When Westernâ€™s new Financial Aid Director Lisa Siudym speaks, her vowel sounds give away the Michigan in her. But she disagrees.
â€œYou guys have the accent,â€ she said about the folks in her new community.
When Siudym, decided to make a change of location, she was looking for several factors in a new college community. She wanted some place that was growing, had a good reputation and was smaller than what she was used to in Michigan. She also wanted a good team to walk into and said she found that with her co-workers in the financial aid department.
â€œThe staff here is really devoted, and they have a real concern for the students,â€ she said.
Siudym, who has 23 years of financial aid experience, said that it wasnâ€™t really a career choice. She just sort of fell into it and liked it so much sheâ€™s been with it ever since.
â€œI enjoy working with the college students,â€ she said. â€œI know a lot of decisions we make are going to determine whether students can attend.â€
She comes to Western after working for three other colleges: Kattering University, Oakland University and St. Clair County Community College. When she interviewed for the position at Western in mid-May, she knew there wouldnâ€™t be any hurricanes. However, she also knew she would have to contend with a new weather event that Missouri is famous for.
â€œI did ask about tornadoes,â€ she said.
The new director has been in town for only a couple of months. When she was here in May she didnâ€™t get to see much of the community, so sheâ€™s been exploring. She said she loves the â€œcool architecture,â€ lofts, the parkway and the Belt. Sheâ€™s also been trying to do all of her business locally in St. Joseph.
â€œWhen I saw you had a Sonic and a Dillards, I knew I would be okay,â€ she said.
She describes herself as approachable, which many Western students will appreciate. She said sheâ€™s the kind of gal who likes to get in the trenches and roll up her sleeves. And sheâ€™s a sports fan.
â€œIâ€™m excited to be at a school with Division II sports,â€ she said. â€œIâ€™m ready
for football. Iâ€™m looking forward to becoming a Chiefs fan, especially since the Lions arenâ€™t doing so well.â€
And sheâ€™s not just a spectator. Siudym enjoys scuba diving and gold. No doubt she will be able to satiate her love of the outdoors in Northwest Missouri, too. She said she wanted a climate where the winters would be milder than those in Michigan.
Wait â€˜til she gets a load of some Northwestern Missouri winters.