2020 Awardees

The biggest asset WASFAA has is our members. We've got, hands down, the best members of any association. Please join us in celebrating our 2020 Award Winner.

Outstanding New Volunteer

This award recognizes new volunteers with a WASFAA committee for the accomplishments and contributions to the Association in the first year he or she volunteers
Heather Rosinbum, Univesrity of Arizona - Tucson
I would like to nominate Heather Rosinbum for WASFAA’s New Volunteer award. Although not new to Higher Education, Heather is new to financial aid and new to WASFAA. She attended her first WASFAA event last year at the conference in Tempe, AZ and quickly found herself volunteering on the Communications Committee. A month later she attended the Sister Dale Brown Summer Institute in Spokane, WA learning and absorbing as much financial aid information as she could. SDBSI solidified Heather’s new appreciation for the financial aid industry and WASFAA, and a few months later she was asked to take over as the Chair of the Communications Committee. With her eager, enthusiastic, and innovative personality she quickly learned how to produce the monthly newsletter, manage WASFAA’s social media accounts, and jumped right in to help various WASFAA committees get their communications out to the WASFAA members through all the Communication channels. Not to mention she was able to keep Scott in line for producing his monthly newsletter articles!

Heather is always looking for ways to improve WASFAA’s communications and has some creative and innovative ideas to she hopes to roll out soon (if she hasn’t already rolled them out by the time this award is given out). Heather continues to volunteer with WASFAA as the 20/21 as the Communications Chair and we all look forward to the improvements she will make over the next year! If you are not yet volunteering on a WASFAA committee, please take a page out of Heather’s book- you don’t have to work in financial aid for very long to jump in and get involved with volunteering with this wonderful association!
Shortly after becoming a WASFAA member for the first time in 2019, Heather joined the Communications Committee and quickly became an asset to our team. The Communications team is in charge of sending emails on behalf of the organization, assisting with event communications, publishing a monthly newsletter, and social media posts. Heather brought new ideas for how we can better communicate with our members and jumped right in with helping set up and review the newsletter.

After David Downing accepted a job with NASFAA and had to resign his Chair position, Heather stepped in to take over the job as Chair for the remainder of the 2019-20 year. Since then, she has had to learn WASFAA's new website to be able to send out communications and plans to revamp the look of our monthly newsletter are in the works. Heather is committed to making sure that we are sending out correct and timely communications to our members and has been very willing to use technology to improve our services. She is definitely adding her own spin to the Chair position and is the epitome of a dedicated WASFAA volunteer. Heather will continue on as Chair of the Communications Committee for the 2020-21 year, and I know that she will do an outstanding job.

Outstanding New Professional

This award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a new professional to the financial aid profession. The recipient must have been in the profession for less than five years and made outstanding contributions at the institutional, state, regional and/or national levels. The recipient must be a current member of WASFAA.
Elizabeth Nubel, University of Nevada Reno
I would like to nominate Liz for Outstanding New Professional. She began working in Financial in 2017 as a Sr. Financial Aid Advisor in our Las Vegas Office serving our southern Nevada prospective students. Liz has since moved north to our main Campus in Reno splitting her time between Financial Aid and recruiting. The wealth of knowledge she possesses in two different sides of the house is incredibly valuable. She is hands on with our prospective students and takes the time with each individual student to answer their questions not only about financial aid, but also about the admissions process. She has put together several recruiting events as well as FAFSA Workshops to encourage and help students along the way. She is dedicated to her job as well as the students she meets. She is always willing to volunteer for a High School FAFSA night as well as any outreach event on campus. She is heavily involved in our orientation and Nevada Bound events where she meets many students and creates long term relationships. She is huge asset to our office as well as our institution.
Gabriel Stephens, Boise State University
It is my distinct pleasure to nominate Gabriel Stephens for the WASFAA Outstanding New Professional award. Gabriel joined the Boise State financial aid team in August 2019 as the Assistant Director of Systems. While there would be a steep learning curve in learning financial aid in any enterprise resource management system, this was an even more challenging assignment because he is being asked to re-engineer the existing technology and functionality for 2020-21 while also maintaining and troubleshooting the existing processes for 2019-20. Essentially, he is charged with driving the bus while changing the tire. Additionally, Gabriel is a new supervisor and is responsible for establishing positive culture, building and developing the knowledge of other new employees on the Systems team. In a short period of time Gabriel has been able to develop this newly formed team to a cohesive group with clear direction. Gabriel has displayed a dogged determination to self-educate on all things PeopleSoft during his dedicated time at work as well as at home. I recall a Monday morning Gabriel described how he’d done some “light reading” over the weekend to really flesh out the uses of user edit messages, service indicators and checklists to hold disbursements. He then held a meeting with the stakeholders in the department to share what he had learned as well as following up with a document for staff to use as a reference.  Gabriel also impressed me this year by taking on the additional work of creating a financial aid offer notification document because such a document did not formerly exist. Gabriel had prior experience with BI Publisher but the “math” and conditional features in the document were a challenge. However, Gabriel did not faulter and maintained his diligence and figured out the technology to create a beautiful document for students and their families to review their financial aid offer and financially plan to attend college.

There are more examples of Gabriel’s excellent work but the main point is that Gabriel’s level of commitment and care for his work is not overly common and it’s a wonderful trait to witness.

Gabriel manages him team and collaborates on our campus with professionalism and a dry sense of humor that puts others at ease. Gabriel and his team are relaxed and easy going yet focused on doing quality work. The on-going system re-engineering project is very challenging but I am confident it will be a success in the end and much of that success will be a result of Gabriel’s work on the Systems team. Thank you for your consideration of this nomination for Gabriel Stephens to receive the WASFAA Outstanding New Professional award.

Distinguished Service

Presented in recognition of outstanding contributions by an individual to the field of financial aid through leadership, research, scholarship and/or exemplary service to the Association’s activities, at the highest level, over a sustained period of time. The recipient does not have to be a WASFAA member. The award is approved and granted by a 2/3 majority vote of the executive council.
Ashley Munro, University of Alaska - Fairbanks
For the past 10 years Ashley Munro as worked tirelessly for WASFAA. She has served several times as the president of her home state of Alaska. In addition, she had chaired a number of committees including Conference, Communications and SDBSI. She has served several times on the Training committee. This past year she took on the task of re-writing the WASFAA Strategic Plan. Regardless of whether she is working behind the scenes like Strategic Planning or taking on one of WASFAA's biggest events like conference or SDBSI she gives the project 100% of her time. For these reasons i nominate Ashley Munro for Distinguished Service.

Meritorious Achievement

Presented to an individual who has either made a single important contribution to the profession or contributed continued support of the Association which may include behind the scenes efforts.The recipient does not have to be a WASFAA member.The award is approved and granted by a majority vote of the Executive Council.
John Bender III, Lewis-Clark State College
I would like to nominate John Bender for Meritorious Achievement; he has been involved in WASFAA for many years serving as Idaho State President, Membership Chair, as well as Vice President. This year, he took on a huge task by chairing the Electronic Services committee and moving our association from one website to another. This was a huge task to take on and for most of us, it appeared to be seamless. John has always been supportive of WASFAA; his contributions to the association through the executive council has been invaluable with his insight and thoughtful suggestions.

Lifetime Membership

This award is presented to an individual who has made continued and significant contributions to the financial aid profession and WASFAA. These individuals become members of WASFAA for life and will have WASFAA dues for individual membership waived for all future years. Lifetime members are entitled to a conference registration rate reduced by 50% of the current rate.
Ron Lee
Ron Lee has worked tirelessly in the financial aid community for both the region and the state of California. He has been nothing short of a great partner in proposing business solutions to help schools, and also offering up his free time to assist with heading up the program side of many many conferences in the region over the past year. He has done all of this with a smile, and it has never felt like a "business" meeting when talking to Ron, even if his solution was not the best for your school.

Ron's attention to detail for conference programs have made them nothing short of fantastic training events. Even though he is "retired" he always checks in on those he know to keep a pulse on the field. With the highest recommendation, I would like to nominate Ron Lee for WASFAA Lifetime Membership.
Sun Ow
Sun Ow has been a very active member of WASFAA for as long as I can remember. She has been a member of the Editorial staff of the WASFAA Newsletter, Chair of Fund Development 2011-2020. I know she was Co-chair prior to 2011 of the Fund Development committee. She was Conference Co-chair in 2006-07 and has been a member of the conference committee working closely with our associate members in assist them in participating in each conference (arranging booth space, drayage information) and marketing their companies and products to the WASFAA membership. (I'm sorry I cannot give you all the dates as we have migrated to a new computer system and history is difficult to extract from the new system.) Sun has been extremely successful in her fund development responsibilities for WASFAA. There was a time in our history when financial issues were of major concern to the leadership of WASFAA and yet somehow Sun Ow (and her committee, which usually consisted of herself) continued to encourage current as well as new vendor/supporters of WASFAA to sponsor our organization. Sun has work diligently to meet her committee's financial goals and our records will show often exceeded her own expectations. Sun has offered her expertise in providing conference sessions to assist her colleagues, worked tirelessly to promote WASFAA to new members and encouraged colleagues to participate in WASFAA. There is not enough time no space to speak about how deserving Sun Ow is for WASFAA's Lifetime Membership Award. Let me summarize by saying if one could look at the last two decades of WASFAA history of participation one would see Sun Ow's name every year. Please honor her by awarding her the WASFAA Lifetime Award.
 Andy Promsiri 
If you have attended a WASFAA event in the past 20 years more than likely Andy Promsiri was involved. He has served numerous times as the Registration Chair for the annual WASFAA conference, including 3 times for me! As the Registration Chair he was responsible for collecting fees, printing badges, preparing conference bags, staffing the registration table and ensuring all things registration go smoothly. He has also served as co-chair and faculty of Sister Dale Brown Summer Institute on many occasions. Andy is known for his attention to detail, a smiling face and making everyone feel welcome. In addition to his service to WASFAA he has also volunteered for many years with CASFAA. Andy will be retiring in July 2020 after more than 33 years in the Financial Aid Office at the University of California, Los Angeles and is more than worthy of being honored with WASFAA highest award - Lifetime Membership.
Leonard Walker, Jr
Leonard has been an active member of WASFAA since he moved west in the late 1990's. He has served WASFAA in a variety of positions, including Vice President, EDAC Chair, and Site Selection (I probably missed something). Aside from being active within executive council, Leonard has been a strong ambassador for the WASFAA family-- all are met with a smile, a raucous laugh, and a glass of wine.

Leonard has also been one of my personal mentors. His guidance and support through the years have helped me become the professional I am today. He truly embodies the spirit of WASFAA.

Committee of the Year

This award is decided by the Executive Council and is granted to the Committee that has demonstrated the qualities of leadership and work that allows them to stand out among all of the committees of that year. Generally one award per year is granted. This was first awarded at WASFAA in 1985. Plaques should be given to the Chair and all committee members.
Electronic Services, Members: John Bender, Mindy Bergeron, Ashley Coleman, David Downing, Phil LeBlanc, Ashley Salisbury, Spencer Smith
Thanks to your tireless work as a team, our website is up and running, and it looks great. It is cleaner, better organized, and much easier to navigate. Most importantly, it also functions as a wholly overhauled membership database. The entire project was completed under an extremely tight timeline--and you have no other choice but to see it through.

President's Award
Awarded by the President for service to the association and/or the president.
Helen Faith, Lane Community College
Barbara Bickett, DeVry University