Our Story

 

Cogita Education Initiatives, LLC is the result of a collaboration among educators from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and Teachers College, Columbia University. In addition to encouraging students to be their most unique self, we are also committed to enlightening and educating global leaders by cultivating their potential to be change-makers for their generation.

  • Growth

    Cogita Education Initiatives, LLC was established in Boston. Our unique educational model and operations have been recorded in the business cases of the Harvard Business School. To be even more global, Cogita plans to expand its reach to the major continents so that our students have even a greater network of mentors and models of citizenship.

  • Philosophy

    • We believe the best education is one that empowers students.
    • We promote educational philosophies of positive youth development and global citizenship.
    • We guide students to be change-makers who demonstrate care for the world around them.
  • Growth

    Cogita Education Initiatives, LLC was established in Boston. Our unique educational model and operations have been recorded in the business cases of the Harvard Business School. To be even more global, Cogita plans to expand its reach to the major continents so that our students have even a greater network of mentors and models of citizenship.

  • Philosophy

    • We believe the best education is one that empowers students.
    • We promote educational philosophies of positive youth development and global citizenship.
    • We guide students to be change-makers who demonstrate care for the world around them.

Our Commitment

Professional Educators

Our esteemed educators, from consultants to academic advisors, have graduated from top institutions in the U.S. and the U.K often with more than ten years of experience guiding and educating students. Our advisors have experience in the most highly selective schools and colleges around the world and are members of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) Global Committee.

Personalized and Comprehensive Growth Plan

We care about both the process as much as we do the outcome. By evaluating each student, we are able to outline a comprehensive plan detailing the students growth trajectory. We then work to provide one-on-one educational planning and counseling for both students and families.

International Resources

By strategically locating ourselves in MIT’s innovation center, we’ve been able to connect to a worldwide education network consisting of Boston, New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong. We assist students with career-oriented internship/research opportunities in the Harvard/MIT Labs, Facebook, Google, Boston Consultancy, the MET, etc.

Social Responsibility and Entrepreneurial Spirit

We are passionate about our own growth as an organization to continue to assist students make a strong positive impact on our society. We aim to cultivate empathy, leadership, creativity, and entrepreneurship in our students, assisting them to redefine the word “good”, to develop a sense of self and ownership of their actions, and to provide helpful tools needed for their individual paths. Our comprehensive curriculum helps position students to become global citizens and leaders of the 21st century.

School and Parent Involvement

We find it is important to be familiar with all stakeholders involved in the student’s success. By working closely with the student’s school administration, we are able to establish a connection with teachers to communicate about the student’s performance and growth. For parents, we actively make use of Wechat, email, and google docs to keep them informed about student’s progress and ease concerns.

Family Education

In order to familiarize families with the American education system and enhance their cross-cultural communication skills, we educate them with our work in cross-cultural communication, which is based on a seminar present annually by Marina at at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Our Team

Founder

MARINA LEE

Marina has over 15 years’ experience of tutoring students’ all-round development, assisting with high school/college application and teaching academic English and writing. About 70% of the students she tutored were admitted into Top 30 high schools and colleges. She was born in South Korea and grew up in Pennsylvania. Marina’s growth experience enables her to possess a strong empathy for the challenges facing international students and new immigrants under the American cultural and social background. She supports international students’ rights in America. Because of her contribution, she received the National Youth Award issued by President Clinton.

Marina used to successfully establish an educational project in Seoul, South Korea. Her entrepreneurship story has been selected into the educational business cases of Harvard Business School. Marina is the vice president of Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) Global Committee, member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the Overseas Association for College Admission Counselling (OACAC), and the Association of Boarding Schools (TABS). Apart from tutoring students, she designs international strategy for high schools in America, trains high schools and their teachers’ sensitivity towards international students’ cultural background, and develops support systems to help international students’ development in these schools.

MARINA LEE

Founder and Education Counselors

Vice Chair of Independent Education Consultants Association (IECA) Global Committee

Harvard Asian American Alumni Association

Co-Presenter of J-term seminars on redefining success at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Counselors

SIYU (NANCY)

Nancy has an M.A. in International Educational Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has always been committing to exploring the development tendency of international education, evaluation of learning assessment and international students’ all-round development. In the past few years, she has worked in the Center on Chinese Education at Teachers College Columbia University, New York University, Parsons School of Design at The New School, Institute of International Education (IIE), UNICEF and some other non-profit educational organizations. She has rich experience in international educational project development, U.S.-China cultural communication, international student cultural adaptability and academic ability cultivation, etc. During her study at Columbia University, she conducted research on Chinese students’ study abroad from various aspects including their cultural, academic, career, and mental health development. She has a deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing Chinese students overseas. Meanwhile, Nancy is devoted to social welfares and innovation. She is a member of the Citizenship and Social Innovation Seed Camp at Harvard. She grasps the cutting-edge consultancy and resources about China-U.S. youth social innovation by planning and evaluating several education charity projects.

SIYU (NANCY)

Educational Counselor

M.A. in International Educational Development at Teachers College, Columbia University

Member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC)

Research Assistant at the Center on Chinese Education (CoCE), Teachers College Columbia University

William Minter

William used to work in Peking University, Harbin Institute of Technology and Choate Rosemary Hall (a highly selective private boarding school in the U.S,) and taught English language & writing and history. During his work in Choate, he was the Admission Officer of international students and the College Consultant. Meanwhile, he is devoted to public welfares. William has established a charity organization which is focused on touching stories with positive community impact. He also produces documentary films to call for more people to participate in charity.

William Minter

Educational Counselor

B.A. in Chinese Language & Culture at Oxford University,

M.A. in East Asian Studies at Yale University

Specializes In Video and Music Production

Devante Allen

DeVante has 10 years of experience evaluating students’ needs and positioning them to be successful in meeting their academic and personal goals. At Berkeley he received a BA in Chinese Language & Literature and Linguistics while working for student development and study abroad organizations. In that time, he created many reflection based programs, advised students and taught writing/creative expression courses all of which gave him a sensitivity to both language and cultural differences. After graduating, he moved to Beijing where he spent 4 years teaching University level Academic English courses and helping students apply to highly selective schools and universities in the US. When advising his students, he developed SEL based curriculum pieces to help his students be holistically (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) prepared for boarding school/college. He later participated in Teacher’s College, Columbia University’s Psychology in Education Masters program where he learned more techniques for how to facilitate student development through reflection and holistic practices. While in the program, he worked for University of Rochester’s admissions office evaluating incoming applications, which gave him a strong sense of what constitutes a competitive application.

Devante Allen

Educational Counselor

M.A. Psychology in Education at Teachers College, Columbia University

Member of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA)

Specializes in Student Development through Reflection and Mindfulness Practices.

Advisors

Mark Efinger

Mark has taught public speaking and theater at Phillips Academy, the Taft School, and University of North Carolina. He has more than 25 years of teaching experience. He has also interviewed applicants for Phillips Academy, one of the most selective schools in the country, the U.S. Army, and the Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest pharmaceutical research companies in the world.

Mark Efinger

Interview and Public Speaking Coach

Former Department Chair of Theater and Dance, Philips Academy, Andover


 

Elizabeth Van Gelder

Beth has over 40 years of experience as a high school art teacher, the last 39 years at Groton School in Groton, MA. Besides teaching, Beth a had also been the faculty advisor for the Alliance for Student Harmony for 10 years. For the past 30 years, she was the director and curator of the Christopher Brodigan Gallery and the creator of the Mudge Fellow Artist Residency.

Beth’s teaching has focused on content, skill and creativity. Believing that every student has a story to tell, learning how to tell that story clearly, in a visual language, enables students to express a personal point of view that goes beyond words. She encourages her students to use their art to explore their identities and to comment on social issues. Many of her art students have won prestigious awards and continued, after graduating, to have an enduring interest in art.

A global citizen and world traveler, Beth lived in Europe for 5 years and has a working knowledge of Italian. Due to many trips to Indonesia, she is able to converse in colloquial Indonesian. From painting inspired by her travels, to filling her house with treasured tribal artifacts, to bringing her culinary adventures to her kitchen, Beth truly leads a multi-cultural life.

Elizabeth Van Gelder

Hannah Gallen

Hannah Gallen ’19 is a rising senior at Dartmouth College, pursuing a double major in Social Entrepreneurship and Comparative Literature. As a James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar and a Rockefeller Leadership Fellow, she is pursuing a research project entitled “Defining and Measuring Impact in Social Innovation.” At Dartmouth, Hannah’s ultimate goal is to mobilize students to engage with the variety of forms that social innovation can take. On campus she has been involved with the Impact Design Group, Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network, and Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering, as well as being a TA for Design Thinking.

Hannah Gallen

Hannah

Hannah was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to Orlando, FL at the age of seven, identifying as a 1.5th generation Korean American immigrant. Her academic focus has been on International Studies with an Asian studies minor and is a recent graduate from Harvard University with her Master of Education in Prevention Research from the Prevention Science and Practice program.

At the Harvard Graduate School of Education, she served as the Conference Chair for the annual Let’s Talk Conference on Asian and Asian American well-being, as well as in a leadership role for the Pan-Asian Coalition for Education.

She is now pursuing her Ph.D in Counseling Psychology. 

Hannah

Jenny Hsi

Jenny Hsi is a mentor for Cogita Education Initiatives, LLC, where she supports positive youth development programs and offers career advice on public health related fields.  She is currently a doctoral student in public health leadership and practice at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.  She is passionate about bridging cultural gaps and building empowered communities of immigrant youth and families.  Since 2017, she has been an organizer for the “Let’s Talk!” annual conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which aims to promote the “success and wellbeing of Asian and Asian American students”.  She is also a member of The Genki Spark, a Boston-based Asian women’s arts and advocacy group that uses Japanese taiko drumming to build community.

Jenny grew up in Hsinchu, Taiwan and Vancouver, Canada, and received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.  Prior to graduate school in Boston, Jenny has worked in Beijing, China on HIV epidemiology research and tobacco control policy.  She enjoys making music and geeking out on the internet about empowering minority voices through transformative storytelling (i.e. fanfiction).

Jenny Hsi

Sophia Gatzionis

Sophia Gatzionis grew up in Athens, Greece. Recently, she graduated from the University of Cambridge, where she studied English Literature at Clare College. She is currently a Mellon Fellow pursuing an MA in English at Yale University and will be a Visiting Scholar at Yale. 

Sophia Gatzionis

Interested in Joining Our Team?