Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award honors individuals and programs that exemplify excellence and dedication to serving the needs of students in the transition from high school to college. This award encourages NACAC affiliates to look within their associations, identify and nurture those new members and programs that are deserving of this honor and also encourage the honorees to continue their professional development through membership in NACAC.

2024 NACAC Rising Star

Amani Manning
The Common Application (VA)

Amani joined the Common App team at an interesting time. We had only recently welcomed Michelle Obama's Reach Higher campaign into the organization, and we were just beginning to build programming to engage directly with students. Amani's energy and positivity were instrumental in getting these efforts off the ground. Within our membership association of colleges, the interests of students can sometimes get overshadowed. Amani does not let that happen. He pushes all of us to keep students at the center of our decision making, and he constantly asks how we can serve students better. For those reasons, we was the perfect fit when we needed someone to guide students through a new video series. His approachability--even on screen--infuses what can be an overwhelming process with comfort and ease. When PCACAC changed its membership model, making it easier for multiple people from a single organization to join, I thought of Amani immediately. He jumped at the chance to grow in the profession beyond his work at Common App. He attended our membership meeting at NACAC and listened--I mean *really listened*--to all the committee reports, trying to identify which would be the best fit. Selfishly, I was delighted when he chose Government Relations. He dove right in, taking a leading role in designing our conference session and also signing up for the National Advocacy Day. But he didn't stop there. He also volunteered to assist with conference session review--and when I encouraged him to consider the Ann Powell Mentor Program...well, I found out he had already applied. Amani is precisely the kind of young professional PCACAC and NACAC should cultivate. I cannot think of a better fit for the Rising Star Award.

2023 NACAC Rising Star

Chris Gothard
James Madison University (VA)

It is with great honor that we, the Potomac and Chesapeake affiliate, nominate Chris Gothard as our Rising Star. Chris is currently an Assistant Director of Admissions at his alma mater, James Madison University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science; with an Honors Interdisciplinary Studies Minor. A few words that describe Chris are diligent, hardworking, optimistic, and kind. As the co-chair of our College Fair/College Night committee, Chris not only does a tremendous job as a leader in this committee, but he is also a dedicated team member. When the opportunity arose to nominate someone for this prestigious award, we all knew that Chris Gothard was the guy. We are privileged to have him as a member of our affiliate, and we look forward to seeing him grow in the profession.

2022 Rising Star

PCACAC Pride Month Series

PRIDE Month Series is a free, four-session virtual event which provides LGBTQ+ related education, insight, and social opportunities to all interested professionals who support and work with high school and college students. The series was first held in June 2021 and topics presented focused on how to better support LGBTQ+ students and to assist fellow colleagues with establishing and maintaining inclusive environments and practices. The subjects discussed include LGBTQ+ student panels, understanding identities and their spectrums, the transitioning process, inclusive technology practices within CRMs and other systems, and much more. We market this series to all ACAC’s and encourage them to attend, connect, and gain additional perspective on what LGBTQ+ students, colleagues, and friends need from us as trusted allies.

PCACAC'S PRIDE month series included this PRIDE playlist, featuring LGBTQIA+ anthems from the last 50 years.

2021 Rising Star

Jonathan Gowin

Carnegie Mellon University (PA)

Jonathan Gowin’s rural, first-generation background fuels his passion for student success and led to his active engagement in NACAC’s Rural & Small-Town Special Interest Group. He recently was named an assistant director of admission at Carnegie Mellon University (PA), where he’s focused on collaboration with high school counselors and colleagues across the profession.

2020 Rising Star

This year's awards were presented at our virtual 55th Annual Conference. The selected recipients will be nominated for NACAC's Rising Star Award. Congratulations!

2019 Rising Star

Fatmata Koroma
University of Pittsburgh (Regional DC, MD & VA)

Fatmata Koroma is passionate about the potential of higher education to change lives and has become an important voice within the Potomac and Chesapeake Association for College Admission Counseling (PCACAC). Koroma is constantly striving - often behind the scenes - to contribute to her school, her affiliate, and the profession. Most recently, she helped to launch the Equity Collaborative - an interactive 2019 pre-conference workshop focused on the discussion of diversity, equity, and inclusive practices in college admission and counseling.

2016 Rising Star Award Program Recipient

Admission Practices Studies 

2015 Rising Star

Rosemary Martin
Purdue University (IN)

2015 Rising Star Award Program Recipient

Public School Counselors Training

2012 Rising Star Award Program Recipient

Joining Hands for College

2006 Rising Star

Amy Jarich
University of Virginia (VA)

2002 Rising Star Award Program Recipient

College Counseling 101