SD Conf

SDASFAA hosted its Spring Conference on April 4-6 at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn at Rapid City, SD. This hotel will also be the site for the 2016 RMASFAA Conference – “You Rock”!

The SDASFAA Executive Council members were busy with their board meeting the morning of April 4th. RMASFAA President, Joe Donlay, joined the board meeting and shared information on where RMASFAA is headed and provided a recap from the recent RMASFAA board meeting. Julie Hamer, Member at Large, listens intently to Joe’s remarks.

As we headed into Monday afternoon and started our conference journey, SDASFAA President Micah Hansen kicked off the conference by welcoming all of us to the beautiful Black Hills area.


Our conference theme was very appropriate – “The Financial Aid Journey…Don’t Stop Believin” – a good mantra for all of us who work in the financial aid trenches every day. By now some of you may have that 1981 song by Journey running through your head! The other song that comes to mind as I look at our conference theme picture is the 1991 song, “Life is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane. Am I showing my age a bit?  Maybe! My apologies for digressing for a minute…I was just getting myself into a journey/traveling mindset to help me write this article!

Throughout our conference, we enjoyed presentations by Stephen Payne (NASFAA), Joe Massman (Department of Education), Dee Lawrence (Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), Dr. Lois Flagstad (Black Hills State University), Joe Donlay (RMASFAA President), Marlene Seeklander (Lake Area Technical Institute), Leah Braun (Harney Business Group), and Paul Turman (SD Board of Regents).


Stephen Payne, NASFAA, provided several sessions throughout the conference


“What part of the journey am I on? was presented by Dr. Lois Flagstad of BHSU.
Joe Donlay, RMASFAA President, provided an update on RMASFAA happenings
Joe Massman, Department of Education Trainer, presented several sessions to the group.
Leah Braun, Harney Business Group, helped us examine ourselves via her presentation on “Work Life Balance”.

Our own Becky Pribyl was one of the recipients of the Oscar R “Jack” Hendrix award at RMASFAA 2015. Joe had the opportunity to present it to her in the midst of her SDASFAA colleagues on Tuesday.SD9

Special Awards & Recognition

During our banquet on Tuesday evening, many awards were presented. Ken Kocer, Past President, and Micah Hansen, President served as “Emcees” for the evening festivities.

Ken Kocer and Micah Hansen

Those individuals honored with Years of Service awards included:

10 years

Morgan Huber, Mitchell Technical Institute
Bob Prouty, Mount Marty College

 15 years

Laura Fiedler, Student Loans of North Dakota
Lynette Grabowska, Southeast Technical Institute
Laura Schultz, Wells Fargo, EFS
Carol Stevens, University of South Dakota
Emily Studenski, Augustana University

 25 years

Ken Kocer, Mount Marty College

 30 years

Cheryl Bullinger, National American University

35 years

Carmen Neugebauer, Mitchell Technical Institute
Char Skjonsby, Student Loans of North Dakota

Wow…220 years! And that doesn’t include all of the other SDASFAA members and their years of service!

Two SDASFAA members were honored with the following awards:

Outstanding Service Award – Monica Gannon, National American University

Douglas Steckler Professional Development Award – Marlene Seeklander, Lake Area Technical Institute

Ken Kocer and Monica Gannon
Ken Kocer and Marlene Seeklander

David Martin of the School of Mines and SDASFAA Photographer caught many people listening intently to the various presentations.

On Tuesday afternoon, David gathered all of us for a “family photo” op! And he even got in on the picture!


Throughout the conference, SDASFAA members were busy meeting and finalizing plans for the upcoming 2016 RMASFAA Conference. SDASFAA looks forward to seeing many of you at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn, Rapid City on October 23-26!


Brought to you by:
Marlene Seeklander
Lake Area Technical Institute
Association News Committee Member, South Dakota


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