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Meet our Tutors

  • Abraham Ratner

    Abraham Ratner


    Abraham has worked with more students than he can count, with extensive experience in classroom and group settings. He has a knack for making lessons accessible and is particularly interested in the role psychology plays in learning. One of his most rewarding moments as a tutor was helping a student problem-solve for ways to remain motivated and focused during standardized tests. Abraham has a B.A. in Radio, TV, and Film from Northwestern. When he’s not tutoring, he’s likely playing music or hanging out with his guinea pig.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, History, English, Math through Algebra II

  • 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 developing math curriculum for high school and adult education. Betty enjoys working with a team of smart, respectful, and generous 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


    When working with students, Bob often returns to the saying, “Chance favors the prepared mind,” as he is dedicated to readying them for their futures and helping them succeed. 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.

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

  • Branden Galley

    Branden Galley


    Branden has led more than 100 students to success with the SAT and ACT, economics, and math. His approach is to use material outside of the class’s prescribed materials to encourage student interest in the subject, though he is comfortable changing his approach to accomodate all types of learners. He studied Economics at CSU Sacramento and eventually earned his Master’s degree in Economics at CSU Long Beach. Outside of tutoring, Branden works as a data analyst including for non-profits, city governments, and commercial real estate firms. He is a recovering Southern Californian after a three-year attempt at life in the Bay Area.

    Specializes in: SAT and ACT, economics, and math up to Calculus AB

  • Christina Huff

    Christina Huff


    Christina has proudly taught more than a 1,000 students. After graduating with her degree in Computer Science, Christina did what any newly minted CompSci major would do, and 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. At Collegewise, Christina works with students in the Austin area and online 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


    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, Christine has helped students at various learning levels discover their strengths—whether they know about them yet or not! She 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

  • Daniel Fang

    Daniel Fang


    Daniel is based in our Irvine office where he will be teaching all subjects of the ACT/SAT. He works for a start-up as a financial entrepreneur. Daniel went to Vandy where he studied Econ, Business, and Philosophy—holy Renaissance man! Daniel loves being outdoors and includes hiking, snowboarding, and basketball, among his interests, in addition to reading, hanging out with friends, and learning, oh, just about anything. He has worked with dozens of students throughout the years and has beautiful penmanship, a rare talent in today’s world. Daniel offered this: “I think if I had to choose an abstract concept for my career, it would be aestheticism, and if I had to choose a sub-topic of aestheticism, it would be subtlety.”

    Specializes in: ACT/SAT

  • Delavar Basha

    Delavar Basha


    Delavar’s current job as a program manager has led him to earn various esteemed management and technical credentials, including SCRUM, AWS, and ITIL. But as an academic consultant for the ACT, SAT, GRE, and GMAT exams, he’s helped students 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 teaches test prep for all of the required sections of both the ACT and SAT, and he offers tutoring for all levels of math and statistics. He has a master’s in Statistics from Rutgers and a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Boston College. He lives in Bernardsville, where he enjoys biking, skiing, and community theater. He and his wife have two children.

    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 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

  • Holly Liebau

    Holly Liebau


    Holly is based in NJ and is a private elementary/high school math school teacher who will be focusing on math for the ACT and SAT. Holly graduated from The College of NJ, majoring in Mathematics with a minor Secondary Education. You may hear her singing in the shower or quoting The Office so she fits right in at CW. Holly has worked with hundreds of students in a variety of school settings: public, charter and private. Holly holds a bunch of educational certifications and can offer tips on working with many learning types, including those who are dyslexic. Holly has a zoo at home (not quite at the Joe Exotic level) but it does include 5 dogs and 4 cats, reflecting her love of animals.

    Specializes in: Math for ACT/SAT

  • Jon Tarella

    Jon Tarella


    Jon has tutored numerous 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

  • Kandyss Thomas

    Kandyss Thomas


    Kandyss is a high school counselor and tutor who has helped more than 3,000 students flourish during her career. She worked with one student for four years to stay on track for graduation. He eventually entered the military and his mother still sends her pictures of him. Kandyss earned a Master of Science in Counselor Education from East Carolina University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her special talents include singing, dancing, and playing instruments.

    Specializes in: ACT: Verbal, Math, Science, SAT: Verbal, Math, and Elementary and High School students

  • Katie Avagliano

    Katie Avagliano


    Katie is one of the strongest writing and verbal instructors within Collegewise. She is equally adept at the SAT, ACT, Subject Tests, AP English, and remedial writing instruction. With an MFA in Creative Writing from American University, Katie has the ability to diagnose and fix problems with student essays after a twenty-second skim and a minute-long conversation. She has also served as an adjunct professor at local colleges teaching writing. Not surprisingly, 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 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. Kevin is yet another Collegewiser who so loved New Jersey that he chose to attend Rutgers and studied 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. 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

  • Kirsten Mattingly

    Kirsten Mattingly


    Kirsten is an experienced tutor who loves a good challenge. One of her former students was identified as gifted in math and science, but needed a safe place and access to materials to excel. Kirsten was able to provide her with support and she ended up getting a full-ride scholarship to ASU. She earned her B.S. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Studies and Religious Studies. Outside of tutoring she works at the Kuwait Cultural Office as an Academic Advisor. She will fit right in at Collegewise because she appreciates our nerdy sense of humor.

    Specializes in: Algebra I & II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calc, Calc, Stats, Economics, Chemistry, Physics, Biology

  • Lena Gavenas

    Lena Gavenas


    Lena has worked with kids in a variety of different settings: as an advisor for Cal YMCA's Youth and Government, as a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club, and as a babysitter. She graduated with a B.A. in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley, and one of her friends from college cites Lena as the reason she didn’t fail Organic Chemistry (…the second time). In a former life, Lena was an improv comedian, and she still loves to make silly videos when inspiration strikes. She’s also a member at a local ceramics studio and loves working with clay.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, AP Biology, AP Environmental Science, AP US Government

  • 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 enjoys sharing his love of Physics with one and all, and is an expert on the Math section of the SAT. 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. Nowadays, Masa is a full-time PhD student. 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

  • Michael Cohen

    Michael Cohen


    Michael spends his days in Philadelphia instructing at Temple University, where he earned his master's degree and continues his doctoral studies in Religion. At the undergraduate level, he studied History and Philosophy at the University of Delaware. Michael has seen at least 300 students pass through his classroom and another 30-40 in private tutoring. Life can sometimes be tough for Michael, as a New York Mets and Giants fan. Michael will be teaching the verbal sections of the ACT and SAT, along with study skills in our New Jersey offices.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT verbal and study skills

  • Nancy Ciabattari

    Nancy Ciabattari


    As a tutor, Nancy enjoys teaching to each individual student—each of her lessons meets a student’s specific needs. 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.

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

  • Nathaly Basto Camargo

    Nathaly Basto Camargo


    Nathaly has worked with more than 200 students in her career as a tutor. One of her success stories was a student who was discouraged by his ACT score—but after working with Nathaly, he not only decided to keep at it, but also ended up writing an incredible personal statement. Nathaly graduated from Yale with a B.S. in Cognitive Science and was an Education Studies Scholar. When she’s not with students, Nathaly is most likely to be found walking her dog or going to the beach.

    Specializes in: SAT, ACT, ISEE/SSAT, PST, TOEFL, Writing, English literature, psychology

  • 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. 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 the 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 has tutored students in all levels of math, French, economics, and computer science—from middle school and high school through college. He grew up in Wallonia (the French-speaking southern region of Belgium) and graduated from the University of Mons, also in Belgium. 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

  • Philip Lillelund

    Philip Lillelund


    Philip worked with over 150 students as a middle school teacher and has privately tutored 25 high school students. He has a B.S. from the University of Southern California in Astronautical Engineering. In his spare time, Philip likes to play guitar, write songs, hike, run, practice yoga, and read National Geographic articles.

    Specializes in: ACT, SAT, Algebra I/II, Geometry, Pre-Calc, Calculus AB/C, Statistics, Physics

  • Praveen Satarasinghe

    Praveen Satarasinghe


    While pursuing an MBA and an MD at UT-Austin, Praveen decided he had so much extra time on his hands that he wanted to help students as a tutor. Praveen brings a musical ear with him—sing him a tune and he can probably play it on the piano without any music. Praveen studied at UT for his undergraduate work (Plan II Honors and Bio Honors for those who love UT details) where he helped over 200 students in their studies. While Praveen is not great at grocery lists, he can ad-lib just about any recipe he observes being prepared on TV.

    Specializes in: SAT/ACT and study skills

  • 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 curriculum 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

  • Shelbi Polk

    Shelbi Polk


    Shelbi is based in North Carolina where she is a freelance writer and lover of the French language—some of her training notes were transcribed in that tongue. She is a graduate of Texas A&M where she double majored in Literature and International Relations and minored in French. Shelbi began tutoring as a teenager, coaching her brother. She notes, “My first student was my little brother, and I'll always value the time we spent working together! My favorite session was one we spent on A Tale of Two Cities, when it finally clicked with him that reading books from 150 years ago could help him think about his own life.” A fellow bibliophile, Shelbi tries to read at least one book a week, which she has to balance with watering her 24 houseplants regularly.

    Specializes in: ACT/SAT Verbal, French

  • Sidd Prasad

    Sidd Prasad


    Sidd has worked with dozens of students and looks forward to helping kids with the ACT and SAT. Sidd plays the drums, piano, and can make a water droplet sound with his cheek. He attended Rice University, where he studied Biological Sciences. Sidd is currently working on a master's degree in Special Education—specializing in autism—at the University of Texas while he works with young children as a behavior therapist. An avid video game enthusiast, he excels at Super Smash Bros. and Starcraft 2. Sidd's other talents include making impressions of his favorite cartoon characters and cooking up a mean chicken curry.

    Specializes in: SAT and ACT

  • 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’s specialty is helping students with the verbal portions of either the SAT or ACT—he’s scored in the 99th percentile 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. 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

  • Tanner Rieve

    Tanner Rieve


    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

  • Walter Buhro

    Walter Buhro


    Walter is a master of many trades: he practices martial arts, cooks, studies Japanese and German, and is a self-proclaimed early bird. In addition to his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, Walter possesses serious STEM knowledge as a physics and environmental science teacher at a New Jersey high school. Walter has tutored over 70 students for standardized tests, in addition to the hundreds he's instructed in high school. He was a bass singer in a choir at Washington University in St. Louis, his undergraduate alma mater, where he also minored in English before earning a master's in Physics at Michigan State University (go Spartans!).

    Specializes in: STEM, Physics, Environmental Science, English, SAT, and ACT