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Our Tutors

All can score in the 99th percentile on any test they teach, have degrees from top universities, at least 3 years test preparation experience, and are completely dedicated to your success.

Shahar Link

Mindspire™ was founded by Shahar Link, who has been teaching in high schools and tutoring standardized tests for over 18 years. Shahar earned a Masters degree in History from Stanford University, writing his thesis on the history of IQ testing. Ever since, he has been determined to help students succeed on standardized tests and in high school.

SAT: 1600 out of 1600

Uri Brookmyer

Uri graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Philosophy, focusing on formal logic and moral philosophy. By working with a broad range of learning styles in both 1-on-1 and group settings over the last 8 years, Uri has become proficient in deconstructing complex ideas and communicating them effectively. When not he’s not working, Uri likes bouldering, reading, playing strategy games, and finding new music.

ACT: 36 out of 36

Julianna Tauschinger-Dempsey

Julianna Tauschinger-Dempsey received an undergraduate degree in Social anthropology from Harvard University and a graduate degree in Vocal Performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Her first teaching experience came when at the age of 10, the head of her music school asked her to take on a handful of piano and music theory students. Her love of sharing knowledge and communication skills, building confidence in self-expression and learning how different people see the world has kept her devoted to teaching for nearly 20 years. Julianna began teaching and tutoring the PSAT, SAT and various standardized subject tests in college. And for the past 15 years, she has run her own writing and editing consultancy, which has allowed her to work with a spectacular variety of high schoolers, college and graduate students, university faculty and professionals in the US and Europe. When she’s not extolling the virtues of broadening one’s horizons, deepening one’s skills and following the path of curiosity, Julianna can usually be found teaching or making music or spending time with her three children.


Scott Irons

Originally from Auburn, California, Scott graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Linguistics. He has been tutoring and mentoring since high school and continued to do so at Duke, working as a peer advisor and helping fellow students achieve their academic and extracurricular goals. After graduating from Duke, Scott spent nearly 2 years teaching English and SAT courses in Vietnam, and he excels at effectively teaching students from diverse backgrounds. Upon returning to the United States, it didn’t take long for Scott to end up back in North Carolina, and he looks forward to helping local students exceed their standardized testing goals. When he’s not tutoring, Scott can be found lifting weights, running, and listening to music.


Chrissy Nesbitt

Chrissy started teaching immediately after graduating from Princeton University, and she’s been helping people learn ever since. As a former Montessori teacher in the public school system, she has unique experience in combining student-led discovery with standardized test prep. Chrissy loves radishes and daffodils, Ang Lee and Lu Xun. She can knit a Möbius strip and a pretty good approximation of a Klein bottle. When she’s not tutoring or working on her mini-homestead with her family, Chrissy can most often be found swimming in the Eno, paddling on Jordan Lake, or taking a road trip to visit friends.

Cristy Carr

Cristy Carr taught private and classroom music in high school and tutored math and science while earning a B. S. in Biology from Grove City College. After working as a forestry technician and aquatic researcher in the Rocky Mountains and as an ophthalmic technician in Richmond, VA, she returned as a science teacher to her first love: the classroom. In addition to teaching, she loves her family, the mountains, and children’s books.As the recipient of a National Merit Scholarship, Cristy knows how important college prep tests are in the college application process, and she firmly believes that test scores should not stand in the way of a student’s life goals. It is her delight and privilege to collaborate with students to grow their motivation, knowledge, and test-taking skills…and then watch them meet (and exceed!) their testing goals. Cristy lives in Roanoke, VA and works with Mindspire™ clients in Central and Southwest Virginia.


Drew Alexander

Drew began tutoring in 2013 while working on a PhD in philosophy at Boston College. He has classroom teaching experience at five colleges and currently teaches ethics courses in the NCSU philosophy department. He especially enjoys connecting with students one-on-one and helping them ask productive questions. After spending almost a decade in Boston, Drew and his family moved to Durham in 2021. In his free time, Drew enjoys woodworking, reading, hiking, and playing with his children.

Malik Zaidi

Malik is a Columbia University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies. He has been tutoring one-on-one full-time for the past 18 years with exceptional results. Even as a student in high school and in college, Malik demonstrated his love of teaching by helping classmates, relatives, and family friends prepare for their exams. He currently tutors for the SAT, ACT, SAT II: Math Levels 1 and 2, and PSAT and has instructed students in Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Germany, India, South Africa, Switzerland, and throughout the United States via Skype. As a father of three boys, ages 4 to 15, and a 17 year-old girl, Malik understands that every student is unique. Having taught hundreds of students, he knows the importance of structuring lessons to students’ specific needs. In his leisure time he is an amateur chef who likes to pretend he is a contestant on Chopped. He also enjoys bowling, playing pool, and traveling.

Sarah Stokely

Originally from East Tennessee, Sarah is a proud NC State graduate having earned her BS in Applied Mathematics and her MS in Mathematics Education. Sarah began her work as a tutor during her second semester as a freshman at NC State and quickly fell in love with helping others learn and be successful in their coursework. She has been consistently working with students of all ages in both math and chemistry courses ever since! Sarah currently serves as Supplemental Instruction Coordinator for the NC State University Academic Success Center where she oversees two academic support programs offered to undergraduate students enrolled in chemistry, math, and physics courses. To say that Sarah enjoys working with a wide variety of students of all levels would be quite the understatement! Being trained as a mathematician and educator, Sarah thoroughly enjoys helping students identify what they currently know and then build upon that knowledge in such a way that helps promote independent learning and critical thinking skills that will serve students long past that first tutoring session. Sarah believes that every student can be successful in their education and is especially passionate about helping students make connections between material and become more confident in their own abilities to succeed in order to overcome test anxiety and conquer the fear of “I’ve never seen this before.” In her free time, Sarah can be found trying new recipes, finishing her latest read, training for a 10k or anywhere near the ocean if she can help it.

Christine Mulvey

Born to a pair of high school science teachers, Christine was raised in the suburbs of Boston, with her twin and younger sisters. After high school, Christine received a B.S. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard University in 2004 and a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University in 2011. Christine moved to Durham in 2011 when she accepted a job in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Duke.

Christine believes that it is possible to provide good learning experiences for all students, even if that requires a little more time and effort.Tutoring happens to be her favorite form of teaching, so she’s happy helping with SAT/ACT test prep or any type of math and science. When she’s not teaching, you’re likely to find Christine baking, listening to folk music that’s older than she is, taking her Schnoodle, Moose, to the dog park, crafting, reading, rooting for her beloved Red Sox, or spoiling her new niece, Madeleine.

Karl Zipple

Karl has always had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. As a high school student, he enjoyed discovering ways to game standardized exams and sharing these strategies with friends and family. Since then, Karl has amassed over a decade of experience tutoring several college admissions tests including the SAT, ACT, LSAT, AP Physics, AP Calculus, and SAT Math I, II, and Physics exams. Karl loves that moment when students “get it” and master material they previously struggled with. He has the content knowledge and educational experience to work with students of all skill levels and the passion to make sure that all of his students succeed.  Karl earned a BA in Math from Northwestern University.

Bruce Hitson

Bruce is a Stanford graduate (Ph.D., EE/Computer Science) and entrepreneur. He started tutoring for the SAT and ACT while raising three children. To say he enjoys it immensely would be an understatement – he lives for that “Oh, now I get it!” reaction from his students as they confidently set and advance towards their goals. Every student thinks differently, and Bruce prides himself in his ability to explain concepts in ways that make sense to the individual. He is caring and sensitive to the realities of today’s students and works with them to navigate the ebb and flow of their insane workload.  Bruce makes studying for the SAT or ACT as fun as possible with stories, occasional humor, and always good cheer.

Katy Murphy

Katy discovered her passions for writing, art, and teaching as a high school student in NYC, and went on to study Art History, Comparative Literature, and Creative Writing at UNC Chapel Hill. After earning her B.A., Katy had the opportunity to design and teach writing workshops at schools and non-profit organizations throughout the Triangle. Inspired and energized by her students, Katy continued her studies by earning an M.F.A. in Writing at UNC Greensboro. While at Greensboro, Katy taught literature and worked as a tutor at the university’s Writing Center. Following graduate school, Katy worked with an elite private tutoring company in Palo Alto, CA, helping high school students throughout Silicon Valley reach and exceed their test-prep, academic, and college-process goals. Katy loves seeing her students light up as they gain confidence in themselves. Her academic and professional background enables her to give each student the time and attention they deserve and to keep learning fun and collaborative – as it should be! When Katy isn’t tutoring, she enjoys writing poems and essays, practicing yoga, and hiking with her two dogs.

Ashley Flynn

Ashley grew up in Cary, North Carolina, tutoring both classmates and younger students over the past 10 years. She graduated from Duke University with a Biomedical Engineering degree and later worked for a brain imaging research lab at Duke Health. While attending Cary Christian School, Ashley successfully self-studied for 5 AP exams and took both the Biology M and Math Level 2 SAT Subject Tests! Ashley competed on Cary Christian’s cross country team as their fifth runner and was on two state championship teams. A self-described cat enthusiast, Ashley possesses a lot of miscellaneous feline knowledge and enjoys walking her cats Mango and Coconut in a cat stroller! She met her husband at Duke, who has since begrudgingly morphed into a cat lover, and enjoys finding new shows and video games to enjoy together with him.

Ian Luther

Ian was born and raised in Raleigh, attending high school at Cardinal Gibbons where he was awarded the National Merit Scholarship for his PSAT and SAT scores. After graduating with a BA in Journalism from Elon University in 2014, Ian made the unfortunate decision to move cross-country to Los Angeles in January of 2015. While he had done some subject tutoring while in college and worked as a student mentor with the YMCA Mentor program, it was during this time that he first got involved with SAT and ACT prep for students in the LA area. However this couldn’t last long, as Ian beat a hasty retreat off the West Coast in December 2015, and back to his hometown of Raleigh. Since his return, Ian has been doing SAT and ACT test prep with Mindspire™ for almost two years, as well as ISEE, SSAT, and other middle school test prep.

Sarah Park

Raised in Korea and Washington, Sarah recently graduated from Dartmouth College, where she studied Neuroscience and Government. Since high school, she has been tutoring her classmates and younger students. Sarah currently works as a researcher analyzing public health policies and intends to attend graduate school in the future. In her free time, she can be found reading, cooking, exploring restaurants, hiking, or knitting.

Steven Gilmore

Steven is a kind and curious educator and math enthusiast. His teaching philosophy focuses on cultivating the students' problem-solving skills and creativity. He has been a math teacher for over six years, teaching and tutoring students of all levels from grade school to college. Steven earned his Ph.D. from NCSU in 2021, with research in understanding the underlying theoretical properties of real-world models; he also has experience in the software engineering field. Outside of teaching, Steven loves the outdoors and is an avid musician, chef, and gardener.

Lucy Bergwall

Lucy grew up in Lebanon, New Hampshire, where she enjoyed spending time outside, reading and playing sports. She graduated as valedictorian of her high school and went on to Williams College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, in Environmental Policy in 2016. While at Williams, Lucy tutored students in biology courses and worked as a math teaching assistant. After graduating, Lucy lived in Bolivia for 9 months and worked on farms in New England before moving to Durham in 2017. She has spent the past two years working with middle school students as a substitute teacher and math interventionist at Central Park School for Children and as a summer teacher at Student U, a college-access enrichment program. She is currently attending the Masters of Arts in Teaching program at UNC Chapel Hill, focusing on Special Education and Mathematics. Beyond working with students, Lucy loves to cook, ride her bicycle, and explore the trails along the Eno River.

SAT: 2400 out of 2400