PENN PALS PEOPLE

Our Team
Nicki Blumenfeld
Co-founder and Tutor
UPenn, Columbia

Nicki is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. She has served as a teaching assistant in courses for both graduate and undergraduate students at Columbia, and has previously tutored students ranging from middle school to college in an array of Science and Math courses. Nicki received a B.S. in Bioengineering while minoring in Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and has received awards for the best Senior Design project in the School of Engineering, holds a patent for a medical device developed at Penn, and is a recipient of the Columbia Predoctoral Precision Medicine Training Grant. Nicki tutors in all levels of math (geometry, pre-algebra, algebra, pre-calculus, calculus), biology, chemistry, physics, GRE and SAT II math and science.

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Alexa Bryn Micley
Co-founder and Tutor
UPenn, Columbia

Alexa teaches tenth and eleventh grade English at Wolcott School, Chicago's strengths-based high school for students with learning differences. Previously, she has taught ninth and tenth grade English at the Beacon School in New York City as well as sixth grade English at Bigelow Middle School in Newton, MA. She tutors students in middle school, high school, college, and graduate school and specializes in all forms of essay writing, including college admissions essays and graduate school personal statements. Alexa received a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude, was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and received an award for the best thesis in the English Department. After graduating from Penn, Alexa received an M.A. from Columbia Teachers College in Secondary English Education. She is also an avid writer and has been published in The Forward and Tablet Magazine. 

Salman Qasim
Tutor
Berkeley, Columbia

Salman is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. He received bachelor's degrees in both Molecular and Cellular Biology and Cognitive Science from U.C. Berkeley, where he also worked as a writing tutor for three years. After graduating, he conducted research in Parkinson's disease at UCSF while working as a writing, math, science, and SAT/GRE tutor for Varsity Tutors. Since matriculating at Columbia, he has worked as a writing tutor at the Teacher's College. Salman tutors biology, chemistry, writing, SAT, ACT, and GRE.

Max Samuels
Tutor
Dartmouth

Max earned his BA from Dartmouth College, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with degrees in Theatre and Chinese. After graduation, he completed his MA in Classical Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Now a professional actor, Max has appeared Off-Broadway, on screen, and at various regional theatres in the Northeast. He has tutored across a range of subjects, including Mandarin Chinese; elementary, middle, and high school math; and standardized test prep (both SAT and ACT).  

Fatima Bhojani
Tutor
UPenn, Columbia

Fatima loves words, so much so that she spends all day immersed in them. Based in Washington, D.C. Fatima recently left journalism to create her first poetry collection. She majored in Political Science at UPenn, after which she studied journalism at Columbia. Her stories have appeared in many places including The Washington Post, Reuters and Foreign Affairs. She has extensive experience as both a college/grad school essay advisor, college admissions coach, as well as a writing tutor for academic and research papers. Most of all, she is truly excited to help you achieve your writing goals, whatever they may be. 

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Leore Lavin
Tutor
Harvard, Columbia

Leore received a B.A. from Harvard University (Cum Laude) in Earth and Planetary Sciences with a focus in Geophysics. After graduating, she worked as an Energy Consultant and as a Project Coordinator for Mount Sinai Hospital, researching the health impacts of 9/11. Currently, Leore is a Masters degree candidate in Toxicology at Columbia University and a pre-medical student, and is a recipient of Columbia's Public Health Leadership Scholar Award. Leore tutors in MCAT, GRE and SAT prep, as well biology, chemistry, Hebrew language and Judaic studies. She is excited to help her students meet their academic goals! 

Dennis Yuan
Tutor
UCLA, Columbia

Dennis is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. He received his B.S. in Bioengineering from University of California, Los Angeles, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors. Dennis has tutored high school students in SAT math, physics, chemistry, algebra, and AP Calculus. He has also tutored fellow undergraduate students in Calculus and Thermodynamics for Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society. Dennis tutors students in SAT/ACT Math, Math SAT II's,  Algebra, Geometry, Pre-calculus, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. 

Stacey Wolfson
Tutor
Duke, NYU

Stacey is currently a resident physician at NYU. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University with a major in Spanish and minors in Biology and Chemistry. While at Duke, Stacey mentored students at a local after school program and spent a summer teaching English in India. Stacey then attended NYU School of Medicine, during which she participated in an outreach program at a local middle school teaching various medical related topics. She tutors physics, biology, chemistry, a variety of math subjects, and Spanish language. 

Molly Tobias
Tutor
UPenn

Molly teaches ninth grade Algebra and Intensive Algebra at Achievement First University Prep, a public school in Brooklyn, NY. Previously, as a Teach for America corps member she taught Algebra and Calculus to students in a Miami-Dade public school as well as sixth grade math at a public school in Chicago. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania and has a Masters in Secondary Mathematics Education. Molly tutors all different subjects and grades in math and enjoys helping students critically think and build their problem solving skills both in and out of the classroom.

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Miranda Flamholz
Tutor
UPenn

Miranda graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Cognitive Science and a minor in Chemistry. Taking courses in neuroscience, psychology, computer science, and the pre-medical track has allowed her to appreciate the complexities of the human brain from many angles. Miranda has previously tutored reading and math through the West Philadelphia Tutoring Project and Biology through the UPenn Tutoring Center while in college. She spent the year before college living in Israel, both studying at Midreshet Amit and volunteering with Israeli children in a children’s home on a daily basis. She also tutored English at a local public school in Jerusalem once a week. While she hopes to one day become a doctor, she has always loved tutoring students of all ages, particularly in Sciences, Math, Hebrew, and Judaic studies.

Rebecca Knobel
Tutor
Cornell

Rebecca attended The Spence School in New York City and graduated in May 2019 from Cornell University. At Cornell, Rebecca received her B.S in Industrial and Labor Relations, focusing specifically on labor law, history and economics. Additionally, as a Law and Society minor, she engaged in coursework emphasizing larger societal issues, such as criminal justice reform, social inequality and education. Most recently, Rebecca worked at the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) in the Pro Bono and Volunteer Unit. Rebecca is currently studying for the LSAT and plans to attend law school in the fall of 2020. 

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Nicole Baron
Tutor
UPenn

Nicole is an Investor Associate at J.P. Morgan, where she provides investment advice to ultra high net worth individuals. Nicole received a B.A. in Science, Technology & Society and a minor in Consumer Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude. While at Penn, Nicole tutored elementary, middle, and high school students in a variety of subjects, and she also volunteered as a college counselor for students at West Philadelphia High School. Since graduating, Nicole has volunteered with Sanctuary for Families, tutoring victims of domestic violence in math and reading, and she also has tutored students taking the SAT & GMAT.

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Mitchell Plesser
Tutor
Cornell

Mitch is a senior studying Molecular/Cell Biology and Business at Cornell University, and is planning to apply to medical school. At Cornell, he tutors Organic Chemistry, serves as a teaching assistant for introductory Biochemistry and has a wealth of experience tutoring standardized testing. Mitch currently works doing Clinical and Basic Science Research on type 1 Diabetes at school and at Mount Sinai. He specializes in tutoring the MCAT and SAT/ACT, as well as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Math.

Uma Mohan
Tutor
Johns Hopkins, Cornell, Columbia

Uma is a Ph.D. candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. She received her bachelor's degrees in Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math & Statistics from Johns Hopkins University. After graduating, she completed a Masters in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. She then worked as a software engineer and data analyst at Cardiopulmonary Corporation, a healthcare IT company. Uma has tutored high school and college students in Algebra, Calculus, Biology, and Biomaterials. Uma tutors a variety of math topics, programming languages, biology, chemistry, and SAT/ACT/GRE test preparation.

Sabrina Pan
Tutor
Cornell, Weill Cornell

Sabrina is an M.D. candidate at Weill Cornell Medicine, and is actively involved in Women in Medicine leadership which focuses on mentorship for female physicians and students. She  graduated summa cum laude with a B.S in biology from Cornell University, where she worked as a teaching assistant in introductory biology and advanced biochemistry courses for two years. Since matriculating from Cornell, she has worked as a private tutor in biology, chemistry, writing, critical reading, SAT, and the MCAT. She also has experience editing college/medical school admissions essays. 

Tamar Willis
Tutor
Princeton

Tamar graduated Magna Cum Laude from Princeton University with a degree in Art History and a certificate in Gender & Sexuality Studies. She currently works in brand strategy consulting at a global creative firm. On campus, Tamar served as a writer and editor for a student publication called the Nassau Weekly. She specializes in application essays, academic writing, English, and History tutoring. 

Catherine Milanoski
Tutor
UPenn

Catherine is an alumna of The Chapin School in New York City, and received her B.A. in the Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania. Catherine has tutored students of various ages ranging from middle school students to adults. She has experience in tutoring students with special healthcare needs as well as those with learning disabilities (including dyslexia and ADHD). She specializes in standardized test prep (SAT, ACT, ISEE, etc.), writing, math, and sciences (from elementary to AP levels). Catherine makes it a priority to understand her students’ goals while being especially attentive to each student’s individual needs and learning style. 

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Elana Kook
Tutor
Yeshiva University

Elana teaches English Literature and Composition at Yeshiva University High School for Girls (Central). She previously taught English Language Arts at a public middle school in the Bronx as a Teach For America corps member. During that time, Elana completed her M.S.T degree in Adolescent Literacy: Grades 7-12 at Fordham University. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yeshiva University and majored in English Literature. Elana specializes in tutoring English, history, academic writing, and application essays.

Andrew Benowich
Tutor
Indiana, Manhattanville College

Andrew holds an MPS in Secondary English and Special Education from Manhattanville College and is a graduate of Indiana University - Bloomington with a B.A. in both English and Theatre. Andrew currently teaches 7th special education at H.C. Crittenden Middle School in Armonk, NY where he teaches both English and history. He has experience tutoring for both middle and high school students specializing in reading comprehension, literature, and American history.

Nadia Filanovsky
Tutor
University of Southern California

Nadia is a Stuyvesant High School graduate and current Trustee Scholar at the University of Southern California (USC).  She studies Economics and Urban Studies with an emphasis in data analytics and works at the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics at USC analyzing German companies spending in the US economy. She is the 2017 recipient of the Wangari Maathai Award for Civic Participation in Sustainability for her urban conservation work and 2017 recipient of the CBYX Scholarship for German cultural immersion. Nadia tutors Economics, German and Environmental Science.

Marissa Rosenfeld
Tutor
Hunter College, University of Oxford

Marissa holds a B.A. in both English Literature and Jewish Studies (with departmental honors) from Hunter college, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After graduating, she earned an M.St. in Modern Jewish Studies at the University of Oxford. Marissa has several years of experience as a tutor and as a museum educator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and she currently serves as the U.S. Young Leadership Director for Save a Child's Heart Foundation. Marissa tutors in English, History, Academic Writing, and Hebrew and Judaics. 

Daniela Bucay
Tutor
UPenn

Daniela is an avid reader and writer, and currently manages the Customer Experience at a small fin-tech company. In her spare time, she runs a book club with her friends and likes to read and knit. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied Ancient History as a Benjamin Franklin Scholar. She has experience tutoring in history, French, SAT prep, and essay writing. 

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Elizabeth Gordon
Tutor
Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Yeshiva

Elizabeth is a clinical psychologist who earned her doctorate from Yeshiva University in School-Child Clinical Psychology. She received her bachelor’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she took a variety of pre-med and engineering classes before ultimately declaring a major in Psychology. After graduating, she completed a master’s of education degree with a focus in Human Development & Psychology at Harvard University before beginning her doctoral studies. Elizabeth tutors in statistics, math, psychology, and study/organizational skills. Elizabeth is currently working at an eating disorder treatment center on the Upper West Side.