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Letter from the MASFAA President

By Sherri Avery

Brandeis University
MASFAA President

Greetings, MASFAA!

The first five months of my Presidency have proven to be quite exciting! All of the Committee Co-Chairs, and Executive Council members, have been working very hard since the August retreat and I am very proud of all of their accomplishments.

I am especially proud of this year’s Conference Committee and the fantastic Annual Fall Conference we had last month at the Cape Codder Resort in Hyannis. It was one of the best Conferences that MASFAA has ever had and I would like to congratulate the committee for a job well done! The Conference yielded 467 attendees over the three days, which was a wonderful turnout! We all learned so much from the informative sessions, as well as from the updates from Janet Dodson, Jeff Baker, AICUM, EASFAA, and OSFA. We were all so moved by the inspirational words of Dick Hoyt and were left with not only teary eyes, but the assurance that we can do anything that we set our minds to, regardless of the obstacles that might be in our way. We were all very entertained by our Conference Committee and our talented membership in the "So You Think You Have Talent" show and we all danced the night away to the sounds of Sweet Willie D. Special thanks to this year’s Conference Committee Tri-Chairs, Jamey Palmieri (EDFUND), Scott McIsaac (Nelnet) and Yvonne Gittens (MIT), and their hard-working committee members Dadizi Baker-Cummings (ASA), Kelley Baran (Bentley College), Jeff Bentley (ASA), Monica Blondin (Worcester Polytechnic Institute), Phylis Gedeon (UMASS-Amherst), Amy Griffin (Salem State College), Anne Marie Juckins (Assumption College), Al Mangini (Tufts University), Tracie McGinity (AMS), Jennifer Miller (Wachovia Education Finance), Leslie Mills (Bank of America), Cindy Sweeney (Bridgewater State College) and Carmen Velez. I would also like to thank Leslie Bembridge (Citizens Bank) and Beth Feinberg (Northeastern University) for their hard work coordinating the Conference registration process.

Thank you to all of you who bought raffle tickets at the Conference to raise funds for Crossroads for Kids! Thank you also to Goal Financial for its donation of $670 to this worthy cause. With MASFAA’s 100% match of the funds raised at the Conference, we will be contributing $8,000 to Crossroads for Kids to send disadvantaged youths to Camp Mitton in Brewster, MA this summer. Special thanks to ASA, Kelley Baran (Bentley College), the Cape Cod Baseball League, the Cape Codder Resort, Citizens Bank, Jan Marie Combs (College Board), Festive Breads, Yvonne Gittens (MIT), Dick Hoyt, Tracie McGinity (AMS), Scott McIsaac (Nelnet), Jennifer Miller (Wachovia Education Finance), Leslie Mills (Bank of America), Janet Page (Citibank), Jamey Palmieri (EDFUND), Sallie Mae NE, Salon Bella Donna, Carmen Velez, and Stephanie Wells (MEFA) for their generous raffle donations!

Here’s what our committees have been up to:

  • The Archives Committee put together a fantastic slideshow of past Association photos at last month’s Conference. The Committee is still looking for Association-related information, including minutes, photographs, newsletters and memorabilia, dating back to the Association’s inception in 1969. If you would like to donate any of these items to the MASFAA archives, please contact Shawn Morrissey.
  • The College Goal Sunday Committee will hold its third-annual, one-day event on Sunday, January 28, 2007 to help families at 17 sites across the state successfully complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Sign up now to volunteer at this year’s event at http://www.masscollegegoalsunday.org/2007/volunteer.php!
  • The Committee to Enhance Ethnic Diversity (CEED) hosted a fantastic lecture by Dr. Bridget Terry Long on October 18th at Northeastern University. The event was very well attended and received great reviews! Dr. Long’s presentation is available for download on the CEED section of the MASFAA website. The Committee has also developed a library from which members can borrow books related to diversity. For more information on the books contained in the library, and how to borrow a book you might be interested in, please go to http://www.masfaa.org/docs/DiversityLibrary.doc.
  • The Conference Committee will be hosting next year’s Annual Fall Conference November 7th-9th at the Newton Marriott in Newton, MA. Save the date!
  • The Early Awareness Committee hosted yet another successful Carnival of Learning prior to last month’s Annual Fall Conference. They introduced a group of New Bedford middle school students to the idea of extending their education beyond high school. The kids had a great time and left inspired to work toward a college education. The committee is also working on their annual Journey to College event, an opportunity for middle schools to partner with local colleges or universities to create programs that encourage young students to make higher education a primary goal. The Committee is currently working on the redesign and rewrite of the former College Savings Times publication for middle school students.
  • The Government Relations Committee has been hard at work developing a list of talking points for our state legislature. The Committee plans to visit with state legislators in the spring to discuss these points. The Committee recommended that MASFAA nominate one of our members to represent the Association on the ACG/SMART Grant Negotiated Rulemaking Committee. As a result of this recommendation, MASFAA submitted a nomination to the committee on behalf of Christine McGuire from Boston University.
  • The Graduate and Professional Concerns Committee hosted yet another successful Graduate Symposium event on December 1st at the Boston University School of Management.
  • The Just the F.A.C.T.S. Committee hosted another successful five-week (one day per week) training program using the NASFAA Core training modules on October 12th, 19th and 26th and November 2nd and 9th at Regis College in Weston, MA and Springfield College in Springfield, MA. This program was a great, all-inclusive package for new aid administrators and the training was free to all paid members.
  • The Membership Committee has been hard at work renewing memberships, soliciting new members, and making sure that you can search the database for colleagues who are current MASFAA members. For the first time ever in MASFAA’s history, we have reached 872 paid members!
  • The Newsletter Committee premiered its new web-based MASFAA Online newsletter in November. The new format has been met with rave reviews!
  • The Professional Development and Training Committee offered its Learn from the Directors Workshop in early November and the Need Analysis Workshops in early December. The Committee is working on several more trainings for the spring, including the Support Staff Workshop, the Novice Workshop, and a two-day leadership training for our Emerging Leaders nominees.
  • The Public Relations Committee hosted its western event at Jillian’s in Boston on September 28th. The event was very well attended! The Committee will be hosting its western event on January 25th, from 5-7 p.m., at L’uva in Springfield. Stay tuned for more details! The Committee is already working on ideas for our Final Fling event in June. Watch for the opportunity to vote on this year’s location!
  • The Technology Committee is working hard to update and enhance the MASFAA website on a monthly basis and, very recently, coordinated the online voting process. If there is something you would like to see that isn’t currently on our website, please let us know!

I am very excited about the MASFAA events still to come this year. Feel free to contact me at savery@brandeis.edu or (781) 736-3706 with your input, suggestions, comments and concerns!

Happy New Year!

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