Springboards for Success

SQ Mentors funnel their energy, expertise and passion into a culture of partnership, stewardship, and learning. Through positive, nurturing interactions, SQ Mentors help students navigate their schoolwork, explore their interests, and express their independence.

Mentor Login

Stabilizing Force

SQ Mentors encourage resilience, as they help students practice their study skills, manage their time, set reasonable goals, and establish a pattern for overcoming challenge. Regular, structured conversations keep students on track with their academics, as well as their personal and professional relationships. SQ Mentors hold students accountable for their learning as they:

  • Identify students’ strengths and weaknesses
  • Teach them to connect their actions to results
  • Cultivate personal growth, positive thinking, and confidence

SQ Mentors & Facilitator Team

Janet Fisher

Janet is SQ Scholars’ go-to math and science guru, responsible for tutoring Math and Science college prep and developing hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) programs. Janet has served 17 years as a tutor in high school math and science and ACT and SAT test preparation. Janet has led her church high school youth group for over 10 years and has accompanied teens on service, social justice, and mission trips to cities across the U.S. Prior to her role in teaching, Janet worked for 15 years as a software engineer, where she designed industrial control systems, computer graphics, and database systems, and mentored new graduates. She also received the Rockwell Automation Innovation Award. Janet earned Outstanding Graduate Awards and summa cum laude recognition from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with BS degrees in both computer science and mathematics.

Stacy Friedland

Stacy brings organizational leadership, people management, and advocacy skills to help SQ Scholars on multiple levels. Through her years in charge of growing memberships, coordinating special events, and negotiating complex environments, Stacy has developed a calming and effective personal style. She currently works as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) in Lake County, representing abused and neglected children in the juvenile court system. In addition to coordinating multi-team sports events (often involving more than 500 people), Stacy has taught ACT test preparation and worked as an attorney for injured clients. She holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Chicago Law School and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan.

Carly Friedland

Carly leads with clarity and focus while encouraging students to take charge of their own learning. Her philosophy stems from her work as an elementary special education teacher in Highland Park, part of North Shore School District 112. In breaking learning into manageable segments, she has helped students of all levels set and reach their goals to overcome their learning challenges. Carly earned her bachelor's degree in special and elementary education from Indiana University in 2010. In May 2015, she earned her master's degree in reading from Concordia University.

Laura Gold

Laura’s corporate and volunteer work experience contribute to her skills as a planner, organizer, and compassionate leader. With B.S. and M.S. degrees in psychology and industrial relations from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, Laura worked on performance appraisal form and process, training programs, and succession plans for retail manufacturer Hartmarx Corporation. Upon leaving the workplace to raise her three sons, Laura became a professional volunteer, which included active roles in the school library and classroom, fundraisers, and career fairs. Laura served six years as Head Parent Volunteer for Deerfield High School Cross Country and Track Team. She also served on a committee to pass her School District 109 Referendum and volunteered for 4 years at Highland Park Hospital. She continues to mentor students from kindergarten reading and writing through high school. Laura’s psychology training and broad-based work in the schools fuel her passion for education and for guiding her mentees thoughtfully and sensitively.

Lee Gorsky

Lee brings both technical and business knowhow to the SQ Scholars environment. His experience spans multiple career perspectives from research biochemistry and human health to technology and entrepreneurship. Lee earned a B.S. degree from University of California–Davis and a PhD in Biological Chemistry from the University of Michigan. He worked for 10 years as a research biochemist in both academia and industry. Upon leaving the lab, Lee joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where he taught Human Health Risk Assessment and Risk Communication. This teaching component took him all over the US and to Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. Lee is an entrepreneur and founder of Lucidum, LLC, which focuses on Online Training Program development. He is also a co-founder of UniformMarket, LLC, and Sellers Commerce, LLC. He is currently focused on incubating two new companies: Empathic Workplace and Improv Therapy Group, which lend to his interest in working with young people.

Teresa Mastin

Teresa is Chair of the Department of Advertising and Public Relations in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences at Michigan State University. Previously, she was director of Diversity, Inclusion & Outreach at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and taught university-level strategic public relations for more than 17 years. Teresa has worked with underserved populations in Flint, Michigan, and Chicago, and has published research in media advocacy and minority health issues. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Media from Michigan State University in 1998 and served as a Fulbright specialist in Rwanda and Kenya, Africa. In addition to her service on various professional boards, Teresa has been active on the boards of HerStory Centre (Nairobi, Kenya) and Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4).

Will Kartsimas

Will offers SQ Scholars academic advising, college planning, scholarship and application perspectives. As a professional college enrollment manager, Will is an experienced undergraduate admissions and financial aid advisor. He has worked for public, private, and selective colleges and universities, including DePaul University, Northwestern University, and Elmhurst College. Will’s particular interest centers on student development, which prompted his creation of a lasting high school-to-college bridging program and lends to his success as one-on-one college coach. Will earned his undergraduate degree with honors in psychology from the University of Iowa and a graduate degree in higher education student affairs from the University of South Carolina. Will recently earned a post baccalaureate degree in enrollment management, research and policy.

Eliana Sigel-Epstein

Eliana is pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. She also serves as Program Manager for Storycatchers Theatre, a nationally recognized non-profit that uses theatre as a vehicle for change with incarcerated youth. Eliana has tutored Catholic middle-school students for the High School Placement Test (HSPT), taught executive functioning skills at Chicago’s Nurturing Wisdom, and worked as an assistant clinician for LEEP Forward’s therapeutic preschool. Her experiences in Boston at Tufts University and in Moscow at the Russian Academy of Theatre Arts have taught her the importance of independence and cultural exchange, values she passes on to her mentees.

Carole Ziemke

Carole is a retired Spanish teacher from Lemont Township High School who has taught in the public school system for 35 years. She started her career at Thornton Township High School and taught Adult Education Classes evenings at Thornton Community College. She holds an MS in Education Degree, including studies in Spain. She continues to develop her Spanish skills through travel and immersion experiences. Carole is married with two adult children who are also educators. She has spent time around teens much of her adult life and uses her mentoring skills to develop character, intelligence and aptitude.

Terry L. Ziemke

Terry is a retired school administrator who started his career at Lockport Township High School. He was a Physical Education teacher and Dean of Students as well as a football and baseball coach at Lockport from 1972-1989. From Lockport, Terry moved to Minooka Community High School and Lemont High School as an Assistant Principal. Most recently, he served as the Head Dean of Students at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Illinois. Throughout his career in education, Terry focused on student support services. At Downers Grove North, he was recognized for his work on the school’s Student Support Team and was named as a 2004 Illinois State Board of Education “Those Who Excel Award” Winner. Terry also coached football at Downers Grove North and was a coach on the staff of the 2004 8A State Football Champions.