Our Team



UCLA 1996 (B.A., English Literature, minors in Education and Business Economics, Harvard University Graduate School of Education 1997 (M.A., Teaching, Curriculum)

As an educational entrepreneur in co-founding College Launch with her husband, Joao, Tammy’s leadership has been the motivation for the research-based and highly successful College Launch holistic educational philosophy.  Within the company, she mainly oversees client and school relations and also serves as a premier consultant to select students applying for dream schools for undergraduate and graduate applications. Her creative strategies and personalized approach has been effective in coaching clients how to effectively market themselves to admissions from personal statement writing, interviewing to selecting schools of fit.

Her unending dedication to education and personal development inspires families and the community.  Starting with her work at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., Tammy’s education career includes 10 years as a Harvard Admissions Interviewer, 7 years of English instruction and curriculum development in Azusa, where she was also a district AVID College Coordinator, influential in increasing the number of college-bound students.  She is also a governor board member of OTIS college and has served as board member for the YWCA Foothill-Pasadena chapter, and has volunteered extensively. Tammy is proficient in Taiwanese and Mandarin.

Tammy has been recognized as an influential entrepreneur and educator by Los Angeles Business Journal, Congressman Adam Schiff, City of Pasadena, and State Legislature. She has been a featured college admissions speaker at education fairs, high schools and organizations as well as in key media such as Pasadena Magazine, The Outlook Newspaper, Chinese Word Journal Newspaper and Channel 18.  

JOAO DEDEUS ANACLETO, Co-Founder, Director of Operations

Ryerson Polytechnic University, Canada (B.A., Interior Architecture); Instituto Superior Tecnico, Portugal (Thermal Energy Management in Buildings, Teaching Certificate); Harvard University Graduate School of Design (M.S., Real Estate Finance and Urban Development Policy)

As an entrepreneur, co-founder and visionary architect of College Launch, João’s compelling academic and business career has inspired many students and employees by continuously expanding programs focused on student success.  Families at College Launch benefit from his everyday mission to bring affordable services typically reserved for students attending private schools.  Throughout the maturation of his +20 year career on three continents, Joao continuously aligned himself with rewarding and award winning projects that enhanced the quality of life and provided a higher community good.  João is an active board member with the Old Pasadena Management District, a founding board member with the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association and a Harvard interviewer for over 10 years.  He speaks Portuguese and some French.

VIOLET CHOU, Director of College Preparation - Programs and Enrollment

Soochow University, Taiwan (B.S., Economics)

As a parent of San Marino High School students, Violet came to College Launch for guidance in selecting the appropriate universities for her sons in 2007. She was asked to join the College Launch team in the crucial role of assisting families and students in organizing personal calendars for the college admissions process, including academic coaching, college admission applications, and the required standardized test taking (ELD 1-4, TOEFL iBT, IELTS, SSAT, ISEE, PSAT, SAT, ACT, AP exams, etc.).  She also assists international parents with adjusting to American life and the U.S. education system.  This mentoring is mastered by Violet equally in English and Chinese. Additionally, Violet offers over 20 years’ financial and business administration experience with international trading firms in Taiwan.  She is fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese.

AILEEN HONG, M.S., Personality Assessment Counselor

UCLA (B.A., Psychology, Developmental Psychology); Fuller Seminary School of Psychology (M.F.A., Marriage and Family Therapy)

Aileen’s mission is to teach others how to use their unique personality strengths to achieve academic and personal success.  She believes the key to success is to discover one’s own exceptional abilities, recognize weaknesses, and know what to do with that self-knowledge.  When asked to join the College Launch team, Aileen found a nurturing environment that was not just another center cranking out high SAT and AP scores.  She saw an opportunity where teachers could instill in students the skills and confidence to succeed in high school and flourish well beyond college.  Aileen achieves this goal by administering and counseling students through personality assessments.  Aileen also works at a counseling center as a licensed marriage and family therapist conducting workshops on parenting, marriage, and communication skills.  She serves as a board member for various organizations, including her professional association and an Asian-American counseling service.  Aileen is semi-fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Taiwanese.

GIL TAM, Life Skills/Leadership Coach

California State University, Long Beach (B.S., Mechanical Engineering, honors); State of California (Professional Engineering License)

Gil is a calm, special individual who has been sharing his wisdom and life skills with College Launch and its students since 2008. His varied experience allows him to provide extraordinary career mentoring and advising to high school and college students, as well as young professionals.  He is a volunteer mentor and a director on the board for the Asian American Professional Association.  Gil is retired as an executive from Southern California Edison Company, where he started as a power generating station plant engineer. Over 32 successful years, Gil progressed through several management positions. Currently, he is a principle consultant for Electric Power Group in Pasadena, an elder at San Pedro Presbyterian Church and a volunteer mentor for the Penny Lane non-profit organization, where he was awarded “Youth Mentor of The Year” in 2004. Gil also volunteers as a coach for San Pedro High School’s JV basketball team. He and his lovely wife, Lisa, have been married for 37 years and have two children. Gil emigrated from China when he was 14, and is fluent in Mandarin.

DERRICK PATTERSON, College Admissions Counselor

St. John’s University, New York (multiple degrees in Sociology, Philosophy, and Criminal Justice); University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D. Sociology); University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the US Department of Education (Research Fellow, The Center for Education Policy); Chulalongkorn University, Thailand (Certificate, Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Derrick has counseled students about university admissions for College Launch since 2007, and continues to advise via computer conferencing.  He has a quick sense of humor, and a pulse on the east coast, as he lives in New York and instructs Sociology for New York University.  Derrick has taught for the Peace Corps in Thailand, the Ministry of Education in Thailand, California State University, Northridge and Los Angeles, and the UC Berkeley Department of Sociology.  He has written over 20 publications for major academic journals, and his online resources have been featured in the American Sociological Association Journal.  Derrick developed cross-cultural training materials for the Peace Corps, and holds teaching certificates in two countries.  Fluent in Thai.


Caltech (B.S., Mathematics and Economics)

“Is it possible to be a math/science expert and act and look like an Olympian?”  As a mentor to over 300 individual students in many different subjects, primarily math, physics, chemistry, biology, and SAT/ACT preparation, Stefan’s results have consistently exceeded the expectations of both his students and their parents. He accomplishes this by individualizing his teaching strategies to every student, continuously getting to know them and monitoring their learning style and feedback.  In addition, he has classroom experience from teaching freshman math at Caltech, and AP Chemistry and AP Physics at Academy 1600.  As a high school student, Stefan participated in many math competitions, including the American Mathematics Competition series, in which he placed among the top 20 students in the US, and trained with the US Math Team to be a representative in the International Mathematical Olympiad.  “So yes, Stefan is an Olympian!”  Fluent in Bulgarian, Russian and German; familiarity with Chinese and Japanese.

COOKIE FISCHER, Academic Coach

Pomona College, Claremont (B.A., Linguistics); Woodbury, Burbank (M.A.O., Organizational Leadership)

With her unique range of international experience, Cookie coaches College Launch students in languages and cross-cultural communications.  She currently teaches Transcultural Competence at Woodbury University and trains executives and families for international relocation.  Her career has spanned 30 years on four continents as a multilingual, multicultural trainer and businesswoman in the Far East, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas.  She taught communications at the Hanze University in Groningen, the Netherlands, developing curriculum for Intercultural Competence. In Beijing, Cookie’s clients included CISCO China, ING Beijing Insurance and Real Estate, and Kerr-McGee Petroleum Ltd.  She is fluent in French, Spanish, Hebrew, Italian and Portuguese, with limited working proficiency in Chinese, Dutch and Japanese.