2016-2017 Slate of Candidates
Stacy Walker– University of Mississippi Medical Center
Stacy Walker is the Associate Director of Financial Aid at the University of Mississippi Medical Center since 2008. Stacy been a member of MASFAA since 2009 and she has served the board as Vendor/Sponsor chair for 2 years, Electronic Services Chair and High School Relations for the current year. Stacy also sits on SASFAA’s Executive Board as the Global Dimensions chair for the current year. She earned her M.B.A. in Accounting and B.S.B.A. both from Mississippi College and is currently pursuing her Doctorate Degree in Higher Education Leadership from The University of Mississippi. Stacy currently holds 12 credentials through the NASFAA U program, where she is on the NASFAA U Honor Roll. Stacy has also taught several NASFAA U courses to members of MASFAA and serves as a NASFAA U Instructor with NASFAA. Stacy also earned her certification as a Certified Personal Financial Manager (CPFM) through Inceptia’s Personal Financial Management Certification program. Her educational background, coupled with her CPFM Certification has armed her with the knowledge necessary to speak with students struggling financially and guide them towards educational and financial success. Her primary objective is ensuring students are successful in their studies and not burdened by their financial needs.
Gail Muse Beggs– Holmes Community College
Gail Muse Beggs has served as the Financial Aid Director at Holmes Community College for four years. She has also been a member of MASFAA since 2012 and currently serves as the chair of the Audit and Finance Committee and is a volunteer for the 2016 Conference Committee. Since joining MASFAA she has been active in training opportunities and holds 7 NASFAA Credentials. She has taught several NASFAA credential training sessions, as well as participating as an instructor for the most recent Financial AID 101 training. She is a current member of SASFAA and NASFAA. In addition, she serves as Vice President of the Mississippi Community and Junior College Student Aid Administrators Association and was a founding Board Member. Gail has earned her Doctorate of Education in Higher Education from Delta State University, a Master of Science in Education Degree from Mississippi State University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Mississippi College and an Associate of Arts Degree from Hinds Communtiy Colelge. She has 23 years’ experience in higher education and assisting students through personal and financial difficulty to obtain a degree and a higher standard of living. She believes it the responsibility of financial aid personnel to alleviate the stressors associated with paying for school and to provide financial resources to students who would otherwise be unable to pursue post-secondary education.
Brenda Pittman– William Carey University
I would like to say thank you to my MASFAA colleagues and the Nominations Committee for considering me for the position of Vice-President. It is truly an honor to be considered for this position.
I have worked in Financial Aid at William Carey University for 25 years. I began as Administrative Assistant; I am now Associate Director. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership both from William Carey.
I have been a member of MASFAA for 25 years and SASFAA for 11 years. During this time I have served on the MASFAA Conference Committee several times, the High School Relations Committee, and State Aid Committee. I have also served on the Local Arrangements Committee for SASFAA. I served as your Secretary and Archives Chair for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 and also served as MASFAA’s Vice-President for 2013-2014. My service has been an enjoyable experience that I will never forget. I have so enjoyed getting to know our MAFAA family over the years and I am truly thankful for the friendships and knowledge that I have gained. It’s a great feeling to know that you are just a phone call, email or text message away if I have a question or problem.
As I have stated before, I took a job in the Financial Aid office because I needed a job at the time. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that I had found what I was supposed to do with my life. Yes, the world of financial aid can be so frustrating at times with our ever changing regulations but it is so rewarding for a student to drop by just to say thanks.
My husband, Fred and I live in Ellisville.
As we look to the future of our great organization, I would be honored to serve you again as Vice-President.
Terry Bland– Itawamba Community College
Terry Bland is the Director of Financial Aid at Itawamba Community College. Prior to that, he spent 4 years at Northwest Mississippi Community College in the same position. He moved to the school-side of higher education after spending 16 years in the Federal Family Education Loan Program with BancorpSouth then MOHELA. He previously served as MASFAA’s Treasurer for 1998-2000, has served as Chair of the Audit & Finance Committee various times, and has been involved with the Conference Committee for multiple conferences.
Debbi Braswell– Belhaven University
Debbi has 20 years of experience in Financial Aid. Like so many Financial Aid Professionals, she began her career as an accidental walk in; part time employee/student worker in the financial aid office. It was at Hinds Community College, she learned the ropes from her mentor, Anne Grove. From verifying paper ISIRS on mastercards and filing all those paper documents to supervising the Work Study program to FAS system implementation, Debbi’s love and passion for Student Financial Aid grew from a job to a career. After 7 years at Hinds Community College, Debbi moved on to serve at Millsap College for 5 years as Assistant Director. As grandchildren began to rival Debbi’s love for FA, she moved back to Hinds Community College, serving as Carrie Cooper’s Assistant Director, to spend more hours at home. For the past couple of years, Debbi has been serving students across the southeast as the Director of Financial Aid at Belhaven University. Debbi’s experience in financial aid from a community college and private institutions perspective lend to a well-rounded appreciation for the vast complexities of financial aid as it is administered to meet the needs of students across Mississippi and the nation.
Brenda Carson– East Central Community College
To be nominated to serve MASFAA as Director is an honor. My journey in the financial aid world and MASFAA started in 1982. I am still serving in my first financial aid job that I started 34 years ago as Director of Financial Aid at East Central Community College. My how things have changed! One thing that has not changed though is the commitment that MASFAA has had as an organization to meet the needs of our financial aid professionals in the state. MASFAA affords us all the additional opportunity to become members of a “family.” As I have attended meetings and been involved, I have realized that serving MASFAA is truly important not only for MASFAA to continue to be strong but also for the person who is serving to grow even more personally and professionally.
Over the years, I have served MASFAA in various capacities including:
Legislative Committee Chair
MS Trainer for NASFAA Decentralized Training
NASFAA Credential Training Instructor
Presenter, Moderator, Monitor at various MASFAA conferences
Representative on the ACT Council
Various MASFAA committees including Legislative, Vendor-Sponsor, Conference, High School Relations
In addition to MASFAA, I am serving as the 2015-16 President of the Mississippi Community and Junior College Student Aid Administrators Association (MCJCSAA) after having served last year as the chair of the Federal Compliance Committee. I also serve as the voting representative for the institution for NASFAA. I hold membership in the ECCC Administration, Faculty and Staff Association and the Mississippi Junior/Community College Faculty Association.
I am a graduate of East Central Community College and have a B.S. and M.Ed. from Delta State University. I taught junior high before my husband accepted the job of Director of Bands at East Central Community College in 1982. For two months that year, I worked as the Director of Publicity at East Central before accepting the job as Director of Financial Aid. I have laughingly said that I got into financial aid somewhat by accident but I have stayed very much on purpose. My husband Tom (deceased May 6, 2013) and I have three grown children, Christopher, Jennifer and Jeremy. Our family has grown to include 4 grandchildren (3 girls and a brand new grandson).
I have often thought that I would like to serve MASFAA as a Director before I retire from financial aid. I am not thinking of retiring just yet because I still feel that I am serving a purpose in helping students who are in need of financial assistance to attend college. Again, I thank you for your nomination and it would be a privilege to serve MASFAA as Director.