Meet the Team
Joan Casey, President
Joan Casey founded Educational Advocates College Consulting in 2004. She earned a master of education degree in Mind, Brain and Education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. She holds a BA in economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Joan is a certified educational planner, signifying that she has achieved the highest level of professional standards in the field of educational consulting. She is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) where she most recently chaired the learning disability committee, the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). She serves on the undergraduate economics advisory board for the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and the advisory board at Landmark College. Joan has volunteered as a writing tutor at Boston English High School through WriteBoston and serves clients in Greater Boston on a pro bono basis.
At Educational Advocates, Joan works with a wide range of high school and transfer students who are considering colleges at all levels of selectivity throughout the USA, Canada and Western Europe. She also provides services for prospective college athletes and visual and performing artists. Joan has expertise in working with adolescents with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), learning differences and those with therapeutic needs. She has completed an advocacy-training program sponsored by the Federation for Children with Special Needs and is trained in AD/HD coaching through the American Coaching Association.
Joan has visited more than 250 college campuses to meet with admissions officers, student activities directors and academic deans and spends time informally talking with students for an insider’s view of campus life. She also draws upon the expertise of a network of colleagues across the country. Prior to founding Educational Advocates, Joan had a 20-year career as a marketing and public relations consultant, working for a national public relations firm and managing her own consulting practice. She has received several marketing and writing awards, and applies the creative-thinking strategies used in her marketing career in advising students on their essays, overall presentation, and interviewing skills. Joan resides in Brookline, Massachusetts with her family and is the mother of two sons who attended both independent and public schools before college.
Rebecca Kenney, College Consultant
(Rebecca is currently on leave.) Rebecca cares deeply about getting to know the students and families with whom she works. While she is experienced and talented in supporting students to present their very best selves in their college applications, she believes identifying schools where that particular student will thrive is equally, if not more, important.
Rebecca earned a master’s degree in social work from The Catholic University of America. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Duke University earning a Bachelor’s with Distinction in Psychology. She conducted alumni interviews of undergraduate applicants to Duke University for ten years. Rebecca successfully completed the Independent Educational Consultant Certificate Program at the University of California-Irvine, representing 150 hours of evaluated learning. She is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), as well as a member of both the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) and the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Rebecca was a presenter at both IECA’s May 2016 national conference and at NACAC’s September 2017 national conference.
Before joining Educational Advocates, Rebecca Kenney was a guidance counselor in the Quincy (MA) Public Schools. In that role, Rebecca served as a consultant to teachers and parents in support of students with special needs. She also supported students directly by providing individual and group counseling. Rebecca has also worked as a therapist in both outpatient and residential settings with an emphasis on children and families.
Rebecca resides in Milton, MA with her family. She is the mother of four children and has been actively involved in their public, parochial and independent schools though all are off to college and beyond now. She has served as a board member, parent liaison, fundraiser and volunteer. Rebecca’s educational, professional and personal experiences create an excellent platform for supporting students and their families as they seek the best-fit college.
Cathy Costa, College Consultant
Cathy Costa works with traditional college applicants applying directly from high school, as well as transfers and graduate students. Cathy shares the belief that with proactive planning, the college search and application process can be enlightening and even enjoyable for students and families. Her goal is to help each student explore options and find their personal best fit—academically, socially, and financially.
Before joining Educational Advocates, Cathy was a special projects consultant at the Acera School for gifted and talented students in Winchester, MA. She was also an independent educational consultant advising students and parents about the college preparation, search, and application process.
Her experience in the Boston College MBA admissions office provided Cathy with an inside perspective on admissions. Prior roles at a direct marketing advertising agency, a Wall Street investment bank, and a management consulting firm honed Cathy’s communication, organizational, and industry evaluation skills that now translate directly to advising college and grad school applicants, as well as career changers.
Cathy is a Professional Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA), as well as a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA). She is also a certified to administer and interpret the Myers Brigg Type Indicator (MBTI), the world’s most-used tool for understanding personality types, which has proven beneficial in academic counseling and career development.
Cathy earned a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia, and an MBA in Finance from New York University. She resides in Winchester with her husband and has four sons, including a computer software engineer who has traveled the world while working remotely, an investment banker with a liberal arts degree, a college junior studying economics and psychology, and a college freshman majoring in “undecided.”
David Cataruzolo, Athletic Consultant
David Cataruzolo, a native of Watertown, Massachusetts, brings over 20 years of experience helping students navigate the athletic recruiting process. Dave served as an assistant professor of physical education at Trinity College for over 13 years where he spent time as the head men’s ice hockey coach and assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the Bantam Baseball team. In his time at Trinity, the hockey team won 2 NESCAC Championships and reached the NCAA Final Four in 2003, while the baseball team won three league titles earning two trips to the Division 3 World Series. Dave has also worked in the athletic department at Harvard University as director of hockey operations directing the day-to-day operations of the Crimson men’s and women’s Division 1 ice hockey programs.
Dave graduated from Bowdoin College, class of 1998, with a degree in government and legal studies, and earned a master’s degree in public policy from Trinity College in 2001. While at Bowdoin, he captained both the hockey and baseball teams. He is a member of both Bowdoin’s 100-point club on the ice (126) and 100-hit club (128) on the diamond.
April Penn, Office Manager
April Penn joined Educational Advocates College Consulting in May 2016 as a part-time office manager and communications coordinator. She helps the office run smoothly behind the scenes and is a resource to clients related to administrative needs. April is coordinating publications such as the blog and newsletter and posting college information to social media.
In addition to her work at Educational Advocates, April is also an extended day teacher at the John D. Runkle School in Brookline. Previously, she managed the office at the Boston Common Frog Pond and, prior to that, served in Americorps as a site-coordinator for Leaps in Literacy at the Raymond Elementary School in Brockton.
April received a BA in English from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She is passionate about writing poetry and has performed at the Cantab Poetry Lounge, Out of the Blue Gallery, and UMass Amherst. She has poems published or forthcoming in The Fem, The Offing, Provocateur, and other literary journals.
Meet our Writing Specialists
Liz Young is a writer and educator with twenty years experience working with students at both the high school and college level. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University with a BA in Classics and earned a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before transitioning into admissions work, Liz spent a decade as a college professor, holding positions as Knafel Assistant Professor of Humanities at Wellesley College and Blegen Research Fellow in Greek and Roman Studies at Vassar College. In these roles she taught Latin and Greek as well as numerous literature courses on topics spanning the history of the sonnet to literary cognition. During this time, she taught and mentored hundreds of students with a wide range of backgrounds, strengths and needs – including students with mental and physical health challenges and learning differences.
While at Wellesley, she served for three years on the college’s admissions committee where she vetted applications from across the country and witnessed first hand how powerfully a stand-out essay can transform an application.
Liz’s writing has been published broadly in both academic and literary venues. Poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies and her first poetry collection was selected as a National Poetry Series finalist. Scholarly articles on Ovid, Vergil, Sappho and others have appeared in top peer-reviewed journals and her book on translation and the ancient Roman understanding of literary creativity was published by the University of Chicago Press.
Before teaching college, Liz taught English and Latin at the high school level. She takes great pleasure in helping students of this age cultivate the confidence, skills and intrinsic motivation they need to navigate the application process and likewise thrive in high school, college, and beyond.