Meet your BIGPICTURE team.

Erica Flener

Erica graduated from UC Berkeley with High Distinction. Her graduate work is in counseling and creative writing. She created her approach to exploring students’ passions and locating best-fit colleges when she worked as a high school counselor for Americorps: Destination College 14 years ago. Since then, Erica spent seven years as Assistant Director of Admissions & Undergraduate Studies, for both undergraduate and graduate programs at UCLA, including within the School of Theater, Film & Television. At UCLA, she also taught an academic readiness course and facilitated workshops on serving students with learning differences. Erica served as a Freshman Application Reader for UC Berkeley and currently sits on the California Alumni Association Scholarship Committee, where she reads essays and interviews applicants. Erica is also a member of the Dean’s Society for The School of Engineering at UC Berkeley. Erica has consulted for the Admissions Office of Pepperdine University and Chapman University.

Erica also volunteers with The Boys & Girls Club and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles.

Likes: bike rides and foreign cinema

Professional member of the following organizations: Independent Education Consulting Association (IECA), National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC)
Specialty designations: learning differences, college

Lauren Kacura
BIGPICTURE Planning Specialist

After graduating from Chapman University, Lauren worked in college admissions for over 10 years, eventually becoming Director of Admission for Chapman University’s Dodge College. During this time Lauren oversaw the entire admission process for both the undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as created the Dodge College Summer Film Academy high school program. Lauren is able to use her extensive knowledge of  admissions to assist students in developing compelling college applications and essays.

Likes: baseball games and going to the theater

Katie C.
BIGPICTURE Planning Specialist

Katie graduated from Juanita College where she received an academic and athletic scholarship and played collegiate volleyball. Katie has successfully assisted students in being admitted to all of the Ivy League schools as well as other phenomenal colleges throughout the US and UK. She caters each program to her students’ needs and uses their time effectively and efficiently. Katie worked in recruiting at USC and has experience in advising students interested in athletic recruitment.

Madeline Thomas
BIGPICTURE Planning Specialist

Madeline is a graduate of Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. She completed her undergraduate degree at Boston University, before earning a MA in Education at the University of Connecticut. Madeline then completed her MBA at the USC Marshall School of Business. She is certified by College Board to teach AP Calculus and has experience as a classroom teacher in both public and private schools, most recently at The Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles. She is an expert tutor for the ISEE, SSAT, SAT, and ACT tests. Madeline assists families with day school and boarding school placement across the country and around the world.

Likes: her dogs and British television dramas

Melissa Gordon
BIGPICTURE Planning Specialist

Melissa graduated from Evergreen College in Washington, prior to earning her MA in Organizational Behavior. Melissa has worked in admissions, college administration, compliance and regulatory affairs, student services and resident life for sixteen years. Prior to joining our team, she was formerly an International Student Officer and Admissions Officer in the Office of Undergraduate Admission at Stanford University.

Likes: her Kindle and her cat, Romeo

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