Honor recognizes undergraduate student advocacy
Friday, April 26, 2013

Cindy Seyfer, director of student employment and senior associate director in the University of Iowa Office of Student Financial Aid, has received the 2013 Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy.

The award recognizes administrators, staff, or faculty outside of their teaching roles who serve as strong and effective advocates for undergraduate students and the undergraduate experience. Winners are selected by a committee of staff, faculty, and students.

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Cindy Seyfer meets with UI undergraduate Danielle DeRouen to talk finances. File photo by Tim Schoon.

Mark Warner, assistant provost and director of the Office of Student Financial Aid, says of Seyfer, “Her heart, soul, and every bit of her energies are dedicated to helping students, in particular those who face the greatest challenges.”

Seyfer spends her days helping students find the resources they need to stay in school and reach graduation with the least amount of debt possible.

She works proactively and personally, collaborating with various campus offices to identify students who are struggling and reaching out to them with guidance and support.

Seyfer contacts incoming students who have applied for financial aid but have not completed the necessary documentation, and students with past due bills who have not applied for financial aid, to help them find resources to pay their bills and get registered.

In fall 2012 the university’s new early intervention MAP-Works program identified more than 100 students who noted extreme concerns about financial matters. Seyfer contacted each of those students with personalized information to help make finances less of an obstacle.

Deeply invested in the university’s student success initiatives, Seyfer has volunteered on various committees including the On Iowa! executive committee and the Early Intervention Committee. A first-generation college student herself, she volunteers her time to support first generation and other students through the Center for Diversity and Enrichment and the First Generation Iowa student organization.

Seyfer will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, and her name will be added to a plaque displayed in the Admission Visitors Center.

The award is named in honor of Lola L. Lopes, former associate provost for undergraduate education and professor emerita of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business. Lopes served as interim executive vice president and provost during 2007-08.