Mundo Academy provides competitively-priced, effective test prep and tutoring services to students in Pasadena, CA and surrounding areas. We invest our resources and expertise to sponsor test prep 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 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.

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.

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


Corey K.


Corey is an experienced instructor who understands the barriers that can prevent students from realizing their potential. Corey enhances student problem-solving skills by teaching them how to hurdle—how to think dynamically, building their understanding from the bottom-up. Corey’s approach is consistently energetic and patient, yet flexible enough to fit each student’s individual needs.

Corey studied Physics and Chemistry at the University of Notre Dame before obtaining a PhD in Physics from the University of Riverside. He tutors all levels of math and science as well as reading, writing, and SAT/ACT test prep.

Emily W.


Emily has a B.S. in Biology from UCLA and a M.S. in Medical Science from Boston University. Emily is originally from Alhambra and has passed the following AP Courses: Biology, Environmental Science, Literature, Language, World History, Psychology. During high school she was involved in Key Club and played for her Alhambra High School’s varsity volleyball and basketball teams.

A recipient of multiple awards and scholarships, Emily is excited to share her knowledge and experience to help students in Mundo Academy and is also planning to begin her time at medical school in the following year.

Monica R.

Community Outreach Coordinator

Monica Ruz grew up in Los Angeles, California, and her childhood experiences shaped her desire to become an educator. Her parents were both immigrants from Mexico and worked hard to create a better life for her older sister and Monica. Her parents instilled the importance of a formal education since they were not allowed a free education in their country. Growing up and seeing firsthand the many struggles immigrants and their children face in the US, she decided to work with these families when she graduated from college.

Her first teaching experience was at a large Title 1 elementary school with a high number of English Learners. She later becoming a National Board Certified teacher and received her Masters in Educational Psychology from UCSB. Monica recently received a second Master’s degree from the UCLA Principal Leadership Program where Monica furthered her knowledge and expertise in the purpose of schooling and educational practice. 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 desire 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.