Meet Our Tutors

Victoria Cross

I worked as a tutor in this center all through graduate school and then took over running the shop in 2009. I earned my Ph.D. in Cognitive Development at UC Davis in 1999 and am thrilled to be running a small business that so closely relates to my research interests. How we learn and grow brains is a fascinating topic – my theoretical understanding of cognitive development is greatly informed by my hands-on experiences with teaching and watching young brains grow. Thank you for trusting this team with the challenge of helping your students create those new connections in their brains that will allow them to understand the world around them (and ace their exams!). We are honored to be a part of the intellectual team around each student.  

Patricia (Patty) Burkart

Reading and Writing, Director
My principal career has been bilingual first grade classroom teaching, but I have managed several small businesses as well: a landscape installations operation in Napa Valley, an in-home pre-school at the beach in Santa Cruz, and a manuscript editing service in Eugene, Oregon. I enjoy instituting creative solutions to a variety of problems. My BA degree from UC is in History, I have a Reading Specialist Credential and a California Certificate of Competency in Spanish.

Sean ConroyDey

All Levels Math, Physics, Chemistry, Science, Engineering 
As a member of the PhD Biomedical group at UC Davis, I am very experienced with many aspects of math, physics, and chemistry. I’ve tutored over 30 students in the last two years and am proud to say that I’ve turned ‘C’ and ‘D’ students into ‘A’ students. I have experience with every grade level from pre-K to college. Let’s work together to do well and succeed.

Paige Dougherty

Advanced Math and Chemistry
I’ve always been passionate about education, especially mathematics and chemistry. As a Neurobiology major at UC Davis, I know firsthand how useful (and even fun!) math can be. I began tutoring to help students achieve the same understanding and success I experienced once I learned the value of math. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, hiking, and exploring Northern California.

  John Pitré

Writing, GRE English and Literature 
John Pitré is a Comparative Literature graduate from UC Davis with several years of experience tutoring writing. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and the UCD Department of Comparative Literature awarded his senior thesis Highest Honors. As a tutor John wants to help his students understand that writing does not have to be intimidating or confusing. Rather, with a firm understanding of how to structure a sentence, an argument, and an essay as a whole, writing can be fun and fulfilling.

Blanca Escobedo

Spanish and Elementary Math
Hello! I am a 4th year Environmental Policy student at UCD and I have been tutoring at Partners in Learning since 2015. Tutoring has taught me that every student learns differently and you have to keep trying methods in order to get concepts to "stick". This has allowed me to be creative when tutoring in order to find a student's best fit. Being a tutor is rewarding because when I see how much effort a student is putting into our sessions, it makes me appreciate them that much more. 

Ryan McBride

Music, ESL, Elementary Math
Ryan McBride, who graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UC Davis, is an award-winning acoustic guitarist who has practiced his craft passionately for 12 years. His repertoire includes a variety of styles such as folk, blues, bossa nova, and jazz. Ryan has played to children from ages 1-99 with the local children's music band The Hoots, and looks forward to sharing more fun, educational music with the parents and children of the Davis community!

Achi Mishra

SAT Math and English
I am an Electrical Engineering major at UC Davis. I have been tutoring others through work and volunteer opportunities since I was in the 10th grade. I am really passionate about helping others achieve their academic goals—especially when I see that they are working hard to achieve them. I am a firm believer that no one is “stupid” and anyone can accomplish anything they want with the right mentality and work ethic.

Naomi Liu

Calculus, Statistics, Math
Because academics did not come easy to me growing up, I relate to students and understand how frustrating it can be not to understand something that seems to come easy to other students. It's important to set goals and make progress even if it is only improving by a few points. I believe many students know more than they think they do. Once they put what they know together, they realize that they've already had the answer all along. A few things about me: my favorite subject is math, because it's like a puzzle that I can solve in many different ways. I tutored algebra last summer and I was an Avid tutor senior year of high school at the local middle school in Half Moon Bay. I've recently joined the swim club at UC Davis, which helps me get my mind off school.

Diane Kallas

SAT/ ACT Prep, English, Writing  
Diane Kallas has a Master's degree in English from UC Davis and a Juris Doctor from UC Berkeley, Boalt Hall. She taught and tutored college English for many years and has worked as a scorer for standardized essay tests for high school, elementary school, and college entrance tests for over 10 years. In addition, she teaches adult ESL. She homeschooled both her children until they both went off to college (UCD and NYU, both graduating with highest honors). Her children taught her a great deal, much more than she deserved, about listening, watching, and sympathizing with the learner while "teaching." After her homeschooling years she no longer considers herself a teacher, but rather a facilitator of the natural genius in all learners. 

Elizabeth Hua

Reading, writing, ACT/SAT English
I am a 4th year UC Davis student majoring in Community and Regional Development, and I specialize in writing research papers and essays. For many years I have been mentoring students ranging from kindergarten to high school near my home in San Francisco. Tutoring has always been my passion because every student I help has unique ideas, skills, and personalities. By understanding a student’s interests and modes of studying, I can help each focus on his or her strengths pertaining to the material. When students
recognize their weaknesses, I encourage them to tackle problem areas head-on through strategies we will practice together on a consistent basis. I hope my students will learn independence with my encouragement in order to use their intelligence effectively. By this tutoring method students gain a lasting memory of their strengths, weaknesses, and strategies to overcome their weaknesses.

Brian Dang

Science and Math
I began helping my friends with schoolwork when I was in middle school. I helped them with whatever subject they needed help in, but I found that I was better at science and math courses.
In high school, I discovered my true passion for science, which is why I am now studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis. I am currently an undergraduate researcher at the Hunter Lab, and the Internal Vice President of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis. Some of my favorite hobbies include playing videogames and watching basketball. A fun fact about me is that I have an identical twin brother!

Sam Everett

Physics and Math
I am happy and eager to offer my tutoring services to anyone needing help in math and physics. Math and science have long been my passion, even before my three years at UC Davis as an Aerospace Engineering major. In my experience with the subjects I have developed an in-depth understanding of the seemingly complex, yet fundamental behaviors of the natural world. I am very excited to work with students newly acquainted with the subject matter, not only to help them understand, but also help them appreciate how the power of physics can be used to give meaning and sense to everyday observations that would otherwise
seem like miracles.

Lori Zadoorian

Biology, Chemistry, Math
As a Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior major at UC Davis, my first two years as an undergraduate have revolved around math, biology, and chemistry.
During high school I took Honors Math, AP Calculus, AP Biology, and AP Chemistry, and those classes drove my passion to pursue my major. I would love to go to medical school and have a career as a pediatrician.
I have always enjoyed helping my friends with classes and have had previous tutoring experience. In my free time I enjoy rock climbing and I use the climbing gym on campus to improve my skills.

Mackenzie Miller

Biology and Chemistry
I am currently a fourth year undergraduate at UC Davis, studying biological sciences and Spanish. I will be tutoring students in biology and chemistry because I have taken many classes in both, and I find them extremely interesting. I remember how challenging these classes can be. In fact having a tutor myself was vital to my success so far. I hope I can help other students as I myself have been helped. After graduation I hope to go on to nursing school in order to pursue a career as a Nurse Practitioner. During my free time, I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and cooking.

Jessi Johnson

SAT English, Calculus, Biology, Chemistry
Throughout my years in elementary, middle, and high school, there were two main components of my education: academics and sports. Keeping them balanced was always a challenge, but one which prepared me for the rigorous college courses I am taking. My favorite subjects have always been English and science, especially biology, even though math comes easily. I have tutored friends, neighbors, and peers since middle school, so it’s just second nature by now. In my spare time I enjoy reading, discovering new TV shows, and doing various craft projects.

Ellie Alcantara

Elementary Reading/ Writing, ESL, Spanish
As a UC Davis student majoring in English and minoring in Education, I have learned that education impacts our personal lives and is best done with others. I was raised in a very small town in California’s San Juaquin Valley where I tutored students of all ages, and that is where I realized how much I like teaching. I look forward to a lifetime as a grade school teacher, so I welcome
opportunities to practice my skills whenever I can also help children understand the curriculum. During my free time I enjoy visiting the parks here, including the Arboretum.

Justine Hwang

Math, Statistics, Economics
After I earned my Bachelor of Science in Managerial Economics from U.C. Davis, I completed my Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics at U.C. Davis. My next academic goal is to receive a teaching credential because I want to share my love of learning with others. I enjoy being a tutor at Partners in Learning because I am passionate about motivating inquisitive minds and unlocking each student’s unique academic potential. My favorite moments are when students experience "Aha!" moments of understanding. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music and watching movies.

Yarissa Ramirez

Spanish, ESL, Elementary Subjects 
Hello, my name is Yarissa and I am a native spanish speaker. I am currently a third year at UC Davis and am studying Community and Regional Development. I was born in Honduras and attended school in my home country up until the 4th grade, which gave me the opportunity to fully learn the spanish language. I had the amazing opportunity to be a Spanish interpreter for Clinica Tepati, a student run clinic at UC Davis, and now I have the qualifications to be a tutor for Partners in learning. During the summer I was a camp counselor for Youth programs, a UC Davis summer camp, in which I got to teach kids how to make different crafts. I enjoy playing softball, listening to music, and reading. 

Derek Shui

SAT English and Math
When I was young, I would kick over rocks in my backyard to find all the critters that inhabited the cracks and crevices underneath them. The feeling of discovery was a timeless experience that I wanted to relive in the future by exploring distant countries and cultures. This life goal did not always burn as brightly as it did when I was a child, but enrolling in the University of California, Davis with a major in International Relations has helped to reignite the same magic and passion for adventure. When learning, I visualize the open book as an uncharted land and the math problem as a game of chess. My goal as a tutor is to show people how education does not represent the death to life’s dreams but rather, a way of life itself. And life is far too ephemeral to dismiss its finer details. 

Yessenia Anaya

Chemistry, Biology, and Elementary School
I am a recent UC Davis graduate in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and I have been working seasonally in tomato research. I have several years’ experience tutoring math and science in junior high schools locally as part of the AVID academic support program. I also volunteered with 3-Rs Rescue in Winters for three years. At UC Davis I provided private tutoring as part of the Buddy System in chemistry and biology.

Riley Graham

Math, Biology, English, and Reading

I am a Food Science and Technology major, with a minor in Spanish. During high school in Temecula, I worked with children ages 9-11 as a summer camp counselor, and during the school year I tutored students in anatomy, pre-calculus, and English. I have found that by sharing my own experiences in higher levels of learning, I have helped students not only gain a deeper understanding for the material, but also to make intriguing connections with real-world applications. As both a student and a teacher I know the difference that an excited, passionate instructor can make. I am the person whose eyes light up when explaining the intricate complexities of cellular respiration, or the best way to graph a multivariable equation. I wholeheartedly love spreading my enthusiasm for learning.