President, Breakaway Prep
Rick is a graduate of Northwestern University where he majored in economics. He later returned to Northwestern to get his MBA and today likes to use fancy business terms like "brand-awareness," "fixed costs," and "delegation." Before opening the Chatham, NJ office of Collegewise in May, 2006, Rick spent ten years as the national Vice President of Operations for The Princeton Review. During that tenure, he traveled to offices around the country and today has very strong opinions as to the finest hole-in-the-wall dining establishments in over forty cities. Rick has spoken to thousands of students, parents, teachers and administrators about the college admissions and testing process and steadfastly maintains that sausage is the only acceptable topping for pizza.
Director of College Counseling
Amanda majored in psychology at Middlebury College where she also spent roughly 2,136 hours staring at the bottom of the pool in the college natatorium. When Amanda was a swimmer back in the day, she captained Middlebury's team and earned NCAA All-American honors. After graduation, Amanda entered the wonderful world of college admissions. She served as Director of College Placement for an independent school in the suburbs of Washington, DC and as Assistant Director of Enrollment Management within the University of Maryland system, where she earned her master's degree in Higher Education. During that stretch of time, she was lucky enough to see lots of applications on both sides of the process. In 2006, Amanda emerged from the stacks of application folders and relocated to New Jersey. She followed her underlying passion and began working on her own to help families navigate the college admission process. Despite her time in the South (ask any Rhode Islander-Washington, DC is definitely the "Deep South"), Amanda is enjoying life as a jersey girl, but remains a steadfast Patriots and Red Sox fan.
Amy graduated as a Biology major from Cornell University. She went on to get her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania and practiced corporate healthcare law in NYC for ten years. Beginning with her own college search, she helped friends with college choices and applications because she liked helping others with organization and finding their voice in writing. She continued helping friends, acquaintances and relatives find and apply to colleges and programs in her free time, assisting healthcare organizations with licensure and certification applications and writing, reading and editing legal arguments on anything related to healthcare regulation for gainful employment. Amy decided that assisting students in navigating the college process was much more fun than those many legal applications and arguments. She went back to school, online, and received her College Counseling Certificate from UCLA, sometimes wishing she was in L.A. rather than at her kitchen table. In her free time, Amy can be found skiing with her family, playing paddle and driving her two teenage daughters back and forth from their many activities.
Jen is a NJ native. She grew up in Short Hills and New Vernon and is one of 5 kids who attended Oak Knoll School in Summit. But, before she migrated back to the area, Jen spent most of her high school and college years traveling the globe with the US national soccer team to countries like China, Mexico, Germany and Thailand. However, her favorite place on earth is Charlottesville, VA where she spent her undergraduate college years as an English major at the University of Virginia. Oh and she also played a little soccer at UVA as well (8 out of the 10 months of the school year to be exact). After receiving her MA at Boston College in 2012, Jen and her husband decided to head back to NJ and settle down in Chatham.
Jen has worked with high school and college students in a variety of settings; at Boston College she worked with academic affairs to help student athletes navigate the challenging academic curriculum, at Nightingale-Bamford School a New York City Private school and then at the Drew University Counseling Center. Once she found her way back to NJ, Jen was eager to continue working with HS students and help counsel them through the college process. When she’s not strategizing with students on how to tackle their mountain of supplements or going through primary essays with a fine tooth comb, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband, reading, dreaming of traveling again, or squeezing in any form of exercise.
Jersey born and bred, Katie graduated from Princeton, where she majored in American history, played left wing on the field hockey team, and served as a resident advisor for freshmen. After a Rotary Scholarship to England and a stint editing research reports in the financial industry, she worked in the pharmaceutical industry and completed her MBA in Marketing and International Business at NYU. She’s been a consultant, volunteer, and Chatham field hockey and lacrosse youth coach. Katie was an active member of Princeton’s Alumni Schools Committee for 25+ years, and has survived the college process with two of her three daughters. She loves to conduct mock interviews (and tell students what she was thinking on the other side of the table), brainstorm and proofread essays, and help students highlight their strengths as they complete their applications. In her free time, Katie reads college admission blogs for fun and walks her golden doodle, Clover.
Chao received his fundamental math training in China, where he amassed an enormous arsenal of math tricks and mastered the art of test-taking. He graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa from University of Maryland with a degree in mathematics. While at Maryland, he received a prestigious scholarship and became one of the very few undergraduate teaching assistants. He imparted the wisdom of calculus to his fellow Terrapins and won their loyalty with his skills in breaking down intimidating problems, giving adrenaline-inducing pep talks and organizing mouth-watering pizza parties. He has been helping students ace their math exams ever since, and he still enjoys watching their eyes light up when they have their “Aha!” moments. Chao listens to classical music and believes that a proper car should have manual gears and three pedals, just like a proper piano.
Justin Emanuel is the director of Breakaway Prep’s office located in the heart of Madison, NJ. He has a BA in Psychology with a research focus in Adolescent Development and Coping from the University of Delaware…Go Blue Hens! He has worked as an English and Reading tutor throughout and after college, including the last two years with Breakaway Prep, and remains way too excited whenever his students use participle and appositive phrases properly. When he’s not tutoring, editing papers or reading the latest news about the SAT/ACT, Justin likes to unwind by catching up on his beloved Washington Nationals and Wizards, trying to catch up on his backlog of books to read, and desperately trying to catch his puppy and best friend, Gus.
Where We Are
The thing I really appreciated about Breakaway Prep was their flexibility. If there was a track meet or play rehearsal, tutoring schedules could be rearranged. And I think it was the regular practice tests and personal feedback that made it possible for two of my kids to take the SATs once and be done with it.