2023 Conference

Friday, October 20, 2023

The 2023 Michigan Pre-College and Youth Outreach 15th Annual Conference will be taking place in-person and livestreamed on October 20, 2023 at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI!

Welcome to the Conference

The 2023 conference will take place at the Wayne State University Student Center. Please park at 450 W. Palmer, Detroit MI. Then you will follow the signs for the Student Center. 

The conference will occur on Friday, October 20 from 8:00 – 4:30 PM. A hot breakfast will be served at 8:00 AM with welcome remarks. The first session of speakers will begin at 9:00 AM, followed by the Keynote Speaker at 10:20 AM.

At the conference, the check-in desk will open at 8:00 AM. The desk will be open throughout the event for any assistance or queries you may have.  

Here is a link to our FAQ document and the conference schedule at a glance

The Steering Committee is composed of 13 different educational institutions and organizations around the state of Michigan, with Wayne State University serving as this year’s conference host.

Our Keynote Speaker will be Andre Ebron, the Senior Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the United Way for Southeastern Michigan. 

Thursday Networking Reception

Conference admission also includes access to the optional Thursday night networking reception on October 19 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, hosted by MCAN and DCAN, with free food, an open bar, and live jazz music, all provided by incredible Detroit Black-owned businesses at the Garden Theatre.

  • The Garden Theater is a staple in the city and is Black-owned and operated.
  • The open bar, grazing table, and hot hors d’oeuvres are selections from The Love Experience, a local Black and female-owned operated caterer.
  • And for the live music, we will host the Detroit-based duo Florella Strings to play some light hip-hop and R&B on the violin and cello.

Schedule at a Glance

Friday, October 20, 2023

  • 8:00 – 9:00 am Networking Breakfast
  • 8:45 – 9:00 am Welcome
  • 9:10 – 10:10 am Morning Sessions
  • 10:20 – 11:30 am Keynote Presentation
  • 11:40 – 12:40 pm Mid-Morning Sessions
  • 12:40 – 1:30 pm Networking Lunch
  • 1:30 – 2:30 pm Afternoon Sessions
  • 2:40 – 3:40 pm Late Afternoon Sessions
  • 4:00 – 4:30 pm Closing Remarks

NOTE: all session blocks include 2 invited speakers and 5-6 proposal presentations as concurrent options for attendees

About the Theme

Better Together: Building Partnerships

In early 2023, the Steering Committee for the 15th Annual Conference came together to discuss the pressing challenges across the state. One topic continued to rise – rebuilding relationships that faltered or ended due to the conflicts of the pandemic. 

Outreach is made possible by trust in relationships and partnerships between schools, higher education institutions, and community-based organizations. Focus on mutually beneficial priorities is needed for the changing landscape of education and the future workforce, as well as, the level of urgency regarding college applications. 

This year, the 2023 Michigan Pre-College and Outreach Conference will focus on “Better Together: Building Partnerships.” The statewide dialogue will surround how best to develop and enhance partnerships across schools, higher education institutions, community-based organizations, foundations, businesses, and more. 

Whether an attendee is a new professional or has worked in outreach for 20+ years, everyone will be able to enjoy their time surrounded by passionate individuals focused on the success of current and future students. Join us on October 20, 2023, for the all-day conference, filled with presentations, workshops, and panels focused on how best to establish, rebuild and deepen partnerships across the state for all students. 

Conference Tracks

Here are the conference track descriptions. Each session has a conference track listed on it for your convenience. There is also a suggested audience reference as well, but all are welcome to every section.


Track 1: Building Partnerships

This track is all about creating and continuing solid partnerships. Think about what makes the best outreach partnership work – what lessons have been learned, or resources teams have created by reflecting on building and expanding their partnerships?


Track 2: Career Exploration

How should outreach professionals bring career exploration and development into their programs? How are students exposed to careers not familiar with them? What works to get students excited about these opportunities?


Track 3: Impact within Detroit & Other Communities

As PCC 2023 will be hosted in Detroit this year, here are some stories, lessons learned, and tools that showcase the impact within the city. How do they use data in their work to show the positive impact within these communities? And what are some things others doing outreach work in Detroit could adopt?


Track 4: Technology Strategies 

Outreach and K-12 students are probably forever changed by the global pandemic. Now more than ever, outreach groups use technology in smart and advantageous ways to positively deepen their impact on students. What are some ways teams are using technology to advance outreach, DEI, college access, and more within their programs?


Track 5: Mental Health 

Outreach is a joy – but it can also include challenging moments. How do teams handle moments of stress or other conflict triggers? What mental health practices should be included in programming for everyone – staff, students, etc.

Morning Sessions (9:10 – 10:10 AM)


  • Ryan Fewins-Bliss Executive Director, Michigan College Access Network
  • Cyekeia Lee Executive Director, Detroit College Access Network

This workshop will orient attendees to best practice strategies that help young people in Detroit navigate the many post-secondary education and training opportunities available. Youth development leaders from four high-impact organizations will share their best practice strategies and engage the audience in a problem-solving activity exploring ways to strengthen the overall system so that more young people get exposure and opportunities to explore potential career pathways of interest both in school and over the summer.

  • Dr. Trina Shanks University of Michigan
  • Christine Bell Urban Neighborhood Initiatives

Join U-M Ross School of Business & the U-M Center for Educational Outreach as their presenters discuss maximizing pre-college application data to enhance admission pipelines. Using Ross Case Scenarios, learn how to find the “best fit” program for students, reject students from pre-college programs without discouraging them from applying to your university, and much more!


  • Marissa Taylor University of Michigan
  • Tulsa Fearing University of Michigan

Learn how Schoolcraft College has built a strong partnership with Persistence Plus, a behavioral science and technology organization, to introduce mySchoolcraft Support. This automated texting platform marries mobile technology, nudge theory, and data analytics to provide personalized retention support to students. Schoolcraft is also leveraging mySchoolcraft Support as part of their campus-wide strategy to re-engage degree-seeking students who have stepped away from their education.

  • Sharon Christian Schoolcraft College
  • Ross O’Hara Persistence Plus, LCC

Tomorrow’s Talent Series allows students to discover careers and learn about businesses through videos, interviews, and activities. We work with schools and teachers to incorporate these videos into their classrooms to help bridge the gap created by restrictions on in-person field trips and guest speakers. We have already gathered 15,000+ views across more than 60 videos! This presentation will highlight our partnerships with local businesses and organizations to create career exploration content for students and how we can further develop and leverage these partnerships for additional impactful engagement for students and educators.


  • Rob Lambert Michigan Technological University

Learn how the U-M Michigan Engineering Zone brings three STEM outreach/college pipeline opportunities to Detroit students each year and how we sustain these programs through collaborative partnerships with schools, the city, private businesses, and industry partners.


  • Haley Hart University of Michigan
  • LaShawn Sims University of Michigan

Mid-Morning Sessions (11:40 AM – 12:40 PM)

The workplace has drastically changed over the last few years.  Join industry leaders and higher education professionals for a discussion on the changing landscape of education, the future of the workforce, and building the School(K-12 & Colleges/Universities) to Industry Pipeline.

  • Dr. Patricia Wren Wayne State University
  • Joe Bamberger Michigan Career Educator & Employer Alliance
  • Erin Walker Employer Engagement for the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation
  • James Hearn Wayne State University
  • Shawn Pewitt Wayne State University

Giving hope to students who have been through difficult times in school and life is one of the single most important things we can do to increase student participation and retention. Having students realize that the pain they’ve gone through is not pointless but can actually be used as a tool to learn from and create purpose from. But how do we do it? How do we reach students who are tuning out more than ever? Students are dealing with challenges that no other generation has dealt with in the past that have completely changed the landscape of what the future will look like. During this presentation, Schwartzen Precil explains his specific process of how any student can go from pain to purpose. This isn’t just a highly research driven presentation, Schwartzen lived. From growing up in the Foster Care system to being homeless and nearly imprisoned. He used the process he will teach to your students that turned his life around, graduated from college, become an award-winning author, professional athlete and national speaker.

  • Schwartzen Precil Hero Leadership Group

Join Melissa Thompson as she discusses the journey of building a community-centered pediatric practice in the heart of Detroit. This presentation emphasizes the significance of responsible community engagement by forging partnerships and collaborations with business associates, community-based organizations, universities, and schools. Discover how these efforts have improved healthcare access and outcomes for underserved communities, exemplifying a holistic and impactful care model.

  • Melissa Thompson Wayne State University School of Medicine and Wayne Pediatrics, Inc.

Various factors can make building relationships and providing educational opportunities complex in rural communities. Several challenges can be identified: 1) distance between population and service provider, 2) engagement of students, families, and their communities in educational opportunities, and 3) trust-building. These challenges have inspired Michigan Tech’s GEAR UP to bring frequent opportunities directly to the school or community. This presentation will cover how MTU GEAR UP addresses the challenges faced by our rural communities.


  • Kat Hauser Michigan Technological University

We know firsthand the transformative power of hands-on educational experiences in career exploration and development. However, many current programs offering these career experiences focus only on technical skills, leaving behind the development of critical interpersonal skills (aka soft skills) such as teamwork, communication, leadership, and critical thinking, which the World Economic Forum has highlighted as being among the top 10 skills of 2025. This session will explore how we’ve adapted our flagship Engineering Scholars and Women in Engineering Pathway Programs at Michigan Technological University to develop students’ skill sets holistically.


  • Brad Wells Michigan Technological University

Sponsored by Michigan College Access Network (MCAN), Ready, Set, Audition is a free program to support students of color applying to music colleges that require an audition. This program is led by Rodney Whitaker, MSU Professor of Jazz and Director of Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging, in collaboration with the College of Music’s Color Me Music student group, the MSU College of Music Admission, MSU Federal Credit Union, and the MSU Community Music School-Detroit.


  • Jauron Perry MSU College of Music
  • Kris John MSU Community Music School Detroit
  • Paola Smith MSU Community Music School Detroit

The Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), opening in 2022, was celebrated by a dance piece entitled “Of Equal Place: Isotopes in Motion.” The primary creator was the award-winning Dance Exchange from Maryland in collaboration with Lansing-based Happendance. These FRIB-supported shows told the story of FRIB research through movement, sound, and video. Workshops and laboratory tours followed each performance for the attendees. This presentation will explore and demonstrate how this unique partnership successfully utilized dance to celebrate physics, reach new audiences, and advance equity, diversion & inclusion through arts and science.

  • Zachary Constan Michigan State University
  • Bert Goldstein Michigan State University

Mental health awareness has grown in recent years, but those that need support often outnumber the resources available. Yoga, meditation, and mindful breathing are helpful tips, but can more be done proactively to assist students? Taking an intentional approach to mental health, ECE at the University of Michigan has created an approach for all staff to partner to support mental health within the department.


  • Kristen Thornton University of Michigan
  • Devon Degraffenreed University of Michigan

This presentation will provide best practices for effective collaboration between GEAR UP, School District Leaders and community partners to maximize resources and minimize duplication of services. Participants that will benefit from this session include GEAR UP/TRIO professionals, teachers, counselors, administrators and community partners that work closely with any GEAR UP and/or TRIO program.


  • Da Jaunteye’ Cooper University of Michigan
  • Antonio Junior-Robins University of Michigan
  • Dr. Courtney Morris River Rouge High School
  • Sandra Sanchez Cesar Chavez High School

Afternoon Session (1:30 – 2:30 PM)


  • Stacy Jackson Wayne State University
  • Bianca Fielder Wayne State University
  • Lauren Scott Wayne State University
  • Patrick Mullen-Coyoy University of Michigan
  • Becca Koktovich University of Michigan
  • Greta Kruse University of Michigan
  • Alex Shoop University of Michigan
  • Cody Jonaitis University of Michigan

Disparities in access to career exploration and professional development opportunities can make navigating the workforce, post-secondary education, and the transition into adulthood difficult, especially for young people from under-resourced communities. SummerWorks is a community collaborative partnership developed to address this gap in Washtenaw County by creating spaces for youth to explore careers, build professional skills, and engage in mentorship. In this workshop, we will use our program as a case study to demonstrate how community asset mapping can be used to identify and develop partnerships, particularly in career exploration and development.


  • Kathleen Claney University of Michigan
  • Tabatha Reynolds University of Michigan Poverty Solutions
  • Shamar Herron MichiganWorks! Southwest

Higher education can offer refugee and immigrant youth a route to economic advancement and improved quality of life. However, the decision to pursue college poses unique challenges and considerations. This study examines refugee and immigrant students’ motivations and perceptions of college and their career aspirations. Findings revealed a strong desire to go to college and pursue a STEM career, an unfamiliarity with the college application process, and a preference for community colleges. This study yields important insights regarding how high schools can guide refugee and immigrant youth in the college choice process.


  • Ashley Cureton University of Michigan

Students live in the digital age with access to more content and information than ever. Given the ease and rate at which they consume content, we need to help students develop the skills to evaluate the information’s credibility and the source’s possible motive. Unboxed Challenges™ give students hands-on experience developing information literacy skills through the lens of their preferred career choice: social media influencer.


  • Jannah Tumey Michigan Technological University

Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN) at Michigan State University has hosted an annual regional essay competition for 15–24-year-olds to advocate for their communities and share their opinions and stories about local and national challenges. The Global Voices Essay Contest presents valuable opportunities for young people to reflect on local and national challenges, share their ideas and proposed solutions with the world, and give back to their communities through innovation and knowledge. The contest–along with the way it forges connections and fosters collaboration across local and global networks–is critical to empowering the young individuals who will become the world’s leaders.


  • Luna Lu Michigan State University

Education is often expected to be a pathway to a better life, and therefore, parents want their children to be successfully employable upon graduation. That path, however, is rarely simple, with numerous challenges that must be navigated. The presenters of this workshop collaborate at length to support student success with knowledge and resources to mitigate various financial and career barriers. Participants of this interactive program will: 1) experience a creative collaboration considering current career and financial wellness factors and 2) learn resources that help students navigate career and financial questions in college.


  • Daisy Cordero Wayne State University
  • Nannette McCleary Wayne State University

Late Afternoon Session (2:40 – 3:40 PM)

Presenters did an activity with a group of high school students to discuss post-secondary and various options and how vital it is to have a PLAN. This engaging activity emphasized the power of choice for students to be aware of their options and choose the right pathway for them when they graduate high school.


  • Rachel Dupree Wayne State University
  • Shawn Pewitt Wayne State University
  • James Hearn Wayne State University

Erik, Deborah, and Robert have a cooperative, sustained, and effective K-12 and university outreach partnership that has brought 250 students from Waverly High School to the MSU libraries during the 2020 and 2023 school years (interrupted by the COVID pandemic). In our workshop, we will describe our outreach partnership and the genocide education event it produces and guide how workshop participants can build their own K-12/university outreach partnerships and events. Participants will leave the workshop with a plan to conduct their program.


  • Erik Ponder Michigan State University
  • Deborah Margolis Michigan State University
  • Robert Lurie Waverly High School

As educational institutions strive to create inclusive and equitable learning environments, the importance of culturally responsive approaches has become increasingly evident. This workshop aims to highlight exemplary case studies and best practices from Michigan campuses and pre-college outreach programs that effectively meet students where they are and cultivate culturally responsive environments. This workshop will equip participants with practical tools to foster an inclusive and supportive learning experience for all students by sharing successful strategies and innovative approaches.


  • Vanesa Jackson University of Michigan
Learn about and experience some of Michigan Engineering’s EO1O1 curriculum, designed to help K-12 scholars (regardless of their background and identities) understand they deserve to be on a college campus. The curriculum also addresses some social-emotional tools and resources that will help students succeed in college. This workshop will explore the curriculum and model some of the key activities.

  • LaMar Thompson-Hightower University of Michigan
  • Karina Moore University of Michigan
  • Paula Viñales-Bowman University of Michigan

This year, a new partnership to benefit talented students began between the Honors College, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) GATE, MSU Detroit Center, and MSU’s GATE. The collaboration also featured Detroit-based artists, MSU faculty, and the leadership team to help students build college readiness early and see the city of Detroit differently. During this session, we’ll discuss centering collaborative work on shared values as a critical component of initiating a new project. Participants will also learn how to structure a new partnership to make sustainable connections that benefit youth.


  • Bess German Michigan State University
  • Valeria Jackson Detroit Public Schools Community District
  • Jena Baker-Calloway Michigan State University
  • Erika Crews Michigan State University

The University of Michigan’s Detroit River Story Lab is a collaborative research and education initiative that partners with regional organizations to reconnect local communities with the river and its stories. Following a brief overview of our place-based, experiential learning programs on the river, the presentation team will offer reflections on the challenges and opportunities involved in forging successful partnerships between academic and community partners in programs of this kind.


  • David Porter University of Michigan
  • Bruce Ross Bruce Ross & Contemporaries LLC

This presentation highlights successful strategies The Detroit Promise Scholarship uses in developing key partnerships with Detroit Schools, students, and community-based organizations. Key approaches include building strong relationships through open communication, tailoring communication for each partner and student, engaging students through workshops and events, maintaining a transparent application process, and tracking progress with data-driven insights. These strategies fostered fruitful partnerships and positively impacted students and the community through the scholarship program.


  • Christine Rogers Detroit Regional Chamber & Detroit Promise
  • Nyia Slade Detroit Regional Chamber & Detroit Promise

Keynote Speaker

  • Andre Ebron, MSOL, CDE

    Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion United Way for Southeastern Michigan

    Headshot of Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross
    Andre Ebron is a non-profit senior leader, entrepreneur, passionate educator, prolific speaker, organizer, and effector of change focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion through his work in the southeastern Michigan community. Andre currently serves as an Elder at Kainos International Church, the Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for United Way for Southeastern Michigan, as well as the owner and founder of Ebron & Associates and The Drawing Board Nation. His career includes various roles serving in the education, faith-based and nonprofit sectors. Andre holds a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Tri-State University, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University, and he is a Certified Diversity Executive. Andre bears the heart of a servant leader. He strategically challenges those around him to level up in business and life in general. His heartbeat for community development and excellence in action not only led to his nomination for Administrator of the Year from the Detroit Public School Community District, but it yielded him the Legend Award from Cornerstone Christian College Preparatory School, as well as the Educational Leadership Spirit Award from Rho Sigma Foundation. In addition to awards, his work and accolades led him to be featured in multiple forms of media, including the Journal Gazette Newspaper, the Herald Republican Newspaper, Crains Detroit Business and the Michigan Chronicle. Most recently, Andre was named to the Michigan Chronicle’s list of 2022 40 under 40 honorees, recognizing his vast accomplishments and contributions to the community as a professional. Andre and his wife of 19 years, Shalessa, are parents to two amazing children: daughter Christian Ebron, and son Andre Ebron II. He is also proud to call himself a duly initiated brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Invited Speakers

  • Headshot of Joe Bamberger
    Joe Bamberger is a recognized entry-level talent pipeline management and workforce development leader. He is the founder and managing partner of Emerge, a consultancy firm that connects education with businesses to attract, develop and retain the next generation of the workforce. In addition to his work with Emerge, Bamberger is also the President-Elect of the Michigan Career Educator and Employer Alliance. This position allows him to further his mission of strengthening the talent pipeline in Michigan. He is committed to creating meaningful partnerships between educators and employers, ensuring that the next generation of workers is well-prepared for the demands of the modern workforce. Bamberger has a long history of success in the field of workforce development. He has worked with a wide range of organizations, from small startups to Fortune 500 companies, helping them to identify and develop the talent they need to succeed in a competitive marketplace.

    Presenting at:
    Mid-Morning Session: Career Exploration Panel
  • Headshot of Ryan Fewins-Bliss

    Ryan Fewins-Bliss has worked in education and the nonprofit field for nearly 20 years, having served in K-12, higher education, and community organizations. He served as assistant director of the Student Life Center at Saginaw Valley State University immediately after graduate school. In that role, he led the university’s leadership and volunteer programming and community partnerships. After SVSU, Ryan took his civic engagement skills to Michigan Campus Compact, where he served as assistant training and technical assistance director. There, he supported Michigan colleges and universities in their community engagement. Ryan then spent the next four years consulting and supporting organizations around the state, including the Jackson College Access Center, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Education Northwest/AmeriCorps VISTA, and the Shiawassee Child Advocacy Center, among others. In that capacity, he consulted with MCAN from its inception in 2010. Over time, he’s served MCAN as a consultant, part-time staff member, assistant director, deputy director, and now executive director, a role he assumed in November 2019 when succeeding the founder.

    Presenting at:
    Morning Session: A Deep Dive into Michigan College Data with MCAN & DCAN
  • Headshot of Bianca Fielder

    Bianca Fielder is career advisor with the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business. She earned her bachelor’s from the University of Michigan and her M.B.A. here at Wayne State University. Fielder is dedicated to helping students achieve their academic and professional goals. Her mission is to help students clarify their life and career goals and provide them with the knowledge they need to matriculate through college successfully. Fielder is thrilled to be a part of the Mike Ilitch School of Business Career Planning and Placement advising team and looks forward to a lifelong career in higher education.

    Presenting at:

    Afternoon Sessions: Dual Enrollment: A Panel Discussion On Building Community in Higher Education
  • Headshot of James Hearn
    James Hearn has worked in the K- 12 and post-secondary educational settings as an urban school educator, principal, adjunct professor, TRIO Educational Opportunity Center program counselor. Currently, Mr. Hearn is employed as a Career Services Counselor at Wayne State University. Mr. Hearn has a passion and extensive experience with working with students from marginalized communities, diverse backgrounds, and adult learners. Mr. Hearn understands the unique needs, challenges, and obstacles experienced by students from marginalized communities and adult learners to assist in removing barriers and overcoming challenges.Mr. Hearn’s mission as a counselor is to provide students and adult learners with high-quality career skills development, preparation and career opportunities while providing compassionate and positive leadership. Mr. Hearn’s personal vision is to ensure all students and adult learners have the necessary preparation, motivation, competencies, and employability skills to become successful skilled professionals in their chosen career pathway.

    Presenting at:
    Mid-Morning Session: Career Exploration Panel
    Late Afternoon Session: Workshop: The Power of Choice: Choosing Your Pathway
  • Headshot of Stacy Jackson

    Stacy N. Jackson is an experienced professional in media communication, online learning, instructional technology, education & training, academic advising, advanced technology, and student engagement & orientation. In 1999, she worked as Multimedia Specialist at Wayne State University and later took on a dual role as Online Programs Coordinator in 2010 assisting in Online State Authorization. In 2014, Jackson became Manager at Wayne State University’s Advanced Technology Education Center, its newest state-of-the-art facility in Warren, Michigan. Shortly after that, Jackson accepted the challenge as Manager of Wayne State University’s Macomb County Extension Centers overseeing daily operations at three satellite extension center locations in Macomb County. Stacy also provided adjunct academic advising at Henry Ford College, taking on various leadership roles in e-Advising, Retention Alert, Student Planning, and institutional coding for Detroit Promise Students (formerly Detroit Scholarship Fund). Jackson currently serves as Associate Director, Educational Outreach at Wayne State University, fostering interactive outreach initiatives requiring extensive communication with a diverse population of students and experience in advanced technology. She occasionally teaches animation and graphic communication courses at local community colleges and for-profit institutions.

    Presenting at:

    Afternoon Session: Dual Enrollment: A Panel Discussion On Building Community in Higher Education
  • Headshot of Cody Jonaitis

    Cody Jonaitis is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan and is a member of the Michigan College Advising Corps in Flint. As a full-time adviser at Flint Southwestern Classical Academy, he promotes a robust, engaging college-going culture with large-scale programming and individualized, one-on-one support. Through his efficient organizational skills and creative flexibility, he helps to connect students with the resources that support their post-secondary goals. When not advocating for college access, Cody might be hiking national parks, listening to political podcasts, or working on his latest art project.

    Presenting at:
    Afternoon Session: Strengthen Your Work with High Schools by Collaborating with College Advisers Panel
  • Headshot of Steve Kahn
    Steve Kahn is the Director of Wayne State University’s Center for Excellence and Equity in Mathematics (CEEM). A Professor of Mathematics at Wayne State since 1981, Dr. Kahn earned his PhD in algebraic topology from the University of Maryland in 1979. He is the founder of both Wayne State’s Emerging Scholars Program, one of the largest and most successful introductory college mathematics programs in the country, and the WSU Math Corps – CEEM’s award-winning outreach program serving middle and high school kids in Detroit. The Math Corps has been recognized by the National Summer Learning Association, the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education as one of the leading out-of-school programs in the country, It’s now reaching children in cities across the nation.Professor Kahn has overseen the dual development of a powerful and unique teaching philosophy, centered around “loving and believing in kids”, and a revolutionary new K-12 math curriculum. He has worked to implement them in both inner-city and suburban public schools with dramatic results. Over the years, Professor Kahn has earned numerous awards and honors, including the Detroit Public Schools “Outstanding Educator Award”, the Mathematical Association of America’s Michigan Section “Award for Distinguished University or College Teaching” and an honorary Doctorate from Oakland University for his work in the furtherance of social justice.

    Presenting at:
    Late Afternoon Session: Wayne State University Math Corps: Love & Literacy
  • Headshot of Greta Kruse
    Greta Kruse is a recent graduate from the University of Michigan, where she studied international studies and anthropology. At Michigan, Greta was co-president of the College Democrats at the University of Michigan her senior year. She spent this past year advising at J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing, Michigan, where she formed deep connections with the students she served and became a member of the Sexton community. She’s looking forward to experiencing the highs and lows of senior year with a new group of students and affirming the amazingness they already possess. When she’s not advising, Greta is usually listening to music, reading, or playing with her cat, Rylo.

    Presenting at:
    Afternoon Session: Strengthen Your Work with High Schools by Collaborating with College Advisers Panel
  • Headshot of Becca Kokotovich

    Becca Kokotovich is a college adviser at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. She recently graduated from Central Michigan University, where she studied Communication Sciences and Disorders. As someone who is passionate about bringing equity to the education system, she enjoys helping her scholars gain knowledge about the post-secondary process and culture. By helping them research institutions, visit institutions, apply to scholarships, apply for financial aid, and make a decision, she works to provide the information she wishes she had in high school. When she’s not advising, you can find her hiking, reading, or volunteering as a puppy raiser for Leader Dogs for the Blind.

    Presenting at:
    Afternoon Session: Strengthen Your Work with High Schools by Collaborating with College Advisers Panel
  • Headshot of Cyekeia Lee

    Cyekeia Lee holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in counseling education from Wayne State University. In her most recent position, she held the role of director of community collaboration at The Kalamazoo Promise, an award-winning initiative to provide up to 100% of tuition and fees paid for students from the Kalamazoo Public Schools at any in-state public community college or university. Before her time with the Kalamazoo Promise, Lee was the executive director of The Learning Network of Greater Kalamazoo, where she worked with cross-sector partners to explore community collaboration efforts for students in Kalamazoo County. Additionally, she has served as the director for higher education initiatives with the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth, where she worked to streamline higher education access for students experiencing homelessness in 25 states.

    Presenting at:

    Morning Session: A Deep Dive into Michigan College Data with MCAN & DCAN
  • Headshot of Patrick Mullen-Coyoy
    Patrick Mullen-Coyoy serves as the Program Manager for the Michigan College Advising Corps, supporting a cohort of 16 advisers spread across Michigan. A former adviser at Ypsilanti Community High School, he continues to nurture his passion for college access and mentorship through coaching advisers, developing trainings, and incorporating new technologies into both. Through this work, he ensures that MCAC advances its goal to inform, engage, and inspire low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented Michigan high school students to get to and through their postsecondary goals.

    Patrick holds a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Latina/o Studies, History, and Spanish from the University of Michigan and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Information at the University of Michigan School of Information.

    Presenting at:
    Afternoon Session: Strengthen Your Work with High Schools by Collaborating with College Advisers Panel
  • Headshot of Schwartzen Precil

    Schwartzen Precil As a 2019 American Best Book award finalist for YA Non-fiction, “Be Your Own Hero: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities,” has taken the literary world by storm. Since 2015, Schwartzen Precil has been recognized for several leadership awards and has showcased his leadership development skills at conferences, schools, and community programs across the country. Schwartzen Precil, erupted as a mentor and community leader as an AmeriCorp VISTA after his undergraduate studies. His advocacy for erasing poverty with leading practices produced healthier outcomes for low opportunity youth and their families. The decision to liberate himself from a broken background led to a global basketball playing career that began with the National Leadership award from the National Collegiate Scouting Association (NCSA) during his senior year of high school.

    Presenting at:

    Mid-Morning Session: Be Your Own Hero: Turning Obstacles into Opportunities
  • Headshot of Dr. Lauren Scott

    Dr. Lauren Scott has experience in program design, implementation, and facilitation with proven proficiency in managing administrative functions for various programs that support the training and development of participants from multicultural backgrounds. Dr. Scott is highly skilled at designing and implementing program evaluation assessments; compiling and analyzing data, using results to support program funding and continuation. Adept in grant management, strategic planning, marketing, event planning/coordination, cross-functional collaboration, and social media management with strong talents in identifying program needs, supporting program progress, and engaging in risk management and problem resolution strategies. In addition to her program administration background, Dr. Scott has worked in both collegiate and youth sports administration. Her work within athletics spans across events and championships, sports information, football operations and serving as adjunct faculty in the sports adminstration program in the College of Education at Wayne State University and Michigan State University. Dr. Scott earned her Ph.D. and master’s of education from Wayne State University and her B.S. in sports management from Winston-Salem State University. Dr. Scott has a certification in Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace from the University of South Florida.

    Presenting at:

    Afternoon Session: Dual Enrollment: A Panel Discussion On Building Community in Higher Education
  • Headshot of Alex Shoop

    Alex Shoop is a graduate from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biology. During his studies, Alex conducted research on Lidocaine with a focus in ionic liquids, founded a dental club, and worked as a dental assistant under a U of M alumnus.

    He is currently serving as a second-year college adviser through AmeriCorps with a passion to mitigate inequities in higher education. This service has helped develop his passion for education as a social determinant of health. He recently launched a non-profit organization to foster growth in his own community of Muskegon, MI in both post-secondary education and oral health.

    In his free time, as a former collegiate athlete at Ave Maria University, he enjoys staying updated with college football and basketball. Alex has a long affiliation within the Oakridge High School community and was inducted into the Muskegon Area Sports Hall of Fame upon graduation in 2018.

    Presenting at:
    Afternoon Session: Strengthen Your Work with High Schools by Collaborating with College Advisers Panel
  • Headshot of Melissa Thompson

    Melissa Thompson is an accomplished healthcare and financial services professional currently serving as Director and Clinical Administrator at Wayne State University School of Medicine and Wayne Pediatrics, Inc., in Detroit, MI. Her expertise has led to transformative changes, notably the successful launch of Wayne Pediatrics in 2020. Committed to promoting equity and inclusion, Melissa dedicates herself to enhancing all aspects of healthcare, from patient care to staff management. She emphasizes the importance of implementing inclusive practices, fostering trust, and strengthening the bond between healthcare facilities and their communities by addressing social determinants of health. Melissa’s dedication to serving diverse populations is evident through her involvement in key committees like the WSU Children’s Health Collaborative and the Women & the Underrepresented in Medicine Faculty Development Committee. As a Black Faculty and Staff representative on the Provost Employee Engagement Advisory Council, she amplifies underrepresented voices in higher education and the medical field. Her professional memberships in prestigious organizations, such as the American College of Healthcare Executives, the National Association of Health Services Executives, and the Michigan Medical Group Management Association, reflect her commitment to continuous growth and development. Melissa holds an impressive academic background with a Master’s degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development from Florida International University.

    Presenting at:

    Mid-Morning Session: Community-Centered Care: Building a Medical Practice through Partnerships and Collaboration
  • Headshot of Erin Walker

    Erin Walker is an accomplished human service professional passionate about helping students reach their full potential. As the Manager for Employer Engagement for the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation, Erin oversees employer partnerships with education and community programs for the Chamber and professional development opportunities for K-12, college students, and adult learners. With over 15 years of experience in social work and community development, Erin has worked in a variety of roles including as a non-profit leader, family advocate and foster care specialist. She is a community leader serving on the Michigan Founders Fund board and as Girl Scout Troop leader for the last 7 years. Erin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Family Community Services from Michigan State University and is currently enrolled at Howard University pursuing her Master’s in Social Work.

    Presenting at:

    Mid-Morning Session: Career Exploration Panel
  • Headshot of Dr. Patricia Wren
    Dr. Patricia Wren is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her public health career started when she felt called to work on her first pandemic – the HIV/AIDS crisis. Since then, her research has focused on including participant voices and measuring patient-centered outcomes in HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and strabismus, breast and colorectal cancer, stroke, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, mental health and suicide, and pelvic floor disorders in women. She is a Detroiter and first-generation college student who teaches the PH 2100 Introduction to Public Health course to ensure students get off to a good start at WSU.

    Presenting at:
    Mid-Morning Session: Career Exploration Panel
  • Headshot of Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross
    Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross is a visionary leader who possesses extensive experience in leadership and group collaboration, with a comprehensive background in elementary and secondary instruction, curriculum development, multicultural education, school safety, budget and finance, and community relations. Dr. Zachery-Ross currently serves as the Superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools, where they recently earned the 2022 Cognia System of Distinction Award. Her most notable work has been at Muskegon Heights Public School Academy System, where she was responsible for transforming the entire district’s profile, including student discipline, student and staff attendance, dropout rates, and graduation rate. She has served as Superintendent at Okemos Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent, Elementary and Middle School Principal at Van Dyke, Elementary School Teacher, and School Psychologist in the Detroit Public School District. Dr. Zachery-Ross attended Grand Valley State University, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Special Education and Psychology. She earned a Master of Education in Psychology from Wayne State University and completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Michigan State University. Dr. Zachery-Ross continues to be a sought-after speaker, educational consultant, and professional developer. Because of her expertise in community relations, group facilitation, and leadership, she is a coach and mentor to many.

    Presenting at:
    Morning Session: Insight from Ypsilanti’s Superintendent Dr. Alena Zachery-Ross

Steering Committee

  • Anya Williams-Carr, Oakland University
  • Ashley Carmichael, Michigan State University
  • Barry Hall II, Grand Valley State University
  • Biyanka Gallo, Michigan State University
  • Cyekeia Lee, Detroit College Access Network
  • Darryl Gardner, Wayne State University
  • De’Janae Douglas, Wayne State University
  • Donald Neal, Wayne State University
  • Doreen Odom, College Prep International
  • Elizabeth Rykalsky, Wayne State University
  • Erika A Carr, Western Michigan
  • Jamar Lockhart, Wayne State University
  • Janaya Royal, Michigan College Access Network
  • Jasmine Roberson, Wayne State University
  • Jessica Bilodeau, Michigan State University
  • Kari Wilson, Bowling Green State University
  • Kat Rawhouser, Michigan Technological University
  • Kate Johnson, Michigan State University
  • Kim Lijana, University of Michigan
  • LaJoyce Brown, Wayne State University
  • Leah Melichar, Lansing Community College
  • Marc Smith, Wayne State University
  • Maria Wilmot, Wayne State University
  • Marissa Taylor, University of Michigan
  • Mark Jackson, Wayne State University
  • Matt Hokanson, Wayne State University
  • Rayven McMurray, Wayne State University
  • Shawn Pewitt, Wayne State University
  • Shelby Powell, Grand Valley State University
  • Susan Sheth, University of Michigan
  • Teresa Rodges, Oakland University
  • Theresa Ramirez-Zipser, Wayne State University


  • Emily Nguyen, Peace Corps
  • Allie Knox, City Year
  • Garrett Lefkowitz, University of Michigan
  • Corrie Bird, University of Michigan
  • Caitlin Taylor, University of Michigan
  • Paola Smith, Michigan State University
  • Christie Lower, MSU Community Music School Detroit
  • Robert D. Alexander-Jordan, Wayne State University

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Platinum Sponsor

Wayne State UniversityLogo for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at University of Michigan Logo for Michigan Technological University Logo for Center for Education Outreach at University of MichiganLogo for The Skillman Foundation

Gold Sponsor

Michigan Department of Treasury   

Higher Education Sponsor

Logo of Grand Valley State University Logo of Michigan State University