About Us

“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

Director / cindy@tutoringstem.com

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 the University of Miami, 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 husband and two daughters and now works with families 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.

Our Bellevue Tutors

“My goal is to equip students with skills that will carry them beyond high school and to help them unlock the power of independent learning.”

Valerie Chieng

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Valerie graduated from Seattle Pacific University in March of 2018 with a B.S. in Physiology and a minor in Chemistry. She currently works as a medical scribe and hopes to become an OB-GYN physician in the field of reproductive health.

At SPU, Valerie was employed by the Center for Learning as a Biology and Chemistry tutor, helping students with subjects like General Biology, General Chemistry, and Biochemistry. She was also a Learning Assistant for SPU’s BioCORE Scholars Program, which supports first generation and traditionally underrepresented students in biological and biomedical sciences. She is also proficient in math up to Calculus, with Geometry being her favorite math subject.

Outside of classes and tutoring, she also volunteered at Swedish Medical Center and Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA), which aligns with her interests in medicine, education, and supporting refugees. Through these experiences, Valerie discovered a passion for teaching and helping students find their “aha” moments. She believes that with some cultivation and intentional effort, students can become effective learners and master difficult concepts.

In her free time, Valerie enjoys going to the local farmer’s market, exploring different coffee shops, trying out new hiking trails, and learning how to cook various Asian recipes.

“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.

“My goal for students is to establish sustainable, reliable study habits that prepare them not only for the class we are working on, but all their classes present and future so that learning becomes less of a chore and more of a fun opportunity.”

Erika Bunge

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Erika graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a B.S. in Physiology and a double minor in Chemistry and Cultural Anthropology in June 2019. Her love for the sciences, health care, and interpersonal relationships have led her to pursue a career in medicine. She is currently working as a medical scribe as she prepares for and applies to medical school.

Erika enjoys keeping busy with a variety of activities. During her time at SPU, Erika was employed by the Center for Learning as a Chemistry tutor, the Chemistry department as an Organic Chemistry teaching assistant and grader, and the Biology department as both a Biochemistry and Cellular Biology laboratory assistant and TA. She treasures the relationships she was able to build with students and professors as well as the ability to share her passion for STEM. Seeing students unravel a particularly hard problem is one of the reasons she loves tutoring. The fact that she was able to utilize her favorite subject, math, in all of her roles was also a huge plus (pun intended).

Outside of work, Erika enjoys running, reading, playing hockey, and caring for her many plants. She has recently discovered geocaching and enjoys going out and exploring Seattle with friends. Although she has tried cooking in the past, for the safety of her housemates she sticks to cereal, salads, and frozen dinners. She hopes that eventually her skills will improve and everything will pan out.

“As a tutor I hope to inspire genuine curiosity about the world and the subjects my students are studying. Genuine curiosity and learning to ask the right questions is the best way to learn.”

Wyatt Anderson

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

In May of 2019, Wyatt graduated from Wheaton College with a B.S. in Biology and minors in Chemistry and Spanish. His interests in biology, botany, and agriculture evolved into interests in public health and medicine. Eventually medicine won out, and he is now currently applying to medical schools for fall of 2020.

At Wheaton, Wyatt was constantly in lab, and strangely found himself enjoying some of the harder classes, such as organic chemistry. As college progressed, Wyatt realized how much he needed study partners. Mutual tutoring with friends not only made the work more enjoyable, but easier as well. This inspired Wyatt to pursue a job tutoring, hoping to continue being there to help others along in math and science.

In his free time at Wheaton, Wyatt had the opportunity to serve as the Team Educator for a student led outreach program. Amidst planning meetings and instructing peers, Wyatt realized his passion for teaching. After realizing this, he sought out all the teaching roles he could fill, tutoring college and high school chemistry students and working as a teaching assistant in the Biology department.

Outside of tutoring this year, Wyatt will be working as a Medical Administrator/Scheduler and Medical Scribe. In his free time, you can find him trying to slog through The Brothers Karamazov, hiking around the Seattle area’s multiple parks, playing a little guitar, and attempting to not burn dinner.

"My goal as a tutor is for each student to know they have the capability inside of them to be successful learners.”

Tucker Price

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Tucker graduated from Seattle University in 2018 with a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, and a B.A. in Mathematics. In addition to being a tutor, he works as a medical scribe in an Emergency Room and ENT clinic, and volunteers at Swedish’s Cancer Education Center. Tucker is currently applying to medical school where he hopes to continue his learning and teaching as a doctor.

While a student at Seattle U, Tucker served as a tour guide for prospective college students and volunteered at Bailey Gatzert Elementary while being a student in the university's Honors curriculum. Tucker is an enthusiastic learner and teacher for which he was honored with the Biology Department's “Spirit of Biology” and Seattle University's “Distinguished graduating Student” awards. Tucker most enjoys tutoring because it gives him the chance to be a part of a student's process of discovery.

When he is not volunteering or at one of his jobs, Tucker is most often found walking the trails at Seward park or trying to keep up with his wife mountain biking.

“My goal is to give students a more engaging experience where they can understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’. I want to establish an environment where they are comfortable in asking questions, and where they increase their confidence to the point of independence.”

Gardenia Zaki

Math & Science Tutor, Bellevue

Gardenia moved to the US from the Middle East in 2016 after graduating high school. She attended Bellevue College in 2017 and graduated with an Associates degree in science by the end of 2018. During these years, Gardenia tutored college students in Biology and Chemistry in the Bellevue College Academic Success Center. She also volunteered during the summer of her freshman year in UW’s pathology lab, researching Alzheimer’s disease. That experience inspired Gardenia to pursue a career in research, specifically in the development of pharmaceutical remedies. Gardenia is currently completing her BS in Biochemistry at UW.

Upon arriving in the US, she found that her American friends were pivotal in creating a smoother transition for her to the culture through their positivity and support. After transferring to UW, she wanted to pursue a job that gave back to the community that gave her assistance when she needed it the most. Gardenia sees tutoring as the best way to do so, engaging with young-adults and being a part of their growth.

Gardenia likes to spend her free time drawing, cross-stitching, or reading fiction novels. On sunny days, she likes to hike or play badminton. Being the eldest of two sisters, she has become a bit of a “second mom” in the house and enjoys cooking and baking for her family, occasionally abusing her authority by having her sisters wash the dishes for her. :>)

Our Bellingham Tutors

“I strive to instill confidence in each of my students. My goal is to act as a guide, leading them to understand that they had the power to succeed all along!”

Isabel Mills

Math & Physics Tutor, Bellingham

Isabel graduated from Whitman College in 2017 with a combined degree in Physics and Astronomy. As one of the only females in her program, she struggled to find her place, but ended up thriving after meeting female peers with similar difficulties. After graduating from college, Isabel moved to Bellingham to serve a year with AmeriCorps, where she ran an after-school STEM program for low income students in Skagit County. Her experiences led her to pursue education, with the eventual hope of becoming a high school science teacher (or an astronaut, if teaching doesn't work out).

Isabel found the Bellingham community extremely welcoming, and decided to stick around! She is now part of a local choir and spends much of her free time playing music, exercising (hiking and backpacking in the summer, Nordic skiing in the winter), or reading.

“My aspiration as a tutor is to not only support students through the difficulties of math and succeed despite them, but to understand the benefits and rewards of this challenging process. The perseverance, problem solving, and critical thinking that they practice and develop will help them in all subjects and throughout their lives.”

Curtis Schmitz

Math Tutor, Bellingham

Curtis graduated from the University of Washington with a BS in Mathematics and a minor in Education, Learning, and Societies. He is currently enrolled in the Master's in Teaching program at Western Washington University with a focus on Math in Secondary Education. In between his studies he spent a year working and living in South and Central America in order to learn and practice Spanish.

Throughout his collegiate career, Curtis worked in varying roles with students and children. For two and a half years Curtis mentored and tutored students in the AVID program, a program whose purpose is to close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college. Alongside this he worked as a College and Career Readiness Assistant, supporting students to prepare for their post-secondary education plans. During the summers Curtis worked at a summer camp in Vermont, helping demonstrate to the campers not only valuable outdoor skills but social and interpersonal skills as well.

Throughout all of these experiences, Curtis has learned the impact that a consistent, encouraging and empowering presence can have on a student. Curtis is determined and passionate about being that presence for all the students he works with, as a tutor and as a teacher moving forward.

In his free time, Curtis enjoys reading and playing sports and basically anything to do with the outdoors. Most likely if he has a moment to spare before or after class he will be rock climbing at the local gym.

“My goal is to help students understand that any subject in STEM should be approached with curiosity and an understanding that it will be challenging. I hope to help my students learn that having persistence and not being afraid to ask questions will provide the best results.”

Corey Teply

Math & Science Tutor, Bellingham

Corey graduated from Western Washington University in March of 2019 with a B.A. in Mathematics and minors in Computer Science and Chemistry. Immediately after graduating, he went right back to school and is currently getting his Master’s in Chemistry at WWU, with a focus in solar cells and renewable energies. Once he receives his master’s, he is planning to continue his work in renewable energies and at some point is planning on becoming a math or chemistry professor.

While living in Bellingham, Corey has fostered a passion for teaching and being a positive role model for others. He has been volunteering at Sehome High School Tutoring Center for the past five years and has learned a lot of strategies for helping students become independent, confident learners. Seeing students succeed and being proud of their own accomplishments is what has motivated Corey to become a teacher...especially when it comes to helping students struggling in math. To see them finally understand a concept is a rewarding feeling for everyone. From someone who has gone from being intimidated in math classes to now majoring in Mathematics, he is very understanding in students’ struggles.

In addition to tutoring, Corey has coached youth hockey teams in the area. For Corey, it’s been fun to use the concepts he’s learned from being a tutor in a much more fast paced environment to teach kids how to play hockey. “No math here on the ice,” he says, “just trying to channel my inner Herb Brooks.”

While Corey isn’t tutoring, he enjoys playing music, hiking, and listening to NPR. Is he actually 25 years old or is he 75? Who knows.

“My intention as a tutor is to provide tools for my students so that they can persevere through challenging courses, ideally sparking self confidence and resilience that they can carry with them into future coursework.”

Kristina Tribley

Math & Science Tutor, Bellingham

Kristina graduated from Western Washington University in June of 2018, majoring in Biology. She played collegiate volleyball for WWU all four years, being nominated for the All GNAC academic team all four years. She has coached volleyball for all ages and has led many summer camps for WWU. Additionally Kristina was selected by her coaching staff to develop and lead academic tutorials for her younger teammates, helping them learn to balance academics with a rigorous athletic schedule.

Kristina has faced many academic challenges herself and has a thorough understanding of what it means to use all the resources one has available to learn. She loves implementing plans to help move students out of academic difficulty and into a sense knowing and understanding- especially in Math and Science.

In her spare time, she enjoys running- especially on a good beach. She also enjoys just about any activity in the beautiful outdoors here in Bellingham.