NSHSS Member Event at Columbia University

Be Honored in New York City!

NSHSS members and their families joined us in New York City at the prestigious Columbia University on Saturday, September 30, 2023!

Saturday, September 30, 2023
Alfred Lerner Hall: 2920 Broadway New York City, NY 10027
Nshss Columbia University New York City 2018 Coastal Click Photography 7668

Meet the Speakers

Kathy Carliner


Kathy’s 30-year PR career has focused on building awareness for and leading PR initiatives to support corporate and education industry organizations. Kathy brings energy, passion, and strategy to her work, which results in productive collaborations, lasting partnerships, and measurable results. Her education-related client experience encompasses work on behalf of NSHSS, Behrman House, American Student Assistance (ASA), The Language Conservancy, Newark Trust for Education, NJ SEEDS, and numerous others. Prior to joining Rosica, for two decades, Kathy worked at the third largest PR agency in the U.S. and had her own media training business for three years. She also served as an adjunct professor of business writing at Drew University and is an advocate for students with learning disabilities. Kathy earned her B.A. from Williams College and will speak to you all today about “building your own personal brands.” Please join me in welcoming Kathy to the stage.


Morgan Vazquez

NSHSS Fellows President Emeritus & Trustee

Morgan Vazquez is the Global Head of Campus Recruiting at Wells Fargo. Formerly, she was the Head of Early Career Talent Acquisition and Programs at Walmart. In her role at the world’s largest retailer, Morgan led a team of over 30 Human Resources professionals who recruited high-potential, diverse early career talent for the enterprise and developed robust intern and new associate programs aligned with the company’s strategic business needs. Morgan joined Walmart in August 2020 from the Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), where she was in a similar role as the Global Head of Campus Recruiting and Emerging Talent Programs. In her five years at BNY Mellon, she led the redesign of their campus recruiting function, focusing on attracting, developing, and retaining a strong pipeline of future leaders. Prior to BNY Mellon, Morgan spent six years at JPMorgan Chase in a variety of Human Resources roles.
Morgan is a graduate of Fordham University (Bronx, New York), where she obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Communications summa cum laude. Aside from being a passionate alumna at her alma mater and serving on the Fordham University Alumni Association Advisory Board, she is also the proud National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) Fellow. Furthermore, Morgan is a steadfast champion of Diversity & Inclusion and has been named to EMpower/Yahoo Finance’s list of Top 50 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders.

Eljin Rhymes

NSHSS Collegiate Council, Co-VP of Scholarship Development 

Eljin Rhymes is a Senior Industrial Engineering Major at Florida A&M University. He has been a part of NSHSS Since 2016 and has been the Co-VP of Scholarship Development since 2019. He has a variety of experiences in internships at notable companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin. He is a former 2020 James W. Lewis Global Leader Scholarship winner and the 2021 Collegiate Council Leadership Scholarship. In addition to his studies and internship experiences, he is also the founder of a vending machine service in Tallahassee, FL, E3 Essentials LLC, which focuses on providing healthier snacking options for K-12 schools and local businesses alike.

Elise O.

Central Intelligence Agency

Elise is an Outreach Coordinator at the Central Intelligence Agency. She has been with CIA since 2021. Prior to her current role, Elise served as a Targeting Officer in the Directorate of Operations. Before joining CIA, Elise spent four years at the National Security Agency. Elise is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and has a Master’s degree in Forensic Psychology. She enjoys being able to make a career out of educating students on the various opportunities that CIA has to offer, and in her free time, you can find her hanging out with her cat or playing video games.

Michael Nguyen


Michael Nguyen works with Army ROTC, the Reserve Officers Training Corps. Army ROTC is the largest scholarship granting institution in the country awarding almost $250 million dollars in scholarship annually. Most importantly, Army ROTC provides training to college students aspiring to serve as Army leaders after graduation. Graduates receive world-class leadership training and exceptional mentorship so they can serve as commissioned officers at the rank of second lieutenant in the Army.

Ashley Zahn

C2 Education

Ashley is an expert in college admissions with over 15 years of experience at C2 Education. She currently serves as the Director of Content and Curriculum and has played an instrumental role in guiding countless high school students toward their college goals. Most recently, Ashley and her team have developed the nation’s first comprehensive test prep solution for the new digital SAT. Driven by a passion for education, Ashley is dedicated to supporting students as they navigate the challenging path to higher education. She firmly believes in empowering students with college admissions guidance that will maximize their potential and set them on a path to success!

Agenda recap

*This agenda is subject to change. Final details will be sent closer to the event date.*

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Event Check-In & Badge Pick-Up

Attendees will check in with a digital or printed copy of their tickets and receive name badges in the Alfred Lerner Hall foyer.

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM: Networking Breakfast and College & Career Fair

Attendees will have the chance to gather information from College & Career Fair exhibitors. NSHSS will provide a catered continental breakfast for all event participants.

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM:  NSHSS Welcome & "Reflections from A First-Generation College Student - Leveraging Resources to Reach Your Goals"

NSHSS will welcome attendees to campus, and then members will hear from NSHSS Foundation Board Member and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Robert Marchman. Robert will reflect on his journey as a first-generation college student and provide insight on how you can leverage available resources to reach your goals!

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM: U.S. ARMY ROTC - "My Path to Becoming a Leader"

Army ROTC Cadets learn to manage multiple responsibilities as they grow and develop in college into leaders for our Army. You will meet Cadets who are scholars, athletes, and leaders in the community, who are able to balance their academic responsibilities while preparing to serve our nation as commissioned officers upon graduation. Their stories are unique, but all have the same elements: confidence, strength, and selflessness.

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM: C2 Education - "Explain Who You Are in 650 Words or Less"

College essays are the most challenging part of the application process. They’re a writing task like no other: the stakes are high and the assignment is tough. Students and families are invited to join us to talk about some of the greatest challenges of college essay writing and how students can overcome them to craft an amazing personal statement.

11:30 AM - 12:00 PM: The CIA – “CIA and You: Find Your Fit!”

Hear from a CIA officer and learn how you can jump-start your career through the CIA's Student Programs!

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Lunch Break

Attendees will visit nearby eateries for lunch on their own.

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Self-Guided Campus Tours

Attendees will have free time to explore the Columbia University campus

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: College and Career Fair

Attendees will have the chance to gather information from College & Career Fair exhibitors.

2:00 PM – 2:30 PM: “Got Questions?? Ask a College Admissions Rep!” - Live Q&A

Hear from a panel of university admissions representatives in a Q&A session. Check back for more details!

2:30 PM – 3:15 PM: “Brand U – Building Your Personal Brand”

The way you present yourself in the world matters, especially as you move from high school to college and the world beyond. This presentation will address how to build an authentic “brand” that reflects your personality, your talents, your attitude, and your passions. It will set you apart from your peers, not because you have a “better” image than someone else, but because yours truly reflects who you are. We’ll cover:

• What is a personal brand, and why does it matter

• How to build an authentic brand

• What does your brand look like – online, in writing, in personal presentation, and in all parts of your life

• Do’s and Don’ts

• Your evolving brand

3:15 PM- 3:45 PM: Columbia University Student Panel

NSHSS Members will hear from current Columbia University students/ambassadors who will speak about navigating campus life, choosing an appropriate major, and other general information about Columbia University. 

3:45 PM– 5:00 PM: Member Recognition Ceremony

Scholarship and grant winners will be awarded, and members will hear congratulatory remarks and receive their own NSHSS honor medallion.