2014 Recipient of the AFCPE® Mary Ellen Edmondson
Educator of the Year Award
“My goal in teaching is to teach complex financial issues in a manner so that students can apply those concepts in their own lives.”
Teacher, mentor, speaker, inspirer – there are many words to describe Alena Johnson and the impact she has had on her students, fellow educators and the larger community. As a lecturer at Utah State University, Alena has taught over 19,000 students through courses in Family Finance, Financial Counseling and Balancing Work and Family; and she has mentored over 200 students choosing to enter careers in the financial field.
Alena is passionate about teaching about financial concepts and her enthusiasm is well received by students, community and professional audiences. Alena took the Family Finance class at Utah State University from 80 students to a class of 500 with a waiting list. In 2007 her class was voted as the second most favorite class across the entire campus of USU. Alena has not only helped students learn about good money management practices, she has also taught them how to apply them in their own lives.
AFCPE & AFC Professional Impact
Alena has been actively involved with AFCPE since first attending and presenting at the annual conference in 1999. Since that time she has given twelve presentations at the annual conference. She has also been the chair of the Certification Task Force and an invited member of the strategic planning committee and the job analysis committee. She regularly donates her time as a reviewer for symposium submissions and as a Symposium presider.
Her impact on AFC® professionals has been incredibly important to the organization. As an instructor of the AFC Webinar Review sessions, her guidance and expertise has helped individuals prepare for and pass the AFC examinations. She has aided both traditional enrollees in the program, as well as FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellows. In addition, her experience and understanding of the AFC competencies, has allowed her to play an integral role in examination and study guide development and maintenance for the AFC certification program.
Wide Spread Impact
Alena has created multiple publications to help individuals and educators improve money management skills in themselves and others. These publications have been used by individuals and educators throughout the world. Some examples include:
The Step-Down Principle – A simple, effective way to help individuals reduce their expenses incrementally. After its initial presentation in 1999, Alena Johnson’s Step-Down Principle has been used by financial counselors, educators and extension agents throughout the nation.
The Financial Checkup – A booklet that guides individuals through an annual self-financial assessment, offering several worksheets to help a person determine their current financial situation, where they want to go and how to get there.
Financial Remedies – A companion booklet to The Financial Checkup booklet that helps individuals cure problems discovered while completing their own financial checkup.
Financial First Aid – Designed for non-financial professionals to help individuals improve their money management skills. This booklet can be used by marriage and family therapists, clergy, extension agents, social workers and anyone else who encounters financial situations in their own practices.
Alena’s publications are frequently used in University coursework, by eXtension agents and financial counselors, and by therapists and social workers throughout the country. Her impact as an educator is wide spread, and the advice and knowledge she has imparted in her classroom and through her publications continues to impact individuals nationwide.