The Ivy Scholars Team
Meet our team of expert college admissions consultants, mentors, and tutors. Our team members have extensive experience in all aspects of college admissions and come from the top universities. From experience, our team knows what universities are looking for in an application, and how you can make yours stand out.
“Ivy Scholars exists to empower students through mentorship and academic coaching, to grow intellectually into the kind of candidates that their target universities want to accept.”
Founder & Chief Executive Officer | Johns Hopkins University, BA in Philosophy, 2013, Pre-Medical and Humanities Honors
After learning about the admissions process firsthand at the Johns Hopkins University, Sasha founded Ivy Scholars in Houston, Texas in 2015. Having watched hundreds of students and their families get lost in the admissions process and endure the stress of denial, he dreamed of providing a crystal-clear journey of self-reflection and coaching to help students craft great applications. Four years after he’d started, hundreds of his students had been accepted to their top-choice school – and enjoyed themselves in the process.
Sasha guides the vision of Ivy Scholars, oversees the hiring and coaching of mentors, and acts as the first point of contact with every student and parent. With over half a decade of experience in college counseling, Sasha has shepherded a diverse group of students – from genius coders to journalistic refugees – successfully through the admissions process.
Sasha is driven by a desire to change students’ lives through the college admissions process. Higher education is a cornerstone of advancement in today’s society, and Sasha wants nothing more than to see our students in the college that best sets them up for future success.
Sasha’s vision for Ivy Scholars is to educate, enable, and empower student to achieve the best versions of their lives by exploring their intellectual curiosities, proving their talents, and telling their stories to top-tier admissions committees.
To learn more about Sasha, read his interview.
Director of Educational Development | Columbia University, BA in English Literature
Mateo graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University with a BA in English Literature. His senior honors thesis explored the use of an obscure tense shift known as the historic present in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and was awarded departmental honors by the Department of English and Comparative Literature. This upcoming fall, he will continue his research into the nuances of Milton’s stylistics at Oxford University as a Master’s student in the Department of English Literature.
Director of Business Development
Nick Madincea is a seasoned entrepreneur with over half a decade of experience leading startups. In 2016, Nick co-founded Drone Parks® Worldwide: a startup dedicated to building indoor drone centers. In 2019, the Houston Chronicle named Nick “one of the most influential people in the emerging drone industry.” Nick contributes strategic and operational insights to Ivy Scholars with a focus on the customer experience, marketing, and business development. Nick believes that decision made by a startup begins and ends with you, the customer.
Student Development Officer | University of Pennsylvania, MSEd in Higher Education
As an education consultant, Andrea has been writing and tutoring on a freelance basis for over seven years. Her interests include writing, education, and policy, often combining these three as part of her professional endeavors. This November, she is running for Broward County Commissioner, hoping to promote emotional intelligence in and out of the classroom. Alongside a former NFL linebacker, Marq Cerqua, she runs a nonprofit, Stand Up Life, with the same mission. Her focus is to help students become well-rounded through mentorship, hands-on internships, and skill development, particularly through the curriculum she develops related to creative and academic writing. Students who wish to improve their analytical writing skills often benefit from the open-ended creative writing lesson plans that she provides.
Senior Mentor | Rutgers University, BA in Philosophy and Highest Honors
After growing up in central Florida, Charly Santagado attended Rutgers University on a full scholarship. She was on the Division 1 gymnastics team and graduated with highest honors in May 2017 with a major in philosophy, and minors in creative writing, dance, and music. She started working as a Test Prep Tutor and College Application Coach with Ivy Scholars shortly after graduation. She is also the founder and artistic director of ~mignolo dance~, a nonprofit contemporary dance company based in Metuchen, NJ, and a freelance writer for Dance Informa.
Senior Mentor | Harvard (BA, ‘16), Oxford (MSt, ‘19)
Martin Carlino hails from “Lawn Guyland”, New York, though years in New England–and, more recently, Olde England–have rendered him more presentable to polite company. While completing his BA at Harvard, Martin concentrated in Government with an emphasis in political philosophy and served for three years as a peer tutor, assisting fellow undergraduates with essay writing and comprehension of course materials, receiving praise for his high degree of preparation and “natural aptitude for teaching”. Following his graduation with honors in 2016, Martin worked as an American History teacher at Success Academy Charter School in New York City. In addition to his role as a traditional classroom teacher, Martin also excelled as an individual and small-group writing and test prep coach, overseeing dramatic improvements in his students’ writing ability and mock state exam scores.
Simultaneously, Martin began tutoring private clients for the SAT, ACT, SAT II subject tests, and AP exams. He also found that he was uniquely qualified to offer college admissions consulting to both American and international students, having been accepted to every Ivy League school as well as a host of other top universities. Now with five years of college admissions consulting experience under his belt, Martin has mastered the art of helping students to draw out compelling narratives from their achievements, struggles, and life stories generally.
While teaching and tutoring, Martin never ceased in conducting the political and historical research that animated his undergraduate experience and was named a Scholarly Fellow of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which helped to fund a one-year MSt in History at the University of Oxford. While overseas, Martin became an avid swimmer, met his life partner, and had a grand old time writing about the radical utopian communities of the Illinois prairie.
Now back in the United States, Martin is excited to throw himself full-time into the world of college admissions consulting and essay coaching with Ivy Scholars–when not swimming, cooking, or running his monthly Dungeons & Dragons campaign.
Mentor | Rice University, BA in History
Alex has been a full-time mentor and tutor for twelve years. After scoring a perfect 1600 on his own SAT in high school, he joined The Princeton Review, where he worked as a college admissions mentor and tutor for the SAT, ACT, ISEE, GRE, GMAT, and LSAT. Over nine years, he became their highest-level “Premiere” tutor and teacher trainer for all of Houston.
Alex joined Ivy Scholars in 2018. He specializes in improving organization and study habits, and he is a master of helping high-scoring students raise their SAT and ACT scores to the top 1%.
Alex had an unusual college admission process. Ever since 7th grade, he had his sights set on the best college within 1,000 miles of his hometown, Rice University, in Houston. With a perfect SAT, a funny personal statement, and hundreds of service hours tutoring his peers in math, Alex applied early to Rice and was admitted before needing to apply to other schools. Due to his success finding scholarships, Alex was able to attend Rice for only $900 a semester.
Mentor | Columbia University, BA in English, Special Concentration Jazz Studies
Jennifer began working with middle school students 14 years ago as an acting coach at Oaks Christian and continued working with elementary to early high school students as a tutor, assistant teacher, and behavioral aide at The Help Group and with the New York City public school district. She familiarized herself with Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s), managing the classroom, preparing curricula, and helping students with behavioral change, using the whole-person approach. She helped with the initial launching of the Emily Shane Foundation’s Successful Educational Achievement Program, collaborating with the program founder to identify the needs of the student community to better serve the growth of the nonprofit. She is a writer with a strong background in research and APA style. She has worked as an editor and content proposal writer for film production companies and undertook independent research at Columbia in Ethnomusicology. She uses her creativity and artistic background to help students with public speaking and developing their self-articulation for college applications. Her avid interest and self-study in life coaching and interpersonal skills give her many tools to offer her students for Candidacy Building.
Mentor | Columbia University, BA in Psychology and English Literature
Catie is experienced in the Common App and supplemental essay planning, writing, and editing. She also has several years of experience as an SAT tutor, specializing in the Reading and Writing section. She also works full-time as a Research Assistant in a developmental studies lab at Harvard, researching educational interventions that use fun, interactive materials to enhance kids’ learning experiences. In the fall, she’ll begin working towards a Ph.D. in Education at Stanford University, focusing on socio-emotional interventions for students who have experienced early-life stresses like poverty and familial instability. Whilst working with college applicants, she likes to get to know them well – their interests, passions, experiences – and to help them think deeply and carefully about how all of these pieces fit together to make them who they are, and how best to present these pieces to admissions officers.
Mentor | Rutgers University, BA in Philosophy
I have been teaching SAT and ACT reading, writing, and English sections for five years. In the last two years, I have been heavily involved in writing coaching; I help students construct and polish English essays, college personal statements, supplements, WHAP assignments, and more. My approach is two-pronged: 1. I get the student involved in the formation of comprehensible, grammatically correct sentences that “sound right.” 2. I try to liberate and nurture the sense of excitement and freedom that comes when the student begins to see writing as, not merely an arduous task, but as a means of personal expression, as a medium for the display of their own personality.
Mentor | University of Chicago, BA/MA in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
I have worked in education, academic research, and archaeology before coming to Ivy Scholars. My goal is to share knowledge with the next generation of scholars, and I enjoy connecting with students and seeing their success, which is the most rewarding part of my work.