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Our Team

Our specially trained math instructors will teach your child how to understand math in an individual setting; our unique approach enables us to explain concepts really well and lend a helping hand to every student. Our tutors foster a caring, encouraging environment that helps kids thrive and learn! Read below to learn more about our talented team:

Robert Whiteside, Center Director

Robert went to DePaul University in Chicago as a Game Design and Animation major. Robert brings almost five years of Mathnasium experience to Dana Point.  He grew up in the Chicagoland suburbs before recently moving to Orange County.  Prior to joining the Dana Point team, Robert was the Center Director for Mathnasium of Oakbrook (IL) and Assistant Center Director at Mathnasium of Hinsdale."  Robert finds it easy to work with students, teach, and explain things to others. He has always excelled at math. He is specialized at working with Middle School and High School students, but has vast experience with students from kindergarten level to Calculus. ‘Math is a game we play with numbers that helps us to understand the world. Mathnasium lets me teach and share that way of thinking with kids.’

Elliott Guiso, Assistant Center Director

Elliott studies Communications at Saddleback College. He has an engineering background and wants to work in an environment where he can do something creative that has a positive impact on people. He enjoys reading and playing games and his favorite food is Mexican. He enjoys using logic and critical thinking skills to solve math problems that relate to real world situations.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Put in the hard work. The effort you put in to your work is more important than the grades you receive.

Fun fact: He is a movie/TV “buff,” especially when it comes to animation.

Favorite number: He likes prime numbers because of how tricky they can make math problems. Even numbers are boring.

Math joke: ‘Pie are square’

Mel Moser, Lead Instructor

Mel received a degree in Mathematics from Saddleback college. Someday Mel would like to teach math at a community college. She enjoys hockey, math and hiking - in that order! Her favorite team is the San Jose Sharks. Her favorite thing about math is that when you know something is true in math, you know the truth is unassailable. Math doesn’t lie.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t give up and your ‘Aha!’ moment will come. It’s the best feeling in the world.

Fun fact: Mel has a giant Asian Water Monitor!

Favorite number: Tau. Because it simplifies trigonometry and because 6.28 is her birthday.

Math joke: One in every 3.14159653 Sailors are Pi-rates.

Omeed Aman, Instructor

Omeed studies Electrical Engineering at University of California, Irvine. He enjoys small electronics projects, reading about history, economics and politics and everything outdoors. Someday he’d like to work for an electric vehicle company. Omeed’s favorite thing about math is that math has the power to expand your critical thinking skills.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Math requires both patience and practice.

Fun fact: Omeed drives a truck! He enjoys off-roading in his Toyota Tacoma.

Favorite number: Infinity! Although it is not really a number, being able to grasp the concept of infinity mathematically is an important skill.

Math Joke: The problem with math puns is that calculus jokes are all derivative, trigonometry jokes are too graphic, algebra jokes are usually formulaic, and arithmetic jokes are pretty basic. But I guess the occasional statistics joke is an outlier.

 Victoria Cobos, Instructor

Victoria attends Orange Coast College. She enjoys photography, swimming, reading and all food! Her favorite sports team is Real Madrid for soccer. Victoria has tutored students in grades K through high school. Her favorite thing about math is that there is always a correct answer.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Never give up no matter how impossible a problem seems.

Fun fact: Victoria graduated high school at the age of 16!

Favorite number: 3. It was the month and time she was born (she was also born on the 30th, a 3-based number)

Math joke:

Q: Why don’t calculus majors throw house parties?

A: Because you should never drink and derive.

Esha Desai, Instructor

Esha attends Niguel High school and is passionate about math and science. Her dream is to work in the medical field and to be able to help in her community.  Esha enjoys reading and watching movies. She volunteers at the hospital and researches neurosurgery at UCI. Understanding the process of math and applying it to everyday life fascinates her!

Advice to Mathnasium students: Don’t give up. Hopefully, like her, the more you learn about math the more it will inspire you to keep learning.

Fun fact: Esha doesn’t like ice cream!

Favorite number: 0 because its properties are all so different.

Math joke: Why did the obtuse angle go to the beach? Because it was over 90 degrees!

Jaryd Dukes, Instructor

Jaryd currently attends Aliso Niguel High School. He plans to go on to university to study Aerospace Engineering and to someday work for an aerospace company. Jaryd runs Cross Country track and plays the violin, piano and guitar! His favorite thing abut math is that math is, for the most part, logical and that makes sense to him. It also challenges him to think critically and problem solve.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Take math seriously and master the concepts early. Math is an important life skill that will benefit them in the future.

Fun Fact: Jaryd’s mom is from Singapore and her family still lives there.

Favorite number: Pi because it is a very useful number and it is fun to memorize the infinite, non-repeating digits.

Math Joke: sqrt(-1)2^3 sum pi… and that was delicious!

Firooz Khosraviyani, Instructor

The last university Firooz attended was the University College of Wales in the UK where he earned a PhD. in Pure Mathematics. He enjoys gardening, games and learning about and discussing ancient history and different languages. What he likes best about math is it enables an individual to create a universe that the individual can be completely in control of.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Get into a habit to think for yourself. You were doing advanced mathematics at birth. You still can do so.

Fun fact: He comes across as too serious of a person.

Favorite number: 1 because it is the smallest positive integer. It is the abstract number that is used to define all else.

Math joke:

The novice mathematician, the engineer, the lawyer and the expert mathematician answering the question on 2 + 2.

And, What is the number of feet in a yard? That depends on the number of creatures in the yard and the number of feet each of them has.

Mike Tourchian, Instructor

Mike studies Biological Sciences and Neurobiology at the University of California, Irvine. He thinks it would be cool to be a Neurosurgeon one day. Mike enjoys playing soccer, drawing photography and listening to music. His favorite thing about math is its applicability and definitiveness. Plus, he’s good at math so that makes it fun to teach.

Advice to Mathnasium students: No matter what you may think, you can learn and be really good at math! All it takes is practice and some good instruction.

Fun Fact: Mike was born in Iran. He moved to America when he was 2 and Farsi was his first language.

Favorite number: Zero because there are so many ways to use it in upper math and it is very interesting to think about conceptually. 

Brandon Vu, Instructor

Brandon currently attends Aliso Niguel High School. He’s hoping to study Math in college. Brandon enjoys playing the guitar and piano and his favorite food is sushi. He enjoys taking the time to figure out a complex problem. Solving complex problems gives him a sense of satisfaction and success.

Advice to Mathnasium students: Push yourself to do the best you can, and you’ll realize all the things you can achieve.

Fun fact: He likes to have a late-night snack.

Favorite number: 2 because he was always the second player when he and his sister played games.

Math joke: What happened to the plant in math class? It grew square roots!

OwnerJ. Steve Santacruz, Owner

 Steve graduated from DePaul University from the Honors Accounting Program with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and later received his law degree from DePaul. One of Steve's main passions in life is teaching children. He has been a little league baseball coach since college and enjoys coaching his own two boys in baseball. Steve brings that passion to Mathnasium - hoping to influence and enrich the lives of children through nurturing a passion and appreciation for math. Most students simply need more focused instruction in order to excel. "The Mathnasium method achieves this and much more, due to the richness and breadth of the Mathnasium curriculum. It is the ideal adjunct for a student?s daily classroom instruction, whether the child is struggling or advanced." Through Mathnasium, Steve is excited about being able to teach math to children in a way that makes sense to them. He also looks forward to teaching children the importance of strong study skills, which will serve them in subjects beyond math as they make their way through high school and on to college. Steve and his wife, Karen, are busy raising two sons, Austin and Dylan. They look forward to serving your family!

OwnerKaren Santacruz, Owner

 Karen graduated from Western Illinois University with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education with an emphasis in Athletic Training. She has a Master of Science from Northeastern Illinois University in Exercise Science and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Before starting a family Karen worked as an Athletic Trainer for Illinois Sportsmedicine and Addison Trail High School. She then taught physical education and was the Head Athletic Trainer at Stevenson High School. While raising their two boys Karen has taught PE part-time, coaches her sons' sports teams, is a substitute teacher, and volunteers her time in boy scouting and at St. Joseph school. Karen loves working with children, and is excited about opening Mathnasium!! She has always been a strong advocate for developing fitness in children, and knows how important math skills are to the overall educational development of a child. "I've always been a firm believer in teaching kids in a way they can understand. This allows for a love of learning whatever the subject!! The Mathnasium method does this so well, and allows kids to "work out" their minds!"

Center Director & Owner

Betty Wang, Director of Operations

Betty graduated from New Trier High School and obtained her Bachelor of Science from Northwestern University in Biomechanical Engineering. Mathnasium's philosophy on learning and teaching resonated with Betty's belief that learning is at its best when it occurs in a nurturing environment where students can cast aside their fear and frustration. "Mathnasium offers an unique learning environment and individualized learning plans to helps students make sense of Math. It really makes math fun!"

Sam Larimer, Director of Training/Operations Associate

 Sam hails from northwest Indiana, where he completed his B.S. in Mathematics and minor in Civil Engineering at Purdue University Calumet. His interests vary all over the spectrum, from the great outdoors to an engrossing role-playing game to rooting for the Cubbies, Bears & Blackhawks. Most of all, though, his adoration for math has led him to pursue interests in actuarial science and statistics. New to the North Shore, he is excited to help Mathnasium students break into the puzzle-solving world of math that he’s enjoyed his entire life.