about us

About us

Spark Prep's unique approach to education and the college application process helps prepare students for a life of academic and professional mastery. Our expert team of tutors and coaches is comprised of specialists trained in every major academic discipline.

We guide students through the application process, supporting the development of well-rounded and authentic applications that reflect their unique strengths and values. Our process focuses on training intellectual rigor and interdisciplinary critical thinking skills that can be used in any field and in any geography.

Core values

Excellence and Integrity

We model integrity in everything we do – from mentoring and guiding students and families to how we run our business. Our promise is to provide the highest level of service by skilled, experienced professionals, ensuring the best possible experience and outcome from your admissions journey.

Transparency

Through strategic, targeted hard work and the support of professionals, incredible results can be achieved – and we promise to make every step of the process clear and accessible. Our staff works closely with both parents and students to ensure that everyone is on the same page from the moment you begin working with us until the moment you receive your decisions – without additional stress.

Discovery

Every member of our team is committed to a growth mindset, helping you clarify and achieve your goals while gaining a deeper sense of personal awareness, confidence, and fulfillment. But that doesn’t mean everyone goes through the same process. We tailor our programs and timeline to each individual student’s unique needs, ensuring we provide the most personalized level of service throughout your admissions journey.

Spark Prep Coaching Method

In both test prep, academic tutoring, and admissions coaching, our students reach higher results in less time than traditional programs, drawing on best practices from cognitive learning science research. We have carefully designed our programs to give students the greatest impact while leaving room in their busy lives for personal growth, civic engagement, and creative expression.

Through socratic-style dialogue, critical text analysis, guest lectures, topic workshops, and one-on-one mentorship, students receive a highly customized educational experience fit to their personality and learning style that results not just in high test scores and superlative applications, but enriched lives.

Founders of Spark Prep

staff1 Co-Founder and Director of Admissions Programming Luke Taylor

Luke is Spark Prep's Co-Founder and Director of Admissions Programming. He graduated with honors from Stanford University. Luke has been working with hundreds of Vietnamese students for nearly 10 years, helping them get accepted to top universities in the world.

staff2 Co-Founder and Director of Academic Programming Cori Marquis

Cori is Spark Prep's Co-Founder and Director of Academic Programming. She graduated from Stanford University with a B.A in Psychology and Performing Arts, Phi Beta Kappa and with distinction. Cori has expertise in test preparation, especially SAT and ACT. Many of her students were successful in earning the highest possible scores on standardised tests.

Our team

Joon Park,Columbia University Joon Park Columbia University
Kevin Chaves,Stanford University (PhD, MA), Occidental College (BA) Kevin Chaves Stanford University (PhD, MA), Occidental College (BA)
Noah Morgenstein,Columbia University (BA) Noah Morgenstein Columbia University (BA)
Tim Dalzell,Ohio University (MA) Tim Dalzell Ohio University (MA)
Jacob Shin,UC Berkeley (AB) and Columbia University (MBA) Jacob Shin UC Berkeley (AB) and Columbia University (MBA)
An Nguyen,Johns Hopkins University (PhD), Harvard Graduate School of Education (Master's) and Mount Holyoke College (BA) An Nguyen Johns Hopkins University (PhD), Harvard Graduate School of Education (Master's) and Mount Holyoke College (BA)
Viet Anh Tran,Wabash College (BA) Viet Anh Tran Wabash College (BA)
Neil Redfield,University of Delaware (BA, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) Neil Redfield University of Delaware (BA, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa)
Nicole Balsam,New York University (MFA) Nicole Balsam New York University (MFA)
Charles Fajardo,Philippine Christian University (PhD), University of Birmingham (MS), and The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (BS) Charles Fajardo Philippine Christian University (PhD), University of Birmingham (MS), and The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (BS)
Ginny Ip,Northwestern University Ginny Ip Northwestern University
Thuy Vu,University of Auckland (MS) Thuy Vu University of Auckland (MS)
Ngoc Anh Cao,University of Salford Ngoc Anh Cao University of Salford
Sam (Lien) Nguyen,University of Pennsylvania Sam (Lien) Nguyen University of Pennsylvania
Ha Le,Clemson University (MS) Ha Le Clemson University (MS)
Tran Nguyen,Boston University (MSc) Tran Nguyen Boston University (MSc)
Hien Tran,University of Lincoln (MSc) Hien Tran University of Lincoln (MSc)
Linh Vu,Vietnam National University - Hanoi (BS) Linh Vu Vietnam National University - Hanoi (BS)
Trang Hoang,Foreign Trade University (BS) Trang Hoang Foreign Trade University (BS)
Linh Nguyen,Bennington College (BS) Linh Nguyen Bennington College (BS)
Joon Park,Columbia University

Joon Park

Columbia University

Admissions Coach

Joon has worked for over a decade in test prep, admissions counseling and career mentorship for high school, university, and graduate school students. He holds an MBA from Columbia University, a B.S.E. in Finance from the Wharton School, and a B.A. in Economics with a Philosophy minor from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. Besides education consulting, he has more than 30 years of experience in Finance and Risk Management at global corporations in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and China.

Kevin Chaves,Stanford University (PhD, MA), Occidental College (BA)

Kevin Chaves

Stanford University (PhD, MA), Occidental College (BA)

Admissions Coach

Kevin Chaves has been a Spark Prep admissions essay coach since 2016. He holds a PhD from Stanford University in Religious Studies, with a specialty in Continental Philosophy, phenomenology, and interpretation theory. While at Stanford, Kevin worked as a writing tutor at the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, and has over 7 years of experience teaching and tutoring writing both for academics and admissions.

Noah Morgenstein,Columbia University (BA)

Noah Morgenstein

Columbia University (BA)

Admissions Coach

Noah is a licensed social studies teacher with additional experience in college admissions coaching and SAT tutoring. Outside of Spark Prep, Noah teaches IB/IGCSE history and economics at an international school in Shanghai. He graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Economics and Political Science. During summer and winter breaks, he also helps run field programs throughout rural China that connect high school students with local organizations that aim to preserve traditional culture, develop local economies, and conserve natural habitats.

Tim Dalzell,Ohio University (MA)

Tim Dalzell

Ohio University (MA)

Admissions Coach

Tim is a Spark Prep instructor in Saigon. He holds a Master of Arts degree in English Studies from Ohio University and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education from the University of Nottingham. Tim has been in international education for 10 years and has worked in English Test Prep and English Language Arts in international schools in Ho Chi Minh City. Tim has served as the SAT Test Coordinator at an international school in Saigon and has coached teams of students for World Scholar’s Cup who went on to reach the final round at Yale University.

Jacob Shin,UC Berkeley (AB) and Columbia University (MBA)

Jacob Shin

UC Berkeley (AB) and Columbia University (MBA)

Academic Coach

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.

An Nguyen,Johns Hopkins University (PhD), Harvard Graduate School of Education (Master's) and Mount Holyoke College (BA)

An Nguyen

Johns Hopkins University (PhD), Harvard Graduate School of Education (Master's) and Mount Holyoke College (BA)

Admissions Coach

An Nguyen is a current Admissions Coach at Spark Prep. As a former school counselor, she worked with high school students, both in Vietnam and the U.S., to help them strategize for their high school careers as well as for their college research and application. Additionally, she has taught courses dedicated to self-exploration, goals setting and future planning. She hopes to inspire students to explore and grow during the admissions process, and consequently to thrive during and after college. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Education from Mount Holyoke College, and a Master’s in Prevention Science and Practice (Adolescents Counseling) from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD in Education at Johns Hopkins University.

Viet Anh Tran,Wabash College (BA)

Viet Anh Tran

Wabash College (BA)

Admissions Coach

Viet Anh is a University Admissions Coach at Spark Prep. He has 5 years of experience in admissions coaching and has worked with 100+ high school students from diverse backgrounds, helping them land offers at multiple prestigious American universities (such as Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Amherst, Middlebury). He is also a Career Coaching Manager at Career Pass Institute, where he coaches Vietnamese college students in the US on their job & internship application process. He had working experience at Boston Consulting Group (top 3 global management consultancy), where he advised top-tier clients in banking, private equity, insurance and energy. Viet Anh holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Financial Economics and Electronic Music from Wabash College.

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

Neil Redfield

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

SAT/ACT Instructor

Neil tutors 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.

Nicole Balsam,New York University (MFA)

Nicole Balsam

New York University (MFA)

Academic Coach

Nicole has over 10 years of private tutoring experience. Prior to joining Spark Prep, she served as an SAT/SHSAT instructor with KAPLAN Inc. Nicole specializes in helping students with their writing skills primarily across English, History, and College Applications. When she is not tutoring Nicole is a professional recruiter and career coach. She is also an accomplished actress having appeared off-broadway and in several Netflix and Amazon films.

Charles Fajardo,Philippine Christian University (PhD), University of Birmingham (MS), and The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (BS)

Charles Fajardo

Philippine Christian University (PhD), University of Birmingham (MS), and The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (BS)

Instructor

Charles is one of Spark Prep’s class instructors in Saigon. He holds a PhD from Philippine Christian University in Strategy Management, and a master degree in Public Economic Management and Finance from University of Birmingham. He has been teaching for more than 10 years at university level, and is loved by many of his students.

Ginny Ip,Northwestern University

Ginny Ip

Northwestern University

Writing Instructor

Ginny is a writing instructor at Spark Prep, based in Hong Kong. She holds a BA in Economics from Northwestern University and has six years of English tutoring experience. She is an avid reader and poet, and is currently writing her first book.

Thuy Vu,University of Auckland (MS)

Thuy Vu

University of Auckland (MS)

IELTS/TOEFL Instructor

Thuy is Spark Prep's IELTS and TOEFL tutor. She has her master degree in Professional Studies in Education, and was awarded New Zealand Government Aids Scholarship. She has been working in English for Specific Purposes Department in Hanoi University since 2006. Her major areas of teaching are English and International Studies. Apart from regular work at the university, she also involves in training programs of the Ministry of Education in enhancing English capacity and teaching competence of English teachers nationwide.

Ngoc Anh Cao,University of Salford

Ngoc Anh Cao

University of Salford

IELTS Instructor

Ngoc Anh is Spark Prep’s IELTS Instructor. She completed her Master degree at University of Salford in 2016 and has been working as an English teacher at a private school in Hanoi ever since. Ngoc Anh has extensive teaching experience both in the class and in private one-on-one tutoring. With her dedication and keen eyes for detail, she strives to help students achieve their desired band score within the shortest period of time possible by creating an exciting yet productive learning environment.

Sam (Lien) Nguyen,University of Pennsylvania

Sam (Lien) Nguyen

University of Pennsylvania

Sam is Spark Prep's writing instructor and admissions coach. Sam has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Northwestern University. Currently pursuing a graduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, she is double majoring in Non-profit Leadership and International Education, deepening her understanding of holistic learning environments. Boasting over 5 years of hands-on experience, Sam has mastered the art of providing effective writing instruction to students navigating the complex world of college applications.

Ha Le,Clemson University (MS)

Ha Le

Clemson University (MS)

Chief of Staff

Ha is Spark Prep's Chief of Staff. She has a Master's degree in Applied Economics and Statistics from Clemson University, South Carolina. She has extensive experience working in education in the US, Australia and Vietnam.

Tran Nguyen,Boston University (MSc)

Tran Nguyen

Boston University (MSc)

Head of Admissions Planning and Activities Coach

 

Tran is the Head of Admissions Planning and Activities Coach at Spark Prep. She holds a B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Public Relations and an M.S. in Global Marketing Management from Boston University.

 

Currently, she is pursuing a graduate degree at University of Pennsylvania. Tran has extensive experience in the fields of communication and education, having worked as a branch general manager, strategist, and mentor. She has a passion for writing and also works as a freelance content writer. Drawing from her own experiences of applying to and studying in the US since high school, Tran is well-equipped to assist students in completing their applications on time and adjusting to school life abroad.

Hien Tran,University of Lincoln (MSc)

Hien Tran

University of Lincoln (MSc)

Head of Marketing and Business Development

 

Hien holds a Bachelor's degree in International Politics & Diplomacy, with a minor in International Communications from the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and a Master's in Marketing with Luxury Brands from the University of Lincoln in the UK.

 

Hien's professional path has been closely intertwined with the education industry. Her roles have ranged from marketing to education consulting and promotion, representing her deep appreciation for the transformative power of education. As the Head of Marketing & Business Development at Spark Prep, Hien is at the helm of marketing activities, admissions, strategic partnerships and more. She's commitment to driving excellence in education & business through collaborations and conversations that align with Spark Prep's mission of providing top-tier education. 

Linh Vu,Vietnam National University - Hanoi (BS)

Linh Vu

Vietnam National University - Hanoi (BS)

Marketing

Linh is Spark Prep’s Content and Marketing Officer. She is responsible for digital content creation, social media management, and communication support of Spark Prep Viet Nam. Linh holds a Bachelor's Degree in International Studies from the University of Social Sciences and Humanities - Vietnam National University.

Trang Hoang,Foreign Trade University (BS)

Trang Hoang

Foreign Trade University (BS)

Student Experience Coordinator

Trang graduated from Foreign Trade University and was a student of A1 Hanoi-Amsterdam high school for the gifted. In the past, she took part in coordinating British council's programs for the Youth such as English summer camps, cultural exchange programs and community work. She has about ten years experience in teaching English, supporting scholarships, and developing English center. She was also a project manager, translator and interpreter in different projects before joining Spark Prep.

Linh Nguyen,Bennington College (BS)

Linh Nguyen

Bennington College (BS)

Student Experience Coordinator

Linh is a Student Experience Coordinator at Spark Prep. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Public Policy from Bennington College, where she worked as an Admission Assistant Officer for a year. Through her college years, she had 3-year experience in VietAbroader, helping hundreds of Vietnamese students navigate their college applications and lives abroad. Before joining Spark Prep, she also spent 3 years working as a College essay specialist and Educational consultant.

Memberships

Spark Prep is a member of HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association) and IACAC (International Association for College Admission Counseling).

heca
acac

Partnerships

cpi
lumiere
inspirit
Sông An

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community
Office address

Hanoi: 4th floor, 102-104 Lang Ha, Dong Da District
HCM: Toong Tan Hung, F16 Street No. 10 Him Lam Urban Area, Tan Hung Ward, District 7

phone
Hotline
098 788 1080
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