When students in a freshman seminar class are asked about their intended majors, an overwhelming amount answer biology and pre-med. Their first steps through the door in college are prerequisite classes such as general chemistry. At Stony Brook University, there are many resources and opportunities for chemistry students to get the extra help and review that they need.
On Facebook, the Sbchem Tutor can be found on its own page as well as the on pages for the different SBU class years. He or she runs group review sessions and one-on-one tutoring sessions centered around concepts students have difficulty with at rates reasonable for their college budgets.
Kate Reyes, a sophomore health sciences major, found the Sbchem Tutor last year in the Class of 2016 Facebook group. Reyes was skeptical of the legitimacy of the tutor because “there was no exact name to contact or listed [information] about their experience. It was kind of scary not knowing their name…” She needed help towards the end of the semester and contacted the tutor.
“I should have used his tutoring earlier because it did help me out a lot. I was able to pass my final because of the tricks and shortcuts he taught me to learning the material,” Reyes says after the experience.
The Sbchem Tutor is Daniel Weinstein, a May 2013 graduate with a degree in chemistry from Stony Brook. According to his LinkedIn profile, Weinstein is extremely involved within the field of chemistry whether it be assisting on-campus projects or interning off campus.
Weinstein started tutoring chemistry during high school and later, as a sophomore at Stony Brook, he got a job as a free residential tutor. He continued to work as a tutor with the Undergraduate Student Government’s P.A.S.S. free tutoring program until the volume of student demand declined.
In the Spring 2012 semester, Weinstein decided to take control of his situation and had his first session of about 30 students, composed of friends of friends and people who had heard about it through word of mouth. Its successes motivated Weinstein to promote his fledgling small business which he said was “a reliable way to make money senior year.”
When asked about why he has not posted his photo or his real name, Weinstein responded that it was in his best interest to not make the tutoring business all about himself.
When the Sbchem Tutor first originated, a student tutor began sending Weinstein messages online threatening to get him into trouble with the university for false accusations.
Weinstein described the threats as “strange and cryptic,” and he later brought them to the Stony Brook Office of the Provost.
Now, it does not seem necessary to have all of his personal information on his businesses page because he has his own personal Facebook page.
Weinstein has expanded his interest in teaching chemistry into creating online methods of tutoring. He works at Rothman Media LLC and is a courseware developer and an independent contractor who makes lecture videos and slides for study materials. Weinstein uses old tests, his own notes and practice questions to focus on areas that students get confused with most often. He says the reason his tutoring is so successful is because his method of teaching makes chemistry “understandable to people who aren’t scientifically minded.”
When asked if he wanted to pursue education, like a Ph. D., Weinstein chuckled and answered, “If I can teach students now with a bachelors degree, why would I need a Ph. D. in education!”