Counselors + Staff

Lorraine Serra Founder + Director

Lorraine Serra is the Founder and Director of Portfolio College Counseling (PCC). The services offered by PCC are inspired by her nearly four decades of experience as a design professional, business owner, and educator. Lorraine balances her dedication to mentoring young people with an innovative approach to helping students bring their artistic, academic and career goals into focus.

Holding a Certificate in College Counseling with Distinction from UCLA, an MA in Graphic Design from Savannah College of Art & Design, and a BS in Visual Arts from Purchase College, Lorraine is a demonstrated expert in her field. She is an active member of several professional organizations, including IECA, HECA, and NACAC.

Lorraine founded Chiaro Design in 1983, a multidisciplinary creative services firm specializing in packaging, type and print design. She taught at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and continues to lecture, publish articles and present workshops for college-bound creative students and their families. Lorraine judges student portfolios for the National Scholastic Art Awards and is the recipient of a Puffin Foundation Grant. PCC has offices in Guilford, CT and Port Townsend, WA.

Madeleine Soloway Art Portfolio Advisor

Madeleine Soloway is an exhibiting artist and art educator with over 40 years of professional art experience and twenty-nine years teaching in high school art programs. Her work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group shows throughout the United States and is included in private and corporate collections.

Soloway has a well-developed eye for talent and takes a proactive approach with guiding her students through the college process. Her students have won numerous awards for their artwork in both local and national competitions and are regularly granted top merit-based scholarships from prestigious art schools across the country.

Soloway brings her love of teaching and her years of success to guide PCC students through the college admissions process. She has participated in student portfolio reviews for The Georgia Governor’s Honors Program and Portfolio Day for Washington University in St. Louis. In 2011 Soloway received an award for her excellence in teaching from Savannah College of Art and Design.

Madeleine received her BFA in sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art, her MFA in printmaking and sculpture from Washington University and her K-12 Teacher Certification from The University of Georgia.

JENNI SARIKAS Client Manager

Jenni began college as a Music Education major at the University of Tampa, but soon felt the pull of songwriting and the music business. She completed a BA in Popular Music Studies at William Paterson University of New Jersey. She worked in music publishing as an intern and, later, as an employee, then took a risk and followed her true passion for songwriting. She earned a Master’s degree in Songwriting from Bath Spa University in Bath, England.

Jenni has since continued writing songs, released a full-length album of original songs, and periodically releases new work. She is passionate about fitness, particularly running, and will run her first marathon in 2022.

Along with music, Jenni has always enjoyed doing research. She often found herself exploring college programs just for fun! Jenni is a member of NYSACAC (New York State Association for College Admission Counseling). At Portfolio College Counseling, you will find her working behind the scenes to provide students with up-to-date access to college and application information as well as onboarding for your personalized application trackers.

 

CHRISTINE PAKKALA ESSAY ADVISOR

Christine is the author of five books for children, as well as numerous poems, articles and essays, including an essay which won a Ladies’ Home Journal national contest. Christine earned a BA from the University of Idaho, where she founded the college literary magazine, and an MFA in Poetry Writing from the University of Iowa (the Iowa Writers’ Workshop). Christine was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, a Scholastic teaching award, and the Green Prize for best children’s book with an environmental theme. Christine has taught middle and high school English, and currently teaches at the Westport (CT) Writers Workshop. She has tutored college essay writing for seven years and enjoys helping students tell their story in their own voice.

“My students always bring me fresh ideas and stretch my thinking and abilities as a counselor and designer,” says Lorraine. “I’ve learned a tremendous amount from the many young artists and designers with whom I’ve worked.”

Let's Connect

Finding the right college counselor is the key step in a successful college planning process. To help decide whether our services are the best path forward for students, we offer a 20-minute, complimentary phone meeting to introduce ourselves, get to know you and explain our process. Afterward, we’ll prepare a written proposal to outline our plan for working with you, that includes a suggested order and associated fees. Each plan for counseling is customized, based on the student’s abilities, skills and educational objectives.