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College Admissions Counselors

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Purvi Mody: Head of College Counseling & College Admissions Counselor

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As Co-Founder and Head of College Counseling at Insight Education, I love working with students ready to achieve their educational dreams!  I have over twenty-six years of experience as an […]

As Co-Founder and Head of College Counseling at Insight Education, I love working with students ready to achieve their educational dreams! 

I have over twenty-six years of experience as an College Admissions Counselor. My formal experience in this field began with Achieva College Prep in 1999, but I have worked privately with students since 1998. At Achieva, I developed the Jump Start Program, designed for 9th, 10th, and 11th graders. My work with more than 1200 students during my career has allowed me the privilege of assisting many with their admission to some of the top universities in the country and the world including Stanford, Brown, Harvard, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Cambridge, and the University of Toronto to name but a few. My philosophy centers around helping kids identify and apply to the schools that are the best fit for them and then develop applications that emphasize their unique attributes and talents. I also enjoy working with Freshmen, Sophomores and Juniors helping them with every facet of their high school journey. I have increasingly spent time advising families of middle school students on choosing the best high school for their child and helping their children develop the fundamental skills to be successful in high school. And as graduate school admissions, including law and medical, have become more complex, I have worked with applicants to develop and execute their admissions strategy. 

I graduated from UCLA with a BA (Honors) in Psychology, and minors in Education and Business. I then completed my Masters in Education at the Stanford University School of Education. My final foray into a degree program culminated in an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. I am a member of WACAC (Western Association for College Admission Counseling).

I have built my career on my passion for education and am exceedingly well versed in the college admissions process. More importantly, I love to connect with students as they embark on an increasingly stressful and complex journey. 

When I am not reviewing college admissions essays or helping students start a new club and set academic goals, I can be found spending time with my beautiful boys (future Insighters) and husband.

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Zach Pava: Senior College Admissions Counselor

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Hello! My name is Zach Pava and I am a Senior College Admissions Counselor with Insight Education. The oldest of three brothers, I grew up in Newton Massachusetts, a suburb […]

Hello! My name is Zach Pava and I am a Senior College Admissions Counselor with Insight Education. The oldest of three brothers, I grew up in Newton Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford with a B.S. in Psychology. It has been a wonderful experience to work with an extraordinary team of professionals at Insight, who provide a comprehensive, but personalized approach to college admissions counseling.

My previous experience as a teacher, counselor, and behavioral coach has enabled me to successfully guide Insight students from the more open-ended nature of freshman year to the more rigorous demands placed on upperclassmen. My background in psychology and managerial experience has allowed me to assess the specific needs of other people. No two students are exactly alike, as each brings his or her own unique personalities, talents, and goals to the admissions process.

A creative writer throughout my life, I believe there is no better place for students to distinguish themselves than through their college essays. Colleges want to know who you are, not just what you’ve done. With tutoring certifications in writing and editing and a decade spent guiding students to develop their ideas using constricted word counts, I will help to ensure that your essay is the one that stands out.

In my role as a college admissions counselor at Insight, I have worked with high school students applying to the UCs, CSUs, BS/MD programs, International schools, and world-class technical institutions like MIT. I have worked with seniors on the Coalition Application, which features UIUC, UT Austin, Maryland, and Washington, and also supported hundreds of students with the Common Application, which includes the Ivy League, the NESCAC, and the Claremont Colleges. I have helped students to successfully navigate applications to Stanford, Michigan, Duke, NYU, Northeastern, BU, Wisconsin, UNC, Purdue, USC, Santa Clara, Tufts, Emory, GaTech, CMU, and Northwestern, among others. Additionally, I have led Insight’s counseling clinics, taught ACT classes, and worked with many college students on transfer applications during their freshman and sophomore years at the university level.

As the lead counselor and head of our Boston office, I have the unique opportunity to work with live clients and remote clients from coast to coast. This enables my students the flexibility to work with a remote counselor from home while still utilizing all of the resources and services in our Cupertino office. I also travel to meet students in-person several times throughout the year.

When not conducting mock interviews, helping with course selection, or brainstorming college essays, I can be found cheering on the Celtics at the Garden, relaxing on the beaches of Maine, and exploring playgrounds with my kids, who always keep me on my toes.

I can’t wait to meet you!

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Jenny Bloom: Senior College Admissions Counselor

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Hello, I’m Jenny Bloom! I grew up in North Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Human Development Family Sciences. Post-college, I moved to […]

Hello, I’m Jenny Bloom! I grew up in North Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Human Development Family Sciences. Post-college, I moved to Los Angeles and worked for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, a non-profit organization at UCLA, counseling and leading college students for three years. I then continued my education at Loyola Marymount University, graduating with an M.A. in Early Childhood Education with Honors and at the top of my program.  

Since 2012, I have worked with a variety of students at Insight Education helping them take the right steps to achieve their academic goals.  Choosing the right courses, applying study skillstest preparation, applying to summer programs and internships, and volunteering are the tools I use to help move students to their final application process and building their college lists.  Going through these steps and getting to know each student and his or her passion really helps me build a mentorship relationship to help students find the right college fit for them.  Part of my philosophy is to guide students to consider how they will build and hone their skills and talents to make a difference in the world around them. I have worked with students from various academic backgrounds who were admitted to schools across the country such as UCLA, USC, UC Berkeley, UIUC, UW Seattle, Purdue, Smith College, American University, UT Austin, Boston University, and many more! 

My background in community organization, education, mentoring and teaching allows me to contribute uniquely to the Insight team. Since moving to the Bay Area, I have worked as an Assistant Instructor at a community college teaching five different courses in the fields of Child Development, Family, and Nutrition. I also worked as a legal assistant at a prestigious law firm in Santa Monica for five years prior to moving to the Bay Area. These experiences have given me a better understanding of the diverse skillsets needed in different industries and the dynamics of campus life in various geographic settings.  

I have a passion to serve my community and create avenues of access for all students no matter what their background in order to create a more equitable world. I am a Board Trustee of the Ravenswood City School District where my kids go to school, using my education and experience to help all students receive opportunities and be prepared to enter high school. I also serve on the Board of Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto, helping meet the needs of the most vulnerable in our community.  In my spare time, you can find me spending time with my husband, daughter, and son, taking bike rides or walks in the beautiful Baylands of East Palo Alto, or cheering on our favorite sports teams from New York and Texas! 

 

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Meilin Obinata: Senior College Admissions Counselor

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Hello there! I’m Meilin Obinata, a Senior College Admissions Counselor at Insight Education! I thrive on guiding students through the exciting journey of self-discovery, whether they’re navigating the realms of […]

Hello there! I’m Meilin Obinata, a Senior College Admissions Counselor at Insight Education!

I thrive on guiding students through the exciting journey of self-discovery, whether they’re navigating the realms of open-source software or exploring the wonders of photography. Based in the vibrant Bay Area, my roots trace back to the foggy hills of Aptos High School and the inspiring landscapes of UC Santa Cruz, where I earned my B.A. in Mathematics. Later, I ventured to The Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, fueled by a full-tuition scholarship, and emerged with a Law Degree (Juris Doctor – J.D. Degree).

Before delving into the world of education, my professional journey led me through diverse experiences in technology, business incubation, government, and non-profits. Collaborating with scientists, artists, lawyers, teachers, activists, engineers, and entrepreneurs across various sectors has uniquely equipped me to envision the limitless possibilities that lie ahead for my students.

As a College Admissions Counselor since 2012, I have cultivated an in-depth understanding of local and international schools, including familiar Bay Area schools like Monta Vista High School, Lynbrook High School, Cupertino High School, Saratoga High School, Gunn High School, Palo Alto High School, Mission San Jose High School, and many more. Whether orchestrating application sessions with the allure of pizza, brainstorming essay ideas on a whiteboard, or guiding families through college lists, I’ve honed effective methods to simplify destress the college application process and am eager to share them with your family.

I firmly believe that education is a dynamic and creative pursuit, a lifelong journey of growth and discovery. My approach involves active listening, creating a nurturing space for students to explore new ideas, and helping them discern what truly matters in defining their identity.

The success stories of my students speak volumes, with acceptances into prestigious undergraduate and graduate programs across the nation and internationally. From UCLA and UC Berkeley to Brown University and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, my students have left an indelible mark on countless university campuses.

For those of you brave and thorough souls, here is a more thorough list: Columbia University, Cornell University Engineering, Carnegie Mellon College of Computer Science, Boston University Combined Medical Program (BS/MD) which has since been suspended, University of Michigan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, UC Berkeley Global Management Program at the Haas School of Business, NYU Stern School of Business, University of Chicago (undergraduate and MBA), Johns Hopkins University, University of Southern California (USC), USC Marshall School of Business (undergraduate and MBA), University of Texas at Austin, University of Washington, Seattle – Honors Program, Washington University at Saint Louis, The University of California (all nine undergraduate campuses) and California State University campuses, University of Arizona, Arizona State University (ASU), University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Santa Clara University (SCU), Pitzer College, Case Western University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Hampshire College, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), Savannah College of Art and Design, Colgate University, Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Michigan State University (MSU), Rutgers University, The State University of New York (SUNY), and Evergreen State University.

My students have also been accepted into selective summer internships and programs of which I have listed a few here: SIMR (Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program) at Stanford University, UC COSMOS, Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, The Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, Sewanee Young Writers’ Conference, The University of Chicago Research in the Biological Sciences.

I look forward to collaborating with your family, offering insights, and making the educational roadmap smoother for your child. Let’s embark on this exciting adventure together!

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Priya Singh: College Admissions Counselor

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Hi, I am Priya. I am very glad to be a part of the counseling team at Insight and hope to be working with you soon. I have been a […]

Hi, I am Priya. I am very glad to be a part of the counseling team at Insight and hope to be working with you soon.

I have been a native of the Bay Area for the past 31 years and have lived in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Palo Alto. My family and friends work in Silicon Valley, so I am very aware of the ever-changing landscape that makes up technology. That being said, my own education and background has been very varied; prior to being a college consultant, I worked as an Integrative Health Coach and had the pleasure of coaching some of the senior executives in the Valley. After my MBA, I was employed as a consultant at one of the top consulting firms in the country; this experience was a revelation to corporate America and extensively enhanced my exposure to the product industry. Subsequently, I worked as an events coordinator on the UC Berkeley campus where I met a wide range of intellectuals, all of whom kept me constantly learning. After that, with over 30 years as a yoga practitioner and teacher, I dabbled at being an entrepreneur when I ran my own yoga studio in Berkeley.

My journey towards becoming a college consultant started in 2014 when I had to support my high-functioning son for his college apps. He graduated college with a degree in the classics and my daughter graduated with a BS in computer science. Even prior to this however, I had been working with students with their essay writing and editing for undergraduate, graduate and Ph.D. work. My experience as a parent made me aware of the stress that surrounds the college application process, and I decided to get certified as a college consultant because I felt that each student bought something unique to the table and needed to be treated as an individual with his or her own strengths.

I always go out of my way to know my students, so I can support them in a way that works best for them. Working on their activities and summer plans is a great way for me to understand their academic, creative, athletic, and social skills. This also helps when we research colleges that best fit the student’s personality, goals, and needs. Additionally, knowing that the essays provide the foundation of a strong application, I like to spend time brainstorming ideas and I encourage students to keep enhancing each draft with subtle nuances that help in transforming an essay from good to great. I feel that I can handle any situation in a very grounded manner, and always bring a calm presence to the consulting sessions.

After working in this industry for the past eight years, I have had the pleasure of seeing my students do well at colleges like Johns Hopkins, UIUC, Syracuse, LMU, Georgetown, NYU, Cornell, Yale, Amherst, Dartmouth, Vanderbilt, Boston University, Northeastern, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, UC San Diego, Rice, CMU and many more. The positive emails that I receive from parents and students after the application process are very heartwarming. I absolutely love to know that my students are happy and thriving.

On a personal note, I am an enthusiastic amateur golfer and an avid yogi. When I am not working with students, I enjoy long walks, watching TV shows, meeting friends, and trying out new restaurants.

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Jason Katz: Associate College Admissions Counselor

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Hi! My name is Jason Katz and I’m a proud Bay Area native—born in Berkeley and grew up in Palo Alto. I love working with students, especially on their college […]

Hi! My name is Jason Katz and I’m a proud Bay Area native—born in Berkeley and grew up in Palo Alto. I love working with students, especially on their college application essays.  By carefully crafting their college application essays, students become more introspective and learn a lot about themselves. Nothing makes me happier than to see their smiling faces when their essays are in final draft form, and they know they have done their best work.

After graduating from Palo Alto High School, I headed off to NYU.  However, after two years at NYU in New York City, and a summer and a semester at NYU’s amazing campus in Florence, Italy, I was tired of the New York winters and homesick. So, I transferred to Santa Clara University where I earned my B.A.

Having agonized through my original college application process as a high school student, without the help of an independent college counselor, but then working with an independent college counselor throughout the transfer application process, I know firsthand what a difference working with a college counselor can make. My transfer application process was significantly more organized, efficient, and less stressful.

Therefore, after graduating from Santa Clara, I knew I wanted to pay it forward and become an independent college counselor. I began interning with the independent college counselor that helped me with the transfer application process, and I also enrolled in UCLA Extension’s Certificate Program in College Counseling.  After completing my Certificate and my internship, I started my own independent college counseling business in Redwood City. Throughout the years I ran this business I also wrote more than 165 college admissions/college life newspaper columns for The Palo Alto Daily News (many of which were also published in the online edition of The San Jose Mercury News).

Next, I went back to school and earned my master’s degree from the University of San Francisco. After earning my master’s, had a few different jobs, but nothing that I was as passionate about as helping students, which is why I am so excited to be back in the college admissions field, working for Insight Education, specifically helping students with their application essays. I look forward to meeting you to work on the writing process!

When I am not writing or helping students with their college application essays, you can find me hanging out with family and friends, traveling, exercising, rooting on all the Bay Area sports teams, or taking long walks with my rescue dog, Posey (named after the San Francisco Giants’ catcher).

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Indrani Stangl: Associate College Admissions Counselor

Hello! My name is Indrani Stangl, and I am an Associate Admissions Counselor at Insight Education. Although I was born in New Haven, CT, my parents moved me and my […]

Hello! My name is Indrani Stangl, and I am an Associate Admissions Counselor at Insight Education. Although I was born in New Haven, CT, my parents moved me and my brother to Stanford, CA when I was less than 2 years old. As my dad was the Director of Lane Medical Library, I was lucky enough to grow up on the Stanford University Campus and graduate from Gunn High School in Palo Alto.

Although I am new to Insight Education, I have many years of experience working with students as both a student services officer at Stanford and more recently as an admissions counselor and career coach. I graduated from Occidental College with a bachelor’s degree in cognitive science, and later received my master’s degree from Santa Clara University in Counseling Psychology. I then began my career at Stanford, working in the School of Education, followed by the Law School and finally at the School of Engineering. I was a frosh advisor for many years and have gotten to know the type of student Stanford tends to admit, which is very helpful as I help guide students through the college application process.

I find I can build a strong rapport with my clients, using a warm approach and sense of humor. I very much believe every student has a compelling story to tell, and I work with them to refine the message and help build a package that best represents them.

I currently reside in Half Moon Bay and I work remotely with my students, which I find is a flexible and effective way to get this work done. When I am not helping students with their college applications, I enjoy walking the coastal trails with my husband and two rescue dogs. I have also been a core volunteer with Pound Puppy Rescue for the last 15 years and very much enjoy helping families find a furry friend to join their pack. You may also find me listening to jazz music and putting paint to paper to design artistic works like greeting cards and wall hangings.

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Brian Nanos: Essay Specialist

Hello from Massachusetts! My name is Brian Nanos and I’m an Essay Specialist with Insight. Originally from New Jersey, I bounced around the country before my wife and I settled […]

Hello from Massachusetts! My name is Brian Nanos and I’m an Essay Specialist with Insight. Originally from New Jersey, I bounced around the country before my wife and I settled in the suburbs of Boston. We live there now with our two kids. 

I graduated from Trinity College with a degree in English with a focus on creative writing. I went on to Northwestern University and earned my Master’s Degree in Journalism with a focus in news writing and reporting. 

This is my first year as an Essay Specialist with Insight. In my previous career as a newspaper reporter and editor, I covered hearings on Capitol Hill, but also school committee meetings and bake sales in suburban Boston. I wrote hard-hitting news stories and lengthy features but also designed the layout of the paper and edited submissions for clarity and grammar.

After a hiatus as a stay-at-home dad, I’m excited to use my writing and editing training to help students achieve their education goals. My goal is to help students use their personal statements and essays to express their personalities, strengths, and interests in ways that a simple resume can’t capture.   

I currently live on the North Shore of Massachusetts. When I’m not reading and editing college admissions essays, I’m usually at home with my two children. I spend a lot of my time helping them with their remote learning classwork, taking them to the beach and the zoo, and baking them homemade pizzas.

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What Are Insight Students & Parents saying?
  • “I liked the structured method by which Zach approached the whole admission process. First, there was research into colleges to make a list, ”

  • “Priya was absolutely amazing to work with! We are thrilled that our son got into his top choice for college at LMU for the undergraduate bus”

  • “Thank you so much for helping me formulate my thoughts into words and help me write my essays. I got into Ut Austin for biology – stil”

  • “I just wanted to thank you again for your help during the college admission process. My family and I have been scrambling to figure out the ”

  • “I really couldn’t have gotten to Harvard without you. In shock. Thank you x10000000000000! I have the best college counselor in the wo”

  • “I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time out of your day to organize a meeting with me and help me in writing my summer program es”

  • “I just got my SAT scores on Friday, and I am happy to let you know that I scored an 800 on both the Biology-M and Math II tests. Thank [&hel”

  • “Our ACT instructor methods were so helpful and wonderful to have.”

  • “Zach, thank you so much for helping me become a confident and successful writer”

  • “We were extremely happy throughout the process – got much more than what we invested in Insight counseling.”

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