2022 Year In Review: Our Featured MVPs

By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter

NASFAA's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) is a series that features a brief Q&A with notable NASFAA members — with questions ranging from what they wish they knew their first year working in financial aid to how they relax in their free time. Look back at our nine MVPs from 2022 and send your suggestions for future MVPs for the upcoming year to our news inbox, along with a short note about why you're nominating them.

MVP Nicholas Prewett, FAAC®
Nicholas is the director of financial aid at Stony Brook University. He’s been working in the financial aid profession for two decades and his passion lies in volunteering at the state, regional, and national level. His volunteer work with NASFAA includes serving as a member of the national conference, technology initiatives, and federal issues committees, representative-at-large for the Board of Directors, and more. Nick also works as an independent consultant for Blue Icon Advisors. Fun fact: One of Nick’s hobbies is stand-up paddleboarding. 

MVP Joan Bailey
Joan is the director of financial aid at the University of South Florida (USF) Health Office of Financial Aid. She first got her start in financial aid as a graduate assistant at USF. Joan most recently served two years as the vice president for Southern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SASFAA). She is also a past vice president and past president of the Florida Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (FASFAA). Fun fact: Joan says she can’t live without her kitchen and cooking. 

MVP Sharmain Talbert
Sharmain is the interim assistant director of enrollment services at Southern University at Shreveport. She first got started in financial aid after starting her career in the nonprofit sector managing an after-school program. Sharmain has been involved and active with the LASFAA board and was a member of NASFAA’s 2020-21 Diversity Leadership Program (DLP) class before serving on the selection committee for the subsequent cohort. Fun fact: Sharmain is big into anime and reads a lot of graphic novels.  

MVP Traci Armes
Traci is the deputy director of scholarships and financial aid at the University of Texas at Austin.  She first got her start in financial aid at Ivy Tech Community College. Since then, Traci has spent more than 10 years serving in financial aid roles in private, community college, and large public four-year institutions. Fun fact: Traci’s first concert was Elvis Presley. 

MVP Sharon Oliver
Sharon is the director of scholarships and student financial aid at North Carolina Central University. She has worked in financial aid for more than 30 years and is a very active member of the North Carolina Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NCASFAA) and SASFAA. She was previously a president of SASFAA, currently serves as the treasurer of NCASFAA, and is a presenter for the fall and spring NCASFAA conferences. Sharon also currently serves on NASFAA's Board of Directors as a representative-at-large. Fun fact: If Sharon could live anywhere, she would return to her home state of South Carolina. 

MVP Patti Kohler, FAAC®
Patti is the vice president of financial aid at Western Governors University. Patti got her start in financial aid as a financial aid counselor at Utah State University and has worked in financial aid for 17 years. Patti has been active in the community, serving as the 2017 president of the Utah Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (UASFAA) and as a member of the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA). At NASFAA, Patti served as an annual conference committee member, a Rapid Response Network member, and more. Fun fact: Patti is a big advocate of the spin bike. 

MVP Jacquelyn LeSueur
Jacquelyn is the associate director of financial aid at Mississippi State University. She got her start in financial aid working as a financial aid counselor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Jacquelyn was a participant in NASFAS’s 2019-20 DLP class and has helped SASFAA implement its own diversity leadership program, now in its second year. Fun fact: Jacquelyn’s bucket list includes skydiving, which she hopes to do soon. 

MVP Gena Boling, FAAC®
Gena is the associate vice provost for enrollment at Cornell University. She got her start in higher education in 2003, first working in student affairs before eventually transitioning to financial aid where she "restarted" her career. Gena is the chair for NASFAA's Conference Program Task Force. Additionally, she has served as a NASFAA U adjunct instructor and a member of the Leadership & Legislative Conference & Expo Planning Task Force. At the regional level, Gena serves as the chair for the Federal Relations Committee at Eastern Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (EASFAA). Fun fact: In 2022, Gena started spinning, doing strength training, and practicing yoga. 

MVP Kathy Bialk
Kathy is the executive director of student financial aid and scholarships at the University of Kentucky. Prior to her current position at the University of Kentucky, Kathy worked as the assistant provost and director of student financial aid at the University of Iowa, and also served as director of student financial aid at Marshall University in West Virginia for almost a decade. Kathy has been active in her volunteer work and has served as the past chair of the Certified Financial Aid Administrator® Program Commission, the Leadership & Legislative Conference Task Force, and more. Fun fact: One of Kathy’s hobbies is gardening. 

If you know a financial aid colleague with something interesting to say, send their names and a short note about why you're nominating them to [email protected].

 

Publication Date: 12/21/2022


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