Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, PhD, Mechanical Engineering             06/2012
University of Tehran, MS, Material Science and Engineering                   06/2009
Sharif University of Technology, BS, Material Science and Engineering   06/2005

Teaching Experience:
Adjunct Professor, Siena College                                   09/2014 - Present
Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania             09/2013 - 06/2014
Teacher Assistant, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute      09/2009 – 06/2012
Physics I & II
General Chemistry
Modeling and Analysis of Uncertainty
Tutor and Teacher (part time), Tehran/Iran                      09/2002 – 06/2009
Teaching AMC (Math Olympiad)
Tutoring Chemistry and Physics

Standardized Exams:
GMAT: (Math 93%)
GRE : Math 800

Melanie Berger

Melanie is a scientist with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

As a graduate of Brown University, Melanie has extensive training in the physical sciences as well as english language arts.

Melanie teaches math, science, english, writing and critical reading.

Don Finelli, Administrator

  • Don is Abelson Test Prep's Administrator.  
  • In this role Don is responsible for emergent business and site support to the director / owner and the staff.
  • When he is not working for Abelson Test Prep you can catch Don in the Fast Lane.
  • Credentials:
  • Trainer
  • Independent consultant June 2015 – Present (9 months)
  • Filling the training needs of clients.

Customer Service Tech

Best Cleaners
June 2011 – June 2015 (4 years 1 month) Glenville, NY
Customer service in a store for receiving and distributing clothing and other items.
Deputy Director
June 2009 – November 2009 (6 months)
Administer of a State wide non-for profit with national affiliation  Coordinate services and support for 22 offices throughout the state.
Committee on Special Education Chairperson
Amsterdam City School District
September 2005 – May 2007 (1 year 9 months)
Direct monitoring of teachers and programs.
Conducted CSE meeting and developed annual programs for 900 students.
Staff Development
Director Of Special Education
New Paltz Central School District
2004 – 2005 (1 year)
Leave coverage for one year.
Developed and monitored the special education program for the districts population.
Conducted annual reviews for all the CSE, CPSE and 504 students 1000+
Supervised staff
Staff training
High School Principal
Catskill Central School District
January 2000 – January 2002 (2 years 1 month)
Day to day operations
Supervision of staff
Budget development and expenditures
Reports to the School Board
Lead Special Education Administrator
January 1997 – January 2000 (3 years 1 month)
Oversight of 50 classes in 23 sights/operation of three school buildings
****Program development and monitoring
****Researched and purchased all technology for classrooms
SETRC Training Specialist
Questar III
January 1991 – January 1997 (6 years 1 month)
Delivered training to district and BOCES staff
Designed staff development programs for distrists.
Organized and delivered the Cambridge Model of Strategic Planning
Behavioralist, worked with teaching staff and transportation staffs
Developed and trained staff to successfully deal with students with challenging behaviors.
District team building, staff devlopment that enabled groups to work together better.
Resource room teacher
Questar III
September 1976 – September 1991 (15 years 1 month)
for students with emotional disabilities
****Teacher of autistic students high school level
****Vocational high school, provided academic subject matter for special education students within the
vocational classes
Labor Relations Specialist New York State United Teachers
****Field representative for six locals in Sullivan County
****State and federal representative on Charter Schools
****Contract negotiations for all units in the districts
****Familiarity with education law, civil service law and labor law
****Legislative lobbying for education

Michelle Gilson, Ph.D.

Ph.D. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1996
M.S. University of California at Davis, 1987
B.S.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1985
Business Speaking Skills Seminar, Rockhurst University, 2005
Charles River Short Course, 2004
Transgenic Technology Workshop, NIH, 2004
Genetically Engineered Models, Caltech, 2003, 2004

Teaching Experience
2013-Present, Professional Tutor
Albany College of Pharmacy Science Assistance Center
Assist students with General Biology, Microbiology, Virology, Anatomy and Physiology, some Chemistry

2013- Present, Adjunct Professor
Schenectady County Community College
Teaching Human Biology
Schenectady County Community College Learning Center
Tutoring in Human Biology, Anatomy and Physiology

 2014-Present, Professional Tutor
D&T Tutors
Assist high school students with preparation for SAT, AP and coursework

 2013, Visiting Professor
Skidmore College
Designed and taught upper-level Immunology course with lecture and laboratory.

 2012-2013, Adjunct Professor
Fulton-Montgomery Community College
Taught Microbiology lecture and laboratory, Essentials of Anatomy and Physiology, Molecules and Cells.            

 2012, Visiting Faculty
Bennington College
Developed and taught upper level Microbiology course with laboratory, lower level Fundamentals of Genetics course.

 2010-2011, Adjunct Professor
Hudson Valley Community College
Taught Biology of Humans lecture and laboratory. Anatomy and Physiology I laboratory, Human Genetics laboratory.

 2010-2011, Adjunct Professor
Taught Anatomy and Physiology I, lecture and laboratory, Biology of Humans lecture and laboratory and Fundamentals of Biology Laboratory.

 2008-2009, Adjunct Professor
SUNY Cobleskill
Taught one lecture section and one laboratory section of Biology for Non-Majors, one lecture and one laboratory section of Anatomy and Physiology II.

 2007, Instructor
Columbia-Greene Community College
Responsible for 2 lecture sections of Human Biology, a course for non-majors, and two lecture and three laboratory sections of Anatomy and Physiology I (a total of 21 actual contact hours per week).  

Research Experience
2005-2007  Genomouse Specialist, Senior Genetic Testing Scientist
Elchrom Scientific
Educate staff and distributors with regard to rodent genetics, targeted applications and potential clients. Identify customers and applications for the GenoMouse service.  Work with customers to design and carry out genotyping projects.  Provide weekly web seminars on GenoMouse applications.  Work with sales and marketing to identify opportunities. 

2002-2006  Researcher
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Worked as a volunteer evenings and weekends.  Performed protein purifications and protein synthesis reactions in chloroplast lysates, and showed that newly-synthesized radiolabelled Rubisco (the enzyme that fixes carbon dioxide in photosynthesis) was capable of binding to an analogue of the transition state.  Work was published in Photosynthesis Research.

 2002-2005   Genetic Testing Product Manager
Charles River Laboratories Genetic Testing Services
Researched and developed new applications and untapped customer bases for Genetic Testing Services technologies, e.g. zebrafish genotyping and molecular phenotyping for verification of RNAi and array data.   Wrote and supervised production of technical data sheets, catalog, advertisements, and promotional materials.  Developed and presented educational seminars at hospitals, biotechs and universities.  Created training programs for sales force, GTS technicians and transgenic services project managers.  Provided support and resource materials to laboratory managers, technical assistance department and sales representatives.  Provided technical and pricing information to customers, and handled billing and international shipping problems. 

 2001-2002: Research Microbiologist with Dr. Patricia Phillips
Stratton VA Medical Center
Conducted experiments to determine the roles of focal adhesion kinase and thrombospondin in cancer-cell mediated endothelial cell motility.  Developed a new procedure for fluorescently labeling antisense oligonucleotides. Independently prepared and submitted an American Lung Association grant proposal.  Maintained tissue cultures and set up complex cultues to assay cell migration.

 1999-2001: Postdoctoral Research Associate with Dr. Marlene Belfort
Wadsworth Center of the NYS Department of Health, Division of Genetic Disorders
Analyzed structure and function of intron homing endonuclease genes.  Designed protein purification protocols, using a wide variety of bacterial expression vectors.  Used transposon mutagenesis to sequence a very large, poorly characterized gram-positive shuttle vector.  Prepared and submitted a grant to the American Cancer Society, wrote ‘intron’ entry for the Encyclopedia of Genetics. 

 1996-1997: Postdoctoral Research Associate with Dr. Carl Schildkraut
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Department of Cell Biology
Studied control of DNA replication in Epstein-Barr virus-infected cell lines, including a mouse cell line competent to express EBV.  Mastered two unusual techniques: isolation of nuclear matrices and two-dimensional agarose gel electrophoresis. Performed extensive evaluations of new techniques and equipment to refine DNA isolation and hybridization protocols. Presented a
poster at the Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Eukaryotic Genetics.

1989-1996: Ph.D. Research Candidate with Dr. Harry Roy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Developed an in vitro chloroplast protein expression system.  Analyzed the Rubisco assembly pathway, which is particularly complex as Rubisco consists of both nuclear-encoded and chloroplast-encoded subunits and also requires several molecular chaperones forassembly.  Developed purification protocols for two chaperone proteins.  Used liquid chromatography, gel electrophoresis, immunoprecipitation and radiotracer analysis extensively.  Mentored junior graduate students.  Biochemistry Scholarship, 1989. Presented a poster at the AMC/RPI Joint Research Symposium, 1996.

 1987-1988: Research Technician with Dr. Genevieve Incefy
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Performed bioassays to detect circulation thymic hormone in bone marrow transplant patients.  Participated in Transplantation Grand Rounds.  Generated thymic sell cultures from surgical specimens, and maintained human and mouse cell lines.  Performed rodent surgeries and colony management.  Also responsible for equipment maintenance, ordering supplies, patient record-keeping and billing, and preparation of reports.

1985-1987:  M.S. Candidate with Dr. Raymond Valentine
University of California at Davis
Studied the role of trehalose in osmoregulation of E. coli.  Generated and screened mutants and performed radiolabel competition experiments.  Adapted biochemical assays for sugar detection to the bacterial trehalose system.  Also responsible for purchasing supplies, maintaining financial records, and hiring and supervision of work-study students.

1983-1985: Undergraduate Research Student with Dr. Harry Roy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Purified Rubisco and chaperonin 60 from C3 and C4 plants. Generated rabbit antibodies to these proteins (including managing IACUC approval). Used Western blotting to quantitate proteins and to survey the distribution of molecular chaperones in various plant species.

1979-1984: Part-Time and Summer Research with Dr. Genevieve Incefy
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Studied the immune response of Sjogrens Syndrome patients. Developed and screened hybridomas to express antibodies to T-cell markers.  Used flow cytometry to characterize changes in T cell populations with aging. Presented a seminar to the New York Academy of Sciences.  Wrote and received a Science Research Training Internship grant.


Kamyar Pashayi, Ph.D.

  • University Professor with a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering.  
  • Abelson Test Prep specialist since 2013.
  • Outstanding educator and motivator!
  • Kamyar's teaching and love of mathematics has made him a requested member from our students.
  • He makes the difficult math problems easy through his strategic approach to understanding the problem.​

Dr. Matthew Mirabile

  • Dr. Mirabile is both a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic. He also holds a PhD in Management Science, an MS in Physics, an MBA and New York State Secondary Education Permanent Certification in Mathematics and Physics.
  • Assistant Professor and Joint Appointment as Director of the Health Studies Center in the Graduate Management School at Union College. Taught Calculus, Statistics, Operations Research and Mathematical Modeling of Engineering/Management Systems, and Analytical Business Methods in Health Care Systems.
  • Dr. Mirabile also taught High School AP Calculus, Pre-Calculus, Math B (Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry), Math A (Algebra and Geometry), AP Physics and Regents Physics.
  • Dr. Mirabile is also the author of several professional publications.
  • Award: Dedication for Teaching Excellence, Loudonville Christian School

Jennifer Blanchard

  • Jennifer is Abelson Test Prep's registrar.  
  • In this role she greets you with a welcome letter when you register for one of our programs,

          schedules your lessons, coordinates and proctors practice tests, and is basically the Wizard of OZ behind the scenes.

  • When she is not working for Abelson Test Prep, she enjoys reading and spending time with her son.
  • Jennifer is working toward an AAS in Medical Assisting.

PJ Manzo

PJ is an extraordinary teacher who can inspire anyone to learn math!  His love of mathematics and teaching is evident when he is working with his students.

PJ is also a high school math teacher at Albany High School and a graduate of SUNY New Paltz.  PJ teaches the math domains of both the SAT and ACT.  He also teaches the math sections of the GRE and GMAT.

His students always leave his sessions with a greater understanding of how to solve math problems not only on the test but everyday in school.

meet the Abelson team.

Carrie Kagan

 Abelson students constantly comment that Mrs. Kagan has helped them to understand the ins and outs of the English language like no other teacher has been able to do.  Her love of teaching inspires her students ability to learn.

Mrs. Kagan teaches the Critical Reading and Writing domains of the SAT and the English and Reading domains of the ACT.

"I have been an educator for over 10 years, and my passion for teaching continues to grow.  I enjoy the challenges of mastering the
SAT sections as well as the intricacies of grammar, writing, and critical reading. It is exciting to help students build confidence in these areas and it is rewarding share knowledge that will not only make the SAT seem less daunting, but will also benefit a lifetime of reading and writing."


Bachelor of Arts, English Secondary Education, University of Delaware


State of Delaware Secondary Teaching Certificate

Stevan Abelson

 As the Owner / Director of Abelson Test Prep, I have captured my passion for teaching and learning into a unique instructional style that has been motivating my students for the past quarter of a century.   At Abelson Test Prep we  emphasize understanding, not memorization, as we teach students to learn how to learn.  My staff and I  inspire students' intellectual curiosity with our personalized approach to education. Staff members include certified teachers, administrators and specialists.   I have developed a unique program for students with different learning styles and attention issues. My program, differentiated implementation  incorporates academic coursework into an individual academic plan. Strategies include areas of memory retention, reading, comprehension, phonics, written expression, and math analysis. My educational philosophy is “Treat everyone differently in order to treat them the same."   

To that end,  Abelson Test Prep believes that smaller group interaction with differentiated instruction yields the best results. 


Curriculum Vitae:

Owner / Director: Abelson Test Prep

Director of Professional Development, Questar III BOCES

  • ​Lead trainer NYSED.  
  • Statewide training in aligning standards to curriculum. 
  • Coordinated the curricula used in the commissioner's monthly broadcast:​ "Tools for Schools."
  • Administrator for Special Education

Professor of Special Education, Graduate Division, The College of Saint Rose.    
Director of Education, Vanderheyden Hall
Public School Teacher, History, Secondary Education, Greenville, NY     

• SAS / SDA Education Administration, State University of New York at Albany.
• MS Public Administration, Sage College in Albany, NY.
• BS Education, State University of New York at Albany.       
• School District Administrator : Permanent
• School Administrator Supervisor: Permanent
​• Social Studies/English 7-12: Permanent
• Impartial Hearing Officer: New York State
• Certified Strategic Planner - Cambridge Associates

​ 518-871-1818  
   A Test Preparation & staff development  service