NACAC Hill Day Scholarship

NACAC’s Annual Advocacy Meeting (also known as Hill Day) is held each year in Washington, DC. Anyone is welcome to join and no prior experience is necessary.

PNACAC offers scholarships annually to attend this important meeting with legislators. Check back in the fall for application information.

The 2020 NACAC Annual Advocacy Meeting took place March 8-9, 2020 in Washington, DC. 

Along with Matt Allen, Government Relations Chair, seven PNACAC scholarship recipients (from all PNACAC states!) traveled to attend and meet with their state representatives:

  • Sarah Clarkson from Highland High School (ID)
  • Eric Delehoy, Delehoy College Counseling (OR)
  • Joseph Franco from University of Washington (WA)
  • Erin Lien from Boise State University (ID)
  • Bob McLory, Ketchikan High School (AK)
  • Carrie Paquette from Lakeland High School (ID)
  • Justin Strohmeyer, Willamette University (OR)

If you have questions, contact the PNACAC Government Relations Chair at [email protected].


 Below are testimonials from recipients of the PNACAC Hill Day Scholarship:

"This was my first exposure to the training and get-togethers NACAC and PNACAC members. As a school counselor for over three decades, one would think I knew of their mission and efforts. Instead, I was delighted to meet a cohort of professionals who share my mission to match high school students with colleges and universities seeking students who have worked their entire lives to prepare for this new challenge. I found I had a lot to learn from them. ... As I reflect on the experts I heard, the colleagues I found, the members of Congress I met, I was inspired by the number of those who are striving to make getting into college easier than the tests those students will face while in college. We want the challenges to be curricular for those students---not anxiety about getting into a college, finding a way to pay for it and how to avoid a lifetime of debt that follows students like a shadow and haunts them forever. It opened new perspectives for me in the process, and I am grateful to PNACAC for providing me this opportunity to experience all this."

- 2020 Attendee, Robert McClory (Ketchikan High School, Alaska)

"During these strange times, we often see and experience things that frustrate us, things that make it harder to do our jobs, things that make us worry for our students and their families. If you're like me, you have often said, 'I wish I could do something about this,' but then you talk yourself out of it. You might ask yourself, 'How can I possibly make a difference?' Well, representing PNACAC at Hill Day was that chance for me to feel like I was actually 'doing something.' Sure, I was a little intimidated, and I spent more time asking questions than I did actually advocating, but it's an experience I wouldn't trade for anything. I was inspired by the people around me who fight this fight every day. I was fortunate to be surrounded by people who know a lot more about this stuff than I do. I learned all that I could from them and soaked in the whole experience, because who knows if I will ever have that chance again. I hope my contribution mattered, even if only a little, and I feel more inspired than ever to put what I learned to use back home. My thanks to the board for this opportunity, and to all those from the other ACAC's who did their part to make a difference in the lives of the students we serve."

- 2020 Attendee, Justin Strohmeyer (Willamette University, Oregon)

joseph franco at maria cantwell office"The NACAC staff led workshops throughout the day arming us with their legislative priorities and key talking points. It felt amazing to be able to tell our stories from the road to these legislative staff members and advocate on behalf of our communities. I had a great meeting with U.S. Representative Adam Smith’s staff where I learned that the staff member I met with was also from one of the high schools that I counseled students from. We were able to connect over her college search process and talked about the difficulties of affording a college education. This trip has inspired me to put together a legislative day for Washington State, which I will definitely start planning this summer! As we can see today, our government is a very critical component in our day to day life. If you do not think you have a voice, you DO! I hope that anyone that is interested in becoming an advocate for our organization and sharing their story and others with legislators will please consider joining the PNACAC Government Relations Committee. You can definitely make an impact and we can always use more voices."

- 2020 Attendee, Joseph Franco (University of Washington, Washington)

"My PNACAC Hill Day experience was both a great privilege and a great opportunity. One of my core professional values is advocacy, but to do that for our stakeholders in the halls of Congress was powerful. We were met by congressional staffers with interest and respect even though each week there must be hundreds of requests for their time and attention. No sooner did I get home from Washington, D.C., than the world fell apart. Still, I feel that our asks in early March were important -- now more than ever. We are all learning to be student advocates from a distance, guiding and serving over the phone and ether. So much has changed, and will change, in the weeks and months ahead, but the need for strong public education, and support for that enterprise, is crucial to the maintenance of our communities and our democracy. The students we support today may be the next molecular biologist who zeroes in on a coronavirus vaccine, or the person who develops supply chain strategies that keep people employed and safe, or who becomes a teacher able to adapt back and forth seamlessly between in-class and virtual instruction."

- 2020 Attendee, Sarah May Clarkson (Highland High School, Idaho)

"What an amazing and eye-opening experience this was! I applied for a scholarship to attend this event because I thought it would be a great opportunity to broaden my knowledge and resources to better serve my students as a College & Career Advisor. I had no idea what a significant impact being part of Hill Day actually would have on me. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about the federal policies that affect my students’ access to higher education, but I was able to engage in real, meaningful conversations with Idaho senate and representative offices on Capitol Hill about these policies as I advocated for students. I had things to say that they were interested in hearing; information they were going to look into. I realized that my voice was an important one, and one that was just heard by the people who shape important educational policies. I left Capitol Hill feeling like I had honestly just made a difference, and anticipating the opportunity to be involved in Hill Day again!"

- 2020 Attendee, Carrie Paquette (Lakeland High School, Idaho)

"Being a new college and career counselor in my first year at a large high school, Hill Day was the missing piece in my education. Not only did I learn about policies that have the potential to affect my students in a big way, but I was given training on how to advocate for my student's  with respect to these policies, when face to face with my state  representatives. I hope to do this every year!"

- 2019 Attendee, Chelsi Goddard (Meridian High School, Idaho)

genesishillday19"Hill Day offered the most unique form of professional development I have had. I learned so much about higher education at the national level, but I was also able to interact with the offices of Oregon representatives and senators. Being able to see how we are the education experts who guide the work of our legislators was empowering."

2019 Attendee, Genesis Meaderds (Eastern Oregon University, Oregon)