2022 College Changes Everything Conference

2022 CCE: Moving Forward Together

Online – July 11 – July 15, 2022

The 2022 College Changes Everything® conference theme was Moving Forward Together. As we continue to adapt, pivot, and respond to the ongoing challenges and uncertainty the pandemic presents to our education system and the state’s workforce, it’s critical we keep up our efforts to find new and innovate ways to be champions for all learners and for Illinois to reach its Goal 2025 – to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois with high quality degrees and postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025. Stakeholders from all parts of a student's community must work together to support and provide them with the knowledge and opportunities to be successful along their education pathways and as they transition to employment.

While we missed the in-person, face-to-face interactions that have grown to be a key part of the event, we were pleased to still be able to share information and resources from state and national experts that can help you in your work in supporting student success. This online event showcased best practices, collaborations, and resources available to promote and support student college access and success and career readiness. The conference was free to all, and conference session recordings and presentation materials are available by clicking on the links below.

Recorded Sessions

Conference Kick Off and State Agency Panel: Moving Forward Together in Support of Students

Join us as we kick-off the conference with Deputy Governor for Education Martin Torres and leadership from the Illinois Board of Higher Education, Illinois Community College Board, Illinois State Board of Education, and the Illinois Student Assistance Commission as they discuss the current environment of education in our State, including ongoing efforts to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased education funding in the FY23 budget, and plans for the upcoming school year. They will also review how each of the State education agencies is working to address key issues affecting students, educators, and institutions across the P-20 system.


  • Martin Torres (Moderator) Office of Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, Deputy Governor for Education
  • Dr. Carmen Ayala (Panelist) Illinois State Board of Education, State Superintendent of Education
  • Dr. Brian Durham (Panelist) Illinois Community College Board, Executive Director
  • Eric Zarnikow (Panelist) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Executive Director
  • Ja'Neane Minor (Panelist) Illinois Board of Higher Education, Chief of Staff

The Impact of Job Shadowing for High School Juniors and Seniors

Job Shadowing before high school graduation can have a profound impact on students as they think through their post-secondary plans. 27 ETHS juniors and seniors participated in a 20-hour concentrated job shadow experience over their spring break with 10 local employers. Feedback from the students and employers will be discussed.


  • Neil Gambow (Speaker) University of Dayton
  • Tana Francellno (Speaker) Evanston Mayor's Employer Advisory Council, Career Partnership Manager

The Illinois Equity Working Group: A Collaborative Action Plan to Increase Black Student Access and Success

In July 2020, Chicago State University launched the cross-sector statewide Equity Working Group for Black Student Access and Success. The cross-sectional group committed to collaboratively addressing systemic racism, confronting barriers and implementing equity-minded policies to improve the Black student experience. This session will describe how an intentional, shared vision led to the development of data-driven objectives and actionable, measurable directives. Attendees will leave prepared to develop and identify next steps in the implementation of collaborative systemic change initiatives.


  • Aspen Clemons (Speaker) Chicago State University, Deputy Chief Of Staff
  • April Bernard (Speaker) Chicago State University, Academic Department Chair
  • Christina Warden (Speaker) Women Employed, Director of Policy

Supporting Community College Student Success: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial

Providing comprehensive supports to community college students significantly increases their chances of obtaining an associate degree within three years according to a recent study of the One Million Degrees (OMD) program. OMD is a non-profit organization serving community college students in the Chicago metro area that supports students financially, academically, personally, and professionally.


  • Lisa Castillo (Moderator) Partnership for College Completion, Executvie Director
  • Kelly Hallberg (Speaker) University of Chicago Inclusive Economy Lab, Scientific Director
  • Aneesh Sohoni (Speaker) One Million Degrees, Chief Executive Officer
  • Veronica Herrero (Speaker) City Colleges of Chicago, Chief of Staff and Strategy

Increasing College Access Through a 2-Generation Approach

Learn about how Hope Chicago’s unique two generation model is removing barriers and sending CPS high school students and a parent or guardian to college for free. You will hear about program design, wraparound services and partnerships, and early lessons learned from the newest start-up in the College Access space. You will also hear from Hope Toledo, the first ever two-generation program of its kind. This session is intended to be a practice share that will inspire practitioners to think differently about how they support traditional and nontraditional students at the beginning of their postsecondary journey.


  • Rachel Graham (Moderator) Lefkofsky Family Foundation, Director of Education and Success Bound
  • Michele Howard (Speaker) Hope Chicago (Foundation), Chief Program Officer
  • John Jones (Speaker) HOPE Toledo, President and CEO
  • Femi Skanes (Speaker) Leadership EDGE, LLC, CEO/Owner
  • Jenny Zuluaga (Speaker) Chicago Public Schools, CPS Director of Alumni Persistence and Success

Breaking Down Barriers and Increasing Access to Services to Support Students with Disabilities in Reaching Their College and Career Goals

Participants of this session will learn what steps can be taken on behalf of students with disabilities to improve and embed in them in the culture of institutions. Processes to streamline students with disabilities with access to course materials, requesting accommodations, and implementing accommodations in a remote environment will be reviewed to ensure all facets of postsecondary institutions are equitable and accessible. The session will also share detailed information on resources, such as counseling and guidance, information and referrals, and financial assistance, to assist individuals with disabilities in helping them achieve their educational and career goals.


  • Tanya Cox (Speaker) Kennedy King College, Director, ACCESS Center
  • James Knauf (Speaker) Illinois Department of Human Services/Division of Rehabilitation Services, Policy Manager

Influences on Student Responsiveness in an Early Alert Program

This session will highlight the results from a recent research study focused on the College of Lake County’s early alert program. The case study examined what influenced students’ decisions and responses after receiving an alert from a faculty member. Seventeen CLC students were interviewed and four themes emerged as a result. The session will discuss the study findings, a conceptual model for early alert response, and potential strategies to encourage student engagement in an early alert program.


  • Eric Tammes (Speaker) College of Lake County, Director, Student Academic Success

Behavior as a Student Retention Issue: Assisting Students of Concern

Culturally intelligent and anti-racist educators must understand how racism and white supremacy contribute to over-referrals of BIPOC students to the disciplinary system, and how disciplinary action impacts college access and retention. We will focus on scholarly research regarding racism in school discipline systems, and how behavior intervention, anti-racist policies and procedures, and tangible action steps regarding referrals and sanctioning can impact retention and success for our at-promise students.


  • Amanda Mesirow (she/hers)(Speaker) Moraine Valley Community College, Coordinator, Code of Conduct

Student Success Framework: Leveraging Data, Expertise, and Care to Impact Students’ Experiences

There are many factors contributing to retention. One that we have control over is our delivery of services to students. We focus and connect retention efforts by increasing awareness of students’ goals, ensuring students and staff engage proactively with data about academic progress, improving the use of our technology and data systems, and influencing colleges’ culture of care.


  • Immanuel Greene (Moderator) City Colleges of Chicago - Office of Student Experience, Project Manager for Holistic Student Success
  • Megan Bernard (Speaker) City Colleges of Chicago, Executive Director, Academic and Student Success
  • Tobias Bengelsdorf (Speaker) City Colleges of Chicago, Project Manager for Student Success Technology
  • Declan McDonnell (Speaker) City Colleges of Chicago - Decision Support, District Director for Strategic Analytics

Illinois workNet Guides to Your Future

Join us as we discuss key guides on Illinois workNet available to assist Illinois citizens meet their training and employment goals. We will cover our Prepare for College Guide, Skills and Interest Survey, Training and Credential Guides, along with our Customer Support Centered/Integrated Workforce Information System.


  • Dee Reinhardt (Speaker) Illinois workNet, Field Training Representative

Changing PLA Practices and Policies Can Change Everything About College-Going

Sometimes, our policies and practices are inadvertent college-going stoppers for prospective students--especially working adults. Come learn how community college and university early childhood education faculty reframed their curricula around competencies and then created a standardized, virtual reality-based prior learning assessment instrument to award college credit. Lessons learned through this project regarding our need to change particular, current Illinois PLA policies and practices will be shared, along with specific proposals for doing so.


  • Marie Donovan (Speaker) DePaul University, Associate Professor of Teacher Education & Director, Early Childhood Education Program
  • Anne Brennan (Speaker) Oakton Community College, AVP for Academic Affairs & College Transitions

Project LEAD: A Collaborative Initiative to Increase The Pool of Diverse Educators Before, During and Then?

How can we recruit, prepare and sustain a more diverse educator workforce? The Center for Success Project LEAD faculty and former LEAD ambassador will share stories about state-wide collaboration that has developed two unique approaches to grow and nurture education candidates! Proven practices for each strategy will be shared. Join us for a conversation that chronicles lessons learned along an eighteen-year journey to grow a diverse teacher pool that prepares great teachers for all children!


  • Jan Fitzsimmons (Moderator) Center for Success, President and Executive Director
  • Jennifer Shah (Speaker) North Central College, Assistant Professor
  • Annie Baddoo (Speaker) Rockford University - Education Department, Assistant Professor
  • Srimani Chakravarthi (Speaker) University of St. Francis, Professor of Education
  • Irma Sandoval (Speaker) Project Lead (Fellows at the Center), Mathematics Teacher

The State of the Postsecondary and Career Expectations (PaCE) Framework – Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) 2022 Updates

2022 has brought new and exciting changes and opportunities in the world of PaCE including HB 3296, which will require school districts to offer a program that prepares students in grades 6 through 12th for a career and technical education pathway, the first annual PaCE Symposium, ISAC’s new PaCE Implementation support options, and the ability to continue offering PaCE Framework Development workshops virtually. As schools prepare to adopt a college and career framework as part of HB 3296, at ISAC, we continue to improve our PaCE supports. Join us to learn how ISAC can help you prepare for HB 3296 and support you through the adoption and implementation of a framework.


  • Meghan Chrum(Speaker) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Professional Development Specialist

Let's Check That List and Move Forward Together

To get where you want to go, you need a checklist, a good road map, and a plan. Join this session and learn about Checklist – a Career Information System feature brought to you by the Illinois Department of Employment Security. Checklist includes a set of activities for each grade level that will help your students take charge of and plan their future, as well as meet state graduation requirements. Let’s check it out and move forward together.


  • Marty Johson (Speaker) Economic Information & Analysis Division, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Manager, Workforce Analysis & Dissemination
  • Vicki Niederhofer (Speaker) Economic Information & Analysis Division, Illinois Department of Employment Security, Labor Market Economist

What Transfer ‘Pathways’ Have Taught Us

‘Pathway’ is yet another buzzword in the field of higher education. Why are there so many different ‘pathways’ a student can take in pursuit of their bachelor’s degree? Which is the best option? Join us for a discussion about various educational pathways for transfer students, and how these opportunities provide access as an alternative path(way) to bachelor’s degree completion. Attendees will also learn about a newly launched ‘pathway’ – The U of I System Transfer Guarantee.


  • Holly Pflum (Speaker) University of Illinois System, Transfer Initiative Coordinator
  • Julian Parrott (Speaker) University of Illinois System, Assistant Vice President for Academic Programs and Partnerships

Supporting First-Generation Professionals

Obtaining a college degree is just the beginning for first generation college students. Trying to figure out how to best navigate the professional world after college as a first generation professional can be just as overwhelming and complex. A panel of former ISAC corps members will talk about their experiences, along with challenges and issues they encountered as a first-gen professional that differed from the experiences of their non first gen peers. Attendees can gain insight on how to best support, retain, and help make a workplace more welcoming to first gen professionals, who are often people of color.


  • Abel Montoya (Speaker) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Director of Outreach Operations
  • Erica Ford (Speaker) The University of Chicago, Assistant Director Graduate Financial Aid
  • Jhoanna Vega-Rocha (Speaker) Bradley University, Assistant Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Denise Delgado (Speaker) Catalyst Maria High School, Assistant Director of Post-Secondary Success
  • Pat Ackerman (Speaker) Moraine Valley Community College, Financial Aid Expeditor

Resource Guide for Campus Mental Health Supports

Where to find the Campus Mental Health Resource Guide and a walkthrough of how to use it. YI and NAMI Chicago will complete this guide June 2022. We will incorporate best practices, useful tools, advice, and more information gleaned from the Mental Health Learning Collaborative meetings we hosted with public college and university staff, mental health professionals, students, and other stakeholders from November 2021 - June 2022.


  • Lily Rocha (Speaker) Young Invincibles, Midwest Regional Director
  • Rachel Bhagwat (Speaker) NAMI Chicago, Director of Policy

Catalyzing Equitable Student Success Through a Regional Collaborative Approach

In October 2018, the Partnership for College Completion launched the Illinois Equity in Attainment Initiative (ILEA), our signature effort to galvanize direct and urgent action with a group of two-year and four-year, public and private non-profit colleges and universities across the state. These 25 institutions commit to the PCC’s goal to eliminate racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps by 2025. This session will spotlight Richard J. Daley College and a special photo voice project that puts real students behind the camera to showcase their perception of campus through their unique lens. Additionally, a member of PCC’s Student Advisory Council will illustrate the importance of student voice to advocate for public policy that complements equity interventions and makes college affordable.


  • Joe Saucedo (Moderator) The Partnership for College Completion, Senior Manager
  • Erika de la Riva (Speaker) Richard J. Daley College, Director of Research and Planning
  • Iris Quintero (Speaker) Student, Northeastern Illinois University, Member, Partnership for College Completion's Student Advisory Council

From Career Advising to Career Navigation Systems

Preparing young people for a career requires a network of education, industry, workforce, and community leaders. Traditional career counseling approaches must be adapted to meet the needs of learners to support economic vitality. During this session, we will share a vision for career navigation systems: what the system is, why it matters to students and the community, and what cross-sector stakeholder roles look like in supporting such a system. We will also discuss advising challenges.


  • Sarah Jenness (Speaker) Jobs for the Future, Senior Program Manager

Community Models and Statewide Supports for Transitional English Implementation

This session will provide an overview of Statewide Transitional English including background on the development process and statewide supports available for district and college partners. Presenters include representatives from two community Transitional English partnerships who will provide insights on how to begin this work, lessons learned from their implementation, and resources they have created within their partnership.


  • Heather Penczak (Moderator) Education Systems Center, Director of Innovation and Implementation
  • Anji Garza (Speaker) Lee/Ogle/Whiteside Regional Office of Education #47, Director of Professional Learning & Educational Services
  • Kathy Kusiak (Speaker) College of Lake County, Associate Professor of English / English Liaison, Lake County High Schools

College, Careers, and Connections

Jackie Morris (ANY-IL Executive Director) of America Needs You, a nonprofit focused on providing economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students through mentorship and intensive career development, will introduce core concepts that are critical for building stronger, longer‐lasting, and more impactful corporate partnerships. She will walk participants through how the education, nonprofit, and corporate sectors can collaborate to promote and support student career readiness.


  • Jackie Morris (Speaker) America Needs You, Illinois Executive Director
  • Danny Gebre (Speaker) America Needs You, Career Success Coordinator
  • Quincy Thomas (Speaker) America Needs You, Career Success Coordinator

STEM Project-Based Learning: A Pathway of Partnerships

This session will provide participants with insight into how high-impact project-based learning with high school students can promote college and career readiness in both in-school and out-of-school settings. Through a close look at flagship programs designed by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition (ISTC) and the Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX), participants will be able to identify how real-world partnerships support student learning beyond the classroom and provide lines of sight into STEM careers and college pathways.


  • Allison James (Speaker) Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, STEM Program Coordinator
  • Sana Jafri (Speaker) Chicago Learning Exchange (CLX), Executive Director

The Changemaker Program: Student-driven Virtual Work-based Learning

This session will provide an overview and community examples of a virtual work-based learning opportunity called the Changemaker program which guides students to use digital tools to effectively self-manage a work project. Students are engaged in this program to apply innovative methods to identify and implement solutions in an organization. Through this program students also gain valuable insights into possible career options and understand possible pathways to their post-secondary education.


  • Heather Penczak (Speaker) Education Systems Center, Director of Innovation and Implementation
  • Anjali Kandimalla (Speaker) Northeastern University, Project Coordinator, MassWIN Initiative

Creating College Access, Supporting Academic Excellence, and Increasing College Completion for Students of Color

Students of color are enrolling in postsecondary education, and most students are finding it difficult to complete their intended degree, certificate, or credential. Please join this session to acquire a better understanding of challenges and barriers minority students face in achieving college access and success, and how we can better support these students. This session will provide viable solutions and strategies for addressing these students’ needs and challenges while supporting their economic mobility, leadership development, and sense of belonging in their communities.


  • Dr. Nameka Bates(Speaker) Chicago Scholars, Managing Director of College Access
  • Dr. Amanda Dillard(Speaker) Chicago Public Schools, Professional School Counselor
  • Samantha Friar(Speaker) Elgin Community College, Director of Student Support Services-TRiO

Becoming a Beloved Community: Social Justice and Student Leadership at Governors State University

Post-secondary education can provide the space to become a beloved community. This presentation demonstrates social justice experiential learning’s impact on student retention and leadership. Culturally, racially, and ethnically diverse students of various ages and academic programs experienced historical sites, museums, and memorials in Mobile, Selma, and Montgomery, Alabama, catalyzing action for change. Students and faculty will share foundational steps in this leadership development journey of the “Becoming a Beloved Community” movement at Governors State University.


  • Amy Vujaklija (Speaker) Governors State University, Assistant Professor
  • Phyllis West (Speaker) Governors State University, Social Justice Initiative Director
  • Zhamarr Thompkins (Speaker) Governors State University, Student
  • Tiyen Simmons (Speaker) Governors State University, Student
  • Hannah Teverbaugh (Speaker) Governors State University, Student

What’s Next? Reshaping College-Going Student Supports and Services Due to the Pandemic

We know students are still struggling with wide-ranging issues due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An area of great challenge is the college going process and how students are supported once they start their postsecondary education. During this session’s panel discussion, we’ll hear from student-serving practitioners about how they are rethinking the best ways to engage and support students considering the changes they’ve made to services, policies, and more due to the pandemic. We’ll also hear about lessons learned and successes achieved in addressing these disruptions.


  • Edith Njuguna (Moderator) Education Systems Center at NIU, Director, Illinois Education and Career Success Network
  • Amber Spaeth (Panelist) Highland High School, School Counselor
  • Tim Marten (Panelist) St. John's College of Nursing, Financial Aid Officer
  • Dr. Bernard Little (Panelist) Waubonsee Community College, Chief Diversity Officer and Dean for Students
  • Tony Minestra (Panelist) Director of College Counseling, DePaul College Prep

Illinois Postsecondary Profiles - Equity, Occupations & More

The Illinois Postsecondary Profiles (IPP) website provides an interactive and user-centered resource for learning about postsecondary institutions and participation in Illinois that is freely available on the web. With a focus on diverse users, ranging from students and families to educators to researchers, the IPP brings together updated information directly from state agencies to explore equity, occupations and corresponding postsecondary programs, and institutions. This session will explore the IPP with participants!


  • Jason Klein (Speaker) Northern Illinois University, Director of P-20 Initiatives
  • Alan Clemens (Speaker) Northern Illinois University, Director - Illinois Interactive Report Cards
  • Nathan Wilson (Speaker) Illinois Community College Board, Deputy Director for Research and Information Technology
  • Eric Lichtenberger (Speaker) IBHE, Chief Researcher

Reforming Developmental Education Through the ASPIRE Project

This session will introduce Women Employed’s Accelerating Student Progress and Increasing Racial Equity (ASPIRE) Project, and its collaboration with 10 Illinois community colleges to implement developmental education reform. Presenters will share ASPIRE’s impact on developing education pathways per the Illinois Developmental Education Reform Act, and what WE and the participating colleges have learned on the journey to increasing equity, access, and student success in higher education.


  • Kathleen Almy (Speaker) Almy Education, Rock Valley College, CEO, math instructor
  • Jessica Moreno (Speaker) Waubonsee Community College, Dean
  • Kristin Shelby (Speaker) Shawnee Community College, Dean of Transfer & Adult Education Programs
  • Christina Green (Speaker) Women Employed, Senior Program Manager

The Self-Care Institute for Educator-Leaders

The Self-Care Institute is designed to teach staff and administrators about practices for ensuring wellness and holistic living, while affirming purposeful work and goal accomplishment. This interactive workshop is engaging and will focus on internal, physical, auditory, and sensory/tactile awareness activities. Staff and administrators will not only learn strategies that will inform and align to whole living, but they will also be able to connect to and lead their staff through a model that is authentic, refreshing, and focused. The practices may also be used when front-line staff are working with students.


  • Sharon Sanders-Funnye (Speaker) College of Lake County, Director, Student Recruitment & Onboarding + TRiO Educational Talent Search Scholars
  • Ashley Cullen-Williams (Speaker) College of Lake County, Manager, TRiO Educational Talent Search Scholars
  • Adriane Price (Speaker) College of Lake County, Testing Center Coordinator
  • Joann Jacobs (Speaker) College of Lake County, Manager, Testing Center

Workshop on Strengthening Collaborative Data Capacity

This workshop will provide attendees with tools to figure out what data can help answer the questions they have about their community or work and what to do with the information once they obtain it. Attendees will learn about data resources available to them and easy-to-use data protocols that can inform their collective impact efforts. They will then practice adapting and using a protocol in a virtual context.


  • Emily Rusca (Moderator) Education Systems Center at NIU, Director of State Policy & Strategy
  • Chelsea Dawkins (Speaker) Northern Illinois University, Community Data Fellow

Stronger Together: Keeping Illinois Students in Illinois for College

Outmigration of Illinois students is a statewide concern. To help mitigate this issue, the University of Illinois System developed a program among Illinois' public universities and ISAC, Salute to Illinois Scholars (SIS). SIS is a recognition/recruitment event for college-ready high schoolers, community college students, and their families. It gives students an opportunity to confirm interests, find programs they didn’t know existed, discover unknown colleges, encourage family involvement and reveal options they thought may’ve been denied them. Connections go beyond student-to-program to include families, schools, communities, the state se university system and agencies. We are all stronger because of it!


  • Dena Lawrence (Speaker) University of Illinois System, Senior Project Coordinator
  • Jennifer Harbaugh (Speaker) Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Associate Director of Admissions
  • Abel montoya (Speaker) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Director of Outreach Operations

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program - A Panel of Success

Since its creation in 2007, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program has seen many changes to make the application process easier, but even through all the changes many professionals have faced challenges to meet the requirements of the program. We invite you to join us for this session were we will talk to professionals who successfully completed the process and obtained loan forgiveness through PSLF. Our panel will share the challenges they faced, what they wish they knew, and will talk about their overall experience to help others who might be facing some of those same challenges.


  • Manuel Talavera (Moderator) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Professional Development Specialist
  • Eddie Brambila (Panelist) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Managing Director, Capacity Development and Training
  • Marjorie Gell (Panelist) N/A, Speech Language Pathologist
  • Lindsay Heimberg (Panelist) Primary Therapist II, Pathlight Mood and Anxiety Center

Pathways to Higher Education for Rural Youth in Illinois: The Role of High School Agricultural Education Programs

This session will focus on educational disparities for rural youth in the state of Illinois and examine the role of high school agricultural education programs as a mechanism to increase college access and opportunities for rural youth.


  • Jasmine Collins (Speaker) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Assistant Professor, Agricultural Leadership, Education & Communications
  • Tony Dupuis (Speaker) University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Graduate Student

Educator Pathways: Building A Continuum Between PK-12 & Higher Ed

We know that 60% of teachers teach within 20 miles of where they grew up. If we aim to strengthen the teaching profession and to make it as diverse as the communities in which we teach, we need to expand our recruitment efforts to the middle school and high school level, creating a solid pathway into higher ed. Join Dr. Lindsey Jensen as she discusses the new IL CTSO Educators Rising, and explains how to build pathway programs that provide systemic support to aspiring educators, diversify the profession, and provide equitable access into teaching.


  • Lindsey Jensen (Speaker) Illinois Education Association, Early Career Development Director

Chicagoland CareerPathways: Empowering Students with Post-Secondary Choices

Combinations of work and learning are becoming a popular and sustainable solution for post-secondary paths as the labor market changes. Advising students on how to navigate pathways other than the traditional four-year college route is becoming more and more necessary. Join Chicagoland CareerPathways to learn about the changing landscape, how to support students in making the best choice for themselves, and the resources available to streamline the work.


  • January Miller (Speaker) Chicagoland CareerPathways, Product Owner
  • Becca Senatore (Speaker) Origami Works Foundation, Directory Manager

Supporting Minority Serving Institutions in Illinois Roundtable Discussion

Calling all Minority Serving Institutions! Join us to engage in a discussion how to best support Illinois’ Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Predominantly Black Serving Institutions (PBIs) through public education, networking, and resource sharing, as well as strategize future policy and best practices solutions.


  • Corinne Kodama (Speaker) Women Employed, Policy Analyst
  • Kelly Becker (Speaker) Oakton Community College, AVP of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning
  • Kate Connor (Speaker) Truman College, Vice President, Academic and Student Affairs
  • Erin Steva (Speaker) Chicago State University, Vice President of External Affairs
  • Veronica Arreola (Speaker) University of Illinois at Chicago, DIrector, Hispanic Serving Institution Initatives

Student Leaders, Not Followers

This session will explore an asset-based and community organizing approach to student leadership development and its relationship to college access. We know that leadership is something that colleges are looking for in prospective students, but are we just indoctrinating them to be a part of the machine or facilitating self-discovery so that they can engage with issues in their community that they are passionate about and around which they want to create change?


  • Aaron Arnold (Speaker) Waukegan to College, Executive Director
  • Laura Rios (Speaker) Waukegan to College, Program Director

Guided Pathways: Make Student Success Inevitable

Guided pathways redesign process can be a heavy lift for institutions, taking several years to implement new practices at scale. However, with a proper organizing structure in place and taking the appropriate time to lay the groundwork, institutions can make significant progress within a reasonable timeline. In this workshop, we will share our journey to bringing guided pathways to Triton College. Participants will learn concrete strategies, ideas, and tips to help in their journey.


  • Shelley Tiwari (Speaker) Triton College, Director, Faculty Development & Student Success
  • Hilary Meyer (Speaker) Triton College, Dean, Academic Success
  • Denise Jones (Speaker) Triton College, Dean, Retention and Student Engagement
  • Nelly Marcial (Speaker) Triton College, Director, Transfer Center

How Trauma Impacts the Educational Attainment of Foster Youth

In this session we will examine the intersecting identities of youth in foster care, given the disproportionality of black and brown families in the child welfare system, and how their trauma experiences result in the development of both risk factors and protective factors. With a specific eye toward post-secondary attainment, we discuss asset based programming that can bolster students' strengths and mitigate risk.


  • Kate Danielson (Speaker) Foster Progress, Executive Director
  • Jasamine Young Paulhill (Speaker) Foster Progress, Program Manager
  • Rachel Pruess (Speaker) Foster Progress, Program Manager

We Don't Talk About Professional Judgment (PJ): Working with Your Financial Aid Office Regarding Financial Aid Appeals

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Financial Aid Offices understand that some students and families may have experienced changes to their financial circumstances. In some cases, there may be further assistance that Financial Aid can provide. Come to this session to learn about these resources and how best to prepare for these types of requests at the undergraduate and graduate levels.


  • Michelle Ortiz Wortel (Speaker) University of Chicago Law School, Director of Financial Aid
  • Tim Marten (Speaker) St. John's College of Nursing, Financial Aid Officer

Prioritizing Equity in Workforce Development

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are pillars of a successful workforce development system. Join this session to learn about what professional development has taken place and is being planned to support the system in implementing a human centered design approach to customer service.


  • Aimee Julian (Speaker) Illinois Center for Specialized Professional Support, ISU, Director
  • Andy Losasso (Speaker) Office of Employment & Training, DCEO, Technical Assistance Manager
  • Lisa Jones (Speaker) Office of Employment & Training, DCEO, Manager

Introducing the NEW and IMPROVED Career Foundations Curriculum!

Career Foundations is a free career exploration and goal-setting course for those trying to navigate their career pathway. It can be presented in virtual, hybrid, or in-person settings, and is customizable based on instructor needs. We will inform audiences of the newly digitized version of Career Foundations and demonstrate how user-friendly it is in a virtual, hybrid, or in-person format.


  • Tara D. Driver(Speaker) Women Employed, Senior Career Pathways Manager
  • Ann Darnton(Speaker) Women Employed, Consultant

Let YJC Work for You and Your Career - The Evolving Path

Students receive much information, but not always what they need. This session covers key elements for students carve out a path to a meaningful, living-wage career. The why: The breadth of options available The how: Building skills and expertise through training, connections and resources The what: Exploring- finding out what you like, as well as what you don’t like The who: Building a network The result: Empowered to advance on your path and navigate challenges


  • Lucretzia Jamison (Speaker) Youth Job Center, Executive Director
  • Jude Laude (Moderator) Youth Job Center, Inc., Director of Programs
  • NuDonna Williams (Speaker) Youth Job Center, Asst. Director
  • Evan Airey (Speaker) Youth Job Center, Employer Relations Coordinator
  • Brittiny Martin (Speaker) Youth Job Center, Manager of Training and Career Pathway
  • Taishiya Nix (Speaker) Youth Job Center, Manager- Training and Partner Relations

Strengthening the Workforce through a Culture of Support

The education field has experienced radical changes that have led to burnout and fatigue among workers. To strengthen the workforce, we can create for students a career pipeline and demonstrate future employment opportunities in the field by systematizing a culture of support in the educational workplace. At this session, attendees will discuss the supports they need, evaluate strategies and resources for establishing those opportunities, and create applicable systems to ensure such a culture.


  • Lesley Fisher Chapman (Speaker) ACT Now, Program Coordinator
  • Emma Vibber (Speaker) ACT Now, Quality and Professional Development Manager
  • Emma Spencer (Speaker) ACT Now, Youth Development Associate
  • Anna Chen (Speaker) ACT Now, Intern
  • Jasmin Flores (Speaker) Act Now Illinois, Policy and Communications Intern

Beyond the Pandemic: Learning Renewal and More Initiatives Supporting Our Students

Recognizing the significant impact COVID-19 pandemic has had on students and educators, plan to attend this session to hear how state agencies, practitioners, and stakeholders are working to address near-term challenges and ways to build to a better future for students, families, educators, and communities. This session will highlight learning renewal efforts and other student-centric initiatives taking place across the state and the resources available to help engage and support students.


  • Mackenzie Eisen (Moderator) Office of Governor JP Pritzker, Director of Learning Renewal
  • Deana Schenk (Panelist) Illinois Community College Board, Senior Director for Learning Renewal
  • Jacqueline Moreno (Panelist) Illinois Student Assistance Commission, Managing Director for College Access and Outreach
  • Stephanie Bernoteit (Panelist) Illinois Board of Higher Education, Executive Deputy Director
  • Nehemiah Ankoor (Panelist) ISBE, Learning Renewal Lead

Please share the link to this page with colleagues in your organization and other partners.

2022 College Changes Everything Conference Planning Committee

  • Illinois Student Assistance Commission
  • Illinois Board of Higher Education
  • Illinois Community College Board
  • Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity
  • Illinois State Board of Education
  • Illinois College Access Network
  • Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities
  • Advance Illinois
  • Education Systems Center at Northern Illinois University
  • Generations Serving Generations
  • ACT Now
  • Women Employed

The College Changes Everything® Conference is sponsored
by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission.

Helping Illinois reach its Goal 2025: to increase the proportion of adults in Illinois
with high-quality college degrees and
postsecondary credentials to 60% by the year 2025