Mary O’Brien Named 2018 Financial Aid Professional of the Year

October 15, 2018

Mary O’Brien Named 2018 Financial Aid Professional of the Year

Empire College’s Director of Financial Aid Mary O’Brien has been named the 2018 Norma Ford Financial Aid Professional of the Year. The Norma Ford Award is presented by the California Association of Private Postsecondary Schools to an excellent financial aid professional in honor of CAPPS financial aid trainer and board member Norma Ford who passed away in 2010.

Mary has been a financial aid advisor with Empire College since 1997, becoming director of the department in 2006. She is also a graduate of Empire’s bookkeeping program.

“My biggest joy working in Financial Aid is assisting students through the financial aid maze and helping them understand the world of student loans and grants,” said Mary. “I find it very fulfilling to help someone succeed with his or her educational dreams.”

About 71 percent of students at Empire College are recipients of financial aid. Mary’s calm, friendly demeanor coupled with clear, concise information helps a person make an informed decision about their education and future.

“Mary brings a culture of customer service to our students while adhering to strict compliance with U.S. Department of Education regulations,” said Empire College President Roy Hurd. “Most of our students are mature adults going back to school and making career changes, and it can be a very stressful time for them. Mary truly cares about our students.”

“At some schools, students don’t know their financial aid officer,” said Mary. “At Empire College, we sit with them and walk them through everything. We let them know we are here for them and are their partners through this journey.”

Photos: Mary O’Brien at the awards presentation with Roy and Sherie Hurd; Mary with her Financial Aid team: Kass Von der Mehden, Samantha Calderon, Lea Smith.

Angela Emerick, Esq.

(Class of 2015)

"Being born in Australia and becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2009, I understand the process and honor of becoming an American citizen and am proud to help those in their quest to become citizens and better their lives."

Daryl Reese, Esq.

(Class of 2014)

"I decided to enroll in Law School when I was 50 years old having enjoyed a full career in the nonprofit sector. Now I have a robust business and nonprofit law practice serving clients throughout the State of California and I am loving it. I could never have made that kind of career transition if it had not been for Empire Law School. The opportunity to take evening courses and at a cost far less than other law schools, and to do so in my own community made my career shift affordable, enjoyable, and attainable."

Orchid Vaghti, Esq.

(Class of 2010)

"There are not that many new lawyers who have the experience to go to trial. They would not be ready for it. Seeing the practical points of the legal process through her Empire education gave Orchid an advantage."
- L. Stephen Turer, Esq.