President Elect: Mira Howell, Jaron Tucker
Secretary: Jen Amaya
Member at Large- General: Sarah Bergeron
Position descriptions and information can be found here.
Why I am running for President:
I am honored to run for the position of MASFAA President and would use my time as President working with the Executive Council to revitalize our membership into an even more active community.
My initial introduction to MASFAA was at Northeastern University, where I was strongly advised to not only attend the annual conference, but also find a committee to engage with. However, as a member of such a large financial aid office, I felt like I had a huge network of colleagues that I interacted with daily already, and as a result I was not very active as a member. I did not fully take advantage of the vast network and resources MASFAA had to offer until I took a new position where I was the only person managing financial aid for an entire graduate school. After a former colleague reached out to get me involved in the conference committee, suddenly, I was in monthly planning meetings with a diverse group of people who had such depth and breadth to their financial aid knowledge. I had a network of people I could email with unusual financial aid questions and situations, and others who would give presentations and trainings. On top of that, I was helping create an agenda for the topics I wanted to learn about, or thought would be important for other financial aid administrators, at the annual conference.
Being an active MASFAA member has been both empowering and humbling; it has given me many opportunities to learn and allowed me to work with a variety of people in our field. Considering the many upcoming FAFSA changes, as well as the increasing responsibilities that financial aid administrators are being tasked with, a MASFAA membership will be even more valuable in the next few years for professional development and networking opportunities. As President, my priority would be to grow MASFAA membership and participation. I want to make sure that financial aid administrators who are inactive members and professionals who are new to financial aid roles are aware of the many benefits membership has to offer.
Mira Howell has been working in financial aid since 2015 and is currently the Associate Director of Admission and Financial Aid at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She has an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern University, where she worked previously in undergraduate financial aid before moving to combined roles for graduate aid and admissions at Brandeis University and Harvard Kennedy School. Mira has been a member of MASFAA’s Conference Committee since 2018 and has served as a tri-chair twice. She also received MASFAA’s Presidential Award for Outstanding Dedication and Service in 2021 and was a member of the Graduate and Professional Concerns Committee in 2020.
Why I am running for President:
I have always dreamed about being the president of MASFAA. This organization has shaped who I am as a financial aid professional today and has given me opportunities to make an impact in the higher ed community and the institutions I have worked. I want to continue to build on the success MASFAA has maintained and take it to a new level by helping empower our communities and shining the light on the amazing work MASFAA members are doing year-round!
Jaron is a former first gen low-income student of color who has worked in higher education since 2010. He started as a work study at the borough of Manhattan Community College(BMCC) where he worked in the registrar’s office as a College Assistant and Data Entry Operator from 2010- 2014 before moving over to the Bursar office for the rest of 2014. Jaron then made the jump to Northeastern where he became a financial aid counselor in 2015 before becoming an Assistant Director of Financial Aid in 2018. Jaron currently serves as Manager of the federal work study program for Harvard University where he launched the SEO Monthly Newsletter highlighting employment opportunities for students on and off-campus while also spotlighting active student employees to showcase the amazing work they are doing as well.
Jaron sits on the Equity Diversity & Inclusion committee within Harvard College Admissions and Financial Aid office. He also presented “Bridging the Gap” where he and his colleagues talked about the importance of having a strong relationship between financial aid and admissions at the Ivy+ conference. In addition to his professional accomplishments, Jaron has been a very active and accomplished member of MASFAA serving on the Conference Committee for 3 years and serving as chair of the Access inclusion and diversity committee for the past 3 years where he and his committee curated the “Covid & Change” panel discussion at the height of the pandemic giving current higher ed admin, college students and high school students a platform to discuss their experiences and navigating the changes covid forced on our world. Jaron also created and presented “Getting First Gen to the End” on how aid admin can help get those students to graduation day and ensure success.
He currently serves as a mentor and sub-committee member of the first gen student mentor program. He is also a former MASFAA Volunteer of the Year Award winner and a graduate of the MASFAA Leadership Academy. Jaron has an Associate’s degree in human services from BMCC. Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Hunter College and a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in leadership from Northeastern University.
Thank you for the opportunity to be considered for the role of MASFAA Secretary! My name is Jen Amaya and I am the Associate Director of Financial Aid for Federal and State Programs and the University Director of the Federal Work Study Program at Harvard College. I have worked in a variety of financial aid roles at several institutions, including UMass Lowell, Middlesex Community College and Wheelock College, helping both graduate and undergraduate students navigate the financial aid process. Throughout my career, I have been a MASFAA member and have gained so much knowledge and support from our dedicated and talented members. I hope to be able to give back to the organization in the role of Secretary.
I am thrilled to be nominated and run for the Members at Large- General position. I believe that MASFAA’s mission of empowering its members to be educated, engaged and effective professionals takes all of us to fulfill. From the events that the committee put on, to the sessions at conference and the information we all share on a daily basis, our shared experiences and knowledge is what makes MASFAA a great organization to be a part of and a value for all its members.
I have been involved in MASFAA almost from the first day I started working in financial aid seven years ago. I started as a member on the Financial Wellness Education committee and later that year became a co-chair of that committee where I served for two years. Since then, I have been a co-chair for the Membership and Technology committee, where we welcomed in the new website and membership platforms. This past year the Financial Wellness Committee was in need of a co-chair, and I stepped into that role. I have also served on the Conference Committee for the past two years and have presented at several of the MASFAA conferences, as well as Just the Facts! I hope to be able to continue to give back to MASFAA in the role of Member at Large- General.