Meet Our Team of College Admissions Consultants
Our offices are located in Washington, DC, and Dallas, TX but we help students and families all over the world.
In founding this college admissions consulting business, we’ve combined our individual backgrounds and personalities, and put our focus directly on giving students the best and most important knowledge and advice for college.
We want to help you navigate through the college admissions process – and beyond – with expertise and a good sense of humor. Applying to college may seem overwhelming and maybe even intimidating ….but it can be a little bit fun. We like to think our advice takes the stress out of the admissions journey. We’ve been helping students and families all over the world for many years, so for us, it’s all in a day’s work!
Dr. Natalie Lundsteen, Owner/Consultant:
Natalie has a passion for advising students, with over twenty years’ experience as a college admissions advisor, administrator and faculty member. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a Master’s degree in Education, both from Boston University, and was awarded a DPhil from Oxford University (UK) for a thesis entitled ‘Learning Between University and the World of Work’, a study of the transitions college students make from academia to the workplace.
She has held a number of professional higher education posts including career counselor at Stanford University, Oxford University, and MIT; academic advisor at Stanford University and MIT; admissions consultant for the London office of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, and undertakes academic research and consulting work focused on college student development, workplace learning, skill development, and expertise in practices. She has many years’ experience advising and editing personal statements for undergraduate, graduate and professional school admissions (PhD and MBA applications a specialty), along with resume and CV development and writing cover letters for academic and non-academic employment.
Natalie has an extensive international background, having taught at the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India, and having served as Special Assistant to the President of John Cabot University, in Rome, Italy, along with living and working for eight years in the UK. She has presented academic papers at international conferences and universities across Europe and also in Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, and South Africa. Having worked with large numbers of international students and researchers at the University of Texas, Stanford, Oxford, MIT, and through Kaplan’s admissions consulting, she is comfortable in working with students from any background, whether applying for undergraduate study or a postdoctoral fellowship. She belongs to many higher education professional associations, including the American Educational Research Association, the American College Personnel Association, and the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Originally from Chicago, she now calls Dallas, Texas her home.
Brian Giroux, Owner/Consultant:
Brian has 17 years of experience in education at some of the top secondary schools and cluster programs in the United States. His previous roles as a college admissions advisor, athletic administrator, coach, and high school teacher make him uniquely suited to advise students of all different backgrounds. As a former high school basketball McDonald’s All-American Nominee, Brian has used his own experience with the recruitment process and as a four-year college scholarship athlete to help high school student-athletes make the transition to the collegiate level as easily as possible. As an athletic administrator and coach, Brian has successfully guided many student-athletes through the college application and recruitment process.
Brian has visited over 300 colleges and universities and over 175 private high schools, boarding schools, and independent schools across the United States. He has the in-depth expertise to match each student with the right institution of higher learning.
Brian is an associate member of IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association). IECA adheres to a rigorous application process for college consultants; members spend at least 20% of their time visiting college campuses and attending trainings and workshops. Brian is also a member of PCACAC (Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling, and OACAC (Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling). Brian earned his BA in History from Covenant College. Brian and his wife live in the Washington, DC metro area.
Alex Thaler, Consultant
Alex received his B.A. from UC Berkeley and his J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School. He has worked in test prep/admissions consulting for over a decade. Alex began as an SAT and LSAT instructor for the Princeton Review shortly after graduating from college in 2002. After multiple promotions at the Princeton Review he was offered a position at Compass Education, where he immediately distinguished himself by scoring a perfect 2400 on the diagnostic test. Since 2007, he has worked as an admissions consultant, with a particular emphasis on application essays.
Alex’s clients have gained admittance into Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, NYU, and a variety of other schools across the academic spectrum. He currently lives with his wife and daughter in Berkeley, California.
Kate Stricklan, Consultant
After attending a large public high school in the Washington, DC area, Kate went on to graduate from Columbia University, gaining magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa Society honors. During her time at Columbia, she was fortunate to spend her third year abroad at Cambridge University, where she studied Latin and Greek. Having enjoyed her experience in the UK so much, she returned two years later to complete a Masters in Modern Literature from the University of York. Kate has taught Latin and Classical Civilization courses at boarding schools both in the US and England. For the past six years, she has been living abroad with her family, with postings in Egypt, Norway, and currently, Malaysia and has had the privilege of working closely with refugees and asylum seekers in each country.
Kate is a member and former country chairperson for the Columbia Alumni Representative Committee, which strives to interview as many university applicants each year as possible in order to get a more personal glimpse into each candidate. In this role, she has been able to meet many top international students and assess their viability for the university. Kate also has extensive experience editing college application essays and knows how to shape a piece of writing into its clearest, most concise, and insightful form.
Dr. Evan Coopersmith, Consultant
Evan is currently a research scientist in the D.C. area working at the USDA’s Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory via a grant from NASA. His love of math and science led him to complete a degree in Operations Research and Financial Engineering from Princeton in 2006, during which he worked with students on college essays and SAT prep while serving as the editor-in-chief of Princeton’s Tiger Magazine. Applying the mathematical training of his undergraduate years, Evan completed an M.S. From the University of Illinois in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2008, specializing in environmental systems analysis (mathematical modeling and prediction of environmental phenomena). During the latter semester of his graduate studies, he co-founded a hedge fund at the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) with two college classmates, deploying similar algorithms to those he had used to model baseball games as a senior thesis project at Princeton.
Returning to academia, Evan completed a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2013 from the University of Illinois, teaching an undergraduate course in systems engineering and economics for civil engineers and subsequently, designed and taught a 500-level graduate course in advanced systems analysis (machine learning, probability theory, and other big data tools in the environmental engineering space). As a researcher, Evan worked with John Deere’s Technological Innovation Center (JDTIC) in Champaign on various agricultural modeling projects, specializing in hydro-climatology and soil moisture. Evan has performed Princeton alumni interviews with students in Champaign, the D.C. Area, and even India (via Skype).
Aroon Karra, Consultant
Aroon is currently pursuing a PhD in Biological Chemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He has been fortunate enough to have been shaped by public schools in Southern California and a liberal arts education from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. He is dedicated to helping young students pursue their goals through higher education and strongly believes learning is its own reward. Over the last few years, he has helped several people improve their writing skills by emphasizing word economy and stressing the importance of balancing both brevity and expression.
Dr. Elena Kardash, Consultant
Elena is at the University of Geneva studying 3D tissue growth in zebrafish. She has been tutoring for high school and University students since 2006 helping improving grades in math and sciences. In particular, Elena has been training students for their IB Diploma in Biology. Elena has joined the Team in 2015 as an external advisor in Europe. She is helping students from international schools achieving their best potential to meet the standards of Higher Education at the leading Universities in the US and UK.
Elena has earned her B.Sc. in Life Sciences from the University of Tel Aviv. She then moved to Germany and enrolled in the competitive program Molecular Biology at the International Max Planck Research School. She has graduated from Goettingen University with a PhD degree in Molecular and Developmental Biology in 2008. Elena’s passion in education originates from her childhood when she was tutored in math by her father, who was a great mathematician and an educator.
Kelly Loughery, Consultant
An experienced attorney, Kelly has assisted a number of international MBA and law school candidates realize their potential at prestigious universities all over the world. An LLM recipient herself, Kelly is well-versed in the LLM application process and U.S. bar examination requirements.
Kelly holds a Masters degree from Cambridge University (UK), a law degree from City University (UK) and a Masters of Law from American University in Washington, D.C. She was a Fulbright scholar, a Cambridge Overseas Trust scholar and previously worked in an EU foreign policy think tank in Germany. She currently serves as counsel to a Fortune 500 company and resides in Maryland with her twin boys.
Erin Matthews, Editor
Erin is writer and editor based in the Baltimore metro area. A graduate of Princeton University, she is a private tutor with a particular emphasis on SAT/ACT prep and college essay help. She is also the managing editor of an online proofreading company that focuses primarily on academic writing, from college applications to graduate level research. Over the past five years, she has worked with dozens of applicants on hundreds of essays to help her students express themselves as clearly and positively as possible.
Rob Kurtz, Consultant:
Rob has over fifteen years of experience working as a secondary school counselor in Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Schools. The last seven years he has been fortunate to be working at one of the best public high school in the country. He holds a Master’s in Education in School Counseling from the University of Delaware and a Bachelor of Arts from Rutgers University. Rob is dedicated to providing all his students a detailed road map to accomplish their goals of getting into the top universities. His students have gone on to MIT, UPENN, Cornell, UC Berkley, Emory, Wash U, Haverford, Stanford and many others.
Why Choose Capital College Consulting?
Together, we have visited hundreds of colleges and universities across the United States and around the world, and have dedicated our careers to working with high school and college students. We know what leads to student success and we want to help you achieve your college potential.
We also promise to give sound, ethical advice to our clients. As members of the Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Overseas Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC), and the Association of International Graduate Admissions Consultants (AIGAC) (to name just a few of the student-centered professional organizations with which we are affiliated), we will always adhere to their statements of principles and good practice.