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 last year, 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 of Science in Advertising Design from the University of Maryland, College Park, and earned her Master of Science in Strategic Marketing from Johns Hopkins University.
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.
Tony has more than 20 years of experience in student services and support including financial aid, employment, billing, veteran affairs, immigration, enrollment management, and student affairs.
As a Blue Icon consultant, Tony works directly with schools to identify and solve compliance and operational issues.
Prior to joining Blue Icon Advisors, Tony served as the vice president for enrollment management and student affairs at Merrimack College. Prior to Merrimack, Tony served as the associate vice president of enrollment and dean of student financial services at Northeastern University; associate director for student aid and finance at Stonehill College; and assistant director of financial aid at Berklee College of Music. Tony also worked as a school trainer for the U.S. Department of Education for 12 years.
Tony has been an active member of the financial aid community, serving as president of the Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Massachusetts Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. He has also participated in a variety of NASFAA committees and served as a regional representative on the NASFAA Board of Directors.
Tony graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Stonehill College and will soon complete his Master of Science in Leadership at Northeastern University. Tony has earned all 17 NASFAA professional credentials.
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 will be working 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 of Arts in History from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, a Master of Science 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.
Phil is the director of financial aid at Northwestern University and has worked in the financial aid profession since 1991. His extensive background includes work at various institution types, where he has helped with implementation of the two most prevalent student information systems. He has participated in negotiated rulemaking and has conducted many presentations locally and nationally related to the financial aid profession. Phil has been providing consulting services since 1998 through the NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program and other endeavors.
Sarah is the director of operations at Gonzaga University and has worked in financial aid since 2006. She has been highly involved in the Washington Financial Aid Association (WFAA) and the Western Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (WASFAA) in both training and leadership capacities. With a knack for problem solving, she has a track record of leveraging technology to improve processes and service to students. Sarah has been a NASFAA Standards of Excellence (SOE) peer reviewer since 2014.
Helen has been in higher education since 2002 with leadership experience in financial aid administration and broad student affairs management. She currently serves as the dean of new student transitions at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, where she oversees financial aid, admissions and recruitment, enrollment services/registrar, placement testing, and the student veterans' center. She has worked in public, private, 2-year, 4-year, and graduate/health profession educational environments, and understands the nuances that make each institution unique. She is a respected regulatory expert, passionate advocate for student financial aid and student success, and financial aid leader at the state, regional, and national level. She enjoys mentoring, coaching, training, and process analysis and improvement.
Cynthia has worked in financial aid since 1998. She is currently serving as the Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services at Columbia College Chicago and has worked in student financial services at both private and public institutions. Cynthia earned a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership and Organizational Change from Roosevelt University, a Master of Science degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from Indiana University, and also a Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education from Indiana University.
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.
Sandy has over 30 years of financial aid experience at public, private and for-profit institutions. Sandy started her career in Financial Aid as a work-study student and worked her way up through the ranks to hold positions has the front-line customer service representative, Assistant Director for Scholarships and training, Associate Director, and Director. She has a passion for training and developing policy and procedures and has served as a mentor to many colleagues in Kentucky and in the SASFAA region. Sandy has been an active leader and participant in professional association activities and advocacy efforts at the state, regional and national level.
Tim is currently the director of financial aid at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in financial aid since 1990. He has worked at five different institutions and has experience working in both the public and private sectors. He has working knowledge of multiple computer systems. Tim has been peer reviewer for the Standards of Excellence (SOE) program since 2004 and has been on over forty different review teams, which visited various types of institutions across the country. He has also been through two federal program reviews at different large complex public institutions since 2012. Tim worked extensively with staff from the U.S. Department of Education during his leadership of the financial aid functional team for the University of Wisconsin System as they integrated their two and four-year campuses.
Myrna is director of financial aid at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kansas. She has worked in financial aid since 1992 and has been a peer reviewer with NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program since 2000. Myrna is also chief accreditation officer and accreditation liaison officer at Barton as well as an accreditation peer reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission. Myrna has also been the associate dean of student services overseeing not only financial aid but also admissions and enrollment services. Myrna earned a bachelor's degree in English from Kansas State University and a master's degree in higher education administration with an emphasis in post- secondary education from Fort Hays State University. She has also earned five NASFAA credentials.
Joe has been engaged in student financial aid administration since 2004, first as a financial aid administrator, then a financial aid director, followed by four years as a senior institutional review specialist at the U.S. Department of Education (Department), and now as a senior director of compliance at Brigham Young University. Joe also served on the NASFAA Negotiated Rulemaking Task Force last year to assist NASFAA staff and negotiators during the Program Integrity and Improvement negotiated rulemaking sessions, which focused on cash management, state authorization, and adverse credit for PLUS loans, among other topics. During his time at the Department, Joe assisted in building direct loan origination functionality within COD for foreign schools participating in the Title IV programs for their American student population.
Nick Prewett has worked in financial aid since 2002. He is a Certified Financial Aid AdministratorTM and has earned all 17 NASFAA credentials. He has been very involved in state, regional and national financial aid associations including the NASFAA board of directors and as MASFAA president. He believes that through training financial aid administrators he can help reduce barriers for students pursuing higher education.
Morgan began working in financial aid in 2005 and currently serves as the associate director for operations at the University of Oregon where she leverages systems and technology to increase efficiency, ensure compliance, and improve the financial aid experience for staff and students alike. Morgan served as the committee chair for Ellucian's Community Source Initiative for five years and has been a peer reviewer for NASFAA's Standards of Excellence (SOE) Review Program since 2015. She loves puzzles, problem solving, and process improvement, which makes financial aid a perfect fit. Morgan holds a bachelor of arts in wilderness leadership and experiential education from Brevard College, and a master of science in therapeutic recreation from Oklahoma State University.
David has been a financial aid professional for over 30 years and has also managed other functional areas such as registrar, admissions, bursar, and new student orientation. He is currently the director of financial aid at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, a position he has held since 2011. He has broad experience in enrollment management strategies, policies and procedures, staff training, regulatory compliance, and other aspects of financial aid administration and has served as a mentor to many colleagues. David has been an active leader and participant in professional association activities and advocacy efforts at the state, regional and national level, including as a federal negotiator, a member of the Higher Education Committee of 50, and a trainer and contributing author for the enrollment management track at the NASFAA Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo.
Mary Sommers is currently the Director of Financial Aid at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She has been working in financial aid since 1989 at both public and private institutions. Before moving to Nebraska, she worked in Montana and has been active in both the Montana and Nebraska professional financial aid associations. She served as the President of the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid and has served on the NASFAA Board of Directors. In 2012 she received the NASFAA Meritorious Achievement Award. Mary is proud to have been the first Chair of the NASFAA Ethics Commission.
Sam is the Associate Dean of College Enrollment and Director of Financial Aid at the University of Rochester. Sam has worked in the financial aid profession since 1992, previously serving as director of financial aid at Syracuse University, Nazareth College, Hobart & William Smith Colleges and as a senior consultant at Scannell & Kurz, Inc. Over the years, she has been actively engaged in state, regional, and national professional organizations including NYSFAAA, EASFAA and the College Board CSS/Financial Aid Assembly Council. Sam is the recipient of the NYSFAAA Citation of Appreciation, NYSFAAA Sister Bernadine Hayes and Rusty Hopkins Service Award, the NYSFAAA Region III Service Award, College Board Middle States Bernard P. Ireland Award, and the EASFAA Leadership Award.
Robert David (Bob) Walker has over 20 years of experience as a financial aid director at the community college and the public university levels. He also is a certified public accountant and prior to entering the student financial aid profession, performed A-133 audits of governmental entities, including college Title IV programs. He has been through a Banner conversion and has 20 years of functional Banner experience. Bob was awarded the Jack Woodward Award of Excellence in 2015 by the Mississippi Association of School Financial Aid Administrators for excellence in leadership, knowledge, expertise, cooperation, professionalism, commitment, service, and involvement. He considers himself a lifetime learner and regularly attends Federal Student Aid, NASFAA, and state association training events and conferences in addition to meeting annual continuing education requirements to renew his CPA License.
Jim currently serves as dean of student financial services at Gonzaga University where he supervises financial aid, student accounts, student employment and campus card services. He has previously served in roles as the director of financial aid, director of student financial services, and associate provost for enrollment management. Jim has also served as a NASFAA Standards of Excellence (SOE) Peer Reviewer since 2009.
Heide is currently the director of financial aid at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, MI. She has worked in every role in the financial aid office and across multiple sectors during her multi-decade career. She especially enjoys researching regulations and best practices.