Meet the Essay Readers!

The Berkeley High College essay readers are a group of experienced writers and editors who volunteer their time to help BHS seniors with their college essays and personal statements.

Essay Reader Bios

Mike Bolgatz is a lawyer practicing in Berkeley for the last 20 years. He has been volunteering reading college application essays for the last four years.
Katherine Brown attended Stanford University graduating with a degree in Journalism with a minor in French Language. She also studied law for 3 years, worked in Marketing and Public Relations and is currently a Suzuki piano teacher. She really has fun helping students 'get unstuck' or "rolling" while tackling college essays. Her 3 kids attend Pratt Institute, Stanford and Colorado College. For fun she likes to walk in Tilden Park, forage/garden, and host dinner around a bonfire.
Carla CastilloCarla Castillo began reading college essays when her daughter was at BHS. Before beginning her private coaching practice, Carla was a defense attorney in the criminal justice system. Since then, she has expanded her practice; she now tutors students who want to increase their writing skills and also works as a professional copyeditor and proofreader.
Elaine Chan is a certified College Admissions and Career Planning Advisor who has been volunteering as a Writer's Coach at Berkeley High since 2013. She enjoys helping students write unique essays using their own voices. Elaine also volunteers at community-based organizations working with first-generation, college-bound students.
Robin Claire worked as a film and TV development executive in the entertainment industry for over twenty-five years. She graduated from Berkeley High and went to Northwestern where she studied theatre and communications. Robin enjoys helping writers find their voice and uncover the power of their personal stories. She has volunteered as an essay reader for Berkeley High for three years and before that she read essays for students attending private schools in the Los Angeles area.
Steve Cohen is a communications consultant for non-profits and a writer for university and other publications. He held communications positions at University of California (UCOP and UC Berkeley) for 18 years, and has enjoyed being an essay reader for the last three years.
Judith FrisciaJudith Friscia has a BA in English from the University of San Francisco and an MA in English literature from Sonoma State University. She’s taught English composition and literature at Sonoma State University for over 10 years. Two years ago she decided to become a College Advising Specialist and has absolutely loved mentoring students on every aspect of the college application journey.
Janet Huseby is a journalist who has worked with the Associated Press, Time/Life Books and the University of California, Berkeley. This is her 19th year reading essays at Berkeley High.
Brenda Kahn earned a master’s in journalism from the renowned Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 30 years. She currently works as the web editor and senior public information officer for a large regional governmental agency in the Bay Area. She has been a college essay reader at Berkeley High for more than a dozen years.
Jamie Keller is a professional writer/educational therapist with a private practice specializing in working with rising seniors on their college application essays. Jamie has been helping seniors with their personal statements and volunteering at Berkeley High since 2006, successfully coaching hundreds of students in the art of writing unique, personal, and memorable essays.
Wendy Morrison is in her 14th year as an independent college counselor. She has been volunteering at Berkeley as an essay reader for over 10 years.
Bora Reed is a writer and editor who works as the communications manager for the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. She has enjoyed the many hours spent with her daughter (BHS '14) and her friends helping to write, revise (and revise again) their college essays.
Suzanne Rubel is a Career Counselor working privately with two organizations in San Francisco. Before her long career with the Career Center at San Francisco State University, she was a History Teacher and Guidance Counselor in Chicago and attended Northwestern University for her MA in Counseling.
Sara Sanderson is a retired public interest attorney. She has volunteered in the classroom writing programs and college essay programs at Berkeley High for about 10 years. “I focus on brainstorming with students to pinpoint their uniqueness and market their skills. Together we craft the outline of their essay and bring out their unique writing style."
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  • Upcoming BHS Events

    No School- Memorial Day Holiday
    May 29, 2018
    12:00 am - 12:00 am
    Trades Fair (Lunch-4th pd)
    May 30, 2018
    11:38 am - 1:22 pm
    CCC D-221
    College Essay Workshop (CCC)
    May 30, 2018
    6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
    CCC
    Chicano Latino Graduation (M Gym)
    June 2, 2018
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    M Gym
    Biotech Graduation (pds. 3rd, lunch, 4th)
    June 7, 2018
    10:30 am - 1:30 pm
    CCC D-221
    BIHS Graduation
    June 8, 2018
    4:45 pm - 7:30 pm
    Berkeley Community Theater
    Berkeley Athletic Fund Meeting
    June 11, 2018
    7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
    Berkeley High School Library
    SSC Meeting (Conf Rm B)
    June 12, 2018
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    BHS- Conference Room B
    Last Day of School- Graduation '18
    June 16, 2018
    12:00 am - 12:00 am
    SSC Meeting (Conf Rm B)
    July 10, 2018
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    BHS- Conference Room B
    SSC Meeting (Conf Rm B)
    August 14, 2018
    4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
    BHS- Conference Room B
    9th Grade Freshman Orientation (Donahue Gym + 54 classrooms)
    August 22, 2018
    7:00 am - 12:00 pm
    Donahue Gym + 54 classrooms