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 believe the people have impacted me the most within this profession. As a newbie, they took me under their wing and nurtured me so I could have an impact on others. Folks in financial aid have to learn so much and stay abreast of so many changes that happen in the blink of an eye. The helpful and caring attitude that each person I’ve met within this industry has showed me speaks highly of all of us. And…in acting this way, it flows down to the students we assist in order to make them successful and impact them for the future. I believe the rules and regulations and the way in which we deliver financial aid has changed the most. Some rules have become more lenient, some more stringent. We’ve moved from paper FAFSAs to electronic and paper checks to electronic deposits; I remember lines down the hallway for a half- mile it seemed on refund day waiting to pick up their paper checks.
How would you tell new people within this profession to approach their tasks, jobs and career?
Be diligent, and hardworking. Ask lots of questions but learn the information you need to know to be good at what you do. Think outside the box and ask more questions of students as many times they do not give you the full scoop. Be compassionate and caring!
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?
I have many mentors. A year after I started in Financial Aid I attended Summer Institute. From that time on, I was hooked and wanted to be involved as much as I could. I met Julie Esau and Cheryl Bellinger that week. And my teachers were Janet Dodson and Bob Walker. And still to this day, I color code my spreadsheets (thanks Janet). Other people who’ve encouraged me along the way are Myra Pfannenstiel, Tony Tanking, Debbie Brewer, Ashley Jost, Robb Cummings, Bruce Lopez, Diana VanDyke, and Kristi Blevins, I know I’m missing some folks, but I hope you know who you are. I would not have been able to step out of my comfort zone and participate as I have without the support of these people. I’m forever grateful and very blessed.
Who do you admire most? Personally, professionally, and/or globally? Choose one or answer all three…
I would have to say my parents. We never lacked for anything even though my parents were not wealthy in the financial sense. They raised me to be independent and hardworking and I hope I’ve made them proud. I probably wouldn’t be in this field today if it wasn’t for my dad. I was ready to come back to work part time after the kiddos went off to school. My dad was an adjunct Chemistry professor here at JCCC. I asked about job openings. He said sure “go look at the board”, which was how jobs were posted then outside the HR office. A part time position was available, I applied and was hired. I started out working on the Perkins Loan program. And 25 years later, moving through a few other positions, I’m now the Scholarship Coordinator. My dad is no longer with us but my mom continues to be amazed at all I do and continues to encourage. I will always be in their debt.
Anything exciting you’d like to share….
I have two amazing children, Sarah, 31 who is a graphic designer and does phenomenal work (ask my co-workers) and our son, Matt, just turned 29, and works in logistics. He will be getting married in October to Mariah and we are super excited for them as well!
What made you want to get involved with KASFAA?
I was hooked after attending Summer Institute and have never looked back.
What positions have you held with KASFAA and what has been your favorite so far?
In my years of KASFAA involvement, I have been Membership chair, worked on the Awards committee, Registration chair twice, Association News and Publicity Chair, involved with Conference Planning in various roles, a member of Fiscal Officers, Secretary and Vice President twice (this is my second time around). Kansas has a great financial aid organization. We are known within our region as go getters. We’ve had several people within our region move into RMASFAA and NASFAA positions and make our state proud!! People in Kansas work so well together, no matter what the school or the rivalry, the bottom line is to provide financial assistance to those that need it. I’ve loved every minute of being part of this great organization!! It’s been a fun ride!