Sixth Annual MCAN Conference Highlights Impact of Higher Education

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College advisers from the AdviseMI, Michigan State University and University of Michigan AmeriCorps programs gather together at the MCAN conference to celebrate AmeriCorps week.

College Changes Everything

Michigan College Access Network hosted its sixth annual conference in Lansing and welcomed more than 450 college access professionals and leaders during the two days. The conference theme, “College Changes Everything,” focused on highlighting personal stories and showcasing the impact postsecondary education makes in communities and personal lives through a pre-conference, 35 breakout sessions, and three keynote speakers.

During the conference, MCAN asked participants to share their personal journeys and stories of how college changed everything; and after some amazing editing at Such Video, unveiled it for everyone to see during Day 2 lunch. For all who participated and shared your stories – thank you. MCAN's work wouldn’t be successful without the passion of individuals like those in this video who personally understand the game-changing impact of a college education.

The 2015 College Access Impact Awards ceremony was so successful, that MCAN decided to make it a permanent part of its annual conference. On the evening of March 8, 2016, Michigan College Access Network honored 22 organizations and individuals whose efforts have gone above and beyond to improve postsecondary attainment. The eight award categories recognized individuals and organizations that have had a tremendous impact on increasing college readiness, participation, and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income and first-generation students and students of color.

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One of three conference keynote speakers, Dr. Damon F. Arnold shares his personal story about the impact of higher education, and the need to set the bar high for all students.

All of the individuals and organizations recognized from this year’s awards have played a vital role in sparking change statewide and in their communities. This year’s award winners are a fantastic group of individuals and organizations who are on the ground and working to drive change by increasing the number of Michigan residents with postsecondary degrees and certificates in our state, including:

  • The Steward Award – Dr. Patrick O’Connor, associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Schools
    The Steward Award recognizes those who have dramatically contributed to increasing the skills, talent and knowledge of college access professionals in Michigan.

  • The Flagship Award – Launch Manistee
    The Flagship Award recognizes those who develop sustainable college access networks.

  • The Compass Award - Sen. Geoff Hansenand Rep. Tim Kelly
    The Compass Award recognizes relentless legislative advocates for postsecondary attainment.

  • The Beacon Award – 12 Partner Colleges from the AdviseMI program, including: Alma College, Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Ferris State University, Grand Valley State University, Madonna University, Oakland University, Saginaw Valley State University, University of Michigan-Dearborn, University of Michigan-Flint, Wayne State University and Western Michigan University.The Beacon Award recognizes those who strengthen success through partnerships.

  • The Cardinal Award – Holton High School
    The Cardinal Award recognizes those who rally communities by promoting campaigns that create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process.

  • The Chief Mate Award – Robert Drake, Jonesville High School counselor
    The Chief Mate Award goes to Robert Drake, the counselor at Jonesville High School, for his commitment to prioritizing college access, building a college-going culture at his high school, and creating a supporting environment to foster students’ postsecondary aspirations.

  • The Board of Directors Award – Lumina Foundation
    The Board of Directors Award goes to Lumina Foundation for their unconditional support of the LCAN concept and commitment to public policy change in Michigan.

  • The Ombudsman Award  Ellen Goedert, Michigan College Advising Corps; Ashley Justice, Michigan State University College Advising Corps; John Lockwood, AdviseMI
    Placing well-trained college advisers in high schools across the state creates strong partnerships with counselors and principals to embed a college-going culture in their building. The Ombudsman Award   honors three college advisers for their on-the-ground efforts in high schools and passion for college access. 

The MCAN staff is appreciative for the skill and professionalism of our presenters, who shared their expertise, resources and talent! We also thank our conference exhibitors and attendees - the college access professionals who dedicate their work to ensuring students reach higher and that Michigan meets Goal 2025.

Did you miss the conference? Check out this conference highlight reel built with Storify.


Jamie Jacobs headshot 2013Author: Jamie Jacobs, director of capacity building
Posted: March 16, 2016

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