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Anthony Wise
Product Manager

Anthony Wise

Product Manager

What I do here: My role as a Product Manager for the innovation team is to develop and manage new tools centered on student success. The main objective is to help improve retention, engagement, money management, career planning and many other non-academic barriers that impede college completion.

My experience: I’ve been in the student achievement industry for more than 20 years. Most of that time was spent in the scholastic marketing industry for class rings and graduation products.

I enjoy: Working out and reading in the sauna. I am also a tennis fanatic! I love to watch and play.

Why I work in higher education: I enjoy seeing people succeed and helping them reach their goals. I believe the mind really is a terrible thing to waste.

Education: B.A. in Art, Huntingdon College; M.S. in Management, Troy State University

Brian Allison
Brian Allison
Vice President, Application Development, QA & Product Support

Brian Allison

Vice President, Application Development, QA & Product Support

What I do here:  I direct the activities of both the software application development and quality support teams who develop, maintain and support Student Connections customer-facing products, tools and solutions.

My experience:  I’ve been in the higher education industry for nearly 28 years, with a focus on systems, product development, product support, quality assurance and application development.

I enjoy:  Hunting, motorcycle riding, hiking and many things “outdoors.”  I also enjoy spending time with my wife and seeing my three daughters when I can — one lives in central Indiana and the other two live on opposite coasts!

Why I work in higher education:  I grew up in a loving, lower economic class home. Higher Education programs/assistance greatly funded my college education. This provided me opportunities well beyond those my parents had, which resulted in exemplary benefits for my children. I wanted to work in a field where I could help impart these same types of benefits and opportunities to others.

Education:  B.A. in Religion/Theology, Summit Christian College; M.B.A. (emphasis in Management of Information Systems), Kelley School of Business – Indiana University

Craig Anderson
Craig P. Anderson
President

Craig P. Anderson

President

What I do here:  I lead the Student Connections business, setting the overall direction, goals and objectives for the organization.

My experience:  I’ve been in the higher education industry my entire career working for schools, lenders and other parties in the process.

I enjoy: The Florida Gators, superhero movies, board games and hanging out with friends and family.

Why I work in higher education:  When I was in college I aspired to many things including journalism and teaching. When looking for work to help cover my educational costs I got a part time job in the financial aid office at the University of Florida. I found helping families figure out how to pay for their child’s education was something I was good at and became increasingly passionate about it, and I’ve never looked back.

Education:  B.A. in English, The University of Florida; M.S. in Higher Education Administration, The University of Florida

Elizabeth Brandes
Elizabeth Brandes
Vice President, Marketing

Elizabeth Brandes

Vice President, Marketing

What I do here:  I manage the marketing group’s activities for Student Connections and provide support for the team that takes our message out on the road.

My experience:  I’ve been in the higher education industry for nearly 20 years, with a focus on marketing and business development in higher education finance both domestically and abroad. I also have taught German and worked overseas.

I enjoy:  Traveling and foreign languages, visiting the Arizona desert (never gets old), movies, music, reading, walks with a Yorkie named Winnie and spending time with friends and family.

Why I work in higher education:  In some countries, higher education is a right; here in the U.S., it’s a privilege. I’ve seen firsthand how a college education can reveal opportunities to students who might never have considered them before. And it feels good to give back by helping students navigate their path and avoid some of the pitfalls along the way.

Education:  B.A. in German & French, Indiana University; M.A. in Germanic Languages & Literatures, University of Illinois

Erica Delaney
Product Associate

Erica Delaney

Product Associate

What I do here: I manage the Product Advisory Boards, consisting of stakeholders and students. I also develop content for training to ensure understanding of our products, both internally and externally.

My experience: I’ve always worked in very customer-focused jobs. I also spent my college years learning about design and creative problem-solving, both hand-based design and technology-based.  

I enjoy: Design in all its forms (interior, architectural, landscape, etc.), traveling, spending time with nature, music, dancing, learning languages, food with friends and family and a great piece of literature.

Why I work in higher education: Sometimes life happens, and if you don’t have the right support or resources, especially in college, you have to stop what you’re doing and regroup. While earning my college degree, I got stuck in a “work to survive” cycle, unable to get back to my education. Luckily, with the help of people who were able to connect me with the right resources, I was able to go back and finish my degree. I want to be that person that makes a difference for someone else.

Education: B.G.S., Ball State University

George Covino George Covino - 2
George R. Covino
Vice President, Student Success

George R. Covino

Vice President, Student Success

What I do here:  I help spread the word on industry best practices that have a positive impact on student success.

My experience:  I’ve been working in higher education for 37 years with an emphasis on student financial aid, default prevention, financial literacy and retention.

I enjoy: My family and friends — including my dogs and cats.  I read a lot, volunteer for animal shelters and love exploring the Sonoran Desert and mountain rages surrounding Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley.

Why I work in Higher Education:  Everybody wins when students complete higher education; individuals, their families and communities!  That’s wicked important to me.

My Education:  B.S. in Public Administration, University of Massachusetts; M.Ed in Higher Education Administration, Boston University

Janet Sorg Janet Sorg - 2
Janet Sorg
Director of Customer Relations

Janet Sorg

Director of Customer Relations

What I do here: As the director of customer relations, I am focused on helping the schools we work with succeed. My team and I continuously look for ways to enhance our efforts to get the best outcome for our customers. 

My experience: I have 30 years in the student loan industry. 

I enjoy: Kayaking and hiking in my free time. 

Why I work in higher education: I enjoy supporting universities with our products and services to assist their students in succeeding throughout the post-secondary education journey.

Education: Undergraduate Studies, Ball State University

Julie Naccarato - 2 Julie Naccarato
Julie Naccarato
Account Manager

Julie Naccarato

Account Manager

What I do here:  I provide support, training and technical assistance to our customers, working closely with the Account Executives. 

My experience:
  I’ve been in the higher education industry for more than 30 years, including working in Financial Aid at Oregon State University and Washington State University.

I enjoy: 
 Yoga, summertime in Spokane, Italian food and time with my friends, family and dogs

Why I work in higher education:  My college experience was life changing, and I knew then that I wanted to find a role to help others pursue their dreams through higher education.

Education:
  B.S. in Applied Psychology, Eastern Washington University; M.Ed. in College Student Services Administration, Oregon State University

Kim Shiflette-Fish
Product Manager

Kim Shiflette-Fish

Product Manager

What I do here:  I manage and support default prevention solutions and new product development.  This includes development, enhancements, pricing and support of new and existing tools and services.

My experience: I’ve been in the higher education industry for 27 years in a variety of roles related to student financial aid. During this time, I have managed the application process, student status and default prevention. I have chaired multiple industry efforts related to the exchange of student loan application data, default prevention initiatives and creating standards for the many different partners in the student loan arena with the goal of simplifying the educational process.

I enjoy: Gardening, working out and spending time with my family.

Why I work in higher education:  I landed in the industry while attending college and it became a passion. I never realized my passion would be helping students succeed, but I love it!  I’ve had the privilege of working in various roles, which affords me a holistic view of the student loan life cycle.  As the parent of three daughters attending college, I feel passionate about our mission because I truly recognize the value of the work we do to help students become productive citizens with the ability and willingness to give back.

Education: Undergraduate Studies, Indiana-University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Laurie Blackburn Laurie Blackburn - 2
Laurie Blackburn
Vice President, Customer Support

Laurie Blackburn

Vice President, Customer Support

What I do here:  I manage the operations team that delivers our products and services to schools and students. This includes contract signing, initial setup of services, training, analytics, reporting and day-to-day support.

My experience:  I’ve been in the higher education industry for 32 years in a variety of roles, all focused on customer service.

I enjoy: Anything outdoors (preferably in a warm climate!), reading, walking and spending time with friends.

Why I work in higher education:  I believe in education, life-long learning and helping youth succeed.  It is a noble mission.  And, as I’ve learned in the past 32 years, it is ever-changing and always presents a new challenge.  I like to define solutions and then make them happen.

Education:  B.S. in Finance, Ball State University; M.B.A., Butler University

Pete McEwen Pete McEwen - 2
Pete McEwen
Director, Customer Strategy & Data Management

Pete McEwen

Director, Customer Strategy & Data Management

What I do here: I have the pleasure of serving our customers through data analysis, tracking and monitoring outreach strategies, and providing transparency through our performance reporting. I work alongside amazing individuals, here and at the schools we serve, who are focused on driving long-term solutions that create positive outcomes for students and borrowers.

My experience: I have more than 15 years in the student loan and default prevention industry, with a primary focus on data analytics and reporting at a variety of levels.

I enjoy: Being involved with my children and encouraging them to dream big! I also enjoy water sports, camping, cycling and spending time with friends and family.

Why I work in higher education: I truly believe we have an opportunity to change peoples’ lives through education, opening doors that may otherwise stay closed. I have experienced, first hand, how completing a degree program increases confidence, provides new career pathways, and impacts future generations in a positive way.

Education: B.S. in Business Management, Indiana Wesleyan University

Sara Wilson
Product Manager

Sara Wilson

Product Manager

What I do here:  I manage the development and overall strategic vision for Student Connections’ financial literacy and college success program for students.

My experience:  I’ve worked for more than 10 years supporting products and services that provide financial education and support campus-based default prevention efforts.

I enjoy:  Bird watching with my husband, the City by the Bay, “Doctor Who,” cartoons and spending time outdoors.

Why I work in higher education:  When I was in college, I was the kid who did everything wrong financially. I took out loans regardless of whether I needed them; I changed my major three times; I spent what little money I had unwisely; and I maxed out multiple credit cards when I couldn’t afford the payment, completely wrecking my credit. That’s what makes coming to work exciting to me — the fact that I’m working on tools that will mean fewer students go through what I went through.

Education:  B.A. in Journalism, Ball State University

Steve Queisser
Steve Queisser
Vice President, Strategic Accounts

Steve Queisser

Vice President, Strategic Accounts

What I do here: My title is vice president of strategic accounts; what I do here is quite different. It is my belief that every choice and decision I make everyday should lead to the furthering of a culture of support and learning. If we learn something every day, and learn it in the right atmosphere, we will develop relationships and sales that exceed our expectations.

My experience:  Before joining the Student Connections team, I was vice president of sales and marketing for a federal loan servicer and default prevention service provider based in Knoxville, TN for 12 years. Prior to that, I managed the sales and marketing teams for the Tennessee Titans Radio Network and served as director of marketing for 17 southeast based radio stations. My first job out of college was with SIMON Property Group, the nation’s largest retail developer, where I managed multiple shopping malls and served as the director of grand opening events.

I enjoy: Time with my family, golf, running and traveling. I am happiest when I’m outdoors!

Why I work in higher education: I moved from the NFL to higher education for the opportunity to change lives, individually and generationally. Education can never be taken away, and a degree changes the student’s life as well as the lives of family and friends. Helping students be more successful after school is as important as helping them while in school.

Education: B.S. in Marketing, Indiana University

Valerie Walthall
Valerie Walthall
Account Manager

Valerie Walthall

Account Manager

What I do here:  I support customers with setup and training.  I also meet monthly with customers and ensure support documentation is delivered to help them with their default prevention and student success efforts.

My experience:
  I started working in the student loan industry at Sallie Mae in November 1988.

I enjoy: 
 Boating, dogs and family time.  I serve on the board for Lawrence Meals on Wheels and the Lawrence SERTOMA club.

Why I work in higher education:  It’s what I’ve been doing for nearly 30 years.  Serving customers is what I do best.

Education:
  A.A. in Business, Baker University

Wade Pulliam Wade Pulliam - 2
Wade Pulliam
Account Manager

Wade Pulliam

Account Manager

What I do here: As an Account Manager, I work with our customers to make sure they are using our products and services most effectively. I am specifically focused on our student success solution, Success Center.

My experience: I have over nine years of experience in the financial aid industry. I previously worked in default prevention for Sallie Mae, but have also worked at the institution level.

I enjoy: Family, motorcycles and football.  

Why I work in higher education:
 I enjoy working with and helping student borrowers understand their options.

Focused on helping students succeed in college and beyond.

We’d love to discuss your institution’s student success goals and share with you how we are impacting the lives of students every day.

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