The first week of June I had the pleasure of attending the MASFAA Summer Institute in Indianapolis. Although this was my first Summer Institute (SI), I was there as a faculty member. SI was hosted by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, which is a short walk or drive northwest of downtown Indianapolis. (From what I gathered, people associated with IUPUI don’t like it when you refer to their school as “ou-ee poo-ee.”)
My journey to Indianapolis began in November 2014… at lunch… at the Fall WASFAA Conference in Appleton. I sat next to Karla Weber from UW-Madison, who happened to be a chair for SI. She asked me if I was interested in teaching at SI and—without much hesitation—I said, “sure!” First lesson learned: be careful who you sit next to at lunch during a conference. Or, better yet, be intentional with who you sit next to. Conferences are a great opportunity to network and make connections, which will lead to new opportunities. I’m grateful that Karla asked me about SI and that I said yes.
Financial aid is an amazingly diverse and rewarding profession. I feel fortunate that MASFAA SI provided me with an opportunity to get in front of a classroom and teach (I missed my calling as a math teacher). SI gave me a reason to step back, retrain, retool, network, and do something completely different than my normal routine by teaching in a classroom.