By Katelyn Marshall
Donna Dunaway has been hired as the new director of financial aid at Volunteer State Community College.
She was assistant director of Financial Aid at Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, Tennessee, for nearly nine years, according to Vol State’s website.
“My hopes in leading the financial aid office is to continue the amazing legacy I am inheriting from Mrs. Sue [Pedigo] and to find ways to make operations more efficient where we can,” said Dunaway, who has previously 24 years of experience in financial aid. “I just want to bring in a new perspective and be a part of this amazing team as we move forward in Vol State’s future.”
According to Dunaway, before working in higher education, most of the jobs she had were in the building and construction business in an office environment.
“I worked for our family plumbing supply business back in Kentucky for a while, so you could say I have a diverse work background,” said Dunaway.
Dunaway has qualifications that include, “many jobs in the financial aid office beginning in the front counter and having that daily interaction with students and their families.” She also stated that she earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a Master of Education in higher education administration and supervision, “both of which have helped me to prepare for opportunities to advance in my field.”
Dunaway explained how her college experiences prepared her for this career by saying that she has been, “fortunate to work for directors who encouraged me to take on new challenges. I hope to be a leader that encourages those on my team to take on those new challenges and gain new experiences. I also feel that continuing my education has allowed me to see things from the perspective of a student and overall give me a ‘big picture’ view of the world. I am a firm believer that higher education improves our lives.”
As financial aid director, Dunaway said, “I would want my major contribution to be finding ways to make us more efficient and in doing so continue to improve on our levels of student service. I have a student-centered approach to how I conduct myself and feel I am part of a team that is concerned for our students and has that same philosophy.”
In her new role as financial aid director, Dunaway said, “I feel so fortunate and feel I have been given an amazing opportunity. I am excited about the direction of the college and the growth I see here. I am glad to be a part of the future at Vol State. I have been so impressed with everyone I have met and feel so blessed to work with an amazing staff. I have friends asking how things are going and I tell them it’s wonderful.”
Dunaway said that a quote to the world would be a hard question to answer, but added, “It would probably be: life is short, faith and family are important, be kind, and love one another and don’t sweat the small stuff.”