Who We Are
To increase college readiness, participation, and completion in Michigan, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color.
Our Vision and Values
- College is postsecondary education: MCAN uses the term "college" to refer to the attainment of valuable postsecondary credentials beyond high school, including professional/technical certificates and academic degrees.
- College is a necessity: Postsecondary education is a prerequisite to success in a knowledge-based economy. Everyone must pursue and complete a postsecondary credential or degree beyond high school.
- College is for everyone: The postsecondary education attainment rates among low-income students and students of color are significantly lower than those of other students. MCAN is committed to closing these gaps.
- College is a public good: Postsecondary educational opportunity and attainment are critical to a just and equitable society, strong economy, and healthy communities.
Our Big Goal
Increase the percentage of Michigan residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60% by the year 2025.
Before joining MCAN, Brandy most recently served in the Governor's Office as College Access Coordinator. In this capacity, she coordinated the state's college access and success agenda and advised Governor Granholm on postsecondary education policy issues. Brandy attained a B.S. in Political Science with a concentration in public policy advocacy from Arizona State University. Upon graduation, she served as a Teach for America corps member and taught 3rd grade in a low-income neighborhood in Las Vegas, NV. Brandy relocated to Michigan in 2007 and received a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan. More recently, Brandy was named the 2013 Michigan Champion for Children by the Michigan Association of School Administrators. Follow @MCANBrandy on Twitter!
Lisa Sommer King
Lisa Sommer King serves as the Assistant Director for Michigan College Access Network. In this role, Lisa is responsible for communication and technology strategies as well as managing MCAN's statewide initiatives. Prior to joining MCAN, she was the Public Relations Manager for the Michigan Nonprofit Association. Lisa has extensive experience in public relations, brand management and advocacy. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University where she studied integrative public relations. Lisa is a member of the Public Relations Society of America, serves on CMU’s Volunteer Center Alumni Board, volunteers with Lansing's Keep Learning coalition, and is a member of the Habibi Dancers, a dance company that specializes in Middle Eastern and related dance.
Assistant Director for Network Development
Ryan Fewins-Bliss hails from northern Michigan and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Central Michigan University in Integrative Public Relations and Educational Administration and Community Leadership respectively. He is currently a PhD student in Media and Information Studies at MSU. When not studying, he consults with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions in college access, service-learning, fundraising and other topics.
Director of Finance and Strategic Partnerships
Sarah Anthony serves as MCAN's Director of Finance and Strategic Partnerships. In this role, Sarah is responsible for the financial and administrative functions of the organization. Additionally, Sarah maintains existing and cultivates new college access partnerships across the state. She serves as the lead contact for Local College Access Networks in Southeast Michigan. Before joining MCAN, she worked as a Legislative Assistant in the Michigan House of Representatives. Sarah received a B.S. in Political Science/Legal Studies from Central Michigan University and an M.P.A from Western Michigan University. In 2012, Sarah was elected to public office in Ingham County. In addition to her formal duties as an elected official, she is an active community volunteer, lending her time and talents to serveral nonprofit organizations in Mid-Michigan.
Director, Professional Development
Jamie Jacobs serves as the Director of Professional Development for the Michigan College Access Network. She holds a Master’s degree in Student Affairs Administration at Michigan State University where she also completed her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Jamie is interested in examining college access and success from both the local community/K-12 system and higher education perspectives particularly focused on first generation students, low-income students, and students of color. She is involved with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Lansing and spends much of her spare time training for her next triathlon.
Before joining MCAN, Christi worked in the College of Education Dean’s Office at Michigan State University. She grew up in southeast Michigan near Detroit. She received a B.A. in English from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2012 and is currently working on an M.A. in English at Michigan State, where she is also doing a research fellowship and serving on a committee to plan a spring conference. She is interested in the role that race, gender, and marginalization play in literature and hopes to apply this interest practically upon the completion of her degree.
Director of Institutional Development
Email: asmitter at compact.org
Amy Smitter serves as the Director of Institutional Development for Campus Compact, a national, nonprofit coalition of more than 1,100 college and university presidents. Prior to this role, Amy served for ten years as the Executive Director of Michigan Campus Compact where she raised funds, advocated on behalf of higher education and service, and build programs, services and partnerships for member higher education institutions. During her tenure, the organization grew in capacity, staff, services, and support. Amy worked at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WA in student affairs. Amy holds a Master's Degree in Student Personnel Administration from Ball State University and a BA from Michigan State University. Before working in higher education, she worked for the volunteer center of Calhoun County, Michigan and other nonprofits.
St. Clair County RESA
Email: degrow.dan at sccresa.org
Mr. DeGrow received an Associate Degree from St. Clair County Community College, Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University, a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University Law School, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Michigan State University.· He was Phi Beta Kappa at Michigan State University.· Mr. DeGrow was a practicing attorney and partner for several years until he began his political career as State Representative to the 76th House District in 1981. Mr. DeGrow served as State Senator to the 27th District from 1983-2002 and during that time served as Senate Majority Floor Leader and subsequently Senator Majority Leader from 1999 to 2002.· He also served as Chair of the K-12 Appropriation Subcommittee from April 1984 through December 1998.· Mr. DeGrow’s employment with the St. Clair County Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA) began on January 2, 2003, as Assistant Superintendent/CEO.· On April 14, 2003, Mr. DeGrow assumed the position of Superintendent.· During Mr. DeGrow’s employment at St. Clair County RESA he served on Governor Granholm’s Emergency Financial Panel and Lt. Governor Cherry’s Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth.
Detroit Parent Network
Email: sbuckman at detroitparentnetwork.org
Email: colemanl at baycollege.edu
Laura L. Coleman is President of Bay de Noc Community College, a position she assumed in July of 2006.· Laura has been instrumental in developing and bringing Bay Middle College onto the Bay College campus. She was influential in developing a partnership with area adult basic education providers and Michigan Works! resulting in increased college enrollment and persistence of GED students. Laura is also President Elect of the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN), a national initiative dedicated to improving student success.
Senior Director of Workforce Development
Detroit Regional Chamber
Email: ghandel at detroitchamber.org
Handel has worked at the Chamber for 21 years and has been responsible for the Changer's K-12 Education and Workforce Development programs and policy for the past seventeen years. In this capacity, Greg has helped develop and advocate policy related to Detroit Public School governance, state-wide education funding and school choice. He also takes the lead in planning the education and workforce sessions for the Chamber's Mackinac Policy Conference every year and plays a similar role with the Leadership Detroit Education Session. Greg's other responsibilities include the Detroit Compact Scholarship program, which provides full college scholarships to over 150 Detroit Public School graduates every year. He is currently involved in convening the Detroit Region's entry in the CEO's for Cities Talent Divident Competition and other workforce projects at the Chamber. Greg also serves as the Chamber's liaison to numerous other committees and projects devoted to improving education and workforce development throughout the region.
President, Michigan Municipal League Board of Trustees
David Lossing has served as mayor of the city of Linden since 2004 after serving on the Linden City Council since 1998. As mayor, Lossing initiated a regional dialogue on land use planning called the "Southern Lakes Planning Initiative" which includes six local governments in two counties in southern Genesee and northern Livingston counties. The SLPI focuses on the establishment of the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail and a non-motorized bicycle path. Lossing currently works for the University of Michigan-Flint as the director of government relations, and as an adjuct lecturer for the School of Education on UM's Ann Arbor campus, and as an instructor in the "Town and Gown Certificate" program through the International Town & Gown Association based at Clemson University. He previously served as associate director of State Outreach on UM's Ann Arbor campus in the Office of Government Relations. He also served on the congressional staff of U.S. Senator Carl Levin (MI) for nearly nine years. Lossing served on a number of League committees - former chair of the Elected Officials Academy (EOA) board, the Legistlative Governance Committee, the Econmic Development/Land Use Committee, and the Policy Rewrite Subcommittee. He is also one of the first Level IV graduates of the EOA.
MSU College Advising Corps serving Newaygo High School
Email: blumbert at newaygo.net
Ms. Lumbert is a second year college adviser working in Newaygo High School. Lumbert is a recent graduate of Michigan State University where she earned her B.A. from the James Madison College, a residential college for public policy and international affairs. While at MSU, Lumbert studied abroad twice in London, Egnald and Accra, Ghana. She also worked in Washington, D.C. during her junior year. In her spare time she enjoys hiking the North Country Trail, kayaking, and volunteering at the Newaygo County Museum.
Catherine M. McNamara, CPA
Assurance Senior Manager
BDO USA, LLP
Email: crozanski at bdo.com
Cathy is an assurance senior manager for BDO USA, LLP in Troy, Michigan with more than 20 years of experience in public accounting and industry. She has extensive experience serving both public and privately held companies, as well as hand-on experience as an industry CPA. She is also a subcommittee member for BDO's IFRS taskforce and she participates in developing and teaching internal and external Continuing Education courses. She is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Cathy is a graduate of the Leadership Detroit program (Class of XXXII) and currently serves as a board member and the Chair-Elect for Common Ground, an Oakland County crisis agency. She is also a Board Member and Treasurer for ACVIM Foundation and a member of the AICPA Board of Trustees Benevolent Fund.
College Counseling Department
Email: poconnor at cranbrook.edu
Patrick O’Connor works in the College Counseling Department at Cranbrook and on the Political Science Faculty at Oakland Community College.· A native Detroiter, he is a past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and a past president of the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling.· He teaches the only comprehensive class in college admission counseling in the state of Michigan, and is the author of the highly acclaimed college guide, College is Yours in 600 Words or Less.
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Email: redmondr at michigan.gov
Mr. Redmond has over 25 years of service in State Government. He worked in the Office of Governor James Blanchard on policy issues affecting women and minorities (1983); and was appointed Director of the Bureau of Workers Disability Compensation (1983-85).·· He also served as the Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Director of Advocacy in the Michigan Department of Labor.· Mr. Redmond currently serves as the Manager of the King▪Chávez▪Parks (KCP) Initiative in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation - Workforce Development Agency.
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Email: dsieger at grfoundation.org
Diana R. Sieger is the President of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and has held that position for more than 23 years. Some professional and community activities include:
Council on Foundations, Board member
Council of Michigan Foundations, Immediate Past Board Chair
Kent County Family and Children's Coordinating Council, Immediate Past Chair
Office of Foundation Liason - Governor's Office State of Michigan, Board member
Diana has two honorary degrees - Doctor of Humane Letters from Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University. Some other honors include: Leadership Grand Rapids Distinguished Community Trustee Award in 2001 and one of the “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan” Grand Rapids Business Journal. Her career extends more than 36 years and she earned a Masters of Social Work degree from Western Michigan University focusing on Policy, Planning and Administration.
Lansing Boys & Girls Club
Email: cturner at bgclansing.org
Carmen Y. Turner is the President of the Boys & Girls Club of Lansing located in Lansing, Michigan.· Named President/CEO in July 2001, she oversees the daily operations of the Club.· Carmen graduated with a B.A. from MSU where she majored in Marketing/Communications.· Before accepting the position at the Boys and Girls Club, Carmen worked for NBD (now Chase) Bank and Aurora Mental Health Hospital in Detroit.· Beyond being very active in her church, she also participates or has memberships in:· Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, PTA, the Lansing Rotary Club Board of Directors, Lansing Rotary Foundation Board of Directors, the Michigan Non-Profit Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Advisory Committee, Capital Area United Way’s Agency Relations Committee, Capital Region Community Foundation Board and Co-founder of the Building Brighter Futures Children’s Charity Fund.· In 2006 the Uplift Our Youth Foundation awarded Carmen Turner the “Youth Advocate of the Year” Award.· In 2004 she received a certificate of achievement for successfully completing the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s Executive Leadership Program.
Senior Policy Consultant
Public Policy Associates
Mr. Walker serves as Senior Policy Consultant at Public Policy Associates, Inc. a national research firm. He comes to that position having served as Director of the City of Lansing's Department of Community Development and Human Relations and as a Program Officer at the C. S. Mott Foundation in Flint. Mr. Walker had previously retired from Michigan state government having served in various administrative positions in the MI Departments of Education, Commerce, and Labor. He has extensive experience working with workforce, state policy, school-to-work, and race and diversity issues. He is a long-standing social justice activist, having engaged in desegregation activities with the Birmingham, Alabama Urban League. Mr. Walker is a member of The Imagine Fund's Founding Board of Directors.