I left college and immediately started my career working with students by teaching high school English and Speech/Debate. After 6 years, I moved to work for Western Wyoming Community College where I started as the Financial Aid Officer and then soon, the Director. Then, I was offered a great opportunity to work at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. They were all great experiences. I met so many helpful people and was able to participate in many RMASFAA committees. I made some of my best friends there….and a network of professionals that have been so supportive of me over the years. For the last 12 years I have been working at Nelnet. I lead our school team and assist with our Federal Student Aid relations. It is a dynamic and ever-changing environment for sure.
I believe I received the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award for the years that I worked on the Summer Institute Committee. I felt so honored. To be recognized by folks that I hold so much respect. I think I wanted them to just think “I gave it my all” for my role on the committee. It really boosted my confidence.
I think Financial Aid, in general, is full of policy and regulations. I would remind a new professional to make all their decisions to be as “student-centric” as possible. They communicate differently now. Texting, email, social media and I think we are challenged to keep up with those changes rather than making students change to how we are most comfortable communicating. Also, lean on your RMASFAA peers for advice and counsel. Never be afraid to ask questions.
I have not had the opportunity to attend a RMASFAA conference in the last couple of years although folks from my team have certainly been there. I can’t wait to attend the very next one.
Jim was the Oscar R. ‘Jack’ Hendrix Award (formerly, Rookie of the Year Award) recipient in 2004.