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 Fabiola Ortega. She has been involved in financial aid for 20 years. Her experience began when she took a job as a Federal Work-Study (FWS) assistant at Miami Dade College in 1998. She then went on to serve as a financial aid advisor at Florida International University (FIU). "Ever since then this has been my passion — to help students achieve a piece of the American dream to earn a college degree," Fabiola said. Fabiola currently works at FIU in the role of financial aid manger, where she loves the "diversity of [the] student body, faculty and staff members."
She previously served on NASFAA's Graduate/Professional Loan Limits Task Force, Graduate Specific Data Task Force, and Policy Rapid Response Network Task Force. Fabiola also volunteered on NASFAA’s Assisting Displaced Students Working Group.
What book/movie have you read/seen recently that you would recommend and why?
"Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race," by Margot Lee Shetterly, because it reminds us of women's contribution to science and space exploration and that without these women geniuses, America would not have achieved the decisive victory over Russia in the space race.
Name one thing on your bucket list:
Travel to Ireland and England.
Who is your hero and why?
My mother is my hero. My mother has been paralyzed and bound to a wheelchair for 31 years now. Through her strength and perseverance, she has shaped me to be the woman I am today, someone who will not falter with life challenges or tragedies. I will always be grateful for all of the life lessons my mother and father have instilled in me.
One fear or obstacle that you have overcome:
Something I wish I knew my first year working in financial aid:
How to lobby Congress to improve access and federal student aid funding for students in need.
What are some songs you know by heart?
Whitney Houston's "I’m Every Woman," and "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi.
I am a cook and I love trying cuisines from all over the world.
Can’t live without:
(Photos top to bottom: View from the Jordan River in Israel, November 2017. Fabiola and her parents in Jerusalem. FIU 2017 annual presidential holiday celebration.)
Want to say hello to Fabiola or reply to something she 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: 7/31/2018