Hello SWASFAA Blog readers!
The SWASFAA board is composed of individuals who are passionate about students, the profession and seeing their fellow FAAs grow professionally. Our new President-Elect, Denise Welch, is no exception. I had the opportunity to interview her and hear about why she ran for SWASFAA President-Elect, her hobbies and what she loves about working in financial aid. Here’s a glimpse into our time together:
How long have you worked in financial aid and what is your role at your institution?
As of December 2016, I will have been in the financial aid world for 20 years. My journey began as a financial aid counselor at a small four year private university in East Texas. Four years later I joined the financial aid team at another private university as assistant financial aid director, and was promoted to do director in 2004. In 2008 I became the Financial Aid Director at Panola College.
Why did you decide to run for SWASFAA President-Elect and what are some of your duties in that role?
When are you in organizations, sometimes you get to a point where, it is your time to serve. I feel this is my time to give back to an organization that is so important to our field. Giving back is my way of saying “thank you” to our membership who is willing to give their time and effort to help others. My duties include working with the financials and review the Policy and Procedures to make sure: 1) they are still relevant and 2) bring changes to the board of directors for review.
What’s your favorite part of working in Financial Aid and what’s the most challenging?
My favorite part and my most challenging part of working in financial aid is the same. I love working with students as they pursue their education. Working with students is rewarding but can be extremely challenging. I love that the world of financial aid is continually changing and with the changes it is critical to stay current with those changes.
What are some of your hobbies?
I love, love, love college sports. This time of year it is March Madness, baseball, and softball. My husband and I enjoy going to baseball and softball games and often times and on weekends you can find us at the ball field. Being a Louisiana native, I love going to Mardi Gras. We also are avid football fans.
If you could eat only one dish for the rest of your life, what would it be?
That would be very difficult for me. I like to have variety.
What part of administrating financial aid is the most challenging and why?
The most challenging part of the financial aid world is getting the legislature to understand that sometimes the best result is not the quickest and easiest for students.
What superhero power would you want most and why?
Not sure this is a superhero power, but I want wisdom. Wisdom can help guide you in the best direction for all situations.
Why would you encourage members to get involved with SWASFAA or their state organization?
I have had the benefit of receiving the most up to date information, the best practices and the best interpretation of the Regulations from state and SWASFAA organizations. In the financial aid world having colleagues and friends to help you the through difficult times is a great asset. It is my desire to help others in this ever changing world of Financial Aid as President of SWASFAA.