Research Mentor

Cynthia holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Psychology as well as a PhD in Neuroscience. Her research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of bone metastasis in the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma and the preclinical testing of chemotherapeutics for late stage disease. Her career has focused on student success, including serving as the pre-health advisor, director of an NIH-funded training program, and faculty advisor to the Biology club and the MAPS student organization chapters, in addition to teaching a variety of courses in Biological Sciences. Always learning, she holds excellence in teaching certifications from ACUE and Quality Matters, certification in Instructional Design, and designation as a Microsoft Innovative Educator. She also acts as a Khan Academy ambassador and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer. Her current research focuses on novel adaptations of high-impact practices in education and course enhancements to promote student engagement. Her recent speaking engagements have focused on the relationship between faculty burnout and student engagement, the use of technology to improve student readiness for the workforce, and creating a culture of care in education. 

She serves as a research mentor for Ivy Scholars. She uses her decades-long experience leading students in research to develop her mentee’s interests into testable and executable projects. Students that have worked with her have developed and performed research in highly diverse topics and have presented work at national conferences, including the American Association for Cancer Research, the Society for Neuroscience, Experimental Biology., and the Education Summit. Having served as a prehealth advisor, she is especially suited for mentorship of students interested in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and biomedical research careers, helping students develop the skills during high school that they will need to maximize their time during their undergraduate career. 

Advising, mentorship, and teaching are her absolute favorite parts of her career. One of her favorite quotes is “To be a leader means to positively impact other people’s capacity to thrive.”- Nataly Kogan. This quote has been and continues to be the cornerstone of her career. Her role in education is to do everything in her power to increase her students’ and fellow educators’ capacity to thrive, and she does so with nonjudgmental care and purpose. She has often been called the mom of her department. Her own four adult children are equally successful, and she values that title of mom above all others. She has had excellent mentors in her life, from the mom in the neighborhood that taught her Algebra in 2nd grade and fostered her love of math, to the research mentors that helped her navigate undergraduate and graduate education as a first generation college student. She chooses to honor them by providing that same level of commitment and care to each student she mentors.

Fun Fact: I am an avid runner. I have run marathons, half marathons, and race 5K’s nearly every weekend from April to November. I’m preparing for my first Spartan race this September!

Favorite Quote

“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin

Transform your college application.

Wendy Y.
Below is my son's review. He was accepted to his dream Ivy League school!

From an admitted student's perspective, I am incredibly grateful to have met Sasha - he has been instrumental in helping me achieve my educational dreams (Ivy League), all while being an absolute joy (he's a walking encyclopedia, only funnier!) to work with.

Many people are dissuaded from seeking a college counselor because they think they can get into their desired college(s) either way. Honestly, going that route is a bit short-sighted and can jeopardize your odds of acceptances after years of hard work. The sad truth is, the American education system (even if you attend a fancy private school and ESPECIALLY if you go to a public school) doesn't really tell students how to write a compelling and authentic application. Going into the admissions process alone, without speaking with an advisor, is like going to court without a lawyer - you put yourself at a significant disadvantage because you don't have all the facts in front of you, or the help you need to negotiate the system.

That said, you need a good lawyer just like you need a good college counselor. And that's where Sasha distinguishes himself from the crowd of people claiming they'll get you into Harvard. I came to Sasha worried about and frankly dumbfounded by the college admissions process. I was unsure what to write about and how to go about drafting the essay that perfectly captured my passion, interests, and self. And I was highly skeptical that anyone could really help me. But, damn, did Sasha prove me wrong. From the beginning, Sasha amazed me with his understanding of the process, and ability to lend clarity and direction to me when I desperate needed it. After interviewing me about my background, experiences, activities, outlook, and vision, he helped me see qualities about myself I had not previously considered 'unique' or 'stand-out.' This process of understanding myself was so incredibly important in laying the groundwork for the essays I eventually wrote, and I'm certain I would've drafted boring, inauthentic essays without it.

Looking back, Sasha's talent is that he can see where your strengths lie, even when you don't see them. The truth is, although we don't always realize it, everyone has a unique story to tell. Sasha helped me see mine, and with his big-picture insight I was able to write the application that truly encapsulated my life and vision. He inspired me to dig deeper and write better, challenging me to revise and revise until my essays were the most passionate and authentic work I had ever written. As clichéd as that sounds, that's really what universities are looking for. In retrospect, it makes sense - in the real world passionate (not simply intelligent) individuals are the ones who make a difference in the world, and those are the individuals colleges would like to have associated with their brand.

In the end, I was accepted to the college of my dreams, a feat I could not have achieved without the direction Sasha lent to me. Essays (and the personal narrative you develop through your application) matter so much, and can literally make or break your application. I have seen so many of my 'qualified' friends receive rejections because they wrote contrived essays that didn't truly represent who they were; conversely, I have also seen so many friends with shorter resumes accepted because they were able to articulate their story in a genuinely passionate and authentic way - I fall into the latter category.

As a former admissions officer at Johns Hopkins, Sasha knows what types of essays jibe well with universities, an invaluable asset to have in the admissions process. He is responsive, flexible, creative, positive, and witty. For anyone who is serious about going into the college admissions process informed and prepared, I highly recommend Sasha.
Arda E.
I used Ivy Scholars to mainly help me with college applications. Within weeks of using this service, Sasha was able to simplify the already complex process. When it came to writing the Common App essay, Sasha didn’t just help with grammar and syntax, he brought my essays to life. Sasha also worked tirelessly to help solidify my extracurricular activities, including research and internship opportunities. Without his help, I would have never had an impressive resume.

Sasha is not only an extremely knowledgeable tutor, but also a genuine brother figure. His guidance, throughout my last two years of high school, was everything I needed to get me an acceptance letter from my dream schools (UC Berkeley, Tufts, Emory).

When it came to testing, Ivy Scholars worked like a charm. Sasha offered a very comprehensive plan when it came to completely acing my standardized tests. Without his test taking strategies I would have never gotten straight 5s on my AP tests and a 35 on the ACT.

Working with Sasha, I didn’t just become a good student, I became a genuine scholar.
Samson S.
We worked with Ivy Scholars during my son's senior year. I was concerned that we may be too late to take advantage of college advising but the Ivy Scholars team quickly and confidently directed us through the steps to ensure no deadlines were missed. Sasha's knowledge about schools, what they looked for in candidates, and how to maneuver the application process was invaluable. Mateo and Ryan worked with my son to help him create an essay that would get noticed and I am so appreciative he had their guidance.

Prior to securing Ivy Scholars, we tried using a less-expensive online service which was a terrible experience. As a parent, Ivy Scholars brought peace of mind to an area that was frankly overwhelming. This service was invaluable in the knowledge that we gained throughout the process. He has also met with my freshman daughter to provide guidance for her high school courses, career paths, extracurricular activities, and more.

Prior to signing with Ivy Scholars, I tried a less expensive online service and was very disappointed.

As a result of our work with Ivy Scholars, I am pleased to say that my son will be attending Stern Business School at New York University this fall! I highly recommend Ivy Scholars. Highly recommend!