Ashlee Duimstra is in her fourth year as a school counselor at East High School in Des Moines. Before that, she was a school counselor in Knoxville, Iowa, for three years. She says being a member of Iowa ACAC helps keep her in the know on what's happening in college admissions, so she can share those resources with her students...and some of those resources came from her making time to take one step.

Ashlee received the 2017 Imagine Grant from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC). She took a little time for herself, in between all that time that a school counselor takes for students, and completed the application. Taking that brief time to complete the Imagine Grant form landed her in Boston. 

"I heard great things from colleagues that had attended previous years. I wanted to see what it was all about and have the opportunity to network with colleges outside the Iowa bubble. It was also nice to spend time with our Iowa colleges and get to know the admissions counselors, so we can put a face to a name The more we know about colleges and their offerings/scholarships/specialties, the better we can open students' eyes to all of the possibilities."
 
There seems to be a recurring theme when you talk to Imagine Grant recipients - they are REALLY not prepared for the grand scope of it all - the learning, the networking, and, of course, the fun!

"I wasn't prepared for it to be so much fun -- from the keynote speaker to the evening events--I was tired!  I thought the keynote speaker, Dr. Shaun Harper, was excellent. He really forced me to think about my impact on students and not to under-match when working with students of color. I think his speech and research was a clear demonstration of how institutional racism has impacted our students lives and reinforces the need to be apart of making changes. I also really enjoyed learning more about free college search and financial aid/scholarship resources to share with students. We need more free resources to help our students find that perfect college fit!"

IMAGINE all you could learn and experience at the NACAC National Conference in Salt Lake City or even closer to home at our MIDWest Conference in Dubuque in May. The Imagine Grant is open to secondary and postsecondary professionals and are intended to provide assistance to individuals who might otherwise be unable to participate in professional development opportunities or to implement a new innovative program. Projects and programs funded by an Imagine Grant should serve as a role model to the profession. The NACAC Affiliates Presidents Council appoints an Imagine Grant Committee to oversee the program. 

School counseling offices may have an institutional membership to Iowa ACAC for a mere $25. Join us and start making those lifetime, career-long connections.