A top-notch team of professionals ready to help Delaware students achieve their goal of attending and paying for college.

Phone: (302) 650-5205

Damien Burke is an accomplished College Access Consultant with significant urban high school experience.  His work includes grant writing, program design, community outreach, project implementation, stakeholder alignment, strategic planning, and organizational metrics.  Damien focuses on creating and implementing sustainable solutions to eliminate achievement gaps.   Damien stays on the front-end of College Access research and is an expert at Summer Melt prevention.  “Summer Melt” occurs when a college-intending senior does not make her way on to a college campus after graduation.  This is a recently-recognized problem with research-driven solutions.   Damien has implemented landmark dual enrollment programs, increased college enrollment rates of first generation college-goers, and addressed student-level college barriers.  He is a student-focused consultant who promotes student voice at every opportunity.   He earned a B.S. (Chemical Engineering) from The University of Virginia and an Executive MBA from The University of Delaware.  Prior to consulting in Delaware, Damien worked for the Superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia through a two-year fellowship with the Broad Foundation.

Phone: (302) 559-8288

Sally taught English, Journalism and Advanced Placement for 29 years at William Penn High School, served three years as Governor’s Education Policy Advisor to Governor Ruth Ann Minner and worked closely with the early SEED Scholarship program. Sally was previously Director of Development and Public Relations for Reading ASSIST Institute. She is excited to work with $tand by Me to bring financial aid information and programs to high schools throughout the state of Delaware.

Cory Dunt is the $tand By Me Financial Coach at the Delaware Tech – Owens Campus in Georgetown. He had previously worked at DTCC prior to joining the $tand By Me team allowing Cory to know the ins and outs of the campus community. He serves as the adviser for the MusicNotes student club, as well as being an adjunct faculty member. Cory is able to help students navigate life during the college experience. After receiving his B.A. in Christian Education from Lincoln Christian University, Cory taught in local Christian private schools, as well as in South Korea for two years. He will receive his M.Ed. in Applied Technology in Education from Wilmington University in June 2015. Cory brings to $tand By Me a desire to help people reach for and meet their goals.
Phone: (302) 255-9245

Mary is the Director of Financial Empowerment for the state of Delaware and runs $tand By Me®.  She joined Governor Jack Markell’s administration following a 30-year career in the nonprofit sector as an entrepreneur in high-impact financial empowerment programs. Since joining the Delaware state government in 2009, she worked with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and United Way of Delaware to develop and launch the unique program $tand By Me®, helping thousands of Delawareans to become more financially secure.

Prior to her tenure with the State of Delaware, she was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Nehemiah Gateway CDC, a faith-based community development corporation in Wilmington Delaware. At Nehemiah, she started a statewide EITC Campaign which, in seven years, provided free tax preparation for over 54,000 low income taxpayers, opened 1400 savings accounts and CDs, and brought back $79 million in refunds. The champion of this effort was State Treasurer Jack Markell, who prior to his election as Governor, embraced the cause of financial inclusion for low-wage workers and financial literacy for all Delawareans. This initiative became the inspiration for the $tand By Me® financial empowerment program. She also spearheaded the organization of the Delaware Family Childcare Alliance, a statewide network of family childcare providers which grew to include 500 home-based providers serving low-income families.

Previously, as the Director of the Women’s Center for Economic Options at the YWCA, she launched the Working Capital Delaware program, a micro-loan program which served almost 1,000 micro-businesses and won a Presidential Award in Microenterprise Development in 1997 from President Bill Clinton. Before coming to Delaware, she ran a microenterprise program and worked as a community organizer for a faith-based network of community organizations in Philadelphia.

She also consulted nationally and internationally with the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Grameen Foundation, and others on program design, evaluation, and industry development in asset building and microenterprise development. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Social Administration from Temple University.

Phone: (302) 540-1286

Jeffrey E. Hanson, Ph.D. is President and founder of Jeffrey Hanson Education Services, a company dedicated to providing financial literacy, borrower education and debt management programs and services to schools and other organizations for the benefit of students and recent graduates. These services include presenting educational seminars and conducting individual one-on-one confidential student advising sessions on all aspects of funding post-secondary and post-graduate education. He previously served as Director of Borrower Education Services for 14 years at Access Group, Inc. where he was responsible for developing programming and all associated materials used to educate students/borrowers on the fundamentals of education loans, money management, personal finance and debt management. Prior to working at Access Group, he was Director of Financial Aid on the Chicago Campus of Northwestern University. He also taught economics at Michigan State University. Dr. Hanson actively speaks to groups about debt management and personal finance. He has given presentations at numerous national, regional and state meetings, conferences, symposia, and workshops. He also writes on various topics including how students and their families can finance higher education. He earned a B.S. (Biology) from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington. He also has a M.S. (Environmental Science), M.A. (Agricultural Economics), and Ph.D. (Agricultural Economics) from Washington State University in Pullman, Washington.

Amanda M. Nersasian, M.Ed., a DE. Certified School Counselor, is the newest member to the $tand By Me College Funding team.  In the year 2000, Amanda obtained a B.A. in Psychology, from the University of Delaware.  In 2007, she earned a Master of Education in Secondary School Counseling degree, from Wilmington University.  Having spent the past 10 years as a school counselor (Brandywine High School, Wilmington, DE.), Amanda is no stranger to the College Funding Project!   She has served as a College Application Month Coordinator, incorporating the various FAFSA workshops and assistance of the CFP team. Her primary focus has been placed upon the needs of all first-generation college and educational “at-risk” children. Amanda has obtained a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the specific post-secondary college/financial needs of all high school students.
Phone: (302) 255-9621

Izzy is inspired by all forms of creativity from the arts to financial empowerment. She values being a part of a team that seeks to create innovative and compelling programs that have a positive effect on people’s lives, especially those that empower others.

She is a liaison for $tand By Me’s work on marketing and communications. She is also involved in initiatives related to volunteer participation, staff training, collaborations with financial experts, community outreach, and special events. She was one of the team members involved in the preliminary design meetings before the program’s launch.

Prior to joining $tand By Me®, Izzy spent several years working in the arts for the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts and the Delaware Division of the Arts holding a variety of positions in marketing, communications, fundraising, gallery management, and program development. She volunteers with Great Dames and the Delaware Division of the Arts.

Camille Moman is the Consumer Services Program Assistant at NCALL Research. Camille initially came to NCALL Research as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in 2009 and was then hired as a Financial Literacy Specialist. With more than 20 years in the banking industry, she brings a wealth of experience in the areas of credit restoration and household budgeting. Camille is excited to be able to utilize her expertise and skills to assist/train $tand By Coaches in Kent and Sussex Counties.
Phone: (302) 689-3303

With 20-plus years of experience in post-secondary preparation Candace Powell-Kinard is an Educational Consultant inspiring students and their families to bring their educational dreams to life. Formerly employed by the Philadelphia Education Fund’s College Access Program as the Managing Director, Candace was responsible for program coordination, new college access initiatives and the supervision of school based practitioners. In her previous role as the Associate Director, she also managed one of the program’s College Access Centers. She has provided direct service and guidance to middle and high school students and adults. Both her bachelor degree and her work in college admission hail from Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College). She is an active member and has presented at NACAC (National Association for College Admission Counseling) and PACAC (Pennsylvania Association for College Admission Counseling) conferences and served as a NACAC delegate for four years. Recently profiled in PACAC’s newsletter the PACER, she has been chairperson for the Philadelphia NACAC National College Fair and has been a faculty member in the PACAC Summer Institute. Her passion for the issue of access to higher education can be seen through her work with the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable, a networking organization for college preparatory professionals, Villanova’s Undergraduate Advisory Board, several higher education advisory committees and her work as a consultant.

Dianne Rogers earned a Special Education and Rehabilitation from Syracuse University. She has earned two master’s degrees, one from the University of Wisconsin in Special Education and the other from Edinboro University in Administration and Supervision.

Combining an extensive background in special education and a history of advocating for students and their families, she is a positive addition to the $tand By Me team. Following a twenty year career in public school education, Dianne served Mercyhurst University (Erie, PA) as Director of the Learning Differences Program, an advocacy program for students with learning, sensory and emotional disorders attending the college. Under Rogers’ leadership, this program was recognized by both K & W Guide (Princeton Review) and Peterson’s Guide’s highest ranking for programming for students with Learning Disabilities and was named a benchmark program for students with special needs.

In 2006, Rogers developed the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst, an innovative program designed for students who, while exhibiting superior intellectual abilities, faced challenges in executive functioning and social interactions. The AIM program is widely recognized on the national and global level and has been featured in media outlets including the Chronicle of Higher Education, Autism Asperger Digest, C-Span, NBC’s, Forbes magazine, and many regional and national publications

In her spare time, she volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), helping abused and neglected children within the court system.

Karen is the coach at the $tand By Me® Financial Empowerment Center at Delaware Technical Community College in Stanton. She brings over 20 years of experience in Education, Banking, Finance and Case Management to her job. She has worked as an elementary and adult teacher for Colonial School District and Sylvan Learning Center, and has experience working in college admissions, as well. Karen also has a background in the banking and lending fields as a Small Business Relationship Manager for Wilmington Trust. Most recently, she has been a Case Manager, IDA Counselor and Family Resource Coordinator for West End Neighborhood House, where she teaches Financial Literacy. Karen is available to provide workshops and one-on-one coaching at Delaware Technical and Community College – Stanton Campus for the students, employees, and the general public. She is enthusiastic about positive change and knowledgeable about resources available to those who want to work towards their financial goals. Karen has obtained her B.S. in Elementary Education from Wilmington University.