MCAC consists of recent University of Michigan graduates who sign on to serve one of our 14 partner high schools. Each brings with them an individualized set of professional skills shaped by their different academic and personal interests during their undergraduate years. Given this wealth of knowledge, the team collaborates across and between disciplines, experiences, and identities as they work every year to inform, engage, and inspire a new cohort of seniors to create an attainable and sustainable path to, through, and beyond college. In this way, our advisers work to consistently strengthen the existing college-going culture in their school through developing rapport with students and families, deepening relationships with community partners, and innovating on the best practices of previous advisers during their tenure in the program.
Abbie Barondess is a second year adviser at Ottawa Hills High School. She loves working with her students to develop their post-secondary plan, and in turn, her students love teaching her the trendiest TikTok dances. Abbie received her B.S. in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2019, and is now a neuroscientist-turned-college access advocate. Abbie is a fierce champion for her students, and works to remove barriers they face both in the admission and financial aid process. One of her proudest accomplishments is that her seniors last year received double the amount of financial aid than seniors in previous years. In her free time, she enjoys long walks with her dog, re-reading Harry Potter, and consuming copious amounts of coffee.
Angelo Vozza serves as the college adviser at Holland High School, acting as a resource for nearly 250 high school seniors as they explore their post-secondary options, write applications, and apply for financial aid and scholarships. Angelo makes college more accessible to first-generation, lower income, and underrepresented students using the community-building techniques he developed as a Resident Advisor for the Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars (MRADS).
Outside of his position, Angelo mentors the school’s FIRST Robotics team, inspiring his students to consider careers in the STEM and business fields. Angelo holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Computer Science from the University of Michigan.
Alazia Mitchell is a recent University of Michigan alumna with a degree in Psychology and a new college adviser at Ypsilanti Community High School. Her experience working with organizations such as Putting Youth First Committee and America Reads, which provide tutoring and counseling to underserved youths on topics involving academics, professionalism, and social and emotional wellbeing has led her to MCAC, where she will be aiding students during their post-secondary planning process. As an adviser, she hopes to help others uncover their own strengths, interests, and passions while supporting them on their journey of self-discovery and educational and professional enlightenment.
Charlotte Pierce is a first year adviser serving at Battle Creek Central High School. A graduate of the University of Michigan, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy, focusing on youth and education policy and a minor in Gender, Race and Nation. While at Michigan, she worked with the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), a program that pairs first and second year undergraduates with research projects. In this role, she discovered her passion for mentorship and helping students carve out their educational path. Her ultimate goal is to create policy change that increases accessibility to higher education, especially for low-income, first-generation, and underrepresented students. In her free time, she enjoys kickboxing, reading, and taking trips to northern Michigan.
Christopher Camacho currently serves as a college adviser through the MCAC at César Chávez Academy in Detroit, Michigan. As a 2nd year adviser he has helped support students and families to navigate the college application process through one-on-one student counseling and parent informational sessions. Chris aims to strengthen relationships with both students and parents through hosting and attending events geared toward families. Through his first year experience he learned how confused and fearful parents were when it came to understanding the college application process. He strives to become a bridge for parents by translating all information and questions to give them the tools to support their children. His passion for service learning and community engagement has led him to become a part of his school by creating schools clubs and volunteering as assistant coach for sports. He continues to promote higher education for all students and grade levels to ensure future generations are given the same opportunities.
Daniel Vargas-Leon is a first-generation college graduate who serves as a college adviser for the Michigan College Advising Corps (MCAC) at Western International High School in Detroit, MI. Daniel started working in college access and mentorship as a student leader through U of M’s Center for Educational Outreach Office, working with programs like Future U, Camp Kinomaage, College 101, and Ready, Set, Go Blue. He is deeply invested and continues assisting getting first-generation and underrepresented Michigan high school students to and through college. He utilizes his background in outreach to engage and support students and parents navigating the college admissions process. By providing FAFSA workshops, college application walkthroughs, classroom presentations, and parent Cafecitos Daniel strives to close the college access information gap that affects our communities. Daniel holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Michigan.
Greg Lockett is a graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Art in English. Growing up a Detroit native, Greg became aware of the need for equity in education, which led him to join the Michigan College Advising Corps. As a second year adviser at Saginaw High School, he plans to once again help 100% of his students take their next steps with confidence.
James Lee is a second-generation Korean-American from Jackson Heights, Queens. As a recent graduate from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and a minor in Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, he strives to incorporate what he has learned about justice and social change into his passion for collective community care. He currently serves as a college adviser at Flint Southwestern Classical Academy to ensure that students receive as much guidance with the FAFSA, their applications, and the college-going process as they need to gain access to a post-secondary education. Aside from his advising role, James enjoys playing the keys and tuning into events from Haymarket Books.
Kim Truong is heading into her second year serving as a college adviser for Lansing Eastern High School. As a first-generation college student and second-generation Vietnamese-American immigrant who was very overwhelmed by the pathway to college, Kim loves to work with her senior high school students as they embark on the confusing path towards college. She is privileged to have worked closely with her wonderful graduated 2020 seniors as they prepared for college – concluding the year with application submissions to 329+ colleges, 226+ scholarships, and 84% of the seniors filling out their FAFSA. While working with the 2021 seniors, Kim will also be applying to Master’s programs in Higher Education to expand her capacity for continuing her work with high-need students before, during, and after the uncertainty of college.
Silisha Sooknanan is a college adviser for Jackson High School with the Michigan College Advising Corps. She was a College Access and Success Ambassador at the Center for Educational Outreach, which built her passion for mentorship. As a first-generation college student and immigrant, she finds fulfillment in sharing her story and looks forward to guiding seniors to tell their own. Through helping students navigate post-secondary goals, she hopes to garner the skills necessary to advocate for others in her career as a physician. Silisha graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Women’s Studies.
Victoria Thach is currently serving her second year at J.W. Sexton High School as the college
adviser. As an alumna of J.W. Sexton and inspired by her own college adviser, she is excited to
give back to her community by serving-low income, first-generation, and underrepresented
students through advising. As a Vietnamese American and proud first-generation student, the issue of equity within education was something that stayed with her as she made her way through the public education system. Victoria holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and two minors: Social Work and Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies.
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