Planet with rings and stars

Our Team

Only the most determined get to space.

Award-Winning Workplace

Ascent is proud to be named a “Best Places to Work” by the San Diego Business Journal and American Banker, and be designated as one of San Diego’s Best and Brightest companies to work for.

First Place of Best Places to Work SoCal 2023

1st Place
Best Places to Work in SoCal 2023

San Diego Business Journal Best Places to Work 2022

San Diego Business Journal
Best Places to Work 2022

San Diego’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2022

San Diego’s Best and Brightest
Companies to Work For Winner 2022

American Banker Best Places to Work in Fintech 2023

American Banker
Best Places to Work in Fintech 2023

Meet the Ascent Team

As current and former students, parents, and mentors, our mission is simple: help students achieve their goals. We want to empower students from all economic backgrounds and disciplines to maximize the return on that investment. Supporting students on their journey through school is important to us, which is why we’re proud to partner and co-create with college students.

By staying true to our mission, values, culture, and service to our community, we have been named “Best Places to Work” and named Best Private Student Loan for 2021 by Forbes Advisor and NerdWallet.

Board of Directors

Ken Ruggiero

Ken Ruggiero

Chairman

Greg Mauro

Greg Mauro

Board Member

Evan Baehr

Evan Baehr

Board Member

Nicole West

Nicole West

Board Member

Ryan Gray

Ryan Gray

Board Member

Tristan Fleming

Tristan Fleming

Board Member

Matt Myers

Matt Myers

Board Member

Advisory Board

Anita Thomas

Anita Thomas

Advisory Board Member

Debra Chromy

Debra Chromy

Advisory Board Member

Hillary Mickell

Hillary Mickell

Advisory Board Member

Jamie Jacobs

Jamie Jacobs

Advisory Board Member

Kim Caldbeck

Kim Caldbeck

Advisory Board Member

Neville Billimoria

Neville Billimoria

Advisory Board Member

Steve Coggeshall

Steve Coggeshall

Advisory Board Member

Team Members


Abby Liu

Abby Liu

Marketing Coordinator I

Adam Vaughan

Adam Vaughan

Principal Software Engineer

Alan Ward

Alan Ward

Marketing Data Analyst

Albert Olivares

Albert Olivares

Software Engineer III

Alex Acosta

Alex Acosta

Data Engineer III

Alex Stultz

Alex Stultz

Underwriter

Allie Danziger

Allie Danziger

SVP and GM, AscentUP

Allison Thompson

Allison Thompson

Loan Processor

Andrea Jenkins

Andrea Jenkins

Director, AscentUP

Ann Richards

Ann Richards

Senior Technical Project Manager

Art Kang

Art Kang

VP, Technology

Ausleen Acosta

Ausleen Acosta

Social Media & Digital Marketing Specialist

Avery Ryder

Avery Ryder

Software Engineer III

Becky White

Becky White

Loan Processor

Bill Dusha

Bill Dusha

Software Engineer III

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

Senior Financial Reporting Analyst

Carlos Morales

Carlos Morales

Senior Financial Analyst

Casey Stenger

Casey Stenger

Project Manager

Chad Augood

Chad Augood

Partner Development Manager

Chandler Smith

Chandler Smith

Senior Data Engineer

Chelsea Lacy

Chelsea Lacy

Customer Service Representative (Seasonal)

Chuck Dotson

Chuck Dotson

Underwriter

Crista Wray

Crista Wray

Director, Product and School Quality

Danny Lopez

Danny Lopez

Loan Processor

Danny Witt

Danny Witt

Senior Business Data Analyst

Dave Malmrose

Dave Malmrose

Outbound Engagement Specialist

Dawn Cope

Dawn Cope

Compliance Analyst

Emily Skoubo

Emily Skoubo

Senior Human Resources Manager

Erin Annis

Erin Annis

School Channel Support Coordinator

Felicia Wetzel

Felicia Wetzel

Lead Coach & Program Producer

Gracie Cordes

Gracie Cordes

Treasury Operations Specialist

Hamid Behnam

Hamid Behnam

Senior Frontend Engineer

Ian Meade

Ian Meade

Senior Accounting Manager

Jacob Lin

Jacob Lin

VP, Finance, Treasury & Accounting

Jake Terrell

Jake Terrell

Manager, Treasury & Capital Markets

Jamie Kautzman

Jamie Kautzman

Fufillment Supervisor

Janet Bringa

Janet Bringa

Customer Service Representative

Jason Desphy

Jason Desphy

Underwriter

JD Ephraim

JD Ephraim

Loan Processor

Jennifer Aguilar

Jennifer Aguilar

Certification Specialist

Jeremy Chavez

Jeremy Chavez

Senior IT Specialist

JoAn Altoveros

Joan Altoveros

Marketing Coordinator

Joanna Widmier

Joanna Widmier

Director, Engagement Marketing

John Gross

John Gross

Sr. Business Data Analyst

Jon Michalik

Jon Michalik

VP, Operations

Josh Deason

Josh Deason

Quality Assurance Engineer

Karol Raymond

Karol Raymond

Quality Coordinator

Ken Ruggiero

Ken Ruggiero

Co-founder & Chief Executive Officer

Kevin Boldin

Kevin Boldin

Quality Manager

Kim McNealy

Kim McNealy

SVP and GM, Student Funding

Kumba McGill

Kumba McGill

Relationship Manager

Kylie Gard

Kylie Gard

Senior Loan Processor

Lauren Garner

Lauren Garner

VP, Demand Generation and Partnerships

Lindsay Thompson

Lindsay Thompson

Operations Support Assistant

Lorenza Gil-Kabande

Lorenza Gil-Kabande

Marketing Manager

Mars Cheung

Mars Cheung

Senior Software Engineer

Marty Herrick

Marty Herrick

VP, Business & School Development

Melissa Arce

Melissa Arce

Outbound Engagement Specialist

Mercades Cooks

Mercades Cooks

Customer Service Representative (Seasonal)

Meredith Connelly

Meredith Connelly

Customer Experience Manager

Michael Middleton

Michael Middleton

SVP and GM, College Funding

Mike Prosper

Mike Prosper

Chief Technology Officer

Naomi Rodriguez

Naomi Rodriguez

Accounts Payable & Accounts Receivable Specialist

Nicole Shannon

Nicole Shannon

Account Manager, School Partnerships

Olaf Kunkel

Olaf Kunkel

Software Engineer IV

Olivia Arneson

Olivia Arneson

Growth Marketing Specialist

Pam Hughes

Pam Hughes

Senior Director, Technical Product Management

Paul Bartlett

Paul Bartlett

Software Engineer I

Paul Siemieniuk

Paul Siemieniuk

Manager, Analytics

Payam Karbalai

Payam Karbalai

Partnerships Marketing Manager

Ralph Linares

Ralph Linares

Senior IT Manager

Reese Billington

Reese Billington

Customer Service Representative (Seasonal)

Ryan Aditya

Ryan Aditya

Director, Business Analysis

Ryan Gray

Ryan Gray

Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer

Ryan Pearson

Ryan Pearson

Senior Web Developer

Ryan Valenzuela

Ryan Valenzuela

Loan Processor

Santhoshi Chandramouly

Santhoshi Chandramouly

Staff Data Engineer

Scott Greenberg

Scott Greenberg

Senior Learning Designer

Seth Formal

Seth Formal

SVP and GM, Career Funding

Sid Huerta

Sid Huerta

Senior Originations Manager

Susan Bussalari

Susan Bussolari

Executive Assistant

Suzanne Sgroi

Suzanne Sgroi

HR Generalist/Talent Acquisition Partner

Sylvia Chen

Sylvia Chen

Senior Analyst

Tatum Drinnenberg

Tatum Drinnenberg

Senior Executive Assistant

Tayler Grieco

Tayler Grieco

Customer Experience Manager

Xing Li

Xing Li

VP, Capital Markets

Our Core Values: WE ARE Ascent

  • Work as a team

    Ideas flow when we listen and learn from one another. We build the best solutions when we work together and co-create with customers.

  • Empower Success

    Learning and growth unlock limitless possibilities. When our customers, communities and coworkers succeed and prosper, we do too.

  • Act with integrity

    Honesty and candor build trust. Our clear, frequent, and transparent communications build confidence with our team and our customers.

  • Reimagine the frontier

    A curious and courageous mindset creates broader access, eliminates obstacles, inspires new solutions, and fuels action.

  • Embrace our diversity

    Diversity of background, experiences, and voices makes us stronger. We advocate for broad participation, champion diverse needs, and foster a sense of belonging.

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