(by Kristi Fuller, Iowa Representative)
During the last week of January, I was privileged to be able to attend the ISFAA (Indiana Student Financial Aid Association) Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of the MASFAA State Exchange program. The theme of the conference “Sailing Away the Winter Blues” was a reminder of warmer and sunny days to come, especially during these cold and blustery days of winter. The best part was being able to return to Des Moines before we received our foot of snow!
Everyone in ISFAA was very welcoming and made me feel right at home as if I was still in Iowa! From the welcome at the airport when I arrived, to my departure from the hotel, I was always welcomed into every activity and session. I was also excited to catch up with MASFAA members from Indiana I had met at the MASFAA Leadership Symposium last year in Columbus, Ohio.
This experience reminded me of how it feels to be a newcomer at a conference and that we must always help out our newer financial aid professionals. The Indiana members were so very kind and went out of their way to introduce themselves to me and make me feel included. I found that one ISFAA member had been a mentor to a current student at Drake University, where I work, while the student had been in high school. Another member had raised her family in Iowa in the same county where I live. Some even knew a former Drake employee or two! What a fun reminder of Iowa while being in Indiana!
Being able to attend another state’s conference was a wonderful experience. Indiana President, Debbie Schumm and her Executive Board were so fun to get to know and learn from. I was able to bring back some ideas of different ways to do things, but was also reminded that no matter where we live, we all have the same rules and regulations to follow, and the same desire to help student’s fulfill their dreams of a higher education.
Thank you ISFAA for your gracious welcome and I hope to see some of you in October here in Iowa!