Ebonee Mahone-Todman
Associate Director of College Counseling
The Paideia School (GA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I have wanted to be a college counselor since I was in high school. (Fun fact: My college essay was about inspiring students to go to college and inspiring the next generation.) While I was in college and immediately after, I worked with teens to explore colleges, managing their application process, and during that time I knew those experiences were something that I always wanted to be a part of my professional career.

What is your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of this work is seeing students go from being a little skeptical about their potential and their options at the beginning of their college exploration journey, to then discovering options that fit them the best, and then getting officially accepted to schools that are perfect for them! The journey is so rewarding.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
NACAC has been great to build a community and network of colleagues to connect with. I enjoy the times that we get to spend together at the annual conference as well as the various workshops that are done throughout the year. There are so many great people who are doing some AMAZING work and to just be in the same atmosphere and conversation as some of the people that I trust in this profession is a blessing. I love the idea of being a part of a larger collective of those who choose to put students first. Whether it is work that we impact on a direct level or an indirect level, it is fulfilling to know that the work is being done nonetheless.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
I think one of the biggest challenges facing our profession is how we can’t seem to make systems work for the population we claim to be serving (i.e., students). The fact that there are barriers for students where there don’t need to be, in a climate where students are also being fed so many conflicting messages about college and its value is disheartening. There are messages about college costs/debt and how it can be crippling, so for students who have that message in their mind and then to be met with so many barriers to college, it lessens the desire. Same can be said for the testing infrastructure and the barriers it creates, and there is not enough discussion on college costs. All barriers, but we are supposed to be here to inspire the next generation of college graduates, right?

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
When I am not working, I am busy with a toddler (2 years old in April 2023) who keeps me busy plenty. There is a lot of Bluey being played, tunnel crawling, and puzzles. All things I may enjoy on my own, but it’s typically because of him. 🙂

I also enjoy shopping (any kind of shopping, and anywhere I can—online, in person, you name it) and traveling! My family and friends get the majority of my time because quality time is one of my top love languages.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
If I could be a fictional character, it would be a citizen of Wakanda (Pre-Kilmonger). Like a cousin to the royal family. I need proximity for privileges and family functions, but not the pressure of being a princess. “King T’Chaka and Queen Ramonda are my aunt and uncle” is something I would have said on the playground. I think access to the technology, the advancements of society as a whole, and to live in a land that felt free and not less-than would be liberating.


Published May 8, 2023