Director of Operations
Smith College 2003, double major in Latin American Studies and Luso-Brazilian Studies, 4.0 GPA, graduated Summa Cum Laude; member of Phi Beta Kappa; STRIDE Scholar, winner of Arthur Ellis Hamm Prize; Near-perfect score of 1590 on SAT I Exam (800 Verbal, 790 Math); score of 790 on Writing and 770 on Spanish SAT II Subject Tests; Score of 5 on AP Exams in Calculus, English Language, English Literature, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, and Biology.
Sharon spent her time in college between Massachusetts and Latin America, studying abroad with the Brown-in-Brazil program in Rio de Janeiro and working as the Project Director with Amigos de las Americas, a youth development non-profit. She graduated after just three years, and continued her work with AMIGOS as the Director of Training, combining her passions for education, language, and international development. Back in her Chicago hometown, Sharon tutored a wide range of students, from teaching Portuguese for the Workplace to employees in a nut import company, to tutoring inner-city second graders in literacy and numeracy, and lots of high school math in between.
Now based in Brooklyn, Sharon works for the New York City Department of Education as a School Business Manager, running the operational and logistical side of new, small, public school development. She is also the director of an intergenerational religious education program that brings together elementary aged kids and adults of all ages to delve deeply into textual analysis and interpretation.
When tutoring, Sharon’s approach is to help students build confidence through focusing on what they know, either by drawing a picture when a math problem feels confusing at first, or re-phrasing a difficult sentence in their own words. She encourages students to think logically about whether or not an answer makes sense. This avoids getting sidetracked by trick responses written using common errors. She also personalizes test prep by reminding students that the writers of tests are people, too, and the idea is to get inside of their heads to figure out what they tend to be looking for test-takers to demonstrate. Humor is essential in learning any subject, and studying isn’t boring when you find ways to laugh about it, so she finds ways to make work funny whenever possible.
If she’s not tutoring, working at a school, or reading, you are likely to find Sharon practicing Vinyasa Yoga, pretending that milk chocolate is healthy, listening to cheesy ‘90’s Latin pop music, or obsessively planning her family’s next travel adventure.
Senior Standardized Test Preparation Specialist
Duke University, 2010, double major in Classical Civilizations and Theater Studies, graduated Magna Cum Laude; recipient of the Edward H. Benenson Grant in the Arts, 2010; Jessie Chambers Scholarship, 2006; U.S. Air Force Commendation in Mathematics and Science, 2006; National Merit Scholarship, 2005; Wayne Duff Excelsior Award for Excellence in Latin, 2005; 52 academic awards at the National Junior Classical League competitions, 2003–2006; Four-time Gold Medalist on the National Latin Exam, 2003–2006; perfect score on SAT Math II Subject Test.
From the 2012 to the 2015 school years, Michael served as Competitive Edge’s Director of Standardized Test Preparation. During this time, Michael undertook research to create guides and practice materials for the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE totaling over 500 pages in length. These materials focus on critical thinking skills and thorough understanding of content as a foundation, which is then bolstered by test-specific strategy and timed practice. Using these materials as a template, Michael has designed curricula and taught test prep courses for some of New York’s most prestigious schools, and the results have been universally positive. Michael has also acted as a test prep consultant for these schools, helping students craft preparation plans, advising college counselors on the best resources for their students, and even helping school officials modify class curricula to better prepare students for SAT Subject Tests.
In the summer of 2015, Michael shifted his focus back to helping students one-on-one. Michael has helped dozens of students dramatically raise their scores to impressive levels on the SAT, ACT, SSAT, and ISEE. Part of his success is the result of doing exhaustive research on these tests, analyzing literally tens of thousands of questions to determine the most common question types, trick questions, and topics covered. Additionally, Michael is an expert at identifying habits which limit students’ scores and coaches students to overcome them with confidence and consistency. Michael uses a curriculum combining original standardized test material, test-taking strategies, and critical thinking skills which pushes students to achieve their highest possible scores. This unique methodology has been spectacularly successful.
Outside of tutoring, Michael is a writer and comedian as well as an avid sports fan and card player.
University of Pennsylvania, currently matriculated, post-baccalaureate pre-medical studies; Dartmouth College, 2014, 3.5 GPA, major in Neuroscience and minor in Linguistics, graduated with honors in Neuroscience; Selected as 1 of 55 students from a national applicant pool of 600+ collegiate science majors to participate in Research in Science and Engineering (RiSE); Score of 5 on Advanced Placement exams in Spanish Language, Spanish Literature, French Language, French Literature, Psychology, European History, English, and Biology; Certified as a national emergency medical technician (EMT), 2012.
Olivia was salutatorian of Charlottesville (VA) High School, where she was president of the Spanish Club for three years, a leader in the French Club, and a member of her high school soccer team; and, as a consequence, the difficulties of balancing scholastic demands and extracurricular activities are very familiar to her. After exhausting the thirteen Advanced Placement courses offered at her high school, she began supplementing her high school curriculum with courses in Italian and Russian at the University of Virginia.
While at Dartmouth, Olivia was employed as a teaching assistant for three years. She began as a Spanish TA with her own class of students, teaching grammar and grading exams. After two and a half years in the Spanish department, she was promoted to TA in Linguistics, holding office hours, giving lectures, and tutoring Dartmouth undergraduates. She participated in RiSE during the summer of 2012, and researched how Arc protein distribution in the hippocampus correlates with different types of learning. During her senior year, Olivia wrote her honors thesis, conducting her own neuroscience experiment, which examined the effects of empathy on facial mimicry. In the same year, she also worked as a private tutor in the Hanover community, teaching pre-algebra, algebra, and writing to 5th graders.
At Competitive Edge, Olivia tutors the SAT, ACT, Writing, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Spanish, and French. She is a passionate teacher, striving to help her students not only to manage but also enjoy academic challenges by teaching them how to make memorable and creative connections.
In her spare time, Olivia enjoys playing with her pet hedgehog, reading, and cross-country skiing.
Harvard, 2015, major in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; recipient of language citation in Chinese, 2015; recipient of Rockefeller International Experience Grant, 2012; 790 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test; 750 on Math II SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, Environmental Science, Government and Politics, US History, Biology, and Latin.
At Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina, Karl was dedicated to rigorously studying science and mathematics. After he took every science and math class available, he enrolled part-time at UNC Chapel Hill to take more advanced college-level courses. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, he worked at the EPA building computational models to study how pesticides and other chemicals affect the liver.
At Harvard, however, after taking his first gender studies course, Karl was quickly drawn to the humanities as well. He took courses in Sociology and Literature, but also continued to study the sciences in courses like Endocrinology and Evolutionary Biology. One of Karl’s favorite classes—in part because it informed his passion for social justice--was “Women and Science,” which explored how scientific research and popular science shaped the way we understand gender. Karl’s goal at CET is to inspire his students with a similar intellectual curiosity and empower them to see science and humanities as disciplines that are in constant conversation to create meaning in our everyday environment.
Karl works with students to help them discover how they learn and study best. Besides mastery of content, his tutoring work ultimately helps students improve their organizational skills, study skills, and attitude toward studying. His theatrical experience in plays, comedy and musicals at Harvard has made him a better tutor by developing spontaneity and listening skills in his approach to teaching. He believes that standardized tests can be easily tackled once students acquire the confidence that comes from knowing the test inside out as well as knowing the strategies that work best for them.
When he’s not tutoring, Karl can be found rehearsing for his next play, binge-watching Netflix series, or catching Pokémon in Central Park.
Barnard College, 2011, major in Comparative Literature with concentrations in French and Spanish, minor in Art History, GPA of 3.7. Dean’s list Fall 2007-Spring 2011. Recipient of the 2014 Fulbright Scholarship Award for English Teaching in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Emelyn has been dedicated to foreign language learning from a young age. In high school, her advanced placement in French led her to undertake an immersive study abroad program in Bordeaux, France, where she gained fluency living with a host family and attending a local public school. In college, she deepened her romance language expertise, quickly becoming fluent in Spanish and studying abroad, again, this time in Barcelona, Spain.
Emelyn’s teaching career began in 2012 at the Language Workshop for Children, an Upper East Side after-school program, where she instructed students one-on-one in French, Spanish, and ESL. From there, Emelyn began working closely with the head of the program, writing and editing original French and Spanish language textbooks for romance language learners. Later, Emelyn tutored high school students seeking placement in AP Spanish and French before being selected to teach university-level English courses with the Fulbright Program in Rio de Janeiro, where she lived for one year.
Emelyn is an enthusiastic, nurturing teacher. She believes in establishing a strong rapport with every student in order to create lessons that integrate his or her personal learning needs, goals, and interests.
Emelyn practices yoga and meditation. She also loves to read, write, and make pottery. She can often be found taking walks around the Central Park Reservoir.
Yale, 2017, major in American Studies, graduated with Distinction in major, GPA of 3.78, recipient of Mellon Fellowship, 2016, recipient of V. Browne Irish Prize, 2017; 800 on SAT Reading, 760 on SAT Math, 780 on SAT Writing; 800 on Math II SAT Subject Test, 750 on Biology SAT Subject Test; Score of 5 on AP exams in BC Calculus, US History, Biology, and Psychology; Valedictorian of Hunter College High School, winner of top awards in Math, English, Social Studies, Biology and Theater.
Growing up in Manhattan, Oliver attended Hunter College High School throughout middle and high school. There, he developed a love for the learning made possible in a rigorous academic culture, as well as an awareness of how the challenges of such a high-pressure environment can become stifling. This sparked the beginning of Oliver’s educational career, tutoring peers as a peer mentor, and leading workshops on bullying and bias. Oliver continued this work at Yale, teaching in a wide variety of contexts, including in workshops about bystander intervention and consent, as a peer tutor, at a youth prison, and most recently, in Zhengzhou, China as part of the US-China Elite University Colloquy.
At Yale, when he wasn’t acting in his role as an educator, Oliver spent his time studying, writing for the Yale Herald, acting, and performing stand-up and sketch comedy. His dual comedy and teaching experience has confirmed that, as a rule, the best work is collaborative, fun, and occurs when you meet someone where they are at, rather than where you want them to be. As such, Oliver works to build close relationships with students, encouraging a sense of their own capacity to reach their full potential. As someone who has studied and excelled in a broad range of academic fields, Oliver is a firm believer that any subject can be made interesting. When tutoring standardized tests, Oliver helps students unlock and understand the test inside and out, and find the best preparation strategies on an individual basis.
When he’s not tutoring, Oliver can be found performing stand-up comedy around the city, biking down the Hudson River, or missing his subway stop because he is too engrossed in his book.