Blue Icon Staff

Mindy ElineMindy Eline, Executive Director

Mindy has more than 30 years of association, management, and marketing experience. In her role as executive director of Blue Icon Advisors, Mindy provides strategic oversight and direction, ensuring consistent growth, smooth day-to-day operations, and delivery of the highest-quality services.

Mindy began her NASFAA career in 1988 when she joined NASFAA's fledgling communications department. Before shifting her attention to researching and launching Blue Icon Advisors, she spent 10 years as NASFAA's vice president in charge of membership, marketing, and the Standards of Excellence Review Program. During this time, she was instrumental in launching many popular services including webinars, the Compliance Engine, the Student Aid Index, NASFAA U, and the expanded Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo. Mindy has served as staff liaison to a variety of NASFAA committees including Association Governance, Financial Affairs, Conference Mentors, Nominations & Elections, and Awards. While her role at NASFAA has changed several times, her dedication to the association and its members has remained steadfast.

Mindy graduated with a bachelor's degree in advertising design from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned her master's degree in strategic marketing from Johns Hopkins University.

Mandy SponholtzMandy Sponholtz, Vice President of Operations

In her role as director of operations, Mandy helps determine your needs, matching you with the perfect consultant. She develops policies and procedures for Blue Icons Advisors' service offerings, recruits and evaluates all consultants, and assists consultants with the delivery of high-quality services by providing editorial or compliance reviews of all final reports.

Mandy began her career as many financial aid administrators do: as a student employee at Fort Hays State University, where she earned her bachelor's degree. She then worked as a financial aid counselor and assistant director at the University of Kansas (KU) while earning her master's degree in higher education administration. While at KU, she also served as the secretary and treasurer of the Kansas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. From there, Mandy joined USA Funds where she conducted training sessions and provided policy guidance to schools nationwide, assisting them on how to interpret the thousands of Title IV rules and regulations.  

Mandy joined NASFAA in 2015 as a policy analyst and later became the program administrator of the Standards of Excellence Review Program where she supported more than 30 peer reviewers across the country and managed the daily operations of the program.

Tammy HarrisonTammy Harrison, Director of Client Services

Tammy has worked in higher education for many years within the areas of financial aid, admissions, and IT application support. As a Blue Icon Consultant, Tammy works with schools to identify and assist with operational improvements and compliance.

Tammy comes to us from City Colleges of Chicago's Wilbur Wright College where she served as associate dean of student financial services and director of financial aid. Prior to City Colleges, Tammy helped launch the University of Arkansas System eVersity - a new, fully online institution. Previously, while at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Tammy served as the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment services/director of financial aid. She served as president of the Arkansas association in 2013. She holds one NASFAA credential and is studying for several more.

Tammy earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a master's degree in education from Capella University and a Noel-Levitz Certificate in enrollment management. She looks forward to working with colleagues and providing services to help campuses. 

David D. PageDavid D. Page, Senior Business Development Specialist

David has worked in financial aid and enrollment management since 1994, and uses this experience to identify solutions to assist schools in all areas of financial aid administration. Prior to joining Blue Icon Advisors, David was the vice president for enrollment management at Dillard University in New Orleans. He also has leadership experience at the University of Tulsa and Philander Smith College. 

David has volunteered extensively in financial aid associations at the state, regional, and national level, including several terms on the NASFAA Board of Directors. He also served on the College Board annual HBCU program committee, and is an active member of his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha. 

David earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University and a master's degree in higher education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He also completed the Academy for Innovation in Higher Education Leadership Program, which is a partnership between Arizona State University and Georgetown University and participated in the Student Success Analytics Certificate Program through California State University, Long Beach.

Karen HanleyKaren Hanley, Senior Project and Resource Manager 

Karen has been in financial aid since 2001 and in that time has worked at a variety of institutions, including Northeastern University, George Mason University, and most recently at Georgetown University, where she was the director of university financial aid compliance. At Georgetown, she wrote the policy and procedures manual for both federal and institutional policies as well as developed and presented training materials for staff members as well as colleagues across campus. She successfully managed all financial aid audits for over five years with no findings. She has earned two NASFAA credentials in Cost of Attendance and Student Eligibility. 

Precious WardPrecious Ward, Contracts Administrator

Precious has been in financial for over ten years. She began her financial aid career as a federal work-study student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned her bachelor's degree.  Upon graduating, she worked with the Carolina College Advising Corps, serving as college advisor to low-income, first-generation students. Precious returned to the financial aid sector as a financial counselor, assistant/associate director and most recently she served as the interim financial aid director at Central Carolina Community College.  

Precious also holds a master's degree in human service counseling from Liberty University. Precious has earned five NASFAA credentials: Cost of Attendance, Professional Judgment, Return of Title IV Funds, Student Eligibility, and Verification. 

Joel CarstensJoel Carstens, Senior Project Manager

Joel has 30 years of experience in education finance and student affairs, including financial aid, enrollment management, and student employment. As a Blue Icon project manager, Joel guides and manages client projects, including interim staffing, policies and procedures, and operational reviews. 

Joel’s breadth of experience includes serving as an aid director at highly selective, state flagship and graduate only institutions. Most recently, Joel has been the aid director at the University of New Hampshire. 

Joel’s aid profession service includes serving as president of the New Hampshire Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, board and committee membership with the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and as a board member of the National Student Employment Association.

Joel received both a bachelor’s in business administration and a master’s in educational administration from his home state flagship institution, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Joel is a proud first-generation college student.

Kendra AllenKendra Allen, Workforce Manager

Kendra has worked in financial aid for 15 years, most recently as the Associate Director of Financial Aid, Special Programs, and Scholarships at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA). She began her financial aid career as a student in a federal work-study position at Radford University where she earned a bachelor’s degree. She holds a master’s degree in human resources management from Webster University. Kendra has extensive experience  managing federal education, employment, and training programs, as well as implementing and ensuring compliance with federal student aid regulations.  At NOVA, Kendra collaborated on several community-based projects that leveraged Federal financial aid to support the college aspirations of low-income adults. These initiatives were recognized as national models in case studies published by The Aspen Institute.

Mendy Schmerer, Compliance and Project Manager

Mendy Schmerer served the students at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in student financial aid for 20 years as an aid administrator. She was active in association duties in Oklahoma, the SWASFAA region, and with NASFAA, serving on numerous committees, task forces, and in leadership roles. Through those roles, she found that her real passion lies with serving her colleagues.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education Administration, both from the University of Oklahoma. Mendy was also part of the initial cohort of certified financial aid administrators, and in addition to earning 8 NASFAA credentials, she proudly maintains her FAAC® certification status. 

As Blue Icon’s Compliance and Project Manager, she works to keep clients compliant in the ever-changing world of federal financial aid and she coordinates the renowned Standards of Excellence program.

Praacnaa ColestockPraacnaa Colestock, Operations Assistant

Praacnaa has worked in higher education for over 15 years, gaining experience in many different avenues of the field including academic advising, student services and college/collegiate administrative support.

She came to Blue Icon from Wittenberg University where she was the assistant director of scheduling for the Student Center and Events. In this role she managed all of university scheduling and student center programming. Before moving into the Student Center role, Praacnaa was part of the Wittenberg athletic administration team focusing on financial operations.

Prior to her six years at Wittenberg University, Praacnaa was with the Ohio State University - Genetic Counseling program where she managed new student orientation, admissions recruitment visits, and organizing the pre-commencement ceremony.

Praacnaa holds a bachelor’s in communications with a minor in public relations from Ohio Dominican University.

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