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 2019 Rising Star Award Winners!

About the winners:

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

Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Collaboration Webinar Series —Since launching in 2018, the Indiana-Kentucky-Ohio Collaboration Webinar Series has produced seven webinars serving more than 600 college admission counseling professionals. The webinars are offered through a collaboration of NACAC’s affiliates in Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio. Each month, one affiliate serves as the host and the other affiliates are invited to participate. Topics have included financial aid and best practices for serving students of color and first-generation students.

Leadership, Equity, Accountability & Diversity (LEAD) Program (IACAC)
Illinois ACAC’s LEAD program is a one-year professional development opportunity committed to providing personal and professional growth for counselors of color interested in building a career within higher education.

The initial 13 participants, who concluded the program in June, met monthly with mentors invested in helping them gain the social and aspirational capital needed to advance in the admission profession.

The LEAD program supports Illinois ACAC’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and has been an exciting addition to the affiliate’s many professional development offerings.

Advocacy Leadership Credential Program (PACAC/ PASFAA)
This program provides members with curriculum-based content surrounding advocacy as well as updates on current and pending education legislation on both the state and national levels. The goal of the initiative is to make ongoing advocacy more accessible and to encourage participants to visit lawmakers in their district offices throughout the year, rather than just on Hill Day.

The program was developed with support and input from the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and is available to members of both organizations. The collaborative effort provides an opportunity for the respective associations to concentrate their advocacy efforts and has helped position Pennsylvania ACAC as a resource for lawmakers.

Fatmata Koroma (PCACAC) —Since joining Potomac Chesapeake ACAC over four years ago, Fatmata has worked tirelessly to help make the affiliate’s annual conference and other events successful.

This year she volunteered to launch the Equity Collaborative on Diversity, Equity and Opportunity in Education—a PCACAC preconference offering. And when one of the scheduled speakers was unable to present due to unforeseen health issues, Fatmata stepped in and led the session.  

Fatmata, who recently assumed the role of associate director of college counseling at St. John’s High School in DC, is passionate about the potential of higher education to change lives and has become an important voice within her affiliate. Through her hard work, Fatmata is constantly striving—often behind the scenes—to contribute to her school, her affiliate, and the profession.

Robert Kaercher (NYSACAC) —Rob is a born counselor—skilled at making everyone around him feel at ease.

In his work at Byron-Bergen Junior/Senior High School in western New York, Rob has ensured that all students—including those who are unfamiliar with the admission process—are encouraged to make plans for the future. For many years, Rob has chaired the New York State ACAC college fair at Byron-Bergen, one of the affiliate’s largest and most successful fairs. He’s also launched a workshop series to build his high school’s college-going culture, provided online college planning resources for all grade levels, and facilitated opportunities for his students to meet face-to-face with college admission officers.


Past Award Winners

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