Introducing the Newsletter Committee! – Summer 2016
The PASFAA Post can be a great tool to keep yourself and your office up to date on what’s happening within the financial aid community and the PASFAA organization. If you’re wondering who is working on the PASFAA Post each quarter take a moment to familiarize yourselves with each of us. If you have comments, questions, or thoughts on ways to make the Post even better…send them to Keri Neidig, Committee Chair and Editor at Keri.Neidig@salliemae.com.
Caitlyn Burick, Financial Aid Advisor at Great Lakes Institute of Technology
Caitlyn recently celebrated her one year anniversary as a financial aid professional but has been in the field of higher education for over three years. She began as an administrative assistant and received an opportunity to transition to financial aid in September 2014, where she has been happily ever since.
- Caitlyn returned to work after her wedding weekend to an e-mail from her Director of Financial Aid, asking if she’d be interested in interviewing for a position. She was and did and apparently the interview went well.
- Helping students understand financial aid and funding their education is one of Caitlyn’s favorite parts of this profession. She finds it so rewarding when students and families leave her office knowing that they can afford to achieve their goals.
- Work has always been important to Caitlyn, even at an early age. She started her first real job umpiring softball when she was thirteen.
- Caitlyn began playing soccer last year and scored her first official goal this season. Her soccer skills have improved greatly in a short time, but her team says her celebration dance needs work.
Linda Gaston, Associate Director/Financial Aid Mount Aloysius College
Linda was recently promoted to Associate Director of Financial Aid at Mount Aloysius College. She holds a baccalaureate degree in Business Administration and has been a member of the Financial Aid Office for over 25 years.
- Linda started her employment at Mount Aloysius when she was just 12 years old (no, really 19).
- Linda recently completed her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and was promoted to Associate Director of Financial Aid.
- Linda someday hopes to write a book about her funny experiences in Financial Aid.
- Linda got engaged to her husband on the campus of Mount Aloysius College while volunteering as a wench for the traditional Madrigal celebration the College holds every December.
Lucille Huffman, at Bucknell University
Lucy has been working at Bucknell University in the Financial Aid Office in various positions for the last 28 years. For the past 15, she has been the Coordinator of Student Loan Programs. Previous to that, she was a stay at home Mom raising her son and daughter.
- Lucy has been married to her high school sweetheart for 43 years. She is the mother of 2 and grandmother of 5.
- Lucy is a collector of Annalee Dolls. She’s been collecting for over 40 years and have enough ornaments to fill a 7 foot Christmas tree. She says “I know that is a bit obsessive.”
- She loves spending time with family, visiting Mickey at Disney World in Florida, gardening, and living life to the fullest.
- Lucy is an avid crafter and loves making cards and scrapbooking with my Cricut.
Elizabeth Hunt, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Saint Francis University
Beth started in financial aid in November 2012 with Saint Francis University. Shortly after starting her career in financial aid, she attended the Don Raley Institute. She has also become a member of PASFAA and EASFAA. Even though she meets and assists all students, Beth primary helps returning adult, graduate, and transfer students as well as the potential incoming freshman with their questions and concerns.
- Beth always wanted to work in higher education. She says it has been great to return back to her alma mater and help SFU students achieve their goals.
- Beth says the best part of her job is seeing students that may not have been able to graduate because of financial reasons walk across the stage on graduation day.
- The other best part of Beth’s job is…it is never boring. Each day is a new adventure. You never know who or what is going to walk through the door.
- Beth LOVES her job. There are not too many people that can truly say that they love what they do, but she can.
Eric Kopp, Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Franklin and Marshall College.
Eric has worked in higher education for the past seven years, beginning his career as an Admissions Counselor at Long Island University while attending graduate school. In 2011, Eric made the transition to Financial Aid at his alma mater, Elizabethtown College (class of 2008), before moving on to F&M in March of 2015.
- Eric is married to his college sweetheart, Natalie, and they live with their four-year old Chinese Shar pei, Yogi! Their first human child is due in March 🙂
- Eric has a collection of over 180 autographed baseballs, all signed by current or former members of the New York Yankees.
- Eric says the best part of his Financial Aid career is undoubtedly when he gets a small thank you e-mail or note from a family or a student. It shows that he’s really made a difference in helping their college dreams come true. Eric has saved every one since he started in the field in 2011.
- Eric has been fortunate enough to teach two evening Political Sciences courses at Penn State Harrisburg.
Keri Neidig, Director of Business Development at Sallie Mae and Newsletter Editor
Keri joined Sallie Mae in 2007 with prior experience in the financial aid offices of Moravian College and DeSales University. Keri works with colleges and universities located in Pennsylvania. She is an active member of the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable, PACAC and PASFAA and has been serving as the association’s newsletter editor since 2008/2009. Keri holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kutztown University where she graduated summa cum laude. She resides with her husband and two sons in Bethlehem, PA.
- Keri is married to her high school sweetheart, Eric, having met him when she was only 16! They have two sons, Luke and Ethan, ages 10 and 11.
- Keri has a goal of taking her two boys to each MLB stadium and has been slowly checking them off the list.
- Keri and her husband created a non-profit youth sports organization in 2013 and volunteers to run the league and serves as the Secretary of the Board.
- Keri has been fortunate to receive the PASFAA President’s award in 2009.
Mary Jo Phillips, Financial Aid Counselor/Student Financial Service at Clarion University
Mary Jo obtained her bachelor degree from Gannon University and also holds a Master’s degree from Clarion University. Mary Jo’s educational background is in communication, marketing, and adult education. She has worked in college admissions for both a private college, and for a public university. Her current employment at Clarion University is as a financial aid advisor for freshman students.
- Mary Jo is a competitive ballroom dancer.
- Mary Jo is the “parent” of three chinchillas.
- Food is her life. Mary Jo is a major “foodie.”
- Mary Jo’s office, her home, and her wardrobe are filled with the color purple.
Elizabeth Rihl-Lewinsky, Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management Arcadia University
Elizabeth has held a variety of positions at Arcadia University (formerly Beaver College) including Enrollment Management Counselor, Admissions/Financial Aid Coordinator, Director of Financial Aid & Director of Enrollment Management, Executive Director, Federal Aid Programs, Financial Aid Systems & Enrollment Management and currently the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management. Elizabeth graduated with distinction with both her Master of Arts in Education, Arcadia University in 2001 and also a Master of Arts in English, Beaver College in 1993. She received B.S. in Education from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Elizabeth has been very active professionally completing the CIC-AALI Senior Leadership Academy in 2012-2013 and within the PASFAA organization. She has co-chaired PASFAA Financial Aid Awareness Committee, presented at the PASFAA Guidance Counselor Workshop, was a mentor for NetPage Mentor and serves as a member of the PASFAA Newsletter Committee.
- Elizabeth began her career as a graduate assistant in Financial Aid and Career Services in 1992. PHEAA sent Janet Weiss to train the Financial Aid staff (then 2 individuals) on the PHEAA PALS system. Before she knew it, she was certifying the loans for all students at the institution! It all came full circle—and she now oversees the Office of Career Education and Financial Aid operations.
- When Admissions and Financial Aid merged at Elizabeth’s institution, she was the first “guinea pig” Enrollment Management Counselor, spending 3 months on the road recruiting (usually the less desirable pieces of each of the admissions counselor territories) and spending the rest of her time processing loans, completing financial aid packages and early estimates.
- In her quest to get her bachelor’s degree in 3 years, one summer when she returned back home to PA, she was actually enrolled in 4 colleges at once! (don’t worry, she was not getting financial aid at any of them!)
- Elizabeth is the youngest of 8 children and, in fact, her mother had her at the age of 46. So, not surprisingly, she became an aunt for the first time at the ripe old age of 6!