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 email@example.com.
Meet David Martin. David has called the financial aid office home for more than 30 years, jumping headfirst into the profession as the financial aid director at Trinity Bible College. David was working at a bank in Missouri in 1984, focusing on what was formerly known as the Guaranteed Student Loan Program, when the financial aid director at the time—a friend of his—contacted him about filling the position because he planned to leave the post to pursue an advanced degree. "With bank officers being shot in the area over farm foreclosures, I figured this might be a good time for a career change," David said. Since then, David has worked in multiple financial aid offices, and has been active in his state and regional associations. David served as the president of the South Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SDASFAA), and two terms as the treasurer of the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA).
David received NASFAA's Regional Leadership Award at the 2019 National Conference for his outstanding contributions to the profession.
"In the summer of 1986, less than two months after I started working in a financial aid office, I attended my first NASFAA National Conference in Dallas, TX," David said. "The experience was great, and when I got back to my office, I was all excited about telling my secretary all about it. As I walked into the office I was greeted with the question, ‘Where have you been?' In my excitement to attend my first NASFAA conference, I had failed to tell her where I was going!"
What is something you wish you knew your first year working in financial aid?
How important it was to have an advocate—other than your own vice president—within the campus administration who would go to bat for you and champion your ideas. When I was at Black Hills State University, I got along great with my vice president, but I had such an advocate in the dean of students, Dr. Rick Vorhees. I bounced ideas off of him all the time. I thank Michael Johnson from Utah Valley State College for that advice he shared at one of the RMASFAA Summer Institutes I attended early in my career.
What do you love about working at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology?
We specialize in engineering, math, and science, so the intellectual capital of both faculty and students that we have on our campus is phenomenal. It is amazing to listen to an upperclassman talk about what they are learning in the classroom and how practical opportunities enable them to apply that learning to real life applications.
What was your most motivating financial aid experience to date?
A speaker at a late-1980s North Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NDASFAA) conference in Fargo talked about learning styles—visual, auditory, and kinesthetic—and how they influence communication. After the conference, a nontraditional student, who was constantly in my office, came in to cover material that we had gone over many times before. I stopped to really listen to her and realized she talked slowly and carefully, and I was talking a mile a minute. I purposely slowed down and said my words carefully. Her face lit up and she understood what was needed, and she never had to come back to see me again.
What are some songs you know by heart?
"Cherish" by The Association, "Beginnings" by The Chicago Transit Authority, and, to the disgust of my wife, the words to the theme songs for "Green Acres," "Gilligan's Island," and "The Beverly Hillbillies!"
My idea of a perfect day:
I swim laps during my lunch hour at a local aquatic center, and generally I swim in the 25-yard indoor pool, but I really enjoy swimming in the outdoor, Olympic-sized 50-meter pool! That is a treat because generally in the summer the local swim teams take up all of the lanes.
What movie have you seen recently that you would recommend and why?
Lately, any Hallmark movie! My wife and I are addicted to them, and record and watch some multiple times. (Even though you can watch the first 15 minutes, know who is going to fall in love with who, miss the next hour, and come back at the end and confirm it was going to end like you thought!)
If you had a time machine that would work only once, what point in the future or in history would you visit?
In the future—to see the birth of our first great-grandchild! My great-grandparents on both sides of my family had long since passed away by the time I was born, so I missed being around them. Recently, our oldest granddaughter, (she's 9 years old,) had some focused time with her maternal great-grandmother over several days. Her great-grandfather passed away last February, and she speaks often of memories made with him. I hope one day she passes those memories onto her children!
Want to say hello to David 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publication Date: 8/15/2019