skip to Main Content
Candidates For Delegate Director – Postsecondary 2015-2016

Candidates for Delegate Director – Postsecondary 2015-2016

Nate BargarNate Bargar Mike FordMike Ford Megan O'RourkeMegan O’Rourke
 Eric RuizEric Ruiz Shawn WochnerShawn Wochner




Nate BargarNate Bargar
Chicago Regional Enrollment Coordinator
University of Cincinnati

B.S. in Mass Communication, Illinois State University (2001)

Previous Employment:
Illinois State University, Assistant Director (2004–2014)

IACAC Member:  11 years

IACAC Activities:
Ad-Hoc Committee for Leadership Manual (2014–present);
Executive Board, Council Team Director—Postsecondary (2011–2013);
Membership Committee Co-Chair (June 2011–May 2012);
Middle Management Institute, Planning Committee (2013–2014);
Mentorship Committee, Co-Chair (2009–2011);
Mentorship Committee, Member (2007–2009, 2011–2012);
Annual Conference Committee, First-timers Luncheon (2008–2011);
Nominations Committee (2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013);
Ad-Hoc Committee on Board Structure, Committee Member (2010–2012);
Summer Institute, Co-Chair (2008–2009);
Summer Institute, Presenter (2006–2009, 2011, 2012);
Summer Institute, Planning Committee (2007–2008, 2011);
Middle Management Institute, Presenter (2013, 2014);
Annual Conference, Attendee (2005–2015)

NACAC Activities:
Member 8 years;
Conference Attendee (2008–2012, 2014);
Conference presenter (2014)

Other Professional Activities:
Chicago Area Regional Representatives (2008–2015);
Academy for College Admission Counseling (2005–2007)

Candidate Statement:

I am humbled to be nominated as a candidate for NACAC Delegate Director. If elected it would be truly an honor and a privilege to represent the outstanding members of Illinois ACAC at a national level.

IACAC is a second family to me. In fact, if it were not for a few select members of this organization I may not have the family that I currently have. With that said I owe so much, both personally and professionally, to this organization.

When I attended my first IACAC Annual Conference in 2005, little did I know that this group of extremely passionate individuals would be the people that have helped me cultivate my love for our profession. IACAC’s constant pursuit to help our students in Illinois pursue their dreams is contagious and this bug bit me quickly. After that first conference I heeded the call to volunteer for one of the myriad opportunities in the organization and I guess you could say the rest is history.

After a few years of involvement on various committees I noticed a trend, especially amongst my post-secondary colleagues. This trend was how quickly some of the highly talented post- secondary members in comparison to my colleagues on the high school side. This started to become clearer and clearer somewhere around the four or five year mark as I was increasingly looked to as a “veteran” among my post-secondary peers and colleagues.

Those experiences, along with the encouragement guidance of several members of the executive board, helped me pursue new opportunities as a way to try and keep some of our highest quality talent on the post-secondary side in the profession. My involvement began as a member of the First-Timers Luncheon committee, which led to being a member and co-chair of both the Mentorship and Summer Institute Committees. Through Mentorship came the inspiration for the Middle Management Institute.

From the organizations standpoint the hope is by continuing to inspire, motivate, and develop our members through collegiality, we will be more effective in our ultimate goal of continuing to serve Illinois students and families in their pursuit of post-secondary opportunities.

Also, I provide a unique perspective of some of the challenges that students in our great state may face. I have lived my entire life in Illinois and had the pleasure to reside in several different locales including born and raised in rural western Illinois, both college and professional years in central Illinois, a brief stint in Rockford, five years in Chicago proper, with the last not quite two years in northwest suburban Palatine.

As an admission professional, I have had the privilege of recruiting all corners of the Land of Lincoln as well. While my primary recruitment territory has been the western, northwestern, and north shore/north suburban areas, I have also represented territories in western, southern, and southeast Illinois as well. In fact, as of November 6, 2014, I have now travelled every mile of Illinois interstate. Because of those of these experiences I had the opportunity to both literally and figuratively see a lot, while in some instances seeing very little.

We often say in our profession “it takes a village” when educating the students that we work with. The more knowledgeable and passionate the leaders of that village the better prepared the students of our village will be through the rest of their journey. I would be honored to have the opportunity to represent this village at the national level as a NACAC post-secondary delegate for IACAC.



Mike Ford 240x300Mike Ford
Admissions Counselor
Michigan State University

M.A. in Sports Administration, Wayne State University (2007);
B.S. in Human Resources, Michigan State University (2003)

Previous Employment:
Web Ascender, Director of Sales (2008–2011);
Palace Sports & Entertainment, Account Executive (2004–2008)

IACAC Member:  3 years

IACAC Activities:
Annual Conference On-Site Committee, Tri-Chair (2015);
Annual Conference Raffle Committee, member and Tri-Chair (2013–2015)

NACAC Activities:
Member 3 years;
National College Fair Committee, Co-Chair (2012–2015)

Other Professional Activities:
Chicago Area Regional Representatives (2012-2015)

Candidate Statement:

Although my time working in admissions has been short-lived, I have been around Higher Ed for a few decades.

My mother, the greatest influence in my life, worked for over 30 years as a secretary at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. She was in the Clinical Laboratory Science department and known for her willingness to go out of her way to help every student possible. I spent many summers working as the CLS “office aide,” and it did not take long to realize how important she was to the students and faculty in her department.

It was during one of those summers typing hematology or immunology exams, moving boxes of medical supplies used in the labs, or being grossed out at the thought of the cadavers stored on the floor above us, that I must have found my calling.

Fast forward 20 years later and I’m married to a scientist, I work for a university and I’m trying to carry on my mother’s legacy by assisting as many students as I possibly can.

Being the only representative for my university can limit my reach at times. Representing a university outside of the state of Illinois, the cost barrier of non-resident tuition further limits my reach and that is extremely challenging for me personally and professionally.

It’s through IACAC that I’ve been able to hopefully make a difference on a larger scale. My work with the National College Fair committee has given me the chance to help provide college access to thousands of students, collaborate with some of the best in our profession, and to recruit some of the finest students in the nation. We strive to empower and educate students during their college search process and constantly look for ways to expand our reach.

While that committee is a microcosm of IACAC, it is encouraging to see the good that can be done with a cohesive group that understands what we want to accomplish and the way we want to accomplish it.

The common theme on every committee that I have been fortunate enough to serve on is the desire to be better. IACAC is already in a fantastic place because of the strength of its members and leadership dating back to long before my time. We can build on that foundation by striving to make the IACAC website more of a resource for students to use during their college search as well as continuing to implement creative and effective ways to train/support college counselors, guidance counselors and admissions counselors throughout the state.

With so many fantastic people involved in IACAC, it was a tremendous honor to even be nominated for a Post-Secondary Delegate Director position and I look forward to hopefully working for you as we push to make our wonderful profession even better.



Megan O'RourkeMegan O’Rourke
Assistant Dean of Admissions/Chicago Regional Recruitment
Marquette University

B.A. in Journalism, Butler University (2006)

Previous Employment:
Butler University, Admission Counselor (2006–2009);
Butler University, Assistant Director of Admission—Chicago Regional Representative (2009–2012);
Marquette University, Chicago Regional Counselor (2012–2013);

IACAC Member:  9 years

IACAC Activities:
Media Communications Co-Chair (2010–present);
Mentorship Committee (2009–present);
Summer Institute Committee (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015);
National College Fair Committee (2013–present);
Ad-Hoc Leadership Manual Committee (2014–present);
Nominating Committee (2011–2012);
Credentials Committee (2011–2012);
Annual Conference Committee member-registration (2009–present);
Annual Conference Committee member-evaluations (2011);
Annual Conference Committee member-program (2015);
Annual Conference Committee member-first timers (2010–2015)

NACAC Activities:
Member 5 years;
Conference Attendee (2009-20014)

Other Professional Activities:
WACAC member (2012–present);
MOACAC member (2007–2011);
MOACAC conference presenter (2011);
MIDWest Conference Presenter (2014);
WSCA Conference Presenter (2015);
Butler University Young Alumni Board Member (2009–2011);
CARR Member (2009–present)

Candidate Statement:

Ever since I was a little girl, my parents worked hard to provide a better life for my sister and me then they had growing up. My mom, born and raised in St. Louis, and my dad, born and raised in rural Iowa, came from very different backgrounds and had very different childhoods. The one thing they shared was the idea that hard work will trump luck every time, and giving up is not an option. These ideals were instilled in me at a very young age, and while this led to some pretty stubborn moments then (and now!) I know that the reason I’m here today is because of them.

I moved to Chicago five years ago to become a regional representative in a newly created position. I was nervous to move to a city where I didn’t know many people and would be living alone for the first time, which is very weird for a twin! Although I already had four years of experience in admissions, I definitely wanted to get more involved in IACAC. So I began to ask the question, “How can I help?”

Since then, I have helped create the online version of the IACAC newsletter, The Admissions Essay, mentored new admissions professionals at Summer Institute, volunteered during the NACAC fair at Navy Pier, done many evening presentations at area high schools and helped coordinate the creation of the IACAC Leadership Manual. These activities, along with co- chairing a committee and serving as IACAC Secretary, have taught me so many things: patience, grace under pressure, leadership skills, effective collaboration and how to work with a wide variety of personalities.

Nine years in, I know there is still much to learn as I continue to ask the question, “How can I help?” There is a wealth of information within IACAC and NACAC, and so many more things I want to accomplish as a member of them. Volunteering for these wonderful organizations has become a passion of mine and something I truly find rewarding. While not always easy, I’ve worked hard to give back to these organizations, as they have given so much to me. All of these things happened because I took a leap of faith into the unknown when I moved to Chicago. While it might sound cliche?, moving away from what I’ve always known has allowed me to develop as a professional and, more importantly, into the person I am today. I’ve worked with amazing people who have taught invaluable lessons and have become truly amazing friends whom I consider family. I know now that my parents were (and will always be!) right-hard work DOES pay off. I feel confident, excited, and very prepared to take what I have learned and represent the IACAC membership on a national level as a NACAC Delegate Director. Thank you so much!




Eric RuizEric Ruiz
Associate Director of Admissions/Coordinator of Multi-Cultural Initiatives
University of St. Francis

B.B.A. in Accounting/Finance, University of St. Francis (2007);
M.B.A. in Management, University of St. Francis (2009)

Previous Employment:
University of St. Francis, Admissions Counselor (2007–2010);
University of St. Francis, Assistant Director of Admissions (2010–2012)

IACAC Member:  7 years

IACAC Activities:
Council Team Director (2012–2014);
James A. Alexander Newcomer Award (2011);
National College Fair Co-Chair (2011–2012);
National College Fair Committee Member (2010–2014);
Mentorship Committee Member (2009–2014);
Mentor (2010–2014);
Summer Institute Committee (2009, 2010, 2012);
Annual Conference Committee (2009–present);
Annual Conference Teller Committee Co-Chair (2015);
Policy Ad-Hoc Committee (2014–2015);
Middle Management Participant (2012);
Former ICE Calendar Committee (2011–2014);
Scholarship Committee (2013–present);
First Timers Participant (2012–present);
Annual Conference Presenter (2010–2014)

NACAC Activities:
Member 6 years;
Hospitality Committee (2010, 2012);
Conference Attendee (2010–2014)

Other Professional Activities:
USF, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)—Chair (2010–2012);
USF, Diversity Council Committee Member (2010–present);
USF, Administrative and Staff Council (ASC)—President (2014–2015);
USF, Unidos Vamos a Alcanzar (UVA) Club Advisor (2012–present);
USF, Student Alumni Mentor (2013);
Enrollment Leadership Academy—Collegeboard (2014–2015);
Community Leadership School—Joliet Chamber of Commerce (2011);
Big Brothers Big Sisters—Young Professionals Committee—Vice President (2012);
United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI), Collegiate Leadership Development Program (CLDP) Advisor (2013, 2015)

Candidate Statement:

I am most pleased and honored to be nominated as a candidate for the Delegate Director position for Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC).

I have never regretted my decision of turning down my Accounting position offer for the chance to work in Higher Ed instead. I do, though, sometimes find myself thinking, “Would I have been happy in the corporate world?” Then tax season comes up, and I just smile to myself because I’ve reassured myself that I’ve made the best possible decision. Today, when Travel Season come up, I’m also smiling to myself, again, because at that time I know I’ve made the best possible decision.

Over the past years, IACAC has been the main cause of why I’ve enjoyed my decision to continue in the profession. Being a part of many committees, like Mentorship, Summer Institute, National College Fair, or more recently, the IACAC Policy Manual Committee has shown me more than what my job is, but what my career could become! Having served on the IACAC Executive Board before as the Council Team Director has given me a glimpse of how I can help the board as a Delegate if given the opportunity. I am always looking to give back to the profession that has given me a passion to help students realize their potential; I thrive to help them find a place in the world.

It has been a great pleasure to witness the development of students. To be the resource that they need as they go through the challenges of growing up, no matter where they come from, has been a tremendous privilege. It is my responsibility to help students gain the knowledge they need in order to make well-informed decisions about their college opportunities. High school is an important time in their lives, therefore, I feel indebted to share those options with as many students as I can.

IACAC has supported my efforts and given me the tools needed to be successful. The organization has a plethora of knowledgeable and highly experienced members who share the same values of education as I. I have been lucky to learn from them and will continue to do so. The dedication, teamwork, and the members of IACAC have been extraordinary. The opportunities that IACAC has provided me has only improved my skills; they have added value to my interactions with every student I meet. Because of this organization, I can confidently say that I am a better admission professional and person.

It would be an honor to have the opportunity to take a leadership role in an organization that truly embodies the value of education in today’s society. To be an effective leader one must maintain the skills and motivation necessary to bring people together and accomplish a main goal. The ability to listen, be receptive and most importantly, have a commitment to the mission and goals of the organization. I am ready to help IACAC move forward as part of the Executive Board. I am both moved and honored to be nominated as Delegate Director; the support given from the membership is much appreciated, and I look forward for the opportunity to serve.



Shawn WochnerShawn Wochner
Transfer Coordinator/Regional Admissions Counselor
Western Illinois University

M.B.A. in Human Resource Management, American Intercontinental University (2006);
M.B.A. in Management, American Intercontinental University (2006);
B.A. in Public Communication and Human Relations, Western Illinois University (2001)

Previous Employment:
Colorado Technical University, Adjunct Faculty (2008–2010)
Career Education Corporation, Training Manager/Admissions (2005–2008)

IACAC Member:  7 years

IACAC Activities:
Membership Committee (2015–present);
Council Team Director—Postsecondary (2013–present);
Middle Management Institute (2013);
Illinois College Fair Committee (2012–present);
Government Relations Committee (2012–present);
Annual Conference Presenter (2011–2014);
Mentorship Committee Co-Chair (2012–2013);
Annual Conference First Timers Committee Co-Chair (2012–2013);
Summer Institute Committee (2012–2013);
On-Site Chair for Macomb Area Regional Fair (2012–2013);
James A Alexander Newcomer Award (2012);
Annual Conference On-Site Committee Co-Chair (2011–2012);
Credential Committee (2011–2012 and 2014–2015);
Summer Institute Co-Chair (2010–2011);
Annual Conference Registration and Hospitality Committee (2009–2011)

NACAC Activities:
Member (2010–present);
Conference Attendee (2014)

Other Professional Activities:
CARR (2008–present);
CARR Secretary (2011–2013)

Candidate Statement:

Seven years ago I made a decision to leave the private-for-profit higher education sector to begin working as a Regional Admission Counselor for my alma-mater, Western Illinois University. For me, being able to work for an institution that gave me so much as an undergrad has been both a pleasure and an honor!

I have been a highly active member of IACAC since joining the association in 2008. I have the experience and passion to take on the role of NACAC Delegate—Post Secondary. My interest and desire to take on this role heightened when I attended the 2014 NACAC Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was able to attend several informative sessions, utilize the countless networking opportunities and be an engaged member of the audience at the Assembly meeting. I would be honored to serve you in the NACAC Assembly!

It is important that the IACAC Board of Directors include representation from every possible segment of our membership to ensure that their voices and concerns are brought to the board and heard. As one of the NACAC Delegates—Post Secondary, I would represent two very distinct segments of our membership. I would serve as the voice of the state public universities in Illinois as well as the voice of the transfer process.

Through all of my experiences within IACAC, I have developed friendships with several IACAC members and leaders. Many of these members and leaders have influenced and motivated me professionally. My involvement with IACAC has helped me to grow into not only the person that I am today, but also the professional that I desire to become. Much like being able to return to my alma-mater to give back to them, I want to continue doing the same for IACAC by serving as a NACAC Delegate—Post Secondary. I look forward to working with the leaders and members of this association and keeping IACAC at the forefront of the college admission counseling profession!


Back To Top