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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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


Jay Baldwin, Essay Editor


Jay is a writer and poet born and raised in Los Angeles. Jay received a B.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach and plans to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University with a focus in Young Adult Literature.


Jay’s two most beloved passions are writing and literature, with a special emphasis on getting lost for hours inside libraries and bookstores. As an employee at the Santa Monica Public Library, this has worked out quite well for Jay – finally living the a long held childhood dream of being paid to be around books all day!


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


Contact Jay 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:


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:

Carrie Ingraham, Essay Editor Orange County:


Carrie is a graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor, and a Boston native lured to Orange County by the objectively better weather. She loves science fiction, listening to hip hop too loudly in the car, and anything involving the beach or exploring the outdoors.


Carrie teaches yoga for anxiety at an alternative high school and various yoga studios in Orange County. In Boston, she ran a nonprofit youth program which offered free music lessons and mentorship to at-risk teens. Carrie loves watching people light up when they talk about their passions. Blending her experience in education and expressive arts therapy, her goal at College Right is to help each student recognize their passion, discover their voice, and share their stories.


Contact Carrie at:

Anne Kruse, Essay Editor Orange County


Anne Kruse considers herself a counselor by nature. Initially, she used her Master’s degree in Counseling from CSU Long Beach and her counseling gifts to guide high school students through choosing, pursuing, and achieving meaningful careers.


A delayed high school dream of making movies lead to her ultimately graduating from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television’s nationally recognized screenwriting program. This lead to writing award-winning screenplays and non-fiction books, children’s books and over 25 other types of paid writing gigs.


Anne’s mission is to help every College Right student tap into what makes them unique and craft essays that jump off the page capturing the attention of the audience at their college of choice.


Contact Anne at: