2011-2012 Award Recipients

Outgoing NASFAA Chair Pam Fowler presented awards to some of NASFAA’s most distinguished members and colleagues at the NASFAA 2012 Conference Awards Luncheon in Chicago.

Committee of the Year

This year, two NASFAA committees were honored with the coveted title of Committee of the Year: The Access & Diversity Committee and the Training & Professional Development Committee. Congratulations to the hard-working members (listed below) of both committees!

Access & Diversity 

  • Youlonda Morgan-Copeland, Syracuse University (Committee Chair)
  • Brenda Brown, University of Miami School of Law
  • Georgette DeVeres, Claremont McKenna College 
  • William Shaffner, MOHELA
  • Nathan Stratton, United Tribes Technical College
  • Ernestine Whiting, Walden University 
  • Zina Haywood, Gateway Technical College
  • Haley Chitty, NASFAA
  • Jennifer Martin, NASFAA
  • Ken McGhee, NASFAA
Training & Professional Development 
  • Heather Boutell, Bellarmine University (Committee Chair)
  • Heidi Granger, California Lutheran University
  • Philip Hawkins, Kennesaw State University
  • Susan Howard, Antioch University
  • Cristi Millard, Salt Lake Community College
  • Taina Savoit, McNeese State University
  • Kaye Widney, West Virginia University
  • Jennifer Martin, NASFAA  
  • Connie McCormick, NASFAA  
  • Eunice Powell, NASFAA

The Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award

Dan Madzelan, a consistent voice of reason at the U.S. Department of Education, received the Allan W. Purdy Distinguished Service Award, one of the highest awards that NASFAA bestows. 

“Over his impressive career, Dan earned the respect of the higher education community by going out of his way to listen and understand higher education institutions’ concerns,” Fowler said. “His refreshing frankness earned him a reputation for being open, honest and fair.”

Madzelan joined the Office of Education in 1978, working in the Bureau of Student Financial Assistance – the predecessor of the Office of Federal Student Aid. He saw the creation of the U.S. Department of Education during the Carter administration. He has since served six presidents and nine education secretaries. He has been responsible for $145 billion in grant, work-study and loan assistance to 14 million postsecondary education students and their families. He has also developed the department’s annual budget request for student financial aid, served as the liaison between the Department and the higher education community and performed research to guide policy and much more.

“While political appointees like the secretary are the most prominent figures at the Department, it is career staff – like Dan – who provide the expertise needed to implement policies of different administrations with widely varying priorities,” Fowler said.

Golden Quill Award

Dr. David Feldman received the Robert P. Huff Golden Quill Award for his numerous important contributions to our knowledge of the complex issues surrounding college costs.  

The award is named in honor of Bob Huff, former director of financial aid at Stanford University and himself an outstanding contributor to the scholarly literature on student aid.  Bob received the first Golden Quill Award in 1984.

Feldman is chair of the economics department and professor of public policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. His current research examines theoretical and policy questions in the economics of higher education.  A major publication, Why Does College Cost so Much?, which was co-authored with Robert B. Archibald through Oxford University Press, received widespread national attention. The book examines the economic forces driving college cost and tuition setting, and how these forces impact access to higher education.  

Feldman also hosts a blog with the same title, Why does College Cost so Much, expanding on the book further by discussing current college cost issues and has contributed to NASFAA’s Student Aid Perspectives article series, on the topic “Myths and Realities about Rising College Tuition.” 

Meritorious Achievement Award

University of Nebraska at Kearney Director of Financial Aid Mary Sommers has been a NASFAA Delegate-At-Large, on the Board of Directors, chaired and participated on multiple NASFAA committees, been a State and Regional President, Chair of the RMASFAA Leadership Pipeline, Chair of the NeASFAA Leadership Pipeline, Summer Institute Chair and a trainer and presenter at many conferences.

Mary has been an outstanding leader at the state, regional and national level. At the state level, she has set a bar for leadership and service to which other members can aspire. At the regional level, she reinvigorated a key program that was sure to lapse had it not been for her determination and leadership. 

Lifetime Membership

Lifetime membership is the highest award that NASFAA can bestow on one of its members or an individual who is affiliated with a member organization. This year, Fowler honored two members with the award.

Described as a “rock star” among Ohio State University students and faculty, Natala “Tally” Hart is an outstanding, distinguished and successful champion of college access and success efforts in the country.   With over 30 years in the profession, she has worked in financial-aid at the College Board, the University of California, San Diego, Purdue University, Indiana State Scholarship and Loan Commission, IUPUI and Indiana University, before rounding out her career at the Ohio State University.

She co-founded College Goal Sunday, has testified before Congress and has conducted research on low-income first generation students that has guided policy. Tally’s abilities, accomplishments and passion honor her institution, state and the nation. An American flag was flown over the U. S. Capitol in Tally’s honor.   She has received numerous other awards and honors including NASFAA’s Meritorious Achievement award.

Upon his selection as a “King of Queens” in 2011, Joe Sciame said “I think the things that have served me well in my career are both patience and listening, and you have to let people know you care.” 

Sciame has been a part of New York’s St. John’s University in since 1958, initially as a student.  After graduating in 1962, he administered financial aid, first as director then progressing to roles as a dean and vice-president.  Currently he serves as Vice President for Community Relations.  Sciame has been a part of the St. Johns community for a total of 44 years, 50 of those as a leader and leading administrator.

Sciame has served as the president of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association from 1980-82.  The Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators elected him as president 1986-87 and then bestowed Lifetime Membership on him in May 1995.  In 1987, he was elected the first National Chair of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Gold Star Awards: 

Fowler announced three recipients and one honorable mention of the Gold Star Award, which recognizes innovative ideas in the financial aid arena:

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at the University of California, Santa Barbara developed an online FAFSA tutorial titled “Seven Easy Steps to the FAFSA, A Student’s Guide to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.” The tool was developed to simplify the FAFSA application process for the students that have access to this tutorial and to reduce the overall workload at the university’s financial aid office, thus saving the institution valuable time and resources. 

The North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA) was one of the first financial aid organizations to focus on the role of aid administrators with our returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.   The association created the NCASFAA Veteran’s Task Force to keep the members aware of any re-entry issues veterans might face entering the higher education environment. 

The goal “Associations Collaborating for Advocacy on the Hill” submitted jointly by EASFAA, SASFAA and the Tri-State association representing Washington DC, Delaware, and Maryland, was to establish relationships with Legislative Aides from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Sub-Committee on Education & Labor. The document highlights several key topics affecting Title IV Financial Aid, and to provide professional development to our participants.

Honorable Mention: The goal of the “Michigan Legislative Training and Capitol Visits” project, submitted by the Michigan Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, was to educate members of the Michigan Legislature about the financial aid process and the extent of all the types of aid students in the state receive as well as to educate financial aid administrators about the legislative process and how to effectively advocate for financial aid support for students.

Regional Leadership Awards

The individuals selected for this award exhibited high integrity and character, showing creative leadership and inspiring and encouraging others to actively participate in professional development.  


Robert Shorb has been in the financial aid profession for over 30 years as an aid administrator, volunteer, leader, mentor, historian, advisor and representative at the state, regional and national levels. He has contributed significantly to the financial aid profession and is thought of as a leader, mentor and ambassador to his colleagues.


JoAnn Ross has served the financial aid profession as a president of the West Virginia Association, vice president and delegate-at-large for MASFAA, representative for the Michigan association and served and chaired numerous committees to contribute her breadth of knowledge to the profession. 


Lisanne Masterson has been a leader in the financial aid profession for over 20 years on the state, region and national level. She has served on NASFAA’s Board of Directors and its committees, as SASFAA president, NCASFAA president, chaired numerous committees and continues to remain heavily involved with numerous activities for the financial aid community -- showing that her leadership will never wane.


Jeanne Mott has been in the financial aid profession for over 20 years. Jeanne has served as KASFAA president and treasurer, RMASFAA treasurer and has also won several awards for her outstanding contributions to the financial aid profession. She is one of the main reasons why her colleagues go on to maintain leadership positions. 


Taina Savoit has served as an outstanding leader at the state, regional and national levels. She has been on NASFAA’s Board of Directors, served as president of the Louisiana state association and of the SWASFAA region, and has chaired multiple committees across all levels of the financial aid community. She continues to volunteer and serve as an important resource to assist new members of the board. She is a true champion in the financial aid community. 


Tami Sato is actively involved in all leadership activities of the financial aid profession from the national level at NASFAA, to the regional level of WASFAA, to the state level in California. Tami has served on NASFAA’s Board of Directors, WASFAA president and chaired and volunteered for several committees on all levels to contribute to the profession of financial aid. She truly epitomizes what a leader is in the profession.


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