I have a somewhat lengthy academic history, which I spent predominantly in the social sciences. I attended Hobart & William Smith Colleges, a small liberal arts college in New York. Double-majoring in Sociology and Public Policy, I was interested in qualitative research and became fascinated by the powerful women in Vietnamese history. Funded by a Freeman-Asia fellowship, I came to Vietnam for a research project that became an honors thesis in Sociology. After graduation I returned to Hanoi on a Fulbright Research Fellowship, working with Dai Hoc Nguyen Trai – Hanoi’s university for the social sciences. The material in this would eventually become the foundational work for a Masters thesis, but before that could happen, I needed to apply to graduate programs. I earned my M.S. in Sociology (focusing on Economic Development) from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
I’m 34, from Vermont, and have been in Vietnam for about seven years, this time. I came here for the first time in 2006 when I was a student myself, studying Vietnamese language, history, and culture. It has been back-and-forth pretty much ever since.
Before this I lived in Madison, WI doing the coursework for my MS and PhD in Sociology. As anyone who’s been in a PhD program can attest, finishing your coursework still leaves you several hurdles away from completing the degree. I moved to Hanoi to design my dissertation 4.5 years ago, and began working in admissions consulting and college prep tutoring (test prep, public speaking, advanced writing) almost immediately. Very quickly I realized how much passion I had for this field, and made the decision to pursue a consulting career in Hanoi instead of higher education in the U.S.
I live in in Tay Ho with my husband, a wonderfully quiet neighborhood in Hanoi mostly surrounded by water. I cook a lot (vegetarian), read a lot (fiction, poetry, short stories), and try to exercise. I love the tropical fruit of Hanoi, good wine, witty people, strong coffee, the emptiness of Hanoi streets during Tet holiday, and cafes and restaurants tucked into tiny corners and alleys of this city. I spent a lot of time in traffic, something I don’t mind as much because I get to drive half-way around West Lake on every commute, and the lake road is beautiful.
For the first two years, I worked in and then ran the Academic Department of a prep company that helps students study abroad in America for high school and university, doing a lot of teaching and curriculum development. I moved to a more prestigious company in Hanoi, had the opportunity to work with some extraordinary students, and built more connections with industry representatives who recruit in Hanoi. When I moved fully into private consulting I focused, as before, on students interested in going to college or university in the US and Canada, the two countries with a system of Admissions that I know quite well. I work with these students on many parts of the process, with an all-inclusive package that lets us make it about their application experience, goals, and plans. We tackle creative writing fundamentals in 11th grade so that the personal statement feels less daunting. We talk about US current events. But we also fill out the forms, apply for financial aid, and prep for interviews – application and visa.
I am an active member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) and of NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling).