Casual photo of STEM Tutoring staff of math tutors, chemistry tutors, and physics tutors having fun.
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About Us

Cindy Palmer, the owner and founder of STEM Tutoring.

“With my training focused on both the educational and emotional well-being of adolescents, I offer a unique balance of both personal interaction and instructional assistance for students.”

Cindy Palmer, the owner and founder of STEM Tutoring.

Cindy Palmer

Director /

Cindy Palmer, M.A. established STEM Tutoring, LLC in 2014 after 20 years of personal experience working with high school and college age students in both educational and therapeutic settings. Cindy’s undergraduate education focused on the sciences (B.S. Microbiology, B.A. Biology, and a Chemistry minor). After obtaining her undergraduate training from Miami University, she began her career as the Freshmen Transition Coordinator in a highly at-risk school setting, a position that sparked her passion for helping students succeed both academically and emotionally.

Cindy acquired her teaching certificate, qualifying her to teach both Chemistry and Biology. After teaching for 5 years (2 years in Littleton, Colorado and 3 years in the Bellevue School District), Cindy obtained her Masters in Counseling from Seattle School of Psychology and Theology in 2004. She had a private practice as a Mental Health Counselor for adults and adolescents and began meeting with students for academic tutoring as well.

Cindy has now shifted her focus to training and mentoring the STEM Tutoring staff. Her driving mission is the development of leaders who can foster meaningful connections with students. She is also dedicated to providing her tutors with the latest research on all things related to the neuroscience of learning and adolescent development.

In 2017, Cindy moved from Bellevue to Bellingham with her family and now works in both locations. When she’s not training tutors or meeting with students, she enjoys any excuse to be outside, whether it’s to run a trail, play tennis, camp, or hike.

Bio picture of Aisling O'Connor, a math tutor and science tutor.

“I want to help students gain confidence, independence, and an understanding of how they learn best. My goal for students is that they will ultimately no longer need me.”

Aisling O'Connor

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Aisling graduated from UW with a B.S. in biochemistry in June 2018. She is currently working as a medical scribe during her gap years while preparing for and applying to medical school. While she maintains an open mind regarding specialty, she knows that she wants to interact directly with patients. Connecting with people is one of her top priorities, which is one reason why she wants to become a physician.

Prior to her time at UW, Aisling worked as a mathematics tutor at Olympic College primarily assisting with algebra and pre-calculus. Because of this, she was able to interact with a diverse range of students and found it extremely rewarding to help guide students to their “Ah-ha!” moments. She has enjoyed continuing this with her students at STEM Tutoring.

In her free time, Aisling supports people as a Crisis Counselor for Crisis Text Line, which is a free resource that people in crisis may access 24/7 via text message. She also enjoys playing video games, trying new recipes, and playing piano.

Bio picture of David Jacobs, a math tutor and physics tutor.

“I try to encourage students to make the connections between different topics they are learning. It fosters a deeper understanding of the material and expands their problem-solving toolbox.”

David Jacobs

Math & Physics Tutor, Bellingham

David is currently pursuing his B.S. in electrical engineering at Western Washington University, having completed the electrical engineering program at Bellingham Technical College in August of 2018. David’s long-held interest in wind turbines and other forms of clean energy provided the impetus for him to pursue a satisfying career in the field of electrical engineering. Though David is passionate about his current field of study, his many interests have led to a variety of jobs; David has worked as a clerk for an optometrist, a cook at a food co-op, a nanny, a processor at a raspberry farm, and more!

David understands the feeling of starting something new while being unsure if you have the intelligence, determination and motivation to get through it. He knows how important it is to feel supported by a strong network of people who want you to succeed. As a tutor at Whatcom Community College, he helped students develop the skills and confidence necessary to continue on to a university program. It's easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when working on the details of a problem, and David encourages students to look at things from different perspectives.

When David is not working, he enjoys cooking, running, gardening, and spending time with his niece and nephew. He also raises chickens.

Bio picture of Melody Gao, a math tutor and science tutor.

“We never stop learning and growing. As a tutor, I strive to foster a student’s curiosity and grow their passion for learning. I want to increase their confidence by equipping them with the skills and tools to solve any problem.”

Melody Gao

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Melody graduated with honors from Western Washington University in June 2021 with a B.S. in biochemistry and minors in psychology and honors interdisciplinary studies. During her time at Western, Melody worked as an undergraduate research assistant researching protein-peptide interactions. Her research experience inspired her future ambition to be a physician scientist working to make positive impacts in both the scientific and medical communities. For Melody’s gap year, she is doing remote computational research for a lab at UCLA while also working as a medical scribe.

Before attending Western, Melody discovered her love for teaching as a certified swim instructor. She found it tremendously rewarding to learn with her students and watch their confidence grow. Building off this love, Melody co-founded a high school science club called STEM Academy, where high school members plan hands-on science activities to teach at local elementary schools. This club gave her the opportunity to combine her love for STEM with teaching.

During her free time, Melody enjoys catching up on the latest episodes of dramas and animes she is following. She also enjoys painting, crafting, and reading. When she’s not spending her free time at home, she’s out on hikes exploring nature.

Bio picture of McKinsey Hill, a math tutor and science tutor.

“As a tutor, I aim to not only assist students in their learning development, but also offer them a place to grow and gain confidence in an academic setting.”

McKinsey Hill


Math & Science Tutor, Bellingham

McKinsey is a third-year student at Western Washington University currently pursuing a B.S. in biochemistry. Along with their studies, McKinsey is a research student at the university studying SH2 domains and sortase enzymes to provide insight into cellular signaling pathways. Though McKinsey keeps busy with their studies, they also grade papers for the math department at Western Washington University.

McKinsey is excited to start working with students and to help them succeed in their STEM classes. They hope to provide a space for students to learn freely and face challenges without judgement. They understand the importance for a safe learning space in which the student can feel comfortable and confident in navigating difficult material.

When McKinsey is not studying, they can be found tending to their 63 (and counting!) houseplants, painting, or enjoying the outdoors. They also love spending time with friends, cooking, and binge-watching their favorite shows.

Bio picture of Ryan Danao, a math tutor.

“My favorite part about being a tutor is the growth. Not only do I wish to become a factor in the positive growth of young students, but I also look forward to learning and growing from these diverse students as well.”

Ryan Danao

Math Tutor, Bellevue

Ryan is currently a junior at the University of Washington. He was born in the U.S., but spent most of his life in the Philippines, having graduated high school there. At UW, Ryan has developed a passion for computer programming, data analysis, and the study of computational systems.

Eventually Ryan hopes to take the knowledge of programming, computational systems, and data analysis that he is acquiring at UW and head back to the Philippines to help develop technological advancements for the communities in his home country. Ryan is passionate about using these fields of study to make lives easier for those in countries with less access to advanced technology and the wealth of knowledge that brings.

Outside of tutoring, Ryan enjoys playing video games (Valorant is his current favorite!), basketball, working out at the gym, and hanging out with his family. Speaking of family, Ryan is also a huge family guy! Being the eldest in his household, he feels like he has to set a good example to his younger brother and sister, always keeping them a priority in his life.