Meet the people dedicated to changing lives

The CDI team is committed to supporting students on the path to college graduation.

CDI STAFF

Amma Felix
President
×

Amma Felix

President

afelix@collegiatedirections.org

Amma Felix joined Collegiate Directions, Inc. (CDI) in September 2017. She leads CDI's mission to close the educational opportunity gap for first-generation, low-income high school students by: providing academic and wrap-around support services to Scholars to ensure that they achieve college graduation and smooth transition into careers; and providing consulting services to high schools to support their efforts to advise students on finding their best-fit college option. Mrs. Felix also raises funds to support and sustain CDI and refines the business model to increase its footprint and deepen its impact. She works with the Board of Directors to set strategy and refine organizational priorities. Mrs. Felix sets the vision and leads the operations to execute against goals. She also positions CDI as a thought leader in the field of college access and completion.

Mrs. Felix previously worked at the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) from 2012-2017. At UNCF, she was the Vice President, Strategy and Secretary of the Corporation for three years, having been promoted from the Chief of Staff position. During her tenure, she led the development and implementation of UNCF’s short- and long-term strategic priorities and change management processes. She also led the business planning process for the 25 fundraising offices. Mrs. Felix provided strategic leadership for the program development of UNCF’s $50 million Career Pathways Initiative, a college-to-career program. In her role as board secretary, she worked closely with the 43-member Board of Directors to facilitate the work of its eight committees that meet three times a year. She also directly managed the work of the board strategy and executive committees. Mrs. Felix also worked with the network of presidents of 37 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) on major initiatives including federal higher education policy and capacity building.

Previously, Mrs. Felix was vice president for strategy management for the Abyssinian Development Corporation (ADC) where she led the strategy, research, evaluation and evidence-based program planning efforts in the organization. An executive team member, she provided managerial support for a 100-person staff with a $9.4 million operating budget. At ADC, she raised $2.5 million and wrote their award-winning 2010 U.S. Department of Education Promise Neighborhood planning grant. Prior to that she served as director of capacity building and special programs at the New York City office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, responsible for organizational development work and capacity-building grant-making activity. She managed a $1.05 million capacity-building initiative serving more than 40 community development groups across New York City. In previous positions, Mrs. Felix worked at the United Way of Central New York, managing its capacity-building initiatives, and at the Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services in Manhattan as the program operations administrator, ensuring compliance with performance-based contracts and managing a program restructuring effort that included a youth development-oriented service delivery model. Mrs. Felix also served as an adjunct lecturer at City University of New York/Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs, where she taught public and nonprofit management to graduate students.

Mrs. Felix holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a master’s degree from Cornell University and a master’s degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse. She is an active Diamond Life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.

 

Ana Kosmalski
Vice President, Programs
×

Ana Kosmalski

Vice President, Programs

ahilton@collegiatedirections.org

Originally from the Dominican Republic, Ana received her B.A. in cultural area studies from the College of Wooster and her M.S. in conflict analysis and resolution with a concentration in college student personnel administration from Nova Southeastern University. Prior to joining CDI, Ana worked at the College of Wooster as a special assistant to the deans, where she served as resident director for first-year housing, coordinated new student orientation and established Summer Connect, a new student transition program. Ana joined CDI as a counselor in 2007.

Carmen Johnson
Operations Manager
×

Carmen Johnson

Operations Manager

cjohnson@collegiatedirections.org

Carmen joined CDI in August 2016 following a career spent working at independent schools. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Carmen holds a B.S. in management science from Fontbonne University and a master’s in finance from St. Louis University. She has previously served as the chief financial officer and assistant head of school at Sandy Spring Friends School, director of finance and administration at the U.S. Dream Academy, and chief financial officer and managing director at the SEED Public Charter School.

Terry Burroughs
Counselor
×

Terry Burroughs

Counselor

tburroughs@collegiatedirections.org

Terry joined the CDI team in April 2017.  A native of Prince George’s County, Maryland and a first-generation college graduate, he earned a B.S. in psychology from Frostburg State University.  He continued his studies at Frostburg State University, where he earned a M.Ed. in school counseling.  While at Frostburg, Terry worked as a resident assistant for incoming freshman students.  Prior to joining CDI, Terry worked as a para-educator for DC Public Schools.

Jennifer Schwartz
Counselor
×

Jennifer Schwartz

Counselor

Jennifer joined the CDI team in June 2017. She is a native of Columbus, Ohio and a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University. Jennifer moved to the Washington, D.C. area after college to work on Capitol Hill and then earned her M.A. in Political Management from The George Washington University. She went on to earn her J.D. from The George Washington University Law School, and has practiced law in Washington, D.C. She has spent the past several years working with college students involved in Greek life on campuses throughout the country.

 

Wendy Ayala
Counselor
×

Wendy Ayala

Counselor

Wendy Ayala joined the CDI team in October 2016. She is a CDI Scholar alum, having been a member of the Class of 2011.  She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2015 with a degree in sociology and anthropology. Prior to joining CDI as the administrative assistant, Wendy worked in career services in the Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Employment Development.

Lauren Fliegel
Mental Health Counselor
×

Lauren Fliegel

Mental Health Counselor

lfliegel@collegiatedirections.org

Lauren is a licensed clinical social worker, who has been providing counseling services to children, adolescents, and young adults for over 10 years. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and her master’s degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore, with a clinical concentration in mental health.  She received advanced training in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy through the University of Maryland, School of Medicine. She has worked in a variety of settings including public and independent schools, outpatient mental health clinics, and was the first senior mental health clinician in Montgomery County’s first high school wellness center. She began working with CDI in September 2016.

James Carter
Communications Manager
×

James Carter

Communications Manager

James comes to CDI having worked in journalism, education and graphic design for more than 20 years.

As an editor and staff writer James focused on local reporting, seeking to tell the stories of those too often overlooked members of the Los Angeles community. He has lent his graphic design talents to a wide array of projects for corporate clients, startups, and an assortment of other organizations.

Most recently James served as a multimedia curriculum developer for the Los Angeles Unified School District's after-school program, creating a replicable, technology-based journalism course.

James says he looks forward to helping CDI communicate our mission and spread the success stories of our students to stakeholders, future Scholars, and the general public.

James is a graduate of Syracuse University from which he holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in African American Studies.

Marcia Molett
Counselor
×

Marcia Molett

Counselor

Marcia Mollett earned her B.A. from Eastern Michigan University and is currently pursuing an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on minority and urban education. In her previous position as a college adviser at Michigan College Access Network, she assisted high school students in the college-planning process to increase graduation rates and matriculation to post-secondary institutions. She has provided first-generation and low-income students with college, career, and financial aid support, academic advising and mentoring, strategies to secure scholarship funds, and tools to encourage a healthy transition to a college environment. Marcia is also a McNair Scholar and joined CDI following an academic trip to Ghana.

low-income high school students.
Dave Woodard
Counselor
×

Dave Woodard

Counselor

David Woodard earned his B.A. in history from Goucher College. He previously served as a permanent supportive housing case manager for Housing Up in D.C. There he provided strong, intensive case management for chronically homeless families using a strengths-based approach. David also connected clients to community resources, and helped families navigate crises. Prior to that, he worked at the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation as a program coordinator supporting 14 educational advisers and 200 high-achieving, low-income high school students. He also spent seven months hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine.

Isabel Argoti
Program Manager
×

Isabel Argoti

Program Manager

Isabel Argoti joined CDI in 2018 as our program assistant. In 2019, Isabel took lead of a new Career Mentoring program, which helps CDI Scholars find mentors that assists them in finding jobs, preparing them for interviews, securing job placement. Isabel is also a former CDI Scholar, Class of 2012.

Isabel graduated from the University of Virginia in 2016 with a B.S. in architecture and is the first in her family to receive a college degree. Although she studied architecture, Isabel has a strong passion for youth programs, graphic design, and communications. While at UVA, she became a member of Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority, served as an RA, and helped form a new mentorship program for teen girls in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, Isabel interned with the National Park Service in both Denver, Colorado and Washington, D.C. in the division of interpretation, education, and volunteers working with the national youth program—Every Kid in a Park—where she was focused on documenting national and regional program data and communications.

Wendy Pintado
Program Assistant
×

Wendy Pintado

Program Assistant

Wendy Pintado joined CDI as our program assistant in 2019.  Wendy is a  Maryland native but, her family is from Guayaquil, Ecuador. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Family Science from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. From volunteering and working for several nonprofits in the DMV area, Wendy became passionate about helping first-generation college students pursue higher education. Prior to CDI, she worked for the ACES program, the George B. Thomas Sr. Learning Academy and the Latino Student Fund. She believes a strong support system is crucial for a student to be successful.  Wendy is pursuing a Masters of Arts in Education & Human Development at The George Washington University. Her goal is to work to for a college/university in the future. She loves dancing and watching movies in her spare time.

THE CDI BOARD OF DIRECTORS

G. Anand Anandalingam
×

G. Anand Anandalingam

G. Anand Anandalingam, took the helm of the Imperial College Business School in 2013. Prior to that, he was the dean of the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Anand began his tenure with the Smith School in 2001, and he served in various key senior leadership positions as senior associate dean and as chair of the Smith School’s Decision, Operations, and Information Technologies department. Anand received his B.A. and M.A. from Cambridge University, and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Sarah S. Brown
×

Sarah S. Brown

Sarah S. Brown founded The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, a private, non-profit initiative organized in 1996 to reduce the U.S. teen pregnancy rate. The National Campaign improves the wellbeing of children, youth, families, and the nation by preventing unplanned and teen pregnancy. Sarah served as the organization’s CEO until 2015. Sarah received a B.A. from Stanford University and a M.S. in public health from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She has also earned a graduate certificate in epidemiology and biostatistics from Georgetown University.

Nancy M. Carr
×

Nancy M. Carr

Nancy is a trained psychiatric social worker. Early in her career she worked for 10 years at the Family Psychiatric Clinic in Prince George’s County, MD, primarily treating children and adolescents. As a psychotherapist, she also treated families and facilitated group therapy sessions with adolescents with major behavioral issues. After leaving the clinic, Nancy privately treated individual children and their parents. Nancy received her M.S.W. from Columbia University and her B.A. from Beaver College.

Manisha Kapani
×

Manisha Kapani

I. Howard Diener
×

I. Howard Diener

I. Howard Diener has 35 years of experience as a senior level executive, most recently serving as managing director at Old Towne Pet Resort. He also served as a consultant for The Taproot Foundation, helping non-profit organizations with the development of strategic plans and engaging marketing materials. Prior to working at Taproot, he was the founder, president, and COO of Healthquick.com and the president and COO of Cosmetic Center, Inc. He has also served as executive vice president at the McCrory Company, senior vice president at Rite Aid Distributors, and vice president at Peoples Drug Stores, Inc. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Maryland and the University of Baltimore.

Ann Marie Etergino
×

Ann Marie Etergino

Ann Marie Etergino, the leader and founder of The Etergino Group, provides clients with holistic
wealth management solutions that help them secure the lives they wish to lead. Drawing on deep
industry knowledge gained from 35 years in the business, she works with clients to address their
most fundamental concerns and align their money with their life goals. She is known for the longterm,
comprehensive approach she takes, and she is especially adept at handling clients’
multifaceted, complex financial needs with empathy and compassion as well as being particularly
sensitive to issues women frequently face. (She is also a trusted advisor to foundations, endowments,
and institutional clients.)

Her commitment to delivering first-class service and strong track record have earned her numerous
accolades, including Barron’s Top 100 Women Financial Advisors, Barron’s Top 1200 Financial
Advisors, Financial Times’ Top 100 Women Financial Advisors, Financial Times’ Top 400 Financial
Advisors, Forbes’ Top Women Advisors, and Washingtonian’s Top Money Advisors. She has also
been featured on the cover of Barron’s and profiled in Barron’s “Best Advice” column.

She began her career in 1981 at Merrill Lynch. She joined Tucker Anthony in 1984 and served on its
board of directors from 1998 until 2001, when it was acquired by RBC. She holds a Certified
Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) certification from Wharton, has an Accredited Investment
Fiduciary (AIF) designation, and is a member of the Investment Management Consultants
Association (IMCA). She earned her undergraduate degree from Lafayette College.

Outside of the office, Ann Marie enjoys serving causes that support the needs of marginalized
women and children. She serves on the boards of Women for Women International, a non-profit
humanitarian organization that provides economic and social support to women survivors of war, and
Collegiate Directions, a non-profit that helps low-income, first-generation students from the
Washington area to apply, attend, and succeed in college. She also serves on the Investment
Committee of the National Cathedral School for Girls. Committed to lifelong learning, she
encourages the same with young adults and high school students whom she mentors in financial
literacy. Throughout her volunteer work, she believes it is the one-on-one relationship that matters
and that ultimately leads to success for organizations and the people that they serve.

Elizabeth W. Galvin
×

Elizabeth W. Galvin

Elizabeth W. Galvin received her B.A. from Barnard College and J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Elizabeth holds expertise in philanthropy and service. She pursued a corporate law career at Shearman & Sterling, Winston & Strawn, and later as a partner at Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw. Her work included mergers, acquisitions, public offerings and complex financial transactions.

Jonathan B. Marks
×

Jonathan B. Marks

Jonathan has been a full-time dispute resolution professional since 1981, when he co-founded Endispute. From 1994, when Endispute merged with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services, until 1999, Jonathan was vice-chairman of JAMS-Endispute and chairman of the firm’s Executive Committee, which set professional practice policies and standards for the firm’s 400 former judges and attorney neutrals. In 1999, he founded MarksADR, LLC, where he now practices. Jonathan is a cum laude graduate of Harvard College and the Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review.

Nina W. Marks
×

Nina W. Marks

An independent schoolteacher and administrator for 30 years, Nina became the director of college guidance for the National Cathedral School (NCS) in Washington, D.C. in 1992. During her tenure, she created and directed a nationally recognized college guidance program, and she wrote and published the National Cathedral School College Handbook. In 2002, she assumed additional responsibilities as assistant head. Nina left the National Cathedral School to found Marks Education in 2004 and Collegiate Directions, Inc. in 2005. Nina was educated in India, the United Kingdom, and at Harvard, where she graduated magna cum laude in English.

Elise J. Rabekoff
×

Elise J. Rabekoff

Elise J. Rabekoff has been vice president, general counsel, and secretary of Quadrangle Development Corporation and affiliates for more than 15 years. As general counsel, Elise heads a seven-person in-house legal group established to ensure the effective and cost-efficient use and supervision of outside counsel and to provide a critical in-house legal resource for the company and its affiliated entities. Elise is a graduate of Princeton University and Yale Law School.

Sanford J. Ungar
×

Sanford J. Ungar

Sanford J. Ungar is a distinguished Scholar in Residence at Georgetown University and a visiting lecturer in government at Harvard College. He stepped down as president of Goucher College in June 2014, after 13 years. Sanford remains a tenured Goucher professor of history, and of communications and media studies. Sanford obtained his B.A. in government magna cum laude from Harvard College and his master’s in international history from the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he was a Rotary Foundation fellow.

Lee L. Verstandig
×

Lee L. Verstandig

Lee L. Verstandig is a founding principal of the Farragut Group, LLC. He combines decades of experience and expertise in both the public and private sectors in helping to provide public policy strategic planning, political analysis, and a broad bipartisan understanding of the federal legislative and executive process. Lee earned his B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College, his M.A. from the University of Tennessee, and his Ph.D. in American history from Brown University, where he taught history and political science. He also served as associate dean at Brown and was a member of the Committee on Academic Standing.

Stephen A. Weiswasser
×

Stephen A. Weiswasser

Stephen Weiswasser provides legal and strategic assistance to companies in the rapidly changing media, telecommunications, and new media industries. From July 1999 to January 2001, he also served as executive vice president and general counsel of Gemstar-TV Guide International, Inc. Steve received a B.A. degree with distinction from Wayne State University, attended The Johns Hopkins University on a Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship for Graduate Education, and received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

ADVISORY COUNCIL

Rose H. Cohen
×

Rose H. Cohen

Alice Leiter
×

Alice Leiter

Denise C. Buchanan
×

Denise C. Buchanan

Denise C. Buchanan is a counselor at Marks Education, specializing in school admissions. Prior to her work with Marks Education, Denise was the director of admission and financial aid and on the English faculty at National Cathedral School (NCS), an independent girls’ school in Washington, D.C. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Wheaton College, Smith College, and Boston University.

Reginald G. Exum
×

Reginald G. Exum

Reginald G. Exum is a community development officer at Citi Community Development (CCD), based in the Greater Washington D.C. area. He sits on the board of directors of the Coppin State University Development Foundation and has previously served on the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers board, the executive committee of the Baltimore Neighborhood Collaborative, the Coppin State University Board of Visitors, the advisory committee for the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship, and the executive board of the James Mosher Youth Baseball League. Reginald received a Bachelor of Science in economics and finance from Coppin State College, now Coppin State University.

Brooke R. Fernandez
×

Brooke R. Fernandez

Brooke R. Fernandez has been a counselor with Marks Education since 2006 and previously served as the assistant director of admissions and coordinator of the Alumni Admissions Support Program at Trinity College in Hartford. Brooke is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, and a graduate of the Harvard Summer Institute of College Admissions. She received a degree in political science from Trinity College.

Maxine B. Freund
×

Maxine B. Freund

Maxine B. Freund is the director of the Office for Partnerships and External Relations in the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development (GW-GSEHD). A tenured professor in the recently reorganized Department of Special Education and Disabilities Studies, she has been engaged in the preparation of special and general educators for over 30 years. Max received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota, her teaching certification from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ed.D. from The George Washington University.

Eric D. Grant
×

Eric D. Grant

Eric D. Grant, a native Washingtonian, serves as a senior originator at Constellation Energy/Exelon. Prior to Exelon, Eric was a senior vice president for the Commercial Banking Group at Citibank where he provided integral financial advice to executives in the areas of capital structure, cash flow optimization, and risk mitigation. Eric holds a Bachelor of Electrical Engineering from The Catholic University of America and an M.B.A from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

Larry A. Griffith
×

Larry A. Griffith

Larry A. Griffith is Senior Vice President, Scholarships, Programs, Internships, and Fellowships at the United Negro College Fund. His role at GMS includes operational and financial management, organizational leadership, programmatic and strategic oversight, marketing and research, and external relations. Larry has held positions with the National Association of College Admissions Counselors as a college advisor and as an admissions director. Larry received his undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary, and his M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Delaware.

William E. Kirwan
×

William E. Kirwan

William E. Kirwan has served as chancellor of the University System of Maryland since 2002, and is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. He served as president of Ohio State University for four years and president of the University of Maryland, College Park for 10 years. Prior to his presidency, he was a member of the University of Maryland faculty for 24 years. He chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, and co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. William received his bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Kentucky and his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Annette L. Nazareth
×

Annette L. Nazareth

Annette L. Nazareth is a Davis Polk partner practicing in the firm’s Financial Institutions Group in the Washington DC office. Annette was a key financial services policymaker for more than a decade. In 2005, she was appointed an SEC Commissioner. During her tenure at the Commission, she worked on numerous groundbreaking initiatives, including execution quality disclosure rules, implementation of equities decimal pricing, short sale reforms and modernization of the national market system rules. Annette earned her A.B. from Brown University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.

Rebecca Carr Rizzo
×

Rebecca Carr Rizzo

Rebecca Carr Rizzo is a counsel in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman’s Washington, D.C. Litigation practice. While in law school, Rebecca served as a judicial intern in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Rebecca received her A.B. from Duke University and her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

Jennifer D. Schifter
×

Jennifer D. Schifter

Jennifer D. Schifter’s life-long focus has been working with children and adolescents on emotional and learning issues. She received her B.A. from the George Washington University, and her M.A. in social work, specializing in issues related to children and adolescents, from the National Catholic School of Social Service.

Stephen H. Whisnant
×

Stephen H. Whisnant

Stephen H. Whisnant is the founder and managing director of Stephen Whisnant Strategies, LLC. He previously served as director of philanthropy at the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and a managing director for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), where he assisted with a number of special projects, including work with the U.S. Paralympics and the U.S. Olympic Foundation Trustee group. Previous to joining the USOC, Steve served as the campaign director for the "Building for Peace Campaign" of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and vice president of development and investor relations at Venture Philanthropy Partners. He holds a B.A. from the University of Carolina and a master’s in education from Harvard University.

Susan H. Colby
×

Susan H. Colby

Susan H. Colby has more than 40 years of experience in education and admissions consulting. After graduating from Smith College and receiving a MAT in history from Yale University, she held administrative and teaching positions at Chapin and Nightingale-Bamford Schools in New York City, Holton Arms School in Maryland, and Seymour High School in Connecticut. She founded Susan Colby Associates, providing complete assessment and guidance services to students in New York, Hong Kong, and Tokyo applying to secondary and undergraduate institutions. She has previously served on the board of the Arts and Technology Charter School, the Latino Student Fund, and the Groton School. Currently, Susan is an active board member of the Boys and Girls Club of Martin County, Florida, as well as a volunteer with the Trust for the National Mall.

CDI Tutors

Our tutors are a team of highly qualified and educated professionals who share their passion for knowledge with our Scholars. Led by Nitin Sawhney, Marks Education’s Tutoring and Test Preparation Principal and Vice President, the tutors provide pro bono services to CDI Scholars. You can learn more about our dedicated tutors here.