APPLY TODAY! . . . The DMCI Summer Institute Scholarship application is now available!
The RMASFAA Diversity and Multicultural Initiative Committee (DMCI) would like to announce the opening of our Summer Institute Scholarship application. This scholarship will help RMASFAA members pay for costs to attend the RMASFAA Summer Institute (June 11-16 in Golden, CO).
The deadline to submit the application is April 21, 2017.
The scholarship is intended primarily for underrepresented communities, but please do not hesitate to apply should you be interested in advocating for the mission of the DMCI Committee.
You will find the scholarship application on the RMASFAA website under “Online Forms”. Below is the link to the application:
Introducing the Leadership Pipeline series. The eight participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.
What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?
I am the Scholarship Coordinator for the Northern Wyoming Community College District – Sheridan College, Gillette College, and Sheridan College in Johnson County. I have been working in the financial aid office since 2013.
Who is your Leadership Pipeline mentor and describe your relationship with them.
My mentor is Valerie Curtin, Director of Financial Aid at Helena College – University of Montana. Valerie is a great mentor. Upon meeting each other in October at RMASFAA, we found out right away we had something in common (other than financial aid of course): we are both originally from the Midwest! We usually talk on the phone about twice a month and sometimes email in between. She is a sounding board for my thoughts. She is a great listener and provides me with a lot of insight into the world of financial aid and on being a professional financial aid administrator. It is a comfort to know that I have someone I can bounce my thoughts off and she will provide unbiased opinions and constructive criticism to help guide me. I know that our relationship will extend after my commencement from Leadership Pipeline. She is and will be a valuable resource and a speed-dial contact for me no matter where my financial aid path may take me.
Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?
I attended the new and aspiring director track at Summer Institute this past June. It was a great experience and I learned so much from the conversations we had in the classroom (shout out to James and Mary!). It was an awesome experience to have individuals from varying backgrounds and FA responsibilities come together and mesh with sharing our experiences, thoughts, and constructive criticisms. I know that I have a firm grasp on FA and how to assist students, but I want to expand my knowledge, learn from others’ experiences, as well as share my experiences with others. FA is ever changing and it is important to learn from others on how to deal with accepting the changes and how these changes affect our students. Maybe, eventually, I’ll work my way up to being an officer within RMASFAA. I felt that Leadership Pipeline would be the first step in finding the tools I would need to succeed on that path, as well as another outlet to network with other RMASFAA members whom share my desire to learn.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?
(Its not easy) being green. This means I have a drive to know all there is to know about everything, but at the same time, I can be skeptical. I am always asking ‘Why?’ and need to know how a decision will affect the end result.
This helps me understand what aspects of my work life and personal life I need to strengthen or just let go. It helps me get a general starting point of how I interact with others and why I am the way I am. Knowing how I fall into the Pace Palette spectrum is valuable because it helps me understand why and how I approach situations, what characteristics I look for in people as part of my daily interactions, and why I expect so much of myself.
What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program?
I look forward to having an extended network of RMASFAA members to add to my contacts list. I look forward to having a lasting relationship with Valerie – being able to reach out to her at any moment with a question or need for feedback. A personal goal of mine is to learn how to be a leader in an ever changing and fast-paced professional office. I know that I have many strengths that I can bring to the table, but I am also aware of my weaknesses. I look forward to learning ways on how to improve upon my weaknesses to turn them into strengths, to be more accepting of changes that are beyond my control, both in a professional office environment and my personal life, and how to be a leader for others using empowerment.
Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?
Leadership Pipeline is a great way to get you in touch with your regional colleagues and to make connections within RMASFAA that you may not otherwise have the opportunity to make. It makes you aware of how you approach various situations, where your strengths lie, and how you interact with others. It is a great way to step out of your comfort zone and leave your shell behind. We are all very busy with our day-to-day obligations, but if you ever have the opportunity to apply for this program and if you are offered a spot, take it! Do not miss a fabulous opportunity to be paired with a mentor who can offer you an outsider’s perspective, provide feedback from their experiences, share their financial aid knowledge, and maybe even inspire you to be a mentor one day.
Please welcome DJA, as a new associate member of RMASFAA!
Kristi Cole, Director of Client Services, is the representative serving our region.
DJA has been serving our clients since 1988. Today, the company serves clients in almost every state providing quality work and personalized service, building DJA’s reputation as one of the top companies in the financial aid services industry.
Even with DJA’s success and growth, the company’s foundational philosophy remains the same: to provide personalized service yielding professional results.
From its campus centrally located in Wichita, Kansas, DJA’s hardworking team works to set itself apart from its peers, providing clients with benefits that include:
Complete student financial aid file review.
Reconciliation of client accounts, down to the penny.
Personal, responsive and proactive service that has been the company’s trademark for more than 20 years.
True to the company’s Midwestern roots, clients always get a real person on the phone when they call. That person is their designated account representative who is happy to tie in other members of DJA’s diverse team to advance client objectives and answer their needs.
You can have confidence in the expertise and accessibility of our financial aid services. DJA undergoes annual audits to verify procedure efficiency and accuracy. DJA also takes steps to ensure its staff undergoes regular training in the field of financial aid and related technologies. In addition, DJA works closely with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. as well as in regional USDE offices.
Introducing the RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award series. Throughout the series we will be asking past recipients of this award to share their stories and experiences with RMASFAA. The first post in this series features Mark Schilmoeller, Executive Vice President/Managing Director, Operations at Nelnet.
“What does RMASFAA and having received their Distinguished Service Award mean to me? When asked this question, it made me smile. My involvement with RMASFAA initially started out as more of a job requirement. One of those duties listed in a job description; attend, engage and actively participate in state, regional and national industry related conferences and associations. I soon came to realize that RMASFAA was much more than that. Yes, there was work to be done, but it felt more like a family reunion than a work conference when it came to RMASFAA. I have attended way too many conferences over the life of my professional career and the majority of those have never captivated me emotionally and intellectually like RMASFAA has.
I have formed lifelong friendships through my involvement and participation with RMASFAA. I think what makes RMASFAA special, is the people and their passion and collaborative nature to want to work together to improve the Financial Aid Industry, not just for their own offices and staff, but for the students and families they serve. There truly is a servant leadership mentality within RMASFAA.
Early in my attendance and participation with RMASFAA, I knew I wanted to get involved and help to advance the association. Some might say I have an out-going personality and so I gravitated more towards the conference planning, membership and corporate sponsorship committees so that I could directly engage with association members. There are so many different ways you can get involved with RMASFAA and I encourage all members, especially those new to RMASFAA, to find a committee that interests you, get connected and make a difference. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to serve for several years and even Chair the “Nationally Recognized” RMASFAA Summer Institute Committee with many of my RMASFAA friends. What great memories.
I was honored and humbled by receiving the RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award in both 1996 and then again in 2009. Those two plaques have hung in many offices as I have transitioned through my career at Nelnet, reminding me of the importance of friendships, collaborative hard work and having a passion for the work we do. Both times I received the award were a surprise to me. I would always look around the room and wonder who RMASFFAA would bestow that great honor on. Whose name would be added to the list of great RMASFAA leaders and mentors, such as Glenn ‘Skip’ Sharp, Sandy Calhoun, Ron Smout, Kathy McConnell, Phil Van Horn, Janet Dodson, Bob Walker, Larry Viterna, ………….. and the list goes on. So many from RMASFAA had and still have an impact on how I interact with people and approach situations. The plaque reads: “In appreciation and recognition of your outstanding contributions to RMASFAA’. The interesting thing to me, as I sit here and think about what these awards meant and still mean to me, is that I feel RMASFAA has contributed way more to me both professionally and personally over the years than what I have to them and for that I am most grateful.
Some of my best and funniest memories are from time spent with my RMASFAA friends. So when asked what RMASFAA means to me, I think of family.”
I hope you enjoyed reading Mark’s response as much as I did–there is clearly a lot of love for RMASFAA!