SDBSI Scholarship Application Due April 1st

PSUNo, this is no April Fool’s joke— the scholarship application deadline for the Sister Dale Brown Summer Institute (SDBSI) is April 1, 2016. There are two scholarships available: general and ethnic diversity. Apply here today.

Not sure if you want to attend SDBSI from June 19-24 at Portland State University? Check out this article from Lynn Hennessey, Financial Services Coordinator at Heritage University. She attended the 2015 SDBSI at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA and only has good things to say about it.

The Sister Dale Brown Summer Institute is the perfect way to learn and gain knowledge of all things Financial Aid. The 2015 institute and training seminar were led by a group of distinguished Financial Aid Directors who have proven themselves not only with their vast years of experience, but led our group with the highest level of proficiency and consideration for the varying levels of experience of the attendees.

It’s not often that you get to immerse yourself back in time to your college days and relive times of information overload and sleeping on a twin size mattress, but this added to the learning experience and networking opportunities made over the week spent at PLU. Campus meal plans and non-air conditioned rooms in dorms during an unseasonably warm Tacoma summer week rounded out the experience and added to the conversation while getting to know new roommates.

During my time spent at the SDBSI, I realized that my pursuit of knowledge was shared by my peers who were also eager to learn and become credentialed under the system of training and testing which the seminar prepared us for. Getting to know how other financial aid offices function and the backgrounds of those within many diverse campuses was an exciting part of my experience. Having the chance to meet in small group with hands on calculations and real life scenarios were helpful and encouraging. Using the training I have had to help others in the group, I realized how much I already have learned and I was able to share my understanding. Questions brought up during seminar sessions reminded us that the answer too many inquires could always be “it depends.”

I would highly encourage others to attend and apply for the scholarships that are offered for the “SDBSI Boot Camp” and any other WASFAA training that becomes available in the future. I look forward to adding to my skills, and also gaining the NASFAA credentials being offered after the marvelous overview and training on 13 modules of Financial Aid.

Alaska Conference: Mushing and Moderating

Spring has come early to most of Alaska: snow is melting and river ice is thinning! This weekend, Anchorage is scheduled to host Fur Rondy and the Iditarod ceremonial start downtown, but the lack of snow is creating problems. Officials will be shipping snow from Fairbanks to Anchorage via the Alaska Railroad to line the streets of downtown Anchorage to prepare for the sled dog race and the Running of the Reindeer.

Running of the Reindeer-- "Alaska's Wackiest Race"

Running of the Reindeer– “Alaska’s Wackiest Race”

As the race officials prepare, our conference speaker, Jodi Bailey, is finalizing her race preparations as well. She has all her drop bags packed and will be loading up the dogs for the trip to Anchorage in a few hours. You can check out Jodi’s Iditarod profile and watch the race start on Saturday. We’ll track her progress and keep you updated via WASFAA’s Facebook page and Water Cooler Blog.

Are you prepared for our Moving Beyond Your Boundaries conference in a few weeks? The last day to make your hotel reservations at the Anchorage Downtown Marriott and take advantage of our $119 room rate is March 9th. You can register for the conference and plan out your sessions today. If you would like to volunteer to moderate a session, please contact Ron Lee ( this week.

See you in Anchorage!

Conference Co-Chairs: Ashley Munro (; Dewayne Barnes (

Alaska Fun Facts: Dog Racing

This week, the Iron Dog Race — the world’s longest, toughest snowmobile race — started in Anchorage. Forty-one teams will travel over 2,000 miles across the Alaskan wilderness to head north to Nome and end in Fairbanks. The winning team will take home $65,000. You can follow the status of the racers online. The racers started on 4th avenue in downtown Anchorage, where in just a few days (March 5), the Iditarod Sled Dog Race will also start.

Race CourseWhen you’re at the Moving Beyond Your Boundaries WASFAA Conference at the Downtown Anchorage Marriott, you’ll be just a few short blocks from the starting location of both races. There are many shops and restaurants that will be worth your visit after sessions are done for the day. Don’t forget to register for the conference and reserve your hotel room soon; the hotel conference race of $119 ends on March 9th. Session titles and descriptions are available online now.

See you in Anchorage!

Co Chairs: Dewayne Barnes ( and Ashley Munro (

Alaskan Fun Fact: While they are known as snowmobiles in the rest of the US, in Alaska, they are called snow machines.

WASFAA ConferenceTraveling up and over Canada to the WASFAA Conference in Anchorage, Alaska may be a first for many of you. The Conference Committee wants you to have an opportunity to explore The Last Frontier without missing any parts of the Moving Beyond Your Boundaries Conference, so we have built into the schedule a few opportunities to learn about Alaska and see Anchorage:

Sunday’s Opening Session– Speaker Jodi Bailey, Iditarod musher

Jodi BaileyJodi will talk to us about leadership and teamwork with a musher’s prospective. You’ll learn what its like to be on the back of a sled with 14 powerful pullers working together to get where you need to go. The session begins at 11am and a plated lunch will be served.



Sunday’s EDAC Reception- Alaska Native Dancers

This reception will run from 4:30-6:00. Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served.

Sunday’s President’s Reception- The Anchorage Museum

Anchorage MuseumJoin us for dessert and fun at The Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center from 7-10pm. The museum is located a few blocks from the hotel, within walking distance, but we will have a shuttle that runs non-stop throughout the reception. This is a special event, so WASFAA conference attendees and registered guests will be the only museum attendees this night. Your entry into the museum and a drink ticket are included in your registration price. Additional tickets can be purchased for your guests for $35 during the registration process (also includes the EDAC Reception). You will be able to explore the open galleries:

  • Alaska Gallery- displays more than 1,000 objects and is one of the finest presentations of Alaskan history and ethnology in the state. Full-scale andAshley Bubbles miniature dioramas provide a look at the early lifestyles of Alaska’s Aleuts, Eskimos and Indians. The changing material culture of Alaska’s Native people is also depicted, as are topics including exploration and settlement by the Russians, the gold rush era, World War II and statehood.
  • Imaginarium Discovery Center- hands-on activities for all ages! 80 exhibits and related programs are designed to let people discover science for themselves through fun activities. Many exhibits address scientific topic of particular interest in Alaska: volcanoes, aurora borealis, earthquakes and marine life.

Not only can you mingle with your colleagues, but you can learn about Alaskan history, play with bubbles and shoot an air cannon.

Monday Evening

We have left an evening free for you to explore Anchorage on your own. Downtown Anchorage has great restaurants and shopping. The Anchorage Marriott Downtown is just a few blocks from the 5th Avenue Mall and 4th Avenue Tourist shops. Stay tuned in the next few weeks for restaurant recommendations.

To register for the conference or add guest tickets to the reception, visit here.

We can’t wait to see you in Anchorage!

Co-chairs: Ashley Munro ( and Dewayne Barnes (

WASFAA Conference Draft Agenda Announced

ConferenceThe Conference Committee is excited to host WASFAA members in Anchorage April 10-12 for the Moving Beyond Your Boundaries Conference. We’re less than 3 months away from the opening session so Register today! and join us for what will surely be an exciting time in a new place for many.

All sessions will be held at the Anchorage Marriott Downtown, with rooms only $119 a night. You can book your room at the conference rate here.

Conference Draft Agenda:

Sunday April 10th

9:30-10:45 Pre-Conference Session: Newcomers’ Session & Birds of a Feather

11:00-12:30 Opening Session & Lunch (speakers: Barbara Bickett, WASFAA President & Jodi Bailey, Iditarod Musher)

1:00-2:15 Session Block

2:15-2:45 Vendor Break with snacks

3:00-4:15 Session Block

4:30-6:00 EDAC Entertainment & Reception

7:00-11:00 President’s Dessert Reception at The Anchorage Museum (shuttle to museum available)


Monday April 11th

7:30-9:00 General Session & Breakfast (speakers: Dan Mann & Justin Draeger, NASFAA)

9:15-10:30 Session Block

10:30-11:00 Vendor Break with snacks

11:00-12:15 Session Block

12:30-2:00 General Session, Awards & Lunch

2:15-3:30 Session Block

3:30-4:00 Vendor Block with snacks

4:15-5:30 Session Block

6pm Enjoy Anchorage on your own!


Tuesday April 12th

9:00-10:00 WASFAA Business Meeting & Breakfast

10:00-12:00 Federal Update

As you can see, the agenda is packed with sessions, speakers, and most importantly, FOOD! More detailed session information will be available in February.  By the way…you still have time to submit your session proposals to the Program Committee.

We look forward to seeing you in Alaska!

Conference Co-Chairs: Dewayne Barnes ( and Ashley Munro (

2 cents

Alaska Fun Fact: Alaska was purchased for $7.2 million- that’s 2 cents an acre!