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A slate of acceptances

chalkboard is a boutique consultancy
serving students and their families

We take a fresh approach to the application process, whether it’s high school, college, or graduate school. At Chalkboard, we assemble a unique team to work specifically with you to find your story, frame your narrative, and develop your strengths.


At Chalkboard, we are a band of professional writers, scientists, comedians, engineers, artists, musicians, researchers, lawyers, accountants, and more. We encourage you to be honest, true ­to­ yourself, and gutsy – because that is what we do as working professionals.

you develop your

we believe in

we overcome the

Happiness Factor

Applying to school should be a time to learn about yourself and like what you find. It should be inspiring, not wrenching. We have developed the essential building blocks to glide you through the process. We are not a factory or a filter or a funnel. We believe in our students. One at a time.

We are storytellers and professionals who know how to land your college or grad school application in the “yes” pile.

our team


nana naisbitt



After helping students find their unique stories on a part-time basis since 2002, Nana Naisbitt officially formed “Chalkboard” to devote her energies full-time. Inspired by her untraditional 1970s H.S. education, Nana pioneered an acclaimed internship program in 1999 to help her students further their studies and get into their reach schools.

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IT specialist

After years in Austin’s hi-tech corporate world and Texas Tech University academia, Robin Dillard is now Chalkboard’s IT specialist and consultant. Working from her home on a working cattle ranch, Robin is similar to the pioneer woman except with a bank of computers, Wifi, and Summa cum Laude distinction.

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research zoologist

Ellen generously mentored her first Chalkboard intern in 2018 at the Smithsonian and joined our Chalkboard team in 2020. Hurray! Ellen is a Research Zoologist, Curator of Mollusca, and the Chair of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

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Kandy Shugars


certified public accountant

Kandy Shugars, a CPA since 1987, has extensive experience in corporate, governmental, and private accounting. Before starting her private practice, she served 16 years as the CFO and V.P. of Finance & Accounting for the Telluride Ski and Golf Co, managing a $45 million annual budget. Kandy joined Chalkboard in early 2017 as a superb financial resource for our students and their families.

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Samuel Blue Gibson


writer & spanish professor

After growing up in southern England, Samuel Blue Gibson studied in London and Buenos Aires before receiving his doctorate in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Stanford University. In addition to over ten years of experience as a private tutor for all age levels, Samuel also is a professional writer for stage and screen and is a member of The Writers Guild of America.

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Nicole Pieterse



Nicole Pieterse, an attorney practicing law in Telluride, Colorado, leads by example and mentors with grace. Bringing her deep knowledge of the law, her superb research skills, and super sharp brain to any negotiations, Nicole is of particular service to non-profits, from governance to land deals; from operations to best practices.

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John Cuppoletti


medical researcher

Long ago, John Cuppoletti, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Professor Emeritus, upgraded his tricycle to a bicycle to a Harley. At Chalkboard, John brings expertise as a former senior member of the UC College of Medicine Admissions Committee. He gives mock interviews, reviews applications, and provides a wealth of resources to those applying to medical school or pre-med programs.

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Luke Wheeler



Luke Wheeler is an ace researcher and Mandarin speaker. He lived in China three times before the age of 25, honing his language and research skills while enjoying the culture. During his stay in China, he worked for a boutique consulting firm helping Chinese students navigate the U.S. college application process.

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Edward Lyman


bio physicist

As a university professor in the departments of “Physics and Astronomy” and “Chemistry and Biochemistry,” Edward Lyman mentors lots of students and PhD candidates. He practices science outreach on multiple fronts by giving public lectures to adults and leading demonstrations for kids. He has also published more than 30 papers.

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Lily Sullivan


comedic writer & performer

Hits for Lily Sullivan’s BuzzFeed videos top 5,000,000. From car valet to online therapist, she has performed improv and sketch comedy live at Second City, iO Chicago, UCB LA, and more. Lily’s help is invaluable for essays and portfolios. She also speaks rusty Italian fluently and knows that any story can be improved with humor.

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Sophie Wilson



Sophie Willson grew up in the Pacific Northwest in a household and community of artists. Art supplies and natural materials were her toys. She began winning awards at the age of five. As a RISD senior, Sophie knows the creative scene from the East Coast to the West. She is intimately familiar with what is good art and offers stellar critiques for portfolios.

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Rory Sullivan


travel writer

Rory Sullivan’s interest in travel inspired his college honors thesis, which examined 19th century travelogues written about the American South. At 15, in the Ecuadorian rain forest, Rory assisted Smithsonian entomologists as their only intern, sending articles about his adventures back home. That was just the beginning of his travels and lucid writing.

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Sonny Santistevan


internship director

As a recent Chalkboard client turned Chalkboard Consultant, Sonny James Santistevan was accepted to all five graduate programs he applied to. In the spring of 2018, Sonny graduated from Georgetown University in their master’s program, “Security Studies.” A bookworm and bounty hunter, he is naturally drawn to a career in the State Department, which is his goal.

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Dustin Sullivan


mechanical engineer

While seemingly out of another century, Dustin Sullivan began his education in a two-room schoolhouse in Henry, Nebraska in 1977. Dustin routinely answered the 4th grade math questions while still in 1st grade. He has designed mechanical systems for more than 1,000 schools, hospitals, office buildings, and hotels in all “four corner” states.

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Steven Gould


social network strategist

Working with Nana on his resume and cover letter when applying for a position to his top-choice firm in D.C., Steven Gould then employed his social media magic to gain an interview at Eagle Hill Consulting and get hired. Now, working with Chalkboard clients, Steve brings his highly effective strategies to gain acceptances for clients.

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Thank you so much for all of the support (emotional and otherwise) that you provided my daughter. You helped make what otherwise could have been a miserably stressful experience one that left her feeling positive and confident. Amazing.

California, Mother of High School Senior

Once we found my ‘story,’ we crafted a narrative for my statement of purpose letters that simply couldn't be overlooked. I was accepted at all four grad schools I applied to.

Colorado, Graduate School Applicant

Both times we've left you, my son feels pumped up and more confident about himself. Thanks!

Colorado, Mother of H.S. Internship Application

No blog or a book could help me navigate the process, as it turns out.

Colorado, Graduate School Applicant

I thank Nana to this day for her support and for giving me the confidence to write and be proud of my story.

Texas, Grad School Applicant; Graduate Washington University in St Louis Olin Business School