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Rising Star Awards

The Rising Star Award honors individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college.

This award encourages NACAC affiliates to look within their associations, identify and nurture those new members and programs that are deserving of this honor and also encourage the honorees to continue their professional development through membership in NACAC.

The Rising Star Awards are sponsored by SJG - The Spelman & Johnson Group.

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Congratulations 2018 Rising Star Award Winners!

About the winners:

NACAC Rising Star Awards
(Three programs and two individuals were honored.)  

Counseling in the College Selection Process
—a 45-hour online course offered by the Michigan Association for College Admission Counseling—is changing the way the state’s counselors approach their jobs. Ninety-two professionals signed up for the first session of the course in January and more than 100 counselors are slated to take the course this summer. Participants report that the class—which was developed by NACAC Past President Patrick O’Connor—has helped them learn more about college counseling curriculum, the process of researching colleges, and networking.

The Rocky Mountain Association for College Admission Counseling (RMACAC) is the first NACAC affiliate to have made its entire website accessible in another language. The RMACAC website translation has allowed Spanish-speaking parents, students, and professionals to access the same materials as their English-speaking counterparts in a region with a growing Latino population.

 In 2017, the Indiana Association for College Admission Counseling hosted the Transitions for Youth Conference—a day-long event designed to familiarize professionals from high schools, colleges, universities, and community-based organizations with practices and policies to better assist the students they serve. Attendees learned about the challenges homeless individuals face when applying for financial aid and navigating college life. Participants also left with resources they could turn to when assisting students in need.

Courtney Johnson-Benson goes above and beyond the call of duty both on the job as a senior assistant director of admissions at The University of Akron (OH) and in service to the Ohio Association for College Admission Counseling (OACAC). Her drive to make a difference is evident in her work with OACAC, where she’s served on the affiliate’s Summer Institute Committee; Guiding the Way to Inclusion Committee; and Inclusion, Access, and Success Committee—which she now chairs. OACAC will soon launch a Camp College program, an undertaking that would not have been possible without the hard work and determination of Johnson-Benson.

Estrella Redondo, senior associate director of admissions at Marymount Manhattan College (NY), has served on various committees within the New York State Association for College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), joining the affiliate’s executive board two years ago. Redondo’s colleagues describe her as a valuable addition to the affiliate and the profession. Last year, Redondo was awarded a New Initiatives Grant to bring a program called Mental Health First Aid to NYSACAC members. Akin to a CPR course, Mental Health First Aid provides training to professionals who work with adolescents every day but may not be versed in mental health counseling.

Past Award Winners

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