The Team

Luke Taylor

Luke is Spark Prep Co-CEO and Director of Admissions Programming. He graduated with honors from Stanford University. In the past five years, he has helped hundreds of students achieve their admissions goals.

Cori Marquis

Cori is Spark Prep Co-CEO and Director of Academic Programming. Cori graduated from Stanford University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Performing Arts, Phi Beta Kappa and with distinction. Since 2008, Cori and her team have invested thousands of hours helping students reach their academic potential.

Coaches, Staff, & Advisors

Andrew Schlager

New York University (BA)

Andrew studied English and Dramatic Writing at NYU, and primarily tutors students in essay-writing. By day he works in the publishing industry.

Kevin Chaves

Stanford University (Ph.D.)

Kevin is a Spark Prep admissions essay coach and a Doctoral student in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University. He works at Stanford’s Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, and has taught undergraduate courses on Religion and Expository Writing.

Ngoc Ha Lai

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Ha is Spark Prep’s family liaison and Hanoi office manager.

Nhung Hoang

Hanoi University (BA and MA)

Nhung is Spark Prep’s family liaison, translator, and interpreter. She has her Bachelors in English Studies and Masters in Teaching Methodology from Hanoi University.

Minh Trang Tan

RMIT University (BA)

Trang is Spark Prep’s marketing specialist and communications manager. She has her Bachelors in Business Marketing from RMIT.

Luat Pham

Prague College (BA)

Luat is Spark Prep’s Special Projects Coordinator. He has his bachelors from Anglo-American University in Prague (Prague college) and his Masters in Project Management from the Foreign Trade University.

Lawrence Linker

Georgetown University (BA) and Cornell University (MBA)

Lawrence has been coaching students on how to craft outstanding MBA applications for five years, after working in private wealth management and private equity.

Jacob Shin

UC Berkeley (AB) and Columbia University (MBA)

Jacob studied Architecture at UC Berkeley before working in private equity and as an executive during the first tech boom. Prior to business school, he was a policy researcher. He serves as Country Manager in Singapore and works on our curriculum development and pedagogy team.

Julie Lythcott-Haims

Stanford University (BA) and Harvard University (JD)

Julie is a senior advisor for Spark Prep. She is the former Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising at Stanford University and serves on the boards of the college access organization Foundation for a College Education and the gap-year organization Global Citizen Year. She is the author of the New York Times Best Seller How to Raise an Adult, and Real American.

Test Prep & Tutoring

Stephanie Brandon

Yale University (BA)

Stephanie has been tutoring since 2012. She specializes in Geometry, English, and Spanish, and standardized tests including the ACT and SAT, and Chemistry, Biology, and Math II SAT subject tests.

Tom Stilwell

Yale University (BA/BS)

Tom is a Yale graduate with bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Theater Studies. While at Yale, Tom balanced his STEM-focused academic schedule with various trips around the world to lead singing workshops for children. He has taught Chemistry, Physics, and the SAT/ACT for many years, but is thrilled to take his pedagogical skills to the next level. In his spare time, Thomas enjoys performing on the stage in musicals, plays, improv shows, and concerts..

Nicole Balsam

New York University (MFA)

Nicole comes to Spark Prep with 6 prior years of tutoring, including work as an SAT/SHSAT instructor with KAPLAN Inc. Nicole's areas of expertise include Writing, History, Algebra, Earth Science, and Test Prep.

Neil Redfield

University of Delaware (BA, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa)

Neil tutors for all sections of the ACT, SAT, and all levels of math. Before working with Spark Prep he taught middle and high school students topics fundamental to careers in engineering and math.

Sophia Lazare

Northwestern University (BA)

Sophia teaches the SAT and the ACT, including Spark Prep’s Intensive class in Hanoi. She is a Fulbright Scholar with more than 8 years of experience teaching and tutoring a range of subjects, including math, French, writing, psychology, and test prep.

Hamit Özonur

Boğaziçi University (BS/MS)

After graduating with two degrees in Mathematics, Hamit has taught children, teenagers and adults at all levels of proficiency in math. His focus for the past 5 years has been SAT and ACT preparation, and he has helped hundreds of students reach their potentials during his career. He has also given seminars on Cinema and English Literature at the university level.