Harvard Medicine News recently caught up with new financial aid director Ryan Callahan, who hasn't had much of a chance to meet his fellow workers in person becausethe coronavirus pandemic began shortly after he arrived at HMS. Here we introduce you to Ryan virtually to learn a little more about him.
Tell us somethingabout the career path that brought you to HMS.
I began my career as an assistant director of financial aid at Boston College. This allowed me to work while receiving my masters degree in higher education from BC.From there I moved on to MIT for more than a decade. I worked as the senior assistant director of financial aid and was later promoted to associate director. Having dedicated my career to working in elite educational institutions, I understand the importance of financial aid in affording families with the opportunities of a private education.
What do you find most rewarding about working in financial aid?
The most rewarding part of working in financial aid is working with students and helping make it possible for them to attend their dream school.I have been very fortunate to work at schools with generous need-based financial aid programs allowing me to help reduce the financial barriers confronting prospective students. Financial aid is a truly unique field, where I may be doing my best work while costing my employer money!
The pandemic has derailed normal office life at HMS, but in the time youve been here, what have you enjoyed most about being at HMS?
I began working at HMS in early February and spent only four weeks in the office before moving to full-time remote work at home.This presented many new challenges for the Financial Aid Office and all areas of HMS.It has been truly amazing to see the way the HMS community has come together to tackle these issues. In the Financial Aid Office, every team member has put it additional time creating new procedures in order to provide seamless service to our students.Before arriving at HMS I was told I would be joining a great team in the Financial Aid Office, but these new challenges have highlighted their talents, experience and dedication to our students.
What do you think are some of the challenges and opportunities ahead on the financial aid horizon?
HMS firmly believes in the importance of our need-based financial aid policy.Thanks to the generosity of HMS donors, our office was able to create a new medical student emergency aid fund. As a result of the pandemic, many of our students and their families will be negatively impacted, and our office will be front and center helping them navigate this difficult time. This new fund will allow us toprovide temporary, short-term financial assistance to students enrolled in the MD program who are struggling with unanticipated or emergency financial situations.
Whats the most important thing people should understand about the financial aid picture at HMS?
I think open communication is paramount right now. It is the responsibility of the office to make all potential resources clear to our students and let them know we are here to help them through all of this. It is critical we keep our lines of communication open to students. We also ask our students to keep us informed and make us aware of any financial challenges. We are acutely aware of the stress financial concerns can place on a student and our ultimate goal is to alleviate those concerns so they can remain focused on their education.
Tell us a little about youfamily life? Background? Hometown?
I grew up just outside of Boston, in Somerville. My mother was a teacher, so the importance of an education was always stressed in our home. My father was the superintendent of recreation in Somerville. Their positions meant I always had to be on my best behavior in both school and at athletic events! I love Boston and am fortunate to raise my family in this area. My wife, Vy, also works in higher education, and we have two amazing daughters, Avery and Lia.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I am at my happiest when I am with family and friends. I am the youngest of three children and my wife is one of five, so we are fortunate to be surrounded by parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. I am an avid sports fan and love all the Boston teams, so the past two decades have been very kind to me! I also have a passion for personal finance and real estate. I am working towards a certificate in financial planning at Boston University.
What are you looking forward to when the pandemic is over and things get back to normal?
I think, like everyone else, I am looking forward to being able to freely see family and friends again. The single thing I am looking forward to the most is being able to watch my daughters hug their grandparents again.
Originally posted here:
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