Felicia Fahey, PhD, Founder
Felicia graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Comparative Literature and completed a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of The Will to Heal: Narrative Recovery in the Novels of Latina Authors and of numerous academic articles. Her academic experience, in learning, teaching and advising spans the Small Ivy Leagues, faith affiliated colleges, and both public and private educational institutions worldwide. She currently serves as a Director of Independent Studies at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Felicia is fluent in Spanish and has lived abroad in Vienna, Madrid, and Buenos Aires.
Felicia has a unique gift for connecting with students and their families to facilitate their desired academic trajectories. With a solid understanding of the complex, competitive and stressful academic environment for this generation of young people, Felicia creates a safe, structured process and elicits the essential qualities that bring student applications to life. As a college instructor of creative writing, autobiographical narrative, and expository composition, Felicia's work is grounded in multiple teaching methodologies and current practices in academia shaping the admissions process, classroom learning, career development and graduation trends.
In an effort to improve access to college for all families, Felicia presents many times a year on various topics for libraries and public high schools throughout the Bay Area. Additionally, Felicia offers her advising and workshops to underserved communities and provides comprehensive pro bono consulting to selected students.
Meg Levad, MFA, San Francisco Advisor
Meg Levad directs the San Francisco office. Meg received her BA in English from The University of Iowa, then earned her MFA in poetry at the University of Michigan. The author of Why We Live in the Dark Ages and What Have I to Say to You, her poems and essays have appeared in Boston Review, Granta Online, Poem-a-Day, and Tin House, among other places. She is currently at work on a book about rural America in 1987, for which she was awarded a Summer 2017 MacDowell Colony Fellowship.
Meg has taught writing, literature, ecology, and ethics in a variety of settings (including on top of Mt. Washington, the windiest peak in the U.S.). She has also worked in student development in many different capacities, including on the admissions team at NYU and as the Assistant Director of the Helen Zell Writers' Program at Michigan. She enjoys using Felicia’s process to help students identify the moments that have shaped their character and perspective so that they can craft college essays that showcase their unique gifts and goals. Meg coaches students through the writing process in workshops and weekly meetings that focus on developing a distinct voice and organizing ideas for compelling impact. This summer she is running writing workshops in San Francisco and the East Bay. Stay tuned for updates on these additions!
Bonnie Swift, MFA, Seattle Advisor
Bonnie grew up in the Pacific Northwest and holds a BA from Stanford University as well as an MFA from Konstfack in Sweden. For eight years, she was a senior editor for the Stanford Storytelling Project, where she advised undergraduates in the production of a weekly podcast. Bonnie is an experienced editor, mostly working within the genres of academic publication and memoir. She is also collaborating with a research team at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center to launch a study of the benefits of storytelling for cancer patients and their caregivers.
In tandem with Felicia, Bonnie guides students individually to approach the college application process as a rite of passage and a vehicle for creative self discovery. Her goal is to help her students become better writers by coaching them in the mechanics of narrative and persuasive writing. Through weekly one-to-one meetings, Bonnie helps students to brainstorm, draft and revise their college essays.
Stephanie Soileau, MFA, Portland Advisor
Stephanie Soileau has a BA in English from the University of Chicago and an MFA in fiction writing from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Oxford American, Ecotone, Tin House, New Stories from the South, and other journals and anthologies, and has been supported by fellowships from Stanford University, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow in the Wallace Stegner Fellowship Program, the Camargo Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
She has taught humanities, literature and writing courses at Stanford University, the University of Iowa, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the City Colleges of Chicago, and the University of Southern Maine. She has also taught middle and high school students through various programs, including Stanford's Education Program for Gifted Youth (EPGY) and Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth (CTY).
Vivienne Walshe, MFA, Los Angeles Advisor
Vivienne has been a professional writer and actress for twenty years. She has worked in
television, film and the theatre, touring through Asia, Europe and the U.S. A graduate
of the highly regarded acting school, WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ACADEMY OF
PERFORMING ARTS, whose alumni include Hugh Jackman and Tim Minchin, she now
lives in Los Angeles.
Her first play, God’s Last Acre, won the Malcolm Robertson Award and was given a
main stage production at Malthouse theatre in 2002. It was published by Currency Press.
Her latest play, This is Where We Live, won The Griffin Theatre Award and had a full
season at the Griffin Theatre, Hothouse Theatre, South Australian Theatre Company and
had since been performed in Toronto, New York and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It
won best play at the New York Fringe Festival in 2014. Among other projects, Vivienne is currently adapting Ann Hood’s novel, THE KNITTING CIRCLE for Katherine Heigl, under the production of Zero Gravity Management.
Vivienne has taught Shakespeare and run theater workshops for high school students as
part of the Melbourne Theatre Company’s Educational touring program. She has worked
with Felicia to develop the personalized writing approach of her team and will join us this
year to guide students interested in writing, the humanities and the performing arts.
Jill Reyna-Jones, Editor/Branding Specialist, Pasadena Advisor
Jill Reyna-Jones directs the Pasadena office. Jill grew up in Los Angeles and holds a BA from UC Berkeley. She brings over 15 years of experience in communications, marketing, and content development for National Geographic, medical research institutions, museums, startups, and educational organizations. Her own writing and editing background spans works in fiction, non-fiction, academic writing, technical writing, editorial, and script writing. Jill spent years helping individuals and companies to identify and breathe new life into their unique vision and mission.
Jill loves working with young students to support their creative process and to provide them with insightful advice about how they can present their own personal perspective and to see that they are already in the process of creating their own "brand". Her goal is to empower her students to write thoughtfully, applying their genuine, nuanced voice in a well-crafted and compelling essay.