Almost seven years ago now, we started having discussions about bringing together research and practice. In 2022, our Research to Practice Task Force members are strong, focused, and ready to bring about change. In true AFCPE spirit, we wanted to share WHO our members are, WHY they serve on this task force, and a favorite financial tip.

Kate Mielitz, Ph.D., AFC® – AFCPE, Special Groups Manager

I serve on this Task Force because:

  1. I love translating why research is important for everyday lives 
  2. I love helping people see how what they do informs (or could inform) research 
  3. I serve as the staff liaison after 3 years on the task force as a volunteer.

Favorite financial tip: People are not rational. Economic theory (part of our foundation in personal finance) suggests that humans make rational decisions. Well, if only it were that easy. Theory from the human sciences side of the house…like the Theory of Planned Behavior by Izec Ajzen (which suggests that our attitudes, what our friends and family think, and our perceptions of control influence our intention to save…which then directly informs our actual savings behavior). So, even though it’s rational to prioritize savings, if we have a poor attitude about it, our friends and family don’t support it and/or we don’t think we can, then we may not make the effort.

Jacqulie Carroll, Ed.D, AFC® – Chair of the Research to Practice Task Force

I serve on this Task Force because: I started my career in higher education in human resources. It was there I noticed the impact of finances on the personal well-being of faculty, staff, as well as students. As I continued in the financial aid field, I realized that students really wanted to learn about money, but felt overwhelmed, intimidated, and many just didn’t know where to start. It was like my own journey, but I had the opportunity to take a personal finance course and it changed my life both in confidence and ability. 

Favorite Financial tip: Round up for any payments. This is doable even for most students. For example, if the payment is $23.45, round up to $25.00—most won’t miss that extra amount. That will mean less interest and more money in your pocket at the end of the day. If possible, add the snowball method which is listing your debts from smallest to largest regardless of interest rate. Make the minimum/rounded up payment to all debts except your smallest. Pay as much extra on the smallest as you can, until the smallest debt is paid in full. Then repeat. The reason why I like the snowball method is that it allows you to celebrate small victories more often, thereby helping with motivation to stay the course!

Patricia VanLuven, AFC®

I serve on this Task Force because: to support dynamic conversations between researchers and practitioners. Integrating research insights into practice helps busy financial counselors and coaches serve people effectively and confidently. Likewise, researchers can attune their work to needs in the field by hearing the experiences of practitioners.

Favorite Financial tip: Build up savings for rainy days (emergency fund). One of my clients calls this a “safety net fund,” which expresses the peace of mind and financial stability that these savings can offer.

Mindy Joseph

I serve on this Task Force because: I loved the idea of helping to bring academic research to practitioners in a way that is practical for them. I believe this work allows practitioners to incorporate insights gleaned from scholarly work into their practices in a timely fashion which ultimately benefits individuals and their families.

Favorite Financial tip: is to “avoid lifestyle creep.” This encourages individuals to stick to their budget and to be careful not to increase their expenses when their income rises.

Nan Li 

I serve on this Task Force because: I was invited to join the task force after presenting my paper at the symposium in 2020 for the first time. I rejoined the task force this year because we all have the desire to make empirical research useful and applicable to practice. I want to align my research and teaching with the needs of the industry and help others do the same.

Favorite Financial tips: 

  • Use your credit card the same way you use a debit card.  Only spend what you have or will have. 
  • A good way to save money is to set up direct deposits to automatically draw funds from your paychecks to designated savings accounts, and then forget about the money till the scheduled time. 
  • A good way to reduce investment costs in a long run is using dollar-cost averaging. 
  • Instead of stock picking, use good asset allocation strategies based on the economy, your age, and your needs.  It is often more effective in achieving your investment objective.

Sasha Grabenstetter, AFC®

I serve on this Task Force because: In my previous work in extension education, bringing the research to the people is the main mission of extension education. Some of my favorite “ah-ha” moments come from reading a research article and being able to digest the information and explain the concept back in plain language to someone else. 

Favorite Financial tip: When looking at expenses, I feel like food is always the main culprit when it comes to overspending. I encourage people to eat and create meals at home, but also to make their dollar stretch if they do eat out. Split the meal into two meals and eat the second half for leftovers. 


A Few of our Favorite Research Articles:


Hopefully, learning about our task force members will encourage other AFCPE members to interact with us. What research questions do you need answered? How can researchers get connected with practitioners? How can we continue to make impacts with science communication and make the research more easily digestible for practitioners and our clients? We’ll hope you connect with us, and help continue to bridge the gap!

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