Continuing with our RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award series. Throughout the series we will be asking past recipients of this award to share their stories and experiences with RMASFAA. The next post in this series features Pat McTee, Director of Student Success Services at American Indian College Fund.
What does receiving the Distinguished Service Award mean to you?
Being recognized for one’s contributions is a special honor, but when that recognition comes from your peers it’s much more special. When looking over the list of recipients it strikes me as to how many of them I have looked up to with awe over the years. It’s very humbling to now see my name besides theirs on the list.
What was your first experience with RMASFAA?
Quite honestly I don’t recall my first RMASFAA experience. It’s been a few years. I became a RMASFAA member when I moved to Nebraska to work at the University of Nebraska Kearney. Getting involved with the Nebraska association introduced me to many amazing financial aid professionals, and quite a few were very involved with RMASFAA. It seemed only natural to follow their example, and it only took a few years before I was helping with my first RMASFAA Summer Institute in 1988. Since then I’ve either been on the committee or served as faculty for about 15 Summer Institutes.
If someone was interested in joining RMASFAA, what would be a few things you would suggest?
I made a career move that took me away from RMASFAA for about 7 years. During that time I was involved with the Midwest region (MASFAA). It’s a good association but nothing like RMASFAA. The conferences, summer institutes, training, and camaraderie provided by RMASFAA are second to none. Join and get involved!
When an Assistant Director at one of the schools I worked at was retiring after over 20 years in financial aid, she commented to me that her only regret was that she had not gotten involved with either RMASFAA or the state association sooner. I worked with her for only 5 years and encouraged her to attend meetings and become involved during that time. She commented on how much she grew professionally and personally just as a result of those few years. I’m confident that if she had been involved for her whole career that she would have been one of RMASFAA’s top leaders.
What’s the best thing to happen since you started working with RMASFAA?
I’d have to say that without a doubt the best part about involvement with RMASFAA is the connections I’ve made throughout the years with other financial aid professionals all across the country. I have an amazing peer support network that’s both professionally and personally important to me. The opportunity to work with these amazing individuals, ranging from a brief phone call to a DC committee trip to the hill, has been awesome. To be able to call many of them friends and laugh and cry through life with them has also been invaluable.
Get involved! You’ll never regret it!