Monday, February 6, 2017

Firsthand accounts of how awesome Summer Institute and the Leadership Symposium are!

MASFAA Summer Institute gave me an experience beyond my expectations. It was like a Financial Aid 101 Intensive and I LOVED every minute of it. My goals were to meet as many people as possible, collect as many business cards as I could and to leave without any of my own. I wanted to learn and generate as many relationships as possible AND I did! I also unexpectedly received the Haywood Legacy Scholarship as a result of my goals to learn, connect and have fun which paid for my attendance at the 2016 Fall MASFAA Conference. I was speechless. The Summer Institute expanded my understanding of the Financial Aid world on the local, state and national levels. My mind was blown to realize the various ways you can have an impact on the future of financial aid through your participation in our local, state and national financial aid associations.

The things I learned…

I learned that though there are concretes and certain non-negotiables within the realm of financial aid, there are also so many ways to come up with the same result to best serve our students. I learned that depending on the school and population that processes and procedures may be different from another school.

I learned that I can always reach out to a colleague from another institution because we’re not in competition, we’re in partnership for the greater good of financial aid as a whole.

How much fun I had…

I am truly thankful for the thoughtful evening events that made me step out and enjoy the company of my peers after a long day of learning. I had so much fun not only experiencing this new place, but new experiences with people I would’ve otherwise never had such an experience with. It was like experiencing the best parts of college all over again; learning, growth and friendships.

People I met/relationships made…

I have at least 30 business cards from people I’ve emailed at least once. When events come up, I reach out to them to see if they’ll be there so we can catch up with one another. The great thing is…now if I’m anywhere in the Midwest other than Michigan, I have a colleague in the area I can reach out to.

Credentials I earned…

I walked away with the knowledge to achieve all 12 credentials and managed to complete two more! Now I have 14 credentials and a year ago, I didn’t even know there were such a thing.

 This post was submitted by Felicia Drayton, Senior Financial Aid Administrator, University of Michigan 

I had the pleasure of attending the MASFAA Leadership Symposium this past year at Illinois State. From start to finish, it was a great event. This year was the first time that the leadership symposium and summer institute began simultaneously, which allowed those on both tracks to get to know one another and interact. (That will continue this year, too!) I learned so much from the faculty at the LS, from mission development to getting a seat at the table and making sure the voice of the financial aid office is heard on campus. Each day was filled with intense learning (followed by a lot of fun in the evening!). Every state in our region was represented, as well as every sector, which I was really thankful for since it provided insight into issues that I don’t always have to think about. Our group really bonded during the week and I now have a cadre of highly skilled friends and professionals whom I can call on when I need advice or a sounding board. Having a great group to learn from and with was the icing on the cake that was the MASFAA leadership symposium! I’m excited to return to the symposium this year as a summer institute faculty member, and I hope to see MASFAA take over the Illinois State campus this summer!

This post was submitted by Aesha Williams, Assistant Director, Illinois Institute of Technology

 More information will be available soon for the 2017 Summer Institute and Leadership Symposium! Please consider participating!

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