Armory College Prep Team


Rita Finkel

Co-President & Director of Armory College Prep

212-923-1803 Ext. 7010


Rita Finkel has worked at The Armory since April 2006, overseeing budgets, audits and financial strategies. She is also involved in developing and supporting sponsor relationships, educational development and special events here at the Armory. Her prior experience includes being the Executive Director of the Fencers Club, the oldest continuously running fencing club in the United States.



Alberto Aquino

Director of Youth Programming

212-923-1803 Ext. 7024


Armory College Prep’s mission to send students "to and through college" deeply resonates with Alberto’s personal beliefs. Since he began working at The Armory, Alberto has designed and delivered an academic program that sets his students up for long-term success. Prior to assuming this position, he served as a fifth grade math teacher at HYDE Leadership Charter School in the South Bronx and worked closely with community partners and students' family members in reaching student achievement. Alberto began his career in education in Clarksdale, Mississippi, while completing his two-year commitment to Teach for America.



Clayton Harding

Director of College Counseling

212-923-1803 Ext. 7025


Clayton Harding helps students create the list of colleges and scholarships they will apply to/for, and then helps them successfully submit those applications on a timely basis. He has been an employee of the Armory's since January of 2014.


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Mary Rose Synek

Director of Writing & Arts Achievement

212-923-1803 Ext. 7082


Mary Rose lives to help students tell their stories, guiding them through every step as they create, organize, and bring to life their personal statements for college admission. During the academic year, her students study the ever-fascinating subject of themselves through acting, writing and reading the great works of under read masters. Through ACP’s unique summer program, Mary uses theatre and Broadway visits to enrich her student’s cultural awareness in preparation for college.  Mary has taught for LEAP, NYC public schools, Cornell University and coached privately. She has appeared in over 50 plays, has directed theater productions and has produced 9 documentaries. She earned a BA in English Communication Arts from St. Mary’s University and a MFA from CUNY’s Brooklyn College.


Folasade Kola

Manager of success

212-923-1803 ext. 7053

Folasade Kola joined The Armory team May 2019. She's from Staten Island, NY and is a recent graduate from the University at Albany. She spends her time at The Armory helping students with their resumes, cover letters, interviewing skills as well as helping them secure paid internships and jobs during their college years.



Chris Vaios

Director of Testing & Academic Achievement


Chris is an entrepreneur, inventor, executive, consultant, board member and educational coach. Chris held engineering and management positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Lucent and several startup ventures, and is currently a senior partner at State Group. His passion for individualized and collaborative education, extensive work on technologies, and his own upbringing and positive life changing experiences inspire him to help students in underserved communities maximize their academic potential. He is a long-time contributor and advocate for Khan Academy’s international platform, and has successfully introduced it as a foundational platform for math and sciences in after-school programs in the US and abroad. Chris holds BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Massachusetts, and an MBA.



212-923-1803 Ext. 7081


Karen is a graduate of Manhattan Business Academy High School and is currently studying Human Services and Science at Bronx Community College. She has worked with New York City youth for over 4 years and has been part of the Armory College Prep team since the summer of 2015.



Erison Hurtault

College Counselor


As a two-time Olympian and NCAA Division I All-American while at Columbia University, Erison helps students deal with the challenges many student-athletes are confronted with and helps them maintain the balance between athletics and academics. He works with students to help them understand the paths to potential careers and target colleges that will give them the best opportunity to succeed and reach their long-term goals. Beyond college selection, he works with the students in preparing financial aid applications and applying for outside/private scholarships.



Davina Thrower

College Counselor


Davina was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She obtained her undergraduate degrees at Mitchell College in Criminal Justice, went on to John Jay College of Criminal Justice for a dual specialization Masters in Criminology and Deviance and Juvenile Justice then graduated from Fordham University with a Masters in Clinical Social Work.  She has been in the education field for over 17 years, working with several different youth programs and non-profits before joining the New York City department of education. Davina also currently works as a social worker in a transfer high school for 16-21 year olds for the New York City Department of Education.


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Tyler James GREEN
English Coach


Tyler is an ACP English Coach with Bachelor's degrees in English and in Russian Language and Literature from Florida State University, and holds a Master's degree in Writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. He is a poet, editor, and translator, currently at work on an anthology of translations of the late Russian poet Dmitri Prigov. Tyler has taught English at the high school level since 2014.



Michael Sutton

Math Coach


Michael is an ACP Math coach and a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. Michael holds a Bachelor degree in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University with a concentration in biomechanics and biomaterials, as well as minor in Chemistry. He is also a graduate research assistant in Cell and Molecular Biomechanics Lab at Columbia University. Michael’s prior work included co-Dean of the 2010 and 2016 Summerbridge program in Pittsburgh, assisting with the program’s operations, working on students’ personal and academic growth, and serving as substitute math and science teacher. He has also served as intramural sports official (2014-2016) at Duke University.



Megan Armstrong

Math Coach


Megan is an ACP Math coach with Bachelor and Master degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. Megan is currently a PhD candidate, a research assistant, and a teaching assistant at the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia. She has also taught high school level Algebra, Geometry, General Science, Chemistry, History, French, and English since 2010.


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Zoe Contros Kearl

English coach


Zoe is an ACP English coach with a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and political science from New York University. She is currently a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Columbia University's School of the Arts. She also works as a creative writer, focusing primarily on poetry and music journalism. Zoe loves sports and has played and coached junior tennis at the state and national level.


Romare Antrobus

MATh coach

Romare is an ACP Math coach and a PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University. Romare completed his Bachelor degree in Biochemistry at Lawrence University as a Posse Foundation Scholar. Currently, he is also a graduate research assistant focusing on the development of biomaterials for tissue engineering applications. He has prior work experience in advising undergraduate students for their academic and personal success throughout their college career. His coaching experience includes: teaching high school level math, undergraduate math, general science, and microbiology.toad