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.
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.
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, 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.
Yale University 2016, major in humanities, graduated with distinction, Directed Studies: selective first-year intensive on the Western canon, Franke Fellowship in Science and the Humanities, Yale College Writing Center Contest winner, National Merit Finalist 2011, 2320 on SAT (with perfect scores on Writing and Reading sections), 800 on World History SAT Subject Test, 770 on U.S. History SAT Subject Test, AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, European History, and English Language and Composition.
Caroline brings an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of complex texts and primary sources, from her work with Harold Bloom to archival research in collections across the country. She specializes in college admission essays, tutoring in the humanities, and reading comprehension and writing for standardized tests. She has effectively worked with students on dissertations, undergraduate theses, and personal statements for applications to Ivy League universities and graduate programs. She takes seriously the opportunity writing gives applicants—space for a nuance that grades and scores do not allow—and works to help students convey their core identity and most valuable traits.
As a private school graduate, Caroline understands the challenges of meeting overwhelming expectations and balancing an ambitious schedule in a competitive environment. In addition to academic support, she offers a levelheaded perspective, helping students overcome their fear of failure to grow as scholars and young adults. Caroline aims to cultivate students' strengths to build confidence and improve their performance on assignments, on standardized tests, and in the college application process.
Caroline is an editorial assistant at a major publishing house where she works with best-selling and award-winning authors of fiction and non-fiction.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Yale Law School, 2016, J.D., Yale Law Journal Fellowship, 2014;The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2010, B.A., double major in History and Political Science, highest honors; Phi Beta Kappa; graduated in 3 years; William and Ida B. Taylor Summer Fellowship, 2009.
Katherine grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics where she participated in student government and the student activities board.
At The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she started the UNC Creative Writer’s Association, was a member of the Carolina Union Activities Board and a member of the Honor Court. She graduated in three years, spending the summer between her sophomore and junior/senior year collecting oral histories from local civil rights activists in preparation for her senior history thesis.
She spent two years prior to Law School as a Teach for America Corps member. She taught high school English, Argumentative Writing, ACT, SAT, and reading prep at an Arkansas charter school.
At Yale Law School, she served as the chair of the Civil Rights Project, which connected students to pro bono public interest opportunities throughout the school year. She interned at the Department of Justice, Voting Rights Section, and with a Judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. She was also a Teaching Fellow for two Yale College humanities classes.
Since graduating, Katherine has been working as a writer and tutor in New York City. She writes long-form fiction and freelance non-fiction.
She takes an individual approach to tutoring, assessing each student’s current level of ability and learning style and then tailoring her instruction to their specific needs. She believes that confidence-building is key to academic success.
When not tutoring or writing, Katherine enjoys vegan cooking, hiking, art museums, and documentaries. She also enjoys snow days, spa days, and snow days at the spa.
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.
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.
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. In this class Dartmouth students worked on equal footing with students from an alternative high school in West Lebanon, each group learning from the life experiences and understandings of the other. In her senior seminar, Dialectology, the advanced linguistics students conducted field research in Boston and co-wrote an academic paper which we submitted to conferences. Her activities outside of the classroom included founding The Dartmouth Radical newspaper—for which she edited articles and wrote press releases, serving as president of Soul Scribes slam poetry group, sitting on the Women's and Gender Studies Student Steering Committee, and teaching newly initiated fraternity brothers the basics of consent as a Mentor Against Violence.
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.
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.
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.
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.
University of California Berkeley, 2015, Physics major with Dance minor; Honors and Dean’s Honors; 3.8 GPA; Berkeley Undergraduate Physics Research Scholarship recipient; AP Score of 5 in Physics B, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Molecular Biology, Music Theory, French Language, US History, and English Language; AP Scholar with Distinction; SAT II scores of 800 in Math 2, Chemistry, Biology, French, Physics
Growing up in Berkeley, California, Rocky was always interested in the hard sciences and the performing arts. In high school, he performed in the school orchestra, danced and choreographed for the school’s dance productions, and acted in plays, while taking the most rigorous math and science courses available and teaching himself how to code. When he got to UC Berkeley, he decided to specialize in math, physics and dance, enjoying the abstract and all-encompassing nature of these disciplines.
Rocky began tutoring in high school through his honors math program, tutoring struggling middle and high school students in math. In college, he continued to tutor privately as well as working as a TA for his school’s beginning modern dance course. He has tutored courses from pre-algebra to SAT/ACT prep and college-level quantum mechanics, and truly enjoys helping make coursework and standardized tests easier for his students. Rocky is convinced that any student can succeed on any test or in any course given the right approach and study strategy, and that contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as being “not a math person.”
Rocky is currently matriculated in a certificate program at the Peridance Capezio Center studying contemporary dance. When not tutoring or dancing, Rocky can be found doing yoga on his roof, or cooking while listening to a good podcast. His current favorites include This American Life, Radiolab, 99% Invisible, and Freakonomics, though he’s always open to new suggestions!
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.
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.
Cornell University, 2017, Psychology major with Music minor; AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in English Language and Composition, Calculus AB, US History, US Government and Politics, and Comparative Government and Politics; 2290 SAT (99th percentile).
Matthew grew up moving around big cities in Asia (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore), where he attended prestigious international schools with rigorous academic curriculums. He began tutoring in high school, where he enjoyed tutoring trumpet to middle schoolers. Nowadays, Matthew tutors test prep and has particular experience with the SAT/ACT and ISEE/SSAT.
Matthew is known for his personable and calming demeanor. He approaches students with empathy - remembering what it was like to be a student - and emphasizes the importance of intrinsic motivation in improving scores and establishing long term study habits. Matthew believes that every student is different; tutoring should be individualized to a student's strengths and weaknesses.
Trained to tutor using a socratic method of teaching, Matthew gently guides students to reflect on their own thought processes. He believes that helping students work through each step of a question themselves cements their learning and better equips them to tackle problems on their own.
When not tutoring, Matthew can be found acting, listening to music, and playing soccer.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Manhattan School of Music, M. M. in classical horn performance, Expected 2020; 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.
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 is currently a Master’s student at the Manhattan School of Music, studying classical horn with New York Philharmonic hornist Richard Deane.
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.
Columbia University, M.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering, matriculated; Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Lehman, 2015, B.S. in Physics with Mathematics and History double minor, 3.77 GPA; Member of Phi Beta Kappa; AP Scholar; Dean’s List; Presidential Scholar; Graduated Magna Cum Laude.
After graduating from New Rochelle High School with AP credits in physics and precalculus, Jonathan enrolled in the Macaulay Honors Program at City University of New York (CUNY) Lehman College. There he was inspired by a physics professor to pursue a physics major. Working alongside his mentor, Jonathan conducted research on magnetism applied to atomic particles, while simultaneously working for the school as a Teacher Assistant (TA) for Physics 1 and 2. He led weekly review sessions and held 1-on-1 tutoring sessions with students until graduating in 2015. Jonathan minored in mathematics to enhance his problem solving skills, as well as history out of intellectual curiosity.
After graduating from Lehman, Jonathan worked for a “big box” national tutoring corporation teaching high school students. In addition to math and science coursework, he focused on test preparation including NYS Regents, SAT Subject Tests, AP Tests, the SAT, and the ACT. Early in 2018, Jonathan came to Competitive Edge Tutoring to further his tutoring career by gaining access to CET’s resources and pedagogy. He also began a Masters program at Columbia University in environmental engineering, concentrating on sustainable energy. His courses are a mix of chemistry, physics and applied mathematics.
Jonathan now has over 5 years of tutoring experience in math and science (physics, chemistry and biology), as well as standardized test prep where he has produced an impressive track record of results. Growing up in the New York public school system, he has personal experience with New York State tailored exams. He also relates to the challenges students in New York face, as he was once in their seat. Jonathan truly enjoys customizing the student’s learning process in order to find an approach that works for them. Given his expertise in the hard sciences and mathematics and his mastery in standardized test preparation, Jonathan is uniquely extraverted, fun, and warm, which allows him to develop to rapport with students of varying skill levels and personalities.
Outside of academics, Jonathan enjoys playing soccer and producing music. He is a studio engineer at Columbia University’s recording studio. He is also proficient in Spanish, and is furthering his understanding of Hebrew.