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All Available Tutors:

Lily Kolman

Director Of Tutoring


Master Tutor


  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
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.
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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 Tutoring, 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!)

Alice Rothman-Hicks

Master Tutor


  • Humanities
  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
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.
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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.

Alex Field

Master Tutor



  • Humanities
  • Test Prep
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.
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Originally from Pittsburgh, Alex has always been both a political junkie and an arts enthusiast, pursuing his passion for international relations and 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 a career in comedy, most recently writing and starring in his own bi-weekly show at the famous Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. You might also catch him skateboarding around the park, or teaching tap dance at an uptown studio.

Clayton Raithel

Master Tutor


  • Humanities
  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
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.
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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.

Willis Mathewson

Master Tutor


  • Coursework
  • Test Prep
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.
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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, SSAT 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.

Ben Weiss

Master Tutor


  • Coursework
  • Humanities
  • Test Prep
Northwestern University, major in Theatre, minor in Sociological Studies, certificate in Creative Writing for the Media, graduated Summa Cum Laude, GPA of 3.96, Dean’s List every semester, Lambda Pi Eta (Communication Studies Honor Society), Honoree at Northwestern Honors Ceremony and School of Communication Honors Convocation.
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Ben grew up in New York and is a product of the private school system. He attended the Browning School for grades K-8, and he spent his high school years at Riverdale Country School, graduating with a 3.9 GPA and with honors. His experiences taking Constructing America and Integrated Liberal Studies are among his fondest memories during his time at Riverdale. Ben has always enjoyed finding different approaches to break down complex material, a skill that contributed to winning two Riverdale Science Awards and excellent performance in math.

At Northwestern, Ben served as the Artistic Director of Lipstick Theatre, a student organization dedicated to providing opportunities for female artists, where he mentored more than ten directors in the staging of various productions. In addition to studying theatre, Ben took numerous courses in Art History and Spanish, and he developed a passion for academic and creative writing. In his sociology courses, he examined and analyzed research pertaining to the effects of race, gender, sexual orientation, education, and urbanization on individuals in American society. In his senior year, Ben completed Northwestern’s screenwriting certificate program, in which he penned multiple episodes of an original sitcom as well as a full length feature. His experience in this program gave him the proper communication and organization skills for workshopping, revising, and analyzing writing topics with his fellow students.

Following his graduation, Ben moved back to New York both to pursue a career in acting and to continue engaging in academia through tutoring. His mother currently teaches History at The Spence School. Teaching and a commitment to helping others mature as students and thinkers are important qualities to Ben as well. Ben is able to understand the pressures and responsibilities of New York-based high school students in particular, as he successfully went through the same process not too long ago. His experience working with student writers and directors has also helped him become a stronger tutor.

Ben believes in establishing a strong rapport with students, fostering a collaborative approach to learning, and catering all lessons to the specific needs and learning styles of the individual. The ultimate goal is to help students build confidence, find their own voices as critical thinkers, and feel in control of their academic material.

Ben holds an encyclopedic knowledge of theatre, film, and all things popular culture. He can name you the winner of every major Academy Award dating back to 1960.

Stuart Melton

Master Tutor



  • Coursework
  • Test Prep
  • Math
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.
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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.

Spenser Mestel

Master Tutor



  • Admissions
  • Coursework
  • Humanities
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)
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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 HSPT, 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, the HSPT, the ISEE, the SSAT, 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.

Ruby Letang

Master Tutor


  • Languages
  • Math
  • Test Prep
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.
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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.

Eli Amzallag

Master Tutor


  • Math
  • Test Prep
CUNY Graduate Center, 2018, Mathematics PhD with 4.0 GPA; CUNY Queens College, 2010, Mathematics and Economics BA; Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society; William Withers Award; Eva Jacob Paulson Memorial Award; 98th percentile on SAT Math.
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With brief stints in the Philippines and Los Angeles, Eli is a lifelong New Yorker. He finished his high school math curriculum early and took college courses in multivariate calculus and differential equations during his senior year, while also serving as a TA for the single variable calculus classes his fellow high schoolers were taking. When he went off to attend UCLA for college, his passion for communicating mathematics made it easy for him to develop a full SAT I Math curriculum for a local tutoring company. He also continued tutoring mathematics privately and, later, in the math lab at Queens College. After deciding to double major in mathematics and economics, he taught lab classes for econometrics. When he began graduate school, Eli also started teaching mathematics courses across the undergraduate spectrum, from those geared toward non-STEM majors all the way up through advanced offerings like abstract algebra. His evaluations from students and colleagues alike confirmed that his affinity for helping others understand mathematics shone through during his high-energy lectures.

In addition to working with students to improve their grasp on various mathematical concepts at all levels, Eli has also tutored chemistry, physics, and German. His background in standardized test preparation is also extensive and includes the SHSAT, the NYS Regents, the SAT, and the SAT Subject Tests. Because of all this tutoring experience and because Eli fully understands how different students benefit from different approaches, he decides which methods of explanation will be most suited to a given student and modifies his approach when a student is pressed for time with a looming deadline. Moreover, Eli believes it is of paramount importance that tutors work with parents as a team, so he often solicits input and feedback from families, keeping the lines of communication as open as possible.

When he is not teaching math or developing curricula, you can likely find Eli watching a movie in a movie theater, talking about movies, reading about movies, or trying out some amateur screenwriting. He’s even dabbled in applying mathematical logic to film criticism. Until he figures out a way to bridge his two greatest passions more strongly, however, there’s always that calculus optimization problem about where one should sit in a movie theater auditorium for the best view of the screen.

Anna Winham


  • Coursework
  • Humanities
  • Math
  • Test Prep
Dartmouth College, 2014, majors in Linguistics and English; Graduated with honors; Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth Fellow, 2013; recipient of Stanley Prize, 2013; Recipient of Kaminsky Family Fund Award, 2013; near-perfect score of 2340 on SAT; perfect scores of 800 on English, Math, and Chemistry SAT Subject Tests; near-perfect scores of 780 on US History and Biology SAT Subject Tests; score of 5 on AP exams in Biology, Chemistry, Calculus BC, US History, and European History; Gold Medalist on National Latin Exam. Winner of Ninth Letter’s Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction, 2020; Finalist in Writer Advice’s Flash Fiction Contest, 2020
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At Dartmouth, Anna’s class choices were widely varied, ranging from Social Neuroscience to The Black Radical Tradition to Design Thinking. Anna’s favorite courses usually had more to do with the pedagogy of her professors than with the content of the courses, grounding her belief that the right teacher can enliven any subject material. She particularly enjoyed, for example, a course on Puritan Poetry with the professor who later became her Honors Thesis Advisor. Anna’s ability to find a student’s enthusiasm in one arena then apply it in another allows her to create excitement in any subject, even test preparation. This attention to engagement combined with 5 years of data-driven experience at CET teaching subjects from Calculus to World History as well as SSAT, ISEE, ACT, SAT, and SAT II tests is the key to her pedagogical approach.

Anna’s teaching career began at her high school in the heart of Silicon Valley, Castilleja, as she participated in a peer tutoring program for middle and high school students, a volunteer tutoring program at a nearby school, and mathematics and English instruction for elementary school students in her neighborhood. In college, she ran writing workshops and taught performance poetry.

Since graduating from Dartmouth, Anna worked as a teacher in somewhat unorthodox settings. At Everytown for Gun Safety in Las Vegas and NYG Strategic Marketing Consultants, her jobs were to train new hires and direct team-building. She focused on teaching, training, and establishing rapport with her team and clients. As well as tutoring, Anna grant-writes for the Poetry Society of New York, serves as a Prose Reader for Passengers Journal, promotes children’s books through Biblionasium, and has work appearing in or forthcoming from Oxford Public Philosophy, Rock & Sling, Tilde~, and Meniscus among others.

Since Anna has taught a diverse group of people in a variety of settings, she learned how to teach to different learning styles and backgrounds. Finding mutual interests and building rapport allows her to build excitement in the material she is teaching. Her fervent belief in excellence is reflected in students being motivated to their top performance, even those students who are already performing at a high level. Anna’s appreciation for both breadth and depth allows her to forge unlikely connections between subjects, learn and teach in a deep and highly contextual manner, as well as to find points of interest for almost any student in almost any subject.

When she isn’t waxing poetic about the way multiple-choice questions reveal their own answers, you might find Anna editing her friends’ first novels, or gazing fondly at falling leaves.

Philip Rosen


  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
Princeton University, 2014, major in Computer Science, Magna Cum Laude, GPA: 3.83, Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for 2011-2012, Tau Beta Pi, Engineering Honor Society; National Merit Scholar; 2300 composite score on the SAT; score of 800 on SAT Subject Tests in Mathematics Level 2, Physics, and U.S. History; National AP Scholar; score of 5 on AP exams in Microeconomics, U.S. Government and Politics, Calculus BC, Physics C, Psychology, U.S. History, English Language and Composition, and Human Geography.
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Phil has loved both learning and performance for as long as he can remember. Throughout high school and college, he had a habit of stacking the most rigorous academic courses he could take with a heavy commitment to extracurricular theater, which taught him time management and self care.

At Princeton, Phil fell in love with computer science. He found the modular approach of breaking big programs down into smaller, self-contained pieces satisfying and was impressed by the endless opportunities to make new and interesting applications. He also took a wide variety of courses outside of computer science, including in the philosophy, psychology, English, and theater departments and found that the analytical skills he was developing while writing and debugging code carried over quite well to other subjects.

Phil applies this to tutoring, helping students break complex problems down into manageable chunks and find the underlying logic of how they fit together, so that they can apply what they’ve learned in new situations. He recognizes that these tests can be very stressful and believes that developing effective coping techniques is an essential part of preparation. The ideal outcome for Phil is that his students not only learn the material they are currently studying but gain the skills to effectively take on whatever challenges they encounter in the future.

When he is not tutoring, Phil can often be found auditioning for and acting in plays, reading in a cozy corner of Drama Book Shop, or picking up a new skill.

Megan Conn


  • Languages
  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
Washington University in St. Louis, 2014, majors in Spanish and International Studies, graduated with College Honors; Annika Rodriguez Merit Scholar; National Merit Finalist, 2010; near-perfect SAT score of 2390; perfect score of 800 on the Math II and English Literature, 780 on Biology-E SAT Subject Tests, score of 5 on the Calculus BC, U.S. History, and English Literature AP exams.
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Megan is a graduate of Castilleja, an elite all-girls school in Silicon Valley, where she sought out elective challenges like the American Mathematics Competition. She mentored in a Stanford after-school program for girls and was a Teaching Assistant for the ALearn summer math enrichment program, specializing in tutoring bilingual students.

At Washington University, Megan integrated her Spanish studies with coursework in public health, economics, environmental studies, and anthropology. Her love of adventure led her to Santiago, Chile, during her junior year of college, where she lived with a homestay family for six months while studying at the Universidad Católica. Upon returning to WashU, she worked as a Spanish Teaching Assistant, helping new speakers build their fluency and confidence through highly interactive lessons.

Megan gained hands-on experience in St. Louis local policy issues; through a service-learning course, she tutored women in the County Jail and worked with the Environmental Law Clinic to map the impact of new development on wetlands. On campus, she typically could be found in the Edison Theatre, either backstage managing a show or onstage performing ballet, salsa, and contemporary dance.

After graduation, Megan was a Fellow in the Coro Program in Public Affairs, a graduate-level experiential learning program in civic leadership. The intensely collaborative projects cultivated her understanding of people’s varied modes of information processing and her ability to engage individuals in a manner suited to their learning preferences. Her tutoring is strongly guided by the Socratic, inquiry-based approach to learning developed in Coro, and she believes that asking students the right question is far more powerful than giving them the right answer.

After graduation, Megan developed some of her key teaching tools while working at LaunchCode a St. Louis-based nonprofit that trains adult jobseekers for computer programming careers. This experience demonstrated the effectiveness of practices like linking concepts to their real-life applications, having learners reteach new concepts to others, and “debugging” flawed responses to reveal mistakes. She also wrote grant proposals that netted over half a million dollars for LaunchCode, including the Grand Prize-winning submission to the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge.

Daniel Schwartzberg


  • Languages
University of Michigan, 2017, major in Musical Theatre, minor in Latin. 3.97 GPA, graduated with 8 semester University Honors, William Branstrom Freshman Prize (2014), James B. Angell Scholar (2015, 2016, 2017), Valedictorian, Derryfield High School, Bedford, New Hampshire, Score of 5 on AP Latin Exam.
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Daniel grew up in Bedford, New Hampshire, where he spent most of his time pursuing two passions: musical theatre and academics. He performed throughout his childhood, working with professional theatre companies and taking a variety of dance and vocal classes. Simultaneously, he strove to fuel his love of learning by applying himself academically to a wide breadth of subjects throughout his middle and high school years. Latin became a second passion of Daniel’s in high school where he followed an accelerated course of study. He covered the fundamentals in a summer course so he could advance quickly and tackle more challenging material. By his junior year, he was studying AP Latin.

Daniel specifically chose to study at Michigan because the course of study for Musical Theatre, while artistically intensive and far-reaching, also gave students the flexibility to continue studying other topics outside of theatre. Daniel seized upon that flexibility to continue his study of Latin, working in college to translate a variety of different works, from poetry and histories to Roman comedies. In one course, he translated an ancient Roman play and subsequently performed the play in the original Latin!

Since graduating from Michigan, Daniel has performed in several professional productions at regional theaters in Massachusetts and South Carolina, and has been teaching Latin to a number of middle and high school students at all levels. His teaching philosophy is first and foremost to create a comfortable and personalized environment for each student, in which she or he methodically builds upon their existing knowledge base, feels encouraged to ask questions and make mistakes, and where feedback about the learning and teaching process is always welcome. He strongly believes that a solid grammatical foundation is essential for learning Latin and gaining mastery of the language, and therefore his teaching methodology is grammatically based. Daniel also finds that understanding the work being translated is of great importance since each author writes in a slightly different way, which affects the overall approach to achieve a cohesively meaningful translation. In general, he loves teaching because it is unendingly inspiring to watch students grow, and because it provides him constant opportunity to continue learning.

While not translating wonderfully dusty old transcripts, you might find Daniel humming, singing, or generally making music. He also loves to cook (Indian and Thai food are his favorite cuisines), and is always looking for new podcasts and books—and he welcomes recommendations!

Kyra Weeks


  • Coursework
  • Languages
  • Test Prep
Harvard University, 2016, major in Sociology with an advanced citation in Spanish Language, 3.7 GPA; National Merit Scholarship Winner; National Achievement Scholarship Winner, AP Scholar with Distinction; Score of 34 on the ACT (99th percentile); Score of 780 on SAT Math; Score of 770 on SAT Writing.
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Kyra is originally from the Metro Detroit area of Michigan where she lived before moving out east for school. While at Harvard, Kyra developed a strong interest in understanding the ways in which people interact and the reasons behind these interactions, eventually deciding to study Sociology. In addition to her courses in Sociology at school, Kyra’s coursework spanned across the social sciences and included Psychology, Philosophy, History, Economics, and Statistics. Kyra has also long been interested in education– an especially memorable course for her over her four years centered on Education in the United States.

While in college, she also continued to take Spanish courses and spent time studying abroad in Leon, Spain. In Spain, she studied Spanish Language and History and had the opportunity to live with a Spanish ‘host mom’ in a homestay. Outside of classes, she was heavily involved in the theatre and a cappella scenes, starring in several plays and musicals, and serving as the Music Director of her a cappella group.

Kyra’s experience in teaching and tutoring spans various settings. In high school, she worked both as a one-on-one math tutor and as the manager of a music computer lab for students. In this lab, she was available to answer questions and assigned students programs used to further their music development. In college, she served as a committee chair for Harvard Model Congress, a group that creates government simulation conferences for high school students. In this role, she led students through discussions on several current event topics and issues. Further, as music director of her a cappella group she was often responsible for coaching the group in learning parts and improving technique. After graduating, Kyra worked as an Analyst with Legendary Entertainment. In addition to working on strategy, she gained experience in training over 30 new hires and interns over her time in that role.

Kyra enjoys bringing these past experiences together as a tutor for the ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, and Spanish. She understands that prepping for exams can be stressful, and aims to help students develop strategies that work best for them in order to feel confident when sitting for the tests. Kyra genuinely loves helping students improve and reaching an “a-ha!” moment on a topic that was once challenging for them. In tutoring sessions, she works to create an environment where the student is comfortable making mistakes and asking questions, as she believes that this is the best way to grow.

Outside of tutoring, you can find Kyra trying new recipes, listening to almost every genre of music, or watching (and then discussing) the latest and greatest movies and TV shows.

Matthew Libby


  • Coursework
  • Math
  • Test Prep
New York University, M.F.A. candidate in Dramatic Writing, Tisch School of the Arts; Stanford University, 2017, B.S. in Symbolic Systems with a concentration in Cognitive Science, minor in Creative Writing, Honors in the Arts, 3.84 GPA
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From middle school on Matt balanced a healthy obsession in the humanities and performing arts with a fascination for math and quantitative problem solving. He worked on a play literally every semester of middle and high school, while at the same time taking the most rigorous academic courses available to him. He won senior awards in Film and Playwriting at his high school, Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences in Santa Monica California.

At Stanford, Matt majored in Symbolic Systems, an interdisciplinary program combining Psychology and Philosophy with Computer Science and Linguistics, with a bit of Biology and Design thrown in for good measure. He concentrated in Cognitive Science, which further brought in Neuroscience, Communications, and more. When he wasn’t in the classroom, Matt acted and directed in a Shakespeare company, wrote for the annual campus comedy musical, received a research grant to create a screenplay in London, and served as a freshman Resident Assistant. For two years, he acted as the Film & Television Editor for the Stanford Arts Review, an online arts publication, during which time he worked with writers on dozens of critical articles, providing feedback and developing the pieces into publishable shape. In addition, Matt was a campus tour guide, an experience that gave him skills in communication and public speaking; in his senior year, he was promoted to Manager, and part of his job was working with recent hires to put together their tours in a way that tells their personal stories most effectively. These days, Matt continues to engage with film, theater, writing, and academia as he pursues an M.A. in Dramatic Writing (a joint playwriting, screenwriting, and television writing program) at NYU Tisch. A lot of the time, he tells stories about brains — human or computer.

Matt started tutoring during his junior year in high school. He volunteered at 826LA, a non profit supporting writing skills in elementary, middle, and high schools in the Los Angeles area. Later on, through his experience working with writers and tour guides and studying decision-making, he knows every individual’s approach to difficult problems is going to be different, and perhaps different depending on the problem. The goal is to have as large a toolbox of strategies to draw on as possible – Matt believes if a student can develop both a quantitative and creative mindset, they are formulating such a toolbox. Working in students with this approach is nothing short of a thrill. In addition to select coursework support, Matt has years of experience and specializes in the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE.

Mark Mauriello


  • Coursework
  • Languages
  • Science
  • Test Prep
Harvard College, 2015, special concentration in Theater Arts & Performance, graduated Magna Cum Laude; 3.8 GPA; Henry Russell Shaw Fellowship for Postgraduate Travel; AP Score of 5 in English, European History, Biology, Chemistry, and Spanish; High School Valedictorian
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Growing up in the Boston suburbs with a lifelong schoolteacher for a mother, Mark has always been passionate about and invested in education. In high school, he advanced beyond his grade level in a number of courses and was ultimately recognized as his class Valedictorian. Outside of academics, his passion for performance led him to serve as the President of his school’s Drama Club. He also served as his Class President and founded his school’s Spanish Club. At Harvard, Mark created his own major and program of study which combined the fields of drama, contemporary art, and performance studies. In addition to his creative coursework, he enjoyed taking classes in the sciences, including psychology and environmental science, as well as English courses like 18th century French literature and the works of Shakespeare and Samuel Beckett.

Mark began tutoring after he moved to New York and loves working with students on a number of subjects, from ACT/SAT prep to Biology, Spanish, and more! He believes the most important thing a student needs to succeed is confidence and motivation. Working hard, working smart, and believing in yourself are the keys to unlocking any problem and passing any test – even the ones that continue well into adulthood! He enjoys working with students to decode challenging Math problems, revealing the operations at play behind a story being told in a word problem or a situation being described by a graph or table. His favorite thing about being a tutor is getting to know each individual student and watching them master a topic or problem that once frustrated or discouraged them.

Outside of tutoring, Mark works as an actor, singer, and performance artist in New York City and beyond. He loves talking about reality television almost as much as he loves talking about uses for a semi-colon and polynomial long division. He also listens to a lot of Fleetwood Mac.

Torrin Hallett


  • Math
  • Test Prep
Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, Performance Certificate, Expected 2021; Manhattan School of Music, 2020, M. M. in classical horn performance, 4.0 GPA; Oberlin College and Conservatory, 2016, dual degree B. A. in mathematics, B. M. in horn performance and music composition, 3.9 GPA; Member of Phi Beta Kappa; Score of 5 on AP Calculus BC Exam; AP Scholar; National Honor Society; Score of 6 on IB Spanish SL and History of the Americas; 780 SAT II Math.
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Torrin graduated number 4 in his class from Oconomowoc High School and went on to complete a double degree at Oberlin College and Conservatory, the oldest conservatory in the country, where he triple majored in mathematics, horn performance, and music composition. During his time at Oberlin, Torrin tutored over twenty of his peers in math and German and spent a month interning as a teaching assistant for German and Spanish classes at his former high school. Torrin was also a teaching assistant for four semesters of German 101 and 102. Torrin worked one-on-one and with groups of young musicians in an educational environment as assistant conductor of the Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra’s wind ensemble. He also has taught private trumpet and horn lessons. Through Oberlin’s Winter Term program, Torrin travelled to Panama three times to teach brass techniques and direct the wind ensemble in a Spanish-immersive environment at a Youth Music Camp sponsored by Panama’s National Concert Association.

Torrin completed his Master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music studying with New York Philharmonic hornist Richard Deane and is currently a student of David Byrd-Marrow at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver.

Torrin tutors math as well as the SAT and ACT. Drawing from the techniques of his favorite and most successful college professors, Torrin combines Competitive Edge’s approach with students’ personal needs and strengths, helping them to come to a deep understanding of their material as well as the reasons behind their answers. Through his work in mathematics and tutoring at Oberlin, Torrin has learned that there are many ways to reach a right answer, and it is important to find one that works for each student and is fun!

In his spare time, Torrin enjoys competing professionally in lumberjack sports; he is a world champion logroller.

Sugal Sigal Sutter


  • Math
  • Science
  • Test Prep
Columbia University, 2019, Master of Science in Applied Physics; Columbia University, 2017, major in Sustainable Development; Dean’s List 2016; Scores of 5 on AP Calculus, 5.0 on GRE Analytical Writing and 166 on GRE Quantitative Reasoning.
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Sugal’s undergraduate odyssey through the Sustainable Development track at Columbia University involved a vast breadth of coursework, from readings of medieval French poetry to studies on the effects of the 2015-2016 El Niño event on Chinook salmon to proofs of Kepler’s laws. During the fall of his junior year, Sugal immersed himself in French language, thought, and culture by spending a semester studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence. Upon returning to Columbia, Sugal began working on a research project to investigate the feasibility of introducing a cheap and reliable solar thermoelectric technology to rural Honduran homes. This culminated in a senior thesis and going on to design, build, and test his own solar thermoelectric generator.

After receiving his B.A. in sustainable development, Sugal continued at Columbia in pursuit of an M.S. degree in Applied Physics. His renewable and alternative energy work led him to build a device called a CIRCUlar Coil Stellarator (CIRCUS) to confine a healthy plasma, an essential component for nuclear fusion reactions.

Since graduating from Columbia, Sugal has tutored middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, and graduate students in various subjects, from high school physics, French, and algebra to statistical and classical mechanics, multivariable calculus, and partial differential equations. He taught SAT prep for Baruch College’s high school summer program and currently teaches the GRE and GMAT to aspiring graduate students.

As a tutor for Competitive Edge, Sugal’s mission is to instill both academic skills and intellectual curiosity into all of his students. He caters each lesson to the student’s needs, with the understanding that each student possesses different strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles. Sugal is always eager to share his personal experience and enthusiasm with his students.

When Sugal is not tutoring, you may find him running through Central Park, writing critical essays in a Columbia University library, or reading up on quantum computing on the subway.

Ava Rosenbaum


  • Languages
  • Humanities
Brown University, double major in Political Science and Hispanic Literature and Culture, graduated Magna Cum Laude (Brown’s highest honor), recipient of the William F. Fichter Prize in Hispanic Studies; member of Brown’s Politics, Philosophy and Economics Society; score of 2240 on SAT I Exam (800 Verbal); score of 790 on Spanish and 780 on U.S. History on SAT II Subjects Tests; score of 5 on AP Exams in Spanish Language and Culture, English Literature and Composition, U.S. History, Macro and Micro Economics; National Merit Finalist 2016.
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Ava grew up in Cary, North Carolina, but as a dual Spanish/American citizen, she spent all of her summers in Madrid. She attended the college-prep school Cary Academy, where she was on the Headmaster’s Honor Roll for all four years. Her senior year she was elected high school president.

At Brown, she took an array of humanities classes focusing on international relations, literature, sociology, history and foreign languages. In addition to her coursework, she was captain of the university’s mock trial team and published articles in Harvard Business Review Turkey and Brown Political Review. Her junior year she studied in Granada, Spain in the Faculty of Translation and Interpretation at the University of Granada. During this time she was selected for Brown’s Historical Memory Fellowship, which allowed her to conduct a year-long research project that was recently published by the University of Barcelona. Upon returning to Brown, she led conversation-based tutoring sessions for other university students and joined the Latin dance troupe.

Ava is now based in Madrid where she works as English teacher and tutor. She has tutored a wide range of students in foreign languages for over three years. She plans to start a master’s degree in Literary Studies at La Complutense in Madrid in September. Her ultimate goal is to move back to the United States to pursue a PhD in Hispanic Literature.

Ava fosters a growth-mindset in her tutees by encouraging them to experiment and push their boundaries. She emphasizes a deep understanding of grammatical and theoretical concepts, believing that memorization will only get you so far. She transmits her curiosity and interdisciplinary-thinking through every step of the learning process.

In addition to tutoring, Ava takes daily naps and unsuccessfully does the NYT crossword. She is warm and extroverted, and loves traveling and meeting new people.

Jennifer Gersten


  • Test Prep
Yale University, BA in English with a concentration in creative nonfiction, cum laude with distinction. Winner of the 2018 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, a $10,000 award granted by the nation’s top music critics for “outstanding promise” in the field; the Paul J. Block Summer Journalism Fellowship; and the Richter Summer Fellowship in support of reporting in the Balkans. Stony Brook University, MM in Violin Performance, Doctor of Musical Arts (in-progress). SAT 2330; 800 on SAT Math II and US History; 5 on AP English Language and Literature, AP Psychology, AP World History, and AP US History; National Merit Finalist; National AP Scholar.
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Jennifer Gersten is an educator, writer, and violinist from Queens, New York. Having attended Townsend Harris High School and the Juilliard Pre-College Division, a Saturday program for elite young musicians, Jennifer can attest firsthand to the challenges of balancing emphatic pursuits in a competitive city. While at Yale, Jennifer served simultaneously as the editor of the Yale Daily News Magazine and as the co-concertmaster of the Yale Symphony Orchestra. On Yale fellowships, she worked as a journalist in both Toledo, Ohio and Belgrade, Serbia, and also served the Yale Daily News as science beat reporter. During her senior year, she won finalist standing in the Norman Mailer Four-Year College Writing Awards for an essay from her creative final thesis.

Since college, Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer and editor. Her reporting, profiles, essays, and classical music reviews have appeared in The Washington Post, NPR Music, Guernica, Harvard Magazine, and The Kenyon Review (online), among other publications. In February 2019, she was invited to appear on the PBS NewsHour’s “IMHO” segment hosted by Judy Woodruff as an on-air essayist and violinist.

Jennifer is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in violin performance as a full-scholarship recipient at Stony Brook University, from which she also received her master’s. She has performed across the country at prominent summer classical music programs, including Aspen and Kneisel Hall, and in collaboration with members of the Emerson, Ying, Jupiter, and other acclaimed chamber ensembles. At Stony Brook, she has served as a teaching assistant to the undergraduate orchestra program. Outside of school, she teaches violin lessons to students of all ages on the Lower East Side.

From 2015 on, Jennifer has tutored the ACT, SAT, LSAT, ISEE/SSAT, and SHSAT, as well as the college essay and academic writing, and has worked both privately and via agencies throughout New York City in a full time capacity. She delights in helping students defuse academic challenges through conscientious, empathetic collaboration. For Jennifer, the excitement of tutoring lies in helping her students realize new curiosities.

When she is not working, Jennifer enjoys solving her friends’ sartorial snafus. She also regularly impresses herself with her ability to solve a Rubik’s cube.

Lydia Jackson


  • Coursework
  • Science
Washington University in St. Louis: B.S., 2014, Chemistry Major with Dance Minor; Scholarship Recipient – Joffrey Ballet School; Scholarship Recipient – Hip-Hop Dance Conservatory; Best Dance Film – Triskelion Arts Dance Film Festival; Principal Soloist – The Rogue Dancers.
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Originally from Kansas City, Lydia always had a strong interest in both science and the arts. This interest was further developed at Pembroke Hill, one of the top schools in Kansas City. During her time there, Lydia enjoyed taking several college level courses, including biology and chemistry. She also competed with Pembroke’s nationally ranked Science Olympiad team. In 2010 Lydia began attending Washington University in St. Louis. She explored a variety of courses in subjects ranging from Chinese literature to economics, before deciding to pursue a degree in chemistry with a minor in modern dance. She took extensive advanced courses in both Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry at the doctoral level. While at university, Lydia began tutoring in an afterschool program as a volunteer. She loved helping children develop their skills in English, math and science.

In 2015, Lydia moved to New York City to pursue further dance training at Joffrey Ballet School. She also learned how to produce short dance films, several of which have been featured in film festivals around the US. While dancing, she continued to work as a tutor, both independently and with a national tutoring company. Through her experience, Lydia customized instruction for each individual student. This helps ensure a student’s success, not only for their class but for the future as well. She enjoys seeing students master a concept previously thought impossible and build a love for learning.

Lydia now has years of specialized experience in semi-private and small group tutoring with over 1,000 students in high school level math, biology, chemistry and writing in New York City under her belt. She’s also worked with dozens of middle school age students, and with Lydia’s help, her students have been admitted to Bronx High School of Sciences and Hunter College High School. Lydia quickly identifies and strengthens the fundamental skills students may be lacking. She continues to ensure students receive as much personal attention as needed within the group while building up their independence and self confidence with the material. As a dancer, Lydia enjoys adding a bit of creative fun to her sessions, which helps keep younger students engaged in the material and can provide new perspectives to older students. If one explanation does not work she utilizes her creativity to find one that her students can understand better.

Currently, Lydia is in a post baccalaureate program preparing for a graduate program in Physical Therapy. When she is not tutoring or dancing, Lydia enjoys drinking tea, taking photos, and trying to fit as many plants as possible in her apartment.

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