Phil is the director of financial aid at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL. He has worked in the financial aid profession since 1991 and has been a director since 1998. His extensive background includes work at various institution types, where he has helped with implementation of the two most prevalent student information systems. He has been a lead negotiator in negotiated rulemaking and has conducted many presentations locally and nationally related to the financial aid profession. Phil has been providing consulting services since 2000 through the NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program and other endeavors.
Sarah is the director of operations at Gonzaga University and has worked in financial aid since 2006. She has been highly involved in the Washington Financial Aid Association (WFAA) and the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA) in both training and leadership capacities. With a knack for problem solving, she has a track record of leveraging technology to improve processes and service to students. Sarah has been a NASFAA Standards of Excellence (SOE) peer reviewer since 2014.
Pam Fowler is the former executive director of financial aid at the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and was the NASFAA national ahair for 2011-2012. Pam has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in financial aid administration, having also served in senior financial aid management at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and Ivy Tech State College. She has been active at the state, regional, and national levels in a wide range of advocacy roles, and has published several articles in the NASFAA Student Aid Transcript. A former MASFAA president, her MASFAA recognitions include having been honored with the Purdy Distinguished Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award. NASFAA recognized Pam's service with their Regional Leadership Award, Meritorious Achievement and Distinguished Service Awards. She has also been an active member of the College Board, the National Direct Student Loan Coalition, former national chair of the Coalition of State University Aid Administrators, and has served as a trainer and a negotiator for the U.S. Department of Education. Pam brings a passion for the support of need-based financial aid, and has an inclusive outlook in her service to NASFAA as she tours the various regions and identifies ways to support various types of institutions in managing the administration of financial aid.
Brian is the lead financial aid counselor for the University of Central Oklahoma and has been in higher education since 2007. With experience at public 2-year, public 4-year, and private 4-year institutions, he has helped schools through federal program reviews, document imaging software integrations, policy and procedure updates, and major restructuring initiatives. He also has hands-on experience in verification, return to Title IV funds, professional judgment, customer service and outreach. He loves working in financial aid because there is nothing more rewarding in higher education than watching students he has helped along the way graduate.
Cynthia has worked in financial aid since 1998. She is currently serving as the assistant vice president of student financial services at Columbia College Chicago and has worked in student financial services at both private and public institutions. In addition to comprehensive knowledge of financial aid and bursar operations, she also has expertise related to veteran benefits, scholarship strategy, one-stop service models, and change management. Cynthia earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership and organizational change from Roosevelt University, a master's degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University, and also a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Indiana University. She is a Certified Financial Aid Administrator®. Cynthia serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Student Financial Aid, and as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission. She also serves as a strategic advisory board member for Othot.
Anya is a motivational educator with extensive experience working in enrollment management and student affairs since 2005. She is the founder of the Center for Financial Independence and a former director of student financial literacy at Northeastern University. She is adept at personnel, program, and technological engagement with exceptional interpersonal, communications, and cross-functional team-building skills. Anya is a current candidate for a doctorate degree in higher education administration degree (research and dissertation topic: collegiate financial literacy) and holds an MBA as well as a master's degree in organizational and corporate communication from Northeastern University.
Doug is currently the director of financial aid at Macomb Community College, and began in financial aid in 1993. He has served on the NASFAA Board of Directors and several NASFAA committees and task forces, along with holding several leadership roles in his state and regional association. Doug is nationally recognized for his expertise in effectively leveraging a variety of technologies in the financial aid office and has led the successful integration of high-quality service and ongoing process innovation/improvement throughout his career. He has been a peer reviewer and team leader with NASFAA's Standards of Excellence Review Program since 2000.
Rachna has worked in financial aid since 1998. She brings with her multi-faceted experience and expertise in Title IV regulation interpretation and implementation. She has managed financial aid and Title IV compliance in a multi-state, multi-institutional proprietary school environment and has extensive experience in program reviews, staff development, audit management, training programs, and technology implementation. She holds a Certified Compliance & Ethics Professional (CCEP)® , which certifies her knowledge of relevant regulations and expertise in compliance processes sufficient to assist organizations in understanding and addressing legal obligations, and promote organizational integrity through the operation of effective compliance programs.
Jerry has worked in higher education since 2001 and in financial aid since 2003. He has been a director of financial aid at multiple institutions and has extensive experience as a financial aid consultant working with over 60 schools nationwide. Jerry understands that each institution is unique and brings comprehensive knowledge of business process reviews and analysis, ERP implementations, financial aid leveraging, policy implementation, leveraging of technology and recommendations of industry best practices. In addition to financial aid, he has multifaceted experience of bursar operations, admission operations, recruitment, and enrollment services. He has also been an active leader and participant in professional associations at the state and regional level (CAFAA and RMASFAA).
Dawn has over 30 years of financial aid experience at four-year public and non-profit universities, community colleges, and for-profit institutions. She has served as director of financial aid for 25 years at schools with a single financial aid office and others with several financial aid offices and dozens of locations. She has led and participated system implementations and successfully navigated colleges through program reviews on multiple occasions. Dawn served as a federal negotiator in 2000 and 2002 and has extensive volunteer leadership, training, and advocacy experience at multiple state and regional financial aid associations. Her leadership of a multi-regional association team resulted in receiving NASFAA's Gold Star Award in 2012 for advocacy work.
Sandy has over 30 years of financial aid experience at public, private and for-profit institutions. Sandy started her career in financial aid as a work-study student and worked her way up through the ranks to hold positions has the front-line customer service representative, assistant director for scholarships and training, associate director, and director. She has a passion for training and developing policy and procedures and has served as a mentor to many colleagues in Kentucky and in the SASFAA region. Sandy has been an active leader and participant in professional association activities and advocacy efforts at the state, regional and national level.
Tim is currently the director of financial aid at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in financial aid since 1990. He is a Certified Financial Aid Administrator® and has earned all 17 NASFAA credentials. He has worked at five different institutions and has experience working in both the public and private sectors. He has working knowledge of multiple computer systems. Tim has been peer reviewer for the Standards of Excellence (SOE) program since 2004 and has been on over forty different review teams, which visited various types of institutions across the country. He has also been through two federal program reviews at different large complex public institutions since 2012. Tim worked extensively with staff from the U.S. Department of Education during his leadership of the financial aid functional team for the University of Wisconsin System as they integrated their two and four-year campuses.
Myrna is director of financial aid at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas. She has worked in financial aid since 1992 and has been a peer reviewer with NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program since 2000. Myrna is also chief accreditation officer and accreditation liaison officer at Barton as well as an accreditation peer reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission. Myrna has also been the associate dean of student services overseeing not only financial aid but also admissions and enrollment services. Myrna earned a bachelor's degree in English from Kansas State University and a master's degree in higher education administration with an emphasis in post- secondary education from Fort Hays State University. She has also earned five NASFAA credentials.
Joe has been engaged in student financial aid administration since 2004, first as a financial aid administrator, then a financial aid director, followed by four years as a senior institutional review specialist at the U.S. Department of Education. Following his time at the Department, Joe worked as a senior director for a large school group, an eligibility and awarding manager, and currently as a senior regulatory analyst for Adtalem Global Education. Joe also served on the NASFAA Negotiated Rulemaking Task Force in 2018-19 to assist NASFAA staff and negotiators during the Program Integrity and Improvement negotiated rulemaking sessions, which focused on cash management, state authorization, and adverse credit for PLUS loans, among other topics. During his time at the Department, Joe assisted in building direct loan origination functionality within COD for foreign schools participating in the Title IV programs for their American student population.
Nick Prewett has worked in financial aid since 2002. He is a Certified Financial Aid Administrator® and has earned all 17 NASFAA credentials. He has been very involved in state, regional and national financial aid associations including the NASFAA board of directors and as MASFAA president. He believes that through training financial aid administrators he can help reduce barriers for students pursuing higher education.
Alison is the director of financial aid at Johns Hopkins University. She has worked in financial aid since 1989 in both public and private universities and has been active at the national, regional, and state level. She has served on the financial aid planning committee for the Consortium on Financing Higher Education and chaired the College Board's Financial Aid Standards and Services Committee (FASSAC), their primary financial aid advisory team. Alison has been a member of NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) team since 2015 and serves as a Team Leader and Consumer Information Assessment Leader.
Morgan began working in financial aid in 2005 and currently serves as the associate director for operations at the University of Oregon where she leverages systems and technology to increase efficiency, ensure compliance, and improve the financial aid experience for staff and students alike. Morgan served as the committee chair for Ellucian's Community Source Initiative for five years and has been a peer reviewer for NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program since 2015. She loves puzzles, problem solving, and process improvement, which makes financial aid a perfect fit. Morgan holds a bachelor of arts in wilderness leadership and experiential education from Brevard College, and a master of science in therapeutic recreation from Oklahoma State University.
Ben started in higher education in 1991 and has experience in financial aid and admissions administration. He currently serves as the associate director for policy and training at the University of California, Irvine, where he is responsible for developing financial aid policies and procedures, ensuring compliance with all federal, state, and university regulations, and conducting training on office policies and procedures. He is also responsible for policy and compliance oversight for UCI's three professional schools (law, medicine, and the graduate school of business). He earned a doctorate in educational leadership from UC San Diego/Cal State San Marcos and a master's of education in college student personnel services from the University of Southern California.
David has been a financial aid professional for over 30 years and has also managed other functional areas such as registrar, admissions, bursar, and new student orientation. He is currently the director of financial aid at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, a position he has held since 2011. He has broad experience in enrollment management strategies, policies and procedures, staff training, regulatory compliance, and other aspects of financial aid administration and has served as a mentor to many colleagues. David has been an active leader and participant in professional association activities and advocacy efforts at the state, regional and national level, including as a federal negotiator, a member of the Higher Education Committee of 50, and a trainer and contributing author for the enrollment management track at the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo. David was a 2020 recipient of NASFAA's Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award.
Emily is currently the senior financial aid director at the South Texas College of Law-Houston. As a 30-year veteran in financial aid, she strives to effectively and efficiently administer aid using best practices, specializing in office efficiency and workflow design. She has used Ellucian Banner software for over 20 years and presented at the 2019 ELive conference. She is an expert in student loan borrower-based processing, strategic planning, data analysis, report design, automation, and cost reduction.
Mary Sommers is currently the director of financial aid at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has been working in financial aid since 1989 at both public and private institutions. Prior to starting at UNK she was the director of financial Aid at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, MT. Active in NASFAA, Mary has been a member of the Board of Directors and was the inaugural chair of the NASFAA Ethics Commission. She is the proud recipient of the NASFAA Meritorious Achievement Award in 2012. Currently she is working with the compliance track for the NASFAA Leadership Conference. Mary has served as a state and regional president of NeASFAA and RMASFAA respectively. Mary's enjoys helping colleagues with policies and procedures, scholarship management and navigating campus politics.
JoEllen Soucier currently serves as the executive director of financial aid at Houston Community College, which is made up of over 70,000 students across 20 campuses. She has over 30 years of experience working for five colleges and universities in four states and consulted with colleges and universities throughout the United States. Positions held include executive director of student financial programs, assistant vice president of enrollment management overseeing admissions, financial aid, and marketing, director of financial aid, interim director of institutional research, and registrar. JoEllen also served as the vice president of operations for full-service financial aid consulting company working with over 50 colleges and universities providing a variety of consulting and remote processing services. She holds a bachelor's degree in business from Franklin Pierce University, an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University, a master's degree in information systems with a concentration in database design from Southern New Hampshire University, and is pursuing a doctorate degree in higher education from Northeastern University.
Sam is the associate dean of college enrollment and director of financial aid at the University of Rochester. Sam has worked in the financial aid profession since 1992, previously serving as director of financial aid at Syracuse University, Nazareth College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges and as a senior consultant at Scannell & Kurz, Inc. Over the years, she has been actively engaged in state, regional, and national professional organizations including NYSFAAA, EASFAA and the College Board CSS/Financial Aid Assembly Council. Sam is the recipient of the NYSFAAA Citation of Appreciation, NYSFAAA Sister Bernadine Hayes and Rusty Hopkins Service Award, the NYSFAAA Region III Service Award, College Board Middle States Bernard P. Ireland Award, and the EASFAA Leadership Award.
Robert David (Bob) Walker has over 20 years of experience as a financial aid director at the community college and the public university levels. He also is a certified public accountant and prior to entering the student financial aid profession, performed A-133 audits of governmental entities, including college Title IV programs. He has been through a Banner conversion and has 20 years of functional Banner experience. Bob was awarded the Jack Woodward Award of Excellence in 2015 by the Mississippi Association of School Financial Aid Administrators for excellence in leadership, knowledge, expertise, cooperation, professionalism, commitment, service, and involvement. He considers himself a lifetime learner and regularly attends Federal Student Aid, NASFAA, and state association training events and conferences in addition to meeting annual continuing education requirements to renew his CPA License.
Jim currently serves as dean of student financial services at Gonzaga University where he supervises financial aid, student accounts, student employment and campus card services. He has previously served in roles as the director of financial aid, director of student financial services, and associate provost for enrollment management. Jim has also served as a NASFAA Standards of Excellence (SOE) Peer Reviewer since 2009.