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.
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, 2013, major in History with a Specialization in American History of the 20th Century; Dean’s List 2012–2013; Hunter College High School, 2009; 99th percentile composite score of 2280 on the SAT I; score of 5 on Spanish AP exam.
Willis grew up in New York City, where he received a rigorous education at Hunter College High School. But it was beyond the classroom, in the city’s museums and theaters, that his curiosity was continually piqued. Also, on weekends and during the summers, he had the opportunity to study music in programs offered by the Manhattan School of Music and Harlem’s Jazzmobile.
Over the course of his time as an undergraduate, Willis conducted research throughout the city’s archives and libraries and wrote a Senior Honors Thesis on New Deal-era photography projects sponsored by the Farm Security Administration. His accomplished and dedicated professors and demanding but fulfilling classroom curriculum inspired him to teach others. It is with great enthusiasm that he attempts to equip his students with the same set of tools and insights that he has learned.
Since 2013 Willis has tutored students for the ACT, SAT, World History and U.S. History SAT Subject Tests, SHSAT, ISEE, and numerous AP tests, including US History, World History, Spanish Language and US Government and Politics. In order to provide the most effective instruction possible, he employs a strategic approach to identify patterns in students’ weaknesses and focus on the material that would be most helpful. This involves a combination of insights culled from years of experience with test preparation, and careful attention to students’ unique abilities and struggles. This sometimes requires connecting the material—which can begin to seem irrelevant beyond a single examination or standardized test—to themes and patterns in the world at large.
In recent years, Willis has also worked as a Spanish translator for the Huffington Post, and he has performed as an actor and musician at venues throughout New York City, including the Guggenheim Museum, Pianos, and Bowery Electric.
Stanford University, 2008, double-major in Human Biology (concentration: International Women’s and Children’s Health and Rights) and Drama; California Scholarship Federation member; National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Distinction; Score of 1520 (99th percentile) on the SAT, 780 on the US History SAT II.
Jill has been preparing students for biology coursework, the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, TACHS, HSPT, and various SAT Subject Tests since 2009. She enjoys working with a wide range of students, including those with learning disabilities. She’s seen some students score 1600s and 36s and others raise their scores enough to move their “reach” schools into the “match” category. Since moving to New York, she estimates that she’s worked with well over three hundred students.
Jill is familiar with how stressful test prep can be, and strongly believes that levity is an important tool in conquering the test prep and school admission process. She also encourages her students to teach her concepts they’re mastering, as teaching is often the best way to learn. Every student is unique, so Jill doesn’t agree with one-size-fits-all approaches; instead, she likes to figure out the best strategies for each individual student.
When not tutoring, Jill is most likely studying microbiology and human physiology. She spends her spare time hiking, rooting for the Stanford football team, seeing theatre, and reading every book she can find.
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.
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.
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.
Northwestern University, 2017, 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 from Fall 2013-Spring 2017, 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.
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.
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.
Wesleyan University, 2017, double major in Physics and Film, 3.7 GPA; Danish Institute for Study Abroad Humanities Award (awarded to best student in program from over 100 students); 1510 SAT Math/Verbal (99th percentile) and 34 ACT (99th percentile); 770 SAT II Literature; National Merit Finalist.
Ian attended an international high school where he completed the rigorous International Baccalaureate program. After high school, Ian continued his international education by deferring enrollment at Wesleyan to travel abroad in Europe and South America to study service learning and cultural exchange. During this time, Ian taught Peruvian students English and interned for a non-profit focused on developing youth leadership, both of which helped to spark Ian’s interest in tutoring and youth mentorship.
At college, Ian was an extremely active member of Wesleyan’s prestigious film major (alumni include Joss Whedon director of The Avengers and Matthew Weiner creator of Mad Men), working on numerous film projects, serving on the highly selective Film Board that curates Wesleyan’s film series, founding and serving as editor-in-chief of a film publication advised by chief film critic of the New York Times, AO Scott, and writing a feature-length screenplay as his senior thesis. As a physics major, Ian was a member of the Society for Physics Students and worked in a molecular spectroscopy lab studying quantum interactions of Rydberg molecules using an ion gun, vacuum pumps, and a high-powered yttrium aluminum garnet laser. On the side, Ian pursued his other passion, writing. During his time as an undergraduate, Ian took five writing classes, participated in the Paper Airplanes program for tutoring Syrian students living abroad, and worked as a writing mentor for other Wesleyan students, receiving training for the job in the semester long Ford Teaching Seminar. A firm believer that good work can’t be done without a little play, Ian also found the time to captain a rec soccer team, pursue his passion for music as a member of the Jewish a cappella group, the Mazeltones, and to just relax and spend time with friends. While at school, Ian also got the chance to continue to pursue his passion for international education by studying abroad in Denmark where he got the chance to explore his Scandinavian roots and to study Søren Kierkegård’s work at the philosopher’s alma mater, the University of Copenhagen.
After graduating Ian served as an on-set producer for a Yale student feature film as well as producing and directing several smaller projects. Ian is currently interning for an art-house distributor called Zeitgeist Films, a division of Kino Lorber.
As in much of his life, Ian believes the key to tutoring is balance. Ian prides himself in applying both a systematic approach to identifying students’ weaknesses and addressing them as well as a more empathetic, adaptive approach that acknowledges that each student is unique in their learning style and that motivation and confidence are essential parts of the learning process. Ian feels that excessive stress is the enemy of motivation and seeks to reduce it by breaking down learning topics into manageable chunks and reminding students that learning takes place over time. Past students have mentioned Ian’s patience, geniality, and encouragement as key strengths of his tutoring style.
When not tutoring you can catch Ian writing, producing, and directing films; playing or watching soccer (particularly the German national team); perusing music blogs; reading a book; watching a play; practicing guitar; visiting a museum; or hiking in the wilderness.
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.
Vassar College, 2015, double major in Psychology and Religion; 3.72 GPA; Elks Scholar; 2320 on SAT (with 800 on SAT Math); 780 on Chemistry SAT II; 790 on World History SAT II; score of 5 on AP exams in Calculus BC, Physics B, Chemistry, World History, U.S. History, and English Literature.
During Daniel’s time at college, he was guided by his lifelong interest in psychology and world cultures. He studied religion to further his understanding of the link between psychology and religion, eventually writing a religion senior seminar thesis on the psychology of conversion. He also implemented a self-designed psychology research study examining the efficacy of various personality typing systems. During his senior year, a student theatre group produced a play he wrote.
During summers, he worked as a counselor at summer camps, which allowed him to develop attributes such as patience and sensitivity and to extend his interest in psychology into the fields of youth mentorship and education. Growing up bilingual in a Russian-speaking home, Daniel was eager to explore other cultures after college and spent several eye-opening months traveling in India and Southeast Asia.
Informed by his background in psychology, Daniel works with students with various learning styles, and he tailors his lessons to help students achieve their personal goals. Over the course of several years, he has tutored students in math and English coursework, while specializing in standardized tests including the ACT, SAT, SSAT, SHSAT, and ISEE. He has helped many students achieve impressive score increases, some as much as 10 points on the ACT. Having worked for several tutoring companies before joining Competitive Edge Tutoring, Daniel synthesizes important strategies for standardized tests. Daniel approaches the tutoring process holistically, addressing student weaknesses in content while teaching important strategies specifically for standardized tests. He also focuses on the more psychological side of tutoring and test-taking, helping to bolster students in the important areas of motivation, confidence, and stress management. Daniel ensures students feel that he is a source of encouragement and support throughout the often difficult tutoring process, and he likes to use humor to make learning engaging. His passion for tutoring is driven by the fulfillment he gets from helping students develop their knowledge and skills, and by watching them gain the confidence to succeed in academic settings and on standardized tests.
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.
Columbia Law School, currently matriculated, expected graduation 2021; NYU Stern School of Business, 2016, major in Finance and minor in English & American Literature, graduated cum laude; score of 177/180 on LSAT; score of 2350 on SAT (perfect score on Reading and Math) and 36 on ACT; score of 800 on SAT U.S. History, 800 on SAT Biology, and 780 on SAT Literature; score of 5 on AP US History, Biology, and Literature; National Merit Scholar; Scholastic National Silver Medal and Regional Gold & Silver Key recipient.
Wicy grew up in New York and continued to work in the city after graduation. A strong believer in challenging herself, Wicy enjoyed the intellectual rigor of working in finance for two years. She now hopes to utilize her writing skills in law school and make a pivot to financial regulation instead.
As a graduate of Hunter College High School, Wicy understands the challenges of performing in a rigorous academic environment. She believes in providing students with a deeper understanding of their unique long-term goals and ambitions, which gives students greater perspective on their academic strategies. For test preparation, Wicy works to help students understand and target their specific learning styles and needs. She also believes in helping students master not only content and structure, but also the critical and analytical tools necessary for students to improve by themselves and thus truly approach their tests with confidence.
When not tutoring or reading law textbooks, Wicy can be found reading fantasy and historical novels, supporting local indie movie theaters, and splashing around the shallow end of the pool.
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.
Yale University, 2017, major in Theatre Studies, graduated with Distinction in the Major, recipient of the Marina Keegan Award for Excellence in Playwriting 2017; recipient of the Robert C. Bates Summer Travelling Fellowship for playwriting 2016; attended American University Centre of Provence & Sciences Politiques Aix-en-Provence, Fall 2016; Deerfield Academy, 2013; recipient of the Murray Barclay Scholarship in English 2013; Recipient of the Bartlett W. Boyden English Prize 2013; Recipient of the Lynn Gordon Bailey Award in Theatre 2013. Score of 5 on AP exams in Calculus BC, English Language, English Literature, Chinese Language; Scores of 4 on AP Exams in Biology and U.S. History; 800 on SAT Writing; 770 on SAT Math; 720 on SAT Reading; 800 on SAT II Math Level; 780 on SAT II English; 750 on SAT II Biology.
A native of Hong Kong, Stefani grew up in Taiwan speaking fluent English, Mandarin, and Cantonese at the Diocesan Girls’ School. At age fourteen, she came to America to attend Deerfield Academy, where she developed her own voice and passion for learning and literature. At Yale, she further indulged her particular passion for English literature and also studied multivariable mathematics As a Theatre Studies major, she studied both acting and writing, and was the first writer selected by the Yale Dramat to put on an all-Asian production. It was also the highest grossing Dramat production to date.
Stefani began tutoring during her second year at Deerfield at Capstone Prep, a tutoring and college prep company in Hong Kong. She worked one-on-one with students on their college application essays, as well as standardized testing techniques and skills. Stefani continued this work at Yale, where she did online tutoring with Baker & Bloom, another Hong Kong-based test and college prep company.
These early experiences sparked the beginning of her teaching career, and she has been tutoring English in America, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and France for the past nine years. Stefani is also certified to teach English as a second language. In addition to the previously noted languages, she is fluent in French. Her students have ranged in age from 4 through 21.
Her work as a writer and artist has informed her work as an educator. Having tutored many students for the ACT, SAT, and other standardized tests, Stefani firmly believes they learn best one-on-one, not only because lessons can be personalized, but it also build a close teacher-student relationship. As someone who has taken many standardized tests, beginning with the SSAT in middle school, Stefani understands when it comes to test-taking, pressure and stress are some of the most difficult aspects students have to manage, and trust is an essential part of learning how to excel in an actual test environment.
As a playwright, Her play, Delicacy of a Puffin Heart was recently produced as part of the 2018 Corkscrew Theatre Festival, New York City. She has studied under writers such as Marsha Norman, Sarah Ruhl, and Elizabeth Alexander, and many others. As a performer, she was most recently seen at the Williamstown Theatre Festival 2017 as an acting apprentice in Period Sisters, a new play by Ali Viterbi, at the HERE Arts Centre in Massachsetts.
In her non-teaching time, Stefani can be found at a theatre, rehearsing a new play, working on her own writing, or hiding in the mountains. One of her greatest accomplishments in life has been hiking 800 kilometers across Spain on El Camino de Santiago and around Mont Blanc on the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, Switzerland, and Italy.
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.