Kelsey Foster

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I joined as executive director in September 2017.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I set the organization’s strategy, motivate the team, and do whatever is required to support our amazing staff to execute our mission.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

The opportunity to be part of an organization that has student access and success at the heart of the mission.

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. We are not in the business of lining our pockets; we exist to help young people achieve their educational goals. There are plenty of competitors in the market that promise the moon and charge an arm and a leg – yet under-deliver. We have 35+ years of proven success, are far more affordable, and focus on strategies that transcend socioeconomic background and prior academic success.

 


 

Nelson Robinson

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College?

In 1984, I moved from the University of Iowa’s Center for Educational Experimentation, Development, and Evaluation (CEEDE) to a startup company named Profiles Corporation, which was developing an ACT workshop for high schoolers. Profiles Corporation spun off a company known as ZAPS Learning Company, which became Doorway to College and – in 2015 – Doorway to College Foundation. The workshop has evolved into a five-hour seminar and also prepares students for the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT)/PSAT. 

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I am responsible for day-to-day bookkeeping activities and long-term financial planning. And, on snowy days, you might find me clearing the sidewalks!

 

What do you love most about working here? 

I appreciate the feedback we receive: the excitement of students telling us how our program and our excellent instructors exposed the mystery of standardized tests and provided confidence. Their comments validate that Doorway to College Foundation is fulfilling its mission of helping students prepare for lifelong learning. 

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Our centered moral compass. We’re in business to help students. Our partner schools appreciate the fact that we offer great preparation at a reasonable price. Our five-hour seminar provides students with what they need to know. Our take-home practice materials provide tools to prepare on their own.

 


 Josh Crittenden

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I’ve been with the team for 15 years.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I create partnerships with new districts and schools. I spend time developing relationships with administrators to train school staff so they can develop their own in-house prep with our materials. I also work with schools to bring our instructors in and deliver test-prep strategy seminars.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

The positive feedback we receive from students, parents, and schools. It has always been fantastic. It's great to hear about a student raising his or her ACT or SAT score and meeting a goal.

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Hands down: Our proven results and affordability. Students can sit in our five-hour seminar for under $100 and immediately raise their scores. We see it time and time again. You can’t beat our price, low time commitment, or results.

 


 Adam Smith

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

Since November 2018 as a member of the fabulous team; however, I've used Doorway to College with students, programs, and communities since 2000.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

My role is to build national coalitions aimed at advancing the Foundation’s mission of post-secondary access and success for everyone who has that goal.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

The lasting impact we make on the lives of real students, their families, and communities.

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Our results are unparalleled – especially related to the overall cost of our five-hour seminars, as well as our willingness and ability to train and certify educators to integrate our proven strategies into their curricula so all students can achieve amazing results.

 

 


Ali Casella

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I've been with the Foundation since January of 2020. Previously, I held positions at Mount Mercy University and the University of Iowa's Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures. 

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I get to roll up my sleeves by sifting through several roles. Externally, I create partnerships with community organizations that may join in our efforts to provide access and opportunity. Internally, I conduct quantitative/qualitative research, coordinate resources, develop new initiatives, and assess operations.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

There's a lot of really important work to be done here, and with stellar teammates who have amazing wellsprings of experience. I have a strong professional pull toward working with low-income students along their path to a college education. Working for a 501(c)(3) organization means we focus our efforts on the collective mission of addressing achievement disparities and inequities. Every day, I get to carve out a new initiative, propose a new idea, or dive into a data project to produce meaningful results. 

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

We hold ourselves and our offerings to incredibly high standards, serving to level the playing field for high school students regardless of ability, background, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or English-language level. This is achieved by being accessible to all students in terms of where we work and what it costs to engage with our learning modules. We meet students where their greatest needs are: we engage with families in meaningful ways, offer scholarships to deserving students, and offer holistic test-prep strategies to students.

 

 


Jay Meier

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I have been in my current role for just under four years, but I've taught Doorway to College seminars since February 2003 and did so continuously during my time as a teacher, principal, and college administrator before coming on full time.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I make sure instructors and schools have what they need for classes to be successful. The end goal is to create an engaging environment where learning can occur. That means making sure instructors are well trained and confident in the materials they present. It also means communicating effectively with school stakeholders about our mission and what we will achieve with their students.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

It may sound cliché, but I love the people. This includes the instructors we have who teach our classes, the contacts we have at schools, and the students I meet when I have the opportunity to teach. 
Being around people who believe education is important is what makes me love my job.

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Our experience and our caring. We try to help as many students as possible and are very specific about who we put in contact with students. Most of our instructors are former teachers; as we evolve as an organization, their expertise and experience are used to make classes better and more engaging. 

 


 Carol Braker

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I have been working with the Foundation for seven years.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I teach seminars and train teachers across the country to provide our test-prep tips to their own students.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

I love seeing students who come into a seminar very worried about the ACT or SAT and then leave the seminar feeling confident that they know what to do to get a better score.  

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Our instructors are devoted to making sure each student gets the most out of our quick and intense test-prep seminars. I also love our StudySmart seminar, which reminds students of all the ways they can make studying faster and more effective. 

 


Mary Brown

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I have been working as the office and operations manager for 23 years.

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

Given my longevity of employment, I have been able to grow and change our offerings as the needs of students change as well. I oversee all office operations as they relate to customer service, mailing services, sales support, and traveling instructor support. The bottom line: I make sure our processes and procedures provide a good customer experience.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

I work with a very talented group of people who support our mission to bring test prep to as many college-bound students as possible across the United States.

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

We work directly with a contact at each school who has the same passion we do: to help students get into the college of their choice.

 


Dianne Baker

 

How long have you been with Doorway to College? 

I have been working with the Foundation since the fall of 2005!

 

Name something you do to help students thrive.

I handle student seminar registrations, incoming questions from callers, seminar transfers, refund requests, etc. I also ensure accuracy of seminar mailers before they’re printed or emailed to parents and schools.

 

What do you love most about working here? 

I love working with this team of dedicated employees and seminar presenters! They bring a wide variety of special talents to the company, along with expertise that motivates us all!

 

What sets us apart from our competition? 

Our desire to provide affordable, effective college entrance test-prep seminar to all students as they make the transition from high school to college – and then on to a successful career.