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 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.


Tatiana Becerra

Testing Coordinator and Tutor

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.

Rachel McGovern


Rachel’s experience began in high school where she was a volunteer tutor for students in grads 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 love 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.

Elizabeth Nguyen


Elizabeth has been working with students of all ages for ten years. She is a graduate of CSULB (2015 B.A.) and USC Gould School of Law (2019 J.D.). Her specialty focus is on test prep, reading comprehension, essay writing, and study management skills. She loves to cook Vietnamese food, play escape rooms, and has a grey tabby cat named Bader!

Monica Ruz

Community Outreach Coordinator

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.