For me, finance and finance education became a part of my life unexpectedly. After a Bachelors in psychology and a Master’s in Public Health, I started my career with extension. I applied for a job with University of Maryland Extension focusing on healthy living, wellness, and financial literacy. I was nervous getting started because I did not have a background in finance.

However, shortly after getting started I was connected with the other financial educators who suggested I attend AFCPE. They told me I would be able to learn more about finance through attending the sessions and hearing from professionals while also being able to meet other extension educators and build my professional network. Although still skeptical, I decided to attend and included it in my professional development plan for the year.

When the time came, I packed up and headed to the symposium. Still nervous about my lack of experience and education in the area of finance, I was ready to sit through session after session of information that was a bit over my head. I was surprised and excited to find out that I could not have been more wrong. I was able to find a number of sessions where I was genuinely excited about the presentation topic and more than capable of understanding, despite my lack of formal education in the area. I was also pleased to attend sessions where I could leave the room with materials I would be able to use as soon as I got back to Maryland. I was able to meet other extension educators who were working to find solutions to the same challenges I was finding in my community. I even sat next to a former Extension Educator on my flight back from the conference!

Currently, I am working to complete my Accredited Financial Counselor® certification. I am excited about completing the process and knowing that it will improve my ability to offer quality financial education to the people in my community who need it the most. I have also been encouraged to find more instances where finance and health are intersecting, weaving together my education and background with my newfound passion for financial wellness. It has been a great experience for me to be involved with AFCPE and I am looking forward to continued involvement in the future!

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