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!)
Columbia University, 2011, major in English and Comparative Literature, 3.96 GPA, graduated Magna Cum Laude with English Departmental Honors, Dean’s List Fall 2007-Spring 2011; member of Phi Beta Kappa; National Merit Finalist, 2007; Recipient of the Robert C. Byrd Scholarship, 2007; Near-perfect score of 2350 on SATs, (with perfect scores on Writing and Reading sections), 770 on Chemistry SAT Subject Test, 800 on Spanish SAT Subject Test; AP Scholar with Distinction: Score of 5 on AP exams in U.S. History, Latin, Spanish, and BC Calculus.
A lifelong academic high-achiever and extremely versatile and experienced tutor, Alice has worked with hundreds of students to help them excel in such diverse subjects as English, history, Spanish, geometry, chemistry, physics, algebra, trigonometry, precalculus, and calculus; she has also tutored dozens of students for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, GRE, and various SAT subject tests with consistently spectacular results.
As a native New Yorker and graduate of the New York City private school system, Alice is well acquainted with the stress and anxiety created by its pressure-cooker academic environment. She employs empathy, humor, and enthusiasm to help her students solidify their skill sets and develop confidence in their own academic abilities, while having as much fun as possible along the way. Her methodology consists of a systematic, step-by-step breakdown and explanation of concepts and strategies, as well as a keen attention to the details of each student's unique personality and learning style.
When she is not tutoring, Alice may be found reading at home, running in various NYC parks, or pursuing her career as an actress/singer/dancer.
Princeton University, 2012, major in Religion with a certificate in Theatre, top quintile; Member of Phi Beta Kappa; Award for Outstanding Original Research in Islamic Studies, 2012; Sophomore Award for Excellence in Theatre, 2010; Shapiro Award for Academic Excellence as a Freshman, 2009; score of 5 on AP exams in Chemistry, BC Calculus, US History, and Psychology.
Clayton has worked with Competitive Edge since 2012, working with students in virtually every area of test prep and coursework. He is uniquely qualified to support students in both the humanities and advanced science and math courses, and shifts seamlessly between these disciplines. As a test prep tutor, Clayton has worked with students to prepare for the ACT, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement exams, Regents Exams, ISEE, and the SSAT. Though his plan for students is always based on their individual needs, Clayton strives to make his sessions fun and engaging, while also holding his students accountable. He takes great pride in letting his students gradually take more ownership over their test prep program, and has helped them gain admittance into some of the top colleges in the nation. Clayton loves to make personal connections during his sessions, and still regularly keeps in touch with many of his former students.
Prior to his work with Competitive Edge, Clayton tutored for three years as a Fellow with the Princeton University Writing Center, an undergraduate and graduate resource for academic writing. He worked individually with hundreds of students on a wide variety of academic papers, becoming known for his calm and approachable demeanor, and his ability to explain concepts clearly while letting students take ownership of their work. He later became a Head Fellow at the Writing Center, training other Fellows to become more effective at their craft.
Clayton is also a certified high school science teacher for the subjects of Physics, Biology, and Chemistry. He has experience teaching science in the classroom at Sharpstown High School, part of the Houston Independent School District. His passion for science dates back to the earlier years of his education, when he won the Bausch and Lomb Award for Excellence in Science in 2007. Through Competitive Edge, Clayton has designed curricula for and taught full classroom based courses on the ACT and the SAT Physics subject test. In the classroom setting, Clayton focuses on finding a balance between creating engaging content for all students, while making sure no students feel left behind.
Lastly, he is a nut for all things creative—he loves theatre, writing and music, so much so that he has trouble determining which of these is his true love! Currently, he is writing a book, while occasionally performing his award winning one man show at colleges along the East Coast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 in to bond and get to know them better.
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.
Washington University in St. Louis, 2014, major in psychology; Thomas H. Eliot Scholarship; National Merit Scholar; National AP Scholar with Distinction; near-perfect ACT score of 35; perfect score of 800 on SAT English and near-perfect score of 780 on SAT Math II; perfect scores of 5 on AP Psychology, AP English Literature, AP Statistics, and AP Calculus AB exams.
While at Washington University in St. Louis, Gargi took courses focused on developmental and educational psychology. In addition, she worked as a research assistant in the Memory & Complex Learning Lab, helping with various studies related to understanding the mechanisms of acquiring, processing, and remembering information.
Her interest in education led to her work as a tutor with Princeton Review in St. Louis, Missouri; with Bailey Test Prep in Naples, Florida; and on her own in various cities. When tutoring, Gargi places a special importance in helping her students build confidence and discipline. Test preparation can be stressful and often leads to students feeling powerless and overwhelmed. By carefully distilling complex concepts into modular parts, Gargi ensures that her students not only develop a comprehensive understanding of problems and ideas, but also a sense of competence that allows them to perform better and that positively affects other aspects of their academic career. In addition, Gargi has a wide variety of interests, particularly in mathematics and language arts, which allow her to relate to her students and incorporate real-life examples into her lessons. Gargi also takes pride in being detailed and organized.
Gargi’s in-depth understanding of educational psychology combined with her years of experience make her an exceptional tutor. She deeply enjoys helping students and positively impacting their lives.
When not tutoring, Gargi also loves running, painting, and reading.