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Meet our University and Academic Advising team in New York!

Meet our University and Academic Advising team in New York!

Starting in September 2022, EF Academy students in New York will work with their assigned University and Academic Advising team for the entirety of their journey at the school. This new model, which replaces the Pathway Manager model, allows for thoughtful and continuous support of students. Each University and Academic Advisor (UAA) will work with their assigned students in helping them discover and develop their passions and strengths.

We are incredibly fortunate to have hired wonderfully experienced and thoughtful counselors to guide students in implementing and managing academic progress and ensure that students make the most of available academic and extracurricular opportunities. Additionally, the UAA will support each student throughout the college/university research and application process.

Each UAA will work with their assigned students as they move through high school such that, for example, students in grade 10 in the 2022-2023 school year will continue working with the same UAA through graduation in May 2025.

Let’s meet the team!

Bernadette Condesso

EF Academy New York University Advising staff

Ms. Condesso graduated from Saint Peter’s University with a bachelor’s in American History, completed a Post Baccalaureate Program in Near Eastern Studies at New York University, holds a master’s in Teaching degree from State University of New York at New Paltz, and has a New York State license in Secondary Education in Social Studies. Prior to joining EF Academy as the Director of University Guidance, Ms. Condesso served as Director of College Counseling at Graded – The American School of São Paulo, Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, and Poughkeepsie Day School. She has participated in the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, the International Association for College Admission Counseling, and the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling. Ms. Condesso has co-organized college counseling conferences for the New York State Association of Independent Schools. She has also engaged with the Council of International Schools Global Forum on International Admission and Guidance.

Denby Christ

International high school abroad staff

Mr. Christ has master’s degrees in school counseling and teaching, with focuses in social studies and special education. At EF Academy , Mr. Christ has held several positions, including School Counselor, Student Support Center Coordinator, Teacher, Basketball Head Coach, Pathway Manager and University Advisor. He is also an avid cyclist and basketball player.

Kaitlin Schmidt

International high school abroad member of staff

Ms. Schmidt joined EF Academy in the fall of 2021 as a chemistry teacher. This spring, while also teaching, she joined the university advising team. Given her knowledge, insight, and experience working with students, she was invited to join the UAA department full-time starting in August 2022. Ms. Schmidt has extensive high school teaching experience having worked at public schools in Minnesota, and at a private, international school in Shanghai, China. She is keen to guide students in their EF Academy academic journeys and to help them navigate the world of university admissions. Ms. Schmidt grew up in Minnesota and obtained a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin. In her free time, she enjoys being active outdoors, traveling, music, trying new foods, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Diane Bidna

EF Academy team member

Ms. Bidna joins EF Academy as Associate Director of the University & Academic Advising team after working in college counseling for over 12 years, most recently at JFK The American School of Queretaro (Mexico) and AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian High School (Los Angeles, California). After working with students from diverse backgrounds and cultures, she feels strongly about assisting students in finding the university that is the right fit for each individual student. Toward this end, Ms. Bidna has visited over 100 universities to learn about academic programs and experience the campuses first-hand. She stays on top of developing trends in the university admissions world through professional development opportunities with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). Originally from Southern California, Ms. Bidna obtained a B.S. in Business and Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California and certification in College Counseling from the University of California, San Diego.

James Cart

EF Academy team member

Mr. Cart joins the team at EF Academy after working for the last five years in higher education, most recently at Dartmouth College and Tufts University School of Medicine. In addition to his experience in higher education, Mr. Cart has worked directly with teens since 2010, coaching, mentoring, and advising student-athletes for university admission. Mr. Cart looks forward to bringing his passion for student success to EF Academy and helping our students realize their university goals. Mr. Cart obtained a B.A. in Philosophy and Anthropology from Dartmouth College. Having achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, the highest rank of the Scouts Boy Scouts of America, it is not surprising that in his free time, Mr. Cart enjoys sailing and playing basketball, soccer, and chess.

Kristen S. Carter

International boarding school team member

Ms. Carter brings extensive experience in international university admissions having guided hundreds of students at Rochambeau, The French International School (Bethesda, Maryland) in applying to universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, Europe, and the United States. A certified school counselor with an M.S. in School Counseling, Ms. Carter uses a student-centered, solution-focused, holistic approach to guide students in finding their best college fit. As a university advisor, she seeks opportunities to advance her knowledge through professional organizations. She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and the Potomac & Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC), where she serves as the Communications Chair of the Leadership Board.  Ms. Carter also understands the college process from a parent’s perspective; her daughter is a rising junior at Sarah Lawrence College (New York), and her son will attend University of New Haven (Connecticut) in 2023 after taking a gap year. In addition to obtaining an M.S. in School Counseling, Ms. Carter has a B.A. from Ithaca College and an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University.

Sophie McCorkle

International high school in USA team member

Ms. McCorkle joins the team at EF Academy after working as a college counselor at Belmont Charter School (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) and at The American Creativity Academy (Salmiya, Kuwait). She is a member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA). Ms. McCorkle grew up in Ohio and obtained a B.A. in History from The Ohio State University. She also has an M.A. in Applied Psychology from New York University, and certification in College Advising from Teachers College at Columbia University. In her free time she enjoys traveling, swimming, trying new restaurants, and of course, researching colleges, visiting campuses, and learning about new and exciting post-secondary options for her students.