WESTERVILLE, OH — The 2020 Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) Awards recognize individuals and organizations across the country who elevate the personal finance field through innovation, expertise, leadership, and mentorship.

“I am inspired by our AFCPE Members’ continued dedication to providing accessible financial education and counseling in their communities,” said Rebecca Wiggins, AFCPE Executive Director. “Through their research, innovation, and commitment, these individuals and organizations have helped provide opportunities for all people to achieve financial security.”

2020 AFCPE Award winners were selected through a rigorous peer-reviewed application process.

Mary Ellen Edmondson Educator of the Year: Dr. Katherine “Kate” Mielitz, AFC®, has over 18 years’ combined experience in Collections, Bankruptcy, Fraud, and Financial Counseling and Education. Dr. Mielitz has provided financial counseling and education to members of our Armed Forces and their families, recovering substance abusers, men transitioning into work-release from prison, families experiencing homelessness, and credit union members. In addition to teaching in Oklahoma State University’s Family Financial Planning program, she also gives presentations on personal financial management to diverse audiences in her community.

Financial Counselor of the Year: Adrienne Ross, CFP®, ChFC®, AFC®, FFC® has consistently reached out to coworkers, colleagues and clients to ensure her financial counseling services reach the greatest number of people possible. Her efforts have resulted in 1189 service members and families making more effective financial choices in car buying, saving, spending, home buying, renting, debt repayment and more. She has set the standard through continual learning and achieving multiple designations.

Outstanding Financial Counseling or Planning Center: Texas Tech University Red to Black® Peer Coaching is a unit within the Texas Tech University Center for Campus Life and a student organization. The unique dual role as a unit and student organization allows Red to Black to operate with the support of a university department as well as provide the student members with opportunities for personal and professional development.

Outstanding Consumer Financial Information: My Life My Choices – Military Transition Edition by Money Fit by DRS is an online game of financial choice and consequence specifically designed for military service members transitioning from active duty to civilian life. Now available online at no cost, it will also prove far-reaching and affordable.

Outstanding Research Journal Article of the Year: Emily Koochel, Michigan State University; Melinda Stafford-Markham, Kansas State University; Duane Crawford, Kansas State University; and Kristy L. Archuleta, University of Georgia: Financial Transparency Scale: Its development and potential uses

Outstanding Practitioner’s Forum: Sasha Grabenstetter, University of Illinois Extension: Fred Rogers and Financial Counseling: What Do They Have in Common?

Outstanding Symposium Poster: Camaya Wallace Bechard, University of Illinois Extension: Using Needs Assessments to Support Financial Literacy Programs in Non-Profit Agencies

Outstanding Symposium Research Paper: HanNa Lim, Kansas State University: Consumer Experience of Mistreatment and Fraud in Financial Services: Implications from Integrative Consumer Vulnerability Framework

Outstanding Symposium Student Paper: Beatrix Lavigueur, University of Rhode Island: Consumer Finance Scales Published in the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning: A Literature Review 

Outstanding Research to Practice Award: Sandra J. Huston, Texas Tech University: “Using Research to Inform and Enhance Financial Learning Practices.”

About AFCPE®

AFCPE® ensures the highest integrity of the financial counseling profession by certifying, connecting, and supporting diverse professionals. Our comprehensive certification programs represent the gold standard for financial counseling, coaching, and education, including the AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) certification which is accredited by NCCA and nationally recognized by CFPB and DoD.

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