Meet the new college counselors: Mrs. Melanie Hamre and Ms. Shanice Kok.


Mrs. Hamre (left) and Ms. Kok (right) will be joining the college counseling department. [Natalie S./The Blue & Gold]

Mrs. Hamre will be the new Director of College Counseling. Prior to coming to Taipei American School, she worked at United World College – USA, a boarding highschool in New Mexico as the Dean of Admissions and College Counseling, as well as a college admissions officer at Harvard University. 
As the director of college counseling, she will lead the office in the same way department heads would. She will also be “ serving on the Upper School Steering Committee, where we meet once a month to plan and discuss issues, and put together a school portfolio,” Mr. Warren Emanuel, the AP/IB Coordinator, said. Additionally, she will also be working with students as a college counselor as when she was a college admissions officer, she “missed working with students.” 
She believes the toughest part of a college counselor is trying to “help a student navigate rejection.” This is a crucial but hard life skill to learn failure and rejection. “I want every student to succeed but there are so many students that get mixed signals, it is sometimes painful for me to watch,” Mrs. Hamre said. 
Ms. Kok will be the new college counselor, replacing Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, who will be the Deputy Head of School for TAS. Ms. Kok was previously a college admissions officer at Tufts University as well as the admission representative for TAS. For Ms. Kok, the primary reason for her move to TAS is to see what “the other side of the table entails and is excited to be working directly with students”
Being familiar with the international school world and growing up in Hong Kong, Ms. Kok has always wanted to move back to Asia. Coming to TAS would mean that she would need to “be more of a generalist, where she is no longer just focused on one college but on the 4000+ colleges in the U.S. and more,” Ms. Kok said.