October 27, 2011

NAPFA Hosts Student Scholarship Winners at Brooklyn Conference

$1,000 scholarship covers sessions with industry experts, networking opportunities and three nights on the floor in a sleeping bag

Alfred State College's Financial Planning Program students posed for a self-portrait on Times Square during a field trip from the NAPFA conference in Brooklyn. Alfred State College's Financial Planning Program students posed for a self-portrait on Times Square during a field trip from the NAPFA conference in Brooklyn.

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors welcomed 10 student scholarship winners this week to its Practice Management & Investments Conference in New York City.

Meeting at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, the future financial planners from Alfred State, a SUNY college of technology located in Alfred, N.Y., were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship for full access to all of the NAPFA events. These included sessions ranging from global fixed-income investing and behavioral economics to social media and working with clients during a financial crisis.

“The key is bringing the real world into the classroom,” said Prof. Ron Rhoades, program chairman of Alfred State’s Financial Planning Program, on Tuesday. “Students can only learn so much from professors. I have seen our students networking at breakfast, listening to speakers from the financial industry and soaking up information like sponges. They are so excited to be here.”

NAPFA, which has offered scholarships at other conferences, runs a Student Affiliate program for people pursuing a degree or designation that leads to a career in financial planning. The Alfred College scholarship winners were sponsored by NAPFA, NAPFA Chairwoman Susan John, an anonymous firm and the college.

Rhoades, a director on NAPFA’s national board, is the owner of a financial planning firm, ScholarFi Inc., but in August he moved from Florida to upstate New York to begin his teaching duties. To ensure he has sufficient time to teach, Rhoades keeps his client base small, at about 20.

Noting that he paid his own way through college by playing a Disney character, Tigger, at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., Rhoades said he enjoyed seeing his students’ boundless sense of enthusiasm at the Brooklyn conference.

“Do you know how excited my students are to be here? Some of these students have never been out of the rural area of New York before,” Rhoades said, noting that the group was planning a field trip to Times Square on Tuesday night. And then they would head back to the Marriott, where 10 students crammed into three rooms and slept on cots or in sleeping bags from Monday through Thursday.

One such student, Delaney Dugan, a 21-year-old Alfred State senior from Rochester, N.Y., is working this year on completing her bachelor’s degree in financial planning. Attending NAPFA’s conference in Brooklyn put her among people she understood, Dugan said Tuesday between sessions.

“I can’t stop smiling,” she said. “I’m a Type-A personality, and there are 300 people here who are just like me.”

Check out the Alfred State College Financial Planning Program on Facebook.

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