Monday, January 25, 2016

Leadership Spotlight - Krissy Bhaumik

Name, Job Title, School, State, MASFAA Position, Description of your position
Krissy Bhaumik, Assistant Director for Special Programs in the Office of Financial Aid
University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid
State Representative, Michigan – As the state president (elect) for MSFAA (Michigan Student Financial Aid Association), I represent Michigan on the MASFAA board.  State presidents support MASFAA by sharing information between the state and regional associations, to the benefit of both.

How did you get started in financial aid?
As a poor student in London, England, I was looking for work anywhere I could find it to help pay the bills.  I ended up working for the Director of Financial Aid at my small international college.  I spent a year working part time there and ended up as acting aid director (while still a student!) when my boss took a leave of absence during the summer.  I then spent a few years in Montreal studying Literature and attempting to stay as far away from financial aid as possible.  To no one’s surprise but my own, I was unsuccessful in obtaining work with my Literature degrees when I moved back to the US in 2005.  Since my soon-to-be husband did not yet have permission to work in the US, I began looking for employment where I had the greatest experience.  Fortunately, the University of Michigan Office of Financial Aid took me in and gave me a home.  I have never left!

How did you first become involved in your state and regional associations?
Some incredible mentors were responsible for getting me involved in these associations and keeping me engaged.  Sometimes they encouraged me to volunteer with the associations, sometimes they “volun-told” me how I could be involved, but in all cases they inspired me to embrace these professional associations as vehicles for professional and personal development.  Leadership trainings, new aid professional trainings and conference presentations were activities that I enjoyed the most, early in my involvement.  Meeting people through those events ultimately resulted in my being asked to participate on Michigan’s executive board.  My participation on that board and my election to president of MSFAA has led to my position on the MASFAA board.

Why were you interested in a MASFAA leadership role?
I am deeply appreciative to Michigan’s financial aid community for electing me to be their president and through that position I hope to represent the state well on MASFAA’s board.  I enjoy pulling back the figurative curtain to see how business gets done and am looking forward to participating in the association leadership process with MASFAA.  I have to admit, though, I’m still a little star-struck.  I look around the MASFAA board table and see financial aid rock stars.  More than anything else, I’m interested to learn from them in this leadership role.

What advice do you have for someone new to financial aid?
Embrace every opportunity to be involved.  Whether it is small, like writing a blog post, or big like volunteering to chair a committee, I encourage all new aid officers to say “yes” to at least one opportunity in their state or in MASFAA to volunteer this year.  And next year, I encourage them to say yes to one more.   Those of us who have said yes, have rarely regretted it and have always learned from it.

What do you enjoy doing when you are outside the aid office?
I have a three-year-old daughter so at this point in my life I enjoy sleep…preferably when I am outside the aid office.  I also teach a course on student financial savvy at the University of Michigan and I love my time in the classroom with the students.  At less chaotic times in my life, I have enjoyed travel (I’ve called 4 countries “home”), good books (my degrees are in literature), good food (eating, not cooking) and good friends (I friends living in over a dozen countries worldwide). 

Final thoughts?
“Behind every success is effort… Behind every effort is passion… Behind every passion is someone with the courage to try.”  - unknown (emphasis mine)

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