Meet NASFAA's 2014 Policy Intern, Blondeen Philemond!


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work on Capitol Hill? Well, for the next 12 weeks I will provide you with the inside scoop on what it’s like to be working in D.C as a NASFAA Policy and Federal Relations intern. Before we get down to business, I would like to introduce myself.

Hi. My name is Blondeen Philemond and I am the Summer 2014 NASFAA policy intern for the Dallas Martin Fund for Education in Public Policy and Student Aid. The Dallas Martin Endowment (DME) was created to foster skills that would allow for the continuation of perceptive and impassioned financial aid advocates. Through this internship with NASFAA, I will gain more insight into how financial aid policy reform can be used to provide students with greater access to postsecondary institutions through research and advocacy. Through this blog, I will share a weekly post that will provide you with a behind the scenes glimpse into the life of a policy intern. With so much currently going on in the realm of financial aid policy, I’m excited and honored to share such impactful information with you. Each week, I will also share aspects of my journey into the education policy world in order to provide you with a better understanding of how I became a DME intern. 

How did I get interested in education policy? My journey into the education sector began as an undergraduate student at Rutgers University where greater academic and financial support was offered to me through the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF). In order to show my appreciation for such an important program, I became a member and ultimately Vice-President of the Educational Opportunity Program Student Association (EOPSA). Through this organization, I was given the opportunity to provide support to and advocate for the needs of students within the EOF program. In addition, I was offered the opportunity to provide initial support to high school students in need of assistance throughout their college search and selection process. I fell in love with working with students on issues that impacted me as well. I also knew that in order to effect large-scale change that would provide greater postsecondary access for students, I would need to pursue my Master’s Degree, receive formal training in the areas of admissions and financial aid, and work with as many students, parents, and advocates as possible in order recognize the most prevalent problems and provide pertinent solutions. 

Stay tuned to this blog because next week I will offer greater insight into how I became involved with financial aid policy. I will also provide the first behind the scenes look into my personal and policy related experiences in D.C. 

Now that you know a little about me, I’d like to know more about you. 

How did you get involved with financial aid? 

What are your financial aid policy interests? 

You may leave comments in the comment box below or email me at if interested in getting in contact with me. I hope to hear from you soon.



Publication Date: 6/12/2014

Blondeen P | 7/23/2014 5:29:09 AM

Christina, thank you so much for your note! I was just reading my old posts and noticed yours! Since we do not receive post notifications, I'll be sure to send you a personal email. =)

Christina L | 7/1/2014 10:57:43 AM

It was so great to meet you at the NASFAA conference! Your enthusiasm about student financial assistance is inspiring.
I was a work study student in college, and that experience shaped so much about my life as it is today. Even now (12 years later!) I have not forgotten how critical that work study was to me as a student...not just for the financial support while in school, but also because my close connection with administrators on campus provided me with a support structure I could utilize in times of need. The importance of that aid and support is the reason I became an FAA. My policy interests are the areas of student work programs and student borrowing.

Again, it was great to meet you. I look forward to reading more about your experiences as a Policy Intern.
- Christina
University of Florida

Blondeen P | 6/13/2014 4:39:13 PM

Hi Tami,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your entrance into the field of financial aid. I can almost hear how passionate you are about providing grad level students with the support that they need. Since graduate students have their own unique financial aid concerns, advocacy is essential to continuous aid-based awareness and progress. Your creative edge, level of expertise, and Pennysaver purchase (haha) are greatly appreciated. I hope to hear more from you in the future and keep up the GREAT work!



Tami S | 6/13/2014 3:34:43 PM

Congratulations on your intern position and already passionate interest in financial aid. Not all of us get into this field through a logical path. I was a graphic arts major in college I answered an add in the local Pennysaver and 30+ years still at same college. I feel I am able to use my creative talents in creative solutions to daily problems in the office. I work with graduate students only so my passion is advocating for them through state, regional and national financial aid associations. The assumption is that all graduate students will make good income so importance of their financial aid is not on the top of congressional leaders minds. This is not always true for some MA graduates, or fields like teaching, public defenders, primary care doctors or theology majors. Some professional students may have access to higher incomes but leave with mortgage size debt. I fight for better loan terms because I like the diversity of having former Pell Grant students show up at our high cost colleges and being able to break the low-income chain to help siblings and parents. I don't want to see graduate education return to be attainable only by wealthier families. Best Wishes, Tami

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