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Mary Crowe enjoys helping students find financial means for their educational dreams

Mary Crowe

Mary Crowe, manager of financial aid and scholarships

On her first days on the job, Mary Crowe learned that two computers are better than one.

“I was told `Oh, you will be using them both soon enough', and I thought `Why on earth would I need two monitors working at the same time?'” said Crowe, the manager of financial aid and scholarships. “Within two weeks, I was hooked and couldn't figure out how I could have lasted that long without both!”

After learning that lesson and mastering Datatel, she has spent her six years at ECC being a resource to students and their families. Much of her office's effort is not just the mandatory loan counseling she give to new student applicants, but outreach to those beyond ECC who rely on her office's advice in pursuing financial aid and scholarships.

We caught up with Crowe to ask her questions about herself, her experiences and ECC. Here's what she had to say.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I am the manager of the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. My job is to keep the office running smoothly, by providing staff with the tools and assistance they need to get their job done. I also troubleshoot and handle unusual or difficult situations that students have regarding their financial aid and paying for college. I'm blessed to work with such a professional, hard working group of people each day!

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

My greatest accomplishment is being a part of a complete renovation of the department's operation. We've been able to get more students awarded financial aid and scholarships in a timely fashion so their classes don't get dropped and they can get the education they need.

We've also increased our outreach programs so that we now participate in over 75 events during the year, which enables us to help students and their parents understand the financial aid process and how they can get funding.

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

I'd probably walk around to the different departments, shake hands with the staff, and ask them what would help them be more successful in their job. It makes the staff feel like they matter and it also gives you greater insight in to what is involved in the day to day running of a college.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Meryl Streep, because she is my favorite actress and she can play any part.

What's on your “bucket list?”

I hope to someday take a wonderful vacation with my three children and hopefully, with my grandchildren! Also, I hope to one day be at the seventh game of the Stanley Cup series with my son and the Blackhawks win!!!

What's one fact we should know about you?

I was selected after my first year at ECC to receive the Student Life award for my support department role in helping students. The best part was that the students voted which made me realize how important my job was and that I made a difference in their lives.

What's something about your job that others should know?

I actually spend a great deal of my time with students and I love giving presentations, especially to parents. I have three children that have gone through the college financial aid process and because of my job, I know what the parents need to understand about financial aid. It's wonderful to have parents come up to me afterwards and thank me with tears in their eyes and say, “For the first time I feel like I can afford to send my child to college.”

What was your favorite class in school?

Philosophy. I had the most wonderful instructor who would speak to us as if he were Plato, Socrates and other philosophers. You really had a clear understanding of what they believed and how they viewed the world.

What was your first job out of school?

I worked at the Joseph Kennedy School for mentally challenged adults. My job was to help them with life and job skills and prepare them to get a job in the community. It was a humbling experience to see their everyday struggles with things that I took for granted. When someone got a job we would celebrate and make them feel special.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

I enjoy working at ECC because I get to help students get the money they need to ensure that they can attend college. It's humbling to hear back from students and see their gratitude that you have had a small part in changing their lives. I believe that education is the key to helping students succeed in life and am thrilled that I can have a small impact in helping them reach their goals.

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