Dr. Kathy Simon Abels, Ph.D.

PRESIDENT

Born and raised in Southern California, Dr. Abels graduated summa cum laude from Occidental College in Los Angeles with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University’s California School of Professional Psychology (CSPP) in Los Angeles, and served clients in her private practice for nearly two decades while raising her three children.

Utilizing her background in Psychology, Dr. Abels evolved the Simon Scholars Program into what it is today: an intensive, college-prep support initiative that aims to help high school students overcome adversity and develop into college-educated leaders who are actively engaged in their communities.

Dr. Abels has been honored by the NAACP for her contribution to the Atlanta, Georgia community. In addition, the Simon Scholars Program was recognized by the National Scholarship Providers Association as the “Independent Scholarship Provider of the Year”.

Andrea R. Hartman, Esq.

Andrea R. Hartman serves as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for NBC Universal Television Entertainment. Her legal team handles litigation, production and media issues, and contract preparation for the Television Entertainment Group.

Before joining NBC, Ms. Hartman was a litigation partner with the law firm of Irell & Manella in Los Angeles. She received her Juris Doctor degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1984 and her Bachelor of Arts degree in History with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981.

Ms. Hartman currently serves on the Board of the Riviera Foundation, an organization that provides free tennis programs for underprivileged youth in Los Angeles. She has also served on the Board of the Alliance for Children’s Rights, which provides free legal services and advocacy to protect the rights of impoverished youth in Los Angeles.

Joyce Suber

Joyce Suber’s background resembles that of the many AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students she has taught and mentored.

Ms. Suber grew up in Watts and Compton, CA. She earned her undergraduate degree at California State University, Dominguez Hills and a graduate degree from Washington State University in History. She taught for nearly ten years as a community college instructor and in 1984 she began teaching in LA Unified School District at a local middle school. This was followed two years later by a return to San Diego where she began teaching AVID, a college preparatory program, at Mar Vista High School.

After almost a decade, Ms. Suber moved to the San Diego County Office of Education and is now the Regional Director of the AVID program. The AVID program is known for sending well over 90% of its students to colleges and universities.

Ms. Suber has received several awards throughout her career which include: Woman of the Year from the National Organization of Business and Professional Women; Teacher of the Year, Mar Vista High School; “Award of Excellence,” UCSD Outstanding Educator Award; Educator of the Year nominee, California League of High Schools; and most recently, Woman of Distinction in 2004 from Women’s Inc. and “Outstanding Educator” award from Phi Delta Kappa, Inc.

Ms. Suber is currently on the Board of the San Diego Black Storytellers and the Scholarship Chairperson at her church, New Life Baptist. She is a founding member of Pathways 2 College, a local non-profit parent-student assistance program. She is also an active member and officer of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. where she assists with other community service and educational projects.

Wendy Colman Levin

Wendy Colman Levin grew up in Southern California. She attended Brandeis University, graduating summa cum laude with a B.A. in Theater Arts. She went on to obtain both a Masters degree and Ph.D. in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from UCLA’s School of Public Health.

Dr. Levin’s passions include theater and education. She has successfully combined those interests to benefit others. For a number of years, she has taught and coached public speaking and speechwriting, including as a lecturer at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health, and a lecturer and speaking coach at Yale Law School and the Yale University Institution for Social and Policy Studies.

In addition to teaching, Dr. Levin currently serves as a Board member of Loyola Law School’s Project for the Innocent (which seeks to exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes) as well as of Piece by Piece at Skid Row Housing Trust (which involves assisting previously homeless individuals who have been provided housing to create and market handcrafted items).

As a member of the Business Leaders Task Force on Homelessness, a joint initiative of United Way of Greater Los Angeles and the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Levin also curates an art exhibit entitled “Faces of Homelessness: Bringing Our Neighbors Home for Good.”

She and her husband Barry raised two children, Brandon and Brooke (both Yale graduates). Dr. Levin’s interests include performing and attending theater, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.

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