About Us

MAP’s Dedication and Personal Commitment

A tutoring company is only as good as the tutors who compose it. MAP tutors have been meticulously selected based on their academic achievements, professional experience, personal skills, and, most importantly, their ability to elevate students’ scores and skills to their highest levels.

Daniel Stern, Founder and CEO

For over 20 years, Daniel has guided high school, college, and graduate students through admissions, standardized test prep, writing skills, academic support, and executive functioning skill-building. During this time he has also written for several of the nation’s top media outlets, including the New York Times, US News & World Report, the Washington Post, and the Discovery Channel. He has covered a wide range of topics from science to pop culture to education, spanning feature articles, book reviews, essays, short stories, and news reports. Since 2002, he has taught creative writing, literature, poetry, and publishing courses at various institutions.

With a dual-major in Journalism and Philosophy (with a concentration in epistemology of science and quantum physics), and a minor in Poli Sci, Daniel graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Washington University. He received the Presidential Academic Scholarship for attaining Summa Cum Laude for six consecutive semesters and was awarded Special Honors in Journalism. Currently, he is a member of the venerable New York Authors Guild and the New York Writers Workshop, and recently attended the summer residency program for artists at the esteemed Vermont Studio Center.

In 2008, Daniel founded the internationally acclaimed web technology College Essay Organizer, which is now privately integrated as a student solution and has been used by tens of thousands of applicants worldwide, hundreds of leading educational consultants, and some of the most elite high schools in the country. Daniel has since become one of the nation’s foremost public speakers on the college essay and application process.

In 2013, Daniel and his wife established the Stern Keshet Fund as part of the Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer & Blood Disorders at NYU, through which they donate, fund-raise, and volunteer MAP’s tutoring services for Hassenfeld teens currently going through treatment. Their philosophy: It’s all about helping kids who can barely imagine tomorrow see clearly that there is a bright future waiting for them when they return to health.

He is married and has two young sons.

Stephanie Morris, Director of Operations and College Placement Counselor

Born and raised in New York City, Stephanie attended the Horace Mann School and went on to earn her BA with Honors from Columbia University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Eastern Religion. After college, her passion for yoga and rock climbing, along with her French and Russian roots, inspired her to travel to over 40 countries, landing her in India where she completed her advanced yoga teacher training and spent 10 years founding and directing yoga centers in New York and India.

She joined Metro Academic Prep in 2009, and continues to apply her experience in business to oversee the company’s operations and make sure its processes are on the cutting edge. Her vast knowledge of colleges, experience managing College Essay Organizer, UC Irvine Certificate in Independent Educational Consulting, membership with the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), and background in teaching meditation and yoga allow her to help students find their dream colleges without all the stress.

When not guiding students or researching the latest college admissions news, you can find her sweating it out in a hot yoga class, scaling the local climbing wall with her two daughters, or whipping together her latest raw food creation.

MAP's Tutors

MAP’s dynamic tutors have earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the top universities in their areas of expertise. Just as important, they know how to connect well with students of different personalities and unique interests. Below are some of our featured tutors.

Abigail Ellman

In her seven years of experience as an educator, Abigail has taught piano to preschoolers, math to teenagers, and ESL to grandmothers, and she still relishes that moment when a student “gets it.” After graduating from Yale with a BA in Music and a teaching certification, she set off to hone her Spanish skills among the avocado vendors of Caracas. She then returned to the US and used Spanish in her daily work, notably as an elite tutor. In her personal time, Abigail enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts and riding her bicycle year-round.

Andrew Brotzman

Andrew was formally trained as a tutor in 2001 and, in 2005, wrote a book on the SAT for use in a class whose curriculum he designed. As the head of MAP’s test prep division, Andrew specializes in the ACT, SAT, AP Exams, GRE, LSAT, and GMAT. His areas of expertise also include college admissions, English composition, AP English, and film history. He has a BA in Computer Science and an MFA in Film, both from Columbia University.

Ben Muller

Ben was born and raised in Los Angeles, but came east for college to try out cold weather. He graduated with a BA in history from Yale, and thought he was going to be a lawyer. After working at a law firm and a charter school, he decided he’d rather be a doctor, so he completed a postbac premed and graduated with an MD from Columbia University. Fortunately, it turns out he really likes science! When not thinking about cells, atoms, or photons, Ben can be found cooking, playing ultimate frisbee, or hiking. He tutors the SAT and various academic subjects.

Bill Gerrard

Bill has a BA in Literature and an MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University, where he ran a weekly discussion section on film theory for undergraduates. As a New York-based filmmaker, he has written numerous award-winning short films and feature screenplays. Bill tutors the ACT, SAT, AP Exams in Government and Human Geography, various academic subjects, and college admissions.

Carey Garris

After graduating from Parsons School of Design, Carey led the school’s Alumni Critique Workshop, which focused on helping recent graduates develop portfolios to pursue specific career opportunities. Following several years of working freelance in the illustration and film industries in New York City, she earned her MA from Central Saint Martins, London. Carey then began teaching art classes for students of all ages, including mentoring teenagers as they created fine art, animation, and comic portfolios. Now settled in LA, Carey helps students craft powerful portfolios and written statements for their college applications, and guides them as they pursue their artistic passions.

Cat Pierro

A philosophy major with a penchant for idealism, Cat may still believe in a lot of things, but no way does she believe in the “bad test-taker.” She’s been expertly guiding students through the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, SHSAT, LSAT, GRE, college essays, and a host of academic fields ever since she graduated from Grinnell College. For Cat, whether she’s helping someone with learning issues or someone aiming for a perfect score, watching students unleash their inner test-taker is a sublime experience, much like perusing book collections, playing every musical instrument she can get her hands on, and taking meticulous care of a fish tank that doesn’t have any fish in it.

Daniel Kosasa

Born in Honolulu, Daniel is a Hawaii boy at heart but somehow always finds himself far from home. He studied Ancient Greek and Latin at NYU, then went on to do a master’s in Roman History at St. John’s College Oxford as the first Ertegun Scholar in Ancient History. He is now finishing up his PhD at Princeton, where he’s trying to figure out what 5th century Romans thought about their beloved empire crumbling beneath them. Outside of his love for the ancients, Daniel deeply enjoys world travel. He’s visited every capital city in Europe (if you don’t count some of the microstates like Andorra and San Marino). He also likes to surf, snorkel, hike, and explore new neighborhoods on his bike. His areas of expertise include college admissions, executive functioning, history, Latin, English, and writing.

Diana Stern

Some people love the arts. Some love science. Diana excels at both. She has loved the theater since she was little, and has performed in countless plays and ballets. She went to Hamilton College, where she double-majored in Theater and Government. After college, her plan was to continue pursuing the performing arts but, inspired by her friend’s recovery from a traumatic car accident, she took a year-long volunteer position in Bellevue Hospital’s ER and realized she wanted to be a physician. She completed the Columbia Postbac Program, conducted oncology research at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Cornell University, and is a medical student at Columbia University. Diana tutors Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Ian Rice

With BAs in both physics and film from Wesleyan University, where he founded a film publication advised by AO Scott, chief film critic of the New York Times, Ian is a bit of a Renaissance mind. Matching his divergent majors, his teaching philosophy incorporates both sides of the coin: the rigor and logic of the sciences as well as the humanistic and emotional aspects of the arts. Ian loves motivating students with his natural exuberance and passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make the process more enjoyable while building up his students’ concrete skills and self-confidence. He finds it particularly rewarding when students prove to themselves that they are capable of overcoming obstacles through persistence, planning, and hard work. A lifelong adventurer, he was recently lucky enough to complete a trans-Pacific voyage as the sole onboard educator for the sailing yacht Libeccio. When not trying his hand at the pirate’s life, he can be found firmly aground strumming his guitar, playing soccer, meditating, or losing himself at the movies. He tutors the ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, executive functioning skills, and such academic subjects as physics, math, writing, Spanish, and more.

Jeannie Donohoe

Originally from Boston, Jeannie Donohoe is an award-winning screenwriter and director based in Los Angeles. She earned her BA with honors from Dartmouth College, MFA with honors in writing and directing from Columbia University, and MS in education from City University of New York. While studying film at Columbia, she was the teaching assistant of legendary film critic Andrew Sarris and led writing courses in film history, theory, and criticism. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Jeannie taught middle school in the South Bronx through Teach for America, then worked in public school reform at New Visions for Public Schools. In addition to her 20 years of teaching experience, Jeannie has written and edited a wide range of materials, from ELA and test prep textbooks to audio books and screenplays. She teaches writing and study skills. Her passion for the arts is tied to her love of travel – both spark her curiosity about new perspectives, landscapes, and cultures.

Jeni Sorli

Jeni is a current PhD candidate in Chemical Engineering at Princeton University where she works in organic electronics and developing understanding and intuition regarding materials structure property relationships. It’s okay if you have no clue what that means so long as Jeni loves this stuff. She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and an Engineering Leadership Certificate from the University of Colorado Boulder, where she was awarded a Goldwater Scholarship and Astronaut Foundation Scholarship. Jeni is from Montana where she grew up on a ranch, and she enjoys rowing, biking, hiking, skiing, and reading. She tutors various academic courses, including math and physics.

Jin Joo Ha

Jin Joo is currently a master’s student in clinical psychology at Teachers College at Columbia University. She was raised in Chicago and received her BA in Cognitive Science from Case Western Reserve University. After graduating, Jin Joo traveled to several countries, volunteered at a couple Olympics, learned a few languages, and experienced many new cultures. In her free time, she enjoys cheering on Chicago sports teams and exploring the parks and museums of NYC. Jin Joo has been tutoring and teaching the ACT, math, reading, Spanish, AP Exams (Calculus, Psychology, Spanish, Statistics) and various other school subjects and standardized tests for the past nine years.

Jorge Lugo

Jorge recently graduated from MIT with a degree in physics, having conducted research in astronomy, quantum mechanics, and other topics. There, he tutored his peers in math, physics, and other subjects, while discovering a passion for visual art and photography, to which he still tends. When he’s not teaching, you can usually find him playing with 3D modeling, exploring new music, and searching for great food around NYC. Jorge tutors all levels of mathematics, physics, and chemistry.

Kate Billingsley

Kate is a trilingual graduate of Georgetown University with a Master’s in French from Middlebury College. For seven years she lived and worked in the South of France, Paris, and Seville; in the US, she has taught French and Spanish at the Spence School, Mercy College, and the Friends School of Baltimore. She has also taught French and Spanish theater at Middlebury Interactive Languages, and offered workshops at Loyola Blakefield. She creates a customized curriculum for each student to set that individual up for success in building communicative comfort and confidence, bridging the universal with the idiosyncratic. Beyond being an educator, Kate has also performed her one-woman show at Second City in Chicago.

Katharine Smyth

Katharine is a writer and editor with over ten years of tutoring experience. After graduating magna cum laude from Brown University, she began teaching at Columbia, where she received her MFA in nonfiction and was awarded a Dean’s Fellowship, the university’s highest merit-based award. Her first book, All the Lives We Ever Lived: Seeking Solace in Virginia Woolf, was published in 2019 and named a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Her essays and articles have appeared in ElleThe Paris Review, and Poets & Writers, among other publications. When she’s not working with students on writing, executive functioning skills, and college admissions, she can be found swimming in Rhode Island, obsessing over politics, hanging out with her two orange cats, Oscar and Thomas, and grappling with her next book.

Max Rubin

Max Rubin was born and raised in southern California and received his MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Iowa. From 2013 to 2017, he taught essay writing to university freshmen, working with hundreds of students to prepare their writing for the college level. His writing has been published by The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, and he is a regular contributor to American Way. Max remains convinced that there is a truly good burrito to be had in New York, and when he’s not tutoring or writing he is often off in search of it.

Melissa Ball

Melissa was born and raised in Tennessee, but made NYC her home after pursuing an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics. She recently completed her PhD in Chemistry at Columbia University and is currently a post-doctoral scientist at Princeton University. She has TAed several courses at Columbia, including Organic Chemistry and General Chemistry, and was awarded the Presidential Teaching Award in 2016 for her dedication to science teaching. When not thinking about science (not often!), Melissa enjoys yoga, cooking, and writing. She tutors the ACT, SAT, AP Exams in Chemistry and Physics, and various academic courses.

Michael Brotzman

Michael graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in Computer Science. As a computer scientist, Michael has taught computer systems and web application development, and has interned at Google as a software engineer and at Yahoo! as a scientific researcher. Otherwise he is a photographer, classical guitarist, screenwriter, and (necessarily) an avid coffee drinker. He received a research-based Master’s in Computer Science from Columbia University that focuses on Social Network Analysis. His areas of expertise include the ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, college admissions, English composition, and advanced calculus.

Nick Bacarella

Nick grew up in central New Jersey, or “Springsteen country,” as it’s known locally. After deciding that he was over east coast winters, he enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with dual degrees in English Literature and Economic Analysis. He earned the University’s Highest Honors, which recognizes the top 10% of the graduating class. After leaving Berkeley, Nick moved to Hong Kong to help students ace their standardized tests and apply to US colleges. He did the same in New Zealand before making his way back to the US. This international experience has afforded Nick a diverse set of hobbies and interests, all of which allow him to develop meaningful connections with his many students. He tutors the ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, GRE, GMAT, AP Exams (English, Calc, History, Spanish, and Gov), writing skills, and various academic subjects from French to advanced mathematics.In his free time, Nick loves to play basketball; if you ask, he will gleefully tell you about the time in college when he blocked a future NBA player’s shot.

Nooriel Banayan

Nooriel grew up in the San Fernando Valley and got his BS in chemistry from UCLA. After graduating, he moved to San Francisco to help start a biotech company and drink lots of good coffee. His current PhD program in biology at Columbia University took him to New York City—that and the rumor that East Coast coffee was superior. In his free time, he enjoys doing landscape photography, reading short stories, and watching cartoons from the 90s. Nooriel has been tutoring college- and high school-level math, biology, and chemistry for over ten years. Fun fact: his first time ever on an airplane was to go skydiving.

Shonda Napier

Shonda graduated with a BA in Economics from Southern Illinois University, where she also played Division 1 basketball. After college, she played two years of professional basketball in Europe before deciding to retire. Shonda is now a passionate, experienced tutor who believes that tutoring sessions need to be both productive and highly engaging. She loves watching a student’s confidence soar to new heights, whether by revealing an entirely new approach to test-taking or bringing out laughter and levity that remind the student that learning can be fun. Her areas of expertise include the SAT, ACT, ISEE, SSAT, and AP Exams (Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, English Language, English Literature), as well as various academic subjects. When she is not tutoring, she enjoys watching sports and chasing adventure through travel.

Tim Miller

Tim and numbers have always gotten along exceptionally well—so well that he majored in mathematics at Washington University in St. Louis, and obtained an MAT (specialization in mathematics) from Bard. He has been tutoring full time since 2008, and loves that moment when a concept clicks for a student. He also has math shirts. A lot of them. When he isn’t tutoring, he’s probably working on a puzzle hunt or on some gridded puzzles. In fact, he recently placed 10th in an international competition, and first among American participants.

Victoria Hsu

Victoria got her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University and then earned an MFA in Poetry at WashU, where she taught undergraduate courses in poetry. She is now working on her PhD in Classics at CUNY. Victoria loves all things ancient Greek (but especially Plato) and poetry through the ages. When not writing or translating, she enjoys baking, learning to cook from different cultures, and seeking out the best food in every borough of NYC. She tutors the ACT, SAT, ISEE, SSAT, AP Exams (English, French, and Latin), writing skills, and various academic subjects from French to advanced mathematics.

Zach Tomasovic

Zach graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with majors in History and Creative Writing. While at Penn, he wrote and performed original sketch and musical comedy with the famed Mask and Wig Club. Zach couldn’t shake his love for irreverent satire and groan-inducing puns post-college so he decided to pursue all things comedy, first in Los Angeles and now in New York. When Zach isn’t helping his students, you can find him in your local coffee shop attempting to write while the couple next to him has a really loud break-up. A lover of John Coltrane and 99 cent pizza, Zach tutors the ACT, SAT, college admissions, and various academic subjects.

Zachary Leonard

The son of two teachers, Zachary has education in his blood. He first applied that genetic predisposition to his own learning, graduating summa cum laude with a BS in Psychology, with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience. He’s been helping students navigate all stages of the college admissions and standardized testing process since 2015 and has helped hundreds of students achieve their academic goals. Pairing that wealth of tutoring experience with a passion for teaching, he employs anecdotes, analogies, and alliterations (case in point) to ensure students are building up foundational skills while also learning to masterfully speak the language of standardized tests. While not every student can have two educators for parents, Zachary believes each young mind deserves to have one in their corner, challenging and championing them every step of the way.

Zeke Hawkins

Zeke earned a BA in Comparative Politics from Brown University. He covers a wide range of subjects, including Math (up to Calculus), English (Literature and Writing), History (US and World), and organization/study skills. He also covers up to certain levels of Physics and Chemistry. In addition to being a tutor, Zeke is an award-winning filmmaker with an MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute, and he has over six years of teaching and mentorship experience as the Artist-in-Residence at Sacred Heart University. When Zeke isn’t working with students, you’ll find him walking his dogs, trying to give up coffee, and writing his next feature film.