Meet the expert speaker lineup for our episodes. Each speaker brings tremendous expertise to the college application process and will provide you with information you need to make your college-bound students successful.

Bob Bardwell

Director School Counseling, Monson High School; Executive Director, Mass School Counseling Association

Session: College Admissions in the Time of Covid

Bob has worked as a school counselor for twenty-six years and is School-to-Career Coordinator as well as Director of School Counseling at Monson High School in Monson, Massachusetts. He is also Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association, a former member of  the Board of Directors of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC); and Board Director, Secondary Level Vice President and Assembly Delegate of the American School Counselor Association (ASCA).  Bob is a past president of the Massachusetts School Counselors Association (MASCA), as well as a former advocacy chair for MASCA; a past president of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC). He has served NACAC as both an assembly delegate and Chair of its Ad Hoc Committee on Graduate Coursework.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Springfield College (MA), M.Ed. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and C.A.G.S. from American International College (MA).  He has published numerous articles and presented at over twenty national conferences around the country and in ten states addressing school counseling and college admission counseling topics.

Kate Cassino

CEO, Hobsons

College Admissions in the Time of Covid

As the Chief Executive Officer, Kate Cassino drives the success of Hobsons’ business and directs the day-to-day operations of this global education technology corporation. Hobsons is in the business of college and career readiness, college matching and admissions; companies include Naviance, Intersect, and Starfish.

Kate joined Hobsons in 2016 as Chief Operating Officer and was promoted to CEO in 2017. She has held leadership roles at Prentice Hall and McGraw-Hill. Before joining Hobsons she served as CEO of Dodge Data & Analytics, Inc., where she led its growth and digital transformation by focusing on sales execution, product delivery, and operational improvements. Earlier in her career she worked with numerous information and media businesses on their digital strategies, including Platts, JD Power & Associates, Business Week, Aviation Week, and several ABC-affiliated broadcasting stations.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Education from Barnard College and completed the Executive  Education Program at Columbia Business School.

Lee Coffin

Vice Provost for Enrollment and Dean of Admissions & Financial Aid, Dartmouth College 


- College Admissions in the Time of Covid

- Student Perspectives on Applying to College During a Pandemic

- Money Matters: College Affordability and

Financial Aid 101- Part 1& 2

Lee Coffin has served as Dartmouth’s Vice Provost and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid since 2016. Prior to joining the Dartmouth administration, he served as Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University from 2003 to 2016, and as Dean of Admissions at Connecticut College from 1995 to 2001.  Dean Coffin held the Millet Chair in Admissions at Milton Academy from 2001 to 2003 and has also served administrative appointments in advancement at Trinity College and freshman advising at Harvard College.  In addition to his administrative roles, he was an adjunct lecturer on education for ten years at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he taught a seminar entitled “Principles and Policy Issues of College Admissions”.  He earned his B.A. with honors in History from Trinity College and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning and Social Policy from Harvard University.

Brennan Barnard

Director of College Counseling & Outreach, The Derryfield School 

Host: Inside Admissions: How an Application is Reviewed

During more than two decades in the field of education Brennan has worked as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, admission officer, counselor and administrator at a number of independent high schools and colleges. He is currently Director of College Counseling and Outreach at The Derryfield School. He is also the college admission program advisor with Making Caring Common, a project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He has written about college admissions for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Forbes.com, Thrive Global, HuffPost, Concord Monitor, Journal of College Admission and other publications. Brennan was a New England Association of College Admission Counselors Professional of the Year, 2017. He is co-author of the new book, The Truth About College Admissions: A Family Guide to Getting In and Staying Together. 

Frank Catalano

Edtech Industry Advisor, Author, Speaker

Host: Tell Your Story: Crafting Great College Admissions Essays

Frank is a former broadcast journalist perhaps best known for his lively analysis and commentary for a number of media outlets,  including previous long-running work for the edtech resource site EdSurge. Frank has written about the intersection of media and tech, co-authored two Dummies books on internet marketing; and hosted a podcast series on tech, pop culture, science fiction and the arts.

Frank is also an education industry analyst and a widely published author. He primarily advises education companies on strategy, marketing and branding. Frank has been both an edtech and tech company executive, including serving in senior marketing roles with Pearson, ProExam (now part of ACT) and the SchoolMessenger business of West (now Intrado). He also has held interim executive marketing positions at McGraw-Hill and was a senior consulting analyst with MDR’s EdNET Insight market research service.

Claire Dennison

Interim Co-CEO & Chief Program Officer


Money Matters: College Affordability andFinancial Aid 101- Part 1& 2

Since joining uAspire in 2009, Claire has played leading roles in developing, managing, and scaling our existing programming. Additionally, Claire has been integral in external partnerships with the College Board, National College Access Network, and America’s Promise, who she co-authored “Dollars for College,” a financial planning toolkit, with. Claire is committed to providing the highest quality programming to students and families across our regions, and is focused on assuring our program experience and expertise from 30+ years of advising work is strongly linked to our Training and Technical Assistance work and policy agenda.

Mike Drish

Director of First-Year Admissions, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Ask Us Anything: Admissions Experts Open Up

Mike Drish is responsible for helping to define the university’s undergraduate recruitment and enrollment goals, as well as seeing that those goals are met. Reporting to Jim Roche, vice provost of enrollment management, Drish leads and sets strategic direction for first-year recruiting staff and oversees daily operations of first-year admissions, including all first-year admissions selection processes.

During his two-decade career in higher education, Drish has held leadership positions at both public and private institutions across the country. They include the University of California Los Angeles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Northeastern, Vanderbilt and Purdue universities.

Nick Ducoff

Co-founder & CEO, Edmit

College Admissions in the Time of Covid

Nick is Co-founder and CEO of Edmit (College Financial Health Center) and the coauthor of the Amazon best-selling book Better Off After College. He was previously Northeastern University's Vice President for New Ventures. At Northeastern, Nick launched the first university bootcamp which was recognized as an exemplar of innovation by the U.S. Department of Education. Nick has been invited to the White House for his work at Northeastern and Edmit, and his articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Barron's, CNBC, and Money. He earned his J.D., with Honors, at the University of Texas at Austin, and his B.B.A. at Emory University's Goizueta Business School. He lives in Newton, MA, with his wife and two children.

Karen Felton

Director of Student Success, Wisconsin School of Business

First-Generation Students: Practical Tips for College Admissions

Karen Stroud Felton currently serves as Director of Student Success and Pre-College programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business (WSB). In this role, she develops and oversees initiatives to enhance access, and to support undergraduate student success.  Before joining the WSB in 2018, Karen served as Director of College Counseling at Georgetown Day School, the first racially integrated school in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Karen was Dean of Admission at the George Washington University. 

Chuck Hughes

Founder, Road to College

First-Generation Students: Practical Tips for College Admissions

Road to College™ President and Founder, Former Senior Admission Officer at Harvard College, Chuck Hughes knows exactly what it takes to get into college. A former senior admissions officer at Harvard, author of What It Really Takes to Get into the Ivy League and Other Highly Selective Colleges, a former middle school teacher and a Harvard graduate, Hughes has been a part of the college admissions process from all perspectives.

Candice Mackey

College Counselor, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies

How to Manage Admissions Pressure—College Fit and Family Stress

Candice Mackey is the college counselor at Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies—LACES Magnet, the first public magnet school in LAUSD. A committed educator, student advocate, and equity warrior, Candice has over 13+ years of public school counseling experience at various middle and high schools across Southern California. She has been instrumental in developing and implementing college counseling access programs and practices, serving diverse student populations including—those who are first-generation and historically underrepresented.

Holly Morrow

Senior Vice President of Knowledge, uAspire

Money Matters: College Affordability andFinancial Aid 101- Part 1& 2

Holly Morrow is the Senior Vice President of Knowledge. Over her 15+ years at uAspire, Holly has held various program leadership roles, in addition to serving as a college affordability advisor, navigating the financial aid process with students and families and using this experience to directly inform her programmatic and training work. In her current role, Holly oversees the creation and maintenance of uAspire’s broad suite of college affordability training content, tools, and expertise. Holly earned her MS in School Counseling from Northeastern University and her BS in Human Development from Binghamton University.

Denise Pope.jpg

Denise Pope

Educator, Author, School Reform Advocate

How to Manage Admissions Pressure—College Fit and Family Stress

Senior Lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, Denise specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. She is Co-Founder of "Challenge Success", a research and intervention project that provides schools and families the tools they need to raise healthy, motivated students. "Challenge Success" is an expanded version of the "SOS: Stressed-Out Students" project that Dr. Pope founded and directed from 2003 to 2008.

She is the author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students (Yale University Press, 2001), which was identified as a "Notable Book in Education" by the American School Board Journal. Denise is also the lead author of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids (Jossey-Bass, 2015). She co-hosts the Stanford University SiriusXM radio show School’s In.

Kate Ramsdell

Director of College Counseling, Noble and Greenough School

Navigating the New Normal of Optional Testing

Kate began her work in the College Counseling Office in 2000. Beyond her current role as Director of College Counseling, Kate currently helps to oversee the school’s initiatives and planning as they relate to student wellness. During her 23-year tenure, she has served as an advisor, dorm parent, English teacher, interim dean of students, coach and class dean. In 2010, during her sabbatical, Kate spent time working at African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

Patricia Reilly

Associate Dean of Financial Aid, Tufts University

Money Matters: College Affordability andFinancial Aid 101- Part 1& 2

Patty was a first generation college student who grew up as the sixth of seven children in Boston. She has an undergraduate degree from Williams College and a graduate degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.  She has worked in financial aid at Williams, Wellesley, Babson, and has been the Director and then Associate Dean of Financial Aid at Tufts University since 2002.

Meredith Reynolds

Associate Director of College Guidance at The Roxbury Latin School

Student Perspectives on Applying to College During a Pandemic

Meredith Reynolds serves as Associate Director of College Guidance at The Roxbury Latin School, a small independent day school for boys in grades 7-12 in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to her time at Roxbury Latin, Meredith was Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University, where she spent seven years evaluating applications for their School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering.

Emily Roper-Doten

Dean of Admission & Financial Aid, Olin College of Engineering

College Admissions in the Time of Covid

At Olin Emily is responsible for leading the college’s student-centered, innovative and inclusive enrollment function; as well as developing and implementing strategies for recruiting and maintaining the on-going success of Olin students. Previously, she served as Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University, where she led the recruitment function for the School of Engineering; and as Assistant Director of Admission at Olin College. Emily received her M.A. with distinction from Boston College in Higher Education Administration, and her B.A. magna cum laude in Educational Studies and Theater from Colgate University. She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), an assembly delegate for The New England Association for College Admission Counseling (NEACAC); and she  serves on the steering committee of the College Admission Collaborative Highlighting Engineering and Technology (CACHET).

Brad Schiller

Co-founder & CEO, Prompt

Tell Your Story: Crafting Great College Admissions Essays

Brad is the Founder and CEO of Prompt – the world's leading provider of admissions essay support. Prompt's writing coaches provide actionable, instructional writing feedback to over 10,000 students per year. Prompt has trained hundreds of counselors on its curriculum for working with students on admissions essays. Previously, Brad was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey and an independent consultant to the Fortune 500 and private equity firms. Brad holds degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Management Science from MIT.

Diane Scott

Co-Director of College Placement, Academy of the Pacific Rim Public Charter School

Navigating the "New Normal" of Optional Testing

Upon graduating from Williams in 1997, Kate spent a year working in public relations before she joined the Noble & Greenough School community as a teaching fellow in the Admissions and English departments. Kate began her work in the College Counseling Office in 2000. Beyond her current role as Director of College Counseling, Kate currently helps to oversee the school’s initiatives and planning as they relate to student wellness. During her 23-year tenure, she has served as an advisor, dorm parent, English teacher, interim dean of students, coach and class dean.

Darryl Tiggle

Director of College Counseling, Friends School of Baltimore

Money Matters: College Affordability andFinancial Aid 101- Part 1& 2

Darryl Tiggle has served as Director of College Counseling at Friends School of Baltimore since 2009 and previously worked in college admissions for 18 years.  His experience in admissions began at his alma mater, Union College in 1992.  After 10 years at Union, he was selected as Director of Admissions at Lasell College in Newton, MA during their transition from a 2-year women’s college, to a 4-year co-educational institution. Following a successful re-organization of the admissions process at Lasell, Darryl moved on to Tufts University as Senior Associate Director in charge of diversity and under-represented student outreach where he gained even more valuable insight into the world of highly selective college admissions.  

A career in college admissions stirred an interest in how the process is perceived from the student perspective, and a desire to share his enthusiasm and knowledge to make this process less mysterious.  He was fortunate to receive the Director position at Friends back in 2009 and has enjoyed a wonderful time building his team and counseling program.

Ronné Turner

Vice Provost for Admissions & Financial Aid, Washington University in St. Louis

Inside Admissions: How an Application is Reviewed

Ronné Turner has served as Vice Provost for Admissions and Financial Aid at Washington University since July 2016.  Prior to WashU, Ronné served for nearly fifteen years at Northeastern University in Boston.  At Northeastern, Ronné led undergraduate admissions and enrollment for the university’s seven colleges and oversaw the development and implementation of recruitment and enrollment strategies to meet objectives for freshman, transfer and international students. 

Prior to Northeastern, Ronné worked for more than a decade in admissions at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she served in a number of roles including overseeing admissions marketing and communication. 

She began her admissions career at her alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, where she earned her B.A. in Social and Behavioral Science. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Social Foundations of Education from the University of Maryland.


Ronné is actively engaged nationally in admissions and enrollment organizations and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the College Board.

Peaches Valdes

Dean of Admission, Hamilton College

Inside Admissions: How an Application is Reviewed

Peaches Valdes joined the Hamilton College Admission Office as the Dean of Admission with 20 years of professional experience in admissions and enrollment management. Prior to joining the Hamilton community, Peaches was the Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and former Director of Undergraduate and Graduate Admissions at Bryn Mawr College in suburban Philadelphia. Peaches has a BA in Political Science, Masters in Social Service, and a Masters in Law and Social Policy all from Bryn Mawr College. In her current role, Peaches manages a team that is responsible for recruiting, reviewing, and enrolling a talented diverse student body to the College. In addition to her work in admissions, Peaches has also been a social worker and Ombudsperson, faculty member for pre-orientation social justice programs, and a college Equal Opportunity Officer and Title IX Officer. 

Carmen Veloria, ASA

Community Relations Advisor, American Student Assistance

First-Generation Students: Practical Tips for College Admissions

Carmen N. Veloria, Ed.D. is the Community Relations Advisor for American Student Assistance, a national nonprofit committed to helping kids know themselves, know their options, and make informed choices to achieve their education and career goals. Prior to her current role, Carmen oversaw ASA’s Education and Career Planning Center at the Boston Public Library, which provides free advice to traditional-aged students and adult learners on preparing for education beyond high school, exploring careers or majors, applying for financial aid and scholarships, and more. She is also an Associate Professor of Education Studies and Sociology at Suffolk University, where she previously served as Director of the Center for Academic Access & Opportunity.

Gil J. Villanueva

Associate Vice President & Dean of Admission, University Of Richmond

Inside Admissions: How an Application is Reviewed

Gil J. Villanueva joined the enrollment management unit at the University of Richmond in July 2009. Prior to his appointment at Richmond, Gil served Brandeis University from 2005 to 2009 as their dean of admission and chief admission officer. From 1997 to 2005, he worked at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He departed as senior associate dean in 2005. From 1993 to 1997, Gil was at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, as assistant dean. His professional admission career began at Bucknell in 1992. Gil earned his B.A. in psychology at Pitzer College in Claremont, California and his M.Ed. degree in Higher Education at Bucknell University. 


Gil is recognized for his service in national organizations and committees. He served as a board member as well as board chair of The Common Application. For the College Board, he served on the Guidance and Admission Assembly Council, was past chair and secretary for the Southern Regional Council, and was a member of Task Force on Admissions in the 21st Century. Gil served as faculty advisor for the Leadership in Enrollment Management Certificate program at the University of Southern California’s Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice. He is a member of the Higher Education Advisory Committee and Scholarship Selection Committee for the National Honor Society. Gil also represents the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Schools as a representative of American Higher Education.


With a college senior and a high school senior, he and his wife also find time to spoil two Shih Tzus and a bulldog puppy.

Leigh Weisenburger

Dean of Admission and Financial Aid, Bates College

Moderator: Navigating the "New Normal" of Optional Testing

Leigh Weisenburger works closely with a team of nearly 30 colleagues in the offices of Admission and Student Financial Services to oversee strategic recruitment, enrollment, and need-based financial aid allocation for Bates students. When Leigh is not on campus collaborating with students, faculty, and staff, she’s visiting high schools and other organizations to speak about the value of the liberal arts education, particularly as delivered by Bates.

Peter Wilson

Director of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Chicago

Navigating the "New Normal" of Optional Testing

Peter Wilson is Director of Undergraduate Admissions & Deputy Dean and Chief of Staff at the University of Chicago. In the Office of College Admissions, Peter oversees the office’s daily operations, on and off campus programs, student recruitment, and application review. He currently serves on the College Board Midwestern Regional Council and is a former member of the National Merit Scholarship Selection Committee.

Lana Wong

Communications Lead, The Education Commission

Host: College Admissions in the Time of Covid

Lana has wide-ranging work experience as a BBC television host, photographer, educator, and creative director of the World Bank’s “Connect4Climate" initiative. She currently directs communications for the Education Commission.

In 1997 Lana founded "Shootback", a youth photography and development project in the Nairobi slums that amplified the creative voices of young Kenyans so they could tell their own stories. The young people's powerful photos and stories became the basis of a book, an international touring exhibition, and a documentary film. 

Inspired by this experience and her creative collaborations with international organizations and artists, Lana has worked with dedication to harness the power of the arts to highlight marginalized youth voices calling for economic justice and sustainable development.

Lana is an award-winning multimedia storyteller. She earned a B.A. in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University and an M.A. in Photography from the Royal College of Art in London.