Heather Tapia, a regional vice president at ScholarNet, shares some of the knowledge and expertise she’s accumulated over decades of work experience in higher education and financial aid.
Heather Tapia has been with ScholarNet for 14 years, helping financial aid professionals simplify their workload, so they can spend more time helping students and their families. This regional vice president knows how to best assist institutions because she has years of experience working in a financial aid office before coming to ScholarNet. She understands the struggles, and has the knowledge to make things easier. We recently had a chance pick the brain of our expert on all things financial aid.
How did your career in financial aid start?
As a secretary in 1998 at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona, California, and then I joined the ScholarNet team in October of 2005.
What makes you passionate about the work you do?
The opportunity to help financial aid offices and provide them the same type of support I received to make the job easier.
What do you think is the most important trait for an individual working in Financial Aid?
The desire to help students succeed. Financial aid is complicated enough, occasionally students drop out or give up because they lack the assistance needed to navigate the complex process.
What is the team chemistry and culture like at ScholarNet, and how does your team work together?
It’s a family and everyone single one of us is passionate about doing what’s right. We all jump in feet first, offering suggestions or sharing our experiences to assist each other.
How has the pandemic affected your work and how have you adjusted?
It hasn’t been a huge adjustment except for having family home while I work. My youngest has daily school work and needs to be kept on track. Fortunately, my oldest is able to assist when I am not available. We all have pulled together to make it work.
As a part of a team that works remotely and supports each other from a distance, what insight would you share with those who aren’t used to remote work?
We all stay connected through online chat and weekly calls so it really doesn’t feel as though we are not in the same office – it becomes second nature. Technology definitely keeps us connected and makes it easy to assist one another. If possible, have a separate room for work to eliminate distractions and background noise.
What are some hobbies or things you do for fun outside of work?
I love camping and going to the river as often as possible. Also spending time with friends and getting together for family functions.