Our staff is built to teach each student individually, to develop the skills they need to thrive in mathematics, and to foster a love of learning.

Diego Mateo

Assistant Center Director
Hi, my name is Diego Mateo. I am an assistant center director at Mathnasium of Culver City. I go to Santa Monica College and am studying Economics with a minor in Accounting. I enjoy bodybuilding, listening to music, and long drives. Before becoming an Assistant Center Director, I was an instructor. I enjoyed my position as an instructor because I got to work with kids with all types of personalities and characteristics which kept the job fun and fresh. Now that I'm an Assistant Center Director, I relish the adrenaline from being quick on my feet to make sure every aspect of the center runs smoothly. I love my position because I get to exercise some of my core virtues every day like leadership, responsibility, teamwork, and communication. I am very proud to work in an esteemed environment full of bright people and youthful students here at Mathnasium!

Mayra Ornelas

Assistant Center Director
Hi, my name is Mayra. I graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Science in Psychobiology. I enjoy listening to music, watching baseball (Go Dodgers), and spending time with my family and friends. I like working at Mathnasium because I enjoy helping students understand math, one of my favorite subjects. I especially like seeing how happy students are when they finally understand a difficult concept.

Mel Strom

My name is Mel. I’ve devoted most of my adult life to teaching and researching natural language – Russian, Russian linguistics, literature, and history. But early on, while struggling with the early stages of dissertation research at UCLA, I spent a few years teaching math, physics, and computers at Brentwood School, here in Los Angeles. That itself was not so far out of character, however, as my first love, in school and university, was and still is physics. Now I find myself returning to mathematics, the language of natural science, and I find I never really left it. The joy of doing mathematics with my grandchildren in recent years led me to getting the opportunity to do so here at Mathnasium, too.

Maren Brown

Hi! My name is Maren, and I’m currently a senior at Culver City High School. I love to play soccer and read, and in my free time I enjoy working as an intern at our local Culver City Historical Society! I have been volunteering as a peer tutor at CCHS this past year (and will continue to do so this coming school year), and I am also a tutor and the Mathematics Curriculum Director for a student-run nonprofit called One Step Ahead. I have always loved helping others, which is why I was drawn to working at Mathnasium. One of my favorite things to experience is supporting others on their lifelong journey of learning, and hopefully providing some clarity on an area/subject they may struggle with.

Sihan Guo

Hey there, I'm Sihan, and I'm proud to be part of the Mathnasium team! I am attending Culver City High School and will graduate this year. Among all the subjects, Physics is my passion—I aced AP Physics last year with a perfect score of 5, and I even took on MIT's online Fluid Dynamics course to dive even deeper into the subject. But I'm not just about academics! I'm also the President of the MESA club and the Asian Culture Union at school, where I love bringing people together and creating a positive community. What I enjoy most about working at Mathnasium is the chance to connect with all kinds of kids. It's incredibly rewarding to see them grow and improve in math with our guidance. I consider myself more of a friend than just a teacher—I love chatting with them about anything and everything. Building these relationships and being part of their learning journey is what makes being a Mathnasium tutor so special to me.

Rachel Tiet

Hi! My name is Rachel. I am a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts Global for a teaching credential in life science and a Master of Arts in Teaching. I’ve always loved math and science, and I want to push the boundaries of teaching these subjects so that they can be more accessible to all students. I love working with the students at Mathnasium, and I’m always glad to help students find which learning strategies work best for them. In my free time, I enjoy playing video games with my family and playing with our dog.

Shriya De

Hi, my name is Shriya! I'm currently going into my sophomore year at Santa Monica College as a math major. Math has always been a subject I've enjoyed throughout my life and academic career, but I really fell in love with math in my second year of high school thanks to an amazing teacher I had. I hope to instill that passion for math in the students I work with by showing them the intuition behind mathematical concepts, and helping them make connections with the knowledge and understanding they already have. When I'm not in school or at Mathnasium, I can be found in a dance studio, singing, listening to music, or trying to teach myself a new language. I'm so proud to be a part of the Mathnasium team, and I'm looking forward to working with even more wonderful students!

Sam Gerstmann

Hi! My name is Sam Gerstmann, and I'm a junior at UCLA studying Linguistics and Computer Science. I transferred to UCLA from Santa Monica College, where I started out as a political science major - I wanted nothing to do with math! However, I fell in love with mathematics during my calculus classes, and ended up graduating with an associate’s degree in Mathematics. I joined Mathnasium because I wanted to share that passion with students like me and show them the beauty of math too. Outside of Mathnasium, I like to code, learn languages, spend time with my friends, and stay active by working out, rock climbing, and skiing.

Michelle Zhou

Hi, I'm Michelle Zhou, and I'm currently attending UCLA for my bachelor's in molecular biology. I've always found math as a challenging subject, so I hope to make a difficult subject more digestible for students at Mathnasium. It is exceptionally rewarding to see their progress and love for math grow. When I'm not doing math problems, I love to watch musicals, suspense films, and occasionally draw some detailed stick figures. My proudest achievement at Mathnasium is learning to write numbers backwards!

Oliver Lahe

Hi my name is Oliver and I’m currently in my first year at SMC. I plan to transfer to a 4-year university majoring in Mechanical Engineering. In my free time I enjoy playing soccer, hanging out with friends, playing video games, listening to music, and watching tv/movies. I know the frustration of math not making sense, but I also know how rewarding it feels when you finally figure it out. I would like to help kids experience the same satisfaction, as well as assist them in building a strong base in math as they move into higher classes

Our Mathnasium Mission

Teach children math so they understand it, master it, and love it. Math can change their lives, and they can change the world.

What I love about Mathnasium is the ability to teach problem-solving skills and make math make sense, while also making a student smile.
Amber W., Mathnasium Instructor

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