Throughout this series we will be going back to past Ron Smout recipients and finding out about their story to becoming a teacher/mentor and their words of wisdom. The second Limelight is from Sally Schuman.
I chose to spotlight Sally Schuman, the 2008 recipient of the Ron Smout Award. Sally is currently the Associate Director of Financial Aid at Colorado Mesa University. I had the privilege of being in Sally’s inter-advanced class at Summer Institute last year. She exemplified everything that is great about the teachers at Summer Institute and our colleagues in RMASFAA. I asked Sally a few questions about her road to becoming a teacher/mentor.
How did you start out in the financial aid profession?
I started by doing accounting work for the Montana Guaranteed Student Loan Program, and worked my way “up the ladder” from there. Once it was in my blood I couldn’t leave!
Was there anyone who guided or mentored you as you were starting out?
My primary mentor in the beginning years was Mick Hansen from the University of Montana. Mick was a mentor for so many of us over the years, and he always drove us to be the best we can be for our students.
How did you decide to reach out and become a teacher/mentor?
The only way we learn our profession is from each other. I learned from my mentors, RMASFAA Summer Institute instructors, conference sessions, and my colleagues. We have a responsibility to our industry to continue that flow of knowledge, and as I grew, I knew it was time to give back. I sought out any opportunity I could find to make that happen. The more I mentored and taught, the more I learned and grew as an aid administrator.
What did receiving the Ron Smout Award mean to you?
I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am at my professional best when I am with my RMASFAA colleagues. Receiving this acknowledgement from them meant more to me than anything in my career to that date. I also remember Ron Smout, and the exceptional style of leadership he provided, which made the award even more meaningful to me. I actually slept with my plaque the night I received it!!
Any words of wisdom for future RMASFAA teachers/mentors?
The connections we make with our colleagues through mentoring/teaching relationships are valuable beyond words. Not only are these networks critical to our professional success, but lifetime friendships are created as well.
Brought to you by Eleanor Roberts, Vice-Chair of Association News Committee