Congratulations to Samreen Khurram from Lone Star College; who is a member of NASFAA’s Diversity Leadership Program. This program provides selectees from a wide range of diverse backgrounds with a robust portfolio of benefits, mentorship, and guidance on how to develop as a financial aid association leader at the state, regional, and national level.
TASFAA is very excited for Samreen to have been selected for this program.
Director, Financial Aid
Lone Star College-Tomball
When Samreen entered into the field of financial aid 18 years ago, she did not know she would be kickstarting a career in helping students—much like herself—succeed in higher education. She accepted a student-worker position at Houston Community College after hearing about the job from her financial aid advisor, and discovered that she really “enjoyed helping students achieve their educational goals by providing them with financial aid options and advice, which would help alleviate financial stress from them.” In her current position serving as the financial aid director at Lone-Star College-Tomball, Samreen has offered numerous financial literacy sessions for students, and partnered with other departments and community leaders to create learning experiences for students in their desired field of study. Samreen has also worked with several community donors to design scholarships geared toward minority students.
“Being myself a part of a minority group, I am fully committed to enhancing skills that can help underrepresented groups of the community overcome challenges and roadblocks they face today in their educational environment,” Samreen said. “Through this leadership program I want to be able to guide and mentor people of not only different races and genders, but also people from different generations, sexual orientations, religious affiliations, and people with disabilities. I believe this leadership program will also empower me to bring my ideas and experiences to the larger conversation on education policies, which are critical to the future success of our students.”
Why is diversity important to the profession of financial aid and higher education?
It is our goal in financial aid to provide quality service without any bias to students who come from a variety of backgrounds. In order to better assist a diverse student population, we need to understand their needs and backgrounds, which can be achieved by diversifying the financial aid profession. Diversity not only brings new ideas to the table, but also encourages and sets examples for students that anyone can be successful.
How have you seen diversity in higher education change since you began your career? What gaps/issues remain?
Over my 18-year career in financial aid I have seen improvement in the inclusion and acceptance of people based on their gender, race, cultural background, sexual orientation, and religion. But a lot of work still needs to be done—especially at the college and university leadership level. We need leaders who can relate to the students and staff not through training, but through personal experiences.
What are some of your career and personal life goals?
I want to start a non-profit organization that helps and guides underserved and underrepresented populations through their educational paths. I feel that a lot of students who are first-generation college students need early guidance from their middle school to help them achieve their educational goals. This will include educating the parents and students on the ups and downs of the education system and giving them advice on how to navigate the admissions and financial aid processes.
If you go back to any period in time, when would that be and why?
I want to go back to the 1990s with my son. I miss all those cartoons and the childhood experiences. I would love for my son to spend his toddler years in a minimum-technology environment.
What’s your favorite way to relax?
I relax by coloring or playing video games.
Any hidden talents?
I can read a student aid report