Scholarship Recipient Highlight of The Month
Since 1927, The American College of Financial Services has helped financial services professionals realize their career goals through rigorous and practical education.
Because of generous donations and partnerships, The Center for Military and Veterans Affairs plans to award 400 scholarships to active military, guard, reservists, veterans, and their spouses in 2022.
To further honor these scholars, a review committee has selected outstanding scholarship recipients to highlight each month in our Center SITREP, the Center's monthly communication to its various supporters, scholars, faculty and staff. To receive the Center SITREP, please sign up for our newsletter here.
It is our honor to recognize and highlight the 2022 Center for Military and Veterans Affairs Scholarship Recipients of the Month:
Meet Katelyn Ready, AFC®
December Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Military Spouse and Financial Educator
"Since becoming an AFC, Katelyn has served our military community by helping members identify their financial goals, identify roadblocks, and learn the skills needed to over come them." - Katelyn Ready, AFC
Katelyn Ready is a military spouse and financial educator dedicated to improving the financial lives of others. Katelyn graduated from San Diego State University will a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. After college her and her husband, a US Marine headed to their first duty station Jacksonville, NC. Katelyn got a job as a high school math teacher. She would continue her teaching journey for more than 10 years, with four high schools, four duty stations and two children. While stationed in Okinawa, Japan, Katelyn worked as a personal and professional development advisor to help service members leaving the military with their education goals. It was during this time that Katelyn worked with financial educators on base and discovered a new passion for numbers and teaching. Katelyn applied for and accepted the FINRA Military Spouse Scholarship from AFCPE® to become an Accredited Financial Counselor. Over the next two years she worked for and earned that designation.
Since becoming an AFC®, Katelyn has served our military community by helping members identify their financial goals, identify roadblocks, and learn the skills needed to over come them. While working with mentors to better educate and prepare herself as an AFC, Katelyn learned of the generous opportunities given by the American College of Financial Services to continue her education. Katelyn is looking forward to her next goal of Certified Financial Planner!
Meet Carl Kielbasa, BS, MA, ChFC®, CLU®
December Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Educator and Advisor
"Both as a classroom teacher and coach and now as an educational consultant, he is passionate about improving education and preparing young Americans for lives as productive and responsible citizens." - Carl Kielbasa, BS, MA, ChFC®, CLU®
Carl served in the US Army as an infantry officer. He is very grateful for the opportunity to continue his education at The American College of Financial Services with help from The Center for Military and Veterans Affairs. Carl loves learning and gaining knowledge and skills in financial planning. He plans to put his education to practice in the future by serving others as a full-time Financial Advisor. He is preparing to take the CFP® certification exam in March of 2023.
Carl is a Regional Sales and Support Consultant for Great Minds, PBC. Great Minds develops and delivers High- Quality Instructional Curriculum and Educator Training in grades K to 12. Carl served as a classroom teacher in the Prince William County, VA schools for seven years before working in the education support industry. Both as a classroom teacher and coach and now as an educational consultant, he is passionate about improving education and preparing young Americans for lives as productive and responsible citizens. He also works part-time as a registered investment advisor for Black Knight Wealth Management, a firm owned and operated by one of his West Point classmates.
Carl is a 1988 graduate of The United States Military Academy. In 2003, he earned a master’s degree in business management from Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He has completed the CFP®, ChFC®, and CLU® programs at The American College of Financial Services.
Carl and his wife Kendra reside in State College, PA. This year, they are marking 30 years of marriage. They are super proud of their three adult children. All three have graduated from college and are gainfully employed! Carl’s other passion is sports. He stays involved by coaching high school lacrosse at State College Area High School.
Meet Rose Darensberg
November Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Educator and Entrepeneur
Full Personal Biography
Rose chose this path because as a young soldier she spent much of her time playing “catch up” with her finances. “The military is a great way to save money and build a nest egg for your future. I want to be a part of that," Rose said.
Scholarship recipient Rose Darensberg was born and raised in Southern New Jersey to loving parents Phyllis and Winfield. In High School, she broke records and earned the title as the fastest 100 and 400-meter runner in her high school’s history. Rose also loved learning about her history and used her leadership skills to earn her a spot as Treasurer of the school’s Black History Club. This was her first introduction to Finance issues in Educational and Non-Profit Organizations. After leaving High School, Rose spent time in college until she decided the military was more suited for her life goals of traveling the world and getting a free education. She spent 9 years as a Combat Medic and served for the global and domestic fight against terrorism. She deployed to Baghdad Iraq in 2007 where she earned several awards for her service including a combat action badge. After returning home, she transferred to West Point Military Academy to fulfill the duties of the General Surgery Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge.
Her career in Finance began on accident after registering for her first personal finance course her sophomore year. Rose did so well that in 2017, she not only changed her major to Banking and Finance, but also formed the school’s only Finance team and prepared them for their first competition, the Connextion Industry Competition sponsored by the Society of Financial Services Professionals. The competition occurred on a cruise to Key West and Cozumel Mexico and was filled with keynote speakers that introduced her to the American College. Shortly after, Rose graduated with a Bachelor in Banking and Finance and Management Information Systems with a minor in Social Work. Afterward, she began her journey at Duke University toward earning her master’s in Quantitative Management with a concentration in Health Analytics.
During her time at Duke, Rose found her way into Business Management and Consultation, but she remained so impressed about her experience on the cruise that she began researching opportunities to further her career in the financial industry. It took approximately 20 minutes for her to decide on The American College of Financial Services. She applied for the opportunity to earn her Certified Financial Planner and Chartered Financial Consultant designations by earning a scholarship with the Center for Military and Veterans Affairs. Since starting, Rose has continued to develop her technical and practical knowledge of the financial services industry. Currently an eighth grade Math teacher at Baltimore Collegiate School for Boys, she spends her days teaching boys the joy of numbers. Her goals are to be a Financial Planner and work with active-duty military during their financial training. She chose this path because as a young soldier, herself, she spent much of her time playing “catch up” with her finances. “The military is a great way to save money and build a nest egg for your future. I want to be a part of that,” Rose said.
Her long-term goals are to ultimately earn her PHD in Institutional Strategy and to create a financial institution with affordable services to the community. Rose has developed three core concepts that she feels will help her reach her goals in the finance industry. The first is building relationships, followed by market and industry research and lastly interpersonal and professional development.
Meet Loren Flood, CFP®, WMCP®, RICP®, AFC®, MSFS®
September Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Financial Advisor, Financial Educator, and WMCP Consultant
“The American College and the Center for Military and Veterans Affairs has changed my life! From the outstanding education I received as a student, and now to the career I am fortunate to work in. It brings me joy to help contribute to practitioners' education and how the knowledge gained from TAC flows through to benefit the advisors advising down to the clients seeking advice.” – Loren Flood
Loren Flood has always had an ardent passion for finance. As a high-school student, she frequented the library and checked out books by authors like Suze Orman and Jean Chatzky. Unlike most high-school students, Loren’s plans beyond the age of 18 included applying for her own credit card to establish credit and start contributing to her employer-sponsored retirement plan.
“My parents helped to foster an interest in investing at a young age by turning in savings bonds since my birth buying stock with them at when I turned 14. Because of this, I began to understand the time value of money at an early age. I still have all that stock today, and it has split on a few occasions,” Flood said.When it came time for college, Loren had no problem quickly narrowing in on finance as a major. After college, however, Loren married her college sweetheart, a freshly commissioned officer in the U.S. Army, and began to experience firsthand the struggles that spouses often face with employment. Flood recalled, “Our first duty station was Ft. Bragg, NC, and I spent periods of unemployment, followed by underemployment, and it was very distressing for me as an ambitious recent college graduate.”
At their next duty station, Ft. Carson, with an infant in tow, Loren decided to start volunteering at the installation’s Financial Readiness office. She knew from the first day she had found what she wanted to do professionally. She enjoyed volunteering so much she continued to selflessly serve Ft. Carson’s service members and their families for over 2 years, and to serve them better, she enrolled in the CFP® program as a deployment project.
Having just moved and being forced to resign from her current job, Loren looked to enhance her education while seeking employment during Covid. She called TAC to inquire about the ChFC® designation and ask whether TAC offered military discounts before she enrolled, “That call shifted the trajectory of my professional life.” Within 3 weeks, Loren was enrolled on a full scholarship in the Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS®) program. Loren has since graduated with her MSFS®, RICP®, and WMCP®, and is currently working in the Women's Center of Excellence program as a consultant, while simultaneously studying for her ChFC® designation.
Meet Patrick Larkin, CLU®, ChFC®
August Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Financial Advisor, Financial Educator, and Life-Long Learner
“It has been a wonderful opportunity to continue a career in service to help people with their financial goals in various stages of their lives. To quote a previous Navy instructor “watch out for those that read, they will beat you every time.”’ - Patrick Larkin, CLU®, ChFC® 2022
Patrick Larkin joined the Navy in the summer of 2000 and embodied the Navy’s message of “Let the Journey Begin.” In the twenty years he served in the Navy he lived and worked in fifty countries, all fifty states, enjoyed the opportunity to live abroad in Japan, Bahrain, and Kuwait, and earned two master’s degrees. While in the Navy, he specialized in Surface Warfare as a sea going mariner aboard combat ships and later transitioned to military diplomacy as a Foreign Area Officer.
In 2020, Patrick resettled in Iowa, in his wife’s hometown along the Mississippi river. There, he accepted a position as a Financial Advisor with Bettendorf Financial Group in Bettendorf, Iowa. On the advice of his Registered Principal (an American College alumni) to help transition from military engagements to financial engagements, it was suggested he complete a training program offered by The American College of Financial Services. In addition to completing the battery of licensing exams, he completed the Chartered Financial Consultant ChFC® program and earned a 2nd scholarship to complete the Chartered Life Underwriter CLU® program. Patrick credits the Center for Military and Veterans Affairs 1st and 2nd scholarships for making this possible.
Patrick is most grateful to The American College for the scholarships and their assistance in providing him skills to transition from the military to the private sector. He is enjoying the new job and his firm’s commitment to service.
Meet Vanessa Alanis
July Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Military Spouse, Financial Educator, and Business Owner
"The American College Center for Military and Veterans Affairs goes above and beyond in providing service members and their spouses with the tools and resources they need to be successful on their financial certification(s) journey." - Vanessa Alanis, 2022
Vanessa Alanis is a military spouse, educator and business owner focused on helping people improve their lives and achieve their dreams through financial management. She has committed herself to serving those who serve by providing financial education and counseling to members of the US Armed Forces around the world. With 14 years of experience, Vanessa specializes in helping clients identify, plan for, and achieve their goals. She does this by assisting clients in developing better money management habits, clarifying their goals, and identifying and mitigating potential obstacles.
Mrs. Alanis earned her bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of South Carolina and has continued her education through generous opportunities provided by the AFCPE and American College of Financial Services. Vanessa is an Accredited Financial Counselor®, Chartered Financial Consultant®, and Certified Financial Planner®. Motivated to “be a little better every day” Vanessa continues to learn more about the financial industry so she can provide value and comprehensive services to those with which she works. She is married to a US Marine and has two sons, a daughter, and a dog.
Meet Roxanne Desouza
June Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Military Spouse, Aspiring Financial Advisor, and Career Changer
"I am so grateful to receive a scholarship from the Center for Military and Veterans Affairs to complete my CFP courses at the American College of Financial Services and have thoroughly enjoyed the coursework so far." - Roxanne Desouza, 2022
In her own words: "I am a career changer and aspiring financial planner. I have a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Truman State University and a master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from University of Southern California. My first job after undergraduate work was in a commercial insurance brokerage but it lacked the relational aspect. While occupational therapy allowed me to collaborate with people on their rehabilitation journey, I felt stifled by insurance requirements for therapy treatment. That coupled with frequent moves as a military spouse to rural duty stations really hindered my ability to find suitable roles that I could grow and move with.
Despite my educational background, I did not find out about a career in personal finance until recently. As an immigrant that came to pursue education in the United States, I knew nothing about credit scores, taxes, and retirement plans (401K and Roth IRA’s). I have learned so much through listening to podcasts, and it is also where I discovered financial planning. Financial Planning combines my desire for analytical and strategic work, problem-solving along with the desire to build meaningful long-term relationships with people. It felt like the right fit and takes advantage of my previous skill sets and educational training.
I currently work part-time remotely at Seawise Financial, a boutique RIA in San Diego CA, in a client services role where I am learning the practical applications of being a CFP. I live on Camp Pendleton with my active-duty Marine husband and two young, active boys that keep me on my toes and my sweet furry canine. I enjoy being outdoors, a good book and a cup of tea, thinking and discussing big ideas, beautiful data stories and engaging communities."
Meet Beverly D. Johnson, MBA, MS
May Center SITREP Scholarship Recipient and Highlight
Financial Adviser, Educator & Business Owner
"My military experience has helped define who I am today. However, the value system my mother engrained in me as a child has played the most significant role in my life. I can honestly say that throughout my life I have harnessed my West Point class motto 'Courage Never Quits,' to achieve my goals." - Bevery D. Johnson, MBA, MS, 2022
Beverly D. Johnson is a managing partner and financial adviser focused on wealth management and comprehensive financial planning. She is originally from Illinois and served over sixteen years (active and reserve) as an officer in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Germany, Hawaii, and Ft. Belvoir, VA, and Ft. Leonard Woods, Mo.
She holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the U.S. Military Academy, where she was one of the first women to graduate from the accredited program, an M.S. in Engineering Management from Missouri University of Science and Technology, an Executive MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University, and an M.S. degree in Personal Financial Planning, as well as a certification in Charitable Planning from Texas Tech University.
She also serves as a Congressional Military Liaison where she helps lead, motivate, inspire, and guide high school youth interested in attending the U.S. Military Academy, and as an Advisor and Board Member to The Dickey Foundation, focused on serving first responders. She is a current student and recent scholarship recipient for The American College of Financial Services.