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Staff Spotlight: Dean of Financial Aid Joanne Sullivan

March 20, 2024
Joanne Sullivan

Joanne Sullivan joined Bryn Mawr as the Dean of Financial Aid in September 2023. In her Staff Spotlight, Sullivan about her role at the College.

Where did you work prior to Bryn Mawr?

Prior to Bryn Mawr, I spent over a decade working at St. Thomas Aquinas College, which is a small liberal arts college just outside New York City.

What can you tell us about your role at Bryn Mawr?

As Dean of Financial Aid, I oversee the administration of all student financial aid programs, including federal, state, and outside scholarship programs, while also ensuring our office is aligning with key college initiatives and policies on awarding institutional funding.

What are some of the things you like most about your job?

I get excited about helping students get across the finish line and making their college dreams a reality. College is a big financial commitment and while there are options to make it more affordable, sometimes the processes involved with those options can be overwhelming, so I’m really enjoy organizing strategies for making the complex, simple.

By helping students navigate the maze of financial aid, our office ensures students can shift their focus from financial concerns to their classes, internships, and building out their best life.

How did you get involved in your current type of work? What attracts you to the work?

Years ago, I started part-time in St. Thomas’ financial aid office, and from there, I continued learning, growing, and advancing. What attracts me most to a career in financial aid is having a positive impact on the lives of college students who may not have felt they had a financial path forward.

I firmly believe that everyone should have access to an affordable college education. Throughout my career, I have been particularly mindful of how marginalized first-generation college students, students who are low-income, and those who come from single-parent households can become disenfranchised throughout the financial aid process I know we truly do have an impact on students’ lives, and I’m proud of all the collaboration and hard work of the financial team here at Bryn Mawr.

Finally, I do really love working in higher ed. I think being on a college campus with all its energy and curiosity is a great way to spend your working day.

What do you like to do outside of work? Any hobbies?

When I’m not in my office in Gateway, I love to be outside–time at the beach, walking the dog, gardening, traveling, and exploring new spaces. I also love puzzles and reading. And I’m especially happy doing any of the above with some of my favorite folks–my family!

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