Expedition 406: Registration is OPEN RMASFAA Conference 2019

Registration for the 2019 RMASFAA Conference is open!

 The conference is October 20-23 at the DoubleTree Hotel in Billings, MT.

 Join us as we explore and tame the rugged territory of Financial Aid!

 You can register for the conference here: https://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/forms/memConf19.html

Don’t forget to book your hotel reservations: https://doubletree.hilton.com/en/dt/groups/personalized/B/BILDTDT-AID-20191014/index.jhtml

Conference travel information (directions, hotel information, etc) is available on the RMASFAA Conference page: https://www.rmasfaa.org/docs/toc_conferences.html

Billings Logan International Airport is served by: Alaska, Delta, United, Frontier, and American Airlines.

You can find more information about Billings Logan Airport here: https://www.flybillings.com/


Hey RMASFAA, It’s Election Time!



The highly anticipated 2019-2020 RMASFAA Officer Election is open!  Institutional voting members have been sent an emailed link to review the election ballot and cast their institutional vote (rumor has it you’ll need to check your SPAM folders if you don’t find the email in your Inbox!).  Since many of us are not voting members within the association, I wanted to share with you the outstanding roster of candidates who have graciously agreed to put their names forward for consideration. RMASFAA has been an invaluable source of support over the years and each candidate deserves a ‘high-five’ for volunteering to represent each of you in this ever changing profession we live in. The people in the profession make this profession and I am proud to be a part of it.


  • John Curl, Director of Financial Aid & Scholarships, Utah Valley University – Orem (UT)
  • Christal Williams, Director of Financial Aid, Johnson County Community College (KS)

Vice President-Elect

  • Michael Pearce, Financial Aid Specialist, Colorado Community College System (CO)
  • Sylvia Martinez, Associate Director, Client Services, Colorado State University (CO)


  • Shannon Eskam, Director of Student Financial Assistance, Casper College (WY)
  • Bailey Jorgensen, Financial Aid Counselor, Clarkson College (NE)


  • Lindsey Benson, Assistant Director Financial Aid, Minot State University (ND)
  • Nathan Buche, Financial Aid Director, Hutchinson Community College (KS)
  • Brenda Haseman, Scholarship Coordinator Northern Wyoming Community College District (WY)

Associate Member Delegate

  • Nick Martinez, Strategic Business Director, Inceptia
  • Rob Smith, AVP Growth & Development, ELM Resources

If you are the designated voting member at your institution, please take time to read over each candidate’s credentials contained within the ballot link you receive, seek input and feedback from other RMASFAA members in your office, and then cast your vote!  If for any reason you are unable to vote via the electronic ballot, please contact me directly for a hard-copy form at jame.broscheit@montana.edu.  If you are not the designated voting member at your institution, I encourage you to take a moment to share your thoughts with your designated voter – your opinions are important to the election process.  Voting is open for 30 calendar days and the verified results of the election will be announced within a week of ballot closing.

Best to all,

James Broscheit
2018-2019 RMASFAA President-Elect
Chair, Nominations & Elections Committee

Meet the State Delegate: Nebraska

Greetings!  My name is Sheila Johns.  I am the 2019-2020 NeASFAA President and also the Financial Aid Director at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff.  My venture into financial aid began in July 2006 right after my only child graduated from high school and I was wondering how I was going to fill the time I used to spend chasing an active high school student.  I got onto the WNCC website thinking I might see about S Johnsteaching some adjunct accounting classes when I saw the position of Financial Aid Director being advertised.  Imagine my surprise (and everyone else’s!) when I was actually hired for this position in which I had zero experience!  I was terrified when I attended my first financial aid conferences that I’d be seen as an imposter, but anyone who has been in this profession for any amount of time knows what a welcoming and helpful group this is.  That attribute was one of the reasons I decided to continue in the profession and to participate in our associations.  I want to ensure that the newbies in our group know they aren’t alone in this endeavor!

I thank my lucky stars every day that I have a dedicated, hard-working staff in the WNCC Financial Aid Office that makes me laugh!  What could be better?!  When I think about what I love about our profession, I think about the great associations that we have in our states, regions, and at the national level that work very hard to provide us with useful training and resources; I think about our incredible colleagues who demonstrate every day what it means to help their students and each other; and I think about the students whose lives are impacted by what we do but also teach us how to be better leaders and citizens.

My very favorite thing to do when I am not in the office is to spend time with my family and friends.  I am fortunate in that, as an empty-nester, I get the opportunity to travel occasionally.  Those who know me well suspect that my Mexico vacation problem needs S Johns2a 12-step program (and, yes, I am currently in the process of planning my NEXT trip to my favorite tiny resort in Cancun).  I try to golf but I’m mostly not very good, I love to read and learn, and I enjoy walking outside and riding my bike (which makes me feel like a kid).  I am about ready to start my ninth year as a TeamMates mentor; my mentee and I began meeting when she was in third grade and she will be a junior in high school this year!  I am a strong believer that we get to choose the attitude we will embrace every day and that kindness ought to be generously shared.

State of the State: Utah


The UASFAA conference was held at Weber State University Davis Campus on March 7 and 8. We had a really great conference where we were able to offer two NASFAA credentialing sessions, and had other great presenters that covered anything from R2T4 modules, to stress management, to state awards. We had about 100 attendees despite the really crummy weather that week! We had such a great team that helped make the conference a success.

Next year’s conference will be held March 5 and 6 where we will be “Focusing on the Details” Sherlock Holmes style!

The only other major thing that UASFAA is working on right now is finding a new web provider. A task force is currently working on this and will help implement the new website. This is an exciting refresh for the organization and the new website should be up and running this Fall.

Submitted by

Alexandria Jackson, Utah Association News Member

Jackson Alex

July’s Training Tip: FISH!-ing in Financial Aid

It’s summer! Let’s talk about fishing. I’m sure some of you are avid fisher-people (Is that the politically correct term?!)! Fishing isn’t something I do in my spare time, but I do have memories as a young child of occasionally going to the Big Sioux River by Estelline, South Dakota and fishing with my Dad and brothers.


Recently, our Academics Department presented the FISH! Philosophy for the staff that are on campus for the summer. Their office does the FISH! Philosophy with new instructors as they come on board. We spent 90 minutes doing a team building activity, making our own fish, watching the video that inspired the FISH! Philosophy, and discussing the four concepts. Many years ago, at a conference, I was introduced to the FISH! Philosophy. I enjoyed it then and enjoyed hearing it again!


Most of us are familiar with the FISH! Philosophy. It’s based on the customer service model that has put the world-famous Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington on the map and made it a tourist attraction. The philosophy is based on these four principles:

  • Choose – Choose to make today a great day.
  • Play – Be serious about your work without taking yourself too seriously at work.
  • Be There – Don’t let distractions destroy the quality which is present in each moment.
  • Make their Day – Find someone who needs a helping hand, a word of support, or a good ear and make their day!

Such simple customer service concepts that we can incorporate into working with students, families, and co-workers!

It’s all about CHOOSING YOUR ATTITUDE! When you walk into your office every morning, you can choose to have a good day or a bad day. Your attitude is going to be displayed to all who encounter you, whether in person or on the phone. We all have tasks that we don’t particularly enjoy doing. We can approach them with a positive attitude and get through them OR we can grumble the entire time we are doing them.

When you walk into a store to return something and you’re not pleased with the item you purchased, you can choose to make it a good experience or a bad experience by how you approach the store employee. Are you going to calmly explain that you’d like to return it because you’re not happy with the product or are you going to yell and tell the person exactly what you think of the item and the store? Likewise, that person’s attitude and how he or she approaches handling your return can be either a positive or negative experience for you, the customer.

customer service attitude

Do you incorporate some PLAY into your work day? Are you “all business” or do you try to find some ways to make your office fun, not only for you and your co-workers, but for your students too? Life is too short not to find some humor, fun, and “play” in each day, especially at work! It doesn’t mean you have to entertain visitors when they come into your office, but find some ways to incorporate some fun into your work environment.


When someone walks up to your desk or you are helping someone on the phone, are you fully focused on that person or are you typing an e-mail as you ask how you can help? Is your cell phone dinging in your purse or off to the side of your desk and you are trying to “sneak a peek” at it while a co-worker is asking you a question? BE THERE! Be focused on the person in front of you, not on your e-mail, cell phone, piles of files on your desk, etc. Studies show that multi-tasking doesn’t get us anywhere!


Do you have a student sitting in your office who is feeling overwhelmed by the first week of school and wants to drop out? Listen to that student, empathize, and offer some advice. A “You got this! I know you can make it through this first week of school! We will help you succeed.” may be just what that student needs to hear. Offer to walk the student over to the Registrar’s Office rather than just sending him or her down the hall. That simple gesture might be all that it takes for the student to decide, “Hey, everyone here is so friendly and helpful! I think I really do like it here and want to stay!”

Don’t forget about your co-workers! Do you have a co-worker who is going through a rough patch in life? Offer some kind words or MAKE THEIR DAY by leaving an anonymous surprise on his or her desk of a favorite snack, soda, or coffee. (A Diet Coke and a Snicker candy bar will make my day any time!)

have a great day

Think about it…according to the authors of FISH!, we spend about 75% of our adult waking time doing work-related activities (getting ready for work, traveling to/from work, working, contemplating work, and decompressing after work). Do you enjoy it and are energized by your work or do you have the “TGIF! Attitude” about it? These four simple concepts will go a long way in making our encounters with students, families, co-workers, and others more enjoyable experiences.

In the spirit of the FISH! Philosophy, I wanted to share pictures of the fish that some of my co-workers and I made at our seminar. All fish and their creators approved of the sharing of their photos! I hope they make you smile and MAKE YOUR DAY!



Marlene Seeklander

RMASFAA Training Committee Member

Lake Area Technical Institute

Watertown, South Dakota

Deadline Approaching: Diversity & Inclusion Committee RMASFAA Scholarship!

apply now
The RMASFAA Diversity and Inclusion Committee (DI) would like to remind you about the RMASFAA Conference Scholarship Application. The scholarship covers the RMASFAA Conference registration fee and assists recipients with travel expenses. This year’s RMASFAA Conference will take place in Billings, MT from October 20 through 23.


The deadline to submit the scholarship application is July 31, 2019.

You must be a current RMASFAA member to be considered for the scholarship.

If you have any questions or need assistance with the application process, please contact Beth Vollan at beth.vollan@sdstate.edu or Ashley Stevenson at Ashley.Stevenson@uvu.edu.