The Think Tank

Everyone knows “the good teachers” at their school — the ones who really get it, who know and cares about their students, and who put them on track for success. “The good teachers” are the only ones we hire.

Q

Matt Miklius, PhD

Founder, Owner and Director of Education

 

Matt Miklius started tutoring long, long ago. The proof is in his 8th-grade graduation signature book, where numerous students thanked him for “helping me pass math class this year!” Similar gratitude was shared by his high school classmates, who thanked him for hosting countless math and physics tutoring sessions before school in the science lab. Indeed, his passion for teaching runs deep.

To date, Dr. Miklius has devoted more than 25,000 hours to one-on-one and small-group tutoring in his 15-year career. He has prepared students for the entire alphabet of standardized tests: ACT, SAT, HSPT, GRE, GMAT, and even OAT and DAT. His academic specialties include Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Analytical Writing.

Considered by many to be the most sought-after instructor in the North- and Northwest-Chicago suburbs, Dr. Miklius has served clients locally and remotely, helping his students achieve excellence at every academic level. In addition to his time with clients, Dr. Miklius develops all educational curricula and personally directs all new- and veteran-tutor training at The Think Tank — provided that he has achieved adequate coffee intake for the day.

Dr. Miklius has achieved academic success at every level, earning the honors of Valedictorian at Saint Viator High School (2002), Valedictorian at Seton Hall University (BS in Physics, 2006), a masters in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University (2007), and a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University (2011). Dr. Miklius was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University before launching his full-time tutoring career, which ultimately led to his founding The Think Tank.

Dr. Miklius lives in Kingwood, Texas with his wife, Susie, and his five favorite students: Isabelle (9), Cecilia (7), Judah (5), Eli(2), and Noelle (<1).

Favorite Educational Quote: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

— Plutarch

Matt Miklius, PHD
Q

Matt Miklius, PhD

Founder, Owner and Director of Education

 

Matt Miklius started tutoring long, long ago. The proof is in his 8th-grade graduation signature book, where numerous students thanked him for “helping me pass math class this year!” Similar gratitude was shared by his high school classmates, who thanked him for hosting countless math and physics tutoring sessions before school in the science lab. Indeed, his passion for teaching runs deep.

To date, Dr. Miklius has devoted more than 25,000 hours to one-on-one and small-group tutoring in his 15-year career. He has prepared students for the entire alphabet of standardized tests: ACT, SAT, HSPT, GRE, GMAT, and even OAT and DAT. His academic specialties include Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Analytical Writing.

Considered by many to be the most sought-after instructor in the North- and Northwest-Chicago suburbs, Dr. Miklius has served clients locally and remotely, helping his students achieve excellence at every academic level. In addition to his time with clients, Dr. Miklius develops all educational curricula and personally directs all new- and veteran-tutor training at The Think Tank — provided that he has achieved adequate coffee intake for the day.

Dr. Miklius has achieved academic success at every level, earning the honors of Valedictorian at Saint Viator High School (2002), Valedictorian at Seton Hall University (BS in Physics, 2006), a masters in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University (2007), and a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University (2011). Dr. Miklius was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University before launching his full-time tutoring career, which ultimately led to his founding The Think Tank.

Dr. Miklius lives in Kingwood, Texas with his wife, Susie, and his five favorite students: Isabelle (9), Cecilia (7), Judah (5), Eli(2), and Noelle (<1).

Favorite Educational Quote: “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”

— Plutarch

Q

Angela Sparacino

Director of Student Relations

 

Angela brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to The Think Tank team as the Director of Student Relations. A Buffalo Grove High School alum, and a Mom to 3 recent Buffalo Grove graduates, Angela knows the Northwest Suburban school systems like few others do! What's more, she's the proud Mom of two recent college graduates, so she helps Think Tank families (and tutors!) navigate ins and outs of applications, admissions, scholarships, and the cornucopia of college conundrums. She's parlayed all that experience into a role at The Think Tank as an invaluable part of our team.

When she's not busy managing student and parent relationships at The Think Tank, you'll find Angela enjoying time with her husband Joe, spending nights out with family and friends (she knows *all* the best restaurants), or crafting the most impressive care packages for her out-of-state son and daughter.

 

 

Mary Hussey
Q

Angela Sparacino

Director of Student Relations

 

Angela brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to The Think Tank team as the Director of Student Relations. A Buffalo Grove High School alum, and a Mom to 3 recent Buffalo Grove graduates, Angela knows the Northwest Suburban school systems like few others do! What's more, she's the proud Mom of two recent college graduates, so she helps Think Tank families (and tutors!) navigate ins and outs of applications, admissions, scholarships, and the cornucopia of college conundrums. She's parlayed all that experience into a role at The Think Tank as an invaluable part of our team.

When she's not busy managing student and parent relationships at The Think Tank, you'll find Angela enjoying time with her husband Joe, spending nights out with family and friends (she knows *all* the best restaurants), or crafting the most impressive care packages for her out-of-state son and daughter.

 

 

Q

Michael Knickrehm, MBA

Co-Owner and Director of Operations

 

Michael spent his early years as an educational nomad, absorbing different cultures’ academic approaches and philosophies. From Los Angeles to Perth, Australia and Xiamen, China, Michael experienced the best (and worst) of schools from literally all around the world. Finally deciding to settle in California, Michael earned his degree (with Honors, of course) in Marketing, adding a minor in Economics. But that wasn’t enough for him: he pursued a Masters in Business graduating Summa Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University. That was where Michael’s passion for education and entrepreneurship was first ignited.

In his career, he has seen success in myriad fields. But whether in teaching ESL and honors classes, producing films, publishing his own research, analyzing financials for international corporations, or managing global accounts for a Fortune-100 company, Michael has codified and embraced a philosophy that he’s brought to The Think Tank: 

Hardship breeds character, change produces adaptability, and true education yields an understanding of your greater purpose in the world — which is everything to living a fulfilled life!

In late 2021 Michael decided to leave his corporate career to begin a life aimed at fostering the success of the next generation. At the Think Tank, he is fully dedicated to focus on aiding those in pursuit of higher education — to help inspire their growth and realize their full potential.

 

Christopher Miklius
Q

Michael Knickrehm, MBA

Co-Owner and Director of Operations

 

Michael spent his early years as an educational nomad, absorbing different cultures’ academic approaches and philosophies. From Los Angeles to Perth, Australia and Xiamen, China, Michael experienced the best (and worst) of schools from literally all around the world. Finally deciding to settle in California, Michael earned his degree (with Honors, of course) in Marketing, adding a minor in Economics. But that wasn’t enough for him: he pursued a Masters in Business graduating Summa Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University. That was where Michael’s passion for education and entrepreneurship was first ignited.

In his career, he has seen success in myriad fields. But whether in teaching ESL and honors classes, producing films, publishing his own research, analyzing financials for international corporations, or managing global accounts for a Fortune-100 company, Michael has codified and embraced a philosophy that he’s brought to The Think Tank: 

Hardship breeds character, change produces adaptability, and true education yields an understanding of your greater purpose in the world — which is everything to living a fulfilled life!

In late 2021 Michael decided to leave his corporate career to begin a life aimed at fostering the success of the next generation. At the Think Tank, he is fully dedicated to focus on aiding those in pursuit of higher education — to help inspire their growth and realize their full potential.

 

Q

Theresa Imlach

Director of Media

 

Theresa spent her early years traveling across the world, living in such places as Los Angeles, California, Anchorage, Alaska and Perth, Australia. Theresa’s adventures stoked her passion for television production and filmmaking. As such, she attended Film School at Loyola Marymount University, noted as one of the Top 10 in the country. There she graduated with a degree in Media Production and Screenwriting.

Immediately out of school, Theresa landed a role as a production coordinator for Entertainment Tonight. As part of her job, she attended The Academy Awards, The Emmys, The People Choice Awards and many more where she worked with producers and celebrities. She left Entertainment Tonight in 2006 to pursue her dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker in Alaska.

In Anchorage, Theresa began working as the General Manager of a local TV station where she oversaw programming, TV ad development and film production. During this time she wrote, produced, directed and edited a number of television commercials. Theresa was honored twice by the Alaska Broadcasting Association as creating top content, winning the coveted Goldie Award. She also met the love of her life there and is now married with 3 beautiful children.

In her last role, Theresa was an editor and videographer for Upper One Studios, the company that also happened to create our new webpage. In this job she produced and edited multi-media content for such clients as The American Heart Association and The Alaska Chamber of Commerce. In her free time Theresa can be found working on one of her many scripts, relaxing on the editing board, watching movies with her kids, and working out at the gym.

 

Theresa Imlach
Q

Theresa Imlach

Director of Media

 

Theresa spent her early years traveling across the world, living in such places as Los Angeles, California, Anchorage, Alaska and Perth, Australia. Theresa’s adventures stoked her passion for television production and filmmaking. As such, she attended Film School at Loyola Marymount University, noted as one of the Top 10 in the country. There she graduated with a degree in Media Production and Screenwriting.

Immediately out of school, Theresa landed a role as a production coordinator for Entertainment Tonight. As part of her job, she attended The Academy Awards, The Emmys, The People Choice Awards and many more where she worked with producers and celebrities. She left Entertainment Tonight in 2006 to pursue her dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker in Alaska.

In Anchorage, Theresa began working as the General Manager of a local TV station where she oversaw programming, TV ad development and film production. During this time she wrote, produced, directed and edited a number of television commercials. Theresa was honored twice by the Alaska Broadcasting Association as creating top content, winning the coveted Goldie Award. She also met the love of her life there and is now married with 3 beautiful children.

In her last role, Theresa was an editor and videographer for Upper One Studios, the company that also happened to create our new webpage. In this job she produced and edited multi-media content for such clients as The American Heart Association and The Alaska Chamber of Commerce. In her free time Theresa can be found working on one of her many scripts, relaxing on the editing board, watching movies with her kids, and working out at the gym.

 

Q

Mary Hussey

 

Mary grew up in Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove High School, where she had her first “official" baptism into education by working as a volunteer tutor. She has been passionate about tutoring ever since! Following high school, she pursued her Bachelor's degree at Carthage College where she graduated summa cum laude with a math major and computer science minor.

While at Carthage Mary maintained three jobs, including one as a supplemental instructor for gifted mathematics. This was a pivotal experience, which further developed her passion for helping others. It drove her to teach students how to problem solve and inspired her to find innovative ways of communicating math concepts, knowing every student is unique.

But Mary is unique among Mathematicians — she also has a vibrant artistic and creative streak. She loves theatre – performing, directing, watching, or overanalyzing it – and is always up for discussing it. She is regularly learning new skills; her most recent projects include building a bed frame, crocheting, and learning to sew. She believes everyone has the potential for success, and the key is investing the time and energy to find their optimum path.

Mary Hussey
Q

Mary Hussey

 

Mary grew up in Arlington Heights and Buffalo Grove High School, where she had her first “official" baptism into education by working as a volunteer tutor. She has been passionate about tutoring ever since! Following high school, she pursued her Bachelor's degree at Carthage College where she graduated summa cum laude with a math major and computer science minor.

While at Carthage Mary maintained three jobs, including one as a supplemental instructor for gifted mathematics. This was a pivotal experience, which further developed her passion for helping others. It drove her to teach students how to problem solve and inspired her to find innovative ways of communicating math concepts, knowing every student is unique.

But Mary is unique among Mathematicians — she also has a vibrant artistic and creative streak. She loves theatre – performing, directing, watching, or overanalyzing it – and is always up for discussing it. She is regularly learning new skills; her most recent projects include building a bed frame, crocheting, and learning to sew. She believes everyone has the potential for success, and the key is investing the time and energy to find their optimum path.

Q

Christopher Miklius

 

Chris Miklius is an Illinois born tech geek who specializes in Mathematics and Computer Science. Chris excelled academically in high school developing a love for tutoring along the way, as he helped fellow students with their academic work.

When it came time for college, Chris attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where he was awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship for academic achievement and excellence. During his time at Seton Hall, Chris honed his problem solving skills and developed a heightened appreciation for computational Mathematics and its practical applications. As an undergraduate, Chris was recruited to teach in the campus Math Lab, where he was a highly sought after lifeline for struggling students.

After finishing college, Chris went to school once again — this time at Dev Bootcamp, a private training program for aspiring web-developers. It proved to be exactly the outlet he was looking for: he fulfilled his desire to problem solve and his appreciation for tangible, measurable results.

In his free time Chris enjoys all things tech and media, be it computers, video games, movies, anime, or superhero fanfare. So if you’re ever wondering about the next big Zelda game or the latest episode of My Hero Academia, ask Chris: he undoubtedly has some thoughts on the matter.

Christopher Miklius
Q

Christopher Miklius

 

Chris Miklius is an Illinois born tech geek who specializes in Mathematics and Computer Science. Chris excelled academically in high school developing a love for tutoring along the way, as he helped fellow students with their academic work.

When it came time for college, Chris attended Seton Hall University in New Jersey, where he was awarded the Chancellor’s Scholarship for academic achievement and excellence. During his time at Seton Hall, Chris honed his problem solving skills and developed a heightened appreciation for computational Mathematics and its practical applications. As an undergraduate, Chris was recruited to teach in the campus Math Lab, where he was a highly sought after lifeline for struggling students.

After finishing college, Chris went to school once again — this time at Dev Bootcamp, a private training program for aspiring web-developers. It proved to be exactly the outlet he was looking for: he fulfilled his desire to problem solve and his appreciation for tangible, measurable results.

In his free time Chris enjoys all things tech and media, be it computers, video games, movies, anime, or superhero fanfare. So if you’re ever wondering about the next big Zelda game or the latest episode of My Hero Academia, ask Chris: he undoubtedly has some thoughts on the matter.

Q

Nate Brown

 

Nate was born in Arlington Heights where he attended St. James and St. Viator High School before going off to Northwestern University. There he received his BA in English Literature while garnering a Certificate of Entrepreneurship. When studying, Nate developed a passion for teaching and leading others. He aligns himself with the leadership style of Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, who believed that treating people well and emphasizing their individual growth will always lead to a group’s overall success.

Nate got his start in tutoring and mentoring through a program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The program helped students with their transition to college. He finds that being someone who makes the college admissions process easier — be its testing or essay writing — is incredibly rewarding.

With his free time, you can find Nate specializing in craft coffees and carpentry, jamming to Led Zeppelin. In addition to becoming a positive force in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders, one day he wants to build his own wooden boat and run his very own restaurant.

Nate Brown
Q

Nate Brown

 

Nate was born in Arlington Heights where he attended St. James and St. Viator High School before going off to Northwestern University. There he received his BA in English Literature while garnering a Certificate of Entrepreneurship. When studying, Nate developed a passion for teaching and leading others. He aligns himself with the leadership style of Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, who believed that treating people well and emphasizing their individual growth will always lead to a group’s overall success.

Nate got his start in tutoring and mentoring through a program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The program helped students with their transition to college. He finds that being someone who makes the college admissions process easier — be its testing or essay writing — is incredibly rewarding.

With his free time, you can find Nate specializing in craft coffees and carpentry, jamming to Led Zeppelin. In addition to becoming a positive force in the lives of tomorrow’s leaders, one day he wants to build his own wooden boat and run his very own restaurant.

Q

Angie Wang

 

Angie is a graduate student working towards her PhD in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA with low-income immigrant parents before attending Brown University at 16. There she discovered the joys of math education through heavy involvement in her school's undergraduate teaching program. At Northwestern, she spearheads a bi-annual applied math outreach program for local high schools, manages a department student seminar, and works as an instructor for the Northwestern Ballroom Team. Other recent achievements include being three-time winner of the "Best Looking Pie" Pi Day contest, finishing second to last in her first running race (but finished nonetheless!), and adopting a diva cat.

Her hobbies include competitive ballroom dancing, distance running, and participating in an online daily art community since 2016. Some say neurotic, some say diligent. Tomayto, tomahto.

Angie Wang
Q

Angie Wang

 

Angie is a graduate student working towards her PhD in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University. She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA with low-income immigrant parents before attending Brown University at 16. There she discovered the joys of math education through heavy involvement in her school's undergraduate teaching program. At Northwestern, she spearheads a bi-annual applied math outreach program for local high schools, manages a department student seminar, and works as an instructor for the Northwestern Ballroom Team. Other recent achievements include being three-time winner of the "Best Looking Pie" Pi Day contest, finishing second to last in her first running race (but finished nonetheless!), and adopting a diva cat.

Her hobbies include competitive ballroom dancing, distance running, and participating in an online daily art community since 2016. Some say neurotic, some say diligent. Tomayto, tomahto.

Q

Lizzy Sullivan

 

Lizzy moved to Chicagoland with plans to earn her Bachelors degree and then relocate somewhere warmer. But between the 43 different coffee shops she frequented and the amazing people she met, she has decided to make Chicagoland her home!  What’s more, Lizzy loves traveling the world, so she sees Chicagoland as a perfect launching pad—literally for herself (thanks, O’Hare), and figuratively for her students as they discover their interests and plan for college and beyond.

Lizzy is quite the renaissance woman, having earned a degree with Highest Honors in Ancient Near-Eastern Literature while studying Psychology, Graphic Design, and Philosophy. And she has spend 6 years working in creative arts and academic tutoring. Further, she has visited or lived in 18 countries, can read and write Arabic and Ancient Hebrew, and is teaching herself how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. It should come as no surprise that she teaches a wide range of topics, from math and science to executive functioning and study skills.

When she isn’t geeking out over ancient languages you’ll likely find Lizzy walking her adorable rescue dog, creating art, or hunting down that 44th coffee shop.

Lizzy Sullivan
Q

Lizzy Sullivan

 

Lizzy moved to Chicagoland with plans to earn her Bachelors degree and then relocate somewhere warmer. But between the 43 different coffee shops she frequented and the amazing people she met, she has decided to make Chicagoland her home!  What’s more, Lizzy loves traveling the world, so she sees Chicagoland as a perfect launching pad—literally for herself (thanks, O’Hare), and figuratively for her students as they discover their interests and plan for college and beyond.

Lizzy is quite the renaissance woman, having earned a degree with Highest Honors in Ancient Near-Eastern Literature while studying Psychology, Graphic Design, and Philosophy. And she has spend 6 years working in creative arts and academic tutoring. Further, she has visited or lived in 18 countries, can read and write Arabic and Ancient Hebrew, and is teaching herself how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics. It should come as no surprise that she teaches a wide range of topics, from math and science to executive functioning and study skills.

When she isn’t geeking out over ancient languages you’ll likely find Lizzy walking her adorable rescue dog, creating art, or hunting down that 44th coffee shop.

Q

Thomas Stiadle

 

Thomas was born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where he attended Wells College while also finishing high school. He then enrolled at Case Western Reserve University, where he earned a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Mathematics. While at CWRU, Thomas worked in a biochemical lab and discovered his passion for teaching by serving as a peer tutor. His office was always the one with the long line of students looking for help.

Currently Thomas is now a PhD candidate in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University. There, along with his own research and graduate coursework, Thomas has taught courses in data science for gifted students, co-chaired his department’s student board, worked as a teaching assistant, and served as a res  arch mentor for undergraduates.

When not working, Thomas can usually be found playing tennis, enjoying a game of chess, winning his department’s fantasy football league in consecutive years, or trying (usually without much success) to get his cat to exercise.

Thomas Stiadle
Q

Thomas Stiadle

 

Thomas was born and raised in the Finger Lakes region of New York, where he attended Wells College while also finishing high school. He then enrolled at Case Western Reserve University, where he earned a BS in Chemistry and a BS in Mathematics. While at CWRU, Thomas worked in a biochemical lab and discovered his passion for teaching by serving as a peer tutor. His office was always the one with the long line of students looking for help.

Currently Thomas is now a PhD candidate in Applied Mathematics at Northwestern University. There, along with his own research and graduate coursework, Thomas has taught courses in data science for gifted students, co-chaired his department’s student board, worked as a teaching assistant, and served as a res  arch mentor for undergraduates.

When not working, Thomas can usually be found playing tennis, enjoying a game of chess, winning his department’s fantasy football league in consecutive years, or trying (usually without much success) to get his cat to exercise.

Q

Noah Northrop

 

Noah grew up in Illinois and was motivated to tutor at a relatively young age. His inspiration came in the form of his Junior High physics teacher, who taught with such a passion that Noah had “to be part of that!” He went on to attend Prospect High School where he excelled in academics and was awarded the Presidential Scholarship at Elmhurst College. He graduated Elmhurst with a double major in Physics and Mathematics.

Noah enjoys studying the French language, creative writing and diving into brain teasers and puzzles. In his free time, Noah likes to draw, watercolor, walk his rescue dogs, try new recipes, and learn fun facts. He is currently exploring the world of home gardening. 

Looking for a good read during quarantine (or anytime)? Noah would highly recommend anything by Tolkien.

Noah Northrop
Q

Noah Northrop

 

Noah grew up in Illinois and was motivated to tutor at a relatively young age. His inspiration came in the form of his Junior High physics teacher, who taught with such a passion that Noah had “to be part of that!” He went on to attend Prospect High School where he excelled in academics and was awarded the Presidential Scholarship at Elmhurst College. He graduated Elmhurst with a double major in Physics and Mathematics.

Noah enjoys studying the French language, creative writing and diving into brain teasers and puzzles. In his free time, Noah likes to draw, watercolor, walk his rescue dogs, try new recipes, and learn fun facts. He is currently exploring the world of home gardening. 

Looking for a good read during quarantine (or anytime)? Noah would highly recommend anything by Tolkien.

Q

Allison Schultz

 

Allison grew up in Arlington Heights, IL, and attended Buffalo Grove High School. But ever since taking her first Spanish class, Allison knew she wanted to be bilingual. This desire was so ingrained that as a student in high school she became a Spanish student teacher and moonlighted, during her free periods, as a tutor. Puedo ayudar, she would say to her classmates … and she would then promptly translate to English: I can help.

After high school, Allison attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature while receiving minors in Communication and Social Work.  To further expand her command of language, Allison participated in a full immersion program abroad at CEGRL – International Centre of Higher Learning in Granada, Spain.

In her free time, Allison loves to meet up with friends at local coffee shops and drink iced lavender lattes.  She promises it doesn’t taste as weird as it sounds. Allison also loves to expand her knowledge of language by watching shows in Spanish, listening to Bad Bunny on repeat, and having weekly FaceTime sessions with her host family from Spain

Allison Schultz
Q

Allison Schultz

 

Allison grew up in Arlington Heights, IL, and attended Buffalo Grove High School. But ever since taking her first Spanish class, Allison knew she wanted to be bilingual. This desire was so ingrained that as a student in high school she became a Spanish student teacher and moonlighted, during her free periods, as a tutor. Puedo ayudar, she would say to her classmates … and she would then promptly translate to English: I can help.

After high school, Allison attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with a BA in Spanish Language and Literature while receiving minors in Communication and Social Work.  To further expand her command of language, Allison participated in a full immersion program abroad at CEGRL – International Centre of Higher Learning in Granada, Spain.

In her free time, Allison loves to meet up with friends at local coffee shops and drink iced lavender lattes.  She promises it doesn’t taste as weird as it sounds. Allison also loves to expand her knowledge of language by watching shows in Spanish, listening to Bad Bunny on repeat, and having weekly FaceTime sessions with her host family from Spain

Q

Jason Chiu

 

Jason grew up in Taiwan and came to the states at 17. His interest in teaching came at a young age; where he spent much of his time explaining to his classmates how to solve their problems—he realized he was an intuitive teacher. To help his classmates, Jason would create calculus study guides so thoughtful and elaborate that a teacher ended up accepting them in lieu of homework. Jason went on to study and excel in Mechanical Engineering.

Despite his own high standards for education, Jason knows that education is about more than grades: he finds it important to take joy in the process. He recognizes that success requires many unseen hours of work, practice, and diligence, and that can best be motivated by a love for learning, which he instills in his students.

Outside of his work at The Think Tank, Jason is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization that connects underprivileged students with tutors. In his spare time, he enjoys recipe testing, dancing, and even tried skydiving last year.

Jason Chiu
Q

Jason Chiu

 

Jason grew up in Taiwan and came to the states at 17. His interest in teaching came at a young age; where he spent much of his time explaining to his classmates how to solve their problems—he realized he was an intuitive teacher. To help his classmates, Jason would create calculus study guides so thoughtful and elaborate that a teacher ended up accepting them in lieu of homework. Jason went on to study and excel in Mechanical Engineering.

Despite his own high standards for education, Jason knows that education is about more than grades: he finds it important to take joy in the process. He recognizes that success requires many unseen hours of work, practice, and diligence, and that can best be motivated by a love for learning, which he instills in his students.

Outside of his work at The Think Tank, Jason is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization that connects underprivileged students with tutors. In his spare time, he enjoys recipe testing, dancing, and even tried skydiving last year.

Q

Yin Kwok

 

Yin has always known that some part of her was meant to teach. Growing up, she would play Teacher with her younger siblings, creating worksheets out of markers and construction paper. When she later attended Buffalo Grove High School, she gave piano lessons in her free time and volunteered as a peer tutor.

During her time at Indiana University Bloomington, Yin spent many hours assisting in the classrooms at the local schools where she developed a passion for educational equity. She graduated with a BA in Secondary Education and Language Arts and now teaches middle school English and Social Studies at Chicago Public Schools.

In her spare time, Yin can be found enjoying a good book, painting, or hiking. She recently summited Mt. Kilimanjaro (not recommended) and hopes to one day write a book.

Yin Kwok
Q

Yin Kwok

 

Yin has always known that some part of her was meant to teach. Growing up, she would play Teacher with her younger siblings, creating worksheets out of markers and construction paper. When she later attended Buffalo Grove High School, she gave piano lessons in her free time and volunteered as a peer tutor.

During her time at Indiana University Bloomington, Yin spent many hours assisting in the classrooms at the local schools where she developed a passion for educational equity. She graduated with a BA in Secondary Education and Language Arts and now teaches middle school English and Social Studies at Chicago Public Schools.

In her spare time, Yin can be found enjoying a good book, painting, or hiking. She recently summited Mt. Kilimanjaro (not recommended) and hopes to one day write a book.

Q

Antonio Laverd

 

Antonio grew up in Arlington Heights and graduated from Buffalo Grove High School with high honors.  He then attended William Rainey Harper where he was awarded the Distinguished Trustee Scholarship and the Motorola Solutions Foundation Award for Excellence. 

Antonio’s passion for providing academic assistance was born in his high school physics classroom where a friend told him that he “single-handedly saved her physics grade.”  Ever since then, Antonio has continued to seek out opportunities to help others, such as being a Supplemental Instructor at Harper and a tutor at The Think Tank!  The words “that makes sense now” and “I wish someone had explained it like this” are music to his ears. 

Speaking of music, while Antonio considers himself to be primarily STEM-oriented, music is one of his biggest “side-passions.” In high school he was in three acapella groups, vocal jazz, show choir, nearly every musical, and played viola in the BGHS orchestra.  In addition, Antonio is a member of U of I’s premiere men’s acapella group The Other Guys.

In his free time, you can find Antonio playing guitar, reading, spending time with friends and family, and wishing he had more free time.  He didn’t choose the busy life; the busy life chose him.  On second thought, he definitely chose the busy life.

Antonio Laverd
Q

Antonio Laverd

 

Antonio grew up in Arlington Heights and graduated from Buffalo Grove High School with high honors.  He then attended William Rainey Harper where he was awarded the Distinguished Trustee Scholarship and the Motorola Solutions Foundation Award for Excellence. 

Antonio’s passion for providing academic assistance was born in his high school physics classroom where a friend told him that he “single-handedly saved her physics grade.”  Ever since then, Antonio has continued to seek out opportunities to help others, such as being a Supplemental Instructor at Harper and a tutor at The Think Tank!  The words “that makes sense now” and “I wish someone had explained it like this” are music to his ears. 

Speaking of music, while Antonio considers himself to be primarily STEM-oriented, music is one of his biggest “side-passions.” In high school he was in three acapella groups, vocal jazz, show choir, nearly every musical, and played viola in the BGHS orchestra.  In addition, Antonio is a member of U of I’s premiere men’s acapella group The Other Guys.

In his free time, you can find Antonio playing guitar, reading, spending time with friends and family, and wishing he had more free time.  He didn’t choose the busy life; the busy life chose him.  On second thought, he definitely chose the busy life.

Q

Annie Bennett

 

Annie grew up in Palatine while attending Christian Liberty Academy from kindergarten through high school. Since she was six, she knew her dream was to be a teacher as she would gather her first grade friends around on the rug to go over their homework with them. She knew she wanted to teach, but it was when she took her first biology class freshman year that she decided her dream job would be to teach biology. In the meantime, she tutored all ages during her free periods, practicing different ways to present material to struggling students.

After high school, Annie attended North Park University where she fully emerged herself into her biology and chemistry classes. When she was not in class, you could find her working as the microbiology teacher’s assistant, either teaching students or working in the laboratory. She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. After, she accepted a job as a high school biology and chemistry teacher where she gets to pour her passion out for the subjects and continue practicing ways to present material to struggling students.

In her free time now, you may find her playing with her miniature schnauzer, watching a documentary, or baking. 

Annie Bennett
Q

Annie Bennett

 

Annie grew up in Palatine while attending Christian Liberty Academy from kindergarten through high school. Since she was six, she knew her dream was to be a teacher as she would gather her first grade friends around on the rug to go over their homework with them. She knew she wanted to teach, but it was when she took her first biology class freshman year that she decided her dream job would be to teach biology. In the meantime, she tutored all ages during her free periods, practicing different ways to present material to struggling students.

After high school, Annie attended North Park University where she fully emerged herself into her biology and chemistry classes. When she was not in class, you could find her working as the microbiology teacher’s assistant, either teaching students or working in the laboratory. She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. After, she accepted a job as a high school biology and chemistry teacher where she gets to pour her passion out for the subjects and continue practicing ways to present material to struggling students.

In her free time now, you may find her playing with her miniature schnauzer, watching a documentary, or baking. 

Q

Christal Monasterio

 

Christal Monasterio grew up in Island Lake and attended Christian Liberty Academy from kindergarten to senior year. She continued her journey through higher learning at Olivet Nazarene University receiving her B.S. in Mathematics Teaching, Magna Cum Laude, and her Professional Educator’s License. Currently, Christal is a math teacher in Evanston, IL. While she can clearly teach mathematics, her passion for learning does not just end in this arena. Christal has a love for languages; she took extra classes like American Literature and added a Spanish minor to her degree. 

During college, Christal was a Freshman T.A. for incoming college students, was a math supplemental instructor for all mathematics classes, and was a member of the university's “Proclamation Gospel Choir.” During her last semester, Christal joined Pi Mu Epsilon which is the U.S. Honorary National Mathematics Society. On her days off, Christal is usually reading a book, drinking a latte, grading tests, or playing with her niece.

Christal Monasterio
Q

Christal Monasterio

 

Christal Monasterio grew up in Island Lake and attended Christian Liberty Academy from kindergarten to senior year. She continued her journey through higher learning at Olivet Nazarene University receiving her B.S. in Mathematics Teaching, Magna Cum Laude, and her Professional Educator’s License. Currently, Christal is a math teacher in Evanston, IL. While she can clearly teach mathematics, her passion for learning does not just end in this arena. Christal has a love for languages; she took extra classes like American Literature and added a Spanish minor to her degree. 

During college, Christal was a Freshman T.A. for incoming college students, was a math supplemental instructor for all mathematics classes, and was a member of the university's “Proclamation Gospel Choir.” During her last semester, Christal joined Pi Mu Epsilon which is the U.S. Honorary National Mathematics Society. On her days off, Christal is usually reading a book, drinking a latte, grading tests, or playing with her niece.

Q

Ryan McMahon

 

Ryan grew up in Arlington Heights where he attended Saint James for grade school and Saint Viator High School. He was a part of the soccer team for four years, and the team made it to the state finals during his junior year. He quickly learned he had a passion for science by helping students after school with various problem sets. When it came time to decide for college, Ryan decided on the University of Michigan up in Ann Arbor. He majored in Neuroscience, and he is now pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at DePaul University. 

When he is not at the think tank, you can find Ryan taking long walks around the neighborhood listening to podcasts, reading a book, or watching a Michigan sporting event. Some of his favorite sports to watch include college basketball, college football, and soccer. 

Favorite Educational Quote: “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” 

Ryan McMahon
Q

Ryan McMahon

 

Ryan grew up in Arlington Heights where he attended Saint James for grade school and Saint Viator High School. He was a part of the soccer team for four years, and the team made it to the state finals during his junior year. He quickly learned he had a passion for science by helping students after school with various problem sets. When it came time to decide for college, Ryan decided on the University of Michigan up in Ann Arbor. He majored in Neuroscience, and he is now pursuing a master’s degree in secondary education at DePaul University. 

When he is not at the think tank, you can find Ryan taking long walks around the neighborhood listening to podcasts, reading a book, or watching a Michigan sporting event. Some of his favorite sports to watch include college basketball, college football, and soccer. 

Favorite Educational Quote: “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” 

Q

Charlie Power

 

Charlie Power grew up in Winnetka and graduated from Loyola Academy. At Loyola, he was on the golf team, editor of the school newspaper, and an AP Scholar. He then attended Boston College on full scholarship as part of the University’s Presidential Scholars Program. 

He graduated in 2021 with his BS in Economics and Finance. At graduation, he was awarded the O’Connell Award as the best student in Finance and also won the McCarthy Prize for the best senior thesis. Charlie got his start in tutoring through BC’s Pulse service program and enjoys working with students on a variety of subjects, from statistics to writing.

Currently, Charlie works at a large, global, management consulting firm in Boston, with plans to attend Stanford law school in the near future. In his free time, Charlie does a lot of running and has completed the Chicago Marathon twice, with hopes of running the Boston Marathon one day.

Charlie Power
Q

Charlie Power

 

Charlie Power grew up in Winnetka and graduated from Loyola Academy. At Loyola, he was on the golf team, editor of the school newspaper, and an AP Scholar. He then attended Boston College on full scholarship as part of the University’s Presidential Scholars Program. 

He graduated in 2021 with his BS in Economics and Finance. At graduation, he was awarded the O’Connell Award as the best student in Finance and also won the McCarthy Prize for the best senior thesis. Charlie got his start in tutoring through BC’s Pulse service program and enjoys working with students on a variety of subjects, from statistics to writing.

Currently, Charlie works at a large, global, management consulting firm in Boston, with plans to attend Stanford law school in the near future. In his free time, Charlie does a lot of running and has completed the Chicago Marathon twice, with hopes of running the Boston Marathon one day.