Meet the Colleges of Distinction Team

Colleges of Distinction Leadership

Wes Creel

Founder

Wes was the first in his family to go to college. In 2001, he founded Colleges of Distinction to help high school students navigate the complicated and sometimes intimidating process of finding the right school. In 2005, he helped launch the Center for Student Opportunity, a national nonprofit that supports first-generation college students throughout their time at college. In 2017, Wes founded Abound, the project that helps degree-seeking adults choose a college to power their dreams.

Tyson Schritter

Chief Operating Officer

Tyson serves as COO for Abound as well as Colleges of Distinction. As a member of the Colleges of Distinction qualification team, he’s been visiting campuses across the country and interviewing their staff for a solid eight years, experience that shows through in the resource articles he writes at Colleges of Distinction. Tyson has worked in outreach and communications for several nonprofits in Washington, D.C. His writing has appeared on Huffington Post, Higher Ed Revolution, and Campus News. Tyson earned a BS in Political Science from the University of Idaho.

Katie Creel

Chief Strategy Officer

In 2008, Katie became an outreach partner for Colleges of Distinction; she now serves as CSO for Abound, where she helps with college selection by researching the schools nominated for excellence. Prior to that, she served as program coordinator in the Asia Division at the Center for International Private Enterprise in Washington, D.C. Katie has studied abroad in France, Germany, Cambodia, and Vietnam. She loves to travel and is an avid follower of track and field. Katie holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Centre College.

Erin Pettus

Vice President of Outreach

Erin is the brain behind the 2017 launch of Abound’s first initiative, Finish College. She also curates content to support degree-seeking adults while helping to find and qualify degree completion programs. Erin studied abroad in Queensland, Australia, competed on Endicott College’s nationally-ranked cheerleading squad, and served for six years as Communications Manager at edWeb.net in New Jersey. Now living in Austin, TX, she spends her free time exploring parks and pubs with her dog, Crash.

Nathan Wilgeroth

Associate Director of Outreach & Senior Editor

Originally from Austin, Nathan came back home to join our team after studying English and sociology at Boston University. Nathan works with our members of both Colleges of Distinction and Abound to help them best utilize our tools and profiles. In addition, he collaborates with the marketing and communications teams to craft each blog, article, and publication. Outside of work, Nathan unapologetically geeks out about theatre, yoga, and analyzing anything from the smallest use of punctuation in a poem to the largest overarching systems that shape society as it is today.

Quenosha Payton

Digital Marketing Manager

Quenosha is the first in her family to go to college. In 2015, she graduated from Mississippi State University with her Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing. Now further in her career she serves as Digital Marketing Manager for Abound and Colleges of Distinction, handling various operations from social media management to web strategy. Being a Mississippi native, Quenosha spends her time exploring her new home with friends.

Gaetan Giannini

Advisor

Gaetan Giannini is Dean of Business and Entrepreneurial Initiatives at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. He spent eleven years at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA where he was Dean of the School of Adult and Graduate Education and Chief Marketing Officers and a business faculty member. He is the author of Marketing Public relations: A Marketer’s Approach to Public Relations and Social Media (Pearson-Prentice Hall 2010) and has over 15 years of experience in sales and marketing management for technology based companies as well as owning a marketing consulting firm.

Shelley Randles

Advisor

Shelley Randles is and Independent Educational Consultant at Randles Educational Consulting. Shelley is a member of the IECA, HECA, and WACAC with 12 years of independent educational consulting experience gained from working with Uncommon Good – a Claremont-based nonprofit. In that time she has successfully placed students at a range of schools including: Boston College, DePaul University, Lewis & Clark, UC System Schools, and many more.

Staff

Marie-Antonette Bone

Digital Marketing and Outreach Associate

Marie-Antonette started with the team as a Digital Media intern during her time as an Advertising student at the University of Texas at Austin. After graduating in 2018, she has transitioned into a full-time member of the Abound and Colleges of Distinction team. She believes that college years are a time of exponential growth and finds it exciting to help others find the perfect college and pursue their dreams. During her free time, she enjoys dancing hip-hop, playing the guitar, and finding new places to eat in Austin.

Ana-Marcela Lopez

Outreach Associate and Assistant Editor

Ana-Marcela joins the team as an outreach associate and assistant editor. She values the pursuit of knowledge and is excited to use her research and writing skills to help others fuel their intellectual curiosity. Ana-Marcela is a native Austinite and she earned her Bachelor’s in English Literature from St. Edward’s University. Her favorite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ana-Marcela spends her free time hiking the greenbelt, cruising the aisles of half price books, or cuddling her cats.

Andrea Alcid

Digital Marketing Intern

Andrea recently joined the team as a Digital Marketing Intern and is currently pursuing an Advertising major, as well as minors in both Business and French Studies. Her responsibilities involve handling the social media platforms for Colleges of Distinction. She firmly believes that the key to succeeding is viewing inexperience and failure not as a detriment, but as an opportunity to learn. As an Austin native, Andrea enjoys spending her free time frequenting new food spots and live music concerts around town.