This week we're spotlighting Sandra Jones, who joined the Cambridge Coaching team in 2014 as a biology, chemistry, computer science and math tutor. She's currently studying the impact of protein quality control on age associated diseases in the fruit fly, and when she's not in the lab, you can find her photorgaphing or painting in New York. She's a fantastic tutor, and has mentored countless elementary and high school students!
1. Where are you from?
Well, I was born in Korea and moved around a lot as a kid since my Dad was in the military. We eventually settled down in Georgia so that’s usually where I tell people I’m from.
2. What do you do now?
Right now I’m in graduate school at Rockefeller University studying the impact of protein quality control on age associated diseases in the fruit fly. In many late onset diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, damaged proteins begin to accumulate and cause a variety of problems. Our lab is trying to work out what happens to the systems in place that usually prevent this accumulation and why aging seems to have such a huge impact.
3. What's your favorite subject to teach, and why?
Even though my graduate work is more biology based I love to teach Chemistry. It’s a lot of fun to see students reach that “aha! moment” when working through problems. On top of that chemistry is just cool because it bridges all the other science together, thus named “the central science”.
4. What's a lesson you've learned from tutoring?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from tutoring is that you never know how much you understand something until you have to teach it to someone else.
5. 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?
I think the discovery of the gene for green fluorescent protein (GFP) and how to incorporate it into model organisms was awesome because now we can visualize processes that go on in the cell that were previously hidden from view!
6. What's your most embarrassing favorite movie or song?
So it’s a TV show and I wouldn’t say I’m embarrassed about liking it but I love Doctor Who. It’s weird, creative, and who wouldn’t want to go anywhere in time and space?
7. Describe your perfect weekend morning.
My perfect morning would be to wake up super early and go for a run along the river with my camera in hand, come back and have a nice cup of hazelnut coffee, practice my French, paint a picture, read a little and go back to sleep.
8. What's your favorite 90s jam?
Any 90s R&B song, I think that’s 60% of what I still listen to on a daily basis. Makes for a great playlist while dissecting fly brains.
9. What are 3 alternative career/life paths you have considered (even just for fun?)
Opening a surf shop on the beach even though I don’t know how to surf, becoming a food blogger so I can travel and eat, and an archeologist because I love digging through things to find hidden treasures.
10. What are 3 (non-generic) things you're grateful for?
I am grateful for the ability to be conscious, for diversity in everything without which the world would be boring, and for caffeine.
11. If there were one skill that you wish you had mastered, or one subject that you wish you had spent more time learning, what would it be?
I wish I would have continued playing the piano, as a child I hated practicing everyday and thought it was so boring. But now I wish I had mastered it so I could make up my own songs.
12. If you could be reincarnated as any living thing– what would you choose for your next 3 lives?
First I would come back as a bird and fly around the world stopping wherever I wanted along the way, then I’d be a blue whale because they sing really cool songs, and lastly I’d come back as a human in the year 2500 to see how the world has changed.
13. Name 3 commonly used things (or activities) you’d be willing to give up for a year. It could be anything.
If it was possible I’d give up using money and only get things through trading with people (either something you made or can do), I’d give up television, and plastic bags.
Read Sandra's tutor biography:
Sandra was born in Seoul, South Korea into a military family. Although they moved around a lot her family settled stateside in Georgia where she attend Spelman College. Here she graduated summa cum laude with a major in biochemistry and minor in physics. As a junior she was awarded membership into the Phi Beta Kappa National Honors Society along with being an American Chemical Society Scholar and having an undergraduate research fellowship. As an undergrad she conducted research in an organic chemistry lab and spent her summers conducting research at Northwestern University and MIT.
Her teaching experiences include being a peer facilitator for college juniors and seniors in Organic Chemistry, Electricity and Magnetism, and Physical Chemistry. During which time she was responsible for developing study guides and holding sessions to work through problem sets. Currently, Sandra is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellow at The Rockefeller University in New York City pursuing a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. She continues to be involved in a neuroscience outreach program teaching elementary school students about the brain and says her greatest strength is that she enjoys teaching. At Cambridge Coaching, Sandra helps students in a biology, chemistry, computer science and math.
In addition to all things science, she loves photography, painting, and traveling.
Looking to work with our math tutor Sandra Jones in New York ? Feel free to get in touch! Cambridge Coaching offers private in-person tutoring in New York City and Boston, and online tutoring around the world.