Joe Romero, Program Advisor
A sports enthusiast whose pastimes include pool, tennis, basketball, ping pong, snowboarding, and shouting at the top of his lungs during Dodgers games, Joe may well be Catalyst's most athletic team member – though, to be fair, the competition for that title ain't exactly stiff. (Most of Joe's colleagues have, at one time or another, Googled "calories burned from walking to Starbucks.") A native Angeleno, Joe grew up in Montebello, a city in LA's San Gabriel Valley, and attended Schurr High School, whose notable alums include Olympic shot put champion Ramona Pagel and musician Lorin Sklamberg. (Neither of whom has anything to do with Joe, but we at Catalyst are major trivia junkies and looked up Schurr High School on Wikipedia.) After high school, Joe headed off to Whittier College, a prestigious liberal arts school known for its emphasis on interdisciplinary education and for being the alma mater of former President Richard Nixon. (Many of the school's dorms still bear the marks of Nixon's drunken late-night wiretaps.) After graduating with honors with a degree in Psychology, Joe decided to stay on campus to serve as an undergraduate admissions officer, an experience that helps him advise students and parents from the admissions officer's point-of-view. Joe's experience in college admissions got him hooked on the field of education, and it wasn't long before he was appointed a Center Director at SCORE!, a formerly successful tutoring franchise owned by one of Catalyst's arch nemeses. Between working as a Center Director and returning to school to earn a Master's in Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Joe traveled throughout Europe, culminating in an epic trip to the Guinness brewery in Dublin, where he hung out "from sun up to sun down" with the members of the band Green Day. (Joe swears their song "Before the Lobotomy" is based on their night together. Green Day has not returned our calls for comment.) When he's not tossing back pints of stout with punk rockers or counseling families on the college admissions process, Joe enjoys playing poker, spending quality time with his niece and nephews, collaborating with his father on their photography business, and making carne asada, which he generously brings into the Catalyst office.
Why He Works for Catalyst
Loves working in education and hasn't yet won the WSOP.
How the Universe Has Punished Him for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
Always eager – perhaps a little bit too eager – to accept dares while he was growing up, Joe has suffered broken bones, gashes, ruptures, mild concussions, and the kinds of injuries that cause ER doctors to wince and say, "Ooooh, that had to hurt." Thankfully, Joe no longer feels compelled to answer every little challenge that comes his way, which is good because it's so obvious he'd be way too chicken ever to backflip off the top of our office fridge onto Marty's swivel chair....
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Tie between Weird Science and Spaceballs / Tie between Franco Modigliani (Nobel Prize in Ecomomics, 1985) and Robert Bruce Merrifield (Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1984)