05 Jan Introducing Steve McDowell

1. Where do you work and what is your title? Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, Board of Regents for Higher Education; Assistant Director of Financial Aid Services

2. Why did you enter the field of Financial Aid?  Left working the family catering business to pursue a different career path.  Fate landed me in aid.

3. What do you like most about your job?  Troubleshooting, problem-solving, and learning new ideas from colleagues.

4. Most exotic place you’ve visited? Curacao

5. If you won the lottery, how would you spend your millions?  Invest it for children’s’ college tuition and retirement.

6. What type of music do you like?  And, if you had a theme song, what would it be? I’ll give any and everything a chance, but I’m partial to classic and alternative rock, and now getting into country.  I’m really into the Old Crow Medicine Show and Straight No Chaser right now.  As far as a theme song, I’d say “Sometimes Jacks Rule the Realm” by 311.  It’s a song about how life can sometimes be unfair and full of finger pointing, placing blame, and just being stuck to taking on a new point of view – enlightenment cannot come until a person comes to grips with the sometimes petty emotions that drive us.

7. What is your biggest pet peeve?  Breakdowns in communication

8. Who is your favorite author? Dan Brown

9. What is your guilty pleasure? The Bachelor/The Bachelorette

10. What is the last book you read? The Atlantis Gene/The Atlantis Plague/The Atlantis World (Trilogy by AG Riddle).  Now reading The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks.

11. What was your most favorite training so far and why?  CLASP/Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success  – focused on building comprehensive financial supports for low-income students.  Loads of great ideas, best practices, and relevant discussions.

12. Who has been the biggest influence in your life? Family

13. What do you do when you are not working? Spend time with my wife and kids.

14. Where do you like to go on your vacation and what do you like to do?  We enjoy places with sun, sand, and the ocean so we can just relax.  Next trip is ten days to Italy in May.

15. If you had the power, what would you change in the Financial Aid field?  Put legislators, politicians, ED representatives, and any other policy maker into an aid office for an extended period of time. I think this would be an eye-opener for many.

16. What is your favorite saying?   In the scheme of life, it’s just a drop in the bucket.

17. What advice would you give to someone new to the industry? Brace yourself for change.  It’s inevitable and far easier to manage if you embrace it and don’t fight it.

18. Are you a dog or cat person? Dog

19. Where do you call home? Durham, CT

20. Please tell us a little something about your family:  Married to my beautiful wife Ashley; we have two great kids in Andrew (6) and Jacob (3).  We exchanged vows on September 21, 2014 in Boston, with the reception held at Fenway Park.

21. What is something your colleagues would be surprised to know about you? I play the guitar and bass, and was President of my college radio station.