At Financial Aid Services (FAS) and Genesis Software, we are known for our industry expertise with decades worth of experience. But how did our experts first begin their journey in the world of Higher Education and Financial Aid?
This month we are hearing from Connie Feliciano, a Student Eligibility Review Specialist here at FAS. You can read below to find out more about how her journey in Financial Aid first started.
I was 19 years old when I first applied for an Administrative Assistant position that I found on Monster. Remember Monster.com? Like most teenagers, I did not know what I wanted to do, or where I wanted to work, but I knew my strengths. I knew I was obsessively organized and liked collaborating with others. So, I thought, why not give this part-time gig at a Career School in Malden, MA a shot? It seemed like a decent placeholder... at least until I found out what I really wanted to do.
Within a year I was working full time in my position, and less than a year later I was promoted to Financial Aid Representative. I knew nothing about Financial Aid, except that it sounded overwhelming. Sitting at the front desk, I could see that it even seemed a bit scary to some. I knew I had been given the opportunity to work in the FA Department so that I could help people. Once I got comfortable, I made it my mission to ensure I assisted in removing obstacles for students.
Working right outside of Boston, I met individuals from all different walks of life. Whether they were first generation college students from around the neighborhood, degree holders looking for a change of career, refugees and asylees starting over in a new country, to everyone else in between! I was given the opportunity to learn more about these people and where they came from. I sincerely learned something new every day, and I loved it.
My journey continued as I eventually became Financial Aid Director. I watched this small school of 100 students grow to be a community of about 400 in such a brief period of time. It was truly a rewarding experience to be a part of it. I was incredibly fortunate to have a boss that believed in educating, training, and promoting from within the company. Much like FAS.
Over the years, I continued to work in Financial Aid at various institutions in different capacities. I found FAS and thought, after working on the front end of the Financial Aid process for so long, why not try something new? Instead of working directly with students, why not try to assist clients?
It has been almost 4 years now, and I am grateful I took the leap. Although I will forever miss walking families through the many steps of the application process, I know that comes from my need to serve, and I will always try to find a way to pour into my community with things like volunteering on FAFSA Day.
I included some personal photos below of when I was first working at the front desk, my son (who would occasionally join me at work) sitting at my desk in the first office I ever had, and one of my beautiful family!
I have been in this industry for almost 20 years already, and I am looking forward to another 20+ more. Here’s to the journey, the growth, and the countless lessons that are yet to come.