Leadership Pipeline Mentee: Anna Miller


Anna Miller

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

Hello from the windiest place in Wyoming, Casper!  My name is Anna Miller, some call me Anna Banana around these parts.  I am the Hathaway and Scholarship Specialist at Casper College.  I have been in the financial aid world since 2011….Doesn’t feel like it has been 9 years.  I first started at the counter in our one stop shop called Enrollment Services.  I think a year later I moved into processing federal financial aid, with loans being my specialty.  Then 7 years later I moved into my current position.  I love that I have gotten to experience been part of both worlds (Little Mermaid financial aid pun).

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

One of my colleagues was going thru it.  She shared a lot of valuable information and experiences from the monthly meetings and the time spent at  the RMASFAA meetings.  Soon after that I moved into my current position and decided I wanted to grow professionally. With the support of my team, I had the new-found desire to take some leadership roles.  But I was uncertain how to go about becoming a leader. That word was never in my vocabulary, for the longest time I was content in being a worker bee.  In 2018 I showed interest for the program.  I was fearful of stepping out of my comfort zone.  The next year I was encouraged by a couple of coworkers to sign up.  The seed was planted and slowly my coworkers began to water it thru the year.  I applied and was accepted in! I love everything financial aid.  It’s really true what they say, you never go to school to become a financial aid guru.  You dive right in and never want to leave.

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

The most valuable thing I’ve learned so far is that I AM WORTHY.  My self confidence has spiked.  I really thought I was an introvert until this program.  I find myself being more of an extrovert with a “introvert coverup”.  Leadership Pipeline is giving me the confidence to break free from this comfort zone and really shine.   I am finding that I have valuable experiences and knowledge to share.  I feel so much more confident in our industry.  I also find very valuable the importance of relationship building.  We are luck that we are in an industry that we can lean on one another for guidance.

What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program?  Personal goal?  Skill set?

I am hoping to maintain those relationships I am building with my peers.  I would like to become more involved with my campus community.  I’m looking forward to my extrovert self-coming out to shine.  Having more confidence will allow me to be a better advocate in our industry and the individuals we serve.  This program will allow me to be confident in my decision-making skills.  I’ve already completed another goal and became involved at the state level as sectary.  I’m starting to ponder volunteering with the next RMASFAA in Omaha, NE.  I’m sure by the end I’ll be submitting that volunteer form.

Why would you recommend this program to others?          

Why not? What would you lose out on? Absolutely nothing.  I walked into this program thinking, well now I have something else to add to my overloaded plate.  I felt that pit of your stomach feeling, knowing that I’m going to be interacting with strangers…YIKES.  I hope I don’t let my mentor or cohort down.  Well let me tell you something.  You will be surprised by this program.  You walk in thinking it’s something and it’s the opposite. If you lack confidence, you will gain it.  If you want to build relationships, you will build them.  If you want to be more knowledgeable in our industry and leadership in general, you will learn and grow.  As soon as we had our first meeting in Billings, MT at RMASFAA, all those previous negative thoughts got shoved out the door.  Meeting my mentor and cohort laid a good foundation of what to expect.  It really made me excited for the coming year and what we all would be experiencing.  My only advice to you is this, if you have any hint of interest, don’t wait a year later like I did.  Grab the bull by the horn and dive right in.

 

Know Your State Delegates: Carissa Koerner (SD)


Koerner

Hey RMASFAA! My name is Carissa Koerner and I am currently serving as the President of SDASFAA, and by extension, the South Dakota State Delegate to RMASFAA.

I joined the world of financial aid just over 7 years ago when I moved to Sioux Falls, SD and started working at the University of Sioux Falls. My current position is Associate Director of Financial Aid. It is amazing to me how much I have grown professionally in the last 7 years and all the new people I have met thanks to financial aid.

One of the highlights of being in financial aid has been the many SDASFAA and RMASFAA activities I have had the chance to participate in, most notably all the conferences I have attended. I was part of RMASFAA’s Leadership Pipeline program in 2017-2018, which gave me a great opportunity for networking and learning more about leadership. It definitely contributed to my decision to run for president of my state association. Additionally, being a member of the RMASFAA board this past year has been a truly rewarding experience. In the future, I hope to teach at RMASFAA’s Summer Institute.

In the midst of our worldwide health crisis, it has been an interesting time to be serving in a leadership role. I am so thankful for all the members of SDASFAA and particularly my board members who have provided so much support and encouragement. Despite having to cancel our conference, our members are continuing to come together digitally to network and share ideas. It has once again shown me what an amazing profession we work in!

In my free time, I enjoy reading and movies, playing the piano or banjo, and walking or biking the wonderful bike path in Sioux Falls. I love being outside and even though I am anxious to be back in my office on campus, I have enjoyed the opportunity to do work while sitting on my deck!

These are my current co-workers, Alfie and Milo. They have been mostly sleeping on the job:

Koerner blk cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leadership Pipeline Mentee: Caroline Bitter


Caroline Bitter

Hey RMASFAA Peeps, My name is Caroline Bitter and I am the Assistant Director of Compliance and Training in the Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid at Salt Lake Community College.  I have been at SLCC for 4 years and have been in financial aid for 18 years.

I am from Utah but have not lived here all my life.  I have been lucky to be able to move around to different places, meet new people, and work and many different schools. I recently moved back to Utah and love being back home with my family and my miniature schnauzer.

I decided to join Leadership pipeline in hopes to further develop my leaderships skills. I also wanted to get more involved with different financial aid organizations to be able to create a support system and to be able to learn from others. I am exited to be apart of the pipeline this year and have learned a lot from my colleagues already. Looking forward to the next few months of the Leadership Pipeline. Stay Safe everyone!

How Do You COVID?


I asked and you responded!! Laughter is really the best kind of medicine.

You’ll find a short message from myself followed by our submissions. (Be sure to click each photo) Even more so if you’ve not been told recently – YOU ALL ARE AMAZING!! I know you’ve had to adapt, keep plugging away and keep up with the constant updates from both your campuses as well as the CARES Act. Most likely all the while you’ve had to share your workspace with your better half, kiddos at home and answering questions about Common Core math you have no clue about, and confusing your pets thinking you must of gotten laid off. It’s hard but someday we will all be back in our offices, students bustling about, and us looking forward to those stressful times of the year for a change.

Sadonia Lane, 19-20 RMASFAA Association News Chair

Last but not least – the one I’ve quoted over and over during this pandemic!

“It’s like a mullet. . . Business on top and party on the bottom. Dress the part on top for Zoom and sweats and slippers on bottom!!!”

~ statement by Janet Riis (MT)

For the younger generation, I’ve included a picture of a mullet for you                    courtesy of Joe Dirt. 😊

joedirt

Meet Whitney Asher – Pipeline Mentee


asher-whitney

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

                Hello!  My name is Whitney Asher and I am the Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Barton Community College in Great Bend, KS.  I’ve worked at Barton for 12+ years now and have actually worked in Higher Education for the past 17 years spending my first 5 years at Sterling College as an admissions representative and a small part in financial aid.

Why did you decide to join Leadership Pipeline?

The past 5 years I have been given a lot of opportunities for professional growth and development revolving around leadership.  I was a member of the inaugural leadership institute class here at Barton in 2016-17 and had the opportunity to then attend a state-wide leadership institute in 2017-18.  In May of 2018 I graduated with my Masters in Higher Education and Student Affairs and also began coordinating/facilitating Barton’s leadership institute.  These opportunities have been amazing!  However, I really wanted the opportunity to bring some of that training home with a more focused look at leadership in the world of financial aid.  So, I decided to pursue a place in this year’s Leadership Pipeline. 

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

                Connectedness is key in leadership.  You need to be in tune with those around you and you’ve got to be able to look at things with a broad view.  Getting to know our class so far and understanding the differences in our institutions – everything from differences in mission, culture, size and leadership – is eye opening and really helps you consider your own approach within your own office/institution. 

                By far the best thing is getting to know a group of people who are facing similar challenges and who are willing to share their experiences.  I’m certain the connection with this group will not end when our year in Pipeline concludes. 

What is it that you are hoping to gain at the end of the program?  Personal goal?  Skill set?

My personal goal by participating in this program is really to get more connected and involved at the state and regional levels of our organizations.  I love knowing more people in the FA world that I can reach out to and lean on for guidance.  I have an amazing mentor in my position here at Barton, however I loved the idea of being paired with a mentor from a different state and institution.  Once again, it really comes back to relationships and connectedness for me.

Why would you recommend this program to others?

                I feel like we are still early in our Leadership Pipeline journey, but I can already say that I would recommend this for anyone looking to take that next step in their own professional development.  Taking a step outside of your comfort zone to do some self-reflection and participating in the group discussions is a great way to both learn about yourself and expand your knowledge of financial aid. 

Summer Institute Update


Live Long and Prosper

Greetings RMASFAA:

Is Space the Final Frontier?

It may not be. We have reached into some interesting landscape these past few weeks with a peak (or low) likely still to come before we reach what may be a new normal. COVID-19 is bringing a new set of challenges in personal health and along with it, travel and venue restrictions. Along with the campus decisions that are occurring across the country, RMASFAA is keenly aware of how this interacts with the goals of the association. As you can imagine, state conferences face that first hurdle of hard decision on whether to continue with a conference or not. Strong desire will be subject to restricted travel for many as attendee and presenters face challenges of now making it to the conferences. Additionally, as venues also making decisions to remain open or not, we face a possibility of the Summer Institute not having a location that will remain open or that will be able to accommodate decisions that will most likely be made over these next few weeks.

As of now, Summer Institute is not cancelled but we are suggesting (not requiring) that you postpone making travel arrangements to Colorado.  RMASFAA leadership is monitoring things closely and will be back in touch when we know more. We appreciate the need to be cost sensitive but also want to be proactive in your commitments. Care for the membership includes knowing your need to be reactive to campus mandates and how those will impact association events.

Be well.

James Broscheit

RMASFAA President 2019/20

Meet the “Face of the U” – Pipeline Mentee


Marc

Hello RMASFAA! My name is Marc Gangwer. I am the Assistant Director in the Operations area at the University of Utah. I have been with the University for close to nine years.

I was born and raised in a small city called Farr West and moved to the Salt Lake valley 11 years ago. I have 3 siblings and 12 nieces and nephews (10 nephews, 2 nieces). My have a wonderful cat. His name is Princess Meow Meow.

I think like most people I ‘fell’ into the world of financial aid. I was needing to go back to school and find a new career. There was a post for a financial aid advisor and I thought, “Well, I think I could do that.” So, I went for it and fortunately got it!!

Once I started working in the financial aid office, I still just thought it would be a temporary job. Then I started to get more involved and learned more about the ins and outs of federal aid, helping students navigate the process and be able to finish their degrees. After that, needless to say, I was hooked. I haven’t looked back and have enjoyed every step of the way.

During my reign I have been infectiously nicknamed ‘The Face of the University’. I believe that a positive outlook and a smile on your face can change someone’s day. I have held the position of advisor, counselor and as I mentioned Assistant Director. In these roles I have been fortunate to learn many aspects of federal financial aid, problem solving and structure to your area.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the Leadership Pipeline this year. I have been wanting to apply for the course for years and finally was able to have to opportunity to do so this year. I have seen a few people come out of the program with more knowledge and better ideas of leadership and how to be a great leader in the world of financial aid.

I believe that cultivating great leaders is important within our financial aid community. Leadership development is truly important. I have had the opportunity to learn from different leaders within the University and throughout our divisions. They have helped cultivate my need to learn and develop new leadership skills. If it was from additional responsibilities, being crossed trained or being sent to RMASFAA Summer Institute to have a week intensive of Title IV funding. I am excited to be like a sponge and “Soak it up” when it comes to this Leadership Pipeline course.

I am excited to get the views from all of the mentees and mentors during our year in this course and to strive to become a better leader. I hope when RMASFAA comes around again next year in Nebraska that I am able to meet more of you! Happy 2020. I hope this year brings much success throughout the financial aid offices and through campuses near and far. Cheers!

Action Required!


The new website https://rmasfaa.org/ has been live for a little over a month now.  While many of you have already taken the time to login, we still have many members that have not. This may be for several reasons. You just haven’t had the time to login, you may have forgotten, or you haven’t received the welcome email.

Sara Vancil our chair for the electronic initiatives committee sent out the first welcome email on December 5th. We have been tracking bounced emails and the number of members that have done an initial login, since that first email.  We have made several attempts to communicate with as many members as possible to ensure that everyone has access to the new website. We have learned that some members may not be receiving emails at all, while others have the emails ending up in their junk/spam folders. We asking that add webmaster@rmasfaa.org email to your contact list and also GroupMessaging@viethconsulting.com too.

Please contact me at dingesd@milescc.edu, if you haven’t received the Welcome email, I will check to see if your email is on the bounced list for some reason, otherwise I will resend the Welcome email. You may need to have your IT department add the IP address 67.227.157.221 to ensure that emails are getting through. If you are the primary and you didn’t receive the email for renewal notification, let me know and I can resend that email as well.

 

Danielle Dinges

Membership Committee Chair