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Profiles in Financial Aid: Melet Leafgreen

December 10, 2013

Melet June 2013Melet Leafgreen is a unique individual in many ways. She is one of only a few people who have had their profile appear twice in Jim’s Blog. In June of 2010, we learned that she received her degree in vocal music performance. In this profile, we’ll focus on her role as the new President of the Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (TASFAA), and the other things that consume her life.

A fourteen-year “veteran” of financial aid, Melet is the current Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Texas Christian University, overseeing verification, R2T4, work study, and the Texas State Grant Program.

As the new President of TASFAA, she knows the challenges that await her. “We have two main problems, and they’re the same ones faced by every non-profit organization on the planet: not enough volunteers and not enough money,” says Melet. She’ll most likely not have any issue getting volunteers, as she’ll put to good use her skills as a qualified legal dispute moderator.

Melet did share with me some of her most embarrassing moments, but said if I published them, she would tell my wife Melissa about some of my most embarrassing moments (our spouses teach at the same school together, so I have nothing to share).

When not working, Melet sings with a couple of ensembles in Fort Worth but admits that her work at TCU and with TASFAA is keeping her busy.

Two minute drill

Favorite movie, book, and TV show? 

Favorite movie – The Fisher King, favorite book – The Grapes of Wrath, favorite TV show – Murder She Wrote

The three people you would invite to dinner would be…

Barack Obama, Tom Jones, and Benedict Cumberbatch

Favorite songs/artists on your iPod?

Gavin DeGraw, Adele, lots of Tom Jones, My Fair Lady soundtrack with Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison, Harry Connick, Jr.

If you were written about on the front page of a newspaper, what would the headline say? 

“The Mouth Strikes Again!!!”

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be? 

That’s easy – Dr. John Watson, best friend and biographer of Sherlock Holmes.

If you could change one financial aid regulation or process, what would it be and why? 

The modular R2T4 process makes no sense and does not do what ED intended it to do. Of course, the Preferred Lender regulations are also a pet peeve of mine.

Who are/were your mentors?  

Mike Scott (TCU-but please don’t tell him I said that), Karen Krause (University of Texas Arlington), David Garza (TG),  Lyn Kinyon (Texas Coordinating Board),  Arthur Amaya ( Bank of America), Kim Alexander (TG), Melissa O’Connor (CLC).

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be, and why? 

That’s a tough one – a week is a long time.  Probably Justin Draeger (NASFAA President). I think I’d like to have his job someday.

Name one thing about you that most people do not know.

I originally came to Fort Worth to attend Brite Divinity School, an ecumenical seminary at TCU. I started graduate school there and took the last job on campus that was still open for a grad student, which was answering the phones in the financial aid office – that was a little over 14 years ago. A year later I dropped out of seminary and took a full time job in this office.

Tell us about your team?

My team at TCU is extraordinary – some of the most passionate and hard-working folks I know. We aren’t perfect, but they always surprise me with their adaptability and generosity to students. I am fortunate to have worked with many of them for over ten years, and they still teach me something every day.

For those of us who know Melet, we would describe her as caring, honest, loving, mentoring, supporting and warmhearted. All of these traits are synonymous with parenting. Melet and her husband Paul are approved and are on a waiting list to adopt their first child. We wish them well in this journey and hope they have the opportunity to instill in their child, the same values and ethics that they possess.

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

Don Buehrer, Regional Director, Nelnet Partner Solutions

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