Message from Cathi Lucero-Connell – SI Minority Scholarship Recipient

I attended RMASFAA Summer Institute this year and had a blast! The University of Utah did an excellent job in allocating our rooms right next to the conference center so that we did not have to travel so much. The food was also very good. We were divided into groups according to our experience with financial aid. My instructors, Tony Tanking and Sue Weinreis, were so helpful and possessed an abundance of knowledge and energy. Our groups became teams, and we had fun and learning competitions throughout the week. The events we did were also a lot of fun and helped pass the time away from our families. One of the events was an Ice Breaker, where we actually had to complete a BINGO, by finding fellow attendees with certain traits or experiences. This really helped break the ice!!  The next night’s event was an actual BINGO night where the events staff had fun prizes for the winners. Wednesday evening was open so that we could explore or basically do what we wanted. Some of us went downtown and ate at the Brazilian Grille and others spent time with local relatives.  The theme of the whole week was “RMASFAA’s got talent” and we did skits our closing night relating to talent and financial aid. That was a challenge! Another event was that each team had to make a mascot representing their teams name, ours was Yellow Dogs, and then take pictures throughout the week with team members and the mascot. We were given a list of required picture sites so there was a great deal of competition to see who could be the most creative! These events created a lot of closeness and camaraderie which gave us opportunities for great contacts! The classes themselves were so worthwhile. I have attended conferences before, where you go over basic information that you may already know, but the classes that we had broke down everything and we had time to ask a lot of questions and explore different situations so that we each understood the concepts for our own schools. Each day we covered a different topic related to financial aid and sometimes a different instructor would come in to talk about their particular specialty. Summer Institute is a MUST! My thanks to all for the opportunity to attend.

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