Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, (2010 – 2015)
Ph.D., in Classics and Philosophy (degree in progress)
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, (2009 – 2010)
M.A., Classics and Philosophy Concentration (3.7)
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, (2006 – 2009)
B.A., Magna Cum Laude, Greek, Latin, Philosophy (3.7)
Goethe-Institut, Mannheim, DE, (2008)
Columbia University, New York, NY, (2005)
Courses in chemistry, biology, and psychology (3.7)
Awards and Prizes
(2010) Cornell University Five-Year Fellowship
(2009-10) Acceptances to PhD Programs in Classics: University of Washington at Seattle Interdisciplinary PhD program in classics and philosophy; University of Iowa (full fellowship); University of Wisconsin at Madison (full fellowship)
(2009) The University of Chicago Full Tuition Fellowship ($40,428)
(2009) The Judah Torah Medal:“This award was established in 1856, and is awarded for excellence in the study of ancient history, Greek, Hebrew, or Latin. William has been an excellent student in Greek and Latin, as well as in ancient philosophy. He has written a fine honors thesis on the concept of shame in classical Greek thought.”
(2009) Tulane Departmental Honors in Both Greek and Philosophy
(2008) Summer Grants: Newcomb-Tulane College Summer Grant ($1,000),Tulane Classics Summer Fund ($1,000)
(2006) Procter & Gamble Summer Research in Cincinnati, Ohio (10% of Applicants Selected)
(2006) Certified Avian Specialist by Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC)
(2006) Bird Talk Magazine January 2006 Prize Winner for research with birds
(2005) Susan Smith Memorial Prize in Mathematics
(2005) Long Island Science Education Leadership Association (Best in Science Research)
(2005) College Board Advanced Placement (AP) Scholar
“From early on Will made a systematic
effort to become familiar with the important works in the tradition; he was always ready to track down any link he discovered in one text to another and to read any secondary literature recommended to him; he plunged into his study of Greek and Latin, and when he realized German would be a benefit, he enrolled in a Goethe Institute summer language course.” – Dr. Ronna Burger, Department of Philosophy, Tulane University
ExperienceIn tutoring any of the traditional subjects (Latin, Greek, formal/informal logic, rhetoric, critical thinking), I emphasize the objectives common to them all: (1) acquisition of context-specific vocabulary, (2) a feel for the flexibility and polysemy of a given word's lexical-semantic meaning, (3) a comprehension of the text's thematic, stylistic, and evaluative undertones and progression. The three, taken together, require us to formulate arguments by sifting through material, with an eye to analysis on how texts are crafted for presentation in terms of form and content. The result is an understanding on how these three are essential for reading, arguing, and, ultimately, thinking critically. Besides the aforementioned subjects, I also tutor for calculus and chemistry.
Areas of Knowledge and Experience
Mathematics: Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Precalculus, Calculus, Logic (Symbolic, Formal, Informal, et al)
English Language Arts: SAT Writing, Grammar, Proofreading, Vocabulary, Writing
Languages: Ancient Greek, Latin
To provide quality tutoring lessons for reasonable rates that each client may think worthy of another’s choice.
I help clients with a host of standardized assessments including, but not limited to, the GED, SAT I, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and all other related exams and tests. My clients strongly recommend my services for the written portions of the GRE, SAT I, and GED. The demands for the professional assessments for entrance into professional schools are comparable if not identical. (Compare the GRE’s analytical writing tasks with the GMAT’s.) For personal references on how William’s clients have improved after his instruction message him.
SAT I Tutoring
Perhaps the most controversial assessment in the United States and among students seeking admissions to an American (and sometimes Canadian) university or college, the Educational Testing Service’s (ETS) Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) carries significant weight to one’s evaluative and actual, to be Nozickian (see R. Nozick, Anarchy, The State, and Utopia, p.242ff!), profiles insofar as academic attractiveness is at stake. I know categorically that test takers do not meet their reach scores from inadequate bad preparation and cheap test-taking tricks. I highlight the importance of learning the SAT I in know-how fashion.
I tutor students preparing for the GRE exam. I am most comfortable with the analytical writing section of the exam.
SAT II: Literature
“Although words and concepts may remain outwardly the same for centuries, their particular functions and meanings do not and could not remain static – not as long as individuals attempt to use them to explain new social circumstances and make meaningful new social behavior.” – Gordon Wood, “Intellectual History and the Social Sciencs." The SAT II: Literature exam, in terms of its purpose, format, and content, is as follows. The test, as put by the College Board, “measures how well you have learned to read literary works from different periods and cultures”; all questions are from unseen passages/texts. In this way, the test measures one’s aptitude for reading literature in a way that the only effective preparation must be from a survey of a wide range of texts, each of which one must peruse closely, carefully, critically so as to attain what the ETS puts as “a working knowledge of basic literary terminology”; put another way, or in my terms, so as to attain literacy as such. Anyway, the main cultures that the exam covers are American and English, though other cultures are considered (albeit zero to ten percent of the test questions). The periods covered on the exam include, in fine, those from the Renaissance onwards. (Thirty percent of the questions are apropos of the Renaissance and 17th century, another thirty for the 18th and 19th centuries, and the last forty percent is devoted to the 20th century.) As for format, the questions are concerned with six aspects of an unseen piece of prose or poetry: (1) meaning, (2) form, (3) narrative voice, (4) characters represented, (5) characteristic use of language, and (6) contextual meaning. Numbers six and one both concern meaning. The test makers understand “meaning” as such, number one, to consist in the text’s overall feel, argument, and theme. Contextual meaning (no. 6) asks about specific words, phrases, and lines in relation to the text provided. For form, structure, genre, how the parts within a text differ from one another, how one section might develop from another, etc. Narrative voice just involves the speaker, or, if “speaker” is not present, author, vis-à-vis ethos, the distinction between speaker and author, tone, and (propositional) attitude more generally. When the test writers speak of “characters represented,” there is a twofold division of subject-matter, both of which deal with distinguishing between two things in terms of character portrayal and traits revealed: (1) the traits themselves and (2) the literary techniques employed. Style questions are usually about diction, imagery, or figures of speech (e.g., alliteration, allusion, tone, irony).
SAT II: Latin
Since the exam focuses on Caesar, Cicero, and Vergil, I usually give homework assignments with a passage from each of the three. Homework assignments also pay due attention to English words derived from Latin, since the SAT II assesses students' knowledge of English derivatives. If I am tutoring a student weekly or bi-weekly, I give a quiz per lesson with three sections: (1) derivatives, (2) sight reading, and (3) questions taken from past SAT II exams. Also see "Ancient Greek and Classical Latin" listed below.
SAT II: Chemistry
The achievement test in chemistry tests eight different domains commonly taught in high school chemistry: (1) structure, (2) states of matter, (3) reaction types, (4) stoichiometry, (5) equilibrium and reaction rates, (6) thermodynamics, (7) "descriptive" chemistry, and (8) laboratory basics. When helping students prepare for this exam, I emphasize the first since it constitutes the largest portion, twenty-five percent, of the exam. From there we move onto the second, third, and fourth - since these, collectively, make up over forty percent. We then move onto discuss domain number seven, since that makes up about thirteen or so percent. Only after we have mastered these do we review thermodynamics, equilibria, reaction rates, and laboratory basics (e.g., measurement, equipment, safety procedures).
Philosophical Writing and Critical Thinking:
Philosophy, as an academic subject, exposes pupils to thinking , reading, and writing critically about certain types of texts. Critical thinking is (1) an attitude of being disposed to consider in a thoughtful way the problems and subjects that come within the range of one's experience; (2) knowledge of the methods of logical enquiry and reasoning; and (3) some skill in applying those methods. Critical thinking calls for a persistent effort to examine any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the evidence that supports it and the further conclusions to which it tends. –Edward Maynard Glaser, An Experiment in the Development of Critical Thinking. Glaser, author of perhaps the most widely used assessment in critical thinking the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal, defines critical thinking eidetic, genus-species fashion as a genus with three species, namely, attitude, knowledge, and skill set. I consider Glaser's definition with care and I recommend it because it is expansive and worthy of my choice for teaching critical thinking as such. After drawing up (in speech, deed comes later if it does at all) how the three parts constitute an integral whole, I try to imagine with my clients what critical thinking would need for it to get itself off the ground within our minds and what we should do (or should not do) to stave off its return to the squalor of that slavish ground. For the first and second subsets of our teacher Glaser’s tripartite definition we draw up, in imaginative thought, identities for critical thinking, critical thinking qua skill, critical thinking’s activation energy, whether these be atopa, and so forth. Therefrom we cast this jumble of conceptions, individuating each at one time, regrouping them back into encompassing units, in terms of which capacities – ‘capacities’ because we, like Alexandros, were tutored by Aristotle thousands of years ago, that’s the attitude “(1)” proper to critical thinking, we assert with defensible argument – and what (sort of) know-how knowledge these potencies presuppose and to which active cognitions the capacities correspond. In unraveling the cognitive impediments that our critical thinking clients have, we do not miss the connection that we must not, viz. we keep our feel for the cast of our client’s epistemic, reasoning potentialities in view. I teach Glaser’s second and third sub-definitions by showing how critical thinking ultimately requires a philosophical toolkit. This toolkit has multiple parameters suited to specific purposes in an inclusive way. Similar to how Plato and Aristotle's just agent (in Republic and Politics, respectively) only does one or two tasks and only performs that one function common to them or it, these domains only serve a particular function in line with their agent's reasoning capacity. One parameter, for example, employed during critical reading involves assessing evidence using standards, that is, indexed to criteria. I teach my clients that there are three fundamental standards of evidence assessment: (a) relevance, (ß) reasonableness, and (?) sufficiency. Glaser lists, in the third subset, skills as constitutive of critical thinking. He unfolds, eidetically, once again, the genus ‘critical thinking qua skill set’ into twelve constituent species: (a) to recognise problems ; (b) to find workable means for meeting those problems; (c) to gather and marshal pertinent information; (d) to recognise unstated assumptions and values; (e) to comprehend and use language with accuracy, clarity and discrimination; (f) to interpret data; (g) to appraise evidence and evaluate statements; (h) to recognise the existence of logical relationships between propositions; (i) to draw warranted conclusions and generalisations; (j) to put to test the generalisations and conclusions at which one arrives; (k) to reconstruct one's patterns of beliefs on the basis of wider experience; (l) to render accurate judgements about specfic things and qualities in everyday life. The first thirty minutes of my critical thinking lessons are free for the first lesson. For interested prospectives, message me.
Critical Reading: In helping students excavate the structure and form of arguments from within arguments, I always recommend a four step analytical process that goes like this. First, find the conclusion of the argument. If the client cannot find the conclusion, I ask him to submit his reasoning faculty to the "Therefore test" - which is a competency that students can master after a session with me. (Professor Alec Fisher, in his Critical Thinking (2008), spells out the "Therefore" test.) Second, give the premises entailed in the conclusion. Some of these may be assumed or implied. Third, ask yourself whether there are ambiguous items in the conclusion and/or premises. Put another way, ask yourself whether any item - be it a word, a phrase, a bracketed portion of text - could use clarification. Fourth, ask yourself what the structure of the argument is. Step four assumes that you already have a solid grasp on what argument forms look like. Most people do not have this understanding in conceptual terms - so, be sure that you can accommodate this epistemic luxury (especially because most people cannot no matter how hard they try). More or less, what this will involve is an unshakeable grasp of what constitutes a deductive argument, an inductive argument, and an argument that combines both induction and deduction. This grasp presupposes a digestion of the definitions of these multifaceted patterns of reasoning. Clients who have mastered these four steps have a knowledge that is within their working memory, accessible to their immediate awareness, ready for recall and at their cognitive disposal to detect argumentative forms effortlessly within arguments. This further presupposes an intimate acquaintence with many patterns of reasoning, including fallacies. Returning to Glaser's definition of critical thinking, we can see that his second condition requires that one have explicit knowledge, i.e., within one's working memory and accessible to one's awareness, of logical rules proper to reasoning and inquiry; this explicit knowledge is entaiiled by the above four steps.
Critical writing requires critical distance that allows you to ask yourself whether the steps in your paper add up to a coherent spelled out sum, whether the conclusions in your paper - whether intermediate in their support of your major conclusion or premiss - have premises entailed in coherently, cogently, in spelled out fashion, whether you define genus terms (e.g., 'moral realism', 'voluntarism', 'normativity', 'cognitive relativism') adequately and not taken for granted, whether your evidence underpins your claims reasonably, whether you adhere to (your instructor's) guidelines throughout your paper, whether your thesis coheres such that your premises entail it and your presentation motivates it with cogency, and whether the supporting paragraphs point so as to prove the paper's point.
I proofread papers based on form and content with the following criteria in mind. I go through papers at least three times. The first read is for copyedits, the second for revising and clarifying those edits, and the third is for content. For content, I look at the macro issues at work: validity, cogency, avoidance of fallacious reasoning, and soundness. (Some style manuals (e.g., The Chicago Manual of Style 15th ed) refer to this as 'developmental editing'.) I try to return papers with expansive explanations of argument quality in terms of formal and informal inferential structures and lack thereof. I may, for example, point out a false dilemma, an affirmation of the consequent, a straw man, and perhaps other fallacious patterns of reasoning and suggest an alternative (e.g., modus ponens in the case of an affirmation of the consequent, a qualified dilemma in place of a false one). Returned papers reflect how soundness and cogency unfold only after claims fall into an intelligible form organized “so as to be a composition neither headless nor footless, bearing both middle and extremities proper to each other and to the whole” (Pl. Phaedrus 264C3-5). Besides proofreading based on content, I also copyedit. Proofread documents demonstrate attention to every word contained. This includes the body of the paper, tables (e.g., tables of contents, figures), illustrations, citations, cross-references, quotations, section and page numbers, and general consistency. I edit spelling (plurals, compounds, possessives, a/an, italics), punctuation (apostrophes, capitalization, colons, commas, question marks, semicolons), pronoun use, diction (use of idioms, clichés, connotations, denotations, slang, offensive language, sexist language; though see below), verbage (voice, tense, mood), repetition and redundancy, and sentence structure (fragments, dangling modifiers, parallelism), et al. Here is what I do not do, unless otherwise requested. First, I do not perform substantive edits. Operatively put, I do not return papers with comments on whether, say, paragraphs or sentences are distributed throughout in varied lengths (unless for standardized test preparation). Second, I tend not to comment on terminology unless there is a glaring error. For example, if your paper is on ethical instinct in Darwin’s Origins and you use the term 'realism' when 'naturalism' is what you need, then I will comment with suggestions on how you might want to, since you at least could, explain the genus term used in that way.
Ancient Greek and Classical Latin
Learning an ancient language is instrumental. Throughout history one sees highly influential human beings enter the limelight after a classical education. In his Discours, French philosopher René Descartes reflects on his classical education as one in which immersed him in the literature of the Greeks and Romans. The celebrated British Utilitarian John Stuart Mill recounts, in his autobiography, his peripatetic walks with his father James Mill as tutorials on which the younger Mill would recall the points from his readings of whichever classical author his father assigned the previous day. Anyway, I graduated from Tulane University magna cum laude in Greek and Philosophy. I won the university's oldest prize – the Judah Touro Medal, established in 1856, for excellence in the ancient languages. From there I moved on to an M.A. program at The University of Chicago. Declared a master I now hold a slot as a doctoral candidate in both classics and philosophy at Cornell University. I have read many authors in Greek with a view to grammar, style, word order, vocabulary, syntax, dialect, and related philologically significant items. Of the poets I've read Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Homer, Hesiod, Apollonius, Pindar, Aristophanes, and others. Of the prose writers I've read Thucydides, Herodotus, Aristotle, Plato, Epictetus, Plutarch, Diogenes Laertius, and others. I tutor all levels of Latin - elementary, middle school, high school, college, graduate school, etc. The bulk of my Latin tutoring is for high school students preparing to take standardized tests in Latin (e.g., the SAT II, AP Vergil, and the NYS Latin Regents). Regardless of the test, I offer lessons aimed at rendering students competent in the following skills: (1) translating literally from Latin to English, (2) transparent comprehension of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary, (3) sensitivity to style and nuance, (4) interpretation of literature, (5) analysis, in written form, based on an unseen or seen Latin text, (6) background knowledge of historical and cultural context of tested Latin texts, and (7) reflexivity vis-a-vis timed tests. Without these seven competencies students cannot expect to do well on whichever assessment they prepare for.
Precalculus and Calculus
I took college precalculus back in 2004 and received an A. From there I went on to take Calculus BC and achieved a perfect score. As a precalculus and calculus tutor I always stress the importance of writing out questions and making sure to obtain answers from those familiar with whichever exam (e.g., AP Calculus AB, precalculus midterm/final) one is preparing for. From my experience preparation, with a view to earning a good grade, must arm one with a certain skill set proper to mastery of the topics covered under precalculus' or calculus' domain. Unlike other mathematical skills (e.g., those needed for algebra) that one can learn on one's own in private, precalculus is too abstract to be grasped by one’s self without the instruction from one who has already learned it, practices it, and can motivate the relevant topics in a highly articulate and intelligible form. As a tutor experienced with precalculus, I assume the role of demonstrating the abstract concepts, definitions, rules and theorems proper to these advanced math subjects. I have found that aforementioned mathematical concepts become concrete enough only after the pupil has worked through many problem sets with the instructor. In tutoring pupils, I bring these abstractions down to earth in a way that makes sense to the pupil's circumstances (e.g., educational resources, how much has already been learned, which areas need improvement), actual natural mathematical aptitude, and actual goals in view of one's curriculum – all of which the pupil can mistake if (s)he does not understand those circumstances, abilities, and goals.
The ancients held that logic functions, in the first place, to protect one from error and, in the second place, to empower one to elaborate one's own science by proving its constituent theorems. Plato held, at Republic IV especially, that this second function already has its place in human nature - the tripartite soul includes a part which looks out for erroneous reasoning and, in this way, reasons. René Descartes observes, in the first few paragraphs of his Meditations I, that our senses can lead us astray and we can thus be led to believe what we want to believe or whatever our culture urges us to believe. For all the ancients, however, reason, certainly not obedience to authority, is philosophy's tool. But logic, of course, isn't restricted to the domain of philosophy. Eventually, especially from Rome onwards, logic, and dialectic, which are umbrella terms for the rules of inference proper to "philosophic" argumentation, were applicable to other epistemic domains, especially law, medicine, and mathematics. Interestingly, the word "logic" comes from the same word that we get 'biology,' 'anthropology,' 'etymology,' 'mythology,' 'archaeology,' 'psychology,' immunology,' 'criminology,' and many other -ologies: Logic underpins all of these sciences. I took logic courses - or courses that required an understanding of logic - at Tulane University and The University of Chicago. These courses presupposed an understanding of basic formal and informal logic. I actually wrote my MA Thesis on the informal fallacy ad verecundiam ("appeal to authority") in Cicero's On Moral Obligations under the direction of Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics Professor Martha Nussbaum. I am familiar with the following topics common to symbolic, mathematical, and modal logic: Venn diagrams, syllogisms, propositional logic, predicate calculus, Boolean logic, truth tables, truth trees, rules of replacement, and many others. For modal logic and deontic logic, I have helped students with axiomatizability, maximality and Lindenbaum's lemma, generated models, filtrations, maximal sets (in normal systems), decidability, obligation and time (esp. past tense obligations), schema (e.g., M, C, N, D, T, B), augmentation, monotonic systems, conditionality, et al.
Eta Sigma Phi (Classics Honors Society), member since March 2009
American Philosophical Association, since November 2008
American Philological Association, since November 2008
The Ancient Philosophy Society, since September 2009
Lambda Classical Caucus, since April 2009
Additional Experience and Activities
Feature Writer (2003 - 2005)
The African Parrot Society, “African Ark”
The American Federation of Aviculture, “Watchbird”
Staff Writer (2006)
The Tulane University Hullabaloo – Views Section
Five articles on race, class, and gender
Public Relations Chair (2006)
The Tulane Green Club
• Liaison President of a Campus Organization (2006 – 2007)
Objectivism @ Tulane
•Arranged meetings, member list, rooms, discussion topics
Ancient Languages, Calculus, Religion, Test Preparation, Writing, Study Skills, Philosophy, ACT, GED, GMAT, GRE, ISEE, LSAT, SAT, MCAT, Spanish, Latin, German, English, Science, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics, Trigonometry, SAT Math, Pre-Calculus, Math, Geometry, Calculus, Algebra, Philosophy, Latin, Greek, mathematics
Inquire about this tutor
The tutor will respond if they are available/interested.