Melissa Amparan of Sul Ross pays assistance forward
By STEVE LANG
SRSU News and Publications
ALPINE – Financial aid turned a dream of a college degree into a reality for Melissa Amparan. Now, as Sul Ross State University’s assistant director of Financial Aid, she is paying the sound advice forward.
“My own situation pushed me toward this job,” said Amparan, a 2012 Sul Ross graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Administrative Systems and Business Technology. “Without financial aid, a college education would have been impossible. My experiences landed me in Financial Aid to try and help others.”
She began working in Financial Aid shortly after graduation, first as a secretary in the Center for Enrollment Services, later as a Financial Aid specialist, and since February, as assistant director.
“I try to make sure to tell students everything about financial aid,” she said. “I guess I take the role of a big sister.”
Melissa followed her brother Jose’s footsteps to Sul Ross, and benefitted from his experience. Jose graduated in 2010 and worked in Financial Aid after graduation.
“Ever since we were young, I tried to imitate him,” Melissa said. “I thought anything he could do, I could do better.”
She definitely paid attention to the financial aid process, and as an employee, she makes sure all student applicants receive as much information as possible.
“My first piece of advice is, check your email accounts as often as you check your social media, because email is the main source of financial aid information,” she said.
When Amparan started work as a secretary, she was also assigned scholarship coordinator duties.
“Her brother, Jose was already working for Financial Aid and was one of our best workers,” said Mickey Corbett, Financial Aid director. “We took a chance that Melissa would be as hard a worker as Jose was. We were right.”
As a Financial Aid specialist, she soon became a student favorite, Corbett said.
“A large majority of students request to speak with her when they have questions about their aid file. I believe students feel comfortable around her. Melissa is very friendly and always has a smile for everyone. While the financial aid process can be challenging to some, she finds ways to make it more simple to understand. She goes out of her way to help students and parents complete the process. She is proactive in notifying students of forms they need to submit to us and helping them complete processes.”
Mary Beth Marks, Vice President for Enrollment Management, added, “From the first time I met Melissa during my job interview five years ago she has always had a smile and a positive attitude. That personality goes a long way when dealing with financial matters and helping students and their families reach their goals.”
Amparan, meanwhile, is continuing her own education, currently working toward a Master of Business Administration degree. She also is an assistant to George A. Covington of Alpine, a photographer, author and columnist for the Big Bend Sentinel.
“As a (undergraduate) student I had a lot of one-on-one contact with my professors, which adds a little more responsibility to do well, except that they don’t tell your mom,” she laughed. “But when faculty know you as an individual, it makes (the process) of being able to succeed a little easier.”