Keynote Presenter

Colby Cesaro: Colby Spencer Cesaro serves as the Vice President at the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities association (MICU). In her role, she focuses her time analyzing data on the contributions of higher education institutions, their students, and graduates to the economy and enhancing awareness of the importance of higher education. Prior to coming to MICU, Colby worked as the Senior Director for Research & Strategy at the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) and with the Anderson Economic Group, a boutique economic consulting firm with offices in East Lansing, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. Ms. Cesaro is also co-chair of the Arts Alliance board, working collaboratively with the organization on grant-writing, membership development, and communications. In her spare time, Ms. Cesaro produces shows and performs with Ann Arbor Musical Theatre Works, a regional musical theatre company with a mission focused on raising awareness and funds for social and medical issues facing the community. She also performs with local choirs and dance companies when possible. Ms. Cesaro’s background, prior to her professional career in economics, was in theatre, dance, and vocal performance. Ms. Cesaro holds a Bachelor of Science in elementary and special education from New York University and Master of Public Administration in urban/social policy and econometric/quantitative analysis from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York City. Ms. Cesaro held a fellowship at Columbia University as a teaching assistant for quantitative analysis and operations management graduate courses. She has also taught in the District of Columbia Public Schools.

Presenters and Moderators

Lakisha Beck: Lakisha Beck is the Interim Associate Registrar, May 2022, in the Student Records Office (SRO) at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and is also an alumni of GRCC. From student employee to a full time staff member, she has continued to progress in the higher education sector. Lakisha was hired as a fulltime employee in 2011 as the Graduation Specialist in the SRO and in 2018 she became the Assistant Registrar-Graduation in the SRO. She received her Bachelor Degree from Ferris State University, December 2016 and her Master of Education from Grand Valley State University in April, 2019. 

Emily Clement: Emily Clement has been at Delta since 2006 and is currently the Associate Director of Strategic Partnerships and the Downtown Bay City Center. In this role she works with postsecondary institutions to establish transfer agreements and manages the staff and operations at Delta’s Bay City Center/Planetarium. She has served on numerous committees, including two years as Chair for the Executive Committee for the Administrative or Professional Staff (ECAPS). She was honored to serve three years as Delta’s Grade Ombudsman, as a Senator and as a member of the Student/Senate Liaison committee.

Emily is Delta’s Transfer Liaison for MiTransfer Pathways and other initiatives focused on increasing associate and bachelor’s degree completion among transfer students in the state of Michigan. She also served as campus lead for the Degrees When Due (DWD) adult reengagement project and the Right Math Right Time (RMRT) initiative.

Emily has been involved in MACRAO for over 15 years and is currently a member of the College Articulation Committee. She previously served as this committee’s Chair, Co-chair and Secretary. Her involvement with MACRAO includes numerous conference presentations and participation with the Nominations Committee, the Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee and the Legislative Committee.  

Karl Covert, Ph.D: Karl Covert is the Dean/Superintendent of Washtenaw Technical Middle College. He also teaches at the University of Michigan in the Graduate School of Educational Leadership and Policy. Karl holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge in England. He has spoken and written on educational reform, school finance and law.

Jon Davidson: Jon Davidson is the Associate Registrar of Electronic Processes, Systems & Technology at Oakland University. Prior to joining OU in 2018, Jon spent 13 years at the University of Michigan-Flint in Graduate, and Undergraduate Admissions; most recently as Director of Undergraduate Admissions. He has a passion for process design, technical solutions, and transfer articulation

Martin Finney: Martin is the Assistant Director of Community College Partnerships at Northwood University. He has worked in higher education for the past 20 years. He spent the first 18 years with Delta College, and the last 2 years he has been with Northwood University. Martin has held positions in Advising & Counseling, Career Services, Employment Services, Student Success, and is currently in Admissions. He previously worked in the business sector and with persons who struggled with mental health issues and physical disabilities.

Ashley Flood: Ashley is the Student Success Coach at Northwood University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Saginaw Valley State University in 2018. Following graduation, Ashley worked as an elementary math and reading interventionist and then a fourth-grade teacher. While she loved working with younger students, she made the decision to pursue her passion of working at a higher education institution where she could help make a difference in the lives of collegiate students and found a perfect fit as a Student Success Coach. Ashley is currently enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching – Literacy Specialist program at Saginaw Valley State University and will complete it in May 2023.

Kelley Holcomb: Kelley Holcomb has been the Transfer and Articulation Coordinator at Washtenaw Community College since December 2019. Prior to working at WCC, Kelley worked in admissions at Eastern Michigan University and Adrian College. Kelley earned her BBA and MA from Eastern Michigan University.

Sarah Hubbell: Sarah Hubbell is the Director of Admissions, Registration and Records at Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Sarah has been working in higher education for over 15 years and earned her M.A. in Educational Leadership from Western Michigan University.

Leslie Jones: Leslie Jones is the Registrar and Director of Institutional Research at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Leslie has been working in higher education for over two decades. Prior to joining Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Leslie served as the Registrar for University of Holy Cross in New Orleans, LA, Regional Registrar for Argosy University in Phoenix, Arizona and began her role as Registrar while being the Assistant Director for Student Affairs and College Registrar for Nova Southeastern University, College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Fort Lauderdale, Fl.

Leslie earned her M.S. from Grand Canyon University and is currently a doctoral candidate at Concordia University, Chicago.

Shannon Kent: Shannon has worked as a Counselor and Student Services Coordinator with the Early College of Macomb for 10 years where she supports high school students on their three-year journey to an associates degrees. A former English teacher with Utica Community Schools, she enjoys a hybrid role as a teacher and a counselor. She teaches college knowledge, career exploration and readiness, and SEL among other important skills, provides a bridge between high school and college, and regularly interacts with counselors, advisors, and representatives at the high school, community college, and 4-year levels. She has a Bachelors from Michigan State University in International Relations and Masters of Arts degrees in Teaching and in Counseling from Wayne State and Oakland University respectively. A National Certified Counselor, Shannon loves working with young people and helping them to reach their potential.

Chuck Kuhn: Chuck Kuhn is the Manager of Admissions and Marketing for Compass College of Cinematic Arts. He has been with Compass College since August of 2017, wearing many hats for the school. He currently manages Admissions, Recruiting and Marketing. He is the college's Registrar and has been since he started.

Chuck was granted his Bachelor of Science degree from DePaul University in Chicago, IL and his Master of Science degree from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Prior to his time in West Michigan at Compass College, Chuck was in Charlotte, NC to work for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Athletic Department. He and his wife, who hails from West Michigan, have three children. He enjoys working out, cooking, and spending time with his family and friends.

Brad Maki: Brad Maki is Senior Associate Registrar at the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the Ann Arbor campus in 2018, Brad spent 16 years at the University of Michigan-Flint in Graduate Programs, most recently as Director of Graduate Admissions. Brad enjoys process improvement, student services, and helping staff develop and advance in their careers.

Bob Murphy: Bob Murphy serves as the Chief Policy Officer of the Michigan Association of State Universities, having joined the Association in July 2015 originally as its Director of University Relations and Policy. In the CPO role, he: manages a broad portfolio of initiatives; researches and promotes effective policy for the state’s public universities; advises the CEO; and is the convener of or liaison to 16 of the 19 MASU committees. He partners with state officials, lawmakers, and other organizations on higher education public policy, especially data, finance, and legal issues, and also provides strategic analysis and communications to the member universities and other stakeholders. He also oversees the review process for all new academic programs proposed at the state universities.

Bob was previously with the State Budget Office of Michigan from 2008 – 2015, serving most of that time as the senior analyst for postsecondary education. He has earned a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from Michigan State University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program at Michigan State University, and lives in Lansing with his wife, Nicole.

Erica Orians: Erica Orians is the Executive Director of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association where she leads efforts to improve equitable student outcomes emphasizing linkages between policy, practice, and research. 

Kristin Schroeder: Kristin has worked at Macomb Community College for over 13 years, starting out in Records & Registration before transitioning to her current role as Manager of Articulation and Transfer Services. She works closely with 4-yr partners in bridging and maintaining articulated programs to provide students a streamlined pathway and seamless transition from associate degree completion to bachelor degree completion. She currently serves on Macomb’s Student Success Council (2019), Macomb’s Strategic Planning work teams (2019), and MACRAO’s College Articulation Committee (Feb. 2021).

Misty Sparrow (Pronouns: she/her): Misty Sparrow is the Associate Director for Admissions and Events at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and she has worked in college admissions for the past seven years. As an admissions advisor, Misty worked with many local early college/middle college students to guide them through the EMU application process. Misty primarily works with on-campus visits and events; however, helping students find their college home is always her favorite part of the job! I'm happy to work with you and answer any questions you may have!

Jill Sweet: Jill Sweet has worked at West Shore Community College for over 20 years, working as Registrar for the past 11 years. She has participated in many MACRAO events during that time, and has been a member of the Registrar's Practices committee since 2020-2021

Amber Thomas (Pronouns: she/her): Amber Thomas is currently the Associate Director of Transfer and Academic Partnerships at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) where she works to visualize and forge transfer pathways through policy and partnership development along curriculum assessment and design. Recent undertakings include the co-design of a new major that will facilitate smooth transfer for students completing the MiTransfer Pathway in Studio Arts as well as any studio based associate program.

A first gen student who began her undergraduate journey at Oakland Community College, transferring to Wayne State, and completing her BFA at the College for Creative Studies- Amber has a vested interest in transfer equity and success and is passionate about helping future students navigate this journey successfully. Excited to learn about, share, and discuss all things ‘transfer’, Amber is now in her 3rd year on the College Articulation Committee where she serves as Chair.

Tammy Walsh: Tammy has a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Michigan-Flint with a focus in Marketing. Tammy has been working in higher education for the past 22 years; with the last 11 years as a Program Center Manager/Academic Advisor for Northwood University.