The Ivy Scholars Team

Ivy Scholars is a team of passionate, experienced admissions professionals from top-tier universities. We are united in our desire to guide students through the admissions process to find their perfect school. Read on to get to know us! 

Meet Your College Admission Experts

Sasha Chada

Founder & Chief Executive Officer | Johns Hopkins University, BA in Philosophy, 2013, Pre-Medical and Humanities Honors

The founder and CEO of Ivy Scholars, Sasha has guided hundreds of students through the college application process. He is driven by a desire to help students achieve their academic desires, and to find the college that will work best for them. He is an expert on all things college admissions; building a list of schools, what activities colleges are looking for, what grades you need for a top school, or how to write the perfect essays.

Alex Nelson

Director of Test Prep | Rice University BA in History

Alex has mastered preparing for standardized tests, and has guided students to perfect scores on the SAT and ACT alike.

Nick Madincea

Director of Business Development | Baylor University BBA in Economics, BBA in Finance

Nick is responsible for all business operations of Ivy Scholars, including strategy, development, and growth. Nick’s passion is delivering the best customer experience for you – our Ivy Scholars families.

Antonio Cruz

Content Lead | University of Chicago BA/MA Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

Antonio is the content development lead at Ivy Scholars, and further helps run the pro bono service.

Mikaela Bankston

LAUREL Scholars Development Lead | Princeton University Bachelor of Arts in Molecular Biology with Certificates/Minors in Global Health and Health Policy and Environmental Studies

Mikaela is a mentor in the Ivy Scholars Pro Bono Program who focuses her efforts on building the program structure and creating resources to enrich the experiences of its students.

Andy Catanese

Mentor | University of Connecticut BS Secondary Mathematics Education, BA Mathematics

Andy is a math specialist tutor who mainly helps prepare students for standardized testing, including the SAT, ACT, AP tests, and others. He loves sharing his honest enthusiasm for math, the world’s best and biggest logic puzzle.

Nick Popow

Mentor | Rutgers University BA in Philosophy, UT Austin Philosophy Ph.D.

Nick is a Candidacy Building and College Applications mentor. He leads students along the path to college admissions and helps them become the best of what they can be.

Charly Santagado

Mentor | Rutgers University BA in Philosophy

Charly is one of the most experienced mentors at Ivy Scholars, and helps students with test prep, candidacy building, and composing and organizing their college apps.

Daniel Schriever

Mentor | University of Minnesota B.A. Anthropology Harvard University M.T.S. Religious Studies Yale University Ph.D. Religious Studies

Daniel is a Candidacy Building and College Applications mentor. He helps students develop their skills and interests into impressive projects that make them stand out, and then write captivating essays to show off their best qualities to colleges.

Ari Schwartz

Mentor | Northwestern University BA Economics; Radio, Television, & Film

Ari is a Candidacy Building and College Applications mentor. He helps students to develop an area of deep interest, acquire the organizational skills to pursue and acquire expertise in that area, create an area-specific project, and then tell their story to colleges.

David Wtorkowski​

Mentor | Dartmouth College B.A. in Psychology

Dave is a Candidacy Building and College Applications mentor; he helps students realize their potential and discover the joy of learning; he believes that learning to write well is a superpower that will help you throughout your career, whatever you decide to do

Meet Your Research Mentors

Dr. Cynthia

Dr. Cynthia holds a PhD in Neuroscience as well as undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Psychology. She is an associate professor of biology, with over twenty years of experience and dozens of publications.  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.


Dr. Danielle

Dr. Danielle holds a PhD in Applied Ecology and a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Biology. She has written over a dozen publications and manuscripts and delivered over a dozen oral and poster presentations stemming from her field work experience in wildlife ecology. Post academia, she has worked as an academic editor at a large academic publishing firm, reviewing research papers other academics submit for publication.

Dr. Leonard

Dr. Leonard holds a PhD and a master’s degree in Social Psychology. He is a professor of Social Psychology with over thirty years of research and teaching experience, during which he has written over sixty publications and over a dozen book chapter publications, and delivered over a dozen invited presentations and over seventy conference presentations. 

Dr. Lydia

Lydia is a Doctoral Student in Psychology conducting research focused on delineating the biobehavioral mechanisms linking stress with physical and mental illness. Lydia holds a Master’s degree in Psychological Sciences and undergraduate degrees in Biology and Psychology. Besides her love for learning and writing, Lydia has a passion for mentorship and a career in academia having trained 30+ students on how to collect high-quality clinical research data, recruit a sensitive population, and professionally interact with sensitive populations

Dr. Nikhil

Dr. Nikhil holds a PhD in Exercise Physiology as well as a master’s in Motor Development and a bachelor’s in Health and Wellness. He is a research faculty member associated with a medical school and has written over a dozen publications in his field leveraging over two decades of experience in conjunction with over a decade of research supervision and support.  His current research focuses on resilience and interventions in mobility for older adults.

Dr. Salma

Dr. Salma holds a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology and a bachelor’s in Neurobiology. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher in a wet lab studying how to regenerate neurons in the eye. She has written a dozen publications and conducted over a dozen oral and poster presentations, along with her experience mentoring and working with students in a lab environment.


Dr. Veysel

Dr. Veysel, a distinguished economist and educator, currently holds the esteemed position of
Professor of Economics at a prestigious Texas University With a stellar academic background,
including a Ph.D. in Economics from Florida International University, he has earned recognition for his
outstanding achievements and research contributions. Dr. Veysel’s expertise lies in International Trade,
Political Economy, and Applied Econometrics. He has lectured extensively in both undergraduate and
graduate classes, spanning multiple institutions in various countries and states. Notably, his influence
extends worldwide, as he has had the privilege of teaching students from more than 100 countries,
enriching their educational journeys with his expertise and insights.
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!