Get to Know HFC: Alisha Burmeister’s heart belongs in higher education

Release Date
Two women with long dark hair wearing glasses and dark colored sweaters smiling at the camera.

Alisha Burmeister always had a love for numbers and mathematics, which makes her a natural fit as an Accounting Associate in the HFC Student Accounts.

“I started going to college for an associate degree in management when I took my first accounting class,” said Burmeister. “I really enjoyed it, so I decided to go for a bachelor’s degree in accounting.”

3-time grad of Baker College

The youngest of two, Burmeister lives in Taylor with Steven, her husband of 10 years, and their 6-year-old daughter. She is a 3-time alumna of Baker College, where she earned:

  • An associate degree in accounting management
  • A bachelor’s degree in accounting
  • A master’s degree in finance

Burmeister’s career in higher education immediately began after graduating from John F. Kennedy High School in Taylor. She worked at Baker’s Allen Park campus to put herself through school, moving into various departments and positions, including Academic Advisor. Her first position at Baker was as a work-study student in its Academic Advising Office. Her final position at Baker was Assistant to the Registrar.

“I fell in love with the student-centered focus at Baker as I related to many of the students I was advising,” recalled Burmeister.

Working alongside her former Baker colleague at HFC

At Baker she met her long-time friend and colleague, HFC Accounting Associate Melissa Daniel. Daniel recommended Burmeister apply to the College.

“Alisha and I first met in 2010. I was a business officer in the Financial Aid Office at Baker,” recalled Daniel. “Alisha worked really hard and gained knowledge in all areas of the Academic Advising Office at Baker, where she was able to obtain three degrees.”

She continued: “Alisha has always enjoyed helping others. She was our go-to person whenever the deans and program directors needed any assistance. She was always ready to help. She became one of our best academic advisors and worked her way up to being the Assistant to the Registrar. She was key in getting our graduation ceremonies ready and running smoothly at the end of the academic year.”

Burmeister worked at Baker for just under 10 years. She left in 2017 to have her daughter. When she returned to work, she was a bank controller at Wallside Windows in Taylor for two years. She returned to higher education – where her heart is – in late 2021, joining HFC. Burmeister reports to HFC Bursar Rhonda Johnson.

“Alisha is an anomaly!” said Johnson. “She has a quick wit, generous heart, and a ready laugh that is shared with her co-workers. On the phone with students, she shows compassion and empathy while helping them navigate payment plans, future term enrollments, and transcript releases. Alisha can be relied upon to go the extra mile to offer excellent service to her customer, inside and outside the College.”

A “perfect fit” for HFC

“After Alisha’s departure from Baker to grow her beautiful family, she kept in contact with many of her students, as well as some of the deans and program directors who also are now a part of the HFC family (including HFC Director of Academic Services Dr. Cristina Bailey),” said Daniel. “In late 2021, a position in our HFC Student Accounts department became available and I suggested she should apply. I knew Alisha would be a perfect fit because we were both crossed-trained in Academic Advising, Financial Aid, Sponsor Billing, the Registrar’s Office, and Veteran Services during our Baker days. Alisha’s knowledge in Finance and Student Customer Service makes her an amazing asset to the College and to our two-person Collections Division team!”

Coming to HFC was a comfortable transition for Burmeister.

“There are many amazing people who work at HFC,” she said. “They helped me feel very welcome here, and I’m back where I belong.”

Burmeister acknowledged that Collections can be a frustrating stopping point for students.

“They generally reach out to me when they owe a balance that they are not sure how they are going to pay,” she said. “I enjoy providing options to students to change their perspective on the past due balance and to look at it more of a pausing point with a way to move forward. Our goal in Collections is to keep each student move forward, whether it is providing payment plan options to re-enrolling or discussing what is needed to receive transcripts. Notifying students that they owe a balance is not always the easiest conversation. Like all of us, they have outside struggles that can affect the time they are in college. I try to focus on the positives and options that are available as a way to help people.”