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Meet our Tutors

  • Arpit Patel

    Arpit Patel


    Arpit earned dual B.S. degrees in Biological Sciences and Chemistry from Rutgers University. He has researched bacterial photosynthesis and was formerly in EMS. He’s currently pursuing teaching degrees in Biological and Physical Sciences.

    Specializes in: ACT Math/Science, SAT Math, GRE/GMAT Math, MCAT: biology, chemistry and physics, AP Biology, AP Chemistry, Honors Physics, Statistics, Linear Algebra and Calculus I-III

  • Betty Emili

    Betty Emili


    For more than two decades, Betty has been teaching high school mathematics—everything from Pre-Algebra to Calculus and Statistics. She earned her B.S. degree in Mathematics and Secondary Education from San Pedro Nolasco University in Argentina, where she also worked for many years writing math curriculum for high school and adult education. Betty enjoys working with her team of smart, respectful, and generous, fellow tutors (who also happen to have a great sense of humor). She believes in putting students first, which is why as a Collegewise tutor, the equation just works!

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Math/Science, Math Curriculum including Statistics and Calculus

  • Bob Kupleian

    Bob Kupleian


    Bob has been a history teacher, detective, and horse farmer—pretty much in that order. He has an undergraduate degree in history with a minor in literature and a masters in European history—all from Rutgers. He was a member of ROTC during college and then an officer in an elite, Army Ranger Paratrooper unit. In working with students, he often returns to the saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” as he is dedicated to readying them for their futures and helping them succeed.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Verbal, US History, European History, Study Skills, Writing

  • Christina Huff

    Christina Huff


    After graduating with her degree in Computer Science, Christina did what any newly minted CompSci would do, went to Taiwan for a year to teach. During that time, she showed an affinity for understanding Mandarin and connecting with students of all types and skill levels. Now that Christina is in grad school, she continues to display her teaching props and proudly claims that she has personally taught more than a 1000 students. At Collegewise, Christina works with students in the Austin area on either the SAT or the ACT. She’s also trying to figure out how to visit (and hike in) all 58 of America’s national parks. Come on—admit it—you didn’t know there were 58 national parks either.

    Specializes in: SAT and ACT

  • Christine Bechtold

    Christine Bechtold


    There’s usually more than one way to improve oneself, and Christine has experienced it first-hand. With a dual undergraduate degree in Elementary Education and American Studies from Rider University (minors in Special Education and Middle School English), and dual CEAS certifications in Elementary Education and Special Education, she has helped students at various learning levels discover their strengths—whether they know about them yet or not! Christine is currently a Special Education teacher in Newark, NJ, where she provides additional support for students in literacy and mathematics, and teaches Wilson’s Just Words program. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, attending professional development events, and volunteering.

    Specializes in: Elementary School Support

  • Delavar Basha

    Delavar Basha


    Delavar’s current job as a program manager has led him earn various, esteemed management and technical credentials, including SCRUM, AWS, and ITIL certifications. But as an academic consultant helping students prepare for the ACT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT exams, he’s helped them rack up credentials as well. With a Master’s from Amberton University and a Bachelor’s from Rutgers, Delavar has gained experience with technical writing, graduate school admissions essays, and AP English classes. He genuinely enjoys helping students get on the right academic track and reach their goals.

    Specializes in: GRE and ACT/SAT Verbal, Writing, ISEE/SSAT

  • Don Gehan

    Don Gehan


    Don recently began a freelance writing career after more than twenty years in the publishing industry. He spent seven years as a tutor in the New York City public school system, and is a Boston College graduate.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Math and Verbal, SAT Subject Test/Literature, Curriculum Math

  • Erik Brugamyer

    Erik Brugamyer


    Erik is a high school Physics and Math teacher by day, a tutor on nights and weekends and a pool shark, always. Seriously, he’s nationally ranked at pocket billiards so you know he’s deeply intuitive about both geometry and game theory. Erik’s base of operations is in Collegewise’s Austin office. He studied at The University of Texas at Austin, where he double-majored in Physics (B.S.) and Astronomy (B.A., with a minor in German). Erik matriculated into the Astronomy Ph.D. program at UT - Austin, and completed the degree in 2014. He also received a graduate degree in accounting and took a job in Chicago, IL with one of the largest international public accounting firms in the world. Along the way, he was also awarded an M.A. degree, bringing the total number of degrees to five. In addition, Erik has… • Scored in the 99th % on his SAT/ACT math and science portions • Strong experience teaching students with learning difficulties (including dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADD and anxiety) • Complete mastery of high school math and physics at any level – including the first couple of years of college courses • A desire to teach students of all skill levels Erik’s passion around academics is pervasive. In addition to all of the above, he’s discovered, or helped discover, more than two dozen extrasolar planets. Since we’re not astrophysicists in our spare time, you’ll have to ask Erik what ‘extrasolar’ means.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT math and science, curriculum math and physics

  • Gustavo Verzbickis

    Gustavo Verzbickis


    Gustavo loves to help his students experience the Hispanic language and culture! He is originally from Argentina, where he graduated from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, and was a Professor of Hispanic Language and Literature. He currently teaches AP Spanish, Spanish 4, and Spanish as a second language at Abraham Clark High School.

    Specializes in: Spanish curriculum, AP Spanish, and Spanish subject test

  • Jill Stueck

    Jill Stueck

    Essay Specialist

    With a lengthy career in the world of corporate communications, Jill has still managed to retain a passion for storytelling and appreciation for the power of the written word (not an easy feat!) Over the years, she has made sporadic yet gallant attempts to complete the writing of an original two-hour television movie with six accompanying episodes. Now inches away from completion, she vows to finish it before her kids do it for her!

    Specializes in: College Essays

  • Jon Tarella

    Jon Tarella


    Jon has tutored high school students privately and at learning centers in both group and individual settings. In 2007, he earned his B.S. in Applied Physics from Rutgers University, graduating with highest honors. As a tutor for more than six years, Jon feels his experiences working with students enhances his understanding of pedagogy, the subjects he teaches, and how teens think.

    Specializes in: GRE Math, SAT/ACT Math/Science, Physics, Chemistry, Math

  • Julian Banks

    Julian Banks


    A graduate of Princeton University with a degree in Chemical Engineering, Julian also completed his Master’s in Environmental Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is currently working on entrepreneurial pursuits in San Antonio, TX.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Math and Science, Chemistry, Physics

  • Karen Forgione

    Karen Forgione

    Tutor & Essay Specialist

    Karen knows a little something about high-stress performances: with an M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University, and a B.A. in Theatre from Bucknell University (and one in English), she has worked with students to employ grace under pressure. She is an experienced teacher and administrator—currently completing the Executive Program in Arts and Culture Strategy via the University of Pennsylvania—and a former Fulbright student, which took her to Bergen, Norway. When it comes to helping write essays, she gets applause from students and parents alike.

    Specializes in: ACT/SAT Verbal, Writing, College Essays

  • Katie Avagliano

    Katie Avagliano


    Katie works Collegewise in New Jersey and describes herself as “easily amused.” This gentle expressionism belies her almost feral accumulation of academic wisdom and teaching skills. Katie has… • An MFA in Creative Writing from American University • A double major in history and English • Served as an adjunct professor at local colleges teaching writing • The ability to diagnose and fix problems with student essays after a twenty-second skim and a minute-long conversation Not surprisingly, Katie is one of the strongest writing and verbal instructors within Collegewise. She is equally adept at SAT, ACT, Subject Test, AP English and remedial writing instruction. She is truly a woman for all linguistic seasons who readily admits that she is entirely incompetent at mastering the use of chopsticks.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, Subject Test, AP English, and remedial writing instruction

  • Kevin Choi

    Kevin Choi


    Kevin is yet another Collegewiser who so loved New Jersey that he chose to attend Rutgers, and like his fellow Rutgerites who teach here, he did not shy away from the hardest courses that the Scarlet Knights had to offer—ergo his degree in Chemistry. Along the way, Kevin perfected his tutoring skills in math, chemistry, and physics, and much like LeBron James once proclaimed that he was “taking his talents to South Beach,” Kevin brought his to Collegewise, New Jersey. Kevin is available to work with students in the sciences and math (all levels) along with helping students obtain higher SAT and ACT scores as a math/science specialist. In his rare spare time (Kevin is also an EMT), he enjoys fine tuning his martial artistry and takes particular pleasure in ‘roundhousing.’ We had to look it up as well.

    Specializes in: Science, Math, Study Skills, SAT, and ACT

  • Luis Riera

    Luis Riera


    Not only can Luis reach a 40-inch vertical jump, he can get students to leap into their studies. With grounded enthusiasm and degrees in mechanical and biomedical engineering from Rutgers, he has a genuine fascination with the human mind and body performance, believing firmly that balancing work and leisure activity is conducive to learning. Luis loves math, science, and music, and has helped students develop analytical reasoning skills to enhance their lives and increase opportunities for success. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, yoga/meditation, volleyball, computer programming, and video games.

    Specializes in: ACT/SAT Math/Science, Physics, Spanish

  • Masaru (Masa) Nakajima

    Masaru (Masa) Nakajima


    Masa earned his Master of Science degree in Physics from the University of Saskatchewan where he swears that the laws of thermodynamics still applied, even during the frigid Canadian winters. Also, that’s a Masters Degree in Physics. That’s about as demanding and hard as it gets. And just for fun, he also studied Environmental Science and CompSci. Nowadays, Masa is a full-time PhD student. Masa enjoys sharing his love of Physics with one and all, and is an expert on the Math section of the SAT. He also speaks three languages (Japanese, English and Spanish). He does want people to know that when he’s focused, he is focused all the way. This applies to his students’ performances, his accumulation of knowledge and his commitment to watching the entire Game of Throne series in less than a month

    Specializes in: Physics, SAT Math

  • Matt Fox

    Matt Fox


    Matt has a B.A. in Classics from the University of Oregon, and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Princeton. His dissertation was a global study of oral poetry and music in ancient and traditional cultures. Prior to being a tutor, he taught for twelve years at St. Peter’s College, Deep Springs College, Rutgers University, and Whitman College. His translation of the Latin epic poem, "Lucan’s Civil War," is published in the Penguin Classics, and when he’s not tutoring, he writes poetry and fiction, plays guitar, and daydreams about space travel. Matt enjoys helping students set goals, challenge and overcome their anxieties, and achieve their aims through discipline and hard work.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Verbal/Math, Writing, Latin, Greek, Study Skills, Literature, History, Philosophy/Rhetoric, Politics, SSAT/ISEE, GRE/GMAT Verbal

  • Nancy Ciabattari

    Nancy Ciabattari

    Tutor & Essay Specialist

    As resident bard, Nancy has published a literary study guide and is currently completing a collection of poetry. At Brown University, she is a Ph.D. candidate, having already earned Master’s degrees in English and Slavic/Comparative Literature. She has a B.A. in Russian from Rutgers, and yet another B.A. in English and Political Science from Boston College. As a tutor, Nancy enjoys teaching to each individual student—each of her lessons meet a student’s specific needs.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT/GRE Verbal, Literature, Writing, Reading, College Essays

  • Pam Chirls

    Pam Chirls

    Essay Specialist

    Pam tirelessly shows her commitment to education in everything she does. As a third-term member of the Livingston Board of Education, she and her colleagues oversee a budget of $122 million and guide initiatives to support nearly 6,000 students. As an award-winning editor of college-level publications and resources for hospitality management and culinary arts programs, she directly helps students learn. And as an essay specialist, she assists students in finding their voice in their writing so that they may be admitted to their best-fit school. Pam earned her B.A. from Brandeis University in Political Science and is currently completing her M.A. in School Counseling. In her spare time, she and her husband raise puppies for The Seeing Eye Institute, including guide dogs Wisty and Xana, as well as an explosives-locating dog named Rose.

    Specializes in: College Essays

  • Pam Lobley

    Pam Lobley


    Shakespeare penned the words, “All the world's a stage. And all the men and women merely players.” Since Pam’s BFA from DePaul is in acting, she’s lived this aphorism more than most and for Pam, teaching now serves as her theatrical muse. She’s also a published author, worked as a sketch comedienne in NYC and has experience as a hand model. Not surprisingly, Pam’s students find her to be interesting, evocative and profoundly good at explaining things. Pam’s teaching specialties sit on the verbal side, whether it be SAT, ACT, Literature, Essay Writing, Grammar or Study Skills. And if you play your cards right, and study hard, perhaps she’ll even help you to improve your improvisational skills.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, Literature, Essay Writing, Grammar, and Study Skills

  • Paul DiLena

    Paul DiLena


    Paul grew up in the Wallonia (the French-speaking southern region of Belgium) and graduated from the University of Mons, also in Belgium. He has tutored students in all levels of math, French, economics, and computer science—from middle school and high school through college. He earned his graduate Business degree from Michigan State University, where he worked as a teaching assistant in French.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT math and science, all curriculum math, economics, statistics, computer science, French and Italian

  • Sachin Doddiah

    Sachin Doddiah


    Sachin is a deeply experienced, terrifyingly good-at-tests gentleman who works out of Collegewise’s Irvine and Redondo Beach offices. • Perfect scores on both the SAT and the ACT • 6 years’ experience teaching SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, AP tests • Complete mastery of content and strategies for both SAT and ACT • Has helped more than 400 students with either their SAT or ACTs • Equally adept at teaching students of all skill levels • UCLA, B.S.; Georgetown, M.S. Sachin’s M.S. is in Biology and his name means “truth” in Hindi. In addition to his sickeningly good abilities with fill-in-the-bubble exams, Sachin is adept at tutoring in Math (through pre-calculus), English, and all levels of Biology and Chemistry. He’s pretty much a Renaissance Man when it comes to tests and tutoring.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, SAT subject tests, and AP tests

  • Sabina Molander

    Sabina Molander


    Sabina speaks, writes, reads, dreams, and cooks in Spanish. A native of Argentina, she graduated from Washington University with a M.S. in Social Work, and, as a native Spanish speaker, she has developed Spanish curricula and trained Spanish teachers. In her spare time, Sabina enjoys tennis, yoga, and hiking with her family. ¡Hasta pronto mis amigos!

    Specializes in: SAT Subject Test/Spanish, Study Skills

  • Sherri Buchanan

    Sherri Buchanan

    Essay Specialist

    Sherri can practice law and play piano—though not at the same time! With a law degree from Northwestern University (where she is an alumni interviewer), and a B.A. in music, urban studies, and sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, she has been a healthcare, entertainment, and large firm litigator; a Union County Municipal Court mediator; and a classical pianist with the New York Piano Society. She has always loved writing—both in and outside of the legal profession—and especially enjoys helping students find their voices in college essays. In her spare time, Sherri likes to hike or snowshoe in Vermont.

    Specializes in: College Essays

  • Stefanie Toye

    Stefanie Toye


    As the Director of Instruction (Test Prep & Curriculum), Stefanie truly understands the importance of helping students become more independent in their personal, academic journeys. Prior to joining Collegewise, she worked at Rutgers University, where she earned a Master’s degree in Literacy Education. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of Virginia, and then studied at universities in Italy, taking courses in Italian language, literature, and art history. Stefanie also worked at a large test prep and admissions company where she spent several years teaching SAT and TOEFL courses, and managed various high school and graduate classes. She holds a C.E. for English at the secondary level.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Verbal and Math/Science, Writing, Study Skills, ISEE/SSAT

  • Steve Hiel

    Steve Hiel


    Steve is a self-professed punster who works out of the Collegewise, New Jersey office. His specialty is helping students with the verbal portions of either the SAT or the ACT, where he scored in the 99th% on both. Steve was a double major in History and Spanish from Duke University where he was also one of the very first students to earn a certificate in Markets & Management, a program designed to equip liberal arts types with some practical knowledge for a career in business (those are Steve’s words, not ours – we love the “Liberal Arts Types” at Collegewise). Steve’s teaching style is multi-modal as he is comfortable with both visual and auditory approaches. Steve definitely hails from the school of calm, patient instructors who believe that something has not truly been taught until it has been heard and understood.

    Specializes in: SAT & ACT Verbal

  • Susan Ruszala

    Susan Ruszala

    Essay Specialist

    You can’t accuse Susan of being taikutsuna (that’s Japanese for “boring”.) She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with an honors degree in International Relations and a minor in Japanese, and has been working in publishing and media for many years. In her spare time, Susan is an avid reader and writer, a long-time alumni interviewer, and a marketing consultant.

    Specializes in: College Essays

  • Tanner Rieve

    Tanner Rieve


    Most tutor bios follow an established rubric – one that espouses the attributes and credentials of the teacher in a linear, logical fashion. This is not one of those bios. Tanner was our very first full-time SAT/ACT/Academic tutor. Tanner blazed this trail because he has this extraordinary ability to connect with students around almost any subject and his work ethic and commitment are splendiferous (not a real word). Tanner’s students wax rhapsodic about his abilities to a level that many of us find to lie somewhere between remarkable and nauseating. Tanner is a genuine and gifted teacher. When Tanner is not working with students, he spends his time referring to himself in the 3rd person objective voice. The bio above is a paean to that predilection.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Verbal and Math/Science, GRE, SSAT/ISEE, Study Skills

  • Terence Wesley

    Terence Wesley


    Terence. Loves. Math. He’s taught it for the past seven years—everything from Pre-Algebra to Calculus—and has even written math curriculum and conducted workshops to improve math instruction. Terence earned his B.S. in Applied Science & Engineering from Rutgers, and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Seton Hall University. (Did we mention he likes math?)

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Math & Science, ISEE/SSAT Math, Math Curriculum

  • Thabit Pulak

    Thabit Pulak


    The first thing we learned about Thabit is that his name is pronounced “Sabeet.” And we haven’t stopped learning from him since. It appears that Thabit’s secret super-power is to avoid speeding tickets when pulled over for same, but we view that as proof positive that even under the most demanding of circumstances, Thabit maintains clarity of thought and the ability to articulate a singular point of view. In other words, all the hallmarks of a great teacher. Thabit is a Duke graduate with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Clearly, he is superbly overeducated in the sciences and is similarly gifted at both the SAT and the ACT. As a die-hard Blue Devil, any UNC basketball fans should tread carefully. When asked to share one random fact about himself, Thabit dropped this little piece of knowledge on us – he ran for President in the last election, and is currently filing his paperwork with the FEC to run in the upcoming 2020 election as well.

    Specializes in: Biology, Chemistry, SAT and ACT

  • Vladimir Lebduschka

    Vladimir Lebduschka


    Vladimir brings years of experience teaching science, engineering, and math as well as his on-the-job life experience to the tutoring table. In his prior career, he worked as an engineer constructing hydroelectric power, water treatment, and solar power plants in many countries. He earned a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and an M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa (Iowa City), and has tutored dozens of students in math and chemistry, helping them overcome the challenges of tough topics and standardized tests.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT Math and Science, SAT Subject Tests, Chemistry, Spanish

  • Wesley Jordan

    Wesley Jordan


    On his original application to Collegewise, Wesley wrote down “Tutoring is LIFE.” And Wesley has certainly walked that talk, having tutored close to 400 students. Whilst Wesley’s degrees are in Music and Business, he’s very much a tutoring Renaissance fellow, comfortable teaching all the elements of both the SAT and the ACT, while also helping students to enhance their study skills. He even coaches grad students on their GREs. Wesley enjoys working with all types of learners and age groups and his passion for sharing what he knows just oozes out of him. It’s impossible to spend three minutes with Wesley without getting caught up in his enthusiasm and love of life. Wesley has sung in 6 operas, so perhaps you’ll be one of those rare students who can persuade him to belt out a quick aria. If you can get him to perform, please remind him that we’re all quite partial to Carmen

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, GRE, study skills