School's In! Application Workshop: Countdown to January 1 and Listener Questions on College Finance and Admissions

December 15, 2016
Hosted by Elizabeth Heaton

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Episode Description

The last big deadline is approaching and we’ll be offering tips and suggestions for making sure applications are ready to go. We’ll also take another shot at answering your college finance and admissions questions.

Getting In: A College Coach Conversation

Getting In: A College Coach Conversation

Thursday at 1 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety Channel

Did you know that college applications and public college tuition are both up 60 percent since 2002? Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, helps parents and students navigate this changing and challenging landscape. Each week, College Coach experts, all former admissions and financial aid officers, and other industry professionals offer factual information and strategic advice on a range of admissions and college finance topics, including approaching and crafting essays, successfully appealing financial aid decisions, selecting the right college, and determining the most effective savings vehicle to help pay for it. From understanding how institutions evaluate applications to putting together a solid college payment strategy to effectively planning a high school academic and extracurricular program, Getting In addresses the questions and concerns facing all families embarking on the college admissions process. Tune in Thursdays at 1 PM Pacific Time on VoiceAmerica Variety.

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Elizabeth Heaton

Elizabeth Heaton

Elizabeth Heaton is the senior director of educational consulting and strategic marketing at College Coach, the nation’s leading provider of educational advisory services. Ms. Heaton began her admissions career at the University of Pennsylvania, where she chaired university selection committees, evaluated potential athletic recruits as one of the school’s athletics liaisons, and oversaw the university’s portfolio of admissions publications. She also served as second chair in the selection committee for the school's flagship interdisciplinary Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology. A graduate of Cornell University, Ms. Heaton brings exceptional skills to the craft of essay writing paired with experience reading and evaluating thousands of Penn admissions applications. She is featured regularly in news outlets including Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, Time, US News and World Report, Boston Globe, and ABC News, among others, and can offer expert advice on a wide range of college admissions topics, from colleges’ expectations for high school curriculum choices and standardized test scores to choosing the right extracurricular activities and essay topics. Prior to joining Penn, Ms. Heaton worked as a public relations professional and served for a decade as a member of the Cornell Alumni Admissions Ambassador Network.

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Episode Directory

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

Lisa Albro



Lisa Albro brings a wealth of knowledge to College Coach in both secondary and post-secondary education. She served as the Associate Director of Admissions for her alma mater, Goucher College, where she was responsible for recruitment of students from New York, New Jersey and twenty other states. At Goucher, she oversaw the student, alumni and parent volunteer admissions programs. Lisa also served as Director of College Counseling at Solomon Schechter Day School of Essex and Union in West Orange, NJ, and as Director of College Counseling at Xavier High School in Manhattan. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Goucher College, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Amy Alexander


Amy Alexander comes to College Coach after spending 17 years as a independent counselor. She began her admissions career as an assistant director in the Yale University undergraduate admissions office, where she was responsible for applications from a variety of regions, served as a liaison for the swim and lacrosse teams, and coordinated on-campus orientation programs and housing placement. During her time as an independent counselor, she was a member of the National Association of College Admission Counseling and the New Jersey Association of College Admission Counseling. She also volunteered at both the North Star Academy Charter School and St. Benedict’s school in Newark, helping seniors with their college application essays. Amy received her bachelor’s degree in socio and psycho linguistics from Yale, and her master’s degree in human resources/organizational behavior from Golden Gate University. View Guest page

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Abigail Anderson

Abigail Anderson comes to College Coach from Reed College, where she directed multiple domestic and international recruitment territories (New England, Mid-Atlantic, Europe, the Americas), read thousands of applications, and managed more than 20 student workers and 200 alumni volunteers. Committed to increasing college access and demystifying the college application process, she worked with colleagues to develop free, accessible programming for high school juniors wanting to jump start the application process and improve essay writing skills. Abigail started her admissions career Emma Willard School, a highly-selective all-girls’ boarding school that also is one of the oldest girls’ schools in the nation. As an alumna, she loved working with students and families; she oversaw multicultural and first-generation student recruitment, participated in admission and financial aid committees, and assisted in residence hall management. Abigail is a graduate of Colby College. View Guest page

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Kimberly Asselta


Kimberly Asselta’s admission career began as a student tour guide for the admission office at Stonehill College. She started her professional career as an admission counselor at College of the Holy Cross, where she was a member of the admission committee, a liaison to the athletic department, coordinator of transfer admission and also oversaw the tour guide program. Most recently, Kimberly was the senior associate director of undergraduate admission at Babson College. There, she was responsible for the strategy, implementation and publication of all marketing materials; coordination of recruitment travel; and the selection of the college’s Presidential and Weissman Scholars, in addition to being a member of the admission committee. View Guest page

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Rebecca Besthoff


I joined College Coach after working for a number of years in college admissions at various institutions. I began my career at my alma mater, Bowdoin College, where I was in charge of applications from northern California, Colorado, Georgia and the New England states, as well as the transfer admission program. While I was an associate director of admission at Cornell, I oversaw all recruitment in New England for Cornell’s seven undergraduate colleges. I reviewed all applications from the region and sat on the selection committees in the College of Engineering and the College of Architecture, Art and Planning. At Harvard I personally evaluated every application from my assigned regions and was a strong advocate for students in an extremely selective admissions process. My most recent position was at Barnard College, where I was responsible for all aspects of the international admission program and recruited in the US and overseas. View Guest page

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Alex Bickford



Alex Bickford joined College Coach as part of the college financing team from the education finance department of Citizens Bank. Before his stint with Citizens, he worked as an assistant director of financial aid at Southern New Hampshire University. Alex has spent most of his professional career working in financial aid and has assisted traditional undergraduate, adult learners, and master’s degree students in financing their educations. Alex has a master's degree in business education, a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management and an associate’s degree in culinary arts. View Guest page

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Marie Bigham


Marie Bigham is committed to equity, access and social justice through college education. Marie has worked in college admissions since 1997 when she joined the admission office at Washington University in St. Louis. As Director of Multicultural Recruitment, Marie developed successful recruitment and retention strategies focused on Students of Color, particularly Native American students. She has worked as a college counselor at some of the nation’s most respected independent schools: Riverdale Country School in NY, The Bishop’s School in CA, Greenhill School in Dallas, and currently at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans as Director of College Counseling. Marie currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of College Admission Counseling. She previously served as Vice Chair of the Board and as Director of Communication for the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools. Marie has been featured in the New York Times, WNYC, Al Jazeera and CNN. View Guest page

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Kelly Bird


Kelly Bird serves as the Senior Assistant Director in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at the University of Georgia. Prior to joining the UGA Admissions team, Kelly served as a Regional Admissions Officer, at her alma mater, Georgia Southwestern State University, where she earned her BBA in Accounting and her MBA. Kelly has read and reviewed thousands of admissions and scholarship applications for a large, public, research university, while also managing a recruitment territory in and out of the state of Georgia, where she represents UGA at high schools, college fairs, and admissions panels. She also plans on-campus programs for school counselors from across the country to introduce and educate them on UGA and their admissions process. Kelly supervises the UGA undergraduate interns within the admissions office and manages UGA's Admissions and Recruitment Council, where she serves as liaison to the university's 17 schools and colleges. View Guest page

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Aba Blankson


Director of Communications, The Common App View Guest page

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Jessica Brathwaite


Jessica Brathwaite conducts qualitative and quantitative research on the use of computer mediated technology in community college classrooms, as well as system and state-wide developmental education reform. Brathwaite holds a PhD in sociology from Temple University. She holds a BA in sociology from CUNY Hunter College and an MA in sociology from Temple. Her dissertation focuses on NYC high schools during former Mayor Bloomberg's administration and asks: How has inequality between schools in socioeconomic status, racial composition, and graduation rates changed during this reform era? Brathwaite has taught sociology of organizations at CUNY Hunter College and a research methods course in the Grad Program in International Affairs at The New School. Brathwaite’s primary research interests include urban school reform, inequality, education policy, and postsecondary access and success. She is also interested in exploring race and class as they relate to her primary research interests. View Guest page

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Steve Brennan



Mr. Brennan has many years of college counseling experience in both college and secondary school environments. Most recently, Mr. Brennan was Associate Dean of Admission at Occidental College, where he coordinated international admissions and worked most closely with students from the Midwest, Hawai`i, and California, while also co-chairing the admissions committee. Before starting at Oxy, Mr. Brennan served as the Director of College Counseling for College Connections Hawai`i, a non-profit agency in Honolulu that focused on helping first generation, Native Hawaiian, and other students access higher education. Mr. Brennan also worked for Marquette University as a regional representative in Los Angeles, and was Assistant Director of Admission at Loyola University Chicago. Mr. Brennan holds a dual Bachelor’s degree from Marquette University in English Literature and Medieval History, and a Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa. View Guest page

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Bryce Celotto


Bryce Celotto identifies as a queer, transmasculine person of color and is a proud North Carolinian, originally hailing from Charlotte. Both professionally and academically, Bryce is committed to working on issues of racial justice, K-12 public education, and youth leadership development – examining where those various issues intersect with the needs and experiences of LGBTQ people. Bryce has played a role in organizing several national youth summits for marginalized youth populations, met with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss specific protections for transgender students in K-12 schools, and trained hundreds of teachers on culturally competent practices when working with LGBTQ students. At Brown, Bryce is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching degree with a focus in Secondary Social Studies/History education. View Guest page

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Michelle Clifton

Michelle Clifton has spent the majority of her professional career in higher education. She began her career at Rhode Island School of Design, working with student accounts and student loans. At Babson College, she worked in a variety of roles within Student Financial Services, including financial aid, student loans, and student accounts. She most recently served as Babson’s associate director of financial aid, providing financial aid counseling for undergraduate and graduate students, reviewing and awarding applications, processing appeals, and overseeing all loan processes. Michelle is an active member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and volunteers for FAFSA Day Massachusetts, where she guides students to complete the online financial aid applications. She holds a bachelor of science in management from Northeastern University. View Guest page

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Jan Marie Combs


Prior to joining College Coach, Jan Marie Combs served as a high school guidance counselor and assisted students with their college admission, financial aid, and scholarship applications. Before that, she determined student financial aid eligibility, oversaw a number of scholarship and fellowship programs, and worked closely with students to guide them through the financial aid application process as an assistant director in the undergraduate financial aid office at Boston University and as a director at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education financial aid office. Jan also spent nine years working in education finance for two national lenders, where she counseled students on student loan repayment options and financial literacy strategies. In addition to her work at College Coach, she continues to serve as an ambassador for the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, where she facilitates educational programs on admissions and financial aid for students and parents View Guest page

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Donna O Connolly


Donna O. Connolly is the Director of Youth Access at Massachusetts Education & Career Opportunities, Inc. (MassEdCO). For the past 19 years, she has been dedicated to providing education access for all students. As Director of Youth Access, Donna oversees programs in the Worcester, MA and Southbridge, MA public school systems that work with low income, first-generation college students, and pregnant/parenting teen mothers, to ensure that they complete high school and enroll in postsecondary education.
Donna received a BA in Social and Rehabilitation Services from Assumption College in Worcester, MA, and an MS in Human Service Management from Worcester State University. View Guest page

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Kara Courtois


Kara Courtois has spent her entire career dedicated to working in education and admissions. She began and developed her admissions career at Barnard College, part of Columbia University, where she was responsible for recruiting students from New York State and then became the director of international recruitment, overseeing the recruitment, application and enrollment of domestic, European, and Canadian students. Prior to working in admissions, Kara volunteered as a classroom teacher with Americorps and also taught high school in the Washington, DC and San Francisco areas. She has a Bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters of Arts in teaching from the University of Portland. Kara also furthered her education through studies at both Columbia's Teachers College and NYU's Steinhardt School of Education. View Guest page

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Karen Crowley


Karen Crowley began her admissions career at Boston University. She then served at the University of Pennsylvania as a Senior Admissions Officer where she was responsible for recruitment, selection and enrollment of students from the Long Island area. Most recently, she has worked at the Dalton School in Manhattan as both the Associate Director of College Counseling and the Assistant High School Director, and as the General Manager and Director of College Counseling at College Coach. She has been a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, the College Board, the New England Association of College Admissions Counselors and the New York Association of College Admissions Counselors. Ms. Crowley has a Bachelor of Arts in Art History with a focus in American Studies from Boston University, and a Master of Arts from Teacher's College at Columbia University in Sociology and Education. She currently serves as director of college counseling at the Portledge School. View Guest page

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Kennon Dick


Kennon Dick has devoted almost his entire career to the admissions profession. He comes to College Coach from the admissions staff at Swarthmore College where he performed the duties of Associate Dean of Admissions for eight years. In that capacity, he training new deans for the reading process, trained and coordinated part-time readers, managed the admissions database, and served as the athletics department liaison. He has been active in the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling, presented workshops at the Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling and co-presented a workshop at the national Summit Conference. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, Kennon began his career with the admissions staff at Johnson State College in Vermont. He then served five years with Drexel University before transitioning to Swarthmore, where he spent the majority of his career. View Guest page

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Lauren DiProspero


I was one of those high school students who really enjoyed the college discovery process. I enjoyed passing along my knowledge to friends looking to add to their college lists, but I didn’t realize I could make a rewarding career out of admissions until after college. I began my career at Stanford University on the Diversity Outreach team, where I helped the admissions officers coordinate diversity events and outreach. From there I earned my masters from Columbia University’s Teachers College and began reading applications for Columbia’s undergraduate admissions office. I then joined Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons as the director of admissions, overseeing the entire medical school admissions process. After relocating to the West coast, I became the director of enrollment management at the University of San Francisco, also recruiting and reviewing applications for the undergraduate admissions team. Most recently I was the senior director at Stanford Medicine. View Guest page

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Danielle Dougan


Danielle Dougan is the Public Relations Manager at StudentUniverse, the world's leading travel booking service for students and youth. She joined StudentUniverse in 2014 to build a public relations program from scratch. Prior to StudentUniverse, Danielle spent the first chapter of her career in high-tech agency public relations. Her career began at BluePoint Venture Marketing before she helped launch ThinkMedia PARTNERS (which was acquired by Matter Communications) and then she spent three years as an account manager at fama PR in Boston. In these roles, Danielle successfully raised the profile of both early stage and multi-billion dollar tech companies in the US and abroad. Danielle caught the travel bug during her semester abroad at the Copenhagen Business School and continues to travel the world as often as possible. Danielle graduated from Bentley University with a BS in Marketing. View Guest page

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Dr. Jordan Draper


Jordan Draper has focused her Student Affairs experience within the Student Conduct and Title IX fields. Jordan has worked in Student Conduct at University of Maryland and Rutgers University and has most recently transitioned to a focus on Title IX serving as the Title IX Coordinator at The College of New Jersey. Jordan recently completed her doctorate at Rutgers University in Education, Culture, and Society in August 2016. Her dissertation explores an online sexual violence program and evaluates whether students participating had an increase of knowledge regarding sexual violence, changed attitudes around rape myths, and felt more comfortable reporting incidents to University staff members after partaking in the program. Jordan earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from the University of Maryland in 2012 and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Radford University in 2010. View Guest page

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Jessica Elberfeld


Jessica Elberfeld is a college debt success story. After attending a community college on an academic scholarship, Jessica enrolled at a private college of music for her final 2 years of her undergraduate experience. In doing so, she borrowed $68k in loans and has spent the last 7 years making wise decisions about how to pay back her debt. Since 2010, Jessica has blogged about her experiences on her site, Oh These Student Loans and she is currently just months away from paying off her total accrued student debt of $113K in its entirety. View Guest page

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Monica Esser


Monica Esser is the Director of Enrollment Group International Initiatives at Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York. She has directed international undergraduate outreach, recruitment and admission at Fordham for eight years. A graduate of Haverford College (BA) and Lesley University (MA), Monica has advised and taught international students in various university settings for over fifteen years. Last summer she was awarded a Fulbright International Educators Grant to the UK. She has held the position of Recruiting, Advising and Preparation (RAP) Representative to the NAFSA: Association for International Educators Region X Team (NY and NJ). She is currently the head of the Program Committee and Chair-Elect for Study New York, a consortium of educational institutions whose goal is to promote NY State as a study destination for international students from around the world. View Guest page

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Catherine Ettman


Catherine Ettman is the Chief of Staff for the Dean’s Office at Boston University School of Public Health. In this role, she manages the dean’s office, leads special initiatives to advance the vision for the school, and coordinates external engagements with School partners. Prior to serving in this role, Catherine worked in campaign politics in Washington, D.C., and Texas. Catherine served as a Presidential Fellow for the Study of the U.S. Presidency and Congress and completed a Running Start Star Fellowship. Catherine graduated from Princeton University, where she majored in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International Affairs with certificates in African American Studies and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Catherine co-founded the Princeton Women’s Mentorship Program, served on the Steering Committee on Undergraduate Women’s Leadership, and served on the Presidential Search Committee to select Princeton University’s 20th president. View Guest page

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Beth Feinberg Keenan


Beth Feinberg Keenan has spent her entire professional career in financial aid. She started her career at Lesley University and spent over a decade at Northeastern University’s Office for Student Financial Services, where she was a senior assistant director. At Northeastern, Beth worked with applicants for financial aid, athletes, and families interested in financing their educations. In addition, she has served as an ambassador with the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting Massachusetts high schools to introduce students and parents to the financial aid process and the many sources of education financing that are available. She is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont CA, and she has an MBA and a Masters degree in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. Beth is an active member of Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators MASFAA. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Beth Feinberg Keenan

Beth Feinberg Keenan has spent her entire professional career in financial aid. She started her career at Lesley University and spent over a decade at Northeastern University’s Office for Student Financial Services, where she was a Senior Assistant Director. At Northeastern, she worked with applicants for financial aid, athletes, and families interested in financing their educations. In addition, Beth has served as an ambassador with the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting Massachusetts high schools to introduce students and parents to the financial aid process and the many sources of education financing that are available. She is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont CA, where she earned a degree in economics. She also has an MBA and a Masters degree in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. Beth is an active member of Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators MASFAA. View Guest page

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John Fink


John Fink is a Research Associate at the Community College Research Center (CCRC) at Columbia University, where he researches community college student transfer patterns and outcomes on national and state levels. In 2016 he authored three national studies on community college transfer students, including a state-by-state report on college transfer outcomes, a "Transfer Playbook" for how colleges can improve transfer success, and a Google-funded study on students who start at a community college and earn bachelor's degrees in computer science. Prior to joining CCRC, he advised transfer students and created a comprehensive support program for community college transfer students at the University of Maryland, College Park where he also earned a M.A. in College Student Personnel. View Guest page

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Jonathan Fink

Jonathan Fink serves as Vice President for Research and Strategic Partnerships and Professor of Geology at Portland State University. In this role he works with PSU’s faculty and administrators to shape the university’s portfolio of research and creative activities and to link these to the needs and interests of partners in Metro Portland and beyond. Prior to moving to Portland in September 2010, Dr. Fink spent 30 years at Arizona State University in a variety of faculty and administrative positions. His primary scientific expertise is on the physics and chemistry of volcanic eruptions on earth and other planets. Dr. Fink received a B.A. in geology and biology from Colby College, a Ph.D. in geology from Stanford University, and held post-doctoral appointments in the Applied Math Department at the Weizmann Institute (Israel) and in the Planetary Geology group at ASU. View Guest page

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Ian Brook Fisher



Ian Brook Fisher comes to College Coach with a unique history as an educational advisor. A graduate of Reed College with a Master’s from Stanford University, Ian discovered his passion for admissions work while still a student. Reading applications and interviewing students during his senior year at Reed, he was immediately recruited to join the admissions department as a full-fledged officer, working with students from the southwestern United States and Asia. His diverse educational experience has helped him successfully guide students of all interests, from those looking at large state schools, to others interested in small liberal arts colleges and the Ivy League. Ian holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from Reed College and a Master’s in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University. View Guest page

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Sally Ganga



Sally Ganga’s most recent college admissions role was at the University of Chicago, where she was Associate Director of Admissions and ran the application reading and scholarship process. Previously she had worked at Whittier College in the Los Angeles area as an Associate Director of Admissions. Sally graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon with a B.A. in History, beginning her admissions career there first as a tour guide and then as an intern in the Admission Office before being hired after graduation as an Assistant Dean of Admission. After leaving college admissions, Sally became the Director of College Counseling at both the Archer School for Girls and Chadwick School in the Los Angeles area. In addition to counseling students one on one, she taught classes on preparing for the college process as well as on general college life skills. View Guest page

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Sally Ganga


Sally Ganga’s most recent college admissions role was at the University of Chicago, where she was associate director of admissions and ran the application reading and scholarship process. Previously she had worked at Whittier College in the Los Angeles area as an associate director of admissions. She graduated from Reed College in Portland, Oregon with a B.A. in history, beginning her admissions career there first as a tour guide and then as an intern in the admission office before being hired after graduation as an assistant dean of admission. After leaving college admissions, Sally became the director of college counseling at both the Archer School for Girls and Chadwick School in the Los Angeles area. In addition to counseling students one on one, Sally taught classes on preparing for the college process and general college life skills. View Guest page

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Greg Grauman



Greg Grauman, assistant vice provost for undergraduate admissions at American University, is responsible for overseeing the recruitment, admission, and conversion of the university’s undergraduate students. He has served in this role since 2008. His professional involvement has included membership in the National Association for College Admission Counseling, Hawaii Association for College Admission Counseling, and the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling. Greg is called upon frequently to share his expertise on the college admission process. Prior to coming to American University, he served as the Director of US Admissions at the American University of Rome and worked as an advisor to international students at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Australia. He has a B.A. in Public Communication and Political Science from American University and an M. Ed. from the University of Notre Dame. View Guest page

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Zaragoza Guerra



Zaragoza Guerra spent most of his admissions career as an admissions officer for two Institutes of Technology reading thousands of applications as well as chairing and serving on various admissions committees. As an associate director of admissions at MIT, he directed overall recruitment and yield activities, as well as international, transfer, and special student admissions. He also served as an assistant director of admissions for Caltech, where he handled specialized student recruitment and reviewed domestic and international student files. Zaragoza was also director of admissions for the Boston Conservatory, overseeing recruitment and auditions for students interested in music, theatre and dance. He has a Master's Degree in International Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Great Books from the University of Notre Dame. View Guest page

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Devika Gupta


Devika is from India and is currently studying abroad in the US at Bentley University. Devika also studied abroad for a semester in Australia. While interning for the student travel site, Student Universe, Devika wrote a popular blog post on 16 things she didn't expect as an international student studying in the US. View Guest page

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Elizabeth Heaton


Elizabeth Heaton comes to College Coach from the University of Pennsylvania, where she counseled applicants and parents from New England and other parts of the country. As a senior member of the admissions staff, she traveled throughout the United States to present the university to potential candidates, read thousands of applications, oversaw Penn’s portfolio of admissions publications, and chaired selection committee, working with admissions counselors and university representatives to make final admit decisions. She also evaluated potential recruits as athletics department liaison and served as second chair in selection committee for the Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, one of two flagship interdisciplinary programs at Penn. A graduate of Cornell University, Elizabeth brings exceptional skills to the craft of essay writing, with a Bachelor of Arts in English with a focus on creative writing. View Guest page

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Judith Hodera


Judith is a Co-Founder and Director of Fortuna Admissions. She served as a core member of admissions committees at the University of Pennsylvania for almost two decades. She most recently served as Acting Director at the Wharton School’s MBA Program. She was also an Associate Director of Admissions in the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. While at the Wharton School, Judith’s multi-region expertise in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East helped her to shape the incoming Wharton classes from a competitive applicant pool of the world’s best and brightest. She reviewed thousands of applications during her tenure and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to travel extensively for Wharton, meeting with prospective students and constituency groups, learning in depth about their educational and professional experiences. She holds an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in Higher Education Management. View Guest page

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Cheryl Hunt


Cheryl Hunt comes to College Coach with more than 27 years of experience in financial aid administration in a variety of roles, including Director of Financial Aid at a number of California institutions. She has spent most of her professional career working in financial aid assisting students in financing their educations, and providing regulatory and compliance training to higher education professionals across the country. Cheryl holds professional credentials in Application Processing, Need Analysis, Professional Judgment and Verification from the National Association of Student Financial Aid (NASFAA). View Guest page

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Julia Jones



Julia Jones has been working with adolescents and college admissions for most of her career. She was involved in virtually all aspects of the admissions process at Brandeis University, including overseeing the creation and production of admissions publications and recruitment materials and serving as director of the Brandeis Alumni Admissions Council, a 1000-member network of alumni recruiters and interviewers. During her tenure at Brandeis, Julia also was a member of the New England Association of College Admission Counseling (NEACAC) and served on the planning committees for three NEACAC annual conferences. More recently, she continued to work with high school students and their families as director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School in Waltham, MA. Julia holds a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature from Brandeis University, and a master’s degree in education in creative arts in learning from Lesley University. View Guest page

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Karen Karidoyanes


Karen Karidoyanes has been working in the field of international education since 1986. Karen’s forté is in international admissions where she has over 30 years of experience, having worked in the international admissions departments at Northeastern, Suffolk, Lesley and Bentley. To further her depth of experience in international admissions, Karen’s breadth of experience ranges from developing strategic plans for internationalizing university campuses and curriculum to expanding international recruitment initiatives both at the undergraduate and graduate levels of education. In addition she has expertise in international student services and developing international articulations to enhance education abroad. Finally she has also served as an international admissions consultant to a myriad of universities throughout the US. Currently Karen holds the title of Director of International Admission and oversees international recruitment for Bentley University. View Guest page

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Beth Feinberg Keenan

Beth Feinberg Keenan has spent her entire professional career in financial aid. She started her career at Lesley University and spent over a decade at Northeastern University’s Office for Student Financial Services, where she was a senior assistant director. At Northeastern, Beth worked with applicants for financial aid, athletes, and families interested in financing their educations. In addition, she has served as an ambassador with the Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting Massachusetts high schools to introduce students and parents to the financial aid process and the many sources of education financing that are available. She is a graduate of Scripps College in Claremont CA, and she has an MBA and a Masters degree in College Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern University. Beth is an active member of Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators MASFAA. View Guest page

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Christine Kenyon


Christine Kenyon’s passion for education began while studying secondary education and history at Boston College. As a volunteer tour guide, Christine fell in love with the world of undergraduate admission. She went on to receive a graduate assistantship in Boston College’s admission office while she completed her master’s degree in developmental psychology. Christine then joined the office of undergraduate admission at Babson College, where she focused on scholarship review, transfer admission, and multicultural recruitment. Most recently, she served as an application reviewer and interviewer for highly-selective scholarships affiliated with UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University. View Guest page

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Elyse Krantz


Elyse Krantz became interested in the college admissions process after serving as a student tour guide in the admissions office of her alma mater, Dartmouth College. After graduating cum laude with a degree in linguistics, Elyse accepted an admissions counseling position at Bennington College in Vermont, where she worked with students from Long Island, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. She then moved to New York City to pursue a master's degree in communication and education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, subsequently joining the admissions staff at Barnard College as a senior admissions officer. At Barnard, Elyse directed Long Island and Boston recruitment in addition to managing the College’s alumnae admissions program, co-coordinating admissions statistics, and editing various college publications. View Guest page

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Elyse Krantz



Elyse Krantz became interested in the college admissions process after serving as a student tour guide in the admissions office of her alma mater, Dartmouth College. After graduating cum laude with a degree in linguistics, Elyse accepted an admissions counseling position at Bennington College in Vermont, where she worked with students from Long Island, New Jersey, Atlanta, Chicago and the Pacific Northwest. She then moved to New York City to pursue a Master's degree in Communication and Education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, subsequently joining the admissions staff at Barnard College as a senior admissions officer. At Barnard, Elyse directed Long Island and Boston recruitment in addition to managing the College’s alumnae admissions program, co-coordinating admissions statistics, and editing various college publications. View Guest page

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Amanda Kraus


Amanda founded Row New York in 2002 in an effort to make the sport of rowing, paired with top-notch academic support, accessible to young people in NYC. In addition to her work at Row New York, she was a United States fellow to South Africa through a sports based youth development exchange. She is a regular blogger on the Huffington Post as well as an Adjunct Associate Professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service where she currently teaches a course on social entrepreneurship. Amanda is a recipient of numerous awards including: 2012 Community Leadership Award winner by President Obama’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (2012), US Rowing’s Anita DeFrantz Award (2011), US Rowing’s John J. Carlin Service Award (2008), and NYU Partnership Award for serving girls and women with disabilities. Amanda has an MA in Education from Harvard and a BA in English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. View Guest page

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Becky Leichtling



Becky Leichtling found her passion for college admissions early on. As an undergraduate at Carleton College, she was a tour guide and senior intern, and becoming an alumni interviewer after graduation. Her admissions career continued at Tufts University, where she was responsible for the recruitment, applications, and enrollment of students from the Southwest, Midwest, and northern New England. She also helped develop the prospective student experience by coordinating tour guide and student outreach programs, and managing accepted student open houses. Becky worked closely with coaches as an athletic liaison at Tufts, has consulted with multiple college access non-profit organizations to improve their curriculum and training practices, and has volunteered as a college counselor for schools and summer programs around the country. Becky joins College Coach after earning her graduate degree in Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies from Stanford University School of Education. View Guest page

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Christine Lookner


Christine Lookner joined the Center for International Students & Scholars in June 2016 as director, overseeing all immigration and programming efforts for Bentley’s 1300 international students. Christine worked at Bentley for 11 years in the International Education office before serving as the Director of International Services at Lasell College. Christine returns to Bentley with broad experience in international education and an appreciation of the unique culture here at Bentley. She holds an M.A. in Educational Studies (International Education concentration) from Tufts University, a B.A. degree from Haverford College, and has traveled extensively throughout Asia, Europe, the South Pacific, and Northern Africa on a variety of faculty-led programs and site visits to other institutions. View Guest page

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Kerrin Lyons


Kerrin Lyons’s passion for college admissions began as a student tour guide and senior intern in the admissions office at her alma mater, Hamilton College. After graduation, she spent a year recruiting for Regis College in Massachusetts, and then continued her admissions career at Tufts University. During her 12 years at Tufts, she traveled and represented the university throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Southeast Asia, Africa. In addition to evaluating domestic and international applications, she oversaw the admissions process for Tufts’ dual degree programs with the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston and the New England Conservatory of Music, managed the tour guide and guidance counselor programs, and trained new admissions readers. Kerrin also worked as associate director of college counseling at Concord Academy, where she taught and developed curriculum for courses on the college admission process in addition to counseling boarding and day students and families. View Guest page

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Stacey MacPhetres



Stacey MacPhetres has devoted her professional career to education finance. With extensive experience in financial aid administration at Emerson College and Elms College, Stacey has counseled thousands students and families through the financial aid process. In addition, she spent more than a decade working in education finance at JPMorgan Chase, where she was responsible for managing loans for both federal and private loan portfolios. Prior to joining College Coach, Stacey served as a consultant in financial aid for Mount Holyoke College. She holds a bachelor’s in political science from Marist College and a master’s in political communication/marketing from Emerson College. She is a member of several state financial aid associations and the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). View Guest page

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Jeanne Mahan



Jeanne Mahan has significant experience in financial aid at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She was a financial aid coordinator at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and a senior financial aid counselor at Quinsigamond Community College. Jeanne has served as an ambassador for Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting high schools and meeting with parents and students to discuss how to fund a college education. She also has presented to various groups involved in college awareness and readiness. Jeanne graduated from Emmanuel College with a Bachelor’s degree in French language and literature, earned a Certificate of French Language from the Sorbonne, and is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Management at Worcester State University. She is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Jeanne Mahan


Jeanne Mahan has significant experience in financial aid at the graduate and undergraduate levels. She was a financial aid coordinator at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and a senior financial aid counselor at Quinsigamond Community College. Jeanne has served as an ambassador for Massachusetts Education Finance Authority, visiting high schools and meeting with parents and students to discuss how to fund a college education. She has also presented to various groups involved in college awareness and readiness. Jeane graduated from Emmanuel College with a Bachelor’s degree in French language and literature, earned a Certificate of French Language from the Sorbonne, and is currently enrolled in a Master’s program in Management at Worcester State University. She is a member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. View Guest page

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Bridget Moore


Bridget Moore is an Associate Director of Admission and Coordinator of International Admission at Connecticut College, where she has been for four years. Previous to Conn, she worked for her alma mater, Hamilton College. During her admission tenure, Bridget has run campus events, overseen both international and transfer admission, teaches application assessment, and has traveled to just shy of forty countries. View Guest page

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Jake Neuberg



Jake Neuberg has been helping students get better grades and test scores for 20 years, initially as a top rated instructor for Kaplan and since 2002 as the co-founder and co-CEO of Revolution Prep.

Revolution Prep is a world-wide leader in providing test preparation and academic tutoring to students of all ages. Its research-based educational philosophy, which builds on Stanford University professor Carol Dweck’s work, is designed to develop a “Growth Mindset” in students. Revolution’s full time tutor faculty, who average more than 10 times the industry norm in both hours of training and hours of 1 on 1 instruction experience, works with students to drive long term growth in their abilities, confidence, interest and engagement.

Jake is proud of the millions of students Revolution Prep has helped over the past 12 years and excited to help many more in coming years. He holds an M.B.A from the Anderson School of Business at UCLA and a B.A. in Economics from UC Berkeley. View Guest page

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Candace Ng


Candace Ng was recently featured in an article on Bankrate.com, 9 SECRETS OF A MILLENNIAL MILLIONAIRE-IN-TRAINING. Read it here: http://www.bankrate.com/wealth-builder/meet-a-millennial-millionaire-in-training/ View Guest page

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Canh Oxelson

Canh Oxelson is in his 5th year as Director of College Counseling at Horace Mann, a rigorous college prep high school in the Bronx, NY. He arrived at Horace Mann after 8 years as an Upper School Dean and College Counselor at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, CA. Mr. Oxelson also worked in college admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California, St. Mary's College of CA, and his alma mater, the University of San Francisco. In 2001, Mr. Oxelson earned a masters degree in Educational Policy from Harvard University. He's also a former college swimmer, a "House of Cards" junkie, and an avid golfer! View Guest page

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Valerie Paradiz


Valerie Paradiz, PhD is the director of Valerie Paradiz, LLC, a consultancy that provides technical assistance, training and strategic development to schools, universities, corporations and institutions that support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other disabilities.
Dr. Paradiz is a national board member of Autism Speaks, where she also serves as Secretary of the Board and Chair of the Family Services Committee. In a part-time capacity she serves as Director of the National Autism Leadership Institute of First Place Arizona.
Dr. Paradiz founded the pioneering ASPIE School in 2002 for middle and high school aged students with autism. In 2006, she brought the same model program to New York University's Asperger Institute, serving there as Director of Education from 2006-2007. During this period, she participated in a study of adults with autism at NYU Medical Center and was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome.
For more information visit www.autismselfadvocacy.com. View Guest page

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Laurie Peltier

Laurie Peltier spent more than twenty years in financial aid at the college and university level prior to joining College Coach. Ms. Peltier graduated from Bentley University with a Bachelor's degree in Marketing, and completed her Master's in Business Administration at Anna Maria College, where she also served as Financial Aid Director. In addition, she was an Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Becker College and has worked as a consultant with several other colleges in Massachusetts. Ms. Peltier is an expert in many aspects of the field, but the combination of her professional commitment to and personal interest in helping families understand the financial aid process has resulted in particular expertise in methods for saving for college, expertise which she has applied to the benefit of thousands of families. View Guest page

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Tara Piantanida-Kelly

Tara Piantanida-Kelly comes to College Coach with more than 20 years of experience working in college financial aid offices. She worked her way up from an entry-level financial aid counselor position before accepting her first director of financial aid position at Menlo College. From there, she launched a successful financial aid consulting business, Financial Aid Solutions. From 1995 until 2005, Tara consulted at more than 20 colleges and universities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since then, she has continued her career as the director of financial aid at Northwest College, the associate director of financial aid at Rochester Institute of Technology, and as a financial aid training specialist, training other financial aid administrators throughout the country. Tara is a graduate of Winthrop University with degrees in Communications and Music, and is a member of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association (NYSFAAA). View Guest page

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Cynde Quinn


Cynde Quinn has devoted her professional career to financial aid. For years, she was Director of Financial Aid, Continuing Education Division, for Hesser College, where she was responsible for counseling both traditional and nontraditional students and their families through the financial aid process. Specializing in the training of other financial aid professionals, Cynde served as a consultant for a number of college campuses in the New England region prior to joining College Coach. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Psychology and is a member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA). View Guest page

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Sean Quinn


Sean Quinn is the NYC-based Director of Programs for ArborBridge, a tutoring company that offers one-on-one SAT and ACT instruction to students around the U.S. and in over 40 countries. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Southern California, Sean tutored for several years before stepping into his present role—now he helps families and counselors figure out the best plan for testing. View Guest page

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Angela Quitadamo


Angela Quitadamo is the Director of Retention at Worcester State University. In this role she is the main technical lead for an electronic early-alert system on campus that flags students who have done well, or require additional support. Angela worked briefly as a financial aid counselor at Quinsigamond Community College and before that, spent over a decade assisting first-generation high school students access college through a federally funded TRIO program. She attended UMass Amherst for her undergraduate degrees in History and Women’s Studies, received a MS in Non-Profit Management from Worcester State University, and is approaching candidacy for her PhD in Leadership and Change at Antioch University. Angela has presented nationally on issues related to persistence and retention in higher education. She lives in her hometown of Worcester, MA. View Guest page

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Stacy Raddock


Stacy Raddock has worked in a variety of professional roles in education. She began her career in admissions at Columbia University, where she served as the associate director of admissions. While at Columbia, she was responsible for the recruitment, selection and enrollment of domestic and international students. Stacy also has worked in Student Development and Activities at Columbia University, and she spent several years at the Dalton School in Manhattan. She has a bachelor of arts in history from Brown University, and a master of arts in higher education administration from Teachers College at Columbia University. View Guest page

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Lauren Randle

Before joining College Coach, Lauren Randle learned firsthand about the world of highly selective admissions as a former assistant director of admissions at Georgetown University. She left admissions to pursue a master of education degree at the University of Virginia to broaden her knowledge of student development theories and current trends in higher education. From there, she decided to work more directly with students and families at the high school level, leading her across the globe to the Canadian International School of Hong Kong and back to the US to work in guidance at Malvern Preparatory School outside of Philadelphia. View Guest page

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Jonathan Rosales


Jonathan is a Los Angeles native who graduated from the University of Southern California with a double major in political science and gender studies. In his final year at USC, Jonathan began an internship at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation that ultimately led to him joining the organization full-time. In addition to being involved in various aspects of the GLAAD Media Awards, Jonathan oversaw the publication of GLAAD’s nationally recognized Network Responsibility Index and Where We Are on TV reports. In 2010, Jonathan returned to school and received his single subject teaching credential in social science from California State University, Northridge before joining the Point Family in 2011. In his role as Program Director, Jonathan oversees Point’s scholar selections process, scholar relations, internships, and pilot programs. View Guest page

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Bill Rubin



Bill Rubin is a college visit expert. A former member of the admissions committees at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder, he has visited more than 1800 college and university campuses in the US, Canada, and Europe. After working as the director at NIEP College Preview Tours, he founded and runs The College Authority, a college tour company based in Costa Mesa, California. View Guest page

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Kathy Ruby



With a career that has spanned numerous colleges and universities, Kathy Ruby offers College Coach students and families a thorough knowledge of the college finance landscape. Most recently assistant vice president of enrollment and dean of student financial aid at St. Olaf College, Kathy has extensive experience counseling families on financial aid applications (both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile), calculating awards, and reviewing appeals. In addition, her work developing financial aid practices with St. Olaf’s admissions office has given her a thorough understanding of institutional financial aid awarding policies. Kathy holds a degree in economics from Carleton College and a master’s in public administration from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Kathy Ruby


With a career that has spanned numerous colleges and universities, Kathy Ruby offers College Coach students and families a thorough knowledge of the college finance landscape. Most recently assistant vice president of enrollment and dean of student financial aid at St. Olaf College, Kathy has extensive experience counseling families on financial aid applications (both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile), calculating awards, and reviewing appeals. In addition, her work developing financial aid practices with St. Olaf’s admissions office has given her a thorough understanding of institutional financial aid awarding policies. Kathy holds a degree in economics from Carleton College and a master’s in public administration from Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania. View Guest page

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Olivia Sajjadieh


Before my professional career in admission began, I worked as a student tour guide and Admissions Fellow at Pitzer College. After I graduated, I started my career as an Assistant Director of Admission at the University of Southern California, where I worked with students applying from the East Bay, West Los Angeles, Connecticut, and Colorado. After four years at USC, I moved to Washington, DC to work for American University and attend graduate school part-time. As an Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at AU, I worked with students from my hometown of Los Angeles and parts of the Midwest and the South, sat on our office’s hiring committee, and worked with transfer students from the military. View Guest page

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Alexandra Santiago



Alexandra Santiago has extensive experience on both the high school and college sides of admissions. A former senior admissions officer at the University of Pennsylvania, she read, reviewed, and advocated for students from multiple geographic areas while gaining an understanding of the criteria for business, engineering, liberal arts, and nursing degrees. In addition, she served as admissions liaison for the school’s LGBT House, Diversity Board, and also served on Casa Latina’s Board of Directors. Alex also coordinated the Exploring College Options program with Stanford, Harvard, Duke, and Georgetown. A college athlete herself, she brings unique insight for students with athletic aspirations. Formerly the associate director of college counseling at the Francis Parker School in San Diego, she has also worked in public relations, events, and professional sports. She holds a bachelor’s in psychology/child & family studies from Syracuse University. View Guest page

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Kristine Sawicki


I grew up in California and attended a big suburban public high school. For college, I chose Reed in Portland, Oregon, where I studied psychology with a focus in behavioral neuroscience. After a year working as a research assistant at Oregon Health & Sciences University, I switched my professional objective and taught at both the middle and high school levels and coached women’s cross-country. Eventually I made my way to admission work and spent the next eleven years at Reed, culminating in a year as Acting Dean. I later moved to California and spent a few years in the Stanford Office of Undergraduate Admission, where I continued to work directly with students both domestic and international. View Guest page

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Michael Sherman


Throughout his career Michael Sherman has been accountable for hiring thousands of recent graduates and students directly from college campuses. Leveraging his knowledge and expertise, Michael has coached and mentored countless college juniors, seniors and recent grads to be in the best position to find substantive internships and full time employment as they enter the workforce. For almost 25 years Michael has been a thought leader in the fields of Staffing and Recruitment. Most recently Michael led Global Recruitment for Bank of America which included the hiring of over 5,000 students annually. As a frequently invited guest of the White House, Michael has advised the President’s Department of Labor on what companies and hiring decision makers look for in prospective candidates as well as serving on Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s task force targeting employment opportunities for populations facing chronically high rates of unemployment. View Guest page

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Peter Silberman

Dr. Peter Silberman began his professional career in higher education at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as an assistant dean. During his tenure at Penn, Peter worked with high school students from all over the country, including Southern California, the Midwest, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his doctorate in Education at UCLA, and in 2011 took a position as an upper school dean and college counselor at Harvard-Westlake School. In addition to his work for College Coach, Peter is currently an assistant professor of education, teaching in the doctoral program at Lincoln Memorial University in Northeast Tennessee. View Guest page

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Sai Somboon


I came to College Coach after working in college admissions for many years. I started my career as regional director of admissions for the University of Pennsylvania where I oversaw applications for students interested in arts and sciences, business, nursing and engineering. In graduate school, I redesigned the BFA in Dance auditions/admissions procedures. I have also worked as an independent counselor for international students overseas. View Guest page

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Lisa H. Sorensen


Lisa H. Sorensen is a photographer, painter, teacher and podcast co-host. After graduating from the College of Wooster with a BA in Art History, she worked as a photo editor in NYC. She continued her studies at the School of Visual Arts and The International Center for Photography.She founded Lisa Sorensen Photography in 1990. Her photographic work can be viewed at Lisasorensen.com and Shotbylisa.com. View Guest page

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Marj Southworth



Marj Southworth has a wealth of experience in undergraduate, transfer and graduate admissions, as well as experience with continuing and adult education in both public and private colleges and universities. Her professional background covers the full spectrum of higher education experiences, from small liberal arts colleges, including Smith and Mount Holyoke Colleges, to the large, co-ed Cornell University. Most recently a senior admissions officer at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Marj has recruited from the U.S. and abroad, chaired many selection committees, and read thousands of applications. In addition to a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Hawaii, She has a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Virginia. View Guest page

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Karen Spencer


Karen Spencer has worked in education for her entire career. After graduating from Valparaiso University in Indiana, she went on to receive her master in education degree from the University of Virginia. Her love of education began when she was a tour guide at Valpo and in the admissions office of the Curry School of Education at UVA. She began her professional work in residence life at Hope College (MI) and then at Franklin & Marshall College (PA) in admissions. Most recently Karen worked as the assistant director of undergraduate admissions at Georgetown University (DC) where she was responsible for recruitment and transfer admissions, and sat on the admissions committee for the McDonough School of Business. View Guest page

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Emily Toffelmire


I came to College Coach after working for many years in college admissions and high school counseling. Counseling was a career that interested me because, at the low-performing public high school I attended, college guidance was almost non-existent. The inequality of access I saw firsthand inspired me to earn my Master’s of Education and work in public schools. I also spent time at an overseas school in Thailand guiding students through the application process for universities around the world. I later transitioned to admissions at USC, where I began as an assistant director, recruiting and reading thousands of freshman and transfer applications. I later moved on to the USC Dornsife College of Liberal Arts. As senior assistant director, I oversaw the merit scholarship selection process as well as recruitment and conversion publications, and traveled across the country presenting to and interviewing hundreds of applicants each year. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Tova Tolman



Tova Tolman’s introduction to college admissions was as a student tour guide and interviewer for her alma mater, Barnard College. She began her professional career at Barnard as well, working as a senior admission officer. In that capacity, she was a member of the admission committee, a liaison to the athletic department, and provided oversight of campus programs.Following her time at Barnard, Tova moved across the street to Columbia University to complete her Master’s degree and serving as an application reader and selection committee presenter. She then worked as an associate director of admission at both Fordham and Montclair State Universities. She has managed the athletic recruitment process of a Division I, Patriot League school, directed alumni recruitment efforts, implemented online application review, and reviewed more than 10,000 applications. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Kyra Tyler


Kyra Tyler has worked in a variety of roles in higher education. She began her career in admissions at Brandeis University, where she spearheaded the school’s student of color recruitment effort. She also chaired a committee dedicated to offering scholarships and performance opportunities to talented chamber musicians. Prior to joining College Coach, Kyra was awarded a Presidential Fellowship from Harvard University, where she worked in development at the Harvard College Fund. She also worked at the Harvard Alumni Association while pursuing a Master of Education at the Graduate School of Education. Upon graduating from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Music in Flute Performance, Kyra worked in the consulting sector for Sapient Corporation in both the hiring and training and development departments. View Guest page

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Shannon Vasconcelos


Shannon Vasconcelos has worked in student financial assistance at Boston University and Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, where she served as the assistant director of financial aid. At Tufts, she was responsible for reviewing financial aid applications, determining financial aid awards, and helping families through the college financing process. In addition, Shannon has served as an active member of the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrator’s Early Awareness and Outreach Committee, as a trainer for the Department of Education’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors, and as a volunteer for FAFSA Day Massachusetts. She has a BA in economics from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in urban and environmental policy and planning from Tufts University. View Guest page

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Kathy Ventura

Mary Sue Youn



Mary Sue Youn joined College Coach after many years in college admissions, most recently at Barnard College, where she served as the senior associate director of admissions. As the senior manager of the admissions staff, Mary Sue coordinated admissions recruitment travel, and trained and directed the application reading and review process. She chaired the admissions committee and reviewed thousands of applications from both first-year and transfer admissions applicants. Prior to her tenure at Barnard, Mary Sue was an admissions counselor at Whittier College and directed the merit scholarship process for the college. A graduate of Cornell University, she began her admissions career as an alumna admissions volunteer for the university while completing graduate work in psychology at Claremont Graduate University. She has presented at both regional and national conferences on current admissions trends. View Guest page

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