Tina Weber, CEO


Tina started and leads Tufts University’s Venture Accelerator. She also teaches Entrepreneurship at Tufts University’s School of Engineering and the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pre-College program at Tufts.

She leads the admissions team for the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pre-College program and collaborates with Tufts University Admissions Office on various admissions-related workshops.  She has also done college admissions interviews for Tufts University, and participated in admission application reads.

Tina believes that a college education can be a great investment when approached with the right strategy, priorities, and goals. She is a big believer in optimizing a child’s strengths and accomplishments to guide them towards successful college admittances.

In her almost non-existent spare time, Tina enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, reading non-fiction, writing, and listening to music. She is passionate about chocolate, art, cars, and learning new skills.

Amy Garbis, COO


Amy has helped many students craft successful, creative college application essays and personal statements that work. With her help, her students have gained admissions at colleges such as The University of Chicago, Harvard University, Harvard Divinity School, Brown, NYU, UC San Diego, Carnegie Mellon, Johns Hopkins, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Northeastern, Babson and Emory University among others.

Amy has over 20 years experience in teaching. She received an undergraduate degree in English literature, post undergraduate degree and certification for Secondary Education, and a MS in Human Resource Development (i.e. pedagogy, instructional design, training, and motivation theory), the latter taking her into corporate training design, development and implementation. She has worked for Fortune 500 companies including pharmaceuticals, human resource, and technology companies.

In her spare time, Amy enjoys fine wine, days at the beach with her family, and spends her spare time baking, biking and outdoors. She also believes in life-long learning.

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Featured Admissions Strategy Team Members

Karen Droisen


Admissions Strategist

Karen has helped many students navigate the college search and write unique, successful applications. She provides comprehensive services from finding schools that are the best matches to choosing what school to attend after acceptances roll in. With this support, her students are free to enjoy an organized, exciting search.

Born and raised in and around New York City, Karen earned her BA in English from Barnard College, Columbia University. She went on to earn an MA and PhD in English literature at the University of Virginia. After completing her doctorate, she joined the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a tenure-track assistant professor of English. In subsequent years, she worked as a fundraiser for local and international non-profit organizations. In 2015, Karen returned to her first love – education – and became a full-time tutor and college counselor.

With her help, Karen’s students have been admitted to top colleges including Penn State, Rhodes College, Elon University, St. Edwards University, College of Charleston, University of North Carolina, Loyola University of Maryland, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Binghamton University, Temple University, Fairfield University, and University of Connecticut.

In her spare time, Karen enjoys gardening, visiting museums, cooking, podcasts, and time outside with her family.


college aPPlication Strategist

(Students with Learning Differences Specialist)

Nicole is passionate about empowering students to find their strengths as well as passions and channeling them into their college search to find schools that fit their unique learning profiles and needs. She values the unique gifts of neurodiverse learners and sees their creative problem solving and out-of-the-box thinking as vital in the classroom, the workplace and in our society. 

Nicole has helped many neurodivergent students and their families navigate the complexities and challenges of identifying learning needs and helping students realize their true learning potential.

She has two neurodiverse students of her own and is the Co-Founder and Chair of the Dyslexia Parents Group of Lexington, MA, supporting parents with children with language based learning differences. 

Nicole has over 15 years of experience as a strategic marketing professional and is currently the Director of Marketing and Communications for Versatope Therapeutics.

She is a graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English Literature. Nicole has also taught English on the JET (Japan Exchange & Teaching) Program to Japanese high school and middle school students and accomplished the challenging feat of hiking to the top of Mt. Fuji for sunrise.

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys reading, writing, beach walks, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, yoga, dance, world travel and backyard wildlife viewing.




Essay Strategist

Rachel brings more than a decade of passion, skill, and experience as a writing coach. Since 2009, she has guided high school students in mining their life experiences and expressing their strongest authentic selves on the written pages of their college admission essays.

Rachel is the Co-Director of the Fusion Undergraduate Scholars Program at the MIT Plasma Science Fusion Center, where she focuses on building the fusion workforce of the future. 

A graduate of Bryn Mawr, Rachel also holds an MA in History and an MS in Library and Information Science, both from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.


essay coach and SAT Tutor

Simon is committed to helping students improve their academic performance and confidence in themselves. He has tutored SAT Math and English for over 10 years, and has worked with student-athletes at Arlington High School, Tufts University and Lesley University.

Simon also has extensive experience working with youth as a camp counselor, after-school teacher and Youth Therapist/Coach. 

He uses the skills from his extensive experience in athletics, the arts, yoga and psychology to encourage students to find ways to engage their unique passions and talents when writing or learning, and also to cultivate habits of healthy living that make growth and success possible.

Simon has a Master’s in Education with a Counseling/Sport Psychology concentration from Boston University and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Carleton College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology / Anthropology. While at Carleton, he co-captained the Division III Men’s team and won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s Elite 22 Award as the highest academic performer in the conference championship match. He was also an All-Conference selection and a 1st-Team Academic All-American.

Aaron Weber headshot


Essay Coach

Aaron has been a professional writer, editor, and content manager for more than 20 years, working with organizations including O’Reilly Media, American Student Assistance, the MIT Energy Initiative, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Elevance Health.

He graduated from Haverford College with a BA in Spanish and holds a Master’s degree in management with a certificate in nonprofit management from Harvard Extension School. Aside from his work, he serves on the steering committee for Somerville YIMBY, an organization that advocates for more housing in Somerville, MA and the broader Boston region.


Art & Design SpecialisT

Brandy brings to A Starting Line over 25 years’ experience as an educator, graphic designer, textile designer, and artist. She has served on the faculties of Bates College, Salve Regina University, Colby-Sawyer College, and Chester College of New England, and as a graduate instructor at Boston University College of Fine Arts. In her academic roles, Brandy has reviewed portfolios for undergraduate admissions and has in-depth knowledge of components needed for a successful college application. 

She provides students with strategies for portfolio presentation and development, whether applying to an art program or simply demonstrating interests beyond an intended area of study (a competitive edge for any discipline). Recognizing that sharing creative work is oftentimes intimidating, Brandy guides discussion in the context of what works in a given piece, what could work better, and why. Admissions committees look for a demonstrated understanding of the principles and elements of art and design as much as they do personal creative vision. 

In addition to her work in education, Brandy owns a multidisciplinary design studio, BG Riley Design LLC; her practice areas range in scope from corporate identity and branding to textiles and product design for Fortune 500 companies and global organizations. Client history includes the American Institute of Architects, Charles River/State Street, the Industrial Designers Society of America, MIT Sloan, Pfizer, Siemens, and Thomson Financial/Reuters.


Essay Coach

Tina specializes in creating high-end experiential entrepreneurship programs for teens and adults that build bridges between participants, our startup ecosystem, universities, and community leaders. She has taught marketing at UCLA, USC, MIT, and UC San Diego, and enjoys mentoring startups, working with NGOs, essay coaching, and teaching students in the US and internationally.

Tina is deeply committed to advancing our next generation’s innovative ideas through exceptional education.

Tina has helped students gain admission to UCLA, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, UMass Amherst, UCLA Law, USC Gould School of Law, Georgetown Law, and Washington University School of Law. She has also read applications for admission to MIT.

Tina received a dual BA degree from Scripps College in Economics and German Literature and a PhD in International Marketing from the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine. After graduating from Scripps, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study Germanic Philology in Berlin.

In her spare time, Tina enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, as well as discovering wonderful new food and wine.



Let our team help your student excel academically and strategically boost their potential to get into the perfect school.