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Staff Spotlight: Maureen Lavin

3 minute read

Maureen Lavin joined Polygence as a Partnerships Manager in 2023. She’s excited to be on the team because she believes students should immerse themselves in their passions. They should spend time on what really intrigues them and enjoy every second of it. In the process, students develop students develop a love for their subject and skills that will set them apart from other applicants but also help them grow as people first and foremost. Her personal journey:

Growing up with my father working for AT&T, I moved every few years and was always the new kid in school. My brother, sister, and I learned different coping strategies to overcome these abrupt life changes. My sister dedicated herself to studying. My brother had a double focus on athletics and academics, and I learned how to make friends—given it was a skill I’d need every few years. When your main focus is socializing and assimilating to new climates, academics can fall to the wayside. But, then I found a mentor in our high school’s internal internship program where students were matched to be teacher assistants. I was matched with an English teacher and I enjoyed grading exams for him, but I really loved working with him on our high school yearbook. I learned about teamwork, communication, planning, and aesthetic designs. I learned to take myself more seriously as a result of becoming the Editor of the yearbook in my senior year. My grades in every subject rose accordingly. 

In college, I minored in Women’s Studies and found a home working in the Women’s Studies Department. The head of the department introduced the concept of intersectionality and something clicked. I wanted to learn more about areas that I had previously never considered connected. My new awareness led to an internship in a domestic violence organization which eventually led to a graduate degree in Social Work and my first career. I learned to think about who was telling the story and connecting the dots. My childhood skill of making friends also paired well with the need to listen to people and to think about linking patterns in social work. 

As my own children moved through the college application process, my interest in college admissions developed. As the Client Relations Manager for a New York-based boutique college counseling company, I worked with families to match students with their counselors and support them if they had concerns. Everyday, I listened to parents discuss how stressful this process has become and we strategized on how to move their children through the application process in a way that reduces stress. A great deal of the work was focused on increasing their admissions success while allowing students more control over their academic pursuits through individual academic projects. As I participated in classes through the UCLA College Counseling Certificate program, the idea that students should have more ownership of their educational paths was further cemented for me. Additionally I watched these students develop critical skills that will make them more successful applicants and will leave them set up for success in college.

In addition to being the mother of two adult daughters, I am a dog mom to a spaniel/retriever mix named Siri. I enjoy reading and going to Broadway shows. Most of all, I love to travel to see my daughters or traveling with my daughters.

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