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Winter Semester is now open for enrollment, sign up today!

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 recently completed 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.

CASSIE MURLEY: PROGRAM COORDINATOR & COACH – MATHEMATICS

Cassie is very excited to be joining The Study Huddle team! She has a Master’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she studied graph theory and taught the entire calculus sequence, from precalculus to multivariable calculus.


Before graduate school, she gained industry experience working as a defense contractor to provide solutions for mission-critical problems relevant to the U.S. Air Force in the areas of mathematics and cybersecurity. Her true passion is teaching mathematics and sharing the joy of solving complex problems.


Cassie believes that it is important to develop meaningful relationships with her students based on mutual respect, trust, and understanding. Her hobbies include knitting, swimming, and amusement parks, but most of all, she loves spending time with her husband and two kitties.

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.

DR. MATT MILLS: COACH – MATHEMATICS

Dr. Matt Mills holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Nebraska and has experience teaching at the university level. He is passionate about teaching and solving problems. 

Matt believes students learn best when they are actively engaged and likes to give his students an opportunity to explore their intellectual curiosities. He also has several years experience with physics and computer programming. 

Matt also looks forward to mentoring younger students in math competitions. Apart from teaching and programming, he loves reading, playing board games, and spending time with his family.

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 – HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE

Aakash Basu is an instructor at The Study Huddle who has taught middle and high school mathematics and science classes. 

He is currently a PhD student at Yale University, where he is pursuing a doctoral degree in Neuroscience with a focus on the biology of psychiatric disorders. 

He graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree from Vanderbilt University in 2020. Aakash is passionate about scientific discovery and about teaching math and science.

ROHAN SATAPATHY: COACH – COMPUTER SCIENCE

Rohan Satapathy is a junior at Waubonsie Valley High School who is passionate about teaching and helping others learn. His favorite academic subjects are mathematics and physics, but he is also passionate about computers and programming, having over three years of experience with the Python programming language.

Rohan believes that the most effective way to teach is to focus on building intuition while giving detailed feedback to students. He hopes that by bringing this philosophy into the classroom, he will be able to help his students learn in the most effective way possible.

In his free time, Rohan plays jazz piano and practices martial arts. He has been playing piano for over ten years and is currently in his school’s top jazz band. He has also been doing martial arts for over six years and has earned a first degree black belt in Tang Soo Do.

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