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Meet Our PDX Tutors

Looking for a professional educator with years of teaching experience? Or maybe just a peer tutor to help out with homework?

Whatever your needs may be, we have a tutor who can help.

Math, Physics, Academic Coaching & ACT / SAT Prep (All Grade Levels)

Eric Sorensen: Math, Physics, Engineering & Test Prep Tutor & Founder Of Emergent Education
Eric Sorensen

Eric comes from a family of educators, but didn’t actually think he would become one. His great-grandfather was a high school principal, and his grandmother, mother, and sister each became elementary school teachers. “I was pretty determined to go a different direction, but growing up around educators gave me a real appreciation for learning.” A couple years into his BS in Environmental Engineering, Eric started tutoring part-time for other college students. “Right away I loved the sense of collaborative learning.” The experience laid the groundwork for what would ultimately become Emergent Education.

Eric graduated in 2016, bounced between jobs and cities and ultimately landed in Portland in 2018. He kept tutoring on the side, driving straight from his consulting job in Vancouver, WA to meet with students all around Portland. “I started going into the office early just so I could leave early and have more time with students. Eventually I stopped fighting the idea that I love to teach.” 

Eric founded Emergent Education in 2020 as a small group of dedicated tutors who bring personalization, connection, and a growth mindset approach to their work with students. “Whatever your struggles may be, we are determined to help you find your own path forward.”

Qualifications:

  • 9 years of teaching experience, including math, physics, and engineering with students in elementary school through college
  • BS with Honors in Environmental Resources Engineering from Humboldt State University (2016)
  • Level 1 Certified Tutor through the College Reading & Learning Association (2014)
Nicolina Hansen-Neff

Math, English & Academic Coaching

(Grades K-8) (Online Only)  

Nicolina has been in teaching roles for over a decade. She started as a math tutor in college while working towards her BA in Mathematics. “I wanted to help people find a similar passion for a subject that I believe to be the most magnificent!” After graduating, Nicolina spent time working in a variety of schools (charter, independent, and public) and subsequently got her MAT in elementary education. She has taught in grades 3-8 and is currently in a 4th grade teaching position.

Beyond her experiences in math and elementary education, Nicolina has tutored in almost every subject for students aged 5 – 70. She is a passionate educator who can connect with students wherever they are at in the learning process. “I love finding ways to help people come at problems from new angles, providing support as students figure out strategies that work best for themselves. We gain the most knowledge when we can make connections between what we’re learning and our own lives.”

Qualifications:

  • 10 years of teaching experience, including Math, Reading & Writing with students in elementary school through college
  • BA in Mathematics (Earlham Collage) 
  • MAT in Elementary Education with ESOL Endorsement (Lewis & Clark)

Math, Physics, English, Spanish & Executive Skills (All Grade Levels) (Online Only)

Kiki Paroissien-Arce

Kiki has a love for algorithms and patterns which has always drawn her to math and science; but also music and language arts. “I have always loved helping others discover patterns and connections across a range of subjects.” She tutored Math and Physics classes at the University
of Oregon for over three years while earning a BA in Physics and a minor in Math. She is also a professional multi-instrumentalist and songwriter; throughout college her band released four albums, completed five tours, and maintained a busy show schedule.

Kiki’s educational journey hasn’t always been easy. Having navigated the education system as a
student with ADHD, she can readily empathize and offer strategies for those who struggle with organization, time-management, motivation and/or distractions. “I know how it feels to understand something, but feel unable to show it on a test or assignment because of attention and anxiety issues– I know how to help students who feel the same way”

Qualifications:

  •  4 years of experience tutoring Math and Physics with students in high school through
    college.
  • BA in Physics with minors in Math from University of Oregon (2022)
  • Certified Tutor through the College Reading & Learning Association

Creative Writing & College Application Essays (Grades 9-12+)

Ana Michalowsky: English, ESL, Humanities, The College Admissions Essay, & Test Prep Tutor at Emergent Education Portland
Ana Michalowski

Ana knew she wanted to teach from the moment she started kindergarten at Catlin Gabel. She went on to earn her BA in Writing at Johns Hopkins University, followed by her MFA at Pacific University. “I absorbed not only the material, but the ways in which my teachers taught. I gained new appreciation for learning itself as a means to constantly improve myself.” As a college student, Ana traveled abroad to teach English in Morocco, conduct anthropological field work in Nepal and study Buddhist history and philosophy in India. “Travel is it’s own kind of education. It enriched me with learning in a way that school could not.”

Since returning to Portland, Ana has dedicated herself to teaching. She guides high schoolers through the college essay, prepares them for the SAT, and helps them and middle schoolers master the art of essay-writing. “Whenever helping a student, I seek personalized strategies that empower them to overcome challenges and realize their goals, focusing on continued growth beyond external markers of success.”

In addition to supporting high school and middle school students, Ana leads writing workshops for the broader Portland community. As a teacher and board member at the People’s Colloquium, she makes writing more accessible to students through free, connection-based classes. “As with my college essay students, I focus on building authentic relationships and offering actionable feedback to capture each writer’s unique voice.”

Qualifications: 

  • 4 years of teaching experience, including the college essay, SAT and ACT English, ESL English, essay-writing, and creative writing classes and workshops
  • MFA in Writing from Pacific University (2019) 
  • CELTA certificate in English language teaching from Cambridge English. (2017)
  • BA with Honors in Writing from Johns Hopkins University (2015) 

Math, English & Academic Coaching

(Grades K-10)

Siena Hertafeld

Siena inherited her love of teaching from both her parents. Since her junior year at Oberlin College, she has continuously held various roles as a teacher, co-teacher, and tutor for students across grade levels and subjects. She is also a singer-songwriter and regularly attends workshops to hone her writing and editing skills. She holds a master’s degree in music teaching and taught elementary music for 4 years before deciding to prioritize her own musical career. 

Alongside her music career, coming back to tutoring has allowed Siena to keep one foot in the world of education. She is grateful to still have those student connections and be a facilitator of self discovery, learning, and growth.  “I love getting to know my students not just as learners, but as people. I aspire to help them take ownership of their learning and find meaning in achieving their goals.”

Qualifications:

  • 7 years of teaching experience, including Music, Reading, Writing, and Math with students of all ages.
  • BA in Music & Psychology (Oberlin College and Conservatory) 
  • MA in Music Teaching (Oberlin College and Conservatory)

Math, English & French (K-10)

Katie Dillon

Katie has a spirit of adventure and love of learning. Having traveled to 11 different countries and taught in subjects ranging from French to Rock Climbing, Katie provides diverse and holistic teaching techniques that can be tailored to any individual’s needs. She empowers young learners in their existing strengths and helps them develop additional tools to thrive. Katie has always loved practical applications of math, making the conceptual concrete, identifying patterns and drawing parallels between seemingly unrelated topics. “I’m excited to guide your students to new connections and revelations in their education.”

Katie draws from her Psychology degree in creating a safe space to reduce stress, improve memory and focus, and bring a greater sense of confidence in challenging subjects. “With both learning and teaching, it’s all about setting ourselves up for success!”

Qualifications:

  • 5 years of teaching and leadership experience, including French, Elementary Education, Math & Rock climbing with students aged 5 – 35.
  • BS in Psychology (Oregon State University) 

Math, Biology, Chemistry, Academic Coaching & ACT / SAT Prep (All Grade Levels) 

Colleen Horntvedt

With two parents that worked as teachers, Colleen grew up in an environment of learning both in and out of school. Her parents taught her how to constantly ask questions. “My curiosity for how the world works peaked at a young age and the more I knew, the more I realized what I didn’t know!” She worked as a biology tutor throughout college while getting her BS in cell biology and a minor in chemistry. She started her career in the clinical laboratory, but soon she realized this path did not allow her to be as creative or versatile as she wanted to be. 

Since realizing her passion for teaching, she has been pursuing a MAT in Secondary Science Education, with the hopes of translating the minutia of intricate biologic processes to big picture concepts for many years to come. While in school, she has been tutoring various high school subjects and working with students on SAT/ACT preparation. “Education has seen major shifts throughout the pandemic, and small group instruction holds the key to maintaining curiosity and engagement in school.”

Qualifications:

  • 5 years of teaching experience, including math, biology and chemistry with students in elementary school through college.
  • BS in Cell Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Western Washington University (2016)
  • Currently pursuing MAT in Secondary Science Education at Western Governor’s University

Math, Chemistry, Biology, Physics
(All Grade Levels) (Online Only)

Rosa Padilla

Rosa knew from an early age that she enjoyed learning and teaching Math and Science. She studied Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and has worked as an R&D Engineer in the medical field for over 8 years. Rosa began tutoring students while she was in high school and kept it up through college and throughout her engineering career. With over a decade of experience, she continues to help students of all ages build confidence and skills in all things STEM.

Rosa’s passion for math and science is only paralleled by her passion for rock climbing! In addition to tutoring, she currently guides at Smith Rock State Park in central Oregon and enjoys introducing others to a sport where they can build confidence, manage fear, learn technical systems, connect with others, and have fun! “I love seeing students slowly start comprehending concepts as they work through problems. Nothing beats that spark of understanding and the confidence it instills!”

Qualifications:

  • 12 years of tutoring experience, including Math, Chemistry, Biology and Physics with students in elementary school through college
  • BS in Biomedical Engineering (Georgia Tech)

English, Creative Writing, College Admissions Counseling (Grades 7-12+)

Ann Powers

In everything she does, Ann brings a passion for language. She learned to be a good writer in college, but she really honed her abilities with words when she joined a campaign to protect the Florida coast from offshore drilling. She was asked to write position papers, make speeches, and testify to political decision makers. It was nerve-wracking. But as she got better, it became rewarding, even fun. Eventually she started coaching others to be effective advocates. Watching them gain confidence and skill was as rewarding as doing it herself. Whatever her future held, she wanted to continue mentoring others.

Since then Ann earned an MA and MFA, taught creative writing and English at Linfield College, and coordinated writing retreats for adults and high school students. She is a writer in her own right: her manuscript, Isn’t Forty Kind of Old for That?, explores the challenges of coming late to motherhood. 

After her oldest son went through the college application process, Ann began mentoring other high school students through the process. She knows how daunting it can be, especially the challenge of writing a compelling application essay. “Sometimes when there is a lot riding on what we write, it’s easy to freeze up, but if we can find a story we want to tell, our voice comes alive. It is such a pleasure to help students find their story and get the passion on the page.” She looks forward to working with you to help you find your voice and create your best work, whether it’s a college application essay or a literary analysis. She’ll even help you have fun doing it!

Qualifications:

  • 11 years teaching American literature and creative writing at the college level (Linfield College, Portland Community College, Florida State University)
  • 2 years mentoring high school juniors and seniors through the college admission process
  • Extensive public speaking experience (classroom presentations, keynote speeches, panel discussions, press conferences, Congressional testimony)
  • BA in History (Carleton College), MA in English (Florida State University), MFA in Creative Writing (Rainier Writing Workshop)

Peer Tutors

Our peer tutors provide an affordable alternative or supplement to working with one of our professional educators. They can work both independently or as part of a tutoring team, giving us flexibility to design tutoring plans for any need or budget.  Sometimes, learning from peers is the best way to grow. Check out our peer tutors below.

Brynn Kan

Peer Tutor; English, Spanish, Reading & Writing (All Grade Levels)

Brynn has found comfort in reading and writing for as long as she can remember.  “When I was a child, books gave voice to the complex emotions and thoughts that I did not have the ability to articulate just yet.” In high school, her appreciation grew thanks to a wonderful English teacher. “He revealed to me how much a teacher can truly help others; it extends far beyond just teaching someone the difference between an em dash and a comma (which he did teach me by the way!).” The experience inspired her to become a teacher herself.

Brynn is a current student at The University of California Davis and pursuing a BA in English with a minor in Education. She has experience in the classroom and one-on-one, and works with students of all ages. Brynn strives to cultivate a safe space that emphasizes mental health, empathy, and patience. “My number one priority is to connect with the student. I want to understand how they learn and what makes them feel safe. We all learn differently, we have different backgrounds and cultures and ways of processing information. Learning is personal!”

Shakthi Subramaniam

Peer Tutor; Math, Science, English (All Grade Levels)

Shakthi first fell in love with science in middle school, learning about chemistry and problem solving all at once! “I knew that I truly loved science when I realized that the more I learned, the more I wanted to keep learning! Science can really make you appreciate the world around you.” She now finds her passion for learning extending to many different fields of study. As an avid reader and writer, she tries to balance the problem-solving aspects of STEM classes with creativity and expression. “I want my students to feel like every subject has something to offer.”

Shakthi graduated from high school in California and is now a sophomore Biochemistry major at Reed College on the pre-medicine track. She works with students of all ages on all things Math, Science, and English. “Ultimately, my goal is to get students as excited about learning as I am. The right mindset makes all the difference!”

Addy reid

Peer Tutor; Math, Science, English (Grades K-8)

Addy discovered her love for math in 6th grade, through a teacher that engaged the class with her humor and gamification. Since then, Addy’s love for math has only grown. “For me, math is a puzzle, and I love being able to break the code.” Addy’s first experiences tutoring were for her sibling. “I love to be helpful when they are having a hard time understanding a concept. It’s so rewarding to see someone learning.” Through this experience she has realized that is it essential to understand a person’s learning style to teach most effectively, in a way that will stick with them.

Addy is a current high school junior at St. Mary’s Academy in Portland. She works with students in Elementary and Middle school on all things Math, Science, and English. “I know everyone learns differently, and I do my best to present ideas and ask questions in a way they will understand. If what they are doing in class is not working for them, or they need to hear something put a different way, I can give a new perspective.”

What's in a name?

Personalized. Connected. Emergent.