Congratulations to past winners of the AFCPE Distinguished Fellow Award!
The call for nominations opens in June 2017.
2016: Barbara O'Neill
Barbara O'Neill, PhD, CFP®, CRPC®, AFC®, CHC® has been an active member of AFCPE for thirty years. She has chaired numerous AFCPE task forces and served as an AFCPE conference submission reviewer, an AFCPE awards reviewer, an AFC certification exam item writer, an ad hoc reviewer and book editor for the Journal of Financial Counseling & Planning, and a copyeditor for The Standard.
Dr. O'Neill has contributed her expertise to numerous newsletters and Journals, led professional development training and served at the highest level as an AFCPE Board member, as the Board Secretary and Board President. She has also attended and made one or more presentations at all but one AFCPE symposiums since 1989, with a total of more than 75 presentations.
Her generosity spills into the field with a yearly contribution in the form of a $2500 mini-grant provided in memory of her mom, Mary O’Neill. To date, the mini-grant has provided more than $15,000 into the innovative financial education projects of AFCPE members.
Dr. O'Neill holds the rank of Distinguished Professor in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, and is Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s Specialist in Financial Resource Management. She also provides national leadership for the Cooperative Extension Program Small Steps to Health and Wealth™. As an educator, she has written over 1,500 consumer newspaper articles and over 180 articles for academic journals and conference proceedings.
Her academic accolades include a PhD from Virginia Tech. She is also certified as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (CFP®), a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®), an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®), a Certified Housing Counselor (CHC®), and a Certified Financial Educator (CFEd).
She has received more than 3 dozen awards for program excellence, including now 10 from AFCPE, and over $975,000 in funding to support her financial education programs and research.
She is well-known for creating and leading high impact Cooperative Extension financial education programs and, most importantly she shares her program materials freely with others in presentations and publications.
Even with this impressive list of accomplishments she continues to expand her reach in the field – as part of the DoD funded project, MFLN and through her extensive outreach on social media, tweeting research-based financial education as @Moneytalk1.
Dr. O'Neill embodies the definition of a Distinguished Fellow – she is an educator, a researcher, a practitioner, a mentor and a pioneer. Her accomplishments are vast, and her impact through financial education, outreach and research continues to inspire students, professionals and consumers worldwide.
2015: Jean Lown
Jean Lown, PhD was a founding member of AFCPE, attending preliminary organizational meetings at Brigham Young University in 1983 and at Iowa State University in 1984 when AFCPE was formalized. Her involvement with AFCPE has been going strong ever since. Jean has been extremely involved with the AFCPE conferences, attending almost every year since 1984. She has presented at 22 of the 30 conferences, including 27 paper presentations and 8 poster presentations. She has also encouraged and financially supported dozens of students to attend the AFCPE conference over the years. She has brought Utah State University students to every conference since 1994.
She has been the recipient of two AFCPE Awards, including the Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year and the Outstanding Journal Paper award. But her commitment to and involvement with AFCPE is not limited to conferences. She has served two terms on the AFCPE board, 2005-2006 and 2007- 2009. She has also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning continuously since 1993, and published 11 articles in the same journal.
In the last year, Jean founded the research task force, building the foundation upon which the theme of this year’s symposium originated. Her work in the field and within AFCPE embodies the bridge we are building.
2014: Sharon Cabeen
This year, AFCPE was proud to recognize Sharon Cabeen as the recipient of the Distinguished Fellow Award. The honor goes to a colleague who deserves our greatest recognition for his or her significant and long-lasting contributions to AFCPE and to the field. It also must represent someone who exhibits the highest standards of professional and ethical conduct. This is Sharon Cabeen.
Sharon has spent 10 years serving AFCPE in a variety of capacities, including: Chairperson of the Member Services Committee; member of the Strategic Planning Committee; and an officer of the Board and Executive Board as President and Past President.
A fellow colleague fondly recalls, “Once Sharon joined our team, her passion and mission to assist consumers in better managing their finances was obvious. Although our organization’s focus is on the student — that is, student access, retention and student loan debt — she has helped us, and others in the higher education industry, realize that our contributions are a small part of the bigger picture, which she refers to as ‘The Farm’.”
The Farm is an analogy that Sharon uses to describe the world of finances. The silos on the farm are the different components of the big financial picture, including student loans, credit, spending, etc. With more than 35 years of experience – 25 years in credit counseling management and financial education and 10 years in the student loan industry – Sharon has devoted much of her career to building a bridge between the industry’s silos.
As a result of her efforts, professionals in each silo have retained and shared knowledge invaluable to one another. Student loan counselors have experience in the complex world of the FAFSA and student loan repayment, while AFCs are equipped to discuss multiple debt types and help consumers develop spending plans that align with their personal values and financial goals. Sharon has used her leadership to open the eyes of both industries and to realize the importance of collaboration.
Sharon is the creator of two different financial literacy programs that are being used today by two different organizations. Thanks to Sharon, there has been an increase in AFC® certifications as well as AFCPE memberships from student financial aid professionals, lenders and guarantors across the country. Because of her, scholarships were created for student financial aid professionals to enroll in the AFC program and student financial aid experts are now attending and submitting proposals for conference presentations and increasing the network of knowledge amongst AFCPE’s membership. And through her leadership, financial aid offices are now creating positions devoted to financial literacy on college campuses across the country with a focus on a holistic approach to student aid.
The bridge is being built. AFCPE Staff, Board and Members agree – it has been, and continues to be, an honor to learn from Sharon and work together toward her vision of the perfect farm.