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Meet Our Coaches & Mentors

Our students want to learn, and we want to teach them​

The Study Huddle believes that excellence is an attitude and the pursuit of excellence is a journey.

Coaches at The Study Huddle inspire the students to actively explore and bring out their dormant creative problem solving skills, help them refine their approach to solutions and evaluate and appreciate the power of graceful solutions.

Our students want to learn and we want to teach them.

We spend time developing interesting and meaningful materials that engage the students’ interests. Our coaches and mentors instill the excitement to discover the beauty of learning.  

SHOBHA SANKAR: PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Shobha Sankar is the founder of The Study Huddle formerly Math factor-e. She believes young minds can take any challenge if the inner spark is ignited. Quality of education begins there.  Shobha Sankar holds a Masters in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology and has 20 years of technology experience in telecommunications. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Data Science (MIDS) through UC Berkeley. As an engineer and a life-long learner, she believes the problem solving skills can be cultivated with right amount of challenge and encouragement. Being a problem solver requires certain persistence, an open mind and a systematic approach. This is a life learning skill they develop through their problem solving sessions. While encouraging every student to expand their horizons, inspiring more girls to break the barrier in Math competitions continues to be her special interest.

In her role at The Study Huddle she is in charge of developing various programs in Mathematics and Computer Science to motivate students to keep acquiring new skills. She is also a coach for several math and coding classes.

CHANDNI RATNAKARAN: COACH – MATHEMATICS

Chandni Ratnakaran is a seasoned mathematics and computer science teacher with experience on both areas. She has 7 years of teaching experience in C++ programming and web technologies along with most modern OOP programming languages like Python.

Chandni holds Bachelor’s in Mathematics degree from Calicut University, India and Master’s in Computer Management degree from Pune University, India.

As a person who is passionate about math and computer, she understands the importance of logical, analytical and critical thinking in the process of learning. She believes in developing mathematical curiosity in students and the use of inductive and deductive reasoning when solving problems.

Apart from teaching, she loves drawing, reading and listening to music in her free time..

VIDYA SEKHAR: COACH – MATHEMATICS

Vidya Sekhar has a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and holds experience working in the corporate sector for a global Information Technology services company.

She started volunteering in IPSD 204 when her kids started elementary school. Spending time at the LMC interacting with kids piqued her interest in teaching. Currently she is employed with IPSD 204 as a substitute teacher.

She enjoys interacting with kids and loves to see the excitement in them when they grasp a new concept or solve a difficult problem. She also holds a diploma in Interior Designing.

When she is not reading or traveling she loves to spend time experimenting with organic gardening or creating one of a kind pottery pieces.

SREEJA PANIKKAR: COACH – MATHEMATICS

Sreeja Panikkar is a chemical engineer with many years of experience as small business development manager for a financial institution. The problem solving and communication skills she has gained from this experience has helped her pursue her other passions such as creating the best learning environment for young students.

She loves working with young children in improving their logical and analytical skills and help them simplify complex concepts in Math and problem-solving.

Sreeja is currently a freelance web developer with experience in building responsive websites, blogs and managing social media channels. Her hobbies include running and music. As a regular Chicago half-marathon runner she likes to see her students setting goals and achieving them through regular practice and discipline.

AAKASH BASU: COACH – BRAIN BEE

Aakash Basu is a scientist who has graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in neuroscience. He is currently entering a graduate program in neuroscience at Yale University, with the intent of earning a PhD. He has competed in the Chicago Brain Bee several times in high school, and earned 2nd place in 2017.

His current academic interests concern the basic biology of psychiatric disorders such as addiction and depression, a field in which he currently conducts pre-clinical research. He has also been a tutor at Math Factor-E (now called The Study Huddle) for many years, and has provided both individual and group tutoring in mathematics and science .

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