Mundo Academy provides competitively-priced, effective test prep and tutoring services to students in Los Angeles, CA and surrounding areas. We invest our resources and expertise to partner with schools and nonprofit organizations to offer tutoring and test preparation in economically disadvantaged areas in an effort to foster equity in the college admissions process.

  • We are proud to create an environment that is welcoming of all individuals and is a safe space for people of all ethnicities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • We seek to nurture students’ academic experience while providing expert guidance.
  • We give ownership to students of their academic progress.
  • We support our students in order to empower their academic experience.

Mundo Academy will treat everyone with respect and tolerance.

Marina Grijalva

Founder & President

Marina began her career in education as a teacher immediately after graduating from Pomona College. She obtained a M.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her double major in Math and Spanish opened the door to many teaching opportunities at the university, middle and high school levels. Marina’s success with students not only depends on her teaching expertise, but also her patience and willingness to reach her students. Marina creates an environment where adolescents can thrive and tackle academic weaknesses without feeling intimidated.

Marina began her tutoring career in 2008 after working as a classroom teacher for 10 years. Her focus has always been teaching students techniques that will help them find their voice. Because Marina works with students from different geographical and economic areas, she has a clear understanding of the different obstacles students face. Marina is working on expanding her reach in order to help students of color obtain the resources they lack that can have a major impact on their ability to apply and be accepted into the college of their choice.

Marina Grijalva grew up in Calexico, California, which is a small town on the U.S.-Mexico border. Marina’s father worked as a farm laborer in the Imperial Valley while her mother stayed at home raising five children. The youngest of five, Marina is the only person in her family to graduate from a 4-year university.

It is with this mindset, that Marina has created academic coaching and test prep programs that will target the needs of every student.


Monica Ruz

Director of Learning and Instruction

Monica has taught several elementary school grades in various school settings. She is a National Board Certified teacher, has an MA in Educational Psychology from UCSB and an MEd from UCLA. During her time at UCLA Monica was motivated to further help to close the achievement gap often created by policy and institutional practices. Her work at UCLA has been instrumental in her current path and passion to work with Mundo Academy, to aid students and to bring about change for historically underrepresented groups. Her attributes include curriculum design, coaching, teaching strategies, and knowledge of culturally relevant pedagogy.

Brianna Chu

Administrative Coordinator and Academic Coach

Brianna Chu earned her MA (Hons) in International Relations and Psychology at the University of St Andrews in Scotland. She first started tutoring at Learning Works! Charter School as a Polytechnic School student volunteer in 2010, and has worked as a teaching assistant in multiple subjects for PolySummer as well as tutored privately in the decade since. Brianna mostly tutors mathematics, English, and writing, and also guides students through the college application process, especially writing college essays.

Brianna enjoys getting to know each of her students, figuring out how to make that challenging idea click and helping them express their voices most clearly in their writing. An avid culinary enthusiast, she shares stories of local restaurateurs and their food for the Pasadena Independent. She also holds the role of Digital Storyteller for the Pasadena Educational Foundation.


Tatiana Becerra

Testing Coordinator and Academic Coach

Tatiana graduated from Barnard College – Columbia University with a degree in Biology. She loves biology, but also enjoys writing and was Editor in Chief of a music magazine during college.  While attending Polytechnic School, she was a dancer and played varsity basketball. For the past four years she was as a teaching assistant at PolySummer, working with kindergarten – high school students.

Tatiana is excited to work with students in Mundo Academy and is dedicated to helping them achieve their goals and catering to their individual learning styles.

Thomas Williams

English, Writing and History Tutor

Tom specialises in socio-political history and studying primary source material, especially literature. His goals include demonstrating how history is relevant to life today, bringing the past to life, and finding unique true interpretations of the human story. He earned his Master of Arts (Honours) undergraduate degree in English and Mediaeval History from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and his Master of Philosophy postgraduate degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from the University of Cambridge in England.

Tom grew up in a military family and lived on a sheep farm in the English countryside for most of his childhood, so he knows how much hard work is required to study and succeed at the highest levels of academia. He has received multiple academic awards, including being named on the Dean’s List for Outstanding Academic Achievement in his final undergraduate year. In his free time, Tom is an avid fan of rugby and soccer, and enjoys video and board games. His favourite class in High School was Theatre Studies.

A good education was not always a guarantee for Tom; he had to work hard for it. He wants to make sure that students who face similar challenges today have the same opportunities for a better life that he did, and he will absolutely do his best to be the tutor that your child needs.


Rachel McGovern

Math Tutor

Rachel’s experience began in high school where she was a volunteer tutor for students in grades K-5. After graduating Elon University with a degree in mathematics, she moved to Los Angeles and tutored online aside from her full time job at a skincare company. To this day, she still has the pleasure of tutoring students of all ages, backgrounds, and skillsets online. Rachel loves seeing the lightbulb go off in the student’s heads when they grasp a new concept or recognize the pattern within the problem to solve. Eventually, her love for tutoring lead her to want to pursue it as a full time career.

As your tutor, Rachel will not only help your child with the answers, but how to develop their time management, organization, and prioritization skills. When she is not working, you will always be able to find Rachel in dance class or rehearsing with her dance team! She loves to do all styles of dance.


Rebecca Robles

Science and Math Tutor

Rebecca is currently in the second year of a Masters program at CSULA, majoring in Physics. Rebecca graduated from Florida Institute of Technology in Astronomy and Astrophysics.
Her interests are primarily in astrophysics (especially black holes and nearly anything extragalactic), but she loves all kinds of music—especially finding vintage vinyls for less than $5. When she’s not studying, tutoring, or overseeing a lab course, she’s probably following her cat Tina’s every order.

Emily Sturrock

Math Tutor

Emily attended Pasadena City College, where she earned three Associates Degrees in: Humanities, Arts and Social Behavior, and Natural Sciences. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and earning her teaching credentials; she is an aspiring high school math teacher. Previously, she was an in-class math tutor at Pasadena City College for three years and also served as a Boy Scouts of America Camp Counselor for a year. She has been working as a teacher/tutor for an afterschool program for two years, and as a private tutor for one. She enjoys philosophy, art, video games, reading, and spending time outdoors with her dog.