Q. How did you first learn about SCASFAA? Did a coworker or supervisor tell you about the association, or did you learn about it on your own?
A. I first learned of SCASFAA from my supervisor, Bob Godfrey, and Director, Dr. Ed Miller.
Q. Who or what encouraged you to first become a member of SCASFAA? Do you remember what your first association activity was?
A. Bob Godfrey and Dr. Ed Miller encouraged me to get involved in SCASFAA when I first joined the USC-Columbia Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships in 2001. My first association activity was the Fall 2001 SCASFAA Conference. It was an incredible experience, and one that inspired me to learn more about the aid profession, which I had just joined.
Q. Tell us about your volunteer roles in the association; which committees have you served on, and what positions have you held on the Executive Board? What made you decide to become a more involved member?
A. I have served on numerous SCASFAA committees, including the Electronic Services Committee, Legislative Relations Committee, Budget Committee, and Peer Mentor network. I was fortunate to serve as Chair of the Electronic Services Committee and Chair of the Legislative Relations Committee.
Q. How has your involvement as an active SCASFAA member and volunteer benefited your career? Would you say your service as a leader within the association has helped promote your success in the financial aid profession?
A. Active involvement in SCASFAA was critical for me to gain a “big picture” perspective on the aid profession, aid administration in South Carolina, and the many opportunities we enjoy and challenges we face as aid administrators. Serving as a leader in the association contributed greatly to my professional growth and development, as I learned from many leaders in the aid profession and made many friends along the way. A network of fellow aid administrators is invaluable to success in aid administration and leadership.
Q. As the Director of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at the state’s largest higher education institution, how have you incorporated your involvement with SCASFAA or lessons learned from SCASFAA into your managerial routine? Besides being a member and attending the conference, how does your involvement in SCASFAA benefit you as a leader in your office?
A. I learned much from the present and past leaders of SCASFAA. I incorporate many of those lessons in my everyday management and leadership efforts. Involvement in SCASFAA continues to provide me with many different perspectives of aid administration, which in turn helps me share such multi-faceted “takes” on current aid-related issues. It’s important that leaders in aid administration understand and effectively share the impact of aid-related issues on their home institution, as well as the impact on other institutions, lenders, government agencies, and other entities involved in aid administration.
Q. In your role as Director, how do you make sure staff understands the benefits of SCASFAA membership, training, and professional development opportunities? Do you encourage (or require) your staff to become members of the association? How do you encourage your staff to become more involved through volunteering?
A. SCASFAA membership is afforded to all professional staff members employed by the USC-Columbia Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. In addition, active participation in SCASFAA activities and opportunities is highly encouraged, including conference attendance, presentations, and involvement in SCASFAA professional development and leadership opportunities. Staff are encouraged to volunteer for committees when completing their SCASFAA membership or renewal application.
Q. Some managers may not understand the value of association involvement (whether it is with SCASFAA or other associations). Do you think this keeps their employees from volunteering and/or becoming members of SCASFAA? If so, how would you encourage those in a leadership position to take a second look at the value of association membership and involvement?
A. Employees look to leaders for professional priorities. If leadership does not promote value in an association, employees may not see value in that association. I would encourage leaders to consider the many benefits of association membership and participation. In most aid offices, employees are the most valuable part of the equation for success. Involvement in professional associations can help those employees grow and develop professionally. They may also find additional reward in their work, as they continue to grow in the profession, but do so alongside others who share their opportunities and challenges. Financial aid administration is challenging and ever-changing. A network of fellow aid professionals is valuable in meeting these consistent demands.
Q. What suggestions do you have for our newer members, or those who have never volunteered, for making SCASFAA more personally and professionally valuable to them?
A. Each member should help make SCASFAA work for them, by participating in those opportunities that appeal to them as a professional and taking a few chances to get out of their comfort zone and try new things. After all, the aid community is a tight-knit group who are always willing to lend support and encouragement!
Q. Anything else you would like to share?
A. Throughout my career in aid, SCASFAA has been a consistent source of support, encouragement, and growth. With each passing year, I continue to learn, grow and develop. I greatly value the many lessons I have learned as a member of SCASFAA, and the many wonderful people I have met as part of the SCASFAA family.
For more information about how you can become involved with SCASFAA, check out our Volunteer Opportunities page or visit the
SCASFAA Involvement Opportunities booth at the 2017-2018 Annual Conference in Hilton Head!