Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Liberal Arts and Addiction Counseling major Brad Conley was named a member of 2012 All-USA Community College Academic Team, making him one of only 20 students from more than 1,700 nominations to be a part of the team. He was also named a New Century Scholar representing Minnesota.
Conley was honored at the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges Convention (AACC) in Orlando, FL and recognized in the April 23, 2012 edition of USA TODAY.
He received a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque for his appointment as a New Century Scholar, as well as an additional $2,500 scholarship and special medallion for his membership on the All-USA Community College Academic Team.
The New Century Scholars program and the All-USA Community College Academic Team honor outstanding community college students for their grades, leadership, extracurricular involvement and volunteerism.
The New Century Scholars program, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and American Association of Community Colleges, includes the top-rated students from each state. The All-USA Community College Academic Team, presented by Phi Theta Kappa and USA TODAY and sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, includes the top 20 in the nation. Conley is the sixth MCTC student in the history of the award to receive this prestigious honor.
“We are so proud of Brad and are honored to see him recognized in both of these outstanding accomplishments,” says Phil Davis, president of MCTC. “Brad demonstrates the level of excellence in education, leadership and community service that inspires others to reach beyond what’s convenient and comfortable to discover the possibilities of the future.”
“Receiving this award gives me a boost in confidence and a confirmation of my own identity development after coming out of a life of chemical abuse,” Conley says. “It is an honor to be recognized for serving the community and to have the affirmation to continue doing so.”
Conley has maintained a 4.0 GPA, been a member of the Dean’s List since Fall 2009 and was voted Student Senator of the Year during the 2009-2010 academic year.
Conley exemplifies what it means to serve the campus community as well as those outside the College walls. As president of the Addiction Counseling Club, he established a student-to-student support network (SafetyNet) for those struggling with substance abuse – the first in the history of MCTC’s chemical dependency program. Implementing this program was just one way he had the opportunity to fulfill a life-long passion for helping others.
Conley later volunteered much of his time with the Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health (MARRCH), a state-wide counselor advocacy organization where he was elected to and served on the Ethics Committee. There, he had the opportunity to hear cases from treatment facilities, counselors and clients from all over Minnesota. Taking his involvement a step further, he led MCTC as the first college to become an organizational member of MARRCH – a step that paved the way for other public and private schools’ participation.
Currently, Conley is serving his second term as student body president at MCTC. He is working alongside his senate colleagues to increase student retention and graduation rates on campus through a three-tier platform of bolstering student-to-student, student-to-administration and student civic engagement. “It is this third tier of student civic engagement that I consider my most significant community college endeavor to date, and one that has taken education to new heights in application and effectiveness,” Conley writes in a personal essay.
As a strong believer that a well-rounded education includes the opportunity to expand the college experience into the ability to make tangible difference in society, Conley took initiatives to build and strengthen relationships between MCTC and the community.
“A strong leader leads by example, so I took it upon myself to forge new relationships with the immediate neighborhood through Citizens for a Loring Park Community (CLPC),” Conley writes. “This connection quickly branched to Minneapolis City Hall, The Minnesota State Capitol and the Neighborhood Revitalization Program.”
In March 2011, Conley became the first student elected to the CLPC Board of Directors in the organization’s 40-year history. “As a result of this direct link to the neighborhood and the city, many MCTC students and clubs have been able to influence the development of multiple areas of civic life,” Conley writes.
Conley was also elected as one of four members of the Minneapolis Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) Policy Board, giving students direct access to city-level activity.
Conley has served in a variety of other areas, both on and off the MCTC campus. The groups benefiting from his skills and commitment include the information technology, testing and student services departments on campus, and the diversity committee, fiscal committee and the governing council of the Minnesota State College Student Association.