Our Tutors

Best Tutors Available

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 totally 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

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.

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.

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.

Uri Brookmyer

Originally from Palm Beach Gardens, FL, Uri graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Philosophy, focusing on formal logic and moral philosophy. Though he initially moved to Durham with the intent of attending law school, Uri has decided to focus on tutoring, leaving the possibility of graduate school open for the future. By working with a broad range of learning styles in both 1-on-1 and group settings over the last 7 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

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.

Brinnae Bent

Brinnae is currently a PhD student in Biomedical Engineering (Neural Engineering) at Duke University. She received her undergraduate from NC State University in Biomedical Engineering, where she also developed a passion for teaching. She has taught numerous classes, developed curricula, and is a substitute teacher at NCSSM. Her passion for teaching has led her to Mindspire™, where she tutors for the ACT, SAT, and AP Exams. After self-studying for 13 successful AP exams in high school, she is very experienced with test prep!When Brinnae is not in the research lab or teaching, she can be found trail running, rock climbing, racing obstacle courses, and going on adventures with her husband, Ryan, and her two cats, Tater and Tot.

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.

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.

Taylor Pankey

Taylor attended the University of Virginia, graduating with a B.A. in Economics and Psychology in 2017. Originally from Stuart, FL, he moved back to South Florida shortly after graduation to pursue a M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Barry University. Taylor realized his affinity for standardized test preparation while studying for the Dental Admission Test. As a product of great tutoring programs, Taylor wants to help other students reach their highest potential. During his last semester in his graduate program, Taylor began tutoring part-time for a local test prep company, focusing on SAT, ACT, and high school math. After completing his graduate program, Taylor began tutoring full-time and was promoted to Senior Instructor, expanding his duties to working on content development and program evaluation projects while continuing to tutor. Taylor moved to Chapel Hill to join the Mindspire team and will be attending the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in the Fall.

Vladimir Klimenko

Originally from Manhattan, Vladimir Klimenko graduated with a degree in History from Harvard University. He spent several years working as a journalist in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union. After completing work on a PBS documentary about survivors of Stalin’s prison camps, Vladimir decided to enter teaching as a profession. Having earned an M. Ed. from the University of Maryland, he went on to teach in the Los Angeles, London, and New York areas. He has been teaching History for over 20 years and is currently a member of the History Department at Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY.


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.

Brand Fortner

Brand Fortner is teaching professor at North Carolina State University , and adjunct professor of physics at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He previously was chief scientist of the intelligence exploitation group of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, and is the founder of two scientific software companies. He holds a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Illinois, and has previously held positions at NASA and at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Brand serves on several corporate boards and advisory bodies and in 2005 received the distinguished alumni award from the University of Illinois. He is also an instrument rated private pilot, and co-owner of a Piper Archer.

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.

Nate Diehl

Nate Diehl is a Clemson University and Calhoun Honors College alumnus with a BS in Biochemistry and Genetics (summa cum laude). Nate discovered his passion for research and medicine early in his undergraduate career, which led him to join the MD/PhD program at the University of North Carolina in 2015. He started tutoring early in college, working with students in biology, organic chemistry and physics. After completing his first two years of medical school and USMLE Step 1, he has continued tutoring 1st and 2nd year medical students as they prepare for their coursework and licensing exams. In addition to working on his PhD and tutoring medical students, Nate spends his time training for triathlons, renovating his home, and exploring the mountains and beaches of North Carolina with his wife.

Sadie Lang

Sadie earned her bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Northeastern University, where she was a National Merit scholar and an active member of the Honors Program. After graduation, she worked in environmental education for years, including jobs designing field trip programs in Oahu, running educational activities in a museum butterfly garden, and guiding hiking trips for students in multiple national parks. She enjoyed teaching so much that she returned for her Master’s of Arts in Teaching at Meredith College. Sadie is now a middle school science and social studies teacher as well as a coach for her school’s MathCounts and Science Olympiad teams. In her free time, she can be found improving her kayak rescue skills, advocating for better bike lanes in Raleigh, and hammocking in her favorite downtown parks.

Ryan Bolick

Growing up in Cary, North Carolina, Ryan has tutored students in the Triangle area for nearly 10 years. He graduated summa cum laude from NC State University with a degree in biomedical engineering, where he honed his teaching skills by leading study groups and sometimes even stepping in for a professor. After working in R&D for several medical device companies, Ryan decided to further his design skills and pursue a masters degree in industrial design from NC State University. As a Cary Christian School alumnus, chances are he played your school in basketball or soccer! When not in the shop or lab, Ryan can be found with his wife, Brinnae, doing things that makes his muscles tired like obstacle course racing, ninja competitions, trail running, and rock climbing.

Molly Matlock

Molly grew up on a small farm in Alaska, where she received her B.S. in Mathematics at University of Alaska Anchorage. She then moved down to North Carolina and completed her Master’s degree in Math Education at NC State. Molly has been a math tutor for the past 8 years, and started working for Mindspire in 2017 as a SAT and ACT tutor. Molly believes that every student can be successful in their education. She is especially passionate about helping students with math and test anxiety become confident in their abilities to succeed.

Marc Lata

Marc grew up in Lenexa, Kansas before moving to Colorado and studying Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, earning a B.A. with honors and achieving membership in the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society. He then worked as an actuary with Berkshire Hathaway for 3 years, where he developed a passion for photography, eventually deciding to pursue a Ph. D. in Optical Sciences and Engineering at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he’s currently in his second year. When not doing school work or tutoring, he enjoys reading books, watching movies, and listening to music.


Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Alex moved to North Carolina to attend Duke University, where he received his BA in English Literature (Highest Distinction) while following a premedical track. Teaching has long been a passion of his; from high school through the present, he has carved out time to work with highly motivated, goal-oriented students, and looks forward to continuing to do so with Mindspire. Through the grueling process of self-studying for standardized tests – most recently for the MCAT – he is well-acquainted with the importance of effectively using time, both before and during an exam. He looks forward to sharing his experiences and skill sets with his students. In his spare time, you can find him listening to music (often dusty hip-hop and even dustier jazz), playing pickup basketball, or curled up with a good book.

SAT: 2360 out of 2400

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


Greg Künig did his undergraduate work at the University of British Columbia – Vancouver (Coast Salish Territory), where he received a BA in History with Honors in 2012 before attending seminary at Yale University. Greg earned an MDiv in 2015 and went on to do further graduate coursework at Duke.  Greg is passionate about education and, in addition to tutoring for Mindspire, works in the AVID program in the Chapel Hill school system, helping students succeed academically by forming learning communities that foster mutual support and critical inquiry among students.  Outside the classroom, Greg is a lay minister in his church and is active in community gardening and racial justice work in the Durham and Chapel Hill communities.  He is currently accepting students through Mindspire for academic tutoring in a variety of subjects including Social Studies and ELA.