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.
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.”
Liz Young, College Consultant
Liz Young is an admissions consultant, writer and educator with over twenty years of experience working with students at both the high school and college level. She has been working in college admissions consulting for the past four years, following a career in academia.
Liz 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 moving into admissions work, she 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 Roman epic poetry to literary cognition. During this time she also served as a first year faculty advisor and guided numerous students through the graduate school application process.
Her involvement in college admissions began while at Wellesley, where she served as a faculty member of the college’s admissions committee, which she co-chaired for a year. In this capacity, she conducted a reevaluation of the college’s admissions criteria, vetted applications from across the country and helped shape a number of stand-out classes.
Before teaching college, Liz taught 9th-12th grade English and Latin at Washington Irving High School in Manhattan where she also served as a guidance counselor. Over her two decades as an educator, she has taught and mentored many hundreds of students with a wide range of backgrounds, strengths and needs – including students with mental and physical health challenges and learning differences.
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.
Her admissions experience alongside her insider’s knowledge of the landscape of higher education and life-long commitment to student-centered teaching have led her naturally into her current role. She finds it immensely gratifying to support families as they navigate the college admissions process and help students craft stand-out applications while cultivating new confidence and skills that allow them to thrive in high school, college, and beyond.
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.
Sarah Myers McGinty, Graduate School Consultant, Writing Specialist
Sarah Myers McGinty is an acknowledged expert in the writing of personal statements and application essays. She began her career in secondary teaching and chaired the English department at Millburn High School in New Jersey. She then served as associate director of admission at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY. From 1993 to 2005, she was at Harvard University, teaching writing in the undergraduate college and serving as a University Supervisor in the Graduate School of Education.
Her books include Writing Your College Application Essay, 50 College Admission Directors Speak to Parents, 美国大学申请论文, and four editions of The College Application Essay, published by the College Board. Her work has been cited on multiple occasions in the Wall Street Journal, U. S. News and World Report, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Fortune, Fast Company and on NPR. She has contributed to the College Board “Big Future” website, to Khan Academy’s college application site, and wrote the curriculum for the college advisement summer program for the School of the New York Times. She received the NACAC John Muir Writers’ Award for research on the essay process of students in urban high schools and has served as an essay consultant to the Sutton Trust/Fulbright UK/US program since its inception in 2012. She is currently a member of the Character Collaborative, a research group evaluating admission criteria in cooperation with HGSE’s Turning the Tide initiative.
Many schools and institutions have invited her to provide workshops and training, including Milton Academy, Horton Watkins High School, (MO) Great Neck South High School (NY), Duke University, and the Harvard Summer School and University Extension. Her corporate work drawn from her book Power Talk was featured at Noel-Levitz’s annual conference and at the Brookings Institute and, for nearly a decade, she provided the MBA advisement program for Fidelity Investment Management. She is a board member of the Forté Foundation and has contributed coaching and web-base materials to their business school Launch program.
She is a graduate of Bates College, holds master’s degrees from Northwestern University and New York University and a Ph.d from NYU. She has completed post-doctoral work at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and at Harvard Business School.
Rachel Kaplan, College Consultant
Rachel Kaplan is an admissions consultant, school counselor, and educator who has worked extensively in a variety of school settings. Her passion is fostering academic and social-emotional growth, as well as college and career readiness in all of her students.
Rachel graduated Phi Alpha Theta from Boston College with a BA in History and Summa Cum Laude from Boston University with a Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology, specializing in School Counseling. While at BU, she was a member of two research teams exploring college and career readiness programs in elementary and middle school students, and the impacts of childhood trauma.
Prior to joining Educational Advocates, Rachel was selected as one of 250 corps members from 1200 candidates for 10 months of national service through City Year AmeriCorps in Dorchester, MA. She worked in Special Education in the Wellesley Public School system, where she developed her passion for school counseling. During her Master’s Program, she interned at her alma mater Brookline High School. She holds both Elementary Education 1-6 and School Counseling PreK-8 and 5-12 Licensures through DESE.
Rachel has experience working as a school and college counselor at a private Catholic school and finds great joy in accompanying students and families through the college admissions process. She also teaches a Positive Psychology course, engaging her students in both the science and practice of mindfulness. She believes deeply in the mind-body connection, incorporating meditation and yoga practices in both her professional and personal life. Rachel is a member of several professional organizations including NEACAC, NACAC, and MASCA. She continues to reside in Brookline with her fiancé.
Caitlin McGill, Writing Specialist
Caitlin McGill is a 2016 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award winner and Bread Loaf Writers’ conference scholarship recipient. She was also the 2014 winner of the Rafael Torch Nonfiction Literary Award. Her essays and flash fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Short, Fast, & Deadly, The Southeast Review and several other magazines. Currently, she is working on a memoir-in-essays in which she journeys to uncover her family’s hidden past. Throughout this pilgrimage to exhume her identity, she grapples with the cost of ignoring our pasts–of ignoring history itself. One essay from her book was named a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2016. Caitlin McGill joined Educational Advocates in September 2013. A Florida native, she graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in English, a specialization in creative writing, and a dance minor. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Emerson College, where she teaches literature and writing courses.
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.