The Team

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Amy Morgenstern, Founder, CEO and Editor in Chief

Dr. Morgenstern, affectionately known as Dr. M, holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and an MFA in contemporary art. A former professor of philosophy, honors program associate director, and assistant to the director of the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Dr. M brings a wealth of academic and multicultural experience to her practice. Fluent in German, Dr. M served as a Dissertation Fellow at the Bergische Institut in Germany for two years. An award-winning writer, Dr. M is celebrated as a master interpreter of culture. She researches major trends in admissions and academic culture, and continues to share her findings in professional presentations like this recent lecture for the AAPA.

As part of her extensive experience in education and admissions, Dr. M conceived of and implemented the Wright State University Honors Institute. There she led dual roles as an associate director and lecturer, guiding students in obtaining competitive national fellowships such as the Truman and Goldwater and teaching interdisciplinary seminars.

Dr. M went on to found Blue Stars Admissions Consulting in 2010. Blue Stars currently rivals the most established and credentialed high-end admissions firms in prestigious college acceptances, delivering its service with distinctive energy and creativity.  Dr. M guides her team in administering a high-performance, life-coaching style of counseling that leads to profound personal growth and an exciting array of college, art school, and grad school options. Blue Stars’ integrated approach to academic coaching incorporates intellectual advancement and community engagement that encourages high-level success in their students.

The Team

Dr. M leads a team of distinctive mentors who give students that special edge by infusing every learning experience with dynamic energy and a wealth of knowledge. Our team members are not just outstanding editors and mentors; they are wildly creative and intellectually intense. They enjoy taking students beyond what anyone might have expected from the process of preparing for college, inspiring personal growth and academic development. It is with great pride that Blue Stars introduces its team members for 2017!

FULL-SERVICE COUNSELORS

Helen Ingernson

Helen Ingerson, Counselor & Editor

A National Merit Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University, Helen Ingerson has worked for over a decade as a tutor, teacher, coach and editor to students all over the Bay Area. The expertise and wealth of experience she brings to admissions essay coaching has helped students gain entry to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, Northwestern, USC, CalTech, and Berkeley, many on an Early Decision or Early Admission basis. In addition, Helen’s curriculum and teaching methods as an SAT instructor regularly assist students in achieving score increases of 200-600 points. Indeed, many of her students have achieved perfect SAT scores. Helen has additionally served as a San Jose Teaching Fellow, instructing ESL middle schoolers while earning both California Single and Multiple Subject teaching credentials. Earlier in her career, Helen was one of two administrators of the largest division at St. Ann’s, a New York City private school named by the Wall Street Journal in 2004 as the school most successful at gaining admission for students to the most exclusive colleges in the U.S. With an MBA from Simmons College, Helen has also had a successful career in the venture capital and social venture sectors. She has travelled in Europe, Asia, and Africa, where she was a volunteer for Crossroads Africa, a summer program modeled on the Peace Corps.

Laura Schadler, Counselor & Editor

Laura Schadler is a San Francisco-based writer with 15 years of teaching experience in diverse educational environments. She grew up in the mountains of Virginia, studied filmmaking and writing at Bard College, and earned her MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. A recent MacDowell Colony Fellow, Laura’s fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, was featured on KQED’s Writer’s Block as well as Litquake, and was chosen as a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. She just completed her first novel, Map of the Invisible, and is hard at work on the second. Laura blogs about popular culture for KQED, critically examining the social and cultural impact of music, movies, and television. A yoga instructor, Laura additionally created the I Speak workshop, a writing series that combines yoga and writing to explore, among other things, the mind-body connection.

Laura’s approach to coaching focuses on writing as an opportunity for young people to find their voices and tell their stories as they reflect and prepare themselves for the transformative experience of college. In addition to essay consultation, Laura has assisted students in all areas of the college application process, from initial research to finding a school that is the perfect fit. Her students have received admission to many prestigious colleges and universities, including Columbia, Stanford, MIT, Duke, Cornell, UC Berkeley, Middlebury, Wesleyan, Occidental, and Barnard.

Stacy Johnson, Counselor & Editor

Stacy Johnson is a Success Coach with ten years of experience helping students break through roadblocks that hinder success.  She builds dynamic relationships based on professionalism, honesty, and collaboration that allow students to tap into their greatest potential. Through discussions and exercises, students achieve positive, transformative results.  

Stacy grew up in the Bay Area writing short stories in the margins of her notebooks and taking pictures of the California Coastline. She earned an MFA in English and Creative Writing from Mills College where she graduated with honors. As the recipient of the Mary Merritt Henry Prize for excellence in poetry, Stacy combines photography and poetry to explore the intersections of visual and verbal learning styles.

Stacy’s admissions experience is wide-ranging. Her experience as an Associate Director of Admissions has valuable application in guiding the college search and completing the admissions process.  She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC), Bay Area Graduate Admissions Professionals (BAGAP) Secretary, East Bay Consortium Board Member, and PEN America. Even as an undergraduate, Stacy was concerned with college success and  wrote her senior undergraduate thesis about factors contributing to college graduation rates.

Stacy is writing her first novel, a redemption story chronicling the lives of three women as they overcome life’s challenges in the 1950s.  Stacy studies photography under the leadership of award-winning photographer and author, Matt Herron.

 

 

ART MENTORS

Nicole Mueller, art mentor

Nicole Mueller, Art Mentor

As a former Undergraduate Admission Counselor at one of the nation’s top-ranked art colleges, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Nicole brings a deep understanding of art school admissions processes to the Blue Stars team. She also brings an intimate knowledge of the contemporary art world as a practicing artist, and is highly aware of trends affecting artists and art colleges today.

Nicole grew up on the East coast near Atlanta, GA and moved to Baltimore, MD to study painting and illustration, where she earned her BFA and graduated magna cum laude from MICA, and began her career as an artist and admission counselor before moving to the Bay Area.

Nicole has traveled the country visiting high schools and reviewing student work at National Portfolio Days on behalf of MICA. She has coached hundreds of students through building strong portfolios in preparation for admission to top art college and pre-college programs, and helped her students win top scholarships to MICA.

In her own career as a visual artist and painter, she has co-founded a mural painting business, has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Proyecto ‘ace in Argentina, and Creative Paradox in Maryland. Recently, she was the recipient of the  Mark M. Glickman and Lanette M. McClure Artist Award, to support new and innovative work from emerging artists in California.

Nicole also explores how professional artists are navigating their creative careers by co-hosting a podcast called Beyond the Studio, about the business of being an artist.

Ruxin Zhang, Art Mentor

Ruxin Zhang, Art Mentor

Ruxin Zhang is a professional illustrator, comic artist and designer. She has worked in different art industries such as illustration, graphic design, game design, product design and fine arts. She has won several merit awards for the 3×3 International Illustration Competition and the Hiii International Competition. Her works have been showcased in the Society of Illustrator, University of San Francisco Club Art Show, and Chinese International Comic Convention. She has  also published two graphic novels in the last two years.

Ruxin has been a college admissions art mentor since 2013. She has a strong academic background and in-depth knowledge of art careers. She received her classical art training from the China Academy of Arts and graduated as a distinguished student in BFA Illustration at the California College of the Arts.

In recent years, the art and design industries have become competitive. College juries are looking for creative thinkers. Ruxin is a master of cultivating her students into being creative individuals while reinforcing their art skills. She designs unique syllabi based on a student’s interests and personality. She actively explores her students’ talents and strengths, and guides them to construct their best portfolios. Her knowledge of current art trends and her experience as a professional artist has brought clarity to her students into knowing what direction to take. Ruxin has successfully helped her students enter art colleges such as the California College of the Arts, Art Center College of Design, School of Visual Art, Maryland Institute College of Art, and Art Institute of Chicago.

EDITING

Sarah Chang

Sarah Chang, Editor

A member of Dr. M’s original cohort, Sarah went to Stanford University where she studies philosophy and literature and graduated with honors in gender studies. Her thesis on contemporary Chinese women’s culture won the Robert M. Golden Medal for Excellence in the Humanities. While at Stanford, Sarah gained extensive experience in tutoring and peer education. She worked as a humanities writing tutor for the SLE program as well as a test prep teacher for private centers inPalo Alto. As a residential assistant and Stanford Pre-Collegiate Studies teaching assistant, Sarah helped high school and university students build both their academic and personal skills. At the same time, Sarah served as a teaching assistant for the Ethics in Society center, where she taught reading and writing to women recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. Sarah has also worked as a writing, critical thinking, and test prep instructor in Hong Kong and Beijing. Sarah is currently pursuing her PhD in Chinese history and gender studies at UC Santa Cruz.