At Michigan College Access Network, we honor those who have gone above and beyond for postsecondary attainment through our College Access Impact Awards. These awards shine a light on the individuals, organizations, and collaborations that have exceeded expectations to make a positive impact on increasing college readiness, participation, and completion in Michigan.

Award recognition traditionally occurs during the MCAN annual conference. This year's celebration of outstanding postsecondary education advocates from across the state took place on the evening of Nov. 9, 2022.


Providing Comprehensive Programming

2022 Honoree: Rakiba Mitchell, Southeastern High School

School counseling programs play a vital role in ensuring students are provided the support they need to enroll in and complete college – a key component to Michigan meeting the Sixty by 30 Goal. The Michigan College Access Network works to ensure college and career readiness is a priority within school counseling programs. The recipient of this award is an individual school counselor or school counseling program that has made significant strides in advancing the college readiness and enrollment supports and services provided to students which assists in moving the needle on critical postsecondary metrics.


Strengthening Success through Partnerships

2022 Honoree: Michigan's Community Foundations

Comprehensively aligning the organizational leaders in the college access and success field allows for the design and implementation of a unified vision for progress toward the Sixty by 30 Goal. The Michigan College Access Network convenes and engages cross-sector partners to galvanize movement toward collaboration. The recipient of this award is an individual or organization that has continually endeavored to unite programs, activities and/or operations in support of postsecondary attainment.


Advocating for Attainment

2022 Honorees: Sen. Kim LaSata, Michigan Senate District 21 and Doug Ross, Diploma Equity Project

Ensuring public policy supports Michigan’s momentum toward achieving the Sixty by 30 Goal is a critical strategy of the Michigan College Access Network. Working with mission-aligned allies, MCAN advises policymakers at all levels on crafting dynamic legislation that results in reduced barriers and increased attainment across the state and country. Recipients of this award have launched and/or championed bold proposals that focus on increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate.


Developing Sustainable Networks

2022 Honoree: David Coulter, Oakland County Executive Office

The creation and support of Local College Access Networks across the state is the primary strategy of the Michigan College Access Network. Mobilizing high-level leaders, network staff and community resources creates lasting infrastructure locally in support of the Sixty by 30 Goal. The recipient of this award is an individual or organization that has provided leadership in the creation of effective alliances focused on postsecondary attainment.


Sharing a Vision for Change

2022 Honoree: Melissa Kiesewetter, Michigan Department of Civil Rights

Michigan College Access Network knows that college access isn’t a challenge just for K-12 schools but for an entire community, region and state. From helping to train school counselors and educators to funding programs in communities and schools to improving curriculum with experiential education, everyone has a role in ensuring our schools can help get Michigan to Sixty by 30. The recipient of this award is an individual or organization that has significantly contributed to the college access field outside of the walls of K-12.


Changing School Systems and Culture

2022 Honoree: Alpena High School

Boosting the college access expectation in schools on the ground level helps drive the state toward the Sixty by 30 Goal. Engaging schools to urge students, parents, staff and administration to take direct action creates a sense of urgency around the post-secondary planning process. While developing programs helps improve outcomes, the real impact comes from systems and culture change. The recipient of this award is a school that has advanced the college-going culture and/or tackled systems-level change within the school.


Supporting Students, Counselors, and Schools

2022 Honorees: Danyale Dockery, Michigan College Advising Corps; Cion Swoope, Michigan State University College Advising Corps; Brandon Wardlow, AdviseMI; and Erica Whiting, College Completion Corps

Michigan College Access Network values the leadership and service of college advisers and coaches serving across the state, and this award honors a member from each Michigan corps—AdviseMI, Michigan State University College Advising Corps, the Michigan College Advising Corps, and College Completion Corps—to recognize their on-the-ground efforts to reach Sixty by 30. The recipients of this award have a passion for college access and success, have persevered over challenges while engaged in their year(s) of service, and have proudly represented AmeriCorps to students, families, and the public.


Expanding Postsecondary Opportunity

2022 Honoree: Ellen Lipton, Hazel Park Promise Zone

The Michigan Promise Zone Association bestows The Promise Keeper Award to individuals or organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to community-based programs using Promise Scholarships to expand educational opportunity and promote economic development. The 13 Promise Zones that comprise the Michigan Promise Zones Association were created through bipartisan legislation, first enacted in 2009. Each has established a broadly accessible scholarship program, to give students of all ages in their communities confidence that they will be able to afford education after high school.


2022 Honoree: Dr. David Eisler, retired president, Ferris State University

In support of the inaugural awards to celebrate MCAN's fifth anniversary, its Board of Directors created an award that they may present when the occasion arises but not necessarily each year. Formerly known as the Board of Directors Award, it was renamed in 2019 to the Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award. The board of directors made the name change in honor of MCAN founder and former executive director Brandy Johnson, who left MCAN in March 2019 to work as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s policy advisor for postsecondary educational attainment and workforce development. The award is given to an individual or organization that has been particularly supportive of MCAN's mission and the Sixty by 30 Goal.



2021 Honoree: The Michigan Department of Treasury

2020 Honoree: Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling

2019 Honoree: Chuck Wilbur, Michigan Promise Zones Association

2018 Honoree: The Detroit Regional Chamber

2017 Honoree: Fostering Success Michigan at Western Michigan University

2016 Honorees: AdviseMI Partner Colleges 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, Western Michigan University, Wayne State University

2015 Honoree: The Kresge Foundation


2021 Honoree: Susy Talentino, Sault Area High School and Career Center

2020 Honoree: Joan Helwig, Marlette Jr/Sr High School

2019 Honoree: Regan Tubbs, Allegan County Area Technical and Education Center

2018 Honoree: Jennifer Brown, Bullock Creek High School

2017 Honoree: Catherine Longstreet, Hastings High School

2016 Honoree: Bob Drake, Jonesville High School


2021 Honorees: Rep. Ben Frederick and Rep. Scott VanSingel

2020 Honoree: Tonya Allen, The Skillman Foundation

2019 Honoree: Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI)

2018 Honoree: Sen. Jim Ananich and Rep. Brett Roberts

2017 Honoree: Venessa Keesler, Michigan Department of Education

2016 Honorees: Rep. Tim Kelly and Sen. Geoff Hansen

2015 Honoree: Former Gov. Rick Snyder


2021 Honoree: BEST Benzie County

2020 Honoree: Lapeer County College Access Network

2019 Honoree: Oceana College Access Network

2018 Honoree: Washtenaw Futures

2017 Honoree: Jackson County Cradle to Career Education Network

2016 Honoree: Launch Manistee

2015 Honoree: Destination Education


2021 Honoree: Midnight Golf Program

2020 Honoree: Wayne State University


2021 Honorees: Lori Tubbergen Clark, Newaygo County Area Promise; and Joyce Seals, Saginaw Promise


2021 Honoree: The Bridge Alternative High School

2020 Honoree: Escanaba High School


2021 Honorees: Jayme Green, College Completion Corps; Angela Magbag, Michigan State University College Advising Corps; Alazia Mitchell, Michigan College Advising Corps; and Leah Warner, AdviseMI

2020 Honorees: Jacquelyn Deneau, AdviseMI; Tiffany Hacket, Michigan College Advising Corps; and Jassadi Moore, Michigan State University College Advising Corps

2019 Honorees: Beth Brandon, AdviseMI; KeAndra Porchia, Michigan State University College Advising Corps; and Patrick Mullen-Coyoy, University of Michigan College Advising Corps

2018 Honorees: Britteny Mitchell, Chandler Park High School, Michigan College Advising Corps; Moussa Traore, Hazel Park High School, MSU College Advising Corps; Byron Terrell Williams, Harbor Beach High School & Owendale-Gagetown High School, AdviseMI

2017 Honorees: Dillon Frechen, Oakridge High School and Holton High School, MSU College Advising Corps; Alexa Lynch, Sexton High School, Michigan College Advising Corps; Lindsay Mieden, Woodhaven High School, AdviseMI

2016 Honorees: Ellen Goedert, Jackson High School, Michigan College Advising Corps; Ashley Justice, Waverly High School, MSU College Advising Corps; Jonathan Lockwood, Alpena High School & ACES Academy, AdviseMI


2019 Honorees: Sarah Anthony, Michigan House of Representatives; Brandy Johnson, Michigan College Access Network

2017 Honoree: Dan DeGrow, St. Clair County RESA

2016 Honoree: Lumina Foundation

2015 Honorees: Michael P. Flanagan, former State Superintendent

(This award is no longer given.)

2018 Honoree: North Branch High School

2017 Honoree: Hazel Park High School

2016 Honoree: Holton High School, Muskegon County

2015 Honoree: Ashley Johnson, Detroit College Access Network

THE STEWARD AWARD (This award is no longer given.)

2018 Honorees: Shawn Bultsma, Thomas Haas, and Grand Valley State University Educational Leadership and Counseling Department

2017 Honoree: Hartland High School Counseling Program, Hartland High School

2016 Honoree: Patrick O’Connor, Cranbrook Schools

2015 Honoree: Western Michigan University