The FLEX Team

Meet the Team

Anjali Vaswani

Master Consultant

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Anjali is a former Bruin Ambassador and worked on staff in the UCLA Office of Undergraduate Admissions for three years. As a Bruin Ambassador, she gave presentations on UC Admissions, represented UCLA at college fairs, and assisted prospective students in the application process. Anjali was tasked with developing personal relationships with individual high schools to recruit students for and provide information on UCLA. Anjali also served as an Arts Ambassador for the UCLA School of Arts and Architecture, Office of the Dean.

Additionally, Anjali previously worked as a College Advisor at an online learning center for underprivileged high school students. She helped dozens of students navigate the admissions process by researching colleges, editing personal statements, and managing timelines.

Anjali has over 8,000 hours of dance education, created and designed lesson plans in art, and choreographed a repertoire of dance pieces. She is inspired to work with children and make a difference through education and art.

Education
B.A. Dance, Minor in Visual and Performing Arts — UCLA

Austin Haynesworth

College Essay Instructor

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Bio coming soon.

Ben Robbins

Principal Consultant

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In his time at Yale, Ben mentored and counseled other students through his campus activities. His published senior thesis explored how local culture influences the college applications of students in urban versus rural settings, inspired by his experience growing up in rural Nebraska.

As a Yalie, Ben knows first-hand what Yale is looking for in their students, as well as the challenges students face once on elite campuses. His counseling style takes a holistic perspective, and he has coached students into many competitive schools including Cornell, NYU, Santa Clara University, UCLA, UC Berkeley, and USC, as well as selective Aviation and Art programs. Ben is dedicated to helping students pursue their passions while still in high school, as well as finding the perfect college for them.

In his spare time, Ben enjoys keeping up with family and friends around the globe (London to Singapore!), singing with others, and understanding the stories that motivate us.

Education
B.A. Sociology — Yale University

Carmen Kwan

Master Consultant

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Carmen graduated magna cum laude from UCSD and went on to earn her Master’s in School Counseling and PPS School Counseling Credential at California State University, Long Beach.

Carmen has over eight years of experience working with students from 6th through 12th grade and beyond. From working with middle school students as they explore college and career options to assisting high school students as they navigate athletic and academic scholarship pathways, Carmen is able to successfully guide students through the college application, essay and selection process.

Her former students are Gates Millennium Scholars and have gone on to top-tier universities including Cornell University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, Rice University, UCLA and UC Berkeley.

Education
B.S. Psychology — UC San Diego
M.S. School Counseling — CSU Long Beach
P.P.S. School Counseling Credential — CSU Long Beach

Corbin Chu

Master Consultant

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Corbin graduated from Williams College with a degree in Comparative Literature, certificate in Spanish, and concentration in Africana Studies. He has more than seven years of experience counseling students from middle school to applying for medical school. Having worked at his college’s Writing Center, at a local high school, and at a test prep academy, he brings multiple years of teaching experience to the FLEX team.

Corbin is a caring, yet firm, counselor who believes in his students’ potential to become effective thinkers and doers as globally-aware citizens. His approach is methodical, creative, and personalized to each student’s needs and goals. Additionally, having grown up in a multicultural family in the San Gabriel Valley, Corbin gets along well with students and families who are from diverse backgrounds.

He has advised students who were admitted to the University of Chicago, all of the UC campuses, Rice University, as well as selective engineering and business programs, in addition to helping them earn millions of dollars in scholarships and grants.

Those who know Corbin think of him whenever there is good sushi or new museum exhibit. He has a sarcastic sense of humor and loves dancing to salsa and bachata music. Otherwise, he can be found traveling across the globe or brushing up on his Japanese and French.

Areas of Specialization

  • Students seeking admission to highly-selective schools
  • Students seeking admission specifically to Williams College, University of Chicago, and Rice University
  • International students and families new to the U.S.
  • Students with a strong interest in the humanities and linguistics
  • Students who are not sure what they want to major in when they go to college
  • Students with challenges sharing their personalities through their personal statements

Languages

  • English
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish
  • Hokkien/Min Nan Dialect

Education

  • Williams College – BA in Comparative Literature (Spanish Certificate, Africana Studies Concentration)

Cristina Herrera

Associate Consultant

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Cristina graduated from Stanford University with distinction and has awards in both fiction and nonfiction for exceptional work in Creative Writing. She has more than two years of experience teaching students of all ages: elementary school students in Paris, high school students in East Palo Alto, and first generation immigrants at the Palo Alto Adult School. Her application essays were published in 50 Successful Stanford Application Essays and 50 Successful University of California Application Essays.

Cristina is a patient, compassionate counselor that sees her students as young adults capable of taking the responsibilities necessary to achieve their highest potential. She guides students by setting concrete, manageable objectives that help them achieve their long-term goal. She is empathetic to their needs while pushing them to strive for more than what is expected of them. Having grown up in Venezuela, Cristina has an easy time bonding with students that have recently moved to the United States.

She has advised students who were admitted to Stanford University, USC, and UC Berkeley, among others.

Those who know Cristina think of her when they come across boba shops or James Baldwin quotes. She is a believer in the importance and relevance of art, and enjoys a good cup of tea with a bit of dark chocolate.

Areas of Specialization

  • Students seeking admission to highly-selective schools
  • Students seeking admission specifically to Stanford, USC, UC Irvine, or Emory
  • Underrepresented students
  • International students
  • Students with a strong interest in the humanities
  • Students who have experienced personal challenges in their lives
  • Students with difficulty crafting effective college application essays

Language(s)

  • English
  • Spanish

Education

  • Stanford University – BA in English (Distinction)

Esther Kim

Associate Consultant

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Esther has been working with high school and undergraduate students since 2014. In her current position as an adjunct faculty member at USC, she served in the application review process for the Rossier School of Education. Prior to joining FLEX, Esther worked with students in China to apply to college or graduate school in the U.S. In addition to being an associate consultant, Esther also serves as a college essay instructor and SAT verbal teacher.

Esther earned her Ph.D. in Sociology from Yale University and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Esther also spent two years teaching at Beijing Foreign Studies University in China as a visiting professor. She continues to work part-time at USC, where she teaches research methodology, diversity in higher education, and professional seminars. In her professional seminar course, she works with students on applying for graduate programs, preparing for interviews, and writing compelling essays and resumes.

Esther has helped students gain admittance to Georgetown, George Washington University, Syracuse, Bryn Mawr, UCSD, UCD, USC, Cambridge (UK), and Oxford University (UK).

Areas of Specialization

  • Humanities students
  • Building cohesive narratives

Language(s)

  • English
  • Korean
  • Mandarin (Basic)

Education

  • UCLA – B.A. Sociology, minor in Education
  • University of Pennsylvania – Master’s in Education, emphasis in culture and society
  • Yale University – Ph.D. in Sociology, specializations in research methodology, immigration, inequalities, and urban sociology

Jay Zhang

Master Consultant

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Jay has extensive experience working with a wide range of students including international students and transfer students with college admissions, as well as younger students with private middle and high school admissions. He is a certified Strong Interest Inventory counselor who can help students explore their academics interests and determine a suitable major for college admission.

Jay has been with FLEX since 2012. In this time, he has worked with hundreds of students throughout Northern and Southern California and internationally to help them get into their dreams schools. Jay has supported students to gain admittance to colleges including Columbia University, Brown University, Northwestern University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, NYU, USC, Boston College, and all UC campuses.

Education
B.S. Microbiology – UCLA
M.S. Global Medicine – USC

Judy Liang

Master Consultant

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Judy has over 16 years of experience as an educator, working with students spanning preschool to high school graduates. A native of the San Gabriel Valley, she graduated at the top of her class from La Canada High School, going on to earn her B.A. in Social Studies magna cum laude from Harvard University. At Harvard, she was awarded the Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Travelling Fellowship to teach English at a private boarding elementary school and magnet high school located on the outskirts of Beijing.

Upon returning to the US, she became a founding teacher at Camino Nuevo Charter Academy near Downtown Los Angeles and received her Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. In addition to her public education experience, she taught high school history and human rights at Wildwood School, an independent school in West Los Angeles. During her tenure at Wildwood, she also worked with students on the college application process. Judy later attended UCLA’s Principal Leadership Institute, earning her M.Ed. in Educational Administration and Preliminary Administrative Credential.

Judy has been at FLEX since 2014. She loves building relationships with students, drawing out their stories and mentoring them. Her students’ college placements include MIT, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Cal Poly Pomona’s Honors Engineering Program, and more.
Judy’s experience with her own three daughters, combined with her teaching and counseling experience, allows her to observe the educational spectrum from birth to high school graduation. She strives to support families and students to make informed choices and to attend a university that best fits their talents and personality.

Education
B.A. Social Studies – Harvard University
M.Ed. Educational Administration and Preliminary Administrative Credential – UCLA

Paul Lin

Master Consultant

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Paul has over 19 years of years of teaching and counseling experience, 12 in a university setting and 7 in a private academy. As a former professor in American Cultures and Asian American Studies at Loyola Marymount University, Paul understands the expectations and rigors of college life and strives to prepare students for that next stage of their educational journey.

Paul believes that fit is more important than ranking when it comes of choosing a college and that success is defined more by one’s achievements than by a school’s academic reputation. That said, his students’ college placements include Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia, Penn, Cornell, Duke, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, USC, Carnegie Mellon, and more.

Paul graduated cum laude from the University of Southern California with a BA in English (Honors) and a minor in Art History. As an undergraduate, he also studied abroad at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he earned a University Diploma, with merit, in English and American Literature. While in graduate school at UC Irvine, Paul also attended the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. He has delivered numerous conference papers around the country and has published a scholarly article on James Joyce and Irish colonial subjectivity.

In his spare time, Paul likes to travel, eat good food, and learn about wine.

Education
B.A. English (Honors), Minor in Art History – USC
M.A. English – UC Irvine
Ph.D. English (Candidacy) – UC Irvine

Justin Obcena

Associate Consultant

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With over 10 years of teaching experience in higher education, Justin knows what it takes for students to succeed and thrive. After receiving his BA from UCSB, Justin went on to earn his MA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. Justin has also enjoyed his time at the University of Cambridge and Columbia University. Privileged to travel to over 25 countries, Justin brings a unique global lens to the work that he does: seeing problems from multiple angles and finding new solutions and insights.

Justin’s mentoring experience includes roles in student affairs, research assistantships, university teaching, as well as serving as a resident advisor, where he helped freshmen navigate the crucial transition to college life. At FLEX, Justin has worked as an essay specialist in addition to his position as an admissions consultant. Justin’s mentoring style is one of tough love and high expectations. He calibrates his feedback accordingly while still pushing each student to be the best versions of themselves. Justin’s students can expect honest, prompt, and detailed appraisals that will push them past their comfort zone so that their college applications can shine.

Justin’s students have been accepted into schools such as: CalTech, UCs, Dartmouth, USC, John Hopkins, Northeastern, Swarthmore, and Washington University in St. Louis.

When he isn’t mentoring students, you will likely find Justin engrossed in books, savoring delicious food, watching an NBA game (go Warriors!), or jamming out to show tunes.

Areas of Specialization

  • Students seeking admission to highly-selective, research-oriented universities and programs
  • Students seeking to build a strong research profile
  • Students specifically targeting UCs
  • Crafting exceptional scholarship and admissions essays
  • Social sciences/humanities students, especially those interested in sociology
  • Students managing and navigating adversity.
  • First-generation college students
  • Students who are driven to do social justice/activist/community work

Education

  • UC Santa Cruz – Ph.D. Coursework & Research
  • UC Santa Cruz – M.A. Sociology
  • UC Santa Barbara – B.A. Sociology

Robert Thompson

Associate Consultant

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Robert has been with FLEX since 2013, and in this time has helped hundreds of FLEX students achieve their college dreams. Robert has worked with students who have been admitted to Stanford University, Brown University, NYU Stern, Santa Clara University, University of Michigan, Georgia Institute of Technology, and all University of California campuses.

Robert has a passion for working with students. He has led Spiritual and Diversity Retreats at Los Altos High School and Archbishop Mitty High School. Robert has wide knowledge of private schools in the South Bay, and he personally attended Archbishop Mitty High School. Robert graduated from Santa Clara University cum laude, with a double major in Psychology and Philosophy. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara.
Robert enjoys backpacking and Ultimate Frisbee in his free time, previously coaching the SCU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team. He has hiked and backpacked in California, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, Virginia, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Nevada, and Montana.

Education
B.A. Psychology and Philosophy – Santa Clara University
M.A. Clinical Psychology [in progress] – Santa Clara University

Sunny Song

Master Consultant

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Sunny has been with FLEX since 2013. Before this, Sunny worked as an Admissions Counselor at Shepherd University. She also worked for a non-profit organization to develop English teaching materials for underprivileged children around the world. During her master’s program at Biola University, she travelled to China for two years to teach English to high school students.

Sunny’s college placements include all the UCs, Princeton, USC, U Michigan, Santa Clara, Purdue, UIUC, Case Western, University of the Pacific (Pharm), Northeastern (Pharm), Cal Poly-SLO, Occidental, Colgate, Brandeis and more.
Sunny strives to be a nurturing counselor at FLEX and also has a soft spot for students who immigrated to the U.S. in adolescence. She herself came to the U.S. at age 15 as an international student from Korea. Sunny’s years of experience working with children of all ages show how much she enjoys interacting with and helping students.

Education
B.S. Biology – UC Berkeley
M.A. Education – Biola University

Tiffany Chi

Associate Consultant

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Tiffany Chi has four years of admissions consulting experience mentoring students to navigate the undergraduate and graduate admissions in the allied health professions. She started her consulting journey by helping her colleagues get accepted into Pharmacy, Physician assistant, Dental, and nursing professional schools.

Tiffany graduated from UC Irvine on a full ride scholarship achieving a B.S. in Biological Sciences, with a minor in Business management. She continued her stem academics by attending Pharmacy school.

Tiffany continued her career in the medical marketing consulting field, where she became the top marketing manager for Fortune 500 clients in healthcare, business, technology, and education environments. Tiffany’s varied life experiences include becoming Miss Los Angeles Chinatown Princess. She served as a cultural liaison in business, foreign trade in China, philanthropist who championed for Alzheimer’s Awareness, abused children, and supported PAMC cancer fundraisers through her art. She was also editor of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce Los Angeles Newsletter.

Tiffany’s passion includes art, integrative medicine, and mind-body holistic wellness. She teaches meditation and yoga classes in her spare time. Tiffany’s counseling approach is motivating, supportive, and mentoring. She assists students with their college and graduate application, admissions preparation, personal statement review, resume and interview techniques.

Areas of Specialization

  • Students seeking admission to highly-selective schools
  • Students seeking admission specifically to the University of California
  • Pre-allied health students
  • International students
  • Student entrepreneurs
  • Transfer students
  • Students with difficulty crafting effective college application essays

Languages

  • English
  • Mandarin Chinese

Education

  • Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy – Pharm.D.
  • University of California Irvine– BS in Biological Sciences
  • Minor in Business Management

Yvonne Kwan

Master Consultant

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As the valedictorian of her senior class, Yvonne chose to attend UC San Diego and later graduated cum laude in psychology and ethnic studies (with special honors distinction in ethnic studies). Yvonne went on to earn a M.A. in education at UCLA and a M.A. in sociology at UC Santa Cruz. She also completed her Ph.D. in sociology—and received many research fellowships and distinctions for her work on Asian Americans, trauma, mental health, and education.

Yvonne is currently a Society of Fellows postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College. She joined FLEX in 2012 and has worked as an SAT/ACT instructor and curriculum expert, college essay specialist, and counselor.

Yvonne has been working in counseling and education for over 11 years. In addition to previously serving as a supervisor in a program run by the California Student Aid Commission, she has been an instructor and teaching assistant for numerous courses at UCLA, UCSC, and Dartmouth College. Yvonne is also a reader for the UCLA Alumni Scholarship program. Yvonne’s students’ college placements include Boston University, Case Western, Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Georgia Tech, Oberlin College, NYU, Stanford University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, USC, UT Austin, Washington University at St. Louis, all UC campuses, and more.

Yvonne tends to be more assertive in her counseling style. She sets clear but high expectations and challenging deadlines for her students, but she also recognizes the need for holistic counseling that involves candid discussions about academic, family, and individual pressures. As a first generation college student who has not only worked extensively with high school and college students, but also conducted systematic research on educational access and inequities, Yvonne enjoys working with a wide array of students who may have very different backgrounds and interests.

Education
B.A. Ethnic Studies and Psychology – UC San Diego
M.A. Social Science and Comparative Education – UCLA
M.A. Sociology – UC Santa Cruz
Ph.D. Sociology – UC Santa Cruz

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