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About Us

Supporting College Students When & Where They Need It

BeyondAdmissions uses principles of social entrepreneurship to create ongoing, affordable, and easily accessible support to address the challenges students encounter in college and uses a portion of its fees to provide in-kind services with financial barriers.


Colleges and universities, constrained by shrinking budgets, increasingly find it necessary to limit support services leaving many undergraduates almost entirely reliant on their family and social connections for guidance. Navigating academics, social life, finances, physical and mental health, work, family responsibilities, commuting and/or on-campus living at any college or university more often than not overwhelms both students and their families. These stressors intensify for first generation college students, students of color, low income students, recently emancipated foster youth, veterans, LGBTQ students, students with disabilities, non-traditional students, students with dependents, and students raised in households where the predominant culture does not reflect the Eurocentric norms on which most American postsecondary institutions were founded.

Acceptance into college simply provides an opportunity for social and economic advancement; but in order to maximize this opportunity, students need adequate support throughout the college experience to help ensure successful completion of the process. Those lucky enough to have a personal support network often feel reluctant to ask for help when the expectations of family or friends differ from their own aspirations, and those with no personal support network frequently avoid asking for help for fear of looking like they do not belong.


By incorporating principles of civic engagement to build diverse and inclusive community partnerships at high schools, postsecondary institutions and local businesses, BeyondAdmissions empowers families and community members to best prepare its youth for college success.

Our Team

Founder, Joanne Valli-Meredith, Ph.D.

Joanne has 12 years of administrative and teaching experience at UCLA - most recently as the Director of Evaluation and Educational Assessment at UCLA's Office of Instructional Development. Her teaching in Community Health Science focused on student success using stress and coping skills derived from cognitive behavioral theory, identity theory and communication practices. She was also a college dropout!

Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors recognizes that fostering college success entails a broad range of factors. Their combined knowledge in academia, mentoring, development and business provides the expertise necessary to create an on going, accessible and affordable solution for college support. Their vision is to strengthen equity of opportunity for the success of all students. 


The BeyondAdmissions™ designation as a benefits corporation ensures that our board has the flexibility to place the needs of our students and community stakeholders in balance with those of our shareholders.


Reco Sanders | Secretary

Business Operations Manager, KIPP LA Schools

Currently the founding Business Operations Manager at a charter elementary school, Reco began his career in education with the AmeriCorps City Year program. He earned his B.A. in American Studies at Dickinson College where he received a full-tuition merit-based scholarship from the Posse Foundation.

Ava Alexandar, M.P.A. | Benefit Director 

Chief Development Officer, Burbank Community YMCA

Ava, a dedicated social advocate, holds a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA and a Master’s in Public Administration from New York University. During her 18 years of service in non-profit and public administration, she has authored two books and numerous articles on public policy and development.

Megan Koehler, LCSW | Chief Financial Officer

Vice President, Mentoring Services, Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles

Megan’s experience in the non-profit sector spans 30 years, with the last 22 years dedicated to youth mentoring programs. Her tenure working in Los Angeles-based non-profit organizations includes Fulfilment Fund, Jewish Family Services and Stuart House. She earned her Master’s in Social Work at the University of        Minnesota after studying vocal performance at UCLA to earn her B.A. in Music.

Laura Macchia Amescua 

Manager Policy Implementation and Admissions Evaluation, University of California, Office of the President

Laura has devoted the past 23 years to public higher education and currently works in admissions for the University of California, Office of the President. She began her career with UCLA Admissions, focusing on international students and ultimately overseeing the transfer process while pursuing her Ed.D. Laura received    her B.A. in Italian at UCLA, studied abroad, and worked in Italy for three years.


Keith Sears


Currently a screenwriter, Keith spent 27 years as a business affairs executive and agent at Creative Artists Agency. Holding a B.A. in History from Harvard and a J.D. from Columbia, he has also served as an alumni interviewer for Harvard’s Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

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