LANSING, Mich-The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) held its ninth annual conference in Lansing and acknowledged 11 outstanding postsecondary education practitioners and advocates from across the state at the awards dinner Monday, March 4. The theme of this year’s conference was “Fueling the Movement: Engage, Innovate, Mobilize” and emphasized how the entire network can recharge momentum to reach 60 percent of Michigan’s adult population having a college degree or certificate by year 2025. This is the fourth year the organization has given awards as part of the conference.

“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 keep Michigan as an innovative state.”

The 2019 College Access Impact Award winners are:

The Flagship Award – Oceana College Access Network

The Flagship Award recognizes those that develop sustainable college access networks. Oceana CAN has a strong focus on data disaggregation, with a specific focus on Latino students. Oceana CAN was recognized for their strong, engaged leadership team as well as their voice in advocacy.

The Marina Award – Voyageur College Preparatory High School

The Marina Award recognizes a school that has advanced a college-going culture and/or tackled systems-level change within the school by engaging all stakeholders in creating a sense of urgency around the postsecondary planning process. Voyageur College Preparatory High School received this award because they have demonstrated excellence in creating systemic initiatives within their school, such as a senior seminar that focuses solely on college and postsecondary success. They have embedded campaigns within the building that increase applications, student financial aid and postsecondary decision making.

The Ombudsman Award –Beth Brandon, Patrick Mullen Coyoy, and KeAndra Porchia

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.

  • Beth Brandon is an AmeriCorps member with AdviseMI serving Plainwell High School. As a second-year adviser, Beth has presented nationally on her work in advising first-generation students. She demonstrates much humility and compassion in her efforts.
  • Patrick Mullen Coyoy is an AmeriCorps member with the Michigan College Advising Corps serving ACTech High School and Ypsilanti High School. Patrick is very passionate about educating and advising students in their postsecondary plans.
  • KeAndra Porchia is an AmeriCorps member with the Michigan State University College Advising Corps serving Summit Academy North High School in Romulus, Michigan. KeAndra uses her own experiences and knowledge to motivate students to pursue postsecondary education.

The Fleet Award – Bridge Magazine

The Fleet Award recognizes an individual or organization that has significantly contributed to the college access field outside of the walls of K-12. This publication was selected for the award because its journalism efforts are shining a spotlight on the postsecondary attainment issue. Their stories help MCAN build good public will and they have helped garner positive attention toward the need for credentials after high school.

The Beacon Award – Chuck Wilbur, executive director, Michigan Promise Zones Association

The Beacon Award recognizes those that strengthen success through partnerships. Chuck Wilbur is the executive director of the Michigan Promise Zones Association. Wilbur has a strong and persistent commitment to equity in his work. He uses data and helps others use data to better understand the impact of their work. His ultimate strength is in galvanizing partnerships.

The Chief Mate Award – Regan Tubbs, school counselor, Allegan County Area Technical & Education Center

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. Regan has helped lead building-wide prioritization of postsecondary education planning. In addition, she has advocated for increasing school counseling support, dramatically increased 1:1 student interaction around the development of postsecondary education plans, as well as has pushed for increased FAFSA completion.

The Compass Award – Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI)

The Compass Award recognizes those that advocate for or support advocacy for increasing Michigan’s postsecondary attainment rate. The Center for Educational Performance and Information (CEPI)’s data systems provide accurate and updated data to inform MCAN’s advocacy efforts. This data has assisted MCAN in case-making for funding, program support, and mission support. CEPI has been a strong partner to MCAN, always responding, consulting and providing the data when MCAN needs it.

MCAN Board of Directors Award – Representative Sarah Anthony

The Board of Directors Award is given to an individual or organization that has been particularly supportive of MCAN’s mission and the Big Goal – 60 percent by 2025. Representative Sarah Anthony was MCAN’s first hired employee and served MCAN for eight years before being elected a legislator. During her time at MCAN, she ensured MCAN was focused on equity and helped build MCAN into the national leader it currently is. She continues to champion postsecondary attainment in her work as an elected official.

The Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award – Brandy Johnson

A surprise 11th award was given to MCAN Executive Director Brandy Johnson. This week, Johnson announced she will be leaving MCAN later this month to work as Governor Whitmer’s policy advisor for postsecondary educational attainment and workforce development. In recognition of her nine years of service to the Michigan College Access Network, the Board of Directors also renamed its award to the Brandy Johnson Board of Directors Award.


About Michigan College Access Network (MCAN)

As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN has a mission 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 eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7% of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41% in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4% of Michiganders have a postsecondary certificate, bringing Michigan’s official 2019 attainment rate to 45%. MCAN’s goal is to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60% by 2030.