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Meet the Team

Meet our College Counseling Team

Meet the team who help our students and their families as they complete the college process.

Jessica Smith
Director of College Counseling
[email protected] | (610) 399-7930

I applied early decision to Mount Holyoke College because I was looking for a great school where students loved learning and were supportive of each other. The fact that it was a women’s college was an afterthought, but it turned out to be one of the most compelling aspects of my college experience. After Mount Holyoke, I went to University of Pennsylvania to get my Master’s Degree in Secondary Education. This was a very different place from Mount Holyoke, and I mostly enjoyed the contrast between a small liberal arts college and large urban university. From there, I taught English in public and private schools for 15 years before becoming a college counselor. After visiting over 100 colleges, I’ve come to realize that there are multiple great schools for every student, and I love helping students along their paths of discovery.

Debra Weaver
Registrar/College Counseling Coordinator
[email protected] | (610) 399-7938

My mother thought the college search was a hobby and I was on over 50 campuses in middle school and high school. I fell in love with a few but always felt most at home at Gettysburg College, though at first it was not my first choice (I was waitlisted at my first choice). I loved every minute of four years at Gettysburg College, was a double major, and was heavily involved in extracurricular activities including as an Admissions intern. My advisor(s) pushed me to explore Student Affairs as a career. I returned to West Chester University to get my Master’s Degree in Education, Counseling-Higher Education. It was very different from my small, liberal arts roots, but I quickly learned and appreciated a new level of diversity in the hard working students there. I have worked in Service-Learning, Greek Life, Leadership, Student Activities, Alumni Relations, and Career Development at West Chester University, Franklin & Marshall College, Neumann University, and Rosemont College. I love working with students and helping them grow to identify their interests and take the next step. I have been engaged in the college search process as a parent of a student-athlete for the past year and have learned so much more.

Marje Ireland
Associate Director of College Counseling
[email protected] | 610-399-7927

My family is originally from Haiti. In Haiti, students take the national exam and depending on their scores, will determine the college they will attend. My mother went to nursing school in Canada to earn her B.S./R.N. degree. My parents immigrated to the United States in the late 1960s. Fast forward to my college search, my mother especially was confused with the process. She could not understand why some colleges wanted interviews, some colleges wanted essays, and some colleges just wanted my admission application. After receiving a full academic scholarship to Providence College, I went on to college admissions work as my first professional job. I worked full-time at Villanova University and completed my master’s degree in Human Service Administration at the same time. Years later, I completed my doctorate degree at Saint Joseph’s University in Educational Leadership while working at Bryn Mawr College as Director of Undergraduate Admissions. My college search and my parents’ reaction to the process are the reasons why I ended up in college admission. It is not surprising that later in my career I naturally transitioned to working directly with high school students and their families as a college counselor. Whether visiting colleges, serving on college advisory boards (University of Pittsburgh), or sitting with students reading their essay, I enjoy what I do, it is a calling. Instead of translating for my parents, I now translate for students the complex world of college admission.

Joaquim Hamilton
Associate Director of College Counseling
[email protected] | (610) 399-7936

Finding Franklin & Marshall College took a bit of luck for me. I attended a relatively large high school, so I couldn’t begin to tell you who my guidance counselor was. I’m also a first-generation college kid, so my understanding of the college and the college admissions process was limited at best. I had never heard of Franklin & Marshall until I received an invitation to visit from the head basketball coach, Glenn Robinson. After a fall visit to campus senior year, I knew this is where I wanted to go. It just felt right. The visit and the subsequent four years were incredible. After graduating from F&M, I began my career in college admissions working at York College of Pennsylvania as the Assistant Director for Multicultural Recruitment. After four years at York College, I decided to move closer to my hometown of Philadelphia and took on a similar position, Assistant Dean and Director of Multicultural Recruitment, at Swarthmore College. Swarthmore is where I learned about highly selective admissions, and how different that process can be for students. After my time at Swarthmore, I decided to use what I learned from my admissions experience and share that with first-generation, low-income students at a non-profit organization called Philadelphia Futures. At Futures I held the role of Director for the College Connection program, and this is where I was able to help students who had less familiarity with the process, connect the dots to pursuing a college education. That same sentiment of helping students “connect the dots” is what brought me here to Westtown as the Associate Director of College Counseling. Being on this side of the desk allows me to provide insight into the process while helping students find the right place for them to spend the next four years of their lives.

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