Q&A: Danette Iyall

How is work in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships at UW Bothell?

Danette Iyall, assistant director, answers a few questions from Maria Lamarca Anderson, director of communications.

Q. How do you try to innovate?

Danette Iyall

Danette Iyall, assistant director in the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

A. In the world of financial aid, the nuts and bolts of how we work remains pretty consistent year to year. I show up to the office, review documents for verification and am available to students via phone, email and in person.

We used to attend and present at various financial aid workshops with the goal of not only helping students with their financial aid applications but also bringing UW Bothell out into the community. Once the pandemic hit and we were working 100% remote, that all changed. We had to come up with ways to continue to provide financial aid help on a regular basis. Through it all, we were able to provide basically all of our usual student service tools. We had regular phone hours and were able to keep in-person advising for our students with Zoom. Teams and Zoom were great assets to our student-focused service.

Q. What is the core of your work?

A. I believe that the core of my work is to help our students successfully complete their degrees. In order to do so, it is vital that the communication between me and the student I am working with is open, direct and respectful.

One of the things I tell students often is that I am working with the information I am given. Most of the time that information comes entirely from the financial aid application, but every once in a while that application doesn’t get the whole picture of the student’s situation. So, if there is something I need to know that the application doesn’t account for I depend on the student to let me know. To get the information from the student, I have to be a good listener and to ask specific questions. My goal is to help the student get the best possible aid package they can because I know this will help them focus on their mission to complete a degree.

Q. How do any or all of UW Bothell’s three strategic priorities fit into your work? How do you advance this part of our shared work within your unit or across campus?

A. As a Nimiipuu ayat/Nez Perce woman, I try to model how I want to be treated and make it a priority to treat each student as a unique individual. I am very aware that they have their identities, their cultures, their way of doing things, and I respect all they bring to my office. They will be in community with fellow students, faculty and staff with different backgrounds from their own, and I want to reinforce that they are welcome here so in turn, they, too, will be welcoming.

I make a concerted effort to participate in and partner with various groups across our campus community to promote and encourage higher education. We all play a role in our students’ experience and success at UW Bothell.

Q. What are you working on today?

A. Today I am working on preparing awards for the students who have been admitted for winter quarter 2022, reviewing and verifying documents to complete, and revising financial aid awards as necessary. Also, I will be meeting with our campus partners to implement a more strategic and efficient way of administering our scholarship application. There is always something to do and something to meet about.

Q. How does who you are show up in your work?

A. Any time money matters are involved, it is a stressful and sometimes scary situation. I see that a lot of our students are navigating this process for the first time and I make sure to guide them through it so they learn and feel comfortable. It’s scary enough that their future rests on getting financial aid. I may do a little light-hearted teasing to get them to smile and relax, and I want them to know that they have my attention.

Applying for financial aid is a yearly event so my goal is that by the time they are applying for aid for their second year, the process is easier and a lot less scary for them.

Q. Where is your favorite spot on campus, and why?

A. I would have to say where the Ancestors were located because they remind me that I am here because of my ancestors. When I passed by the Ancestors, I would feel a little connected to my own. I will be happy to see them return to our campus after construction is completed.

Q. What is your favorite thing about working at UW Bothell?

A. My favorite thing about working at UW Bothell is the students. I’ve been doing my job for many years, and while I get older, the students stay the same age. It’s a great age to be around because it keeps me young. I enjoy seeing and hearing their ideas, their plans for the future and their thoughts on how things should be.

My hope is that our students can realize their hopes and dreams and know they have made an impact on our UW Bothell campus. Over time, they will be the ancestors to future students.

Contact us

Office of Advancement and External Relations:
19128 112th Ave NE, Suite 102
Bothell, WA 98011

Media inquiries

Maria Lamarca Anderson
Director of Communications
206-960-3851 (mobile)

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