind. While preparing for the SAT and ACT may seem tedious, excelling at test preparation can help students develop great discipline and logic skills. In fact, she believes that her own preparation for the SAT not only helped to build her academic acumen but also taught her that being responsible and diligent was of paramount importance in reaching her goals.
When she’s not tutoring, Elizabeth can be found rehearsing for her next play, singing jazz standards at home, or collecting insects in Central Park.
University of Virginia, 2010, M.A. in Spanish Literature; Princeton University, 2007, major in English in Comparative Contexts with Certificates in Spanish and Latin American Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude, member of Phi Beta Kappa, co-recipient of the Class of 1870 Prize awarded to the best junior scholar in English Literature, 2007.
Originally from North Carolina, Cabell attended high school in Massachusetts. At Princeton, she studied both English and Hispanic Literature. In her free time, she taught ESL classes at a community center in Trenton, NJ and worked as a private tutor in the Humanities, helping middle and high school students improve their writing and organizational skills.
During a summer spent teaching English in Peru, she fell hopelessly in love with Latin America and decided to study Spanish Language Literature in graduate school. At UVA, Cabell taught Accelerated Elementary Spanish and Advanced Intermediate Spanish to college students, while immersing herself in prose, poetry and drama, from Don Quijote to Cien años de soledad.
Cabell recently moved to New York after an eight month stint in Buenos Aires, where she worked at a boutique travel company, explored Argentina from Patagonia to Paraguay, and ate as much dulce de leche ice cream as humanly possible.
Manhattanville College, Masters of Professional Studies in English and Special Education, 2011, 4.0 GPA; Colby College, 2006, major in English Literature, graduated Magna Cum Laude with Distinction in Major; Dean’s List 2002-2006; High School Valedictorian.
Lauren earned her M.P.S. degree while acting as a learning specialist, supporting undergraduates with learning disabilities in their college-level mathematics, science, humanities, and social science coursework. She is adept at making complex concepts understandable to learners at all skill levels. As a New York State Certified Teacher in English and Special Education grades 5-12, she currently provides targeted special education services to students in the Bronx. Lauren believes that all students can excel when given appropriate supports and individualized attention.
A native of Mid-Coast Maine where tutoring programs were few and far between and an accomplished graduate of the state’s public school system, Lauren is a self-motivated individual who strives to foster the same ambition and determination to excel in her students. A tutor since 2007, she has worked with numerous public and private school students in Westchester, specializing in Test Prep, Mathematics, English, History, Earth Science, and Study Skills. She employs strategies to empower her students by establishing internal loci of control and developing their confidence in their academic abilities. Lauren’s success as an educator can be attributed to ability to empathize with her students, guiding them to channel their strengths and remediate their weaknesses.
When she isn’t tutoring, Lauren is likely reading a novel, viewing an independent film, or improving her physical fitness at the gym. She also enjoys exploring Westchester and tending to the needs of her two very demanding feline roommates.
CUNY Graduate Center, currently matriculated, Ph.D. in Comparative Literature; The New School, M.F.A. in Fiction, 2007; University of California, Berkeley, 2002, major in German Language and Literature with a specialization in Philosophy, recipient of High Honors (graduated in top 4 percent of the class of 2002); Humbolt Universität, Berlin, Germany, 2001 and Georg August Universität, Göttingen, Germany, 2000, studies in Philosophy and Literature; enrolled in California State University, Dominquez Hills and Stanford University for a total of 33 credits before graduating high school.
While an undergraduate at Berkeley, Jesse began tutoring in a program called Break the Cycle and, as a junior consultant, taught seminars for the University’s microcomputer facilities. Shortly after graduating, he moved to Germany and taught English at several German corporations including BMW, Siemans and Schindler. In 2005, he returned to the United States to pursue an advanced degree in Fiction at the New School in New York City and later that year moved back to California, where he tutored autistic and emotionally disturbed children in mainstream and specifically dedicated public school classrooms. During that time, he taught himself Spanish, honing his skills by spending several months in Spain and Mexico and later tutored Test Prep for both the SAT and the ACT, specializing in English and Spanish.
In 2008, Jesse was back in New York City, working at the Bronx Preparatory Charter School in the South Bronx, where he taught high school English and assisted over 100 seniors in the messaging and execution of their college essays in the school’s College Prep program. Currently he teaches courses in Rhetoric and Composition, as well as German language, at Brooklyn College and the New York City College of Technology. He has also written professionally in the field of advertising for organizations including Charter Asset Management and the Asian American Music Festival.
Jesse’s years of work with a broad range of students, from the severely autistic to the highest achievers, has trained him in individualizing the learning experience according to each student’s personal style. If given the proper tools and framework, all students, he believes, can disassemble and conquer the barriers that hinder their scholastic achievement.
When Jesse is not tutoring or teaching, he is reading or writing about interpretation, perception and aesthetic psychology, as well as Post-War American literature. Aside from his academic interests, he practices yoga and loves to cook, working hard at maintaining the skills he acquired during a stint as chef in a Berlin café.
Brooklyn College, 2015, Dietetic Internship Program; Hunter College, 2014, M.S. in Nutrition, 3.8 GPA; Cornell University, 2011, major in Biology & Society; The State University of New York at Stony Brook Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Scholarship recipient, 2007-2008; Score of 5 on AP Exams in Biology and Psychology.
During her senior year at Walt Whitman High School on Long Island, Michelle was accepted into the selective Stony Brook University Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, a unique honors curriculum that seeks to increase the number of women in the fields of science, math, and engineering. As a WISE scholar, she gained intensive research experience through classroom instruction, as well as extracurricular participation in a cell biology and pathology laboratory.
She transferred to Cornell University the following year and took courses in a wide array of subjects, ranging from bioengineering to animal science to German language. She participated as a research assistant in several projects and was a staff photographer for the Cornell Daily Sun. During her tenure as menu steward of a vegetarian housing cooperative, Michelle became passionate about food and nutrition. Consequently, she joined on-campus organizations geared toward educating students and members of the Ithaca community about healthy eating.
While a graduate student, Michelle worked as an SAT, ACT, and biology tutor with a national franchise and, subsequently, with a small independent company. She has experience working individually with students, as well as in small group and classroom settings, which has solidified her propensity to be empathetic and patient. Since joining CET, she has worked with a plethora of NYC middle school and high schools students as they traverse the complexities of the high school and college admissions process. She sees her role as not only a test prep and academic subject specialist, but also as a mentor.
The first in her family to attend college, Michelle has a perspective on learning and academic achievement that can only be earned through self-directed goal setting and enduring tenacity. This perspective informs her tutoring philosophy, which is that once students believe they have the capacity to accomplish their goals, mindful planning, practice, and patience are the keys to success. Her ability to alleviate anxiety, while simultaneously encouraging intellectual growth and development, leaves a lasting impression on students, as they translate critical thinking skills into better academic performance and more confidence in their own abilities.
When she is not tutoring or spreading the gospel of healthy eating, Michelle enjoys art museums, musical performances, record collecting, yoga, cooking, and knitting.
Stanford University, 2015, B.S. in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Decision Making & Rationality, minors in Mathematics and Creative Writing; 3.65 GPA; 800 on SAT Math, 780 on SAT US History Subject Test; 99th percentile score of 35 on the ACT.
From preschool through the 8th grade, Stu attended the Avery Coonley School, a private institution for gifted students in Chicago. He then went to Downers Grove North High School, one of the top public schools in Illinois, where he served as vice president of the National Honors Society, logging the most tutoring and volunteering service hours out of all the 200 plus members. As a high school student, he worked one-on-one with other high school and middle school students, tutoring coursework in math, physics, biology, and chemistry.
At Stanford, Stu majored in Symbolic Systems, a cognitive science major that covers a wide range of subjects including Computer Science, Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics. More specifically, he concentrated in Decision Making and Rationality, which included courses in Philosophical Logic, Prospect Theory, Game Theory, and Behavioral Economics. In his role as an advising fellow for the Symbolic Systems program, he had office hours every week where students could come in and ask for advice or help on schoolwork. In his free time, he worked as an undergraduate research intern in both the Psychology and Linguistics departments. He also founded and ran a student group for stand up comedians on campus and wrote jokes for several humor groups.
Stu tutors ACT and SAT English, Math, Reading, and Science with Competitive Edge in addition to the SSAT and ISEE. He combines Competitive Edge’s approach with students’ particular needs by attacking problems from their point of view, finding custom solutions that will be most meaningful and productive for each individual. Through his studies in decision making, he has realized there are many different strategies for problem solving. Finding the one that is best suited for each of his students is rewarding and fun.
In his free time, Stu performs stand up comedy at bars and clubs around the city. And if he’s not doing that, he’s probably working on his blog or some other writing project.
Brown University, 2011, double major in English and Literary Arts; 2330 on SAT with perfect score of 800 on Math section; 35 on ACT (35 on English, 36 on Math, Reading, and Science); 790 on SAT Math II Subject Test; National Merit Scholar; AP Scholar with Distinction: scores of 5 on Physics B, Calculus BC, Statistics, English Literature and Composition, Spanish Language, and U.S. History.
Dmitriy first started teaching after his freshman year of college, when he started a branch of a newly founded SAT/ACT prep company entirely from scratch in his hometown, Vernon Hills, Illinois. After coordinating all logistics, publicity, and marketing, he taught two classes and tutored dozens of students privately. He then continued freelance tutoring on both exams over the next three years. After graduating, he moved to Seoul, South Korea, where he primarily taught high school literature at an elite after-school academy. Since moving to New York, Dmitriy has continued to tutor on the ACT, SAT, and writing. Until recently, he worked in the editorial department at Bedford/St. Martin’s, a leading college textbook publisher.
Throughout his years of teaching, Dmitriy has helped students with the SAT, ACT, AP English Literature and Composition Exam, AP English Language and Composition Exam, SAT Literature Subject Test, SHSAT, SSAT, writing (including both English class and admissions essays), literature, and K-8 and high school math. His goal is to direct students to better futures by building their confidence and helping them reach higher scores.
When it comes to test prep, Dmitriy systematically targets gaps in knowledge and suggests specific strategies to overcome weaknesses. When helping with homework and writing, his strategy (and pleasure) is to connect with students and help them realize how their studies are relevant to their lives and the world around them. He has a passion for literature and is excited to inspire the same in his students.
In his free time, Dmitriy enjoys attending literary events, dancing at concerts, playing poker competitively, experimenting in the kitchen, and traveling the world (26 countries and counting).
Columbia University, 2013, major in History with a Specialization in American History of the 20th Century; Dean’s List 2012–2013; Hunter College High School, 2009; 99th percentile composite score of 2280 on the SAT I; score of 5 on Spanish AP exam.
Willis grew up in New York City, where he received a rigorous education at Hunter College High School. But it was beyond the classroom, in the city’s museums and theaters, that his curiosity was continually piqued. Also, on weekends and during the summers, he had the opportunity to study music in programs offered by the Manhattan School of Music and Harlem’s Jazzmobile.
Over the course of his time as an undergraduate, Willis conducted research throughout the city’s archives and libraries and wrote a Senior Honors Thesis on New Deal-era photography projects sponsored by the Farm Security Administration. His accomplished and dedicated professors and demanding but fulfilling classroom curriculum inspired him to teach others. It is with great enthusiasm that he attempts to equip his students with the same set of tools and insights that he has learned.
Since 2013 Willis has tutored students for the ACT, SAT, World History and U.S. History SAT Subject Tests, SHSAT, ISEE, and numerous AP tests, including US History, World History, Spanish Language and US Government and Politics. In order to provide the most effective instruction possible, he employs a strategic approach to identify patterns in students’ weaknesses and focus on the material that would be most helpful. This involves a combination of insights culled from years of experience with test preparation, and careful attention to students’ unique abilities and struggles. This sometimes requires connecting the material—which can begin to seem irrelevant beyond a single examination or standardized test—to themes and patterns in the world at large.
In recent years, Willis has also worked as a Spanish translator for the Huffington Post, and he has performed as an actor and musician at venues throughout New York City, including the Guggenheim Museum, Pianos, and Bowery Electric.
Harvard Medical School, 2016 (expected); Columbia University, 2012, majored in Biomedical Engineering, 4.00 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude; Dean’s list all semesters; Engineering Honor Society (Tau Beta Pi) President and Fellowship Recipient; Stuyvesant High School graduate with above 700 on all sections of the SAT (with a perfect 800 in the Math section); Math II Subject Test 800; Physics Subject Test 710; Biology Subject Test 710; Scored 5/5 on 6 AP exams (English Language and English Literature, Biology, BC Calculus, Statistics, Psychology) and passed the first actuarial exam in probability before graduating high school; Scored in the 97th percentile on the MCAT; Research work recognized in Siemens/Westinghouse competition and New York City Science and Engineering Fair; published several academic papers on brain cancer, skin disease, and ultrasound imaging.
Dmitriy has worked as a tutor, teaching assistant, and mentor for the last 6 years in New York and Boston with dozens of high school and middle school students to help them excel in various subjects, including: Algebra, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Trigonometry, Chemistry, and Physics. He has also worked with students preparing for the SAT, ACT, SHSAT and SAT Subject Exams.
Dmitriy enjoys teaching students fundamental concepts that can be applied to multiple problems and explains how formulas are derived in order to minimize memorization. His students then reinforce what they learned through practice questions. Dmitriy takes an individualized approach with every student to accommodate their learning style and speed. At the end of every session, he also uses a “teach-back” method, during which his students teach him what they learned that day.
In his spare time, Dmitriy loves to play chess with his grandfather, explore New York City, learn new things, and teach others.
Columbia University, 2014, major in Sociocultural Anthropology, minor in Jazz Studies, 3.73 GPA, Dean’s List 2010-2014; composite score of 2240 on SAT I; 760 on SAT US History subject test; score of 5 on AP exams in Calculus, US History, European History, Comparative Government, English Language, and English Literature; Bronfman Youth Fellow 2009; Stuyvesant High School.
Jacob grew up in New York City where he was lucky enough to learn in several diverse educational and experiential settings. He started off at the Bank Street School for Children, a progressive elementary and middle school and then attended Stuyvesant High School, which in contrast to Bank Street, is a rigorous and test-driven environment. During his time at Stuyvesant, Jacob had a number of inspiring and dedicated teachers, particularly in the humanities, who stimulated an interest in social justice and American politics.
During his time at Columbia, Jacob pored over ethnographic texts and social theory treatises, closely studied trance and possession rituals in Haiti and Bali, and transcribed the solos of John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk. The breadth of Jacob’s college education required keeping his quantitative and critical thinking sharp, particularly useful while delving deeply into the humanities. Throughout his time as an student, he also focused on music, playing guitar in a variety of jazz and rock ensembles and taking a number of music theory and ethnomusicology classes.
When tutoring for standardized tests, Jacob seeks to help students identify their greatest points of weakness, whether in the material or simply as test-takers, and provide them with methods for tackling those problems from a variety of angles. While he is devoted to providing students with the material and strategies to get the best test results, Jacob also emphasizes the importance of academic curiosity, experimentation, and problem solving skills. He wants his students not only to ace their tests but also to become enthusiastic lifelong learners.
When Jacob isn’t tutoring, he is pursuing a career as a guitarist, performing at various venues throughout New York City. He also volunteers at the Community Action School (MS 54), conducting weekly literacy foundations sessions with middle school kids.
Harvard, 2015, major in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; recipient of language citation in Chinese, 2015; recipient of Rockefeller International Experience Grant, 2012; 790 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test; 750 on Math II SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, Environmental Science, Government and Politics, US History, Biology, and Latin.
At Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina, Karl was dedicated to rigorously studying science and mathematics. After he took every science and math class available, he enrolled part-time at UNC Chapel Hill to take more advanced college-level courses. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, he worked at the EPA building computational models to study how pesticides and other chemicals affect the liver.
At Harvard, however, after taking his first gender studies course, Karl was quickly drawn to the humanities as well. He took courses in Sociology and Literature, but also continued to study the sciences in courses like Endocrinology and Evolutionary Biology. One of Karl’s favorite classes—in part because it informed his passion for social justice--was “Women and Science,” which explored how scientific research and popular science shaped the way we understand gender. Karl’s goal at CET is to inspire his students with a similar intellectual curiosity and empower them to see science and humanities as disciplines that are in constant conversation to create meaning in our everyday environment.
Karl works with students to help them discover how they learn and study best. Besides mastery of content, his tutoring work ultimately helps students improve their organizational skills, study skills, and attitude toward studying. His theatrical experience in plays, comedy and musicals at Harvard has made him a better tutor by developing spontaneity and listening skills in his approach to teaching. He believes that standardized tests can be easily tackled once students acquire the confidence that comes from knowing the test inside out as well as knowing the strategies that work best for them.
When he’s not tutoring, Karl can be found rehearsing for his next play, binge-watching Netflix series, or catching Pokémon in Central Park.
Columbia University, 2016, Post-baccalaureate Premedical Program, 3.91 GPA; Tufts University, 2012, major in Quantitative Economics, graduated Magna Cum Laude; score of 521 on MCAT (99% percentile); AP Scholar with Distinction; member of National Honor Society 2007.
Danielle grew up in Mahopac, NY, and was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” at Lakeland High School, where she was captain of the Dance Team and member of the Math Team. She completed Advanced Placement coursework in World History, U.S. History, Macroeconomics, Physics B, Chemistry, English Language/Composition, English Literature/Composition, and Calculus AB. She played the piano competitively, and participated in both the New York State Music Teachers Association (NYSMTA) competition and New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) competition for several years.
While an undergraduate at Tufts University, Danielle pursued a major in Quantitive Economics. She completed a senior research paper titled "Impact of AIDS on Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa," which sparked her interest in medicine. After graduating from Tufts, Danielle worked as a Private Banking analyst at J.P. Morgan for two years before enrolling in the Columbia Premedical Program to embark on the path to becoming a physician. While completing her premedical studies Danielle volunteered at Columbia University Medical Center as well as at Weill Cornell Medical Center as an emergency medicine research associate. She additionally worked as a medical assistant in a private dermatology practice. During her time at Columbia, Danielle thrived in both her lecture and laboratory courses, and is eager to share her academic interests with her students.
When tutoring in the sciences, Danielle helps students acquire an in-depth understanding of all requisite topics, providing them the skills necessary to approach complex problems with confidence. She encourages her students to ask questions, and strives to stimulate their intellectual curiosity.
In her spare time Danielle enjoys visiting New York City museums, especially the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. She is an avid reader of classic fiction, and her favorite place to unwind with a novel is Central Park.
Yale University, 2016, MFA in Playwriting; Brown University, 2008, BA in Literary Arts, with honors; Weston Award in Playwriting, 2008; 2007 Lisa Beth Feldman Prize for Excellence in Fiction, 2007; 2007 Barbara Banks Brodsky Prize for Excellence in Expository Writing, 2007; Irving Lysander Foster Prize for Excellence in French Studies, 2005.
Brendan grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where he attended Waring School. He participated in an exchange program during the fall of his freshman year, when he lived with a family in the Loire Valley city of Angers, and the summer following his junior year, which he spent surrounding by barley fields in Porvoo, Finland.
At Brown, he interned for a stint at the public relations office of the Comédie-Française in Paris and worked as an assistant dramaturg at the Théâtre National Populaire in Lyon. He was also the interpreter on a public health study in Bamako, Mali. After graduating, he worked as a French-English translator for clients including the McGill Law Journal in Montreal, ESSEC Business School in Paris, and the Belgian National Lottery. He was also a teacher and tutor, spending the winters of 2011, 2012, and 2013 running 12th grade Shakespeare seminars at the Taktse International School in Sikkim, India, and working with private clients in French, expository writing, and the SAT and ACT exams.
As a dramatist and librettist, his work has been staged at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Humana Festival of New American Plays, and the Yale School of Drama. He has taught playwriting as a teaching fellow at Yale College and as a visiting instructor at Wesleyan University. He is also a regular contributor to Ed., the magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Shortly after completing his graduate work in playwriting in May of this year, he moved to New York City.
Brendan believes the key to successful tutoring is personalization. He takes time to get to know his students’ habits and patterns, and then works to develop approaches to problem solving that will allow them to keep learning independently long after the session is over.
When not tutoring or writing, Brendan is most likely cooking, outdoors, or both. He is especially enthusiastic about biking, hiking, and cross-country skiing.
University of Iowa, 2016, MFA in Nonfiction Writing; American University of Cairo, 2012, Masters in Arabic Language; Dartmouth College, 2011, major in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Arabic), Phi Beta Kappa (2011)
At Dartmouth, Spenser wrote for the school newspaper, was the social chair for his fraternity, and dove for the varsity swim team. The day after he graduated, he flew to Cairo where he studied Arabic in a one-year Masters program and joined an Egyptian parkour team. After completing his studies in Cairo, Spenser moved to New York City and tutored the SHSAT, SAT, and ACT for A-List Tutoring until he left to attend Iowa's Creative Writing MFA program where he studied nonfiction and translation.
In addition to being a student at Iowa, Spenser also taught undergraduates courses. His Introduction to Nonfiction course examined six aspects of the genre: personal writing, science writing, travelogue, writing about language, profiles, and political writing. Students also learned how to workshop, revise, and then revise again. For his Writing for Grants and Awards course, he required his students to design their own semester-long project. He then worked with them to draft personal statements, grant proposals, Fulbright applications, resumes, and cover letters. Spenser currently lives in Brooklyn, and his writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and Sports Illustrated.
Spenser tutors Constructing America, social studies, and all things ELA and writing related. He believes in hard work and discipline but also thinks that tutoring can be casual and, if not exactly fun, then pleasant. In terms of style, he focuses on practicality. If a student wants to learn the difference between a coordinating and subordinating conjunction, he's happy to teach him/her, but otherwise, Spenser eliminates jargon and pretension in order to make the subject matter as accessible as possible. Students who come to him for help with writing can expect to learn specific, concrete techniques to improve their organization, structure, and flow. They should also prepare to revise, revise, revise.
In 2015, Spenser competed on “American Ninja Warrior,” which he wrote about for Rolling Stone.
Princeton University, 2011, major in Electrical Engineering with certificates in Materials Science & Engineering and Chinese Language & Culture; Sigma Xi Book Award for oral presentation at Spring 2011 Materials Research Society conference; National Merit Scholarship Winner; 800 on GRE Quantitative Reasoning; 800 on GRE Verbal Reasoning; 800 on SAT Writing section; 800 on SAT Mathematics Level 2 Subject Test; 800 on SAT Physics Subject Test; 5 on AP Physics B; 5 on AP Biology; 5 on AP Chemistry; 5 on AP Latin - Vergil; 5 on AP Calculus BC; 5 on AP Statistics.
Alfred grew up on Staten Island, New York, and attended Brooklyn’s Poly Prep Country Day School throughout middle school and high school. There, he developed a love for asking tough questions and sharing the answers he found with others. This, combined with his love for taking things apart, led him to pursue the path of engineer by day and journalist by night.
Alfred majored in Electrical Engineering at Princeton and spent much of his free time either interning at WABC radio’s John Batchelor Show or working for the news division of Princeton’s own student-run radio station, WPRB. He also taught math for Princeton's Freshman Scholar's Institute, where he welcomed incoming freshmen to campus and helped them gain the confidence they needed to tackle freshman year math coursework.
Upon graduation, he moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to work as an engineer for the printer maker Lexmark International. There, too, he maintained an interest in sharing his knowledge with others. On nights and weekends, he coached the University of Kentucky’s elite college athletes not in basketball—Coach John Calipari has that under control—but in math, physics and economics.
Alfred returned to New York in 2013 to attend Columbia Journalism School and to pursue his dream of asking questions for a living. When he’s not tutoring or pursuing a story, Alfred can usually be found rocking out to country music, hitting rails on the squash court, or cheering on his beloved Yankees.