Our Team

Jay Benanav - Founder

Jay is a longtime college consultant and is committed to helping families find the right academic, social and financial fit. He served on the St. Paul City Council for 10 years, has a law degree from St. John’s Law School and has attended Harvard School of Government and Columbia University School of Business.

Jay’s wife Lucy is a clinical social worker and a former teacher in the St. Paul Public Schools. They have three sons all of whom have attended and graduated from college with very little debt.

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Chris Wills - President

As a college student, Chris founded a company now helping over a half million high school students transition to life after high school and has had a passion to help families with the college admission process ever since he and his parents made many mistakes and learned things the hard way.

He has been a featured speaker at college admissions, school counseling and financial services conferences around the country, and he and his wife Vanessa, a high school teacher, have two young sons, John and Thomas.

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Cozy Wittman - Education and Partnerships

Education and networking are a way of life for Cozy. At College Inside Track she runs both the parent events as well as professional development training for those who work with families who have high school students. She speaks nationally about college search, training financial and other professionals.

Cozy is excited to connect with organizations and families interested in learning more about the complex college process.  She is a mom of 5 kids with very different goals for college, so she is no stranger to the college search challenge.

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Suzy Fallon - College Consultant

Suzy admits to loving teenagers! She has a passion for helping them figure out what’s important to them and finding colleges that will fit them academically, socially and financially. Suzy is an avid lifelong learner and is a certified life coach, health coach and public speaker.

She received her undergraduate degree from Binghamton University in New York, her law degree from California Western, and her college counseling certificate from UC Irvine. Suzy lives with her husband Larry, and two active kids, Elle and Cooper.

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Susan Whalen, PhD - College Consultant

Susan especially loves the mentoring elements that come into play in admissions work, and exploring with students how their interests and skills might develop in particular college programs. She spent the first part of her career as a professor and associate director of a human rights archive at University of Colorado Boulder, followed by teaching and consulting for high performing high schools.

Susan earned a B.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and has an M.A. and Ph.D from Pennsylvania State University. She lives in St. Paul, where she grows tomatoes and is obsessively searching for a puppy to bring home.

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Lessa Scherrer

Lessa Scherrer - College Consultant

Lessa has worked with many populations of students, including homeschoolers, students with learning differences, and the gifted. She is active in Mensa and also spent seven years teaching ACT test prep. She has also designed a college prep study skills curriculum for students preparing to apply to highly selective colleges.

Lessa is a graduate of the University of Michigan and holds a Certificate in College Admissions Counseling through UCLA. A former homeschooler, Lessa lives in Eau Claire, WI with her husband, two goofy dogs and, at any given time, one or more of her three boys.

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Tiffany Kolb - College Consultant

Tiffany has worked with students and families throughout her professional life, as a teacher, administrator, and college counselor. She loves working with teens and young adults; finding a creative solution to a problem; and seeing the expression on student faces when they reach success.

Tiffany has a BA from Loras College, and an MA from Viterbo University. She and her husband Doug have lived the college application process with their three kids and understand how crazy it can get when parents try to do all the research required to figure out the college admission process.

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Kim Koffi

Kim Koffi - College Consultant

Kim thoroughly enjoys working with families to help them find their next best step and has worked in student advising at the university level and also as a college counselor and international student advisor at a college preparatory and boarding school.

Kim has a BS from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and an MS in College Counseling and Student Development from St. Cloud State University. Kim has two grown children and lives in St. Cloud, MN with her husband, a college professor.

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Heather McCowen

Heather McCowen, PhD - College Consultant

Heather has always loved the admissions process, going back to her undergrad days at Northwestern where she volunteered to call admitted students between orchestra rehearsals. Prior to joining CIT, Heather created the counseling program at ChiArts, was an admissions dean at Roosevelt University and The Longy School of Music, and was a financial planner.

An alum of the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, she has performed with the Dallas, Fort Worth, Shreveport, and Indian Hill Symphonies (among others), and is currently co-principal bassoon of the Northshore Concert Band. Heather lives in Chicago with her husband, son, and Australian Cattle Dog. She enjoys playing ice hockey, sewing a handmade wardrobe, and reading really great books.

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Greta Van Ochten - College Consultant

Greta has a passion for helping students navigate the college search process. She has a unique understanding of the college campus environment from her previous career in higher education publishing where she visited campuses and worked with college and university faculty and staff.

Greta graduated from the University of Michigan and currently lives with her husband Greg. They have two grown daughters, both in graduate school.

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Robin Alcala Saner, EdD - College Consultant

Robin has a long history of working in college counseling, both as a longtime licensed school counselor in Rochester, Minn., and also as a professor in the Winona State University Counselor Education department, where she trained other school counselors.

Robin has a BA from Blackburn College, a master's in school counseling from Winona State University, and a Doctorate of Education from Capella University. In addition to her work, Robin has three lovely daughters and a husband who is also a licensed school counselor.

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Sonja Buckmeier

Sonja Buckmeier - Office Coordinator

Sonja has worked in the customer service and office administration field for most of her career and is passionate about creating raving fans. She and her husband, Jeff, have four children and are former CIT clients.

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Kathy Jansen

Kathy Jansen - Office Assistant

Kathy has worked in various accounting and office management roles for 37 years before coming to College Inside Track. She also works as a counselor, taking special needs adults out to community activities.

She and her husband, Larry, have three children and five grandchildren.

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