January 2018 Scholarship Recipients

January 17, 2018
John Eshleman

John Eshleman (Lincoln, NE) is a retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant who spent 20 years as part of the Aircraft Armament systems community. When he enlisted, John wasn’t looking for a career. “When the recruiter called me, I figured I’d learn a trade and then get out. My career as a bomb loader didn’t really translate to civilian life. I ended up loving it, and so I stayed in.” One of his first assignments was at Edwards Air Force Base, where the initial test landings for the space shuttle took place. John worked on the cutting edge of aerodynamic technology. He adds, “Most of the aircraft I worked on are now antiquated and retired.” For the remainder of his career, he served on several bases, both domestic and international, including Kunsan Air Base in the Republic of Korea, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, then back to Korea to Kunsan, and north to Osan Air Base. Eventually, John was selected as Aircraft Armament Systems Functional Representative of Air Educational and Training Command, Randolph AFB, Texas. John retired in 2002. As a civilian, John was drawn to the financial services profession and started working with State Farm as a registered representative. In 2005, he became a State Farm agent. He especially enjoys educating his customers about the benefits of insurance and financial services. “Much of this work is having conversations with the people no one else wants to have conversations with, like young people with no money. I’ll talk to them!” John hopes to expand on his experience by earning the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation. “This will make me a more rounded, trusted advisor. If you are going to be working with people’s money, the more knowledge you have, the more confident you will be!”

Jared Matson

Jared Matson (Jacksonville, FL) is an Active Reserve Navy Lieutenant and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a background in logistics and operations. In his civilian life, Jared works as a maintenance project engineer for International Paper, but he has set his sights on transitioning to the financial services profession. His experiences navigating family estate issues with his parents’ financial planner inspired him. “Seeing the interactions between the planner and my family, and learning from him how rewarding this career can be, made it really attractive to me,” Jared said. “The curriculum requirements and program structure appeal to me with my military background.” Jared plans to earn the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designation and ultimately sit for the CFP® exam. His goal is to use this education to help military families manage their finances. “My job is to make sure the ship safely navigates around the world. Being able to manage chaos in a professional and calm manner instills confidence in the people around you,” Jared says. His experience working in the military taught him the valuable lesson that “calm is contagious.”

Mia Sheen

Mia Sheen (Tucson, AZ) spent nine years in the Army in a finance and accounting unit. “Being in the military was an honor that I am proud of,” Mia says. “It taught me how to work with people, about teamwork, and discipline – both mental and physical.” Originally from Busan, South Korea, Mia moved to the United States as a teenager with her family. “We struggled as a family. The transition took many years because of the language barrier and culture shock. I decided to join the service to gain experience; it was a good opportunity for me to learn different skills.” Ten years ago, Mia joined the insurance industry as an agent for American Family. She eventually opened her own agency where she does insurance planning and basic financial and retirement planning. “I enjoy doing what I’m doing, but I know I can do more for myself and I can do more to help other people.” Mia will be completing the Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) program, which will allow her to develop her skills and offer more comprehensive services to her clients.

Sima Tamaddon

Sima Tamaddon (Camp Lejeune, NC) is the spouse of an Active Duty Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant. Her husband recently completed his fifth deployment and will be leaving again in January for DFT (deployment for training). “It’s challenging,” Sima says. “But it’s a gift because every moment I have with him I treasure. I fall in love with him all over again every time he returns.” Sima comes from a military family and graduated cum laude from the University of Virginia with a degree in Finance and Marketing. Following her graduation in 2001, she started a career in investment banking for Deutsche Bank. Her office building was connected to the World Trade Center. “I was working 80-90 hours a week and then 9/11 happened. I was young, 22 years old, and starry-eyed. I never could have imagined what happened. I saw things you never think you’re going to see at 22.” After 9/11, she took some time off and decided to shift her career path slightly, taking a job as a buyer for Saks Fifth Avenue. “I stopped caring about my bonus check and started caring about waking up happy.” After her time with Saks, she raised sufficient capital to open her own yoga studio, which unfortunately opened soon after the 2008 financial crisis. “It was tough,” Sima says. “But sometimes your biggest mistakes are your biggest teachers.” Now a yoga instructor, Sima wants to help military families with their finances. “I hear people on base saying things like, ‘I can’t buy that until my next paycheck,’” she says. “Until my husband retires, I want to help the families on base. I want to earn my Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) and CFP® and open up my own shop and teach people about long-term planning.” Sima has the special distinction of being the 100th Veterans Scholarship recipient in 2017.