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.

Holly Thomas

Lead Instructor
I was raised mostly in San Diego, though with parents from Britain and family all over the country, I am familiar with differing culture norms and traditions. I graduated with a Bachelor's in Astrophysics from UC Santa Cruz, and my ultimate goal is to one day work for NASA as an astronaut! I love all things science fiction and space, though I do enjoy a good bit of fantasy as well. I enjoy playing video games, art, and building Lego in my free time. Math has become a recent appreciation of mine, and I look forward to helping kids learn to appreciate it as I now do! Favorite Number: One, because "One is better than none"! Favorite Math Joke: Which snakes are good at math? Adders! In 5 years, I will be: Pursuing a career in physics and technology. I love Mathnasium because: I love being able to help students learn and grow in a subject that was difficult for me in school!

James Walrath

Lead Instructor
I am a student at USD studying electrical engineering. I've lived in San Diego my whole life and hopefully will continue to. In my free time, I love to play volleyball, MTB, and hanging out with my friends and family. Favorite Number: My favorite number has to be e¹ because of how often it pops up everywhere! Sine, cosine, your money's interest, and imaginary numbers all rely on this crazy number Favorite Math Joke: What do you call a mathematician who spent all summer at the beach? A tan gent. In 5 years, I will be: Hopefully still pursuing a career in electrical engineering I love Mathnasium because ... watching a student slowly become confident in a topic from day to day reminds me of how much of an impact we are having.

Kellie Formanek

Lead Instructor
I am Junior as San Diego State University studying music education. I've been living in San Diego my whole life. I enjoy playing the cello and cross-stitching in my free time. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 28 because it's my birthday number. Favorite Math Joke: Why was algebra so easy for the Romans? Because X always equals 10! In five years, I will be: Graduated from SDSU and teaching kids about music. I love Mathnasium because: I can teach effectively to students and make a difference in their lives.

Miranda Halverson

Lead Instructor
Although I am a San Diego native, I have studied Neuroscience in New York, worked in a laboratory in London, toured the country in a two-person production of A Christmas Carol, taught theater for Disney in Beijing, trained exotic animals in Seattle, even worked in a Mathnasium in Honolulu! Currently I am obtaining a Master's in Conservation at the San Diego Zoo. And guess what all these things have in common? Math! But feel free to ask me about almost anything. Favorite Number: Pi, because it has the best holiday. Favorite Math Joke: i says to pi: Be rational! pi says to i: Get real! In five years, I will be: Operating an outreach program to educate children about the awesomeness of opossums. I love Mathnasium because: The curriculum opens kids' eyes to how cool and useful their least favorite (often) subject can be. Math and opossums have a lot in common.

Pearce Moffat

Lead Instructor
Born and raised in San Diego. In my free time I enjoy badminton, video gaming, and building exquisite sand castles at the beach. Favorite Number: 11 because it is the only 2 digit prime palindrome. Favorite Math Joke: Why is the obtuse triangle always so frustrated? Because it's never right! In five years, I will be: Still learning new things about math. I love Mathnasium because: The team is dedicated to helping children boost their confidence in their own mathematical abilities.

Sam Wright

Lead Instructor
I'm an undergraduate student at UCSD studying Math and Economics. When I'm not working or in class, I love to play board games, spend time with friends, reading, and going on runs in different parts of San Diego. Favorite Number: 3. It's just a great number. Favorite Math Joke: You should never start a conversation with Pi. It'll just go on forever. In 5 years, I will be: Graduated from UCSD and hopefully working in data science. Hopefully I'll still be in San Diego, too! I love Mathnasium because: I love to see students master the skills so fundamental to success in so many fields later in their lives.

Alexandra Ricasata

Instructor
I study linguistics at UCSD, and hope to become a researcher in the future. Comparative linguistics is one of my favorite subfields, and it's really cool how solving its puzzles feels like doing a fun algebra problem. In my free time I like to draw, cook, and play games. Favorite Number: Pi, because I have good memories of racing against a friend to memorize over 400 digits of it back in highschool. Favorite Math Joke: Why can't Pinocchio's nose be 12 inches long? Because then it would be a foot. In 5 years, I will be: Pursuing a graduate degree in linguistics. I love Mathnasium because: It's really fun watching kids enjoy math, and I love helping them learn to love it!

Andrej Kascak

Instructor
I am currently studying physics and applied math, and I hope to transfer to UCSD next fall. I also like to read; go hiking; study math and physics; play soccer, video games, and the drums in my free time. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 13, because it is prime and my lucky number. Favorite Math Joke: A topologist is a mathematician who can't tell the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut. In 5 years, I will be: In the middle of working on my master's or Ph.D. in astrophysics or applied math. I love Mathnasium because: Helping students learn math skills not only improves their academic career, but also improves their problem solving skills in life as a whole, and Mathnasium teaches these skills in a wonderful way. Also seeing the look on a student's face as a topic that they have been struggling with clicks is extremely motivating.

Brooke Brown

Instructor
I am born and raised in San Diego and started going to Mathnasium at a a young age. Now, I am entering my senior year of high school but I have been working at Mathnasium since my sophmore year. When I am not working, I like to crochet and read. I also love going out to eat with family and friends. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 5 because it reminds me of my sister. She played softball at UCSD and that was her number since she was 6. Favorite Math Joke: Why are bacteria bad at math? They multiply by dividing! In 5 years, I will be: In college studying Child Development! I love Mathnasium because: students gain confidence in math but also themselves. It's more than just math tutoring; it lets kids develop emotionally and socially while learning.

Daniel Wendt

Instructor
I am a graduate student at SDSU. I study medical physics, which is the study of killing cancer with lasers. I enjoy a wide variety of movies, including Shrek and Shrek 2. I also enjoy swimming in the ocean. Favorite Number: 808,017,424,794,512,875,886,459,904,961,710,757,005,754,368,000,000,000. It's a monster! Favorite Math Joke: "Hey Patrick, I thought of something funnier than twenty-four... 25!"- Spongebob Squarepants In 5 years, I will be: Working as a medical physicist I love Mathnasium because: I love talking with everybody about numbers.

Lance Abbott

Instructor
I'm a former High School Math Teacher, and now an actual Mathematician. Aside from Mathnasium, I do the number work for big companies. In my spare time, I paint and play video games. Favorite Number and why? Graham's Number. It's a mind-blowingly huge number that most people can understand, and it's actually used in graph theory. Favorite Math Joke: i said be rational, but e retorted with get real. In 5 years, I will be... a PHD student. I love Mathnasium because ... there's nothing so beautiful and explorative that anyone can journey into without leaving their desk.

Naia Gonzalez Alanis

Instructor
I’m from Mexico but I grew up in San Diego; something that has helped me greatly appreciate the beauty of it. I’m currently on my last year of high school, and throughout the years I’ve found that my strengths lie in math. Outside of work and school, I like to be outside roller skating, hiking, or going to the beach. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 4. I’ve stuck with it since I was a kid, especially since its my birth month, plus I like the look of it. Favorite Math Joke: Did you hear about the mathematician who is afraid of negative numbers? He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them! In 5 years, I will be: Hopefully graduated from college, going into an environmental science or engineering career. But most importantly, doing some good for the world! I love Mathnasium because: It is such a welcoming environment where so many students are excited to learn. And the way we teach really allows them to understand the reasoning behind the math so they can gain independence.

Natalia Roberts

Instructor
I am a senior in high school this year and math has always been one of my favorite subjects. I’ve participated in a few sports including rugby and color guard, but currently, I’ve been enjoying my time weightlifting. I plan on staying in California for college and studying sports psychology. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 4. The fourth is the day of my birthday, my brother’s birthday, and my favorite cousin’s birthday so I’ve always seen it as kind of a lucky number. Favorite Math Joke: Why shouldn’t you ever argue with a 90-degree angle? They’re always right! In 5 years, I will be: I will have an undergraduate degree and will begin grad school. I love Mathnasium because: Mathnasium allows math to be looked at as more than just equations and facts to memorize. The curriculum provided allows students to get a better understanding of the “why?” behind problems which allows them to utilize certain techniques that are not traditionally taught. Even as a high schooler the Mathnasium training has taught me some things about math that I hadn’t realized before.

Natalie Truesdell

Instructor
I was born in the Midwest, but I grew up in San Diego. I study Business Economics at UCSD and hope to one day go to law school. I love to read, and in my off time you can usually find me at the beach with a good book, trying out new cafes with friends, and listening to as much music as possible. Favorite Number: 55 because that was my younger brother's favorite number when he was little, and he used to say it in a really funny way. Favorite Math Joke: What do you call a magician who is good at calculus? A mathmagician. In 5 years, I will be: Graduated from UCSD and attending law school. I love Mathnasium because: It's fun to see students gain confidence in math and reach that "Aha" moment.

Ray Ruhman

Instructor
I grew up here in San Diego so naturally I'm a huge Padres fan and I have to admit that I'm still a fan of the Chargers even though it still hurts that they left! I also love chess and the occasional tennis match. It's really a beautiful thing when playing a tennis game feels like playing a chess game and vice-versa. The two games are so different yet have so much in common it always amazes me. I became interested in math when I was introduced to the concept of imaginary numbers and my fascination grew from there. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 8 because it's always been my lucky number and I can remember as a very young child learning to write numbers and thinking that it was the coolest one. Favorite Math Joke: A statistician almost drowned while attempting to cross a river. By his calculations it was three feet deep on average. In five years, I will be: A better chess player! I love Mathnasium because: It's a great environment that illustrates how fascinating (and useful) mathematics is. Helping others uncover some of the mysteries of math is extremely rewarding.

Ryan Roque

Instructor
I grew up in San Diego, but I moved to Salem, Oregon for my 4 years of high school. I have always loved math since I was young and I also have always enjoyed helping my friends whenever they were struggling in their math classes. Since those days I would help tutor my friends I've wanted to be a math teacher, and now I have the perfect job to help me achieve my dream of being a great math teacher. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 7 because it looks cool and its multiples are pretty weird. Favorite Math Joke: Why was 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9. In 5 years, I will be: A high school math teacher. I love Mathnasium because: I get to work with fun students and get good practice for my future career.

Steffon Vance

Instructor
I was born and raised here in San Diego. I'm currently studying electrical engineering at San Diego City College and planning to transfer to a UC once I've got my Associate's Degree. When I've got free time I like to read and play video games. Favorite Number: My favorite number is 47, for the mashup of 4, a nice even number to divide things by, and lucky number 7 (also coincidentally half of my sister's favorite, 94). Favorite Math Joke: There are 3 kinds of people in this world: those that can count and those that can't. In 5 years, I will be: Graduated from a UC and pursuing a career in electrical engineering. I love Mathnasium because: It's a cool place where I can help teach kids to get past the negative stigma around math and enjoy it for the incredibly engaging and useful tool it is.

Thomas Shaffer

Instructor
I'm a San Diego native who moved back down after graduating from UC Berkeley in 2021. I like staying active on my free time either working out or playing sports like basketball or tennis. Favorite Number: 2.71828... because it appears in almost every field you can think of. Whether it's biology, finance, physics, or even your favorite casino game. It always finds it way into the picture! Favorite Math Joke: Do you know what’s odd? Every other number! In 5 years, I will be: Still trying to figure out what I will be in 5 years. I love Mathnasium because: It helps students build foundational skills for one of the most scary and misrepresented subjects in school. Teaching kids that they have the ability to understand and excel at something so terrifying will not only help them in school, but hopefully in other challenges they face throughout their life.

Travis Nielsen

Instructor
I love math and music. Jazz and math rock are my favorite genres of music. Topology and Optimization were especially interesting while I earned my math degree. Favorite Number: 5/4. It’s a really special music signature that many jazz standards are based off of. Favorite Math Joke: Negative. In five years, I will be: Helping math become understandable to a new generation in my classroom and at Mathnasium. I love Mathnasium because: Mathnasium brings students to central location to focus on math. This gets them out of their comfort zone and helps them build motivation both in success, but also in during their rough times.

Tsion-Aduesa Smart

Instructor
On the day to day I’m studying for university and in my spare time I enjoy drawing and designing outfits and characters, listening to music, reading books, and playing volleyball. I’ve always loved math, it allows me to be creative in finding different solutions for the answer! Favorite Number: My favourite number is 2 because it is simply the most perfect and equal number. Halves are a necessity for everything. It's also kind of responsible for the concept of whether things are even or odd. Favorite Math Joke: There are 10 kinds of people - those who understand binary, those who don't, and those who weren't expecting ternary In 5 years, I will be: In five years I will be finishing a Masters in Statistics and Probability, and maybe continuing to teach math as well. I love Mathnasium because: I love Mathnasium because it allows me to bring back the joy of math in people's lives

Warner Beavers

Instructor

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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