The Ivy Experience Team

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Our Tutors

Eric Karlan - Co-Founder & President

Eric is one of the co-founders of Ivy Experience. He graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Journalism, History, and Culture; he was one of only two students in the Class of 2009 to design his own curriculum for an Individualized major. Since graduation, Eric has consulted hundreds of high school and graduate school students on their college and graduate school application essays and resumes across the country and around the world.

Eric is an active writer and has been published in the Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Magazine, and The New York Daily News. He enjoys playing tennis, traveling, and rooting for Philadelphia sports teams from his home in San Diego.

Karan Shah – Co-Founder & President

Karan is one of the co-founders of Ivy Experience. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelors in Bioengineering and a minor in Engineering Entrepreneurship. Since graduation Karan has worked with hundreds of students on SAT, ACT, and SAT II Subject Test Prep. Karan also works with students on their college and graduate school application essays across the country and around the world.

When not working with students, Karan enjoys playing hockey, making divots on the golf course, and dealing with being a New York sports fan living in Philadelphia.

Jim Wismer – Director

Jim is the director of Ivy Experience. A Philadelphia area native, he attended The University of Pittsburgh on an Honors Full Tuition Scholarship, graduating summa cum laude in 2013. He went on to earn his M.A. in Classics from Notre Dame, where he also taught Latin, Ancient Greek, ancient history, and mythology. Jim’s tutoring career started in 8th grade, and he brings to the team a broad range of experience in secondary and higher education. Jim believes that any student can learn anything, if that student works smart and gets the right help.

In addition to his work with Ivy Experience, Jim coaches shot put and discus for the Boys’ and Girls’ Track and Field teams at Great Valley High School, where he was once a student. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bike, hiking, playing with dogs, watching the Eagles, reading, and playing Super Smash Bros Melee.

Jess Lebow

Jess obtained her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania in May of 2017. She has an undergraduate degree in English and Studio Art from Hamilton College. At Hamilton, Jess was a writing center tutor who worked with students of a variety of ages, skill levels and interests at all different stages of their writing process across a broad selection of subject matters. She also ran a program tutoring students from the local middle and high schools in a variety of classroom subjects as well as preparing them for the regents (a New York state standardized test.) She also tutored local refugees in ESL. When Jess is not studying or tutoring, and the sun is out, you can find her running, biking or hiking but when the weather is bad, you’ll probably find her in the kitchen!

Megan Hellerman

Megan is an avid writer, educator, and editor for test-prep titles such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, ACT, and ASVAB. Native to Pennsylvania, she graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor in Literature and a great respect for Poetry, Creative Writing, Newswriting, and Shakespeare. There, her passion for writing and helping students achieve their greatest potential was born. Megan then joined the workforce as a data editor in Princeton. Not wanting to be stuck in a cubicle for the rest of her life, she left the publishing world to attend grad school at Cabrini College, graduating with a Master in Education. With 10 years-experience in publishing, Megan now ventures out into new career venues as a Professor of Oral Communication, Foundations of Grammar, and English Composition. Megan also tutors for a gifted-support learning center in all subjects, grades K-12, as well all college-prep writing, admissions, and literary discussions for modern book titles. In her free time, she enjoys nature, abstract painting, swimming, and spending time with her family and friends.

David Pauls

David graduated cum laude from The College of New Jersey in 2016 with a degree in physics. He realized during his time there that he thoroughly enjoyed tutoring his fellow TCNJ students, and hopes he can show just how fun physics and math can be.

David researched astrophysics during his time at TCNJ, and with the help of his colleagues had a paper accepted to The Astrophysical Journal. His true passion however is music, as he is always in a choir or a capella group, arranging, composing, or recording. David finds the mathematics behind music fascinating, especially relating to harmonics and tuning. He also likes to play Super Smash Brothers Melee competitively.

Brent Wittig

Brent grew up in the Midwest where he earned a B.A. in both Zoology and Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin in 2005. Since graduating Brent has spent his career in the pharmaceutical industry, recently re-locating to the San Diego area. He has spent time tutoring others in Math and Science throughout high school and college.

In his free time, you can always catch Brent staying fit and being active. You will never see him indoors on a sunny day as he loves hiking, biking, running, playing sports, going to the beach and exploring.

Pro Kumar

Pro is an undergraduate mathematics and physics dual major at West Chester University. This past summer he conducted gravitational wave research in Paris as part of an international Research Experience for Undergraduates program. He plans on pursuing graduate studies in (experimental) gravitational wave research. Seeing the interplay between mathematics and the physical world is very awe-inspiring to Pro.

He also coaches the throwing events for track and field at Great Valley High School, where he graduated from in 2012. Seeing his students develop, not only athletically, but academically and mentally, is a great joy to Pro. He believes no one is limited to a single standard; it is always possible to push the limits, and he is happy to show students the opportunities that reveal themselves.

Outside of physics and coaching, he enjoys reading (mostly science-fiction), weightlifting, photography, spoken-word poetry, cooking spicy food, and listening to Qawwali music, as well as Eminem and Ivan Hajek.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie is currently studying Creative Writing and Spanish at Temple University. A Mt. Airy, Philadelphia native, he graduated from St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in 2013. Previously, he tutored at Girard College in reading, math, social studies, and science.

Outside of studying and tutoring, Charlie enjoys reading, watching and playing sports – especially soccer – and is an avid music fan.

Tanvir Agnihotri

A Long Island native, Tanvir originally began his studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia before transfering to the University of Pennsylvania after his freshman year. Tanvir graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with a Bachelor in Arts in biology. With the ultimate hope of getting into medical school, Tanvir is currently working at GlaxoSmith Kline under the Immuno-Oncological Combinations DPU unit of R&D.

Outside of tutoring, Tanvir enjoys playing soccer and basketball. In addition, he loves traveling and visiting new places.

Dillon Friday

Dillon graduated from Hamilton College in 2012 with a degree in English-Creative Writing. At Hamilton, he played varsity soccer and club hockey, earning Academic All-Conference each of his four years on the pitch. He currently works for Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer as the Marketing & Communications Manager and covers high school sports for the Delaware County Daily Times. Dillon is also a staff writer at The Sports Fan Journal and USGolfTV.

A Duluth, Minnesota native with a Philly background, Dillon enjoys pond hockey, history, poetry, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Minnesota Twins, 90’s music and trivia.

Shenita Baltimore

Shenita graduated from Princeton University in 2010 with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Anthropology and a certificate in African American Studies. Following graduation, she joined the 2010 Teach For America Mid-Atlantic Corp and taught middle school math for two years at the only all-boys charter school in the state of Delaware. During this time, Shenita earned her Master of Arts degree in Secondary Teaching from WU while teaching full-time.

Shenita led her first creative writing after-school elementary program in her sophomore year of high school and has had the opportunity to tutor or mentor elementary through college-aged scholars for over a decade through her professional and educational endeavors. She is currently working on her second studio album and enjoys singing, writing poetry, traveling, and watching and attending sporting events.

Jacqueline Berglass

Jacqueline grew up in Connecticut playing many sports and participating in theatrical performances. She attended Williams College where she played varsity ice hockey, served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and studied Biology with a concentration in Neuroscience. After graduating in 2011, she worked as a researcher at Harvard for 3 years and she is currently a third year medical student at PCOM. Jacqueline’s interests outside of medicine and academia are meditation, yoga, dance and fine art.

Kelsey Hassig

Kelsey is a medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. She graduated from The University of Scranton in 2013 with degrees in Biology and Philosophy. At Scranton, she served as an Orientation Assistant that helped new students get acclimated. She also constantly volunteered and worked with children, both domestically and abroad. Helping others learn is important to her.

Shohom Basuthakur

Born and raised in the suburbs of Philly, Shohom graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014, where he studied finance at The Wharton School. He recently co-founded Coursenova, an internet startup seeking to increase access to higher education by partnering with colleges to sell empty seats in their classes. Shohom is also an Assistant Director for the drama department at Pope John Paul II High School in Royersford.

In his free time, Shohom enjoys seeing Broadway shows, arranging music, watching and playing sports (though he definitely does more watching than playing these days), and spending time with family and friends.

Emily Drummond

Emily grew up in Philadelphia and graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Linguistics and Music. She has three years of experience tutoring math, helping students with everything from long division to multivariable calculus. She is also a classical vocalist, currently singing with Opera Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church; on weekday mornings, she teaches music classes to children in daycare centers.

When she isn’t tutoring or in rehearsal, Emily loves to read, travel, and do the Sunday crosswords.

Justice Walker

Justice Walker is a doctoral program candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, where he researches and publishes in fields related to emerging STEM technologies in teaching and learning; the learning sciences; and educational equity. Previously, he earned a Masters of Science in Engineering Biotechnologies from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, and a Bachelors of Science in Biology and English Literature from the University of Miami. Prior to pursuing his current research, Justice taught AP and IB Biology in Public, Public Charter and Private contexts over 8 years.

While Justice enjoys research and teaching, he also has fun spending time with his German Pinscher, Langston.

Sam Corbman

Sam earned his Master’s in Biomedical Sciences in 2017 from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he is currently studying to become a D.O. He graduated from Boston University in 2013 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Business Administration. Between undergraduate and graduate school, Sam worked for a biopharmaceutical startup while tutoring part time in test prep and the sciences. Sam continues to find satisfaction in helping students achieve their academic goals, whatever they may be.

In his free time, Sam plays ice hockey, enjoys traveling, and is an avid Philadelphia sports fan.

JP Kirkegaard

JP graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and a minor in Astrophysics in 2008. After working for a short time, JP went back to Purdue, earning a MS in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering with a minor in Nuclear Fusion in 2012. He started working for NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH after graduation as a mechanical test engineer in the Propulsion Systems Laboratory running full scale jet engine tests. He moved to Philadelphia in the spring of 2014 to train full time for the Olympics in men’s rowing, a passion which he had started as a freshman in college.

He loves to learn and enjoys helping others in their own journey of knowledge. He started tutoring as a high school student, helping those students struggling in math and sciences. He was the men’s freshman rowing coach at Purdue during his 3 year graduate program, each year teaching the rowing stroke to around 60 freshman who never held an oar before.

JP spends the majority of his time on Boathouse Row and on the Schuylkill river training twice daily in hopes of realizing his Olympic dreams. In his free time, JP enjoys sleeping, reading, meditating, board games, grabbing dinner with friends, and fishing during the off season.

Alex Egg-Krings

Alex is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences. He is interested in majoring in either Economics, Finance or Consumer Psychology. He is a part of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity at Penn and will be joining the Petey Greene program in Philadelphia shortly to volunteer his time educating people in correctional facilities. In his free time, Alex enjoys playing soccer, skiing, traveling and watching The Office.

Jim Baraldi

A full-time employee of the pharmaceutical industry, Jim has many years of experience teaching, tutoring, and learning.

While pursuing a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish at Temple University, Jim designed an independent-study curriculum in conjunction with the Psychology Department and the non-profit organization Unite For Sight. He also volunteered with the Boy Scouts and coached wrestling.

After graduating from Temple, Jim taught Spanish to children while writing for The Philadelphia Inquirer. In Pittsburgh Jim won scholarships to study medical decision making and the Chinese language at Wuhan University in China for a year. He spent the next two years traveling throughout China and teaching at a private company near Guangzhou. His subjects included English, the SAT, math, physics, history, geography, culture, and business. His thousands of students were of all ages and ability levels, from kindergartners to housewives to businessmen.

In his free time Jim enjoys filing taxes, paying bills, and receiving robocalls.

Haley Weiss

A Philadelphia native and graduate of the Baldwin School, Haley is currently a rising senior at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is pursuing a B.A. in Psychology with minors in Bioethics and Journalistic Writing. 

Outside of classes, Haley works as an editor for 34th Street Magazine, a weekly student-produced arts and culture publication at Penn. On the weekends, she’s usually off leading backpacking trips through the woods as the president of the Penn Outdoors Club. Throughout high school and college, Haley has had years of experience working with younger students on writing skills.

Margaret Luo

Margaret graduated from Swarthmore College with a B.A. in Mathematics and Economics. Throughout her undergraduate career, she tutored high school students in math and TAed fellow college students in the Mathematics Department. At Swarthmore, Margaret was also a varsity swimmer and played club soccer.

In her free time, Margaret enjoys live music, reading, and is training for a triathlon.

Will Gillis

Will tutors in the areas of U.S. history and American government. He spent two years teaching AP U.S. History at a private school in Philadelphia where he developed and implemented the school’s first AP curriculum.

Will is currently a JD candidate at New York University School of Law. He is a graduate of Princeton University where he earned a degree in politics, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Will was a four-year member of the heavyweight rowing team at Princeton and served as captain in his senior year.

Nolan Nicaise

Nolan has five years of tutoring experience, two years as a time management and study strategies consultant at Tufts University, specific training on working with students with ADHD, and context from his years of biology work.

Drawing on biology studies at the University of Dayton and an advanced degree at Tufts University, Nolan has worked with students on a variety of subjects, including algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, biology, earth sciences, chemistry, writing composition, ACT and SAT preparations, and French.

While Nolan believes that targeting specific academic material is important, he also feels that it is imperative to work on skills such as file organization, goal setting, time management, and study strategies. He encourages students to set reasonable goals for themselves and create plans to reach those goals, while keeping them accountable to those plans.

Gregory Hall

Gregory obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. As a Master’s student, Gregory was awarded the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by a Graduate Student based on student nominations and faculty endorsement. In 2009, Gregory graduated magna cum laude from Penn Law. As an attorney, Gregory served as a law clerk at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Gregory’s true passion is education. While pursuing his degrees, Gregory has taught and tutored hundreds of students in a variety of subjects including standardized test preparation.

Gregory is an avid do-it-yourselfer as he fixes his own car and enjoys renovating his house. Board and card games, dancing, and good food are the simple joys in Gregory’s life.

Lynn McGowan

Lynn earned her BS in Immunology and Infectious Diseases with a minor in Global Health and Ethics from Penn State University, Schreyer Honors College. Throughout her undergraduate education, she explored her interests in photography, journalism, education and science.

Before starting medical school, Lynn spent two years working as a 4th – 12th grade science teacher in New Orleans, LA. She loves helping kids of all ages to apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to correctly respond to challenging material in all content areas. She especially enjoys tutoring because it provides an opportunity for her to focus a student’s specific strengths to empower and motivate their mastery of all subject matter. In addition to building content knowledge, Lynn highlights study and test taking skills in her tutoring sessions.

Adel Boyarsky

Adel is currently a student at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She is studying Networked and Social Systems Engineering, a mix of computer science and economics. Adel graduated from Cherry Hill East, where she tutored middle school and high school students throughout her time there. She is a part of the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Computer Science Club, Penn Education Society, and Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity at Penn.

In her spare time, Adel enjoys playing tennis and visiting the beach.

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