About Us

Shannon Brady, M.Ed

Founder of TheCollegeMIND

Director of Academic & College Counseling, Brady College Counseling

With a background in academic and college counseling and a passion for guiding students through the college admissions process, Shannon has made a significant impact in the education sector. 

Shannon Brady's initiative in founding TheCollegeMIND course in 2021 is a testament to her dedication to revolutionizing college counseling and empowering students to make informed decisions about their academic futures. Her vision and passion for guiding students toward the best college options led her to establish TheCollegeMIND, a pioneering platform that offers comprehensive guidance and resources for students embarking on their college journey. The course equips students with the tools to navigate the complexities of college admissions while focusing on their personal preferences, abilities, and potential. Through TheCollegeMIND, Shannon seeks to alleviate the stress and uncertainty often associated with the college admissions process. Her innovative approach aims to provide students and families with tailored resources and support, reflecting her unwavering commitment to student success. 

Shannon's early life in Bridgewater, New Jersey, and her experience as a student-athlete at Loyola University in Maryland shaped her path toward academic and college counseling. Her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology laid the foundation for her future work in supporting students' personal preferences, abilities, and potential. After completing her undergraduate studies, Shannon pursued a Master's of Education in School Counseling, demonstrating her commitment to enhancing her professional skills. Her role as the Internship Coordinator at Fordham University's Office of Career Planning allowed her to empower students by conducting resume-writing seminars, coordinating internship programs, and providing valuable career guidance. 

Shannon's transition to a top-rated regional high school in New Jersey marked a pivotal moment in her career. As the College and Career Counselor, she established a comprehensive College and Career Center and conducted workshops and seminars to assist students and parents in post-secondary planning and the college admissions process. Her dedication and expertise made her an indispensable resource within the school community, as she provided invaluable support to grade-level counselors, students, and parents. Beyond her work in the school setting, Shannon's experience with a college consulting company further expanded her impact in the field of college counseling. Shannon's journey reflects her unwavering commitment to helping students navigate the complex landscape of college admissions and post-secondary planning. 

Shannon lives in Carlsbad, California with her husband, Brian, and son, Liam & daughters, Shae and Brynn.

You’re not alone in this college application journey!

Here are all the CollegeMIND Academic and College counselors eager and ready to help you out along the way!

Amy Whelan

Amy’s professional career began in Environmental Insurance. After working in insurance for almost three years, she wanted a career in a field where she felt she could help people and have an impact on their lives. An opportunity presented itself to pursue a new profession in college admissions. This chapter began over 17 years ago, first working for Moravian College and then Lafayette College, both small, private liberal arts colleges in Eastern Pennsylvania.
At both institutions, Amy was engaged with many aspects of the college admissions process. She was responsible for interviewing high school seniors, giving her the opportunity to get to know the students and their intellectual curiosities. Overall, reviewing college applications gave Amy the understanding on how a college looks to create their undergraduate class through the student’s academic, extracurricular, and personal statement.

After moving to North Carolina in 2008, Amy began working for Duke University as a first reader for undergraduate admissions. She then made the cross country move to sunny San Diego in 2014 and continued to work for Duke admissions until the Spring of 2017.  Amy lived in San Diego until 2019, when she moved back to North Carolina, but remained working with her California students virtually.

Working for three higher education institutions, with vastly different admissions procedures and requirements, Amy found her passion. She found Brady College Counseling and TheCollegeMind to be the ideal platform to become an academic and college counselor, assisting students and their families through the college admissions process from the other side of the desk.

Amy graduated from Bloomsburg University with a B.A. in Geography/Environmental Planning. She lives in Apex, North Carolina with her husband, Brian, and their daughter Emily. In her spare time, she loves exploring the Raleigh/Durham area, hiking and photography.

Lauren Boaz

Lauren has a passion for fostering growth, success, and self-confidence in high school students. She is dedicated to helping teenagers achieve their academic goals while enjoying a balanced life.

Lauren started teaching high school English in San Diego, California. When her husband had a work opportunity in Miami, Florida, Lauren took her teaching career to the other side of the country.  Teaching high school in Miami allowed Lauren the opportunity to focus on providing a safe learning environment for underprivileged teenagers to achieve success academically and personally. This experience drove Lauren’s passion for creating classroom culture that promotes individuality, risk-taking, open-mindedness, and comradery. Lauren moved back to San Diego and decided to further her studies by attaining certification for AP English Language and Composition. These courses helped Lauren re-discover her love for writing and editing, specifically essay compositions. Helping teenagers discover their true voice while attaining confidence in their writing, became a central drive in Lauren’s teaching. Part of her 11th grade course curriculum was dedicated to college admission essay writing. She has been a part of the UCLA Extension College & Counseling Certificate Program, completing courses in brainstorming the college essay, and structure & content.

Lauren took time off from teaching career to spend time with her growing family. However, her passion for working with teenagers did not waver. When she learned about The CollegeMIND, she knew this was perfect opportunity for her to put her experience and dedication to good use.  

Lauren is a San Diego native, having graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in English. She went on to acquire her Master’s in Education. She lives in Carlsbad, California with her husband Jake, son Jameson, and daughter Harper.

Laine O'Donnell

Laine O’Donnell graduated from Ohio University, where she played Division 1 lacrosse, with a BA in Business and minor in Spanish. She began her career working as a financial planner in a large bank in the midwest and quickly discovered that she enjoyed connecting with and supporting students in their educational and social/emotional development. She earned an M.Ed. in Education from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio and then an MA in School Counseling from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Laine has also earned in Licensed Professional Counselor credential, allowing her to provide therapy to clients of all ages.

Laine has worked as a School Counselor for the past nine years in Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia, which is the 11th largest school district in the country. In her role as a School Counselor, Laine works closely with students and families to navigate their educational goals, encouraging conversations which foster post-secondary exploration and help students align their strengths and interests with college majors and work opportunities. Laine conducts academic advising with her caseload of roughly 350 students each spring. These conversations are specific to each student and allow for students to discuss their academic areas of interests, their academic and vocational goals, and promote opportunities to discuss how to reach these goals through specific course work in high school and through their specific college selection. Utilizing technological programs such as Naviance, Laine is able to help students and families develop resumes beginning in the middle school grades. Students also utilize StrengthFinder programs which guide them through questions about their interests and strengths, and then provide them with specific career opportunities that are strong fits with their individual interests.

Working in the Northern Virginia area has allowed Laine to visit a number of colleges in the area with her students, such as Howard University, George Mason University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, and University of Maryland. Laine has also counseled students and families in the process for applying to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which is currently the top rated high school in the country. Through conversation and guidance, Laine works with families who are interested in attending TJ to understand the admissions process, which includes testing, a review of extracurricular activities that align with the classes offered at TJ, and helping them understand what college opportunities will be available to them after graduating from TJ.

Having worked virtually with students, families and colleagues this past year during the pandemic, Laine has a natural ability for connecting in the virtual space, promoting comfort for those she is working with. She is thrilled to be a part of the CollegeMIND team where she can work with students and families on their college selection journey!

Laine loves to spend time with her husband, Lucas and their three kids, Claire (7), Graham (5) and Rose (1) and their new puppy, Baker! A few of her favorite things are a hot cup of coffee, a run on a cool evening and a good book.

Kristen Wiley

Kristen has always had a strong desire to help others, and for the past 15 years has worked in the counseling field guiding students both academically and personally as they work towards their college goals. Kristen feels strongly about encouraging students to think outside the box and guiding them to find meaningful activities.  With the competitive nature of the admissions process, Kristen understands the complexities and stressors students and families face. She is committed to individualizing the process and making it manageable and enjoyable.

Kristen grew up in Syracuse, New York.  She attended college at Endicott College where she played Division III lacrosse and majored in Liberal Arts with a Psychology minor.  After graduating, Kristen worked in Boston at one of the major hospitals on a small research team supporting a research program as a research coordinator.  Looking for a new experience, she moved to the West Coast where she earned her Masters in Counseling from the University of San Diego and obtained a certificate of college counseling from the University of California San Diego- Extension School. Her journey in helping high school students took off from there.  She has worked in both private counseling as well as rigorous high schools helping all types of students in their college process. 

Kristen currently lives in Maryland with her husband Ryan and daughter Keira.  In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors running, and anything to do with organizing. 

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Find the best school for you - and get accepted!

The CollegeMIND is a step-by-step video course that will walk you through the college admission process and find the school that best aligns with your academics and interests.