College Funding | College Planning | Financial Aid | FAFSA | Student Loans

JOSH ULRICH

College Funding Experts Founder & CEO – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Josh Ulrich is a seasoned entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in a variety of successful and established businesses across an array of  industries. The secret to the positive culture enjoyed in the organizations he manages is simple – he has a genuine connection to the people he works with and supports.

Josh and his wife Jenny have 5 children aged from 3 to 18. As parents they understand the stressful impact and financial pressure that children’s college education can place on families.

BEN LEVINE

Certified College Planning & Financial Specialist – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Ben is a Certified College Planning Specialist (CCPS) and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP) with over 30 years of financial services experience and knowledge. Ben knows two of the biggest issues for his clients are paying for college and funding their retirement. He noticed again and again that parents were struggling to find a way to pay for their children’s college without taking on a great deal of debt or dipping into their retirement resources. Most of his clients are business owners and professionals with unique opportunities to use their business to help pay for college. He worked with CPA’s to help them understand the financial aid criteria and utilize tax credits and other tax strategies to help clients pay for college and fund their retirement.

Ben holds the title of Certified College Planning Specialist, distinguishing him as having the highest level of competency, commitment and ethics in the college planning profession.

For decades now, CFP’s, CPA’s, attorneys, insurance agents, and business managers have utilized Ben’s expertise, strategic partnerships, and cutting edge planning tools to provide their clients with strategies and solutions designed to minimize taxes and risk, reduce the cost of college and offer long term stable investment vehicles for their financial planning needs.

Craig Szabo

CPA – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Craig has practiced accounting for over 40 years and has extensive experience in many industries.  He is quite entrepreneurial and has assisted in the startup and launch of many successful companies. He has also negotiated and resolved many complex business and tax matters for clients, and has been selected as an expert witness in litigation matters. Recently, Craig has been elected as a Trustee to the Deferred Sales Trust, (DST).

TOPHER WILLIAMSON

Director of Admissions – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Topher Williamson has supported over 180 high school and transfer students for all aspects of the college prep, search and application process since 2012.
His students have been admitted to a variety of schools, some of which are: UCLA, UC Berkeley, Rice, Stanford, USC, Pomona College, Cornell, Columbia, U Penn, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, CalTech, UIUC, Emory, Duke, Vanderbilt, NYU, Santa Clara, U Michigan, UT Austin and University of Washington.
In January of 2017, Mr. Williamson launched Veritas College Advising, his own private consulting practice to provide college guidance and coaching for young adults in need of expert advising during the college search and application process. During the last 8 years, he has guided and supported over 180 students through the application process that were interested in all STEM disciplines, business, computer science, humanities, the arts as well as accelerated medical programs (BS / MD).

CHAZZ PRATT

Sports & Military Admissions – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Chazz Pratt brings a welcomed set of family experiences to College Funding Experts – specifically, he and his Wife of 31 years, Chela, have 2 children who were NCAA Student Athletes. Both children remained actively involved in many aspects of college life to include: Ad-Host providing college tours, Off-Campus Housing leadership roles, On-Air Radio Personality, and other academic activities.

Chazz, a former US Army Captain, made his military-to-civilian career transition in 1994. During that time, his wife Chela witnessed him collecting helpful hints and notes from the challenging experience of returning to civilian life, and placing this information into a manila folder. She saw him constantly sharing this research with Veterans that transitioned to civilian life after him and encouraged him to write a book based on the folder of information.

Shortly thereafter, he published The Fort Living Room Transition Course Book to help his fellow Brothers & Sisters-in-Arms make the career switch to civilian life. As a published author, his connection to the Veteran, Military Spouse, and Military Family communities developed into a unique opportunity to become 1 of 4 charter members of USAA’s Veteran & Military Spouse Community.

With over 25 years launching well-known healthcare and med-tech products as a Sales & Marketing professional, Chazz is excited to join the College Funding Experts Team! Chazz is ready to draw from the Pratt family experiences to share insights with College Funding Experts families regarding; Club Sports, Club Team Manager, College I.D. Camps, Campus Visits, Team Fund-Raising, College Road Trips, and the Military family community.

Dr. Marius Ruja

Athletics & Higher Education Advisor – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

Dr. Marius Ruja is a dynamic, self-directed medical professional with demonstrated medical expertise coupled with the innate ability to effectively educate audiences of all ages.  Ruja has worked with Olympic athletes, NFL, NBA, MLB Teams, AAU teams, travel Basketball, Nike, Under Armour and Adidas leagues.

Ruja is responsible for coordinating and providing counseling, advisement, and support to student athletes in pursuit of the academic success as a student-athletes.  He assists in the development and coordination of college funding  programs designed to enable student-athletes to receive appropriate and timely college funding assistance.

Dr. Ruja is a father of 16 children, 11 graduated college. Over 30-year Sports Chiropractic & Rehabilitation Practice with a focus on Athletes and Professional Careers in pre-med, pre-law and pre-pharmacy.  He is 25-Year Veteran Healthcare provider.  As Physician with kids, he understands the college funding processing as he is in debt with college loans today.  He is committed to educating families on college planning.

Nick Rita

Student Athletics Advisor – MEMBER ADVISORY BOARD

 

Throughout the past 13 years we have worked the highest level placement of our student athletes of all sports men’s and women’s across all division levels. We have also had the opportunity to work with many of the top athletes in the nation as you will see below with our recent Alumni short list as an example of athletes placements over the last couple years.

Day 1 to D1

At Day 1 to D1, we specialize in providing professional sports management to youth athletes. Day 1 to D1 is nationally recognized for assisting athletes and their families throughout every step of the recruiting process. Starting in the classroom, and continuing off the field with professional film evaluations/review, D1 college workouts, and meal plans to properly prepare student athletes for their highest level success. While preparing the student athlete for success the Day 1 to D1 NCAA scouts also have direct connection with every college coach in the nation to ensure professional exposure, guidance, education and opportunity at every level.

CORI SEGAL

Lead Concierge College Administrator

Cori Segal oversees student services, supporting over 500 high school and transfer students on all aspects of the college prep process since 2015.  Student Services include, personalized private student interview with a professional college counselor, written feedback provided to the parent, recommendations for the student, mentor for the college process, admission application review and assistance, admission essay review and recommendations, personalized loan manual and guidance, personalized scholarship search, unlimited access to mytuitionscore.com providing in-depth personalized college planning reports, confirm the accuracy of the student aid report (SAR), and much more.

Cori has a personal connection with our client families as she nurtures each family with individual attention, professional guidance and  a streamlined flow of constant communication.

SALLY ROMERO

Community Liaison

Sally Romero began her professional career as a public school educator and later home-educated her own four children for 14 years.

Alongside child rearing, Sally has spent the last 25 years building various relationship marketing companies. She brings to College Funding Experts her wisdom and genuine love of people from her own ten years of being in the college process with her children.

College Funding Experts Student Mentor Services
Powered by Piece of Mind College Consulting

Eileen Blattner

Eileen Blattner has been involved in education since 1967. She is currently the head of the Shaker Heights High School Guidance Department, and has been since 1985, serving as the chairman since 1990.

Eileen is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors and has presented at many of their annual meetings. She is a member of the College Board, presenting at national and regional meetings. She has also been a member of the Admission Advisory Boards at Miami University, University of Michigan, Northwestern University and Ohio State University.

Eileen is a member of the College Counselors Advisory Group for the Fiske Guide to College and has served on the Review committee for the National Merit Corporation as well as the Presidential Scholars Review Committee. She has taught workshops at Cleveland State University and John Carroll University.

Reva Levenstein

Reva Levenstein has supported more than one thousand students and their families during the college admissions process and the college years. She has an MS Ed. From the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is also Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)certified. Reva is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA).

Additionally, with fifteen years of experience in higher education as a college administrator, she also provides students an understanding of college life and the myriad of academic and support resources available to them. Her expertise includes, but is not limited to:

  • College Search and Selection
  • Major Selection
  • Application Essay Review
  • Application Review
  • Mock Interviews
  • Students with Autism
  • Resumes
  • College Life
  • Career Advising
  • Students with Learning Disabilities

Amy Ballash

Amy is the Associate Director of Student Services and an admissions counselor at POM. She works with students and families to navigate and master the college selection and application process. Taking the next steps towards college is a momentous and exciting occasion, but can also be overwhelming, and confusing, and Amy is passionate about supporting and advising families through this transition.

Amy is a licensed school counselor who has spent the majority of her career working with high school students approaching graduation. Before joining POM she served as a high school graduation counselor for 4 years, managing a roster of 400-700 students each year. During this time Amy’s responsibilities included ensuring the academic preparedness of each student for graduation, providing college/career planning and guidance. She then moved on the supervise the district’s high school counseling department.

Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Baldwin Wallace College and a Master of Education degree and license in School Counseling from Kent State University.

Joanna Fifner

As a POM admission counselor, Joanna has the rewarding role of helping students and families during the exciting college selection and admission processes. Her approach to counseling is driven by the goals and unique talents of each individual student.

Joanna has worked in the field of higher education for nearly ten years with experience in career exploration, admission, academic advising, and most recently, university outreach. She has enjoyed positions at a smaller, teaching-focused college and at a large research institution. Joanna holds Bachelor of Education with a minor in English Communication and a Master of Arts in Higher Education. She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Katie Hill

Katie Hill is the Director of Financial Aid. She has worked in financial aid for over 8 years and is experienced in working with a diverse population of students and parents. Before joining POM, Katie served as Assistant Director of Financial Aid at a small private college in Pepper Pike, Ohio. She is passionate about helping families understand financial aid, easing the stress of the financial aid process, and making the overall transition to college life a smooth process.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cleveland State University and a Master of Education with a concentration in Higher Education Administration from Tiffin University.

Moira O’Riordan

Moira O’Riordan is the Director of College Counselor at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. She has been a college counselor for fifteen years and taught at the secondary level for five years prior.
Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Founder/Member—Holy Cross College Counseling Association
  • Member — National Catholic Colleges Admission Association
  • Member — John Carroll University Advisory Board
  • Member — Thiel College Advisory Board
  • Past Member — The Ohio State University Advisory Board
  • Past Member — State University of New York at Buffalo Advisory Board
  • Past Member and Secretary 2010, Treasurer 2011, President 2012– Jesuit High School College Counseling Association
  • Member – Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Member — National Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Member — College Board

Becky Slack

Becky Slack has over 10 years of experience in the college admission field, as both a university admission counselor and a high school college counselor. She is currently the Dean of The Senney Honors Academy and also a School Counselor at Lutheran West High School in Rocky River, Ohio. These varied roles have provided a unique foundation for understanding all aspects of the college admission and financial aid process.

Becky is a member of the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling. She is also the coach for the Lutheran West Academic Challenge Team, who recently won the conference title. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of Mount Union with a Communications Degree and received her Masters Degree in Counseling from Heidelberg University. In her free time, Becky enjoys running, participating in triathlons, and spending time with her family.

Darren Rose

After almost 20 years in the world of finance in various capacities, Darren founded POM College Consulting, an experienced team that recognizes the need for a simple way to understand and navigate college planning.

POM College Consulting has one major mission–to bring peace of mind to families as they begin, explore and complete the comprehensive college planning process.

Darren also created MyTuitionScore, a unique and comprehensive college preparation tool that represents a family’s knowledge, preparedness and financial health, specific to the college investment.

Lisa Cynamon Mayers

With 15 years experience in higher education, Lisa Cynamon Mayers has worked as an admission counselor, independent college counselor, blogger, writer and speaker. Lisa worked in the Offices of Undergraduate Admission for Washington University in St. Louis and Case Western Reserve University. For the past twelve years Lisa has worked as an independent college counselor, guiding American and international high school students. Lisa was a keynote speaker at the 2008 Inside Ivy Conference in Seoul, South Korea.

Lisa served as the Academic Advisor for Intead: International Education Advantage, a boutique digital marketing agency for five years. In that role she partnered with universities to help them develop strategic marketing plans for recruiting international students.

Lisa is passionate about guiding parents and students through the college admission process. She brings a level head and calmness to an often chaotic and stress inducing process. Lisa has an ability to relate to young people and their parents, allowing everyone to navigate the process peacefully and effectively.

Jeff Levy

Since receiving his MBA from the University of Cincinnati, Jeff has been involved in B2C online enterprises for more than 15 years, from organizations ranging from start-ups to fortune 200 companies.

His eCommerce experience over this time have includes roles ranging from general management of his online start-up to oversight of application development and online customer experience.

After selling his business in 2014, Jeff was intrigued by the online opportunity to help satisfy the unmet need of families navigating the college planning process without being armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions, which led him to his work with POM & MyTuitionScore.

Michael Benz

K. Michael Benz’s work reflects his passion. He was instrumental in bringing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum to Cleveland and served as the museum’s director.

Mike is also the retired President and CEO of the United Way of Greater Cleveland, one of the largest and most innovative United Way programs in the nation.

Under his 18 years of leadership, United Way raised more than $732 million dollars to fund health and human services in the community. His career also includes 12 years as the Greater Cleveland Growth Association Executive Vice President and 7 years as COSE Executive Director.

Mike has served on several local, state and national Boards for the Chamber of Commerce, and the United Way at all levels.

Linda Ross

Linda Ross has 18 years of experience as an advisor and manager in the college access and financial aid field. She is passionate about helping students and parents understand the financial aid process so they can make the best choices for their family. She has a BA from Purdue University and an MBA from Cleveland State University.

Mike Moisio

Mike graduated from Ohio University in 1995 and since has primarily worked in Marketing and Operations Management. Mike has worked in a wide range of fields from professional sports to opening and managing new restaurants. These experiences have given him a well-rounded background into how the operation of a company works as a whole for the best chance of long term success.

Mike has also been involved in youth coaching for a number of years. He has coached High School athletes as well as recreation age children. These experiences became important because they taught him patience, understanding, and compassion. These are qualities that will always be useful in both his private and professional life.

The most important event in Mike’s life was meeting and marrying his best friend Stephanie, a teacher of 15 years. They have been married for 12 years and have been blessed with 2 beautiful girls. These life events have taught and given more to him than he ever thought possible.

Vanessa Johnson

Vanessa Johnson is the Student Services Coordinator at POM College Consulting. She is the team member who welcomes new clients and is your go-to person if you have a question and need to connect with your financial aid counselor or your admissions counselor. She’s also on the Scholarship Team at POM so she knows how to find the best scholarships for each student to save them time and money.

Vanessa Johnson holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education from The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. Her past 7 years of experience in the field of Education have included several roles and opportunities working with high school students including teaching, administrative positions such as Director of Education and Supervisory Program Specialist, and working with a team of counselors at a K-12 public school with 15,000 students.

Previous to Education, she worked as a Training Coordinator for a retail corporation. In short, helping and educating people on any subject have always been her happiest undertaking.

Lauren Brubaker

Lauren graduated from Marietta College in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a minor in Philosophy. She received her Master of Science in 2006 from The University of Akron in Applied Mathematics. During her time at UA, Lauren was a member of the math honorary Pi Mu Epsilon and Women in Mathematics. While completing her Masters research from 2005-2006, she worked as a Statistician at American Greetings in Cleveland, Ohio.

From 2006-2011, she completed coursework and research towards a Ph.D. in Engineering Applied Mathematics at The University of Akron. Her research was in Numerical Analysis and Partial Differential Equations.

She is currently A.B.D (all but dissertation), and throughout her time at Akron, was employed as a Graduate Assistant and taught many courses in the Mathematics department. Throughout this time, she had also been employed as an Adjunct Professor at various colleges around Northeastern Ohio.

From 2011-2013, Lauren was employed as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at her alma mater, Marietta College. She had the opportunity to teach courses ranging from College Algebra all the way up to Differential Equations and specialized in teaching applied courses in which the majority of the students were Petroleum Engineering majors. She is currently employed by Farmers Insurance as a Commercial Product Analyst II and began coursework in the summer of 2014 on an MBA in Finance from Tiffin University.

Brian Greene

Brian Greene has been a soccer coach at Beachwood High School since 1988. Since 1996, he has been the boys’ varsity head coach and before that the Assistant Head Coach for seven years.

During Brian’s years as head coach of the Bison, he racked up numerous coaching accomplishments. Most recently, in 2011, he was voted Greater Cleveland Division II Coach of the Year. His teams have won multiple conference championships, and he won Coach of the Year honors.

Since 1992, Brian has worked as an accountant and fraud examiner with Colagiovanni & Greene. He is also an owner of the Force Indoor Sports Facilities.

Brain is an Investment Committee Chairman for NSCAA and the Treasurer and Board Member of the Geauga Humane Society, and Miracle League of Cleveland.

.

John Aleric

John has nearly 20 years experience working with collegiate and high school students, athletes, and families. Having worked as a collegiate coach and faculty member, he brings firsthand knowledge of the collegiate admissions, recruitment and financial aid process.

Additionally, through his experiences working as a public school teacher and coach, he has helped many families navigate through the complexities of the college selection process.

John earned his B.A. from John Carroll University and a Master’s degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

He has served as a faculty/staff member at a number of universities and colleges, including the University of Illinois, Cleveland State University, John Carroll University, and The College of Wooster.

Additionally, John has been involved in a number of health and wellness related initiatives. He currently is a member of the Lake County Regional Wellness Committee and the Lake County General Health District PEP Grant steering committee.

College Funding Experts Support Team

SHEILA GILMORE

Director of Marketing

Sheila Gilmore is an award-winning savvy marketing and advertising executive with over 25 years of experience, including strategic planning, brand and campaign management, creative services, direct response marketing, event planning, market research, product. 

Sheila’s roster of work include Hallmark, Time Warner, Disney, CTN, Daytime Emmys, sports brands such as ESPN, Fox Sports Networks, Golf TV and TNT (MLB Season) and various non-profits including UNCF, Rainbow PUSH Coalition and EmpowHer Institute.

Frank Buddenbrock - Directcor of Social Media - College Funding Experts

FRANK BUDDENBROCK

SEO Manager/Webmaster

Frank has consulted with numerous legal and professional firms, online retailers, and service providers.

He has held numerous seminars demonstrating the finer, more successful SEO strategies for appearing on Google’s first page. To date, company after company after company has enjoyed Google first page status.

He is the author of “The Seven Most Costly Mistakes Lawyers Make Advertising With Google Ads.”

MICHELLE HARTHILL

Social Media Guru

Recipient/Winner – Top 50 Women of 2019!
Winner of Best Full Service Shopper Marketing Agency 2016!
Strategic visionary, executive leader who has built a successful career on the foundation of strong client relationships, problem resolution, implementation and business development, strong communication, negotiation skills, and strategic planning, brand development & consumer awareness of unique brands through strategic marketing, public relations, social media and/or advertising efforts aligned with overall objectives for the following organizations: ConAgra Foods, Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito Lay, Bumble Bee, Kimberly-Clark, Mondelez, B&G Foods, Palermo’s Pizza, White Castle, Tree House Foods, H2Rose, RX2Live, Hawaiian Springs, Vera Decoris, PhuRE and more!