College Right | ABOUT US
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Jennifer Mandel, M.A. President and Counselor


Jennifer always knew she wanted to work with teenagers. They are, after all, her favorite age group and, admittedly, she watches the same television shows they watch and listens to the same music they listen to.


In addition to working with her own caseload of students each year, Jennifer is a faculty member in both UC Irvine and UCLA’s College Counseling Certificate Programs.   In 2007, she was selected as one of a small numberof high school counselors nationwide to become a Director of College Counseling for College Summit, a non-profit organization that assists low-income high school students with the college application process. She also works with the teen literacy organization Get Lit Words Ignite as the director of their Next Step college access program.


For the last 15 years, Jennifer has worked one-on-one with hundreds of students guiding them through the college application process while at UCLA and then as Director of College Counseling Programs at a leading national college counseling firm. She has placed students at over 300 colleges and universities, and is frequently invited to speak at Southern California area high schools and organizations about the college admission process.


Jennifer is a member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC). Jennifer holds a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a master’s degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. While she’s never visited a college she didn’t like, she proudly claims both the Anteater and the Bruin among her favorite college mascots.


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Contact Jennifer at:


Gail Nichols, Head Counselor, Orange County


Gail first thought about becoming a college counselor and joining College Right in 2010 after she looked through her closets and noticed just how many college tee shirts and sweatshirts she amassed over the last ten years of touring roughly 30 to 40 colleges with her daughters, Courtney and Rebecca. Then she realized just what a huge college junkie she was and gave Jennifer a call about putting this self-proclaimed college nerdiness to use.


Since joining the company and opening the Orange County office, Gail continues her lovable yet nerdy hobby of visiting college campuses just for fun whenever she travels anywhere with her family.Gail, her husband David, and both of their daughters graduated from Vanderbilt University. You won’t find a more supportive group of alumni anywhere in the state of California. Jennifer and Gail first met when Jennifer was the girls’ college counselor many years ago. While the girls went through their own college research and application process, Gail found herself just as interested in the various colleges that they researched as they were. During that time, Gail attended as many college information sessions as she could and helped her daughters’ friends with their own application process. Now, her favorite part of the job is being able to tour colleges when she attends the various annual college admissions conferences each year.


Gail holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and she loves making new memories with her family on the Vanderbilt campus. Most recently, she and her husband have decided that they want to try to visit every NCAA Division I football stadium to see a game and, of course, buy more college tee shirts.
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Contact Gail at:


Sara Murtaza,  M.Ed. High School and Transfer Counselor, Los Angeles


Sara is a proud graduate of UC Berkeley, where she learned that tree hugging is a way of life. As a Golden Bear, she gave campus tours to prospective students and their families, which helped to spark her love of working with high school students and their families. Sara brings to College Right an incredible amount of admissions and counseling experience, having worked at both private and public high schools, as well as receiving her college counseling certificate, with distinction, from UCLA. Most recently, she has been an application reader for UC Irvine’s office of undergraduate admissions. In this capacity, she has evaluated over 700 freshman and transfer applications.


Sara is a member of the Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) and an associate member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA).


In between attending conferences and touring college campuses, Sara nurtures her dual obsessions with the San Francisco 49ers and golden retrievers. She feels this job is the perfect fit for her so she can share her zeal for homecomings, football games, ornate library halls, and all things college with her students. Sara holds a bachelors degree in History from the University of California, Berkeley, and a masters degree in education from the University of California, Davis. A Bay Area native, Sara continues to profess the supremacy of NorCal over SoCal at every possible opportunity, particularly during Bear-Bruin football and basketball games.

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Contact Sara at:


Meghann Murphy, Managing Editor


Meghann moved to Los Angeles seven years ago after graduating from New York University with dual degrees: a BA in journalism and a BFA in drama. This makes her a Type-A personality with a stubborn creative streak, a rather rare classification.  A product of the New England prep school system, Meghann is also a fan of loafers, popped collars, the Boston Red Sox, and perfectly punctuated emails and text messages (the latter making her the ideal college essay editor).  Since starting her career with College Right, Meghann has assisted over 200 seniors with their college essays.  In addition to working with students, she developed the College Right essay curriculum, and hires and trains new essay editors.


Meghann’s favorite thing about working with high school students is that they “keep her young.”  She would also like to add, “she’s not a regular mom, she’s a cool mom.” And if that’s a reference you understand, you two will get along swimmingly.  If not, rent the movie “Mean Girls.”


Contact Meghann at:


Dima Alzayat, Senior Essay Editor


Dima is a fiction writer and freelance journalist. Her writing has been published in newspapers, magazines, and literary journals.


She holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Edinburgh and a dual B.A. in Film and Economics from UC Santa Barbara. Her happy place is on a college campus, and she plans to return to school to pursue a PhD degree in the near future.


Dima’s favorite thing about working with teenagers is their curiosity and excitability. Having developed a devoted following of high school students over her years as an editor at College Right, she prides herself on helping her students write original essays that reflect their particular perspectives and identities.


Contact Dima at


Juliana Baldwin, Essay Editor


Juliana is a writer and poet born and raised in Los Angeles. She received her B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach and will be pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University next winter.


Juliana considers writing and literature to be her two most beloved passions, and has been known to get happily lost for hours inside libraries and bookstores. This has worked out well for her, as she is also employed at the Santa Monica Public Library and has finally secured her childhood wish to be paid to be around books all day.


Juliana considers her academic background and her experiences competing in national poetry slams to have given her a great balance as a writer and a tutor. She takes great joy in helping her students find their unique voices and stories through the creative writing process.


Contact Juliana at:


Katherine Sangiorgio, Essay Editor


Katherine is a proud graduate of UCLA, with degrees in English Literature and Theatre. She loves the movie “Star Wars,” Jane Austen novels, and anything shiny or polka-dotted.


Most recently, Katherine worked as a project research consultant for alternative education and teen civic leadership organizations. In addition to working for College Right, Katherine is a freelance writer and copy editor. She currently writes for various websites where she gets to do really cool things like cover Comic-Con each year.


Katherine loves working with teenagers because of their passionate opinions on life, love, and everything in between!


Contact Katherine at:


Sheena Santamaria, Essay Editor


Sheena earned her MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics and B.A. in Global Studies from UCLA.


Sheena is also a huge fan of The CW and isn’t afraid to admit it. Besides religiously watching Supergirl, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Arrow, Riverdale, and more (“huge fan” was not an exaggeration), Sheena is a working actress and writer in Los Angeles. She currently trains at Upright Citizens Brigade and writes sketch comedy.


When she isn’t acting or writing, Sheena loves working with high school students and is frequently mistaken as one. She’s excited to be a part of College Right and enjoys helping students feel confident when they write their college essays.


Contact Sheena at:


Tim Zellinger, Essay Editor, Orange County


Tim is an accomplished researcher and editor, bringing a combination of writing skills and computer science to the legal field and startup world.


Raised in Mission Viejo, CA, Tim attended the California Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo for both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. These degrees on marketing campaigns and as a writer for Guidekick, have given him a diverse writing background in a variety of fields and business settings. He’s worked to infuse traditional subjects like the law and history with modern technology, creating new products and ideas that fit into the Internet world.


Contact Tim at:


Jacob Greenberg, Essay Editor


Jacob is a native Angelino. He attended Oakwood High School and graduated from Vassar College. During his time as a college student, Jacob also attended Deep Springs College for two years, where he learned how to drive cattle, irrigate alfalfa, and bake bread. Jacob sat on the Deep Springs Applications Committee, where he was responsible for reviewing prospective student applications, conducting in-person interviews, and selecting the next incoming class.


Jacob is also our resident list maker and wants you to know that he’s very fond of long walks; art cinema (especially Godard, Kubrick, P.T. Anderson, Werner Herzog and Eric Rohmer); 3 a.m. discussions on the human condition; good stand-up; fluffy dogs; Sunday brunch; and the lucid writings of James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, and Audre Lorde.


Contact Jacob at: