This week we're spotlighting Weike, a member of our MCAT tutor team! She earned her BA in Chemistry and English at Harvard College and graduated cum laude. Currently, Weike is completing her doctorate in cancer epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health as well as her MFA in creative writing at BU. Weike tutors for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE and MCAT, all tests that she has taken and scored within the top 95%.
1) Where are you from?
Boston! I have lived here for 6 years, longer than any city I’ve lived in. My parents are still in Michigan where I went to high school. I was born in Nanjing, China and immigrated out with them. So I guess in a way I am a first generation immigrant!
2) Where did you go to college and/or grad school, and what did you study?
For college, I went to Harvard and studied both chemistry and English. For grad school, I am still at Harvard, studying epidemiology, which is essentially biostatics mixed in with large health data sets. At the same time as the latter, I did also do an MFA at Boston University in Fiction.
3) What do you do now?
Still in grad school! Chugging along! I will be done (fingers crossed) 2017 or the next ice age.
4) What's your favorite subject to teach, and why?
Math! If you think about, math is only of the only field that has never been torn down. Each generation builds on what the previous did. Calc would not have been possible if the Greeks were not so obsessed with cylinders. Teamwork man! Also I like showing students that math is really not impossible, it is not a monster, it is just very mis-understood.
5) If you were to recommend a book to the CC community, what would it be?
Fiction: Sigrid Nunez’s Feather on the Breath of God (this book will change your perceptions of what constitutes a novel. Also she is just funny funny funny and also she was my MFA writing teacher and probably one of the best stylist writers I know and just a great person.)
Nonfiction: Jo Ann Beard’s Boys of My Youth (again, this book will change your perception of memoir. All her pieces are short but she is able to accomplish a great deal in little space. Humor I think is one of the hardest things to write and she has done it very well, along with her great wit)
Most of the people I read are contemporary writers. Older writers, I have to say, the Brontes hands down. I will take the Brontes over Jane Austen any day.
6) What's a lesson you've learned from tutoring? (Could be about teaching, people, life, whatever!)
- Never underestimate the power of positive encouragement, just because a student is good at something doesn’t mean he/she shouldn’t hear it often.
- If you can’t explain it to someone else, then you didn’t understand it. I think, the excuse, it’s complicated, is vastly overrated.
7) We’re compiling a list of “amazing feats” throughout history– basically, the intellectual equivalent of climbing Mount Everest. Can you share one of your favorite feats from your field?
Can I share a marriage? Pierre and Marie Curie. For years, they worked side by side in the basement of their laboratory. They discovered radium and polonium together. They discovered radioactivity together. They won their Nobel Prize together. They raised daughters together, one of whom went on to win a Nobel Prize herself with an equally devoted husband. Pierre saw Marie as his equal and for good reason. As a result, look at what they accomplished!
8) Given the choice of anyone in the world, living or dead, which 3 people would you invite to your dinner party? What do you imagine you'd talk about?My grandfather (passed away) and my grandmother (living). I would give anything to have them see each other again. The third I forfeit to someone else.
9) What's the best tutoring experience you've ever had?Would you believe me that they have all been very good? I don’t know if I have just been very lucky, but so many students later, I have had great experiences with all of them!
10) Describe your perfect weekend morning
Get up, time stops, and I can drink my coffee for as long as I want without compromising productivity for the rest of the day.
11) What's your spirit animal?
12) What's your favorite 90s jam?
Spice girls, of course!
13) Introduce us to your 15-year-old self.
Insecure, ambitious, 5 feet tall.
14) What are your favorite website(s) to browse?
Hahahahahaa, people.com. Trashy celebrity gossip is really a great way for my brain to unwind.
15) What are your favorite ways to idle?
Online shopping. Petting my dog.
16) What’s your absolute favorite (bring to desert island-status) book, or movie?Book: Anne of Green Gables. This is what started it all, it being interest in writing, reading, being a curious person, and above all, being a smart girl. Anne is very smart girl who gets the cute boy in the end.
Movie: I don’t know. I can’t watch movies over and over again.
17) What are 3 alternative career/life paths you have considered (even just for fun)?
Writer, astronomer, geo scientists saving the world from planet imposion?
18) What's a misconception about you, and why?
That I am unfriendly, but usually it is because I am very shy and averse to talking about myself too much.
19) What are 3 (non-generic) things you're grateful for?1. That I do no have Asian glow. 2. That my grandmother is still around and healthy in her late 80s and can still travel to see me. 3. That I have very good focus, sometimes to a fault. When I tell myself to do something, it gets done and sometimes earlier than expected but I will forget to go to the bathroom or eat or sleep.
20) Tell us about the last amazing meal you had
I am actually not a food person. I will eat it, but eating food by myself regardless of how many stars it’s supposed to be would be depressing. Great company is what makes a great meal.
21) What are 3 places you'd like to visit in the next 5 years?
Rome, Paris, a publishing house for a novel contract.
22) If there was one skill you wish you had mastered, or one subject that you wish you had spent more time learning, what would it be?Quantum mechanics. Does anyone understand it? I feel like maybe three people in the world understand it and then there is the rest of us mortals.
23) Share 1 weird fact with us about yourself.
I usually bike from point A to point B with no hands.
24) Tell us about your typical Friday night.
Staying in, watching a movie, debating with myself about popcorn, no popcorn, popcorn, no popcorn then butter, no butter, butter, no butter.
25) If you could be reincarnated as any living thing– what would you choose for your next 3 lives?
I can’t think of three. But one, a really successful supermodel with no drug problems, just a wholesome supermodel who is able to work and travel the world and be well read.
26) Name 3 commonly used things (or activities) you’d willing to give up for a year. It could be anything.
Driving, pumping gas, checking oil in car, sitting through traffic, biking uphill, stoplights, standing in line, waiting for the bathroom, squealing over spiders. Spiders are harmless, get over it, Weike.
27) What are you a sucker for?
Food commercials. I am their audience...
28) What's the best gift you've ever received or given?
Best gift received: An American girl doll from my best friend on my 20th birthday. I had wanted one for 15 or more years and once she got a job, she got it for me first thing.
Interested in working with Weike?
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