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The founders and staff of Mission Scholars have dedicated their careers to education and specifically to helping promote educational equality among underserved populations.

Cassie Lancaster

Executive Director

Cassie Lancaster, our Executive Director, has been a private college admissions counselor for the past decade. During this time, she volunteered her time and expertise for teachers and counselors who worked with low-income students, and she provided her individual services on a pro bono basis to several first-generation college applicants. Cassie holds a Bachelor of Arts from Princeton University and a Master of Arts from UCSB. She is the author of The College Essay Trap and the founder of College Specific, a company in Santa Barbara that provides students and their families with private college admissions counseling.

Katie Kinsella

Director of Marketing & Community Outreach

Katie Kinsella, our Director of Marketing & Community Outreach, is a Fulbright Scholar with a Bachelor of Arts from UCLA and a Masters of Education from UCSD where she specialized in working with low-income bilingual youth. She taught middle school in southern California and has implemented college promotion programs across South America. Katie has devoted her career to helping underrepresented Latino communities reach their full potential and thrive in school and life. She enjoys using her passion to help Santa Barbara produce more college graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds, each of whom can have a major impact on their family and community as a whole.

Kim Phillips

Mission Scholars Advisor

Kim Phillips, a Mission Scholars advisor, is a graduate of Williams College and Harvard Business School. She is a Board Member and Ambassador for The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, as well as the International Federation of MS Societies. Kim also serves as a Trustee for the Main Idea Charitable Trust, which is financially dedicated to a residential summer camp program that provides economically disadvantaged girls with life-changing camp experiences. In addition, she has provided private, standardized test preparation to students in the Santa Barbara community, many of whom have been pro bono, first-generation college aspirants.

Jacqueline Mora

Jacqueline Mora

Program Manager - College Access

Jacqueline Mora received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology from University of California, Los Angeles. During her time at UCLA, she served as a Bruin Advisor in the Los Angeles and Pasadena Unified School Districts. In addition, she worked in College Access, aiming to level the playing field for local, low-income, undocumented students, and first-generation students. Her role involved providing guidance and imparting the necessary skills for high school completion, career exploration, and college enrollment. As the Mission Scholars College Access Program Manager, Jacqueline oversees comprehensive college prep and college application programming, leads Peer Mentorship and Parent Engagement workshops, and extends Mission Scholars’ outreach efforts by sharing our expertise to Santa Barbara’s broader underserved community.

Yazmin Vega

Yazmin Vega Escalera

Program Coordinator - College Affordability

Yazmin Vega Escalera earned her Bachelor of Arts in Chicano/a/x Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. While at UCSB, she conducted research for the Education and Chicano/a/x Studies Department, shedding light on the challenges faced by first-generation and undocumented students in academia. Yazmin enjoys incorporating activism into the academic setting and is passionate about equal access to higher education. As the Mission Scholars College Affordability Coordinator, she spearheads financial aid and scholarship workshops, delivers financial literacy education to Mission Scholars families, and skillfully negotiates aid packages to minimize college debt.

Paige Brenner

Paige Brenner Eubank

Program Coordinator - College Success

Paige Brenner Eubank grew up in Santa Barbara before moving to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California, where she received a Bachelor's of Science degree from the Marshall School of Business. Following her time at USC, she moved to San Francisco to start her career in finance at Apple. Paige was a part of Apple's Financial Development Program, where she rotated among several finance teams. Her most recent role at Apple involved managing the worldwide unit sales forecast for AirPods and Accessories. As the Mission Scholars College Success Coordinator, Paige's responsibilities include pairing students with mentors, coordinating the monthly trainings for Leaders in Transition (LIT), and helping our Scholars discover and pursue amazing career opportunities.