About Us

Nae Tanaka, College Admissions Coach and Founder

I’m a proud University of Pennsylvania alumna, ex-Google finance professional, and former SAT instructor/survivor.

As coaches, we empower students to achieve their college dreams. We are strategic in our approach to reverse engineer the Ivy League admissions process.

Additionally, our company is founded on the idea that the college application process is a journey that teaches critical life skills. We empower students to reflect — a life skill beyond college applications.

Throughout the admissions essay writing process, your child will learn to be self-aware because knowing yourself — from your strengths to opportunities for improvements — is the first step to success.

We have high expectations, because we know your child can achieve them.

Kathy Liu, College Admissions Coach

I recently graduated from Stanford, spent a Fulbright year researching in the Netherlands, and am pursuing a Ph.D. at Harvard. Everywhere I’ve been, I’ve been guided by two passions that have been pivotal in my life: creation and empowering mentorship.

I love turning ideas into realities, especially when helping people tell their stories. Everyone has their own unique journeys; college admissions are a key chance to make them shine, with the right visions and execution.

I’m deeply passionate about mentoring younger students to grow to achieve these visions. Through my experiences leading students (including designing and teaching a new class at Stanford, helping run prestigious programs, and even leading a dance team!), my goal is always to empower people with skills that will last.

Joanne Parker, College Essay Specialist

I am passionate about learning, and believe finding the right educational path for each person is essential.

I have extensive experience teaching globally, most recently at an elite private boarding/day school. My educational aim has always been to spark an interest in history, but my overarching goal is mentoring students to learn the life-long academic and personal skills they need to grow into well-adjusted adults.

I graduated with highest honors from the Université de Paris-Sorbonne, earning a D.E.A. (Diplôme d’études approfondies). While living in France for 5 years, I was appointed the Harvard University lecturer in American history at the Université de Tours, and designed the American Studies curriculum at Weller International Business School.

Prior to that I obtained my Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees from Marquette University, triple majoring in History, Political Science, and French. I am certified in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Orton-Gillingham.

Nikolina Garača, Operations Manager

At Winning Ivy Prep, I am the person behind the scenes who designs processes and maintains systems allowing our students, their parents, and all team members to enjoy their work even more.

I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from University of Banja Luka majoring in Psychology, and I completed my studies in Social Service Work at Sheridan College as a valedictorian, receiving awards for academic and research excellence.

My interests include project management, learning sciences, youth work and counseling. I enjoy learning new skills and solving problems. People might tell you I am quite tech-savvy, but I prefer to call myself curious.

I am a firm believer in the power of self-reflection, discovering your own strengths and passions, and following them throughout life.


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