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Meet DeEnna Holohan

Headshot of DeEnna HolohanDeEnna Holohan
Director of College Counseling
Notre Dame High School (CA)

What drew you to the world of college admission counseling?
I began as a tour guide in college and during my senior year had the opportunity to intern in the admission office. After 13 years working on the college side, I was able to make the transition to the high school side while working for the CBO Schuler Scholar Program as a college counselor/school director based in a public high school. I loved working with the first-generation-to-college students. They reminded me of myself in high school, full of hope but needing some additional support in the college process.

What is your favorite part of the job? 
I currently work in a private high school that is focused on women’s leadership and social justice. Half of our students speak a language other than English at home and 25 percent of our students will be the first in their family to go to college. Every day I get to work with the most amazing and inspiring young people who are working hard to make this world a better place. My favorite part of my job is helping them understand college fit and how to tell their stories in the college process.

How has NACAC played a role in your career?
I first joined NACAC back in 1993 and attended my first national conference in Chicago. I remember being at the conference surrounded by icons in the industry and just soaking up all of the knowledge. Over the years, NACAC has continued to provide me with education in the industry as well as opportunities for leadership as part of the Human Relations Committee (we renamed it Inclusion, Access, and Success during my term) and as a member of the faculty of the Leading a Dynamic College Counseling Program.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing our profession today? 
Wealth inequality in relation to college access and affordability. We will continue to see the gap widening unless we take serious action to address access issues.

When you aren’t working, what do you like to do?
When I am not working you will find me watching my younger daughter Tessa ride her horse or my older daughter Sophie sing. Sophie is studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, just signed her first record deal, and released her first single, Codependent. I’m looking forward to seeing my favorite band in the whole land, Brandi Carlile, play live again. I also enjoy playing with my two rescue pups Ollie and Brock and am always on the hunt for the best cappuccino.

If you could be any fictional character, who would it be and why?
I would choose Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. I have a Master’s in public administration and thought for a while that I might enjoy working in government. I love Leslie’s optimistic, never give up attitude. She is a feminist icon as she is a strong woman encouraging other women to empower themselves and support each other.

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