Tomer Rothschild

  • Wesleyan University (BA)
  • The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (MBA)

Tomer graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Philosophy. Later he earned his MBA at the University of Pennsylvania. Before founding ESC he worked on Wall Street and was the China country manager of a publicly traded US company. He is the father of three children, and when he is not carefully reviewing essays he can be found playing with his children.


Meet Tomer Rothschild

Stacy Palestrant

  • Wellesley College (BA)
  • University of Chicago Booth School of Business (MBA)

Stacy is a graduate of Wellesley College, where she studied Religion and Political Science. Several years later she received her MBA from the University of Chicago. Prior to founding ESC she was a research associate at Harvard Business School and a management consultant with Katzenbach Partners. Stacy is grateful that she discovered the world of college counseling upon moving to Beijing. She loves helping students tell their personal stories and learn how to be more compelling writers.

Meet Stacy Palestrant

Abigail Cobb

  • Yale University (BEd)
  • Johns Hopkins University(M.A)
Abigail graduated from Yale University with a degree in Cognitive Science. At Yale, she was an Education Studies Scholar, which is an interdisciplinary program that empowers students to reimagine and reshape the education landscape through research, policy and practice. For her senior thesis, Abigail received multiple research grants to travel to Japan to study the association between emotional intelligence and academic performance cross-culturally. After Yale, Abigail continued her education at Johns Hopkins University where she received a Master of Science in Education. After graduating, Abigail taught for three years as a high school English teacher. At ESC, Abigail is excited about mentoring students and developing their skills as critical thinkers. Abigail grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma, and in her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking.

Adam Mahler

  • Yale University (B.A)
  • Harvard University(PHD)
A native of Bedford, New York, Adam Mahler is pursuing a doctorate in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. The recipient of a Fulbright research grant, he graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, where he studied creative non-fiction and participated in student journalism and cooking initiatives. With more than three years of experience as a writing tutor, Adam specializes in helping students craft compelling personal narrative, both on and off the page. In his free time he enjoys cooking, hiking, and translating his favorite authors into English.

Annie Wang

  • Vassar College
Annie graduated from Vassar College with dual degrees in Education and Media Studies. She earned general honors, departmental honors for both of her majors, and a Phi Beta Kappa induction. At Vassar, she was on the student committee at the on-campus art center for all four years and in a dance group. For her senior thesis, Annie researched Asian American sexual literacies in family, schooling, and media, focusing on the experiences of women and gender non-binary people. She has worked with students in varying capacities as an art teacher, tutor, student leader, and academic intern. Having been an intern and teaching fellow at ESC, Annie is returning to help students hone their creative interests and foster intellectual curiosity. In her free time, Annie enjoys making art, traveling, and exploring new coffee shops.

Aurora Martinez del Rio

  • Swarthmore College (B.A)
  • University of Chicago (M.A)
Originally from Wyoming, Aurora holds a BA from Swarthmore College, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in linguistics. During her time at Swarthmore, Aurora enjoyed performing in operas, a mariachi group, and various choral ensembles. She then went on to get an MA in linguistics from the University of Chicago, with her research focusing on how difficulty of articulation impacts the frequency at which particular forms appear in American Sign Language. Through her time leading discussion groups and working with undergraduate students on research projects, Aurora has developed a passion for supporting students in developing skills and challenging themselves through their academics. She is excited to help students explore and deepen their interests, while honing their writing skills. In her free time, Aurora enjoys singing in choirs, reading books, and cooking.

Björn Olafsson

  • University of Chicago

Björn Jóhann graduated with honors from University of Chicago, studying Psychology, Cinema Studies, and Human Rights. His psychology research studied how people’s moods affect their conversations, which he developed at the International Center for Decision Research. He presented his lab’s research at the largest TEDx conference in the Midwest. He won grants to study Mandarin at Shanghai’s Fudan University and History at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. Björn developed a passion for teaching persuasive writing skills as captain of his Mock Trial team. He also has experience with SAT test prep with the service IvyBound and is passionate about helping students reach their full potential through writing.


Apart from education, Björn enjoys marathon running and hiking with his extended family in Iceland.

Birgitte Jensen

  • New York University(BFA)
  • Michigan State University(MA)
Birgitte holds a BFA from New York University in Screenwriting, a Masters in Educational Technology from Michigan State University, and she is a certified teacher of English 6-12 in Florida. She was born in Oslo, Norway, but has spent most of her adult life in the US, mainly in New York City and most recently in Southern California. She has taught language at New York University and has spent 14 years as a high school classroom teacher and examiner of IB English, Theory of Knowledge and research writing in international boarding schools. Birgitte has tutored students 1-1 in preparation for IB Exams, IB essays and college essays. In her spare time, Birgitte writes articles for magazines and education companies and she also loves painting, drawing, travel, and skiing. She is the mother of a recent high school graduate and she currently resides in Paris, France.

Cindy Marie Jenkins

  • New York University (B.A.)
Cindy writes, consults, parents, and travels — sometimes at the same time. Her family recently spent two years in Beijing, where she served as Deputy Managing Editor of Jingkids International, formerly Beijingkids. While there, she mentored teen writing interns, moderated a panel at their JISE (Jingkids International School Expo), and was Acting Editor for the Jingkids School Choice Guide, carefully communicating with over 60 international schools. Hailing from Massachusetts and New York before moving to California, education and mentoring teenagers has always called to her. Cindy especially enjoys doing mock interviews with her students! She is known for her workshops in arts marketing and personal branding. In the past, she has been a content marketing expert and ghostwriter for international corporations, as well as managing websites and blogs for many entrepreneurial businesses and nonprofits. Cindy is a published essayist, and short story author. A proud member of the Author’s Guild and the Nonfiction Writers Association, she’s thrilled to be an ESC counselor! Cindy puts all of her background towards helping students discover their best selves within their college applications.

Cameron Gearen

  • Wesleyan University(B.A)
  • Indiana University(MFA)

Cameron holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA in writing from Indiana University. She has taught writing at Yale, Indiana University, and elsewhere, and for the past ten years has helped students apply to highly selective colleges. A former Marketing Communications Director in a private equity firm, Cameron also spent two years as Writer-in-Residence at the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, IL. Her hobbies include writing, songwriting, playing guitar, and reading. Her book of poetry, Some Perfect Year, was published by Shearsman (UK) in 2016. Cameron stays connected to Chinese culture through her two young-adult daughters, whom she adopted as babies from China. She lives in Chicago, her hometown.

Catherine Chan

  • Fordham University (BA)
  • Fordham University (MA)

Catherine has been involved in education and college advising since 2005. She has four years of international admissions experience as a Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Vassar College, where she recruited and evaluated applicants from China, East Asia, and the Pacific Rim. She has also served as an admission counselor at her alma mater, Fordham University, where she focused on recruiting first-generation college students from New York City. At ESC, Catherine enjoys nurturing her students’ writing, research and critical thinking skills.

Catherine researched Chinese immigration to the Bronx for her undergraduate Urban Studies thesis. For her master’s degree, she explored the aesthetics and economies of Global Chinese Cinema. Catherine received her bachelor’s degree in History and her master’s degree in Public Communication from Fordham University.

Cathy Shufro

  • Brown University

Cathy Shufro has taught writing at Yale and Wesleyan universities and for Yale’s English Language Institute. She serves as a Bass Writing Tutor at Yale College, where she works one-on-one with students on academic papers and application essays. In addition, Cathy has been the on-call writing consultant for the Yale World Fellows program, which brings leaders from all over the world to the university.

Cathy writes for magazines including the Yale Alumni Magazine and Johns Hopkins Public Health magazine. She is also a photographer and has traveled widely in Asia. Cathy graduated from Brown University.

Carolyn Sorkin

  • Brown University (BA)
  • Stanford University (MA)
  • New York University (PhD)

Carolyn has specialized in international higher education for nearly 30 years: in admission at Brown University, education abroad at Wesleyan University and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, area studies and scholarly research at New York University, and professional training and development with USAID-Chile. Carolyn earned a PhD in International Education at New York University with a dissertation on public intellectuals in Chile’s transition to democracy, a dual MA in International Development Education and Educational Administration & Policy Analysis from Stanford University with a thesis on intellectuals and sociopolitical change in Central Europe, and a BA in History from Brown University. Bilingual in Spanish, Dr. Sorkin first fell in love with international education during a semester in Toledo, Spain, and looks forward to helping her twins study abroad in 2025-26.

Cierrah West-Williams

  • Columbia University (MA)
  • Villanova University (BA)

Cierrah was born and raised in Philadelphia. She completed her undergraduate degree at Villanova University, where she obtained her BA in Political Science. During her undergraduate studies, she studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She worked closely with her sociology professor to present at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference. After graduating, Cierrah was chosen to join the selective teaching program, Teach for America, and taught for 3 years in Washington D.C. She then moved to New York to attend Teachers College, Columbia University, where she obtained her MA in Sociology and Education. At Columbia she served on the Student Advisory Council, where she worked to host events and solve student concerns. She also served as a research assistant with the Center for Court Innovation. In her free time, Cierrah enjoys music, traveling, and cooking.

Chuck Bush

  • Harvard University (BA)
  • University of Pennsylvania (MBA)

Chuck hails from Princeton, NJ. He majored in Economics at Harvard, where he was Associate Design Editor of The Harvard Crimson newspaper, and received his MBA in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

With over 25 years of management consulting and investment banking experience, Chuck is an EdTech and FinTech entrepreneur and an award-winning adjunct professor of finance.

Chuck loves helping people map their educational and career goals to their passions. In his free time, Chuck enjoys running, hiking and camping with his family. His wife says Chuck has never gone anywhere without meeting someone interesting.

Deirdre Quinn

  • Haverford College

Deirdre is a graduate of Haverford College, where she majored in the History of Art with a particular focus in architectural history. At Haverford, she was a staff member of the college’s Women’s Center, and she was involved extensively in the Office of Admission. She was awarded a grant by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship to complete a summer internship in Berlin, Germany and spent another summer researching the politics of nationalism for the Department of German. Before joining ESC, Deirdre worked as an Admission Counselor for Drexel University and Mills College, where she reviewed thousands of college applications. At ESC, Deirdre enjoys helping her students gain access to institutions that will nurture their potential and expose them to life-changing opportunities. In her spare time, she is an avid hiker who enjoys reading history and trying different street foods.

Diane Liu

  • McGill University (BSc)
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA)
  • Brown University (MA)
Diane capped off her academic career with a Master’s Degree in History from Brown University, where she studied the Central European Jewish community in Shanghai during World War II. Alongside her graduate work, she worked as a private tutor (Biology, Chemistry, SAT) and university lecturer (German), and discovered how much she enjoys working with students. She then spent a decade in consulting and policy work before coming back to education. In her free time Diane plays squash, brews kombucha, and reads whatever she can get her hands on, from German classics to modern fiction and scientific journals.

Denise Haile

  • Harvard University (B.A)
  • Bentley University (MBA)
  • Northeastern University (PHD)

Dr. Denise Haile grew up in Queens, New York with her two brothers and Trinidadian parents. From there, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts to attend Harvard University as a History of Science major. While in college, she sang in an all-female, classical music choir. After graduation, she stayed in the Boston area and raised her family of three children with her husband. Because she loves learning, she decided to go back to university and got an MBA from Bentley University and a Doctor in Higher Education Administration degree from Northeastern University. She has been working in admissions and educational consulting for her entire career of over 20 years. She has worked in several competitive universities in the Boston area and she hopes to help ESC students meet their goals of getting into their favorite university.

EJ Mitchell

  • Amherst College

EJ Mitchell is a Questbridge scholar and a graduate of Amherst College, where he majored in Asian Languages and Civilizations with a concentration in Chinese language and contemporary history. At Amherst, EJ worked in the Admissions Office as a telementor and served on the new student Orientation Committee. EJ also studied abroad in Beijing through IES’s intensive language program at Beijing Foreign Studies University and worked for IES after graduating as the head resident advisor, managing residential life and student affairs. Prior to joining ESC, he was a veteran teaching fellow and Dean of Students for Breakthrough Collaborative and taught middle and high school at a top independent day school in Ohio. He is a member of the inaugural Project Pengyou Leadership Fellows cohort and the organization’s executive committee. With years of experience in teaching and cross-cultural communication, EJ is passionate about mentorship and guiding students through the processes of self-discovery and storytelling.

Emily Davidson

  • Davidson College

Emily is from Houston, Texas, and graduated from Davidson College with a degree in Political Science and East Asian Studies. She spent the fall of her junior year studying abroad in Shanghai, and spent her senior year completing a fellowship in the Office of Admission of this selective U.S. college. Emily has interned with the World Affairs Council of Houston, during which she created resources that enable Texas educators to teach their students about important world issues. Emily is eager to pursue her interest in higher education in China, as well as work with ESC’s brilliant students. In her free time, Emily enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy books and learning new board games.

Greg Nissan

  • Brown University

Greg is a New York City native and a graduate from Brown University with degrees in comparative literature and German studies. In addition to managing the weekly newspaper at Brown, he played in several bands and began translating German literature. Greg moved to Berlin after graduation on a Fulbright Grant, a prestigious and highly selective research grant, to work with a linguistics research group. Prior to joining ESC, he spent two years as a private tutor, focussing on creative and critical writing. In his free time he’s often riding his bike or checking out film screenings.

Haleigh Copley

  • Tufts University

Haleigh graduated with honors from Tufts University where she studied Chinese, Entrepreneurship, and Peace and Justice Studies. She is a Questbridge Scholar and recipient of the Honos Civicus Award for her leadership in promoting sustainability, philanthropy, and peaceful US foreign diplomacy. At Tufts, Haleigh enjoyed performing with the Chinese dance troupe Wuzee, interning for startups, and mentoring students. Haleigh also spent a summer volunteering as an English teacher in Qinhuangdao and a year in Taiwan as a NSLI-Y Scholar, conducting award-winning research on Taiwanese students’ English learning perspectives. Post-graduation, Haleigh taught at a Vietnamese college as a Princeton in Asia Fellow.

Haleigh is passionate about leveraging her international education experience to empower ESC students to explore their intellectual curiosities and personal growth. Haleigh enjoys studying Asian languages and exploring cultures through food and dance.

John Al-Haddad

  • University of Virginia (B.A)
  • University of Chicago (M.A)

John was born and raised in Northern Virginia. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Highest Distinction. While at UVA, he studied history and Arabic, and worked as an Arabic language tutor. He went on to the University of Chicago where he received his master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies with a focus on Turkish language, culture, and history. He also won numerous summer grants to study at universities across the Middle East and Central Asia. Following his time in Chicago, he spent two years in Turkey as a Fulbright English Language Teaching Assistant. John loves helping students develop their academic passions, critical thinking abilities, and public speaking skills. In his free time, John enjoys reading, going on hikes, and trying out new recipes. He is especially passionate about language learning and hopes to add Mandarin to the list!

Jason Milan

  • Middlebury College
Jason holds a BA Cum Laude from Middlebury College and has more than five years of experience mentoring dedicated students to gain entry to elite undergraduate programs. He has advised students from Asia and Europe, and he has an affinity for working with ambitious applicants who are non-native English speakers. He prides himself on helping students craft compelling personal stories that communicate their identities, showcase their passions, and crystalize their visions. Jason studied film and specialized in screenwriting at Middlebury, which gives him the unique ability to help students write compelling essays. At Middlebury he was also a captain of the nationally-ranked Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team. In his free time, Jason can be found reading, writing, watching movies, playing ultimate frisbee, and drinking coffee.

Leigh Johnston

  • Smith College
Leigh grew up in Massachusetts and Hawaii before attending Smith College, where she studied Sociology and Environmental Science. During her time at Smith, she partnered with the Admissions Office and Office of College Relations to strategize ways to recruit and yield more students. She was also the Alumnae Admissions Coordinator for Smith applicants from China. After graduating, Leigh worked as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taitung Taiwan, and later at NYU Shanghai as a Writing Fellow and Communications Specialist. Leigh is thrilled to work with ESC students to map out their academic and professional goals. In her free time, Leigh enjoys reading, baking sourdough bread, and playing with the Shanghai Women’s International Football Club.

Larry Stokes

  • Georgia Institute of Technology (BS)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (MS)

Larry is native to Atlanta, where he has enjoyed a career in education spanning nearly 15 years. After completing his undergraduate studies at Georgia Tech, Larry taught both social studies and math in independent high schools. He worked extensively in the Admission Office at Georgia Tech as an Admission Advisor, visiting high schools, leading information sessions and counseling individual students about the admissions process.

Larry earned both BS and MS degrees from Georgia Tech in the history of technology, with a graduate focus exploring the intersection of technological change and U.S. government intelligence policy in the 20th century. Larry maintains an active calendar as a church organist and freelance musician in Atlanta. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, cooking, and horticulture.

Kristen Kelly

  • University of Pennsylvania (B.A)
  • Peking University (M.A)
Kristen graduated with honors from the University of Pennsylvania, where she double majored in Urban Studies and English and minored in Asian American Studies. She was involved in a literary society and the Pan-Asian American Community House. Kristen values international educational experiences; she studied abroad at Cambridge University, and spent a summer interning in Hong Kong. After Penn, Kristen moved to Beijing to complete a master’s degree at Peking University’s Yenching Academy. Kristen is a proud Philadelphian, and returned to her hometown after living abroad for nearly four years. She has taught English literature to high school students, and enjoys helping students develop their voices as creative and critical writers. She enjoys getting to know ESC students and helping them share their unique stories! Outside of work, Kristen enjoys running, cooking, and hunting for the best milk tea café in every city she visits.

Matthew Wu

  • Bowdoin College

Matthew graduated from Bowdoin College with a degree in Government and Chinese. At Bowdoin, Matthew worked in the Alumni Relations office and as a recruiter for Bowdoin Athletics. He also played soccer and was a member of the varsity track and field team. Matthew continues to enjoy sports and reading philosophy and literature in his spare time. Having always wanted to visit China, Matthew is very excited to be living and working in Shanghai.

Maya Grumeretz

  • University of Michigan

Maya graduated from the University of Michigan with a dual degree in Asian Studies and Sociology. During her time as an undergrad, she became interested in intercultural connections, the process of cultural assimilation, and the impact of modernization on traditions and cultures. After graduation, Maya moved to Beijing in order to conduct a successful study abroad experience for students from various American Universities.  In her free time, Maya is an active participant in the Ultimate Frisbee community with goals of developing leadership, teamwork, and athleticism in the female youth.

Mack Bell

  • Macalester College

Mack graduated from Macalester with a Chinese/International Studies double major and economics concentration. Her capstone research focused on abstraction in art and international politics; today she enjoys visiting Beijing’s art exhibitions where she can continue to contemplate the relationship between art history and international relations. During college, Mack liaised between Chinese and U.S. bone marrow registries as an intern for non-profit Be the Match, developed her interest in Chinese food and culture as a Chinese Language House resident, and developed an affinity for mentorship by tutoring reading and writing at a local Hmong school. At ESC, Mack strives to help students reflect on past experiences and to discover the greater significance of small moments through writing. In her spare time Mack enjoys sketching, playing guitar, and visiting art museums.

Nick Hawkins

  • Wesleyan University

Nick is from Boston and graduated from Wesleyan University with an East Asian Studies degree and a writing certificate. He co-founded a sports media company, for which he published articles, managed a team of writers, and drove social media followership to over one million as Editor-in-Chief. He is an avid soccer player, fan, analyst, and coach and was involved with the Wesleyan Varsity Men’s Soccer program as both a player and coach as an undergraduate. He also sang in two a cappella groups in college and loves to kayak, hike, study Mandarin, try new types of food, and travel. He is passionate about helping students unlock their own interests and find new and interesting ways to pursue them both inside and outside of the classroom.


Nicholas Lombardo

Consultant for Junior Scholars
  • Columbia University

Nicholas earned his Bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in East Asian Studies, studying interdisciplinary approaches to gender dynamics in China. He received grants for immersive Japanese study in Sapporo and for an internship managing English teaching programs in Beijing. Having served on the executive board for the Columbia Japan Society, supported his school’s Chinese Conversation Club, and worked for a non-profit ESOL program, Nicholas is committed to community building and cross-cultural communication. At ESC, Nicholas enjoys working both in workshops and one-on-one with students, engaging and encouraging them to foster their diverse and exciting interests. When he is not studying languages or reading, you can find Nicholas cycling through the city or conversing with friends over great food.

Theresa Tian

  • Amherst College

Theresa graduated from Amherst College with a degree in English. During her time at Amherst, she founded a community service club, led initiatives for Women in STEM, and played violin in the symphony. She also completed a short story cycle exploring the dislocation of lives on the margins of society, for which she was awarded the departmental prize for excellence in prose fiction. For three years, she mentored students with the literacy nonprofit Reader to Reader Inc., leading book discussions to develop writing skills while fostering a love of reading. At ESC, Theresa helps students engage with writing not as an end result but rather a process that bridges reflection, discovery, and action in the ongoing narrative of their lives. Theresa’s interests include going for scenic runs, trying new recipes, and reading endlessly.

Pelin Kivrak

  • Harvard University (BA)
  • Yale University (PhD)
Pelin graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Literature and Yale University with a PhD in Comparative Literature. She has worked as an alumni interviewer for Harvard for many years, helping Harvard’s admissions office evaluate prospective students from around the world. She has taught literature and film in diverse settings, ranging from college introductory courses to international summer camps for high school students. Her broader research interests lie in philosophy, history of art, film studies and intellectual history.

Pelin has also been working as a concept developer and content writer at a Los Angeles-based art collective producing works at the intersection of architecture, multimedia art, and artificial intelligence. The collective’s immersive and interactive projects have been exhibited in numerous countries, including Germany, France, US, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Italy, China and South Korea. Pelin is originally from Istanbul and she is an established fiction writer in Turkey. In her free time, she loves jogging, visiting museums and traveling.

Peter Lido

  • Emory University (B.A)
  • Emory University(M.A)
  • University of Chicago (PHD)
Originally hailing from south Florida, Peter received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English from Emory University in Atlanta, GA. There he produced his Master’s thesis on the major plays of Tennessee Williams. Peter holds a PhD from the University of Chicago, where he taught several courses on American literature and visual media, mentored senior undergraduates undertaking thesis projects, and served in programs that prepared Chicago-area high school students and incoming UChicago freshmen for success at the college level. He also worked for three years at the Regenstein Library’s Special Collections Research Center. He enjoys collaborating with students to develop their scholarly interests, as well as helping them refine their voices as young writers. In his spare time, Peter enjoys playing piano, exploring archives, and thinking about cinema and games. Two of his freelance articles have appeared in Kill Screen, a print and online magazine about gaming and interdisciplinary play.

Peter Chen 

  • University of Chicago

Peter grew up in the Chicago suburbs and graduated from the University of Chicago, majoring in History. Throughout all four years of college, Peter was involved with the Neighborhood Schools Program as a teaching and office assistant. In addition to his work in Chicago, Peter has completed a copy-editing internship at Academia Sinica in Taipei and an internship at ESC in Beijing (before he became a full-time ESC consultant). In his free time, he enjoys playing badminton and video games.

Rosemary Jones

  • University of Adelaide (BA)
  • Queens University of Charlotte, North (MFA)

Rosemary Jones is an Australian who graduated from the University of Adelaide and taught in secondary schools before moving to the United States where she lectures in writing at Yale. In addition, she tutors as a Bass Writing Tutor for Yale College, helping individual students with their papers. She has taught for the Yale English Language Institute, as well as the University of Adelaide. In the summer, she teaches for the Warrior Scholar Program, a non-profit organization that assists military veterans transition to college. She received her MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, North. Rosemary writes fiction and non-fiction. Her stories have appeared in a range of literary journals. She recently won Alligator Juniper’s 2015 national prize for non-fiction.

Shalin Mehta

  • Columbia University (B.A)
  • Columbia University (MIA)
Shalin was raised in Princeton, New Jersey. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Political Science and Biology. While at Columbia, he worked as a research assistant at the medical school and wrote a thesis on US/China trade relations. Following college, Shalin worked as the Head of Business Development at a newly developed Engineering company which he helped transform into a nationally recognized expert in central utilities systems. Shalin later attended Columbia University’s School of International and Public Relations, falling in love with International Education. He spent time in the Dominican Republic creating vocational programs for at-risk teenagers and lived in Lucknow, India where he helped develop and implement Non-Formal Education Centers to serve neglected children and those who had not yet enrolled in formal schools. Shalin later moved to Chengdu, China to work with top high school students in achieving their goals to attend prestigious American universities. Shalin loves helping students reach their potential and enhance their creativity; he believes that the college application process can in fact be enjoyable to everyone involved. In his free time, Shalin enjoys participating in athletics, dining on spicy food, and spoiling his two dogs.

Sandra Okonofua

  • Dartmouth College (B.S)
  • University of Pennsylvania (MA)
  • Harvard University (MA)
Sandra Okonofua graduated from Dartmouth College with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. On campus, Sandra was active in peer advising and community building. She also studied abroad in Brazil and learned Portuguese. Upon graduation, Sandra enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where she received a Master’s degree in Urban Education while working full time as a high school science teacher. During this time, she also worked as a test prep tutor for the SAT and ACT. In 2021, Sandra graduated from Harvard University with a Master’s, Certificate of Advanced Study, and license in school counseling.

She is currently pursuing a PhD in Sociology at Yale University where her research will focus on social stratification, educational inequality, and policy. Sandra enjoys helping students clarify and skillfully communicate their academic interests and passions. Sandra grew up in Silver Spring, MD and in her free time she enjoys reading, journaling, cooking, and spending time with family and friends.

Sydney Gehrking

  • Cornell University (BA)
  • University of Oxford (MSc)

Sydney is originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from Cornell University (BA) and from the University of Oxford (MSc) with distinction. Throughout her academic career, Sydney was involved in a variety of extracurricular clubs and volunteer organizations, most of which focused on bettering the lives of students of all ages and backgrounds through after-school programs and peer mentor groups. She was also dedicated to academic research and is familiar with both quantitative and qualitative research methodology. At Cornell, she worked in a biomedical lab that studied Alzheimer’s Disease, and while at Oxford she researched national-level policy changes and their impacts on the education system in China. At ESC, Sydney hopes to use her background to help students realize their full academic potential and give them the tools necessary to compete in the global marketplace. In her free time, Sydney loves traveling, reading, spending time outdoors, and drinking coffee!

Taikye Wright-Brown

  • Harvard University

Taikye received his bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University. During college, he co-founded the Undergraduate Robotics Club, and he served as vice president of the Harvard Black Men’s Forum. Taikye has worked in Japan as an advisor for the Future
Global Leaders Program, during which he educated high school students on college admissions and campus life, and helped improve their English writing skills. Additionally, he has developed competitive positioning strategies for industry-leading brands. At ESC, Taikye enjoys encouraging and preparing students to confidently embrace challenges, and he takes particular joy in helping students competitively position themselves in college application essays. In his spare time, Taikye enjoys exploring new recipes and restaurants, studying Mandarin, and watching anime to improve his Japanese language skills.

William Halliday

  • Wesleyan University

William graduated from Wesleyan University with degrees in Philosophy and Government. At Wesleyan, he worked as a Senior Interviewer in the Office of Admissions, speaking with prospective students and their families. He was also a reporter for The Wesleyan Argus, the country’s oldest twice-weekly college newspaper, and served as editor-in-chief of the paper during his senior year. During the summer after his junior year, William worked as an editorial intern at the Harvard Business Review, where he worked with editors on articles for the magazine’s digital and print editions. At ESC, he enjoys mentoring students through the self-growth of the college application process and helping students improve their communication and critical thinking skills. In his free time, William likes to study Chinese, run, and explore Beijing.  

Yuxi Xia

  • Wellesley College

Yuxi graduated from Wellesley College as an environmental studies major and anthropology minor. At Wellesley, she worked as a writing tutor and a research assistant. She won the Katherine Malone Sophomore Prize for academic excellence. Outside of Wellesley, Yuxi has studied and traveled in Cambodia and Germany while pursuing her interests in sustainability. She won the School for Field Studies’ Distinguished Student Researcher Award for her research on non-timber forest products in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Cambodia. She also received a grant to research veganism in Shanghai. Yuxi is passionate about the transformative potential of international education and experiential learning. She values the holistic development of her students, and enjoys guiding students to tell their stories through robust writing. In her free time, Yuxi enjoys long walks, traveling, and plant-based cooking.

Zoe Wennerholm

  • Vassar College

Zoe graduated from Vassar College with degrees in Chinese and Urban Studies. She earned General Honors, Honors in Urban Studies, and won the Man-Sheng Chen Scholarly Award for Chinese Studies. At Vassar, she mentored students in theatrical design and led a discussion group for women and nonbinary people. She studied abroad in Qingdao, China for a summer, immersing herself in Chinese language and literature. In her senior year, she was the academic intern in the Chinese department, assisting professors as well as answering students’ homework questions. Her academic interests include feminist urbanism and queer phenomenology. At ESC, Zoe is passionate about brainstorming and editing personal essays in order to bring out her students’ inner voices.

Zoe grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, and in her free time she enjoys painting, reading books, and exploring new places.

Amanda Guo

Director of Recruitment
  • University of Sydney

Amanda Guo comes from the beautiful province of Jiangsu. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Communications from the University of Syndey. After graduation, Amanda worked as a counselor at an international student center. She is well experienced in helping international students study abroad. She also holds the CELTA certificate (Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults). Before she joined ESC, Amanda worked in a large English teaching institute in Beijing. At ESC, she is mainly in charge of communication with parents and students, interviewing new students, and helping parents communicate with counselors.

Louis Von

  • Xi'an Fanyi University

Louis Von grew up in Ningxia Autonomous Region and received his bachelor’s degree in Business English Language from Xi’an Fanyi University. Louis brings to the Recruitment Team a rich experience in student life management, as he helped American undergraduates succeed while studying in China prior to joining ESC. An avid traveler, Louis enjoys exotic food and good drinks, but in the kitchen, he remains faithful to cooking according to his hometown flavor.

Lily Feng

Parent Liaison

Lily is a bilingual and multicultural individual with many years of international working experience. She has worked in both the UK and China, has experience working at one of the famous English language educational organizations in Beijing, and has a good understanding of both Chinese and American education systems. As a Parent Liaison, Lily coordinates with the counselors to communicate with parents, updates parents about their children’s applications, and arranges meetings for counselors and students to ensure successful college applications.

Christina Hao

Parent Liaison
  • Hebei Normal University

Christina graduated from Hebei Normal University with a major in English Education. She has been working in education for nine years and has experience working at both local and international schools as well as in training others. She has also helped students apply for American colleges and is familiar with the application process. As a Parent Liaison at ESC, Christina coordinates with the counselors to ensure a successful college application, communicates directly with parents about their children’s applications, and arranges meetings for counselors and students.

Allen Zhang

Parent Liaison

Experienced in cross-cultural communication, Allen has lived and studied in Australia, and is passionate about travel and sports. He focuses on American undergraduate and graduate admission, and has extensive experience with the differences between Chinese and American education, student life, and career development.

As a parent liaison, Allen is gret at communicating and problem-solving, sa well as sharing student progress and parent nconcerns, in order to help students submit strong, successful college or graduate-school applications.

Melissa Wu

Parent Liaison
  • University of Ulster

Melissa graduated from the University of Ulster and has worked in education for over three years. Prior to joining ESC, Melissa worked at an English training agency and enjoyed teaching children from the ages of 3 to 12. As a Parent Liaison, Melissa coordinates with counselors to build a bridge of communication with parents, updates parents about their children’s applications, and arranges meetings for counselors and students to ensure successful college applications.

Pingli Li

Parent Liaison
  • Beijing Normal University

Pingli graduated from Beijing Normal University with a master’s degree in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics. She has been working in education for more than ten years and is very familiar with American education systems and American college culture. As a Parent Liaison at ESC, Pingli coordinates with counselors to communicate with parents, updates parents about their children’s application, and arranges meetings for counselors and students to ensure successful college applications.


Sunny Shi

Parent Liaison
  • Monash University

Sunny graduated from Monash University in Australia with a double degree of Arts and Secondary Education. She has been working in education field for almost 8 years with experiences in Australian schools as well as international school in China and training  centers. She once was the class advisor of Grade 12 students to help them finish their senior year successfully. As a Parent Liaison at ESC, Sunny is dedicated in facilitating accurate and efficient communication between counselors and families to ensure each student finish their application smoothly. She also coordinates and interprets family meetings.

Yiying Wang

Parent Liaison
  • University of Houston

Yiying is bilingual and multicultural working experience. She graduated from University of Houston in the major of higher education management and worked in both U.S. and China campuses. She earned rich experiences by serving freshmen of top Chinese universities in the international organizations and obtained good understanding of both American and Chinese cultures. As the Parent Liaison, Yiying coordinates with counselors to communicate and update parents about student’s application, and arranges meetings for counselors, students and families to ensure successful college applications.

Esther Zou Haoran

Parent Liaison

Hi! My name is Esther and I’ve been working in the education industry for 6 years. I love doing exercises and reading when I’m free.

As a parent liaison at ESC, I’m responsible for communicating with parents about student’s application progress, answering parents’ questions about application, and helping families get success! I’m always here to help and support you, and you are welcomed to come to me for any questions!

Mina WangJingJing

Parent Liaison

Mina is bilingual with many years of multicultural work experience in the education and training industry. She has a good understanding of the difference between Chinese and American cultures, is familiar with the college application process and cares about the growth of every student.  As a Parent Liaison here at ESC, Mina aims to ensure the communication between counselors and parents go smoothly, provides support to families as they need it, and ultimately sees students succeed in their college applications and grow to be successful college students.

Neal Sun

New Media Digital and Marketing Coordinator
  • University of Idaho

Neal is originally from the city of Beijing. He received a bachelors’ degree in architecture from the University of Idaho. After graduation, he worked as an architect for one year before transitioning to ESC, where he works as the digital media and event coordinator.  During his free time, he likes to play basketball and explore restaurants all over Beijing.

Frannie Yuan

Office Manager
  • Nanjing University of Finance and Economics

Frannie is from Nanjing, Jiangsu, a beautiful city that carries a long history. At ESC, Frannie is in charge of office management and logistics. Before she joined ESC, Frannie worked in senior-level management training, managing a firm’s support department. Frannie graduated from Nanjing University of Finance and Economics with a major in finance. In her free time she also volunteers in life coaching activities and seminars to help others improve their attitude and state of mind.