Be STRATEGO and Beat Burnout by Thinking Effectively About Processes


Welcome to the RMASFAA Summer REST Blog. 

Remember REST in RMASFAA means RMASFAA Emotional Stress Track. 

The June focus is strategic and hopefully inspirational.  The Training Committee wants you to capture the flag and sever the lines that hold you and your clients hostage with outdated processes.

  1. Consider a process review. Ask yourself why-oming?   If you can’t justify the process to yourself, take action!
  2. Ask your staff to explain a process. If the explanation is a look of fear and potential retreat—consider deploying a strategic retreat.  There is nothing wrong with deploying a tactical refocus.
  3. Utilize your student employees for an outsider’s view of all processes involving external clients. Challenge your student employees to explain the reason for the processes.  Should your student employees be unable to explain the reason for the processes; maybe you should consider eliminating the suspense of yet another process without reason to your clients?  Certainly, additional outlining of the why is in order.

If you follow our three simple steps—CONGRATS, you captured the flag!


Did you see it?  This blog contains puzzle #6 from the RMASFAA Training Committee series. Hint: the puzzle is related to one of the states in our region.

Please read the blog, solve the puzzle, and submit your answer via email with the subject line “RMASFAA Puzzle #6” to before July 16 to be entered into the drawing for a prize. Remember, collect all correct answers to all 8 puzzles throughout our training series this year to solve the final puzzle and be entered to win the big prize and be crowned “RMASFAA Training Committee Grand Champion Game Master”!

Though you cannot enter the drawings for puzzles #1 “Chutes and Ladders of Year Round Pell”, #2, #3 “Don’t Let Comment Codes Sink your Battleship”, #4, and #5 “Program Review” Webcast. Look for your other four chances to enter in our upcoming blog posts and webinars!

By: Linda Butcher of Inceptia and Janet Dodson of The Tuition Exchange

Leadership Pipeline: Bailey Jorgensen

Please welcome the 2017-2018 Leadership Pipeline class. The nine participants that make up this year’s class will share their experiences about participating in RMASFAA’s renowned professional development program.  It’s time to meet Bailey Jorgensen.

Bailey Jorgensen 1

What is your current position and how long have you worked in financial aid?

I am a Financial Aid Counselor at Clarkson College. I provide services to half of our student population from prospective student through graduation and beyond. I started my financial career as a work study student in 2001.

Why did you decide to join the Leadership Pipeline?

I had been interested in the program for a while and my institution encouraged me to engage in professional development activities, and I figured Leadership Pipeline was the perfect opportunity! The program compliments my master’s program very well as I get to see leadership styles from multiple perspectives.

Describe the qualities of an ideal mentor?

I think a mentor is someone who sees your potential and helps you grow that potential. An ideal mentor will be honest, transparent, ethical, and professional. Being in a management position does not make you a leader; anyone can be a leader. You have to set the example and develop a sense of responsibility for yourself and others.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned so far?

Time management and efficiency is key. I’ve learned tips for organizing my day, how to have a zero inbox, and using my student information system effectively and efficiently. When I use my time effectively, I have more time for student interaction and I don’t have to feel so rushed.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself. I think it’s important for all of us to take care of ourselves; if we can’t take care of ourselves, how can we expect to take care of others. We should also have regular check-ins and provide time for self-reflection.

What is it that you are hoping to come away with at the end of the program?

I am hoping to build my leadership and professional skills so that someday, when the opportunity arises, I will have the qualities needed for a director position. I know at the end of the program I will have a network of individuals and valuable relationships.

Why would you recommend the Leadership Pipeline program to others?

I would recommend the program because of the quality of information you get out of it. The sessions at the conference and the monthly calls have been invaluable. The resources that I have taken away will be something I will appreciate for a long time to come.

Kickin’ It Old School with WyASFAA

WyASFAA 2018 Conference                                    Old School

WyASFAA rocked it the “old school” way at its annual spring conference April 26 and 27 in Casper, WY at Casper College. We had an excellent turnout with 42 attendees and some new presenters to our organization. As has been the case the last few years, we had our annual Hathaway Scholarship Program meeting on April 25, followed by our Financial Aid Directors meeting. During the directors meeting, we were able to collaborate (commiserate) together on challenges we all felt, specifically pertaining to the upcoming GLBA and GDPR requirements. We were fortunate to have a Vice President of Student Services from Laramie County Community College (LCCC), who serves as an advocate for us, join us briefly to help take some of concerns to the other VPs and hopefully college presidents.

The WyASFAA conference kicked off Thursday morning with some networking and getting physical! Feedback from last year showed interest in an icebreaking event, so Shannon Eskam of Casper College created and moderated “Human Bingo.” Attendees were given a bingo card with information about various WyASFAA members gleaned from our monthly newsletters in each square. Participants had to find people in the room who matched each fact and get them to initial the square to get a Bingo or blackout. This allowed attendees to get out of their seats and circulate the room. More importantly, it allowed everyone to meet each other in a new, fun way. To tie into the theme, Shannon used an old school overhead projector to give directions to the attendees.

Natalie Pique from Casper’s Educational Opportunity Center followed the first session with an informative presentation on the services that TRiO can provide, from paying for placement tests to helping complete a FAFSA.Scott McFarland

First-time WyASFAA presenter Scott McFarland from Central Wyoming College highlighted some ch-ch-changes we’ve seen with the implementation of Year-Round Pell. His presentation gave some institutional best practices, answered Colleague system questions, and set the tone for the federal update we received later in the conference.

For the first time we welcomed a remote presenter from Southern Utah University, Jared Hallows, who discussed cybersecurity in financial aid. Jared’s presentation was very informative and provided some great insight to the issues that surround us regarding keeping student information safe.

RMASFAA President Ken Kocer showed us “how all the cool kids are doing it” with his regional update. He shared RMASFAA’s goals and current projects, and asked for feedback from our state.

StatueNick Whipps, Special Populations Coordinator from Casper College, was the last presenter before lunch. Nick discussed his work with the college’s veteran students and how he has worked to ensure their success. He also encouraged all attendees to view the Eyes of Freedom memorial that was on the college campus. This traveling art exhibit is a tribute to the Marines and Navy Corpsman of Lima Company: 23 men who sacrificed their lives and served our nation.

Following lunch and keeping with the jam-packed schedule, Special Agent Sandra Ennis from the Office of Inspector General gave a fascinating presentation with riveting case examples on detecting and deterring financial aid fraud. This was another first for the conference, as an individual from OIG has never joined us before.

Department of Education Trainer Joe Massman joined us next for the “hot topics” update on Year-Round Pell. He provided the legislative background as well as detailed examples of situations we might encounter. We always enjoy having Joe join our group!

Nick Whipps and Kat Bohr-Buresh, both from Casper College, detailed the partnership that Casper College created this year between the Adult Learning Center and International Student Services, and gave tips on engaging and involving these students in various campus activities.

Another first-time presenter was Shelby Garner of Casper College. Following some goals she set for herself stemming from the completion of RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline program, Shelby presented on her contribution to implementing a “Tales with Tails” event among the Casper College Financial Aid office, library and the Humane Society. The event helps the FAO meet the literacy requirements for the FWS program, helps develop children’s reading skills, and benefits animals at the Humane Society with socialization skills, hopefully promoting earlier adoption. The results of the pilot program are promising!

Affiliate Member Julie Wilson of Ferrilli Technology Consultants gave an enlightening presentation on data security issues, “A Data Breach Caused the Explosion of the Death Star…” She was able to help explain what the new GLBA audit requirements may include and how to prepare.

Day one ended with members getting crazy at a wonderful dinner and banquet—all 80’s themed, of course—for which our totally tubular group dressed to impress! Susan Stephenson passed the tomahawk (we apparently don’t have gavels in Wyoming) to incoming president Shannon Eskam during the event. Brenda Haseman of the Northern Wyoming Community College District will continue as Treasurer and Shelby Garner of Casper College began her term as Secretary. Scott McFarland of Central Wyoming College is the President-Elect.Shannon

Friday began with a “Kingdomality” personality profile test from Shannon Eskam that helped the group learn their “place in the Kingdom” and was correlated with how to work with others in the office who may work, think, and act differently than you.

Joe Massman then engaged the group with his Federal Update, providing timely statutory and regulatory updates as well as general program guidance, security reminders and upcoming training opportunities.

Joanne Theobald of Casper College presented on Mindfulness and Meditation, which was a great way for everyone to “take a chill pill” and learn some techniques on de-stressing by managing their focus.



For the first time in known history, WyASFAA followed RMASFAA’s lead and chose to do a philanthropy project this year rather than exchanging school gifts. Seton House emergency shelter was chosen not only because of their focus on providing assistance to for homeless single parents and their children, but for their focus on education as a means to self-sufficiency. Deanna Frey, Seton House’s Executive Director, joined us at the end of day two to showcase the offerings that the organization provides and to accept the items donated. In all, members donated more than $325 in monetary funds and enough food and household items (including a new vacuum) to fill a van. We are so proud of our state!

The conference wrapped up with the annual Business Meeting, during which we discussed goals we met the past year and new goals we’d like to achieve this upcoming year. Some of these include working on our mission and long-range plan, updating our P&P, and encouraging volunteerism on committees, among others. We have a great group of individuals in the state and we look forward for the year to come! For more conference info, committee reports and tons more photos, go to: Scroll down for the gallery and click on individual pics to see both “old school” and “new school” full views of members!

-Submitted by Shannon Eskam and Susan Stephenson

State Update: North Dakota


The North Dakota Association of Financial Aid Administrators set sail and Cruised the Seas of Change April 11-13 anchoring themselves in Fargo for the annual NDASFAA Spring Conference. Our cruise agenda was full. Experienced seamen, DOE Trainer Rick Renshaw, guided us through sessions on Federal Update, Summer PELL Grant, and Administering Adds, Drops, and Withdrawals. First mate, RMASFAA president Ken Kocer kept us engaged in all that is happening within RMASFAA.

Our training also reminded us to remember the story of the Easter Ham, that there is life after program review, and six-sigma can work for financial aid too!


Our annual philanthropic project was another great success. This year’s recipient, Imagine Thriving, is a free resource for kids, teens, parents and educators that empowers mental wellness through education and awareness. Imagine Thriving taught us that one of the barriers to connecting kids and teens to needed mental health services is transportation. Members were encouraged to donate in increments equal to one ride or, in our case, one taxi on the wall. Look at all those taxis!


At our annual business meeting, the gavel passed from Lindsey Benson NDASFAA Past President (Minot State University) to Karrie Huber (University of Mary) NDASFAA President. Committee members presented updates and an amendment to the NDASFAA By-Laws was approved.

NDASFAA elected Chris Meek (Dickinon State University) president elect, re-elected Judy Hagar (University of Jamestown) secretary, and elected Amanda Woidyla (Bank of North Dakota) as associate at large.

Before our cruise ended, we took time to celebrate at our annual awards banquet. One of the greatest gifts our spring conference offered was the chance to re-connect with old friends and honor colleagues for their service.

Large Group




North Dakota is thrilled to host this year’s RMASFAA Conference, October 7-10 in Fargo, ND. Please mark your calendar and be checking your email for more information. We look forward to celebrating 50 years of RMASFAA with you!

Karrie Huber, NDASFAA President, University of Mary

2018-19 Officer Elections

Vote now

Greetings, RMASFAA!

It is with great pleasure that I inform you the 2018-2019 RMASFAA Officer Election is open!  Institutional voting members will soon be receiving an emailed link to review the election ballot and cast their institutional vote.  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:


  • James Broscheit, Director of Financial Aid, Montana State University – Bozeman (MT)
  • Kelli Engelhardt, Director of Financial Aid, University of Providence (MT)

Vice President-Elect

  • Joshua North, Director of Financial Aid, Highland Community College (KS)
  • Sheelu Surender, Director of Financial Aid, Wichita State University (KS)


  • Lisa Gdowski, Director of Financial Aid, Central Community College (NE)
  • Cristi Millard, Director of Financial Aid, Salt Lake Community College (UT)


  • Bethany Vincent, One Stop Senior Associate, North Dakota State University (ND)
  • Merrill Worthington, Financial Aid Advisor, Snow College (UT)

Associate Member Delegate

  • Janet Dodson, Associate Director, Tuition Exchange (MD)
  • Sara Edwards, VP Account Executive, Citizens Bank (MA)

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  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.

Join me in applauding each of the officer candidates for their willingness to volunteer time and considerable talent to RMASFAA service!  We have an incredible group of dedicated professionals here in the Rocky Mountain region.

Best to all,

Myra Pfannenstiel
2017-2018 RMASFAA President-Elect
Chair, Nominations & Elections Committee