Michigan College Access Network Hosts Eighth Annual Conference, Announces Impact Awards

Mar. 13, 2018 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) held its eighth annual conference in Lansing and acknowledged 12 outstanding postsecondary education advocates from across the state at the awards dinner Monday evening. The theme of this year’s conference was “Cultivating Tomorrow’s Talent” and emphasized the role talent development plays in reaching 60 percent of Michigan’s adult population having a college degree or certificate by year 2025 and advocating for better initiatives and programs to support all students as they pursue postsecondary education.  

“The College Access Impact Awards shine a light on the individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary efforts to improve postsecondary attainment,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of MCAN. “The award winners play a key role in ensuring that students are college and career ready by increasing college applications, FAFSA completion rates and college enrollment. We are looking to the future, along with the students, as we cultivate tomorrow’s talent to launch Michigan as an innovative state.”

The 2018 College Access Impact Award winners were:

The Flagship Award – Washtenaw Futures
The Flagship Award recognizes those that develop sustainable college access networks. Washtenaw Futures, a community network focused on making completion of postsecondary education an achievable reality for every student in Washtenaw County, was selected as the recipient of the Flagship Award because of their well-developed, respected, statewide network, dedication to collective impact, strong leadership team and focus on continuous improvement.

The Ombudsman Award – Brittney Mitchell, Byron Terrell Williams and Moussa Traore
The Ombudsman Award recognizes individuals whose passion for college access helped them persevere over challenges while engaged in their year of service as an AmeriCorps member through one of the college advising programs in Michigan.

Britteny Mitchell is a member of the Michigan College Advising Corps serving Chandler Park Academy. Using her own story to connect with students, she has shown consistent excellence and impressive metrics.

Bryon Terrell Williams is a member of AdviseMI serving Owendale-Gagetown High School and Harbor Beach Community High School, respectively. He works diligently to bring college-going culture to both the schools he works in and the wider community.

Moussa Traore is a member of the Michigan State University College Advising Corps serving Hazel Park High School. Through calm, quiet leadership and special interactions with students, she quickly established a reputation as an understanding, compassionate resource for students and parents alike.

The Cardinal Award – North Branch High School
The Cardinal Award recognizes those that rally communities by promoting statewide campaigns that help create a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. North Branch High School received the Cardinal Award due to their school-wide approach to promoting college access including strong participation in the virtual college fair, engagement in statewide campaigns including “Michigan College Month,” success with the Reach Higher grant program, and embedding a new college adviser in an already successful system.

The Steward Award – Dr. Shawn Bultsma, Dr. Thomas Haas, and Grand Valley State University Educational Leadership and Counseling Department
The Steward Award recognizes those that have dramatically contributed to increasing the skills, talent and knowledge of college access professionals in Michigan. MCAN selected GVSU Educational Leadership and Counseling Department as recipient of the Steward Award because of their innovative graduate assistantship/college adviser program, their commitment to quality training of school counselors, their support of the AdviseMI program, and the leadership of GVSU President Dr. Thomas Haas on the Governor’s 21st Century Education Commission.

The Beacon Award – The Detroit Regional Chamber
The Beacon Award recognizes those that strengthen success through partnerships. The Detroit Regional Chamber earned MCAN’s Beacon Award because of their strong leadership in the college access and degree completion space, their innovative FAFSA Challenge, their long-term and ongoing support for the Detroit College Access Network and Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, as well as their support of the Detroit Promise.

The Chief Mate Award – Jennifer Brown, school counselor at Bullock Creek High School
The Chief Mate Award recognizes a school counselor or school counseling program that has made significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services to students. Jennifer Brown affected the college-going culture at Bullock Creek High School through increasing FAFSA completion rates, successfully completing MCAN’s postsecondary counselor course, and commitment to all three statewide MCAN campaigns.

The Compass Award – Rep. Brett Roberts and Sen. Jim Ananich
The Compass Award recognizes those that advocate for bold proposals that focus on increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate.

State Representative Brett Roberts was honored for his ongoing and committed efforts in the passage of HB 4181 (now PA 151 of 2017), legislation that ensures school counselor training includes specific content around college and career advising.

State Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) was honored for his efforts around SB 98, expanding the number of legislatively-created promise zones in Michigan to help students pay for college.

The conference featured keynote speakers Michele Siqueiros, president, The Campaign for College Opportunity, Laura Owen, director of the Center for Postsecondary Readiness and Success at American University, and John Fox, head of Mopar sales and operations at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.


About Michigan College Access Network
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the seventh year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 39.4 percent in 2016. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 43.7 percent. It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org.


Deputy Director for Partnerships and Advocacy
Media Contact: Sarah Anthony
Email: Sarah(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 313-355-4078

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