Monday, March 10, 2014

FAFSA 101 - How to fill out FAFSA for the 1st time

Contact Information 
Author: Javeshnev Azua

Student Question:

What is FAFSA, and how do I use it to get financial aid?


As for what is FAFSA, it stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid", which means it is absolutely FREE, and everyone is entitled to it. It is actually mandatory for most school applications so they can give you an itemized and detailed account of what the University offers you alongside your FAFSA, that is usually referred to as a "Financial Aid Letter". 

For any of you that may be filling out the student FAFSA, do not allow yourselves to be fooled by other websites that claim they will fill it out for you and then charge you $$$$$ for it. If they are charging you for FAFSA then you are at the incorrect website. Follow the following rules, and you should be well on your way to a successful FAFSA application.

Rule # 1: The FAFSA is FREE to every student in the USA.  You have to go to the correct website ( 

Rule # 2: Either start a new FAFSA if it is your first (1st) time, or Login if you have done so before.

Rule # 3: Make sure you have your electronic pin requested and in front of you before you fill out the FAFSA, it makes things 100% easier and faster to sign.

To request your pin for the first time, or for any changes to it go to the following website:

Rule # 4: What do you need in order to fill out your FAFSA with the BEST outcome?

-Have your parents Income Tax Return form for the prior year (if your parents file you in their taxes as their dependent).  EXCEPTIONS: If you are above the age of 27 or you have no parents and/or guardians then you fill out with your own Income Tax Return.

You CAN fill it out without an Income Tax Return form, but take it from experience that puts you at a disadvantage. By having the taxes already done, it is legitimately what you will receive from the government. The government will email you a few days later with a confirmation known as SARS, and they will then inform you through that link what your student aid benefits will be.

-You will need your Social Security #

-You will need your most recent bank statement

-If you have ever received benefits from the government (welfare, food stamps, disability checks, etc.) you will need those statements as well.

-DECIDE before you even begin the form, which Universities and Colleges you are interested in sending the FAFSA to.

-DECIDE before you begin if you plan to do WORK STUDY or not. Because you will be asked to fill that out as well.

Rule #5: Once you sign in, just follow the rules in the bubbles to the side of the webpage. Normally those bubbles are titled “Help and Hints”. It literally tells you question by question what they are asking you, and where you can find the information on the Income Tax Return form. That is one of the reasons why your Income Tax Return form is so vital to filling out the FAFSA.

Hope this helps any student that is filling out the FAFSA for the 1st time, or just needed a refresher.


Ms. Azua

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Florida Schools that focus on STEM Careers

Author: Javeshnev Azua

Greetings STEM Career Aficionados, 
        I have found various schools here in Florida (U.S.A.), that are focusing on the STEM initiative. For those of you still searching for alternatives, or even more information on STEM Careers and there many fields the following resources might play a very good role in assisting you on your career path. 

        I have plenty of students wanting to go into the STEM Careers, but not enough of them know what options they have in their local state, nor nationwide. So here you have a compiled list of STEM locations in FL. Eventually, I will add more states as I go through them. 


Miami Dade College in South Florida (Miami, FL)

University of Miami (Miami, FL)

*** For those of you as passionate as myself on STEM, they actually offer a PhD in STEM from the University of Miami, that focuses on sharing the wealth of knowledge about STEM within the educational system***

* Career Fair at University of Miami (STEM Night Event) Fall 2014 Website to Register*

Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL) 
FSU STEM Offerings:

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

STEM majors offered at UF:

University of West Florida (Pensacola, FL)

University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL)

Prime UCF STEM Project:

Florida International University (Miami, FL)
FIU STEM Majors:
FIU STEM Transformation:

Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL) 
FAU STEM Initiative:  

Florida Polytechnic University (Orlando, FL) 
A fully STEM based University in Orlando, FL:  

Nova Southeastern University (Davie, FL)
Masters in Education teaching STEM K-8:


Impact of STEM on the State of Florida Department of Education

Grants in STEM from Department of Education in FL & Curriculum: 

STEM Department of Education Career Frameworks:

Department of Education of FL "What constitutes STEM?":

Governmental Resource for STEM
STEM Resources from U.S. Government

Support for Women in STEM

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

STEM Career Interest

Author: Javeshnev Azua

Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics Careers

Year after year, students seem to ask the same simple question:

“What should I do with my life?”

My answer has always held the same philosophical background:

“Whatever you choose to do, ensure you can do it on a daily basis with interest, pride, and excitement. All jobs and careers have good days and bad days. However, if most days don’t seem like work, rather they seem like a hobby, then you probably are in the right field. The goal to a successful career path is to be in a field where you feel that you haven’t truly ‘worked’ a day in your life, but have essentially had a blast doing whatever it is that you have been doing.”

            So at the request of some of my students, I have compiled a list of resources to determine if you have any interest in pursuing a STEM Career.

In order to be considered a STEM Career, the career needs to fall under one of the four categories within STEM:

S – Science (includes Medicine/Healthcare)
T- Technology
E- Engineering
M- Mathematics

            As long as you have work within one of those fields that touches on either one or more of the four major categories of STEM then you qualify under the STEM Career fields. Interestingly, there is another growing terminology for STEM that incorporates the prospect of Art, and instead of referring to these careers as STEM they refer to it as STEAM, which includes the concept of art as part of the process that is necessary to fulfill the careers purpose.

Common examples of STEM Careers:
-       Physician
-       Nurse
-       Engineers (Chemical, Architectural, Bioengineer, Mechanical, etc.)
-       Computer Technicians

Not so common examples of STEM Careers:
-       Science Journalist
-       Science Grant Writer
-       Science Graphic Designer

According to the National Governors Association (2011), STEM education is viewed as one of the most critical components in education at present, in order to meet the demands of growth in our nation within the next 20 years. It is projected that in between 2008-2018 there will be more than 2.4 million job openings for STEM workers (Butcher, 2013). According to a report by the US Department of Commerce, approximately 50% of all STEM positions currently fall under the mathematics and computer fields, with engineering falling in second at 32% of the available jobs. Sadly, the physical and life sciences are only accounting for 13%, and STEM management jobs (ex: human resources, administration, etc.) account for an actual 9% of the positions.

A lot of students are under the impression that they should be going into fields that are in the life sciences, and/or healthcare. This is a misconception, because though many positions are arising in healthcare/life science fields, the fields that are growing the most are the mathematics, computer, and engineering categories. They also tend to be some of the highest paying positions, and many of the positions are being invented as we speak. No longer do prospective students have to think of just common career paths, rather they have options to explore a diversity of career paths within STEM that are in constant development and have an immense growth potential.
Another interesting fact is the growth of STEM graduates in other countries excels in comparison to the United States. According to the National Governors Association (2011), China/Japan are leading the way with the most graduates in STEM Careers. Therefore, the United States government is making an attempt to increase STEM initiatives at the elementary, secondary, and post-secondary levels within the nation. It is not enough that we are competent within the field, rather there is potential for increasing the numbers of our own graduates within STEM fields. However, France is leading the way in the amount of Doctorate level (general) science graduates, and China has the highest Doctorate level engineering graduates (National Governors Association).
It is prudent to point out, that because the federal government has a great interest in increasing its number of STEM graduates within the United States, they are offering a myriad of opportunities to those that fall under minorities within STEM fields. Women are one of the largest minorities within the STEM field, there are NOT enough females in STEM. There is also a great disparity in the category of STEM women fall under. According to US Department of Commerce 1 in 7 engineers are actually female. Holy smokes! That is a very minute number of females being represented within the engineering field. (Forbes Magazine wrote a most interesting article on this gender gap within STEM fields). Yet, we see this disparity in the secondary level, even in our numbers within physical science courses, there is barely any female representation, let alone minority females (Hispanic, Asian, Native American, etc.). So the US government is attempting to encourage females to pursue fields within STEM, including engineering, but all other STEM careers as well. They are offering ample scholarship, and grant opportunities to enhance the success rate of the female and minority populations. None-the-less if you are pursuing any field in STEM you are going to be earning far more than your average non-STEM career based field, and you will have far more opportunities to acquire assistance in your financial aid for post-secondary education.

What to search for in search engines if interested in STEM?

*Each of the links below, provides a LIST of careers in those categories*

-       Life Science
-       Behavioral and Social Science
-       Interdisciplinary Science
-       Physical Science
-       Earth & Environmental Science
-       Engineering
-       Math & Computer Science
-       Healthcare & Medicine
-       Human Biology
-       Human Anatomy & Physiology, Health
-       Genomics & Genetics

STEM Career Interest Questionnaires

-       Career Decision-Making System Questionnaire

-       STEM Career Assessments

-       iONFuture (The STEM Career Exploration Game)

-       (Futurize Me Quiz- What is the STEM Career for me?)

STEM Resource Links

-       What STEM Careers are in demand?

-       Top 10 Cities with STEM Career Openings

-  (STEM with Minnesota University)

- (List of STEM Careers in all subfields)

Women in STEM Resource Links


Butcher, D. (2013). Employment outlook for STEM professionals is robust- and moving beyond    traditional occupations. Retrieved December 3rd, 2013 from 

National Governors Association (2011). Science, technology, engineering & math (STEM) education. National  Governors Association. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from