2017 Conference Plenary Speakers

Monday, September 11, 2017

9:30 am - 10:30 am

Opening Plenary Session 

Welcome to San Diego! Join us to kick off the 2017 NCAN conference and hear from NCAN's Executive Director Kim Cook, NCAN's Board Chair Marlene Ibsen of the Travelers Foundation, and Michele Siqueiros from the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Kim Cook, Executive Director
Kim Cook, NCAN's executive director since 2008, has worked in the higher education and college access field for her entire professional career, including experience in undergraduate admissions and financial aid, administration of a last-dollar scholarship program, and a succession of responsibilities at NCAN including Director of Government Relations, Assistant Director and Executive Vice President. Ms. Cook also served as the Interim Executive Director of the Ohio College Access Network.

She serves on the College Board's College Planning Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Training for Counselors and Mentors advisory panel, the National Education Working Group on Foster Care and Education and the editorial board of the Journal of College Access. She is often consulted to speak on federal policy issues and building college access networks and community-based college access programs. In 2016, she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change for College Opportunity.

Prior to joining NCAN in 1999, she was a Senior Program Associate at Plan for Social Excellence, Inc., a foundation supporting innovative projects in education, and served as its Grants Manager and Scholars Program Manager. Previously, she was as a college admission counselor at Pace University in New York. She holds a Masters in Public Administration from Pace University and a Bachelors degree in Communications, Law, Economics and Government from The American University (Washington, DC). She has completed continuing professional development through courses in Georgetown University’s Certificate in Non-Profit Management and Harvard University’s Strategic Perspectives in Nonprofit Management institute.


Michele Siqueiros, President for The Campaign for College Opportunity
Michele Siqueiros was the first in her family to graduate from college thanks to federal, state, and college financial aid.  She is passionate about the power of college to change lives, and the ability of policy making to expand or constrain college opportunity for others.

As the President for The Campaign for College Opportunity, Michele works to expand access and success in college for California students by raising public attention on the critical challenges facing higher education, mobilizing a broad coalition of supporters, and influencing policymakers. The Campaign’s mission to increase college going and completion rates is driven by a strong belief that California’s future economic success depends on our ability to produce the best educated workforce in the nation and that our diverse population of young adults deserve the same opportunity provided to previous generations – regardless of race or socio-economic status.

Under her leadership in 2010, the Campaign led the effort for historic transfer reform that makes it easier for students to transfer from any California Community College to the California State University system.  The Campaign has assembled a statewide network of over 12,000 coalition supporters, involved over 50,000 young people and awarded over $670,000 in scholarship dollars; released prominent reports on higher education’s impact to the California economy, college access and success rates, and workforce needs; and sponsored and passed legislation to increase access to Pell Grants, promote college readiness, prioritize community college student success efforts and reform remedial education.  

Michele has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies with Honors in Chicano/a Studies from Pitzer College and a Master of Arts in Urban Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


Monday, September 11, 2017

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm

Luncheon Plenary Session

Join us for this! 

Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, Army Combat Veteran, Founder and best selling author
Wes Moore is a best-selling author, decorated Army combat veteran, youth advocate and CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the nation's largest foundations with a sole focus on alleviating poverty. He is also founder of BridgeEDU, an organization that provides support to students as they to navigate to higher education. He is the author of two instant New York Times bestselling books, The Other Wes Moore and The Work. The Other Wes Moore is currently being made into a major motion picture from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey.  It tells the story of how educational opportunities, community support and other factors helped Wes transcend the fate of a man with the same name who lived just blocks away and took a tragically different path to prison.   

Wes is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and The Johns Hopkins University. He was selected as a Rhodes Scholar, earning a MLitt in International Relations and Affairs at Oxford University. A combat-decorated Army Captain, Wes Moore served for ten years, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan as a paratrooper in the elite 82nd Airborne division. He later served as a White House Fellow and special assistant to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.   

Wes has also made his mark as a television producer and host, championing the challenges faced by veterans and underserved youth in critically-acclaimed programs and miniseries. These include PBS’s Coming Back with Wes Moore, about returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and All the Difference, chronicling two African-American teens from Chicago’s South Side pursuing their dream of graduating from college. He also hosted Beyond Belief on the Oprah Winfrey Network and American Graduate Day on PBS. Wes is the author of four books and a contributor to media ranging from The Huffington Post to NBC News.