Alison attended the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in comparative studies with a minor in Russian area studies. During her undergraduate years, she also studied abroad at L’Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, France. After Georgetown, she joined the admission office at St. Lawrence University in 1991. Passionate about admissions work, she remained in that office for twenty-two years, becoming the director of admissions. She also served on the Institutional Strategic Action Committee, Strategic Mapping Council, Recession Response and Planning Task Group, and Retention Committee. Additionally, she has served as a state delegate to the National Assembly of the National Association of College Admission Counseling and as the curriculum director for the Summer Institute on College Admissions sponsored by the New York State Association of College Admission. Alison returned to her alma mater, The Taft School, in 2013 where she serves as director of college counseling.