The Ivy Experience Team

Our Tutors

All Ivy Experience tutors are experts in every section of both the SAT and ACT. They also tutor varied academic subjects and other standardized tests (AP Exams, SAT Subject Tests, SSAT, GRE, LSAT) according to their background and expertise.

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 has over 10 years’ experience in the test-prep field as a veteran teacher, professor, and editor. She started as a Data Editor in Princeton, NJ and graduated to production, falling in love with helping people achieve their goals one step at a time. During her editing career, she has written and revised countless books for testing with strict standards and showcased her creativity in advertising and design. As a West Chester University graduate with a Bachelor in Literature, she wrote for a few years but noticed something missing and enrolled in Cabrini University, graduating with a Master in Education, Secondary Education English. Her passion for helping adult learners, underprivileged youth, and ESL students has opened doors in a gifted-support learning center as Assistant Director of Curriculum. Proficient in all subjects, Megan tries to relax reading poetry, writing prose, abstract painting, and hiking in gorgeous Arizona.

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.

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.

Cristina Quito

Cristina graduated magna cum laude from the University of California San Diego, with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a minor in General Biology. Throughout her time as an undergraduate, she served as a teaching assistant for cognitive psychology and as a child care-taker. Additionally, she has experience as a research assistant for a clinical psychology research lab, examining the neurobiology of treatment of comorbid and addictive disorders. She is a focused and empathetic individual who enjoys providing guidance, clarity, and motivation to students.

Tanuj Pankaj

Tanuj is currently pursuing a degree in Data Science at the University of California San Diego. He is passionate about science projects and is extremely interested in Math. He has had experience taking part in Math competitions and has tutored several clients during his time in grade school. During his spare time, Tanuj likes to go to the beach, play sports, and hang out with friends.

Clara Gerstner

Clara is a student at the School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania pursuing a graduate degree in quantitative studies. She has worked as a science teacher for the past couple years and is passionate about teaching STEM. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Life Sciences at a German university, she moved to the US in 2014 to teach at a public school in Connecticut 9th grade Physical science and Honors Biology. She also received a master’s degree in Education from Johns Hopkins University focusing on innovative teaching methods in STEM education. Her experiences working as a full-time teacher have allowed her to gain a lot of insights into our current education system and what students need to accomplish in their high school years to be successful in college. She believes that all students can fulfill their potential in school if you help them to set high expectations for themselves, formulate achievable goals and build strong and trusting relationships.

If Clara is not tutoring, you find her reading books, cooking, swimming or salsa dancing with her husband.

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.

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.

Adam Clair

Adam Clair graduated from Penn State University in 2005 with a degree in journalism and minors in English and philosophy, tutoring a diverse range of his peers (including ESOL and special needs students) in a range of creative and academic writing forms.

Adam now works in many fields in addition to tutoring. As a writer he focuses largely on culture and technology (and especially how the two intersect). He also provides online marketing and communications services, academic assessment, editing and copywriting, and UX consulting for websites, apps and software.

Prior to returning home to Philadelphia, Adam worked as an SAT/ACT/college essay tutor in Athens, Georgia, where working on a book about an influential musicians’ collective based there.

Alex Pappas
Growing up in the town of Swarthmore, Alex went studied at the University of Maryland, graduating in 2017 with a B.S. in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics. During his undergraduate career Alex spent his time doing research both at the University of Maryland and at the National Institutes of Health, as well as being a TA for the Physics department. Alex has plans to enter medical school in the fall of 2018.
In his free time, Alex spends his time volunteering at Jefferson Hospital and a local clinic. He is a dedicated Philadelphia sports fan and cherishes his Eagles.
Abbey Griffin

Abbey graduated with a B.S. in Psychology from Davidson College, a small liberal arts college in North Carolina. Currently she is studying for her Masters in Human Resources Development from Villanova. Abbey has worked with teens and children for many years. She is often seen with her 2-year-old Golden Retriever pup named Goose, whom she is training to be a therapy animal. Abbey enjoys exploring and implementing new ways of teaching and learning to individualize the tutoring experience for each student.

Liz Mincer
Liz is a recent J.D. graduate of William and Mary Law School. While there, she worked as a Graduate Research Fellow, competed as a member of the W&M National Trial Team, and won Best Note for the W&M Bill of Rights Journal. Before going to law school, she spent two years teaching at a high school in North Carolina with the Teach for America program. For her undergraduate degree, she received a B.A. from Smith, an all women’s college located in Northampton, MA. Though she has lived in many places, including Poland and India, Liz is a native of Pennsylvania. She grew up in Milford, a small town in Northeastern PA, and both of her parents are from the Philadelphia area. Go Eagles!
Elizabeth Kribbs

Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and Early Childhood Education from Bloomsburg University. Throughout her undergraduate career she worked with a variety of students to help them achieve their individual academic goals. Shortly after, she earned her Master’s Degree in Middle Level Mathematics with a focus in English as a Second Language (ESL).

In the years since, Elizabeth has used her five Pennsylvania teaching certifications to help students of all ages and abilities strive for and achieve success. She welcomes the opportunity to tutor because it allows her to focus on a student’s specific needs as they seek to master academic content. She encourages students to use their resources (i.e. test taking skills, logical thinking, and reasoning skills) to become problem solvers ready to take on the next challenge.

Melissa Baj

Melissa has served as an educator for over 5 years now. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Secondary Education – English at Kutztown University. There, she participated in undergraduate research with the university’s honors college and presented her work at local conferences. After graduating, she put her theories to practice and worked as a full-time teacher in both New York City and the Bay Area, California, serving as both a grade level lead teacher and a department chair, while also contributing to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Oakland Unified School District’s Ethnic Studies Leadership Team.

Interested in the global perspective on education, she then took a gap year to travel and explore the cultures and school systems of Europe and Asia. She then returned to graduate school at UCLA, obtaining a master’s degree in social sciences and education. While attending graduate school, she also worked for the university as the Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Writing Center – a resource that supports over 720 undergraduate courses and holds over 10,000 appointments in a single, academic year. In addition to supporting this center, she also conducted research on the most effective instructional practices for the one-on-one tutoring setting and presented this work at the university’s conferences. Throughout these professional roles, she also served as a one-on-one tutor to a range of students for a range of subjects. As a recent graduate from UCLA, she is happy to return to her hometown in Pennsylvania and share not only her cross-country and global experiences, but also learn from the students and families she plans to serve.

Valerie Wilson

Valerie recently graduated cum laude from Princeton University with an A.B. in History and a certificate in Medieval Studies. She is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Columbia University in New York. While at Princeton, she was a member of the Glee Club and the climbing team, a co-founder and vice president of the Women’s Political Caucus chapter, a medical supervisor for Club Sports teams, and led first-year orientation trips for the Outdoor Action program. She also taught two SPLASH classes for high school students on film theory and pop culture. Valerie has experience in one-on-one tutoring, classroom teaching, music education, and outdoor education, and is excited to continue to help students reach their goals. A Cherry Hill, New Jersey native, she enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, going to museums, and outdoor sports.

Kyle Campbell

Kyle is a senior at Swarthmore College, where he is pursuing a B.A. in Biology and Classical Studies. He is a member of the swim team at school, where he competes in distance freestyle and butterfly events. Kyle plans to enter dental school in the fall of 2019. Outside of the classroom and pool, Kyle enjoys gardening, DIY projects, and watching Phillies baseball.

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.

Adel Boyarsky

Adel is currently a senior 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. Outside of tutoring, Adel has experience as a teaching assistant, research assistant, and as an analyst in the financial sector. She is involved with the Society of Women Engineers, Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity, Theta Tau Engineering Fraternity, and Eta Kappa Nu honors society at Penn.

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


Dane Ochis-O'Neil

Dane graduated from the State University of New York at Albany in 1999 with a B.S. in Actuarial Science and minors in Statistics, Computer Science, and English.  He enjoyed a successful career as an actuary before leaving corporate America to tutor full-time.  Dane is very interested in serving his community and mentoring our future leaders.  To that end, he is a sitting member of the Daniel Boone Area School Board.

In his free time, Dane is a huge sports fan who enjoys working out and hiking with his family.

Greg Hall

Greg obtained a Master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. As a Master’s student, he was awarded the Penn Prize for Excellence in Teaching by Graduate Students based on student nominations and Penn faculty endorsement. In 2009, Greg graduated magna cum laude from Penn Law. As an attorney, he served as a law clerk at the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and now actively practices law as a member of the bars in both PA and NJ.

At the same time, Greg’s true passion is education. While pursuing his degrees and building a law practice, Greg has taught and tutored hundreds of students in a variety of subjects including standardized test preparation for tests such as the SAT, ACT, LSAT, and GRE.

Humor and friendliness are a couple of Greg’s secrets to successful tutoring.  He is a down-to-earth, jovial 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 his life.

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.

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