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College Student

This award is given by the Michigan Council for Exceptional Children to honor an extraordinary undergraduate student who is a current member of CEC.

The candidate:

  • Must be currently a member of CEC and attending school as a full-time undergraduate student.
  • Should have shown outstanding personal qualities through commendable service at the undergraduate level.
  • Should be considered a role model for fellow students.
  • Should have completed a variety of services on behalf of students with exceptionalities.

Electronic Form for 2023 College Student of the Year Coming Soon!


2022 College Student of the Year


Katy Pluimer, Central Michigan University

Since High School, Katy has worked with students with disabilities, and was able to experience many different aspects of special education through volunteering, classroom internships, and from following a Speech Pathologist and Occupational Therapist to determine her specific area of special education focus in college. Growing up with a learning disability pushed her to pursue a career as a special educator and has presented her with opportunities to educate her general education peers on her personal experiences as a student with a disability.

Katy has been a part of many organization throughout her time at Central Michigan University and has been able to use her special education background to help advance her fellow peers’ knowledge about students with IEPs. She has volunteered at the Winter Special Olympic games for two years and was a volunteer for a group at CMU called Connections that Count, which is a service-learning group that provides support to individuals with disabilities and their families. Katy has been part of Kappa Delta PI, an international honor society for educators for four years and has served as the president and treasurer of the organization. She is also actively involved with 4-H and supports children and youth with disabilities in showing their animals. These experiences have strengthened Katy’s ability to work collaboratively with families. 

In addition, Katy has been involved in the MCEC community for the past three years, and has presented and created a poster for the poster session at the annual MCEC conference. She currently serves on the MCEC Student Board as President and was previously the student representative. Katy attended the National CEC Convention in Orlando this past winter to represent the Student Board in Michigan. 

One of Katy’s professors describes her as a stellar student who is talented, dedicated and professional, and who stands out as the only student she’s instructed who’s assumed leadership at such high levels on campus. Because of COVID restrictions Katy was required to complete all classes and practicums virtually. Despite this format, she was actively engaged in class and demonstrated academic excellence in all aspects of class. Katy excelled during her virtual practicum, and was able to develop positive relationships  with her students and host teacher. She was creative in using technology and thoughtful in designing  materials to support student engagement. Katy is extremely collaborative and willing to share materials and strategies to support her peers in special education. There is no doubt that she will continue to carry this forward in her professional career and will be a special education teacher who supports students and colleagues alike. 

Katy’s peers describe her as always going above and beyond, with an enthusiasm for learning and teaching that is astounding. She is an invaluable asset to the teaching profession who creates engaging and educational lessons for her students on her own time in addition to supporting her coordinating teacher outside of school hours. Katy is described as kind, enjoyable to work with, hardworking and compassionate. She is a student who pursues her passions in supporting children and youth outside of her degree program and who seeks leadership opportunities in the field. Katy is described as the perfect recipient for the 2022 Dr. Charles Van Riper Outstanding College Student.

Last Updated:  23 December, 2021

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