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The Better Angels Team

Founders’ Story

We graduated from public high schools and are grateful for the support we received from teachers, staff, and other mentors throughout our educations. Their encouragement and care made a strong impact on our lives – the English teachers who encouraged us to keep feeding our love of literature, the secretary who helped type our college applications, the swim coach who taught us that hard work trumps all…

After college, we discovered that helping students identify and pursue their passions is a gift. As our teachers guided us, we are honored to continue the cycle – now for over 20 years – and help students on their college journeys and beyond.

The name Better Angels is inspired by President Lincoln’s first inaugural address in which he appealed to the “better angels of our nature” to unify our country. Our country remains divided in so many ways, especially in differing levels of opportunity. For many people, college provides an essential springboard to explore, learn, and empower themselves and their communities. We hope you will join us in becoming a Better Angel.

– Momo and Wes

Momo

Founder

Momo’s family moved to the U.S. from Japan with faith that an American education would open new doors for a better life. She was grateful to study at Palisades Charter High School in Los Angeles. She graduated with a B.A. in English from Yale College in 2004, where she was a Robert C. Byrd Scholar. Momo earned her J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Momo is a founder of Wise World Prep, a college admissions counseling company, and brings her experiences to help students think about short and long-term goals and how best to position themselves for meaningful and impactful lives.

Besides working with students and helping them share their stories, Momo enjoys exploring the natural world, reading about cooking and fermentation, and honing her skills in brewing the perfect cup of tea.

Wes

Founder

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Wes was blessed to attend Norman High School. He graduated cum laude from Harvard College with a B.A. in Psychology, where he was elected First Marshal (President) of the Class of 1994 and awarded the Francis Burr Prize for excellence in academics, leadership, and athletics. He also rowed for the championship-winning Harvard Lightweight Crew team.

After graduating from Harvard, Wes volunteered for a year in Ghana as a Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellow. He later taught literature at Harvard for six years, winning the Harvard University Certificate of Distinction in Teaching numerous times. In 2004, Wes earned an M.Phil. in Social Anthropology from Cambridge University (UK).

Wes loves a good New Yorker article, beach walks during low tide, and quoting comic films from the 80s.

Tiyhannah 

Program Director

Tiyhannah is originally from Florida, but she decided to venture out to the West coast to join our team after she got her degree in Economics from Yale University.  During college she helped run the newly founded Book Exchange for the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project and worked at the front and back end of business administration, from front desk customer service to helping CEOs best plan future ventures. Tiyhannah loves to perfect new recipes, find a good anime, chat for hours about life philosophies, and simply enjoy the outdoors. 

Helen

Counselor

Helen finds joy and meaning in helping others pursue their dreams and guiding students through the college application process. Helen earned her Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) after graduating from the University of Chicago as an Odyssey Scholar with General and Departmental Honors in Sociology. At Harvard, Helen co-led a storytelling project that won the HGSE Making Caring Common Dean’s Challenge. A Southern California native with a deep curiosity and sense of adventure, Helen enjoys meeting people from all walks of life and has studied and worked in cities around the world, including Beijing and Sydney.

Alexandra

Counselor

Alexandra graduated Magna Cum Laude from George Mason University in 2013, where she studied English with a focus in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and while attending GMU she had the pleasure of working with a small team to significantly expand the undergraduate literary magazine, Volition, for which she received an award as Volition Staff Member of the Year. After college, she eagerly moved to L.A. to connect with creative people. Outside of her work with us, she dedicates her time to mental health and gender-based violence activism, writing poetry, hiking, and spending time with her partner Jake and their dog, Campfire Jones.

Julian

Counselor

With over 15 years of experience in college admissions, Julian has served as an admissions officer at Amherst College, a college counselor at several U.S. high schools, and an independent consultant to numerous students and families. He enjoys helping students tell their stories in the most captivating way and uses his positive attitude, efficient workflow, and diverse experience to help families embrace the admissions journey with a greater sense of calm and understanding. Originally from Los Angeles, Julian earned a B.A in Religion from Amherst College and his passions outside of education include writing and entertainment, especially stand-up comedy.

Tricia

Administrative Associate

Tricia grew up in New Orleans and attended Tulane University, where she studied French with a minor in Film Studies. After college, she spent a year in Rennes, France, teaching English while exploring the rest of France and Europe in her free time. Tricia has a strong administrative background as well as experience working in education, film, and photography. She moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and has since enjoyed taking advantage of living by the coast and the mountains. In her spare time, she loves to travel, take part in beach activities with her husband Douglas, and play soccer.

Better Angels is a 501(c)(3)

Questions? Email us at info@bebetterangels.org

© 2015 Better Angels

Made with ♥ in Los Angeles, CA