MVP: Most Valuable Professional is an occasional series that features a brief Q&A with a different NASFAA member. Do you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say? Send the names of potential future MVPs and a short note about why you're nominating them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet Raul Lerma, executive director of financial aid at El Paso Community College. Raul started his career in financial aid 30 years ago at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Although he initially applied for a position in the Purchasing Office, his application found its way to the financial aid office. "I was interviewed but did not get the position. About a month later I got a call asking if I was still interested," Lerma said. "I guess it was meant to be."
What’s on your desk right now? I have a lot of PPY and Early FAFSA materials along with summer awarding information.
What was the best thing that happened to you this past week? Our youngest daughter came in from out town to visit a couple of days. I really miss her.
If you could learn any skill, what would it be? I’ve always wanted to play an instrument. Torn between the guitar and saxophone.
One thing working in financial aid has taught me: You definitely need to learn how to listen and ask questions to make certain the student/parent understands what you are trying to explain. Try doing that in a bilingual community such as El Paso.
If you could have 3 wishes granted, what would they be? Good health; seeing great-grandchildren; the Dallas Cowboys winning another Super Bowl.
Glad I did it but wouldn’t do it again: Sing, I'm a lousy singer.
Superpower I’d like to have: Read peoples’ mind. WOW.
Have always wanted to: Skydive.
How my colleagues would describe me: Always positive.
Favorite quote or song lyric: From Clint Eastwood movie "Heart Break Ridge": "Improvise, Adapt, Overcome." I also like a line from the Incubus song "Drive": “Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there with open arms and open eyes.”
My favorite thing about my job is: Definitely helping students. This is a job that gives you the pleasure of actually making a difference in someone’s life. This is especially the case since we are on a border community where there are so many first time in college students.
Want to say hello to Raul or reply to something he said? Please leave your remarks in the comments section below. You can also take a look back at our past MVPs to read any you missed the first time around.
Do you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say? Send the names of potential future MVPs and a short note about why you're nominating them to email@example.com.
Publication Date: 5/31/2016