Meet our Admission Officers
Seth Allen, Vice President & Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
California: Santa Barbara
International: Middle East, India, Turkey, Europe
Seth has been at Pomona since July 2011 as Pomona’s Vice President and Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Although he identifies Massachusetts as his childhood home, he’s also quick to point out he also lived in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and Maine while growing up.
Seth arrived at Pomona by way of Grinnell College in Iowa where he served as Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid. Prior to Grinnell he was the Dean of Admissions at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania and served in admissions at The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Seth served on the Board of Directors of The Common Application for five years and was President from 2008-2009. He currently serves on national committees for both the National Association for College Admission Counseling and The College Board.
During his time in admissions he has overseen recruitment in New England, New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Texas, Asia and Europe. Seth holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics as well as a master’s degree in Applied Behavioral Science from The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.
Joel Hart, Interim Associate Dean of Admissions
New York City and Westchester Co.
International: SE Asia, Canada
Joel finds it easier just to tell people he grew up in “The South,” rather than listing out the four states he lived in there at one time or another. He graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in political science and religious studies and a minor in European history. After stints in the admissions offices of his alma mater and the University of Pennsylvania, Joel moved to beautiful Southern California to join Pomona College. In his spare time, Joel’s interests can be summed up with “good food, black coffee, and world travel.” He lives in Los Angeles with his husband and a retired racing greyhound. He has a master's in education from the University of Southern California.
Alaina Dunn, Interim Associate Dean of Admissions
Minnesota, Washington, Alaska, Iowa, Kentucky, West Virginia, Illinois (non-Chicago), Wisconsin
California: Marin County, Greater Sacramento
Alaina grew up in beautiful Olympia, Washington, and still occasionally misses the rain (but not too much!). She attended Western Washington University where she received a BA in Journalism and minor in Art History, and then headed to the mountains for two years and received her MEd from Northern Arizona University in Counseling with a focus on Higher Education. After spending a few years at the University of Redlands, she moved to Pomona College in 2011 where she now coordinates the Office of Admissions website and publications. Her professional interests include the use of social media in college admissions, improving college preparedness in public high schools, and communicating the value of the liberal arts in the modern world.
When she's not at work, she might be at home with her two slightly neurotic and destructive cats, trying out new "healthy" experimental recipes on her reluctant friends (ask her about cauliflower pizza), or enjoying a tall Americano with heavy cream.
Chris Teran, Associate Dean of Admissions
Northern Texas, Eastern MA, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota
California: East San Fernando Valley, West Los Angeles
Chris joined Pomona College in the summer of 2014 from Texas A&M University, where he worked as a Hall Director in Residence Life, then as a Senior Management Analyst for Scholarships & Financial Aid. At Texas A&M, Chris focused on the integration of technology in the evaluation of scholarship merit and recruitment. He also worked extensively to widen the education pipeline for first-generation college students and other traditionally underrepresented groups. He continues to conduct research on the effects of population shifts and legislative policy changes on higher education participation. Chris handles “all things data” for the Office of Admissions, which ranges from report writing to data mining to assessment analyses.
Chris grew up in southern Arizona and graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from Northern Arizona University, where he was also a Resident Assistant. He enjoys outdoor escapes, local coffee shops, and small concert venues. Chris is a demographer, mountain bike rider, auto mechanic, and weekend chef (with a level of proficiency best kept in that order).
Ashley Pallie, Associate Dean of Admissions
Illinois - Chicago, Pennsylvania, Delaware
California: West San Fernando Valley
Ashley was born in Brooklyn, New York, and even though she left as a young child, the fast pace of the big city makes her feel at home. She attended neighboring Scripps College for undergrad, earning a double major in psychology and music. After graduation, Ashley worked in the Scripps College Office of Admission for 6 years before moving down the street to Pomona. Ashley was drawn to admission work because of the deep connection she established with the admission officer who recruited her. This has lead to her love of connecting fantastic students with great opportunities and her passion for educational access for first-generation students, of which Ashley was one. Her determination to visit all 50 states before she turns 50 also makes the constant travel of admissions immensely rewarding. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration (M.B.A.) with concentrations in marketing and leadership at the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito School of Management.
In her spare time, Ashley volunteers extensively with World Relief Cambodia, a peace and justice non-governmental organization (NGO), reads 2-3 books a week, and listens to an eclectic mix of music. Ashley and her husband live in Pasadena and are budding foodies who are determined to eat their way through Los Angeles.
Conor O'Rourke '03, Senior Assistant Dean of Admissions
Connecticut, Western Massachusetts, Oregon, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands
California: Pasadena, Glendale, Imperial Valley
International: Latin America, Oceania, Africa, Guam, American Samoa, All other areas not otherwise assigned
Originally, from Oregon, by way of Alaska, Conor is a Pomona graduate from the Class of 2003. After graduation, Conor headed to New England where he worked for an educational enrichment program based out of Boston before heading back to school for his master’s in Higher Education Student Affairs from the University of Connecticut. Upon completion, he opted for a temporary hiatus from higher education to pursue his interest in gourmet coffee roasting by moving to a small town in Western Australia and working at a small coffee shop located just a few steps from the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean. After perfecting his roasting skills, he headed back to the U.S. where he worked as a middle school history teacher at an all-girls school in Los Angeles before finally making it back home to Pomona College and joining the Admissions staff in 2010.
In his spare time, Conor continues to search for the perfect LA coffee shop where he keeps the U.S. Postal Service in business by hand-writing letters to friends, family, and noteworthy figures (he’s sent over 600 in the last three years). Conor also claims to own not a single pair of plain white or black socks and opts instead for the wildly colorful variety. His favorite is his green penguin pair.
Will Torres, Assistant Dean of Admissions
Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, Ohio, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia
California: Hollywood & Wilshire
to Pomona, Will attended the College of Wooster where he earned a Bachelor of
Arts in both Black Studies and English. At Wooster, Will worked in the Office of
Admissions as a Tour Guide and Receptionist. After graduating from (COW), Will
worked with students and families to help them gain access to college,
financial aid, and scholarships as College Counselor of Oberlin City School
District. Will also worked as Assistant Director of the Ninde Scholars Program,
where he gained experience in grant writing, fundraising, and event planning.
After five years of working with high school students and families, Will came
to Pomona College to learn about “the other side of the desk” through the world
Will moved to Claremont to join Pomona College in 2010. Will is the point person for Athletics recruitment in the Office. Will enjoys working on the MSAP Program (for diversity recruitment). Will has expanded "Take Pomona Home," a program that encourages current Pomona students to share their experiences in their hometowns. He is also responsible for email correspondence for the Office. In the summer, Will enjoys working with the students of Pomona College Academy for Youth Success (PAYS). Will also has interest in better utilizing Community Based Organizations (CBO’s) in Pomona College’s recruitment efforts.
In his spare time, Will enjoys a whirlwind love affair with his favorite city, Los Angeles. Random walks, discovering new restaurants and volunteering are some of his favorite ways to explore LA. Will also makes time to play pick up basketball with students, run themed 5K's, and surf in Malibu a few times a year.
In the future, Will hopes to continue work in the areas of education, counseling, and/or philanthropy.
Frances Nan '12, Assistant Dean of Admissions
New Jersey, South Texas, Idaho, Montana
California: San Diego County, north of Sonoma County, San Jose
In the office, Frances helps with the Diversity Program, organizing fly-out weekends during the school year and promoting high-touch contact with students, families, and community-based organizations (CBOs). Additionally, she assists with the senior interviewer and intern programs, so that she can stay connected with current Pomona students.
After living 15 years in Sunnyvale, California, Frances moved to Beijing, China, where she attended an international high school. Her favorite memories from college involve her sponsor groups (including transfers!), shifts at the Writing Center, and backpacking trips with the outdoors club. Frances received her B.A. in English and Philosophy-Politics-Economics (PPE) from Pomona College. After graduating, she spent a brief summer in the southwest of Houston, TX, teaching 4th grade, learning to fix bicycles, and trying new ethnic cuisines every Friday night. Outside of exploring the mountains, valleys, beaches, forests, and deserts near Los Angeles, Frances loves bursts of laughter, avocados, and book-learnin'.
Michelle Gonzalez, Admissions Officer
Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Florida
California: East Los Angeles, South and South Central Los Angeles, North Orange County
Michelle joined Pomona College in the Summer of 2013, shortly after completing her Masters in Higher Education at California State University, Fullerton. During her time in this program, Michelle was able to conduct research with her peers to discover factors that motivate first-generation Latino males to go to college. Although Michelle is a proud born and raised Angeleno, she went to school out of state for her bachelor’s degree. She received her B.A. in Spanish at Colorado College and aspires to further her education in the near future by pursuing her doctorate in education. Michelle is committed to increasing the number of underrepresented, first-generation students going to college.
As a member of the Pomona College Office of Admission, she is part of the Diversity Recruitment team and joins the efforts of the college to increase diversity on this campus.
Slade Burns '14, Admissions Officer
Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina
California: San Mateo County, Covina and West Covina, Central Valley, City of Palo Alto, San Francisco County, Oakland, Alameda County, Valley of the Moon
Slade joins the admissions team at Pomona as a recent graduate of the college and former Senior Interviewer in Pomona's Office of Admissions. During his time as a Sagehen, Slade earned his B.A in Environmental Geology and headed a number of sustainability programs through the college's Sustainability Integrations Office (SIO). As a fellow at the Munroe Center for Social Inquiry, Slade studied the role of schooling and educational systems in modern society and discussed issues of access and secondary education with leading scholars in the field of education policy. In his senior year, Slade held the role of Senior Interviewer where he met with hundreds of students and families and assisted the Admissions Office in evaluating candidates. Other areas of interest include the role of college athletics in the admissions process and the impact of education policy on higher education.
As a Kansas City native, Slade's great loves include barbecue and underperforming professional sports teams (Go Chiefs!). Food is a general passion for Slade and, upon graduating from Pomona, he set out on a tour of California in search of the state's best fish tacos (Marcy's, located in Mission Beach, San Diego, receives top marks). In his free time, Slade can be found wandering one of Southern California's many museums, attending a play at the Rubicon Theatre or gardening with his grandpa.
Sarah Thompson '11, Admissions Officer
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Indiana, New York (non-NYC)
California: Whittier, South Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, South Bay, Long Beach, Contra Costa County, Santa Clara County (including Palo Alto High School), Central Coast
After graduating from Pomona in 2011, Sarah moved to Washington, D.C to pursue her interest in international development. After three great years, she decided to return to her Sagehen roots and join the admissions team, where she worked previously as a Senior Interviewer. As a Pomona student, Sarah was a Sponsor (Mudd 2 Front!), conducted research in Burkina Faso, and played on an occasionally winning intramural soccer team.
Originally from North Carolina, Sarah loves bad country music, excruciatingly sweet tea, and Carolina Panther Football. She spends her free time enjoying the outdoors and planning the next adventure; although, she believes all good adventure doesn't go according to plan.
Our admissions staff does a bit of everything! From visiting high schools to reading applications, officers help build each year's incoming class, and are happy to assist you with any part of the application process. Please select your admissions officer by your high school location.