photo of Stephanie Mauro

Our Team

Stephanie Goldberg-Mauro, Owner and Founder, College Planning 101

Stephanie Goldberg-Mauro is the owner and founder of College Planning 101. With almost 10 years of college planning experience, Stephanie has helped hundreds of families get their students into the “right” college at the “right” price for their budget. Prior to starting College Planning 101, Stephanie was a VP of the Life Division at Frankel & Company in New York City where she worked with the president of the Life and Benefits Division to build and launch an individual asset protection product to complement their health benefits product.

Stephanie’s motivation to begin a career in college planning was borne of the realization that today’s college graduates are immediately faced with monthly student loan payments of $600 to $1,000+. Given her extensive financial experience and background, Stephanie knew she could help students reduce those payments, and so, College Planning 101 was created.

Stephanie’s free seminars have helped thousands of students and their families understand the challenges of managing the college application and financial aid processes. She has professionally guided hundreds of families through the complete college planning process.

Stephanie attended Berkeley College in White Plains, New York. She has a son, Patrick, and together they enjoy baseball, traveling, fishing and cooking.

photo of Meredith Madden

Meredith Madden, Academic Advisor

Meredith earned her Masters in Counseling Psychology from the University of San Francisco after graduating from the University of California at Santa Barbara with a degree in Psychology. She earned her Masters in School Counseling from Western Connecticut State University in May 2010 (after enrolling her two sons in kindergarden), and since, has held long-term substituting positions as a school counselor throughout high schools in Dutchess County. Through this experience, she realized what a difference she could make in the lives of young adults.

As College Planning 101’s lead academic advisor, Meredith brings years of counseling experience to our clients. Not only has she performed college counseling in various high schools, she also facilitated several groups and counselled students individually. Working with the high school population brings her the greatest joy. She feels this is the optimal time in these students’ lives when she can influence and help them meet their full potential, and is ardently motivated to help them in this process.

Meredith holds a Provisional Certification as a School Counselor, and is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Dutchess County Counseling Association.

In her spare time, Meredith enjoys reading, running and spending time with her children roller-blading, doing arts & crafts, and cooking.

Photo of RJ Ponesse

RJ Ponesse, Academic Advisor

RJ earned his Master’s degree in Student Affairs Counseling and Bachelor’s degree in History from SUNY Plattsburgh in upstate New York. With a background in Academic Advising, Career Advising and Admissions he has a wide array of experience to assist students through the college selection and application process. He currently is a Career & Academic Advisor at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park NY.

The main reason RJ started working with students was due to the impact his academic advisor made on his academic career in college. He attributes his academic turn around and advising style to this advisor; His goal is to have a similar impact on the students he works with. He believes in taking a holistic approach when working with students to allow them to make good sound decisions for future goals.

RJ is a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).

He currently lives in Poughkeepsie NY with his wife Kelsey and their dog. He enjoys outdoor activities especially hiking in the Hudson Valley, trying new restaurants in the local area and playing basketball.

Learn what College Planning 101 can do for your family.
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