Learners need to be considered holistically in order for their inherent openness and curiosity to emerge. Being conscious of how someone is naturally wired and what their specific needs are, a container of trust and understanding develops for the learner. They feel seen, become inspired, and relax enough to explore. Before long, they have cultivated a love of learning, positive self-motivation, and a sense of personal responsibility. Paired with the right support, this is how true and lasting learning takes place.
Meerkat Academics offers online conscious tutoring and coaching, with specialized areas of expertise in:
+ Test Prep / Academic Enrichment
+ Architecture and Design
+ Emotional Wellness
I work with middle school, high school, university students, and professionals around the country and internationally via remote online meetings.
The Meerkat Method:
3 Dimensions of Holistic Learning
These 3 dimensions allow me to with students holistically and consciously:
1 - KNOWING the student is the first step in order to create personalized plans for achieving each student's goals.
2 - GROWING skillsets is achieved through progress assessment, project management, and metrics analysis. I impart not only the knowledge, but the method for reaching your goals.
3 - SUPPORTING each student's overall well-being to enhance their ability to be engaged life-long learners.
Learning Style is important for understanding how information is received. While most people receive information using a combination of auditory, visual, and kinesthetic styles, some lean more heavily on one over others. As a visual learner navigating through the world of predominantly audio learning, I’ve come to realize that this knowledge is invaluable and can be life-changing. Communicating to each student in their preferred learning style is akin to speaking a language that they understand.
Personality traits affect how we express ourselves and interact with others. Some prefer sensory details over the theoretical. Some are more introverted, while others are more extroverted. These preferences inform the way I communicate by adapting my teaching styles to cater to each individual's needs and translating topics into relatable context. I work with each individual in the way that they need so that they stay motivated to engage and learn.
Personalized plans are tailored for each student according to his or her goals and level of time commitment. Many factors affect student learning curve and it is imperative keep students on target by closely assessing their progress through the lens of project management and metrics analysis. Reaching desired goals require not just knowledge, but the know-how of effective methods.
We start with lesson plans, but stay nimble so as to be able adjust how and what we work on. This is how most students exhibit noticeable interest in learning within a few weeks of our working together. Grades and test scores provide valuable insight, not as a marker of intelligence, but for understanding a student's engagement and interest in learning. As these quantitative measures show evident improvement, other quantitative and qualitative data are also recorded and tracked to ensure measured progress.
Emotions are known to affect cognitive processes, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. For this reason, I integrate emotional wellness support into my work. This may come in the form of dedicated coaching sessions, practicing communication techniques, mindfulness exercises, and journaling, to name a few. Not only does the learner reach a state of calm and focus needed for optimal learning, they are also learning crucial life skills for self-awareness and self-regulation.
Some of us have brains that are Ferrari engines, with bicycle brakes. This is a metaphor for the ADHD brain. As someone who was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult, I did not have the proper support as a student and had to build learning systems for myself while working much harder than my peers. This has instilled in me not only immense compassion and patience, but practical tools for neurologically diverse students. I'm committed to providing the necessary support and use unconventional teaching methods to support any learning differences.
Fueled by my love of teaching, architectural design, and personal growth through self-awareness and healing, I have spent over 30 years working towards combining these three passions into one. Meerkat Academics has evolved over time to embody these three seemingly disparate areas.
It brings me joy to be able to share my educational pursuits, work experiences, and personal interests with students, parents, and peers who are aligned in their yearning to know more about themselves and the world they inhabit.
Liyan Catherine Wan is an entrepreneurial creative who has founded and operated 3 businesses, with experience leading, developing, and managing people and projects in Architecture, Interior Design, Engineering, and Education. She infuses her personal spirituality and conscious awareness into her work, elevating both her relationships with clients and the work itself.
As a corporate professional, she’s been blessed to work a variety of interesting jobs. As an engineer, she worked at Honda’s manufacturing facility in Ohio, on the development of the first-generation Acura MDX. As a Quality Assurance Engineer for Mars Chocolate, she diligently ensured that Snickers bars and Dove chocolates are defect-free with daily taste-tests. As an Architect and Interior Designer, she’s designed homes, hotels, resorts, mixed-use towers, and restaurants / bars around the world.
With experience tutoring numerous students through Penn State's Learning Center, Varsity Tutors, and WyzAnt, Liyan began her personal 1:1 tutoring business in 2012 while pursuing her graduate degree in architecture in Chicago. Because of her dedication to education, she continued tutoring while working as an architect. To dedicate herself to Meerkat Academics, Liyan resigned from working at an architecture firm in 2019.
Because of her varied portfolio career, which requires that she is adept at STEM skills paired with imaginative creativity, she can easily explain difficult concepts to either a left or right-brain dominant student. Liyan empathizes with the students she works with, and firmly believes that anyone can learn as long as they are dedicated and willing. Her commitment to this is evidenced by her past literacy volunteer work at Anixter Center’s Jack Ehrlich Literacy Program. Patience and empathy is just as important as technical knowledge when it comes to increasing a student's confidence and interest in a topic and she is committed to using soft skills to encourage the learning of hard skills.
Through her executive leadership in a professional networking association, she co-founded a college coaching program in Philadelphia, which provided essay writing and college application coaching. She gained insight into the college application review process whilst guiding students to discover their application theme/personal branding to curate thoughtful essay responses.
She holds a Masters of Architecture degree from University of Illinois at Chicago, completed coursework at the Masters level at the University of Pennsylvania, has a Bachelors of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Penn State University, and an Associates degree in Interior Design.
Outside of tutoring and coaching, she loves designing, learning esoteric topics, gardening, growing worms (and cultivating their poop!), and spending quality time with her husband and dog on Oahu’s many trails and beaches.
For more information on her qualifications and work experience, download her CV.