Our First Quarterly Contest Winners

Association News & Publicity would like to start out with a huge thank you for all your participation in our First Quarterly Contest!!

Just a reminder of the rules: You could earned one point each for liking or commenting on a post on Facebook, Twitter, or our blog. You could earn two points if you created your own post or followed us on any social media platform.

We are awarding TWO $25 gift cards to TWO winners this contest

Craig Poleman

and

KriSti Cole

**Winners please look out for an email from Bonnie Sandefer and Courtney Stensaas tomorrow 11/17/2021**

Meet Your Candidates – Associate Member Representative

2022-2023 KASFA Board Elections are NOW OPEN!!

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Last, but certainly not least, we have the battle of Robb/Rob for the position of Associate Member Representative!

The Associate Member Representative serves a two year term as a voting member of the KAFSAA board.

The person you elect as your 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 Associate Member Representative will provide a voice for all associate members of KASFAA, assist with the internal audit, and help Corporate Support with the conference fundraiser.

Each candidate sat down with Darcy for an interview so that you could get to know them a little bit better before the election.

*Drum roll* Your candidates for KASFAA President-Elect for the 2022-2023 year are:

Robb Cummings

and

Rob Smith

Watch Darcy’s interview with Robb to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Watch Darcy’s interview with Rob to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Vote Now!!

Robb Cummings Video Transcripts:

Name: Robb Cummings

Title: Director, Relationship Management

Institution: Sallie Mae

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I started in this industry in 1995, serving as Manager of Student Loans for Bank IV.  A couple of years later I moved to USA Group, which became Sallie Mae through acquisition in 2000.  I’ve been with Sallie Mae ever since. 

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I’ve served KASFAA as Associate Member Delegate, Corporate Support Chair and on numerous committees over the years.  I’ve also served in RMASFAA as Chair of the Rocky Mountain Summer Institute, Electronic Initiatives Committee, and on multiple committees there as well.  Finally, I have held board and committee positions in NeASFAA, SDASFAA and NDASFAA during my time in the industry.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Associate Member Representative?

I’ve always appreciated the importance of KASFAA, and I welcome the chance to contribute to its continued success.  Darcy asked and I said yes.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

Securing volunteers to serve in board and committee roles continues to be a challenge.  This is not a new challenge but remains a critical one to ensure continued success for the organization.  So, it is not so much a change as a continued focus on recruiting and maintaining individuals to help KASFAA thrive.  I fully support that focus.  

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

No

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I like both reading and watching movies, but I admit that I haven’t made much time for either lately.  I thought the Stephen King book “Different Seasons”, which contained a short story that later became the inspiration for the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”, was excellent…and the movie was even better!

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

Fun fact:  I worked with Rob Smith from ELM Resources for several years (and he’s a great guy!).  So, whether you vote for one “b” or two, you’re going to have a Rob/Robb working for you in KASFAA! 😊

Rob Smith Video Transcripts:

Name: Rob Smith                                                            

Title: AVP Growth & Development

Institution: ELM Resources

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I started as a student worker in FA in 1988 at Point Loma Nazarene Univ. I worked a few more year there as a counselor and loan coordinator, then moved to the lender side for a while. On the lender side of things, I worked for Educaid (Wells Fargo), Sallie Mae, IHelp, and Navient. I also worked at a proprietary school as a campus director for a brief time.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I have been to a few KASFAA’s as timing permitted. I cover quite a few states in my region. I have been involved at a board level for RMASFAA and WASFAA. I enjoy supporting many FAA associations with my diverse experience across many states.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Associate Member Representative?

I was asked to run, which I don’t mind being involved across states and regions on boards. My background helps to add value to the board because of that experience.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

Collaboration with Associate members and the rest of the association when it comes to training and involvement.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

No, I am willing to help where needed. I appreciate the opportunity to know the KASFAA group better and serve on a board.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

Books now, but used to like movies. Favorite book was Lost City of Z – because it inspired me to read more adventure biographies. Books seem to always get it better – because of imagination.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

So happy to be running against the premier Associate member – Mr. Kansas. If elected, I will utilize the brain trust of all the associate members, especially Mr. Kansas. And this might give him an opportunity to volunteer for something else in the association.

Meet Your Candidates – Secretary

2022-2023 KASFA Board Elections are NOW OPEN!!

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KASFAA Secretary is a one year position and is a voting member of the board.

The person you elect as your 2022-2023 KASFAA Secretary will be responsible for taking minutes at all KASFAA board meetings and calls and posting said minutes to the KASFAA website. They also record motion, second, discussion, and outcome of electronic voting the board does outside of meetings. They determine if there is a quorum at KASFAA business meetings and record minutes there as well.

Each candidate sat down with Darcy for an interview so that you could get to know them a little bit better before the election.

*Drum roll* Your candidates for KASFAA President-Elect for the 2022-2023 year are:

Ashley Jost

and

Marissa Kouns

Watch Darcy’s interview with Ashley to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Watch Darcy’s interview with Marissa to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Vote Now!!

Ashley Jost Video Transcripts:

Name: Ashley Jost          

Title: Communications Coordinator         

Institution: Johnson County Community College

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I have been in financial aid 9 years and began working in the industry at that time.

I manage all the communications in our office, website, forms, outreach events, along with partnerships and consortium agreements.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I started on the KASFAA Welcome committee.  That was my first experience before being on the Board as Secretary and recently serving as Vice-President.  I’ve also been a part of the Conference Planning Committee.  I am currently a KASFAA mentor.

I have been involved in RMASFAA and helped promote the last conference in Wichita KS.

I just finished my term serving as RMASFAA secretary.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Secretary?

I do like to stay involved in our professional organization.  It keeps me motivated and on top of all the happenings in our industry.  I enjoy the relationships you can build while serving on the board.  So, I am ready to keep going!

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

This past year has been difficult, I would like to push anything we can to keep membership engaged and connected in person.  I would also like to see some changes to our website – geared toward providing even more resources to all KS high schools.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

No, I am just coming off as Secretary for RMASFAA and ready to go!  Also, I’ll be bringing more experience back into the role.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I grew up reading books and still love doing so.  It’s hard to find time because I would rather spend it with my kids, playing outside or watching movies with them. 

I would say that most books get it better than the movie…  however, it was fun to watch Bridget Jones’s Diary after reading the first book.  There have been a few more after that…

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

I love to travel, cook, and spend time with family.

I have two girls who keep me active watching their activities, most recently softball and cheerleading!

Marissa Kouns Video Transcripts:

Name:  Marissa Kouns

Title: Program Specialist               

Institution: Wichita State University

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I have worked in financial aid since 2009 at several colleges in Wichita.  I have held various positions from financial aid counselor to assistant director.  Currently, I am a program specialist at Wichita State University where I manage Title IV programs, including my favorite – Federal Work Study.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I was active in KASFAA from 2012-2016 where I served on the Association News Committee as co-chair and chair.  I left KASFAA and Financial aid at the beginning of 2016 to stay home with my now 6-year-old son.  I rejoined the world of Financial Aid in 2017 when WSU offered me an amazing opportunity.

Since returning to financial aid, I have participated on the Membership committee and attended several KASFAA and RAMASFAA conferences.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Secretary?

Since returning to financial aid in 2017, I have been wanting to restart my involvement with KASFAA.  I was an active member of the Membership Committee in 2019-2020 and was planning to participate in for the 2020-2021 year and then covid happened.  As we begin to put covid behind us, I felt running for Secretary was the perfect opportunity to restart once again in becoming an active and contributing member of KASFAA. And because Darcy asked me to run.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

KASFAA already does this, but I would love to see an increase in engagement from new and seasoned members.  I am an “Includer” – I love to involve anyone and everyone.  I hope to provide encouragement and support for member growth not only in their positions, but in their personal life – professionalism, confidence, mentorship, encouragement, expertise, and friendship. 

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

No hesitations, just hope I know what I am getting myself into.  I am very excited to run for Secretary and to be able to contribute my ideas and opinions to KASFAA.  I think this is a great opportunity to be involved and shape the future of the organization.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

Both.  Usually what happens is I watch a movie, love it, then read the book.  I love the Notebook, Time Traveler’s Wife, and the Twilight series.  I think the books are usually better than the movies, but I do enjoy both. I haven’t read the books, but Harry Potter is the favorite movie in my house.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

I have an undergraduate from Wichita State University and an MBA from Friends University.  My husband, Andrew, and I have been married for 13 years. We have two boys – Benji (10) and Bash (6).  They keep my busy but seeing their smiles and big hearts makes all the dirt and bugs worth it.  We also have a cat, a dog, two snails, and a fish. 

In my free time, I make crafts, soaps, and bath salts.  I recently started selling my items at my friend’s store in Garden Plain Danielle Rose and Co, which is about 15 minutes west of Goddard.  I also have a love-hate relationship with camping.  I go for the memories because it’s my kids’ favorite place to be.  

Anything else you want to know, just ask! I am always looking to build personal and professional relationships.

Meet Your Candidates – Treasurer-Elect

2022-2023 KASFA Board Elections are NOW OPEN!!

KASFAA Treasurer-Elect is a 3-year position, serving as Treasurer-Elect the first year, Treasurer their second year, and culminating by serving as chair of the Finance committee the final year. The are a voting member of the board only during their year as Treasurer.

The person you elect as your 2022-2023 Treasurer-Elect will spend their first year training with the current Treasurer for that year (who will be Leah Nicholson), so that they can learn the ropes. They will then serve as Treasurer in 2023-2024, managing KASFAA’s finances and training that year’s Treasurer-Elect. During their third year, they will coordinate the internal audit and continue to serve as a resource for that year’s Treasurer and Treasurer-Elect.

Each candidate sat down with Darcy for an interview so that you could get to know them a little bit better before the election.

*Drum roll* Your candidates for KASFAA President-Elect for the 2022-2023 year are:

Kelly Baker

and

Krysta Wood

Watch Darcy’s interview with Kelly to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Watch Darcy’s interview with Krysta to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Vote Now!!

Kelly Baker Video Transcripts:

Name: Kelly Baker

Title: Assistant Director, Financial Aid

Institution: Allen Community College

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

Over the summer, I entered my sixth year in financial aid.  Our office is mostly paper-driven, so we print ISIRs as they come in daily.  I review each FAFSA that comes in.  I also review all verification documents and complete the initial verification (our Financial Aid Specialist reviews each file a second time).  I review all corrections received, then the file goes to the director for the aid offer to be created.  I review the daily enrollment reports as it pertains to student federal aid offers and provide financial aid counseling and support to students and parents.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I am a member of both KASFAA and RMASFAA.  I attend KASFAA conferences regularly & have served on the News & Publicity committee and the Finance committee.  I attended RMASFAA when it was held in Wichita and also attended Summer Institute (highly recommend!).

What made you decide to run for KASFAA treasurer-elect?

I believe it will be a great opportunity for additional professional growth and networking within the organization.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

That’s a tough question, since KASFAA is already great.  It would be nice to see additional opportunities for networking and relationship building within the membership.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

Initially, yes.  I was nervous about not knowing what to do.  However, I have been reassured that there are plenty of resources and people to train and guide me, should I be elected.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I actually enjoy both.  Mysteries are my favorite.  There are some books that I wish would have been made into movies or T.V. series. I watch more movies during the winter, but in the summer, I like to take my book outside to read.  While it doesn’t fit in the ‘mystery’ genre, my very favorite book and movie is “Where the Red Fern Grows” (Wilson Rawls).  There are times when I say to myself ‘it wasn’t like that in the book’ or ‘it wasn’t like that in the movie’ but I don’t know that either one has ever necessarily been better or worse…just different.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

I like to flower garden, I like to play music (both on the piano – 34 years, and to listen to), I’m a quick learner & do my best to detailed, efficient, & helpful. Sometimes, being human, the detailed & efficient doesn’t always happen but I try as much as possible. If anyone has questions about things, should I be elected, I try to be as approachable as possible.

Krysta Wood Video Transcripts:

Name: Krysta Wood

Title: Financial Aid Counselor

Institution: Southwestern College in Winfield, KS

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I’ve only been in the financial aid world for a little over two years but I’ve been in the finance industry my entire career. I spent 12 years working in the banks, including customer service, loans, investments, and trusts.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I am currently on the finance committee for my 2nd time. I hope to continue to be involved more going forward.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Treasurer-Elect?


I have always loved finance and to me this is a great way to be involved and get to know other people in the industry as well.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

I don’t necessarily think I’ve found anything I dislike about KASFAA but I came up with one recommendation.
I would love to see more personal interaction that gives people the opportunity to connect more. I know with Covid that just hasn’t really been possible but I know I personally would like to get to know others and the best way to do that is to come together. Maybe like quarterly meet and greets in various locations (dinner and an activity) or something. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?


Not really! If anything, I am excited about the opportunity.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies?

I really enjoy both, it just depends on my mood at the time! My me time is reading but my family time is movies haha


What is your favorite (book or movie)?

Since I answered both I came up with both. My all time favorite movie is Sweet Home Alabama. I don’t think I can pick a favorite book but I love the Stephanie Plum Series from Janet Evanovich.


Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

Hmmmm Maybe the Hobbit movies (haha). For the most part, the book always wins but I still enjoy watching the movies.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?


I couldn’t think of anything that the association just HAS to know so instead I came up with 3 “confessions” about myself.

  1. My favorite color is cheetah
  2. I sometimes put up my Christmas tree in October
  3. I LOVE spicy foods

Meet Your Candidates – Vice President

2022-2023 KASFA Board Elections are NOW OPEN!!

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KASFAA Vice President is a one-year term with KASFAA as a voting member of the board.

The person you elect as your 2022-2023 Vice President will co-chair the Conference Planning committee in partnership with the President-Elect, and will be responsible for overseeing the work the committee does to put on the Spring 2023 conference in Salina, with a large focus on the program.

Each candidate sat down with Darcy for an interview so that you could get to know them a little bit better before the election.

*Drum roll* Your candidates for KASFAA President-Elect for the 2022-2023 year are:

Trish Runion

and

April Sidesinger

Watch Darcy’s interview with Trish to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Watch Darcy’s interview with April to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Vote now!!

Trish Runion Video Transcripts:

Name:  Trish Runion

Title:  Student Financial Services, Director

Institution: Manhattan Christian College

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

My entire work history has been working with numbers and money.  After starting at MCC as a student in the fall of 2012, I began working in the business office as a work study student.  I was given many duties of an accounts payable clerk including handling the record-keeping for the Perkins program.  I was hired as a staff member for the Accounts Receivable/ Student Account clerk in November 2014. 

I began working in financial aid April 2015.  At that time our VP wanted to change to more of a one-stop shop model for our students.  I was blessed to go to Summer Institute in 2016.  .   As much as I enjoyed the work, it was at this point I believed I was now actually “in a profession” and not simply working a position.  I stepped into the director role in May 2017. 

NASFAA’s national certification was a huge accomplishment for the FA community.  I completed my certification in the summer of 2019.   

I continue to grow and learn in this profession.  Being in a small office I love the challenge of having to know so many aspects of financial aid; federal, state, and institutional.  My central motivation to stay in this profession is the students.  I am blessed beyond words when I am able to help someone invest in themselves to improve their future. 

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I have been involved with a couple of committees in KASFAA.  I began as part of the conference planning committee.  I have worked on the awards section of that committee for two years.  It was wonderful to honor those who have given time and energy to this profession. 

I moved to the membership committee.  This is my third year of being involved with this group; my second as the chair. 

I have not had the privilege of working on a RMASFAA or NASFAA committee yet.  I do hope one day to do so but honestly, I love working for our state FAAs.  We have some amazing people in Kansas.  I am so honored to work with these professionals. 

I have worked on two committees within the Kansas Independent College Association (KICA).  We have worked on a scholarship program which was more inclusive of the student’s we serve as well as being better stewards of the funds we have to specifically for awards.  The second committee is currently working on our data gathering protocols.  We want to get the information we need and make sure we are all spending our time in a productive and conscientious way.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Vice President?

I chose to run for Vice President because I believe that my experiences will provide a good foundation for the required duties.  I love being a part of the conference!  To help coordinate an experience that gives us all a chance to learn, network and grow in our profession is worth all the challenges that come with that responsibility. 

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

I believe we have a strong, amazing organization but it will only be as strong as those who participate.  Volunteering and participation is key to keeping KASFAA as influential as it is now.  I think about those who have led previously as well as how well represented Kansas is on the national level.  We seem to be a profession filled with giving people. 

 I would like to see KASFAA work on pouring into our new members so they can become the next generation of leaders.  We will need to continue to have strong advocates in this profession in the years ahead.  Change is truly the only constant and FAA’s know this reality.  I want to continue to build our mentorship program.  I also want KASFAA as a whole to think about what the up and coming generation needs in order to be willing to take this profession as a serious option.  I would love to see KASFAA work to show them that being a financial aid administrator can allow them to grow as leaders and feel rewarded by investing into the generations that are following them. 

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

I will be honest and say, “Yes”.  My two major hesitations dealt with ability and time.  I seem to still question my abilities and worthiness of what I bring to a group.  It truly is humbling, encouraging and empowering to know that others see value in my experiences and opinions.  I want to be helpful and I need to embrace the truth that I can bring value to this association. 

Time is always going to be a factor.  We live in a crazy world where time feels as though it is running too fast.  It boils down to prioritizing.  I want to give back to those who have supported me and spending my time to do that is a priority for me. 

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I do love to read and allow my imagination to paint the word pictures in my mind.  I will be honest, my life has not really allowed me to take the time to read like I used too.  Movies have become more of a past time for me.   My favorite movie is Parenthood (1999) with Steve Martin.  I love the humor of this movie as it portrays the reality of the messiness of life.  My favorite book is Redeeming Love by Francis Rivers.  I love her word pictures and the whole story.  I can’t think of a movie that got it better than the book.  I have loved the Chronicles of Narnia books by C.S. Lewis since I was 10.  The books are better but the movie in The Chronicles of Narnia:  The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe in 2005 got very close. 

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?  

I have been married to my husband, Rick for 33 years.  He is a retired US Marine.  We have raised twin sons who are now 27.  Stephen followed in Dad’s footsteps and is serving in the Marine Corps.  Kenny is working in San Diego California as a warehouse manager. 

April Sidesinger Video Transcripts:

Name: April Sidesinger

Title: Assistant Director of Financial Aid

Institution: Washburn Institute of Technology

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I started my position in February 2019 and this is my first time working in Financial Aid. I started working in Higher Education about 3 years before that as an Admissions Counselor and Advisor with no prior experience in Financial Aid.

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

Every year I try and get involve in a committee within KASFAA. It has been a great tool to help grow in my career and get to know others. This will be my third year as a part of the Conference Planning Committee and it is one of my favorite parts of being a part of KASFAA.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA Vice-President?

When I started in Financial Aid I had very little experience and felt lost in all of the new information. The KASFAA organization and the members of KASFAA became my life line on learning all there was to learn and stay on top of it all. Pushing myself to get involved and immerse myself in a community of Financial Aid experts is how I survived my first year of Financial Aid. And how I stayed semi sane during a Pandemic and my second year of Financial Aid. I feel it is important to give back and be involved in the organization that helped me survive the past two years. In the past I have really enjoyed being a part of the Conference Planning Committee. I have been able to connect with other Aid Administrators and create lasting friendships and work connections while on this committee. I finally feel like I am ready to expand my involvement in KASFAA and what better way to take on the role of Vice President and continue building a great yearly conference for others to attend and learn from.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

I think it would be great to start setting up some informal discussion zoom sessions where people can join once a month or every few months to go over different parts of Financial Aid that people may not know about. Things we may all hear within in our office but may not all touch in our positions. For example we could do ones from what a day looks like in the Director’s position or what a day looks like from the Financial Aid Advisor position. What is included in the FISAP or what is ECAR. A time to be able to share ideas amongst other Administrators or bring awareness to a subject that is needed.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

Yes and No. When Darcy called I immediately said yes and then I was like wait what does this even entail. My only hesitation was that I would then have to run for President of KASFAA the next year. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that. Once she explained what it was all about I immediately thought this is a great opportunity to be involved and give back to the organization.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

Books all the way. I am a big book worm. Favorite book series is Harry Potter. I grew up counting down the days each year waiting for the next book in the series to be released and reading it as fast as I could once it came out. I cant say I have ever come across a time that the movies did it better then the books but it was awesome to see the world that I built inside my head come to life on screen with the Harry Potter books.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

I’m from an agriculture community, and decorate my office in Kansas theme.

Meet Your Candidates – President-Elect

2022-2023 KASFA Board Elections are NOW OPEN!!

KASFAA President-Elect is the beginning of a three-year commitment to serve KASFAA as a voting member of the board; the first year in the President-Elect role, the second year becoming President, and finally moving to the Past President role for their third year. They will serve on the Association Governance committee for five years.

The person you elect as your 2022-2023 President-Elect will chair the Conference Planning committee in partnership with the Vice President, and will be responsible for guiding and overseeing the work the committee does to put on the Spring 2023 conference in Salina, and then lead the association for the 2023-2024 year.

Each candidate sat down with Darcy for an interview so that you could get to know them a little bit better before the election.

*Drum roll* Your candidates for KASFAA President-Elect for the 2022-2023 year are:

Jana Parks

and

Scott Sponholtz

Watch Darcy’s interview with Jana to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Watch Darcy’s interview with Scott to learn more about our candidate

See video transcript below.

Voting starts today!! Good luck guys!! 😊

Jana Parks Video Transcripts:

Name: Jana Parks

Title: Director of Financial Aid

Institution: Baker University

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I have been in Financial Aid for 18 years.  Like so many in the organization I started as a student worker and worked my way up through different financial aid positions, financial aid assistant, financial aid officer, assistant financial aid director and now director. 

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I served on the membership committee for 3 years and was co-chair and chair of the committee.   The co-chair position allowed me to have a very small role with the Conference Planning committee as well.  At the RMASFAA level I participated in Leadership pipeline, which was a wonderful experience.   

What made you decide to run for KASFAA President-Elect?

I will be honest this is not a position that I chose.  In my time in financial aid I have had the opportunity to have many different financial aid peers push me to take positions that I normally would not chose.  These are normally positions that would push me out of my comfort zone.  I definitely want to continue to grow professionally and learn new things and I believe one of the ways to do that is to step into things that are uncomfortable.  So here I am! 

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

This organization is already so strong.  The relationships and mentoring that are already taking place organically are wonderful.  Some of the KASFAA committee work has been recognized at the National level.  KASFAA is already doing really great things.  If I could/would do anything it would be to continue to foster relationships among people in similar working groups and institutions.  I think the value of having a community to support you can take you very far.

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

Absolutely! This is pretty far out of my comfort zone but I know KASFAA has some amazing leaders that I can lean on when I feel like I don’t have the answers.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I hate to admit this but I don’t read a lot of books or watch movies.  The most recent movie I watched was Inside Out, not necessarily my favorite but one of the only ones I can remember.  And generally the book gets it better than the movie.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

I am excited about this opportunity to work with so many wonderful financial aid professionals. 

Scott Sponholtz Video Transcripts:

Name:  Scott Sponholtz

Title:  Director

Institution: University of Kansas Medical Center

Briefly share with us your financial aid experience:

I discovered my interest in financial aid as a Financial Aid Advisor during my undergraduate program.  Since then, I have gained 15 years of experience: about a third of that time each as a Counselor at KU’s Lawrence Campus, as an Assistant Director at UMKC serving health professions students and then as Associate Director and Director at KU Med.  I’ve enjoyed a career that involves interacting with students pursuing interesting studies, where I can help make a difference in their present and future. 

What has been your previous involvement in KASFAA and/or other financial aid associations?

I travelled the eastern portion of the State to provide High School Guidance Counselor Training.  Additionally, I was fortunate to obtain a scholarship to attend the RMASFAA Summer Institute.  Once I started working with health professions students, I shifted my focus to attending conferences and networking with colleagues from the Association for American Medical Colleges and NASFAA to enhance my knowledge of these unique programs.

What made you decide to run for KASFAA President-Elect?

A colleague encouraged me to take a leap of faith.  I have my doubts about whether I am the best person to lead this organization and I certainly don’t feel like some who has all the answers.  What I do know is there are many talented people throughout KASFAA and, collectively, we can make a difference.  If elected, I hope to provide an environment where people feel comfortable sharing their time, talents, expertise and camaraderie.  It’s important that KASFAA adapts to current and future challenges.  As we individually face big changes to R2T4, PSLF and even the FAFSA itself, we must continue to strengthen our connections with each other to share knowledge and ensure we are equipped to serve our students in the best ways possible. I am ready to help guide the members of KASFAA to meet these challenges.

If elected, what is one change that you would like to see KASFAA make to strengthen our association?

If elected, I would whole-heartedly embrace the President-elect role and help implement the strategic plan for 2022-23.  Goal #3 of the Relationship Building priority area of the Strategic Plan for 2021-24 is to “assist attendees to pair up with length of service opposite of each person.”  When I remember attending the KASFAA Conference for the first time, I remember meeting a handful of people who welcomed me into the association and introduced me to many friendly and experienced colleagues.  I met people I could ask for advice about specifics of my job as well as folks who could tell me how to advance in the profession.

I want KASFAA to be more purposeful about matching experienced mentors with our newer members.  Newer members will benefit from having a mentor who can provide unconditional support as that newer member navigates nebulous regulations, demanding students and parents and inadequate resources to meet our students’ needs.  The mentor can also encourage the mentee to pursue leadership opportunities and help the mentee chart a career path.  By focusing time and resources on our newest members, we ensure that our profession will retain and develop bright future leaders to meet our ever-changing landscape. 

Did you have any hesitations about running for this position?

Where do I start?  First, due to travel restrictions and institutional fiscal challenges there is a lot of uncertainty right now about what training and conferences will look like in the future.  Additionally, KASFAA is experiencing a loss of valuable wisdom and association knowledge as some of our most experienced and active leaders retire.  We need to continue exploring ways to offer the robust training and leadership development that are hallmarks of KASFAA.  In person training is great.  One can physically remove himself from work distractions and it’s always great to share a hug with a colleague.  But travel is expensive so fewer members can attend in person events.  Webinars are lower cost, convenient and they allow many people of all levels to attend.  However, webinars contribute to Zoom fatigue and it is more challenging to fellowship.  We need to work with membership to find options that best serve our needs.

Do you prefer to read books or watch movies? What is your favorite (book or movie)? Was there ever a time the movie got it better than the book?

I listen to podcasts more than I read books right now.  (Though I am reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series with my 7-year-old daughter.)  My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo.  I’m not sure if any movies are better than the book, but I feel that The Shawshank Redemption and The Lord of the Rings are equally good books and movies.

Anything else you would like the association to know about you?

Although I hated running growing up, my wife encouraged me to start running 7 years ago.  I finished the KC Marathon 2 years ago and continue to run 3 times a week for exercise and stress relief.

Costumes, Contests, and Prizes – OH MY!

I hope you are all having a spooktacular Halloween week! The Association News and Publicity committee would like to announce KASFAA Quarterly Contests!

Each quarter, we will announce a new challenge with the chance to earn points. At the end of each challenge, those with the highest number of points will be able to cash them in for a surprise prize! Our first Quarterly Contest is *drumroll please* Like, Comment, Follow! Points for this challenge can be earned on KASFAA’s Facebook, Twitter, or blog from now until November 15th.

Like or comment on a post for one point for each interaction and follow or create your own post on our social media pages to earn TWO points each! We are adding a special spooky opportunity to earn an additional two points by posting a picture of you/your office/family/pets dressed up for Halloween! Post your photos on any of our social medias or send any Association News and Publicity committee member your photos to be posted on the blog. I have started us off with a group picture of the faculty and staff at Cloud County Community College that dressed up for Halloween today. See if you can guess who everybody is!

We can’t wait to see your fun costumes and remember you can post, like, comment, and follow KASFAA on social media from now until November 15th to earn points for our first Quarterly Contest of the year! Stay tuned for more opportunities to earn points!

Happy Financial Aid Day

FAFSA | Know Your Meme

To all you beautiful financial aid people…

From those that are student facing all the way back to those that hide out in their FA bunker!

We see you!!

We thank you!!

Financial Aid Appreciation day? You mean every day - old man boxer | Meme  Generator

Imagine all of those lives you’ve touched, all the families you’ve helped, and all those dreams you made come true.

Meet the Board Member – Danielle Sullivan – Secretary

As a seasoned veteran within the financial aid industry, what has impacted you the most about this profession and what has changed the most within the profession?

I would say what has changed most is the slow transition from manual and paper processes to automated and electronic processes. I’m a firm believer in automation so that we can spend more time helping students, doing outreach, and solving problems.

How would you tell new people within this profession to approach their tasks, jobs and career?

You can be a leader at ANY level. It doesn’t matter if you work at a front desk or you’re a director. Find an opportunity to lead within your position. Also, you will NEVER be caught up, so take the time you need to work on important tasks, and most importantly take time off.

Within this industry have you had any mentors, who were they if you’d like to say, and what did they tell you as you were beginning your career path in Financial Aid?

Far too many. Everyone in the KU Financial Aid Office & JCCC Financial Aid Office, and especially all of the Graduate Higher Ed interns I mentored and my Work-Study students. I learned A LOT from our students. Special shout out to the original counselor group: Jenny Hagen-Gay, Josė Trujillo, and Elizabeth Mendoza.

Who do you admire most? Personally, professionally, and/or globally? Choose one or answer all three…

Ernest Shackleton. He was a polar explorer in the early 1900’s, and his leadership style is still being taught today. He led a crew of 28 in what was supposed to be the first attempt of crossing Antarctica on foot (The race to the South Pole had already been won). Their ship (the Endurance) was crushed in an ice floe off the coast of Antarctica. The crew had to drag life boats across the ice and float helplessly on ice floes for hundreds of miles. They managed to find land and set up camp on an island only to realize that they were on a section of the continent where they would never be rescued because ships would never pass by this area. So he did the only thing he could do. He handpicked a crew to take a perilous open boat journey (in a teeny-tiny lifeboat) almost 1,000 miles to a blip of an island – South Georgia Islands. He picked this small crew incredibly strategically. There were some trouble makers in the group, so they were some of the 5 men chosen to go on the boat journey so they could not stir up trouble at the camp. He left his second mate in charge of the Elephant Island camp and bid adieu to the men left on the island. The men spent 17 days in the roughest sea in the world in an open life boat…in the freezing cold, traversing almost 1000 miles. He and the 5 men made it to their destination – South Georgia Island, only to find they were on the wrong side of the island. They then had to cross an entire mountain range that ran down the middle of the island to get to the whaling station on the other side. It took almost 2 years and 3 attempts to rescue his men from Elephant Island, but he did, and not one man lost his life. It’s an incredible story of perseverance, heroism, and leadership.

What positions have you held with KASFAA and what has been your favorite so far?

I started off as Welcome Committee Chair (which is now part of Membership). I served on Outreach Training for many years, chairing it one year. I am currently KASFAA Secretary. Definitely Outreach Training. I love training others on financial aid.

Anything exciting you’d like to share….

I do a financial aid night at my High School (Abilene, KS) EVERY year, no matter how busy I am. I love going back and helping students and families complete the FAFSA.

Last but by no means least …

Mr. Liam the cat with his stylish jean jacket.

KASFAA Outreach Training – Busting Unique Situations, DACA, & Foster Care Q’s

The Outreach Training Committee hosted their first training session on Tuesday, September 21st.  In this session, Yuliana Reyes, ESU, and Kimberly Cashman covered DACA students, foster care, and other unique student and family situations as well as how to file for federal financial aid.

More than 75 people joined the virtual training via Zoom and the committee has received excellent feedback so far from attendees. 

Throughout the year, the Outreach Training Committee will host a total of six training sessions and they will all be following an 80s movie theme!  Yuliana and Kimberly picked Ghostbusters for their movie and featured a few classic Ghostbuster monsters during their PowerPoint session.

There are five more trainings scheduled over the next several months and we can’t wait to see all of the 80s references they pull out! Check out the “Counselor Training” page under the High School Resources section on the KASFAA website for future dates and covered topics.