Meet the Professional Development Committee

Meet the Professional Development Committee

Did you know that CAFAA provides free training opportunities to members through the Professional Development Committee? If you haven’t had a chance to take advantage of these events, you’re missing out! CAFAA’s Professional Development Committee works to identify the training needs of membership, develops programs, and facilitates three or four in-person training events each year. We love to offer trainings on a variety of Financial Aid topics. Last year we provided sessions on SAP, verification, PJ’s, customer service, strategies for communicating in stressful situations, R2T4’s and more.

Professional Development Event

Our first event of the year is on November 15 at the Front Range Community College’s Westminster Campus. It will focus on how to effectively counsel underserved student populations like homeless youth, military students, and DREAMers. We hope you can join us! You can see more event details and register online. Registration for this event will close Wednesday, November 8. If you have suggestions for training you would like to see at upcoming events, please email me at Jennifer.lada@colorado.edu.

I’d like to introduce this year’s Professional Development Committee members:

Gina Wenzel-Garza

Gina is a Financial Aid Advisor at Arapahoe Community College. She has worked in higher education for 11 years in roles all over campus, including Records, Business Office/Bursar, and as a GI bill administrator. Gina joined the financial aid office in 2015 and has been working with verification and Return of Title IV funds for about a year. She volunteered as part of the Professional Development Committee because she wants to learn more about financial aid and help others learn and benefit through useful and informative training opportunities!

Brent Edwards

Brent is the Scholarship Coordinator at the Front Range Community College’s Westminster Campus. He joined the CAFAA Professional Development Committee because he’s learned so much useful information through attending previous CAFAA meetings and wants to pay-it-forward by helping to create new and exciting events. Brent appreciates the diverse array of presenters who take time to share their knowledge with other financial aid professionals at CAFAA meetings and conferences. He hopes this year CAFAA can provide members with more great information!

Rhonda Martinez

Rhonda Martinez is the Associate Director of Financial Aid at the Colorado Community College System (CCCS). She has been with CCCS for 6 years. Altogether she has 10 years of experience working in financial aid, including her time as a work study student for Metropolitan State University. Rhonda served as CAFAA Secretary in 2016 and is excited to be a member of the 2017 CAFAA Professional Development Committee. She joined the committee to meet new people and share ideas on how to provide training and financial aid development opportunities to CAFAA members. Outside of financial aid, she enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and two dogs (Zoe and Nala).

Cassi Odum

Cassi is a Scholarship Counselor at CU Boulder. She’s been with CU Boulder for a little more than a year, but working in the world of Financial Aid for ten years and in Higher Ed since 2005. Cassi recently finished her doctoral degree EdD in Higher Education, officially setting her career path in Higher Ed and Financial Aid. She decided to join the Professional Development Committee because she values professional development and wants to be part of the planning and executing stages. Cassi is this year’s committee co-chair and is excited to create some excellent virtual, and in-person sessions that will benefit CAFAA membership.

Cat Correa

This summer will mark ten years in Financial Aid for Cat Correa. Cat is excited to be part of the Professional Development Committee because she recognizes how training on specific nuances in the industry has enhanced her effectiveness as a financial aid adviser and processor. She’s looking forward to continued development as a Financial Aid Administrator through participation in the committee, as well as facilitating the development of our local FAAs.

Jen Lada

And then there’s me! Hello CAFAA members, I’m Jen Lada, the current chair of the Professional Development Committee. I have worked in various Financial Aid offices for over 11 years, and am currently a Coordinator of Client Services at CU Boulder. I joined this committee last year and enjoyed providing training opportunities to our awesome members so much that I just couldn’t quit! I’m excited to continue to help develop CAFAA members through the trainings we have planned this year and I hope you will all have the chance to join us at an event…or multiple events!

Jen Lada
Coordinator of Client Services
University of Colorado Boulder
CAFAA Professional Development Committee Chair

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