Director of student financial aid at BHSU receives mentoring award

Author: BHSU Communications/Wednesday, November 19, 2014/Categories: 2014

Deb Henriksen (right), director of student financial aid at BHSU stands with David Martin, director of financial aid at SDSMT, after receiving awards at the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA) Banquet last month.  Henriksen received the Ron Smout award for teaching and mentoring financial aid professionals in the region.

Deb Henriksen, director of student financial aid and coordinator of student financial services at Black Hills State University, received the Ron Smout Award for Teaching and Mentoring at the Rocky Mountain Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (RMASFAA) Banquet last month.  

The award is presented to a recipient from the RMASFAA's eight-state region that has provided mentoring and encouragement to financial aid professionals for several years.  According to the RMASFAA, the Ron Smout Award recipient's guidance is provided "in a quiet, unofficial, and unobtrusive manner, designed solely as a means of teaching and developing leaders."

"I feel very honored to receive this award because I met Ron Smout," said Henricksen.  "He would sit and listen to you, he was a mentor, teacher, very quiet, very unassuming, but he had a presence. I feel honored to get something named after him."

Henriksen has worked at BHSU for 16 years.  Prior to joining BHSU, she worked in financial aid at Dakota Wesleyan and Presentation College. Henriksen is a regional leader in student financial aid, acting as the SDASFAA president elect, treasurer, RMASFAA vice president, treasurer, and conference co-chair in addition to serving on numerous state, regional and national committees.

Ken Kocer, president of the South Dakota Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (SDASFAA), said Henriksen is very deserving of the award and he was happy to hear she received recognition.

"Deb's nominator wrote that she is an excellent role model for the financial aid profession," said Kocer.  

Kim Nida, assistant director of financial aid at BHSU, said Henriksen works with her team at BHSU to brainstorm solutions and find information to help students finish their degrees.

"She helps facilitate the financial aid or scholarship process when more information or other documents are needed and she keeps us updated on the latest developments in our field so we can provide the best service," said Nida.

When asked her advice for new professionals working in financial aid, Henriksen says to expect the challenges and changes in regulations but to also look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We're helping students get their education.  It's so rewarding seeing them walk across the stage at graduation," said Henriksen.  "You might only see their names on paperwork throughout the years.  But at graduation you say, it's you!  You graduated!"
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