August 2016 Scholarship Recipients
Adam Kaufer is a former Army Captain who felt called to help people. As a college student, Adam was part of a team that received a grant to develop a system of drinking water structures in the rural areas of Honduras. Over time, this project came to fruition and improved the lives of many by providing communities with regular access to clean drinking water. The sense of satisfaction derived from helping others stayed with him through his years in the military. As a platoon leader, he made sure that his soldiers were cross-trained for every one of the platoon’s responsibilities, himself included. As he says, “If my soldiers were doing it, I wanted to know how to do it.” Adam has always had a knack for numbers and would help his fellow platoon members with some of the basic concepts of personal financial planning including budgeting and debt management. “I tried to help as many people as I could to prepare them for success,” Adam says. As a financial services professional and small business owner in Philadelphia, he continues to assist people. The skills and techniques he will learn as part of the comprehensive curriculum of the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation will give him an extra edge when working with his clients.
Russell Luchsinger is a retired Navy Petty Officer First Class and a second-time scholarship recipient. Now that Russell has completed the Certified Financial Planner® (CFP®) curriculum, he is further refining his skill set by enrolling in the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) program. “The sooner I can begin working with clients, the sooner people will understand their benefits and start working on a retirement plan that meets their needs,” Russell says. He enjoys the one-on-one aspect of working with clients. His target market is the military community, who need retirement income education now more than ever. His time working in mortgage collections for Navy Federal Credit Union taught him that financial troubles do not discriminate. As he says, “Things happen: it’s along all lines of income, rank, etc. People just get themselves into trouble.”
Elton Norman transitioned from the Army as a First Sergeant after a career spanning 22 years. Elton and his wife, who is still on active duty herself, have instilled the importance of education in their three children. “I ran to the military thinking I could hide from education,” says Elton, “and I quickly learned that I couldn’t.” Since that time, Elton has earned a graduate degree in criminal justice, an MBA, and a master’s degree in finance. A recipient of the Bronze Star, Elton was deployed to Korea, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan during his military career. When Elton’s wife was reassigned to Fort Jackson, Elton decided to retire from the military and start a second career. He has earned his Series 7 and Series 66 licenses, and he wants to focus on working with the families of soldiers who were killed in action. “Usually it is the soldier who is in charge of the finances,” Elton says. “The survivors typically need a lot of help.” Elton will complete the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation program, which will equip him with an expanded skill set and better prepare him to meet the complex needs of his clients.
Olufemi Olatunji is a Captain in the Air Force who is currently stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan. Originally from Nigeria, Olufemi is a registered nurse who came to the United States after September 11th and joined the Air Force to “serve in defense of freedom.” A lifelong learner, Olufemi is hoping that he can enhance the knowledge gained in his Doctor of Business Administration program with the practical financial planning skills covered in the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) curriculum. He will be better prepared to follow his passion of “getting people’s financial houses in order.” Currently, Olufemi works at the VA hospital, but he eventually wants to answer what he feels is “a calling in a different direction” and transition to a career as a financial advisor. Helping people with their finances is a mission for him; he wants to help people translate challenges into opportunities.