Humility leads to open doors

Elizabeth Baskerville used to wake up every morning before school to help her mom make doughnuts to sell at the Komatala market.

22 February 2019 | People

Octavia Tsibes

Elizabeth Baskerville is a senior assistant director for financial aid at one of the leading universities in the United States of America, John Hopkins University.

Baskerville is a child of the liberation struggle, born in Nyango, Zambia and raised in Germany until Namibia’s independence.

“I hold a bachelor’s degree from the University Of Namibia (Unam), a masters in human resource management from Ottawa University, and a project management certificate and MBA with a focus on global management from the University of Phoenix, and I am currently working on my PhD,” she says.

Her time as a financial aid administrator has opened her eyes to need-based financial assistance and its potential to transform lives, especially for those from low-income families.

“This resonated with me, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career specifically geared to helping low-income students get an education,” she adds.

Being a financial aid assistant director she is responsible for developing and implementing policies and procedures to meet the university-wide goals.

“I also manage federal financial aid programmes such as loan awarding, loan origination and disbursement, gainful employment, federal work-study, summer award programmes, the Veterans Educational Benefits Programme, and ROTC,” she says.

She is also an assistant financial aid manager at the university’s Centre for Talented Youth, a non-profit organisation dedicated to identifying and developing the talents of academically advanced students around the world.

“With this position, I am responsible for exercising sound professional decision-making in the management and processing of all financial aid applications and awards for CTY,” Baskerville explains.

She also serves as a consultant for ProEducation Solutions, a company that offers financial aid business solutions to universities all over the US.

“In this position I assist ProEd’s university clients’ financial aid offices in completing financial aid processes such as verification,” she says.

The journey after her first qualification

After Baskerville graduated from Unam, she wanted to obtain her masters and see more of the world.

“Upon the completion of the first degree, I knew I wanted to pursue my masters’ degree and travel the world. An opportunity to take part in an au pair programme in the United States presented itself, and I took it,” she says.

Overall the au pair programme was an incredible experience for her; it allowed her to work and at the same time attend college.

“I was fortunate to have a host family that encouraged and helped me pursue my studies. I attained a masters in human resource management while working as an au pair,” she says.

One of Baskerville’s goal is to help smart and talented students who would otherwise lose out on quality education purely because of their economic status. “My goal is to become a director of financial aid and make a difference in influencing the financial aid community and to be an advocate for free tuition in higher education. I plan to achieve my goal by continuing to work hard, being consistent and developing my skills in my role so that I will be ready if and when future opportunities for internal advancement present itself,” she says.

She further says that she would love to be an advocate for encouraging Namibian universities to offer need-based institutional aid to low-income families. She believes in the potential of Namibia, and hopes to return home one day and apply all the knowledge and expertise that she is gaining in the US, in order to transform the Namibian education financing landscape.

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