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Ian’s life book is filled with multiple chapters. The academic ones include studying at Cornell and Duke and teaching at Harvard, Tufts, University of Georgia, University of Maryland, and North Carolina State University in visiting professor roles. His academic interests are equally varied. Both his undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees are in history but he has also pursued interests in political science, gender studies, literature, and, oh yes, Russian studies. In fact, when he first went to Cornell, he intended to graduate with a degree in Soviet-American relations, but it was during his college years that the Soviet Union was suddenly no more, and also suddenly gone, as a result, was his intended major. Ian had to adapt, and learn to adapt he did.
Although he has loved his teaching experience, Ian reached a point in his life where he wanted to open a new chapter and make a professional career out of his lifelong activist work. That is what led him to the D.C. area, where he can spend part of his time consulting for Amnesty International. His move to D.C. is what brought him to PrepMatters, and it’s a great fit because here he can draw on the knowledge and insights he’s gained from his years of classroom experience. Asked how tutoring high school students is different from instructing older students, Ian says that he enjoys seeing a more complete arc of education, seeing what high school students are and the potential they have before stepping into a college classroom. He characterizes his work experience as spanning ‘the good’ (teaching a class of 300 students) to “the better” (a classroom of 30 students) to “the best” (one-on-one tutoring and advising).
In Ian’s lighter moments, he enjoys sports, particularly soccer. He’s a long-suffering fan of D.C. United and the New England Revolution. He is also a big science fiction fan and has a particular weakness for Star Trek, Doctor Who, and the Whedonverse. Of late, though, he’s turned his attention to personal fitness and is devoting more time to cooking and workouts in the gym.
Thanks, Ian, for making it to D.C. PrepMatters is richer for having you on board.
My best teachers taught me that the art of problem solving included first determining what you are – and are not – being asked. From grammar to geometry, subject knowledge is critical for success on the SAT and ACT, but it is also essential to understand the test makers’ goals and methods. For a test to be standardized, it must also be predictable, and I work with each student to break down these exams into a series of manageable tasks. From there, my students and I collaborate to identify their strongest skills and areas for further development, so they can make the best use of their study time and approach their exams with greater confidence and comfort.
Too many hands in a pot ruins the dish. How does that apply to college essays? Check out Ian’s take on having too many chefs in the kitchen, some great AP exam prep strategies and what you need to know about the redesigned AP NSL.