Meet Our Team!

Academic Tutors

Samara Shanker, M.A., M.S.

Samara has been a tutor for over six years. She works with students from kindergarten to college age, and has experience working with students who have fallen behind due to learning disorders, behavioral concerns, or attentional difficulties. She holds Masters’ in clinical psychology from both Teacher’s College at Columbia University and the PGSP-Stanford PsyD Consortium, as well as a BA in psychology from Dartmouth College, with a specific focus in early childhood education and development. Samara is prepared to teach all elementary and middle school subjects, and excels at teaching the humanities, writing, and early reading skills, as well as verbal skills and reading comprehension for all levels of standardized tests. Samara is also an experienced homeschool manager, and one of our study skills experts.

Brianna Kinsey, PsyD

Brianna is a recent graduate from the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, where she received her Masters’ (2017) and Doctorate (2020) degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Child and Family. She wrote her dissertation on Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) within the black community and ways to help parents gain resources and accommodations within their public schools. She has had experience in therapy with children, young adults and adults. Brianna is one of our study skills experts! She will be working with your child to help them create and maintain better organizational skills.

Karen Pigott, M.S.

A graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology with a MS in Electrical Engineering and BS in Computer Science. Karen has 20+ years working in the fields of digital imaging, RADAR and geo-navigation. She received a secondary school teaching certification in Arizona, 2013. Through tutoring Karen has an opportunity to share her enthusiasm and appreciation of mathematics. Karen works with students of all ages, and teaches all levels of math including AP Calculus and Statistics. She enjoys many hobbies including cooking, quilting and traveling.

Darmon Ghanbari

Darmon is in his third year of studying for a BS (Bachelor of Science) in cell/molecular biology
and a BS/MS (accelerated Bachelor/Master of Science) in applied mathematics at Western
Washington University. He has tutored students at the middle school, high school, and college
levels in a variety of STEM subjects. Darmon specializes in teaching biology, general and organic chemistry, and math (pre-algebra to college calculus and above.) As a former homeschooler, Darmon understands that students have diverse learning styles, and he works to devise a personalized method of instruction for each learner that will best suit their needs.

Gabriela Alongi, M.Res.

Gabi has an MRes (Master of Research) with Distinction in Marine Mammal Science from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and a BS with Honors in Aquatic Biology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a whale acoustic analyst for the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego. She has ample experience in math (including calculus and statistics), biology, and physics. She has worked previously for C2 Education tutoring high schoolers, mostly focusing on math (including calculus), SAT/ACT math prep (including the old and new versions of the SAT), and AP Calc AB/BC, Chem, Physics, Bio, and Environmental Science exam prep. Gabi maintained a 4.0 GPA in high school and college and scored 5 on the AP exams for Calc BC, Chem, and Environmental Science, 800 on the math SAT, and a 780 on the math GRE.

Naomi Kaswan, M.S.

Naomi received her bachelors of science in biopsychology and minor in applied psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She was granted her Master’s of science in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University, where she is currently enrolled in the clinical psychology doctoral program, with an emphasis in neuropsychology. Naomi was a teaching assistant with Isla Vista Youth Projects’ After School Program, where she provided classroom management, tutoring, and behavioral interventions to grades K-6. She is also a former Special Education Paraprofessional from Santa Barbara Middle School, where she provided valuable assistance to children with moderate to severe special needs including behavioral management, academic assistance, and social skills development. Naomi is currently available for academic assistance (K-8), homeschool management, and ADHD/ASD support.

Ronan Pigott

Ronan earned his BSc. in Material Science and Engineering from University of California, Berkeley. He has experience teaching Computer Science at Berkeley, and is ready to help students in their first few years of Computer Science, particularly coursework in Python or C. Ronan also excels at teaching all levels of math up to college calculus, as well as high school physics.

Tessa Vanooteghem

Tessa is a recent graduate of the Mills College Post Baccalaureate Pre Medical Program and will be attending medical school Fall 2021. Currently, she works for the nonprofit organization GetUsPPE, providing protective equipment to medical personnel across the nation. She has a plethora of experience tutoring math (with expertise spanning number sense to pre-calculus), biology, chemistry (specializing in general chemistry) and physics. Previously, Tessa has worked as a tutor for Mills College tutoring college-aged students, but also has spent a large amount of time teaching elementary and high school students. With her original undergraduate degree in Theater, Tessa makes any school subject exciting to students of all ages.

Our Art Crew

Serena Hale

Serena has been an artist for their entire life. Born and raised in NYC, they had access to many extracurricular art classes as a child. Their biggest goal is to create that opportunity for other kids, especially those in less privileged situations. They graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 2019 with a BFA with honors in painting and drawing. Their favorite mediums are acrylic, watercolor, markers, charcoal, and soft pastels. After getting their Bachelors, Serena worked as an elementary art teacher pre-pandemic and has been a childcare provider for the past ten years. Serena offers painting, drawing, and crafting classes for all ages. They are available for both group and individual sessions. Serena is especially interested in helping tweens and teens with portfolio building, and working with kids of all ages interested in fun and imaginative art projects. 

Auryana Rodriguez

Auryana trained at San Mateo Art Center where she studied oil and acrylic paint under professional artists from 2015-2016. In 2016 she began doing illustrations for a weekly college newspaper, The Guardsman, for which she received first place in the JACC 2017 State Publication for illustration. Auryana has also done several commissioned pieces including two paintings on display at St. Pius Church in Redwood City, CA. Auryana offers one on one painting and drawing lessons for more advanced students or those who want extra individual attention, and group drawing lessons for all ages.

Anne Zimmerman

Anne Zimmerman has a BFA + 30 in Art Education/ Art therapy. She has taught Art to Kindergarteners thru adults for 30 years. She has a Certification in Therapeutic Art life coaching, and is currently helping people to reduce their stress through art-making. She is an exhibiting artist and specializes in needle felted painting and mixed media work that has sold throughout the country. She has illustrated professionally and has done numerous CD cover designs. In her spare time she loves needlework, hiking and playing with her labradoodle Riley.

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