administrative assistant for the Department of Physics, has worked at
Wesleyan 36 years.
Administrative Assistant Says Physics Department is "Like Family"
|Q: Anna, rumor has
it that youíve been here a long time.
A: I started in November of 1971 and lo and behold, 2007 comes and it seems
that just a moment has gone by, and Iím still in the Physics Department. You
can see that I am very adventuresome -- job-wise that is.
Q: Something had to keep you here for 36 years.
A: Wesleyan has allowed me to be expressive and creative, and be appreciated
for who I am as a person and as a professional. I like to think of our
department and Wesleyan as a family. Everyone always tries to help each
other out. If someone needs a rent, or a ride, or has to go shopping, the
students/faculty/staff are always there to make the other personís life a
little easier and welcoming. The genuine concern and care is there for each
other. Many opportunities and challenges have been given in attending
classes, seminars, luncheons, concerts, and plays, and in experiencing a
very-well rounded life in respecting a different philosophy of thinking, or
acting or just living life in a more meaningful and purposeful way. We are
always learning from one another every day. Thank you Wesleyan!
Q: What led you to the Wesleyan in the first place, and the Physics
A: I was working in customer service and also as sales correspondence at
Wilcox & Critten in Middletown and had received a phone call from Dean Biggs
from Middlesex Community College letting me know there was a secretarial
position opened in the Physics Department at Wesleyan University, and if I
was interested, I should apply. I had received my associate degree from
Middlesex Community College in the Executive Secretarial field. While I was
a student at MxCC, I worked for Financial Aid, Sociology Department,
Presidentís Office and the Deanís Office. I missed the academic environment
so I decided to apply.
Q: What generally goes on during your work day?
A: I have lots of e-mails to read and send, and faculty, undergraduates and
graduate students are always coming in and out of the office for one reason
or another. Professors give me invoices for payments, course work, budget
questions, reimbursements, and the phone is ringing. I have mail to get done
and forward, calls and work order requests to be made.
Q: Who are the key people you interact with in the Physics Department?
A: Professors, postdocs, lab technicians, our curator and students. Students
are always around. They have offices on the same floor of our department. I
assign rooms for our undergrad course/lab assistants, give them keys and
hand out forms. We also have 17 graduate students in the Physics Department,
and there is always some form of interaction going on, either announcing
that packages have arrived or arranging monthly pizza luncheons for them.
Our students are very intelligent, open minded, wise, respectful, friendly,
kind, and authentic and appreciative. Wesleyan is like ďa melting pot.Ē I
myself came from Sicily at age 5. I enjoy being with students who come from
various countries and their cultures that are so diverse and interesting.
Q: How to you advertise upcoming Physics Department events?
A: I post them in calendar events, send e-mails, and write up and mail
notices. During the events I buy and set up refreshments and work on
reimbursing the speakers.
Q: What are the biggest changes you have noticed in the Physics Department,
A: Computers and technical typing. I remember using stencils and running the
messy jobs on mimeograph machines. Those machines were very challenging
especially on your clothes because of the black stencil machine, or coming
home with purple marks on your face from purple mimeograph sheets. It would
take forever typing equations with the typewriter. Iím glad those days are
over. Now itís like magic. Whenever you make an error, you push delete key
and all disappears. Beats using the blue liquid fluid or razor blade for the
Q: What are some activities you take part in on campus?
A: I enjoy going to a Muslim or Jewish prayer session and being part of our
Christian Fellowship group. I like the activities available at the Freeman
Athletic Center, such as dancing, yoga, exercising and Akido. I love that
Iíve had the opportunity to take undergraduate courses from Psychology
Department, such as Physiological Comparative Psych, Consciousness,
Awareness & Behavior Course, and courses in our Graduate Liberal Studies
Program in theater, religion, dance and music. Specifically Iíve taken
Resistance & Rebellion of the Holocaust, the Bible as Literature, a Native
American Music course, Soul and Psyche. One of my last goals is to take an
intro to physics class, and then I can retire.
Q: How has your job changed in terms of location and new faces?
A: In 1971 our Physics Office was where all are computers are on the first
floor and we later moved to the second floor of the Science Tower now called
Exley. From three staff people, I am now the only one. The machine shop and
electronics department were once part of our Physics Department. We have new
faces every year from undergrad majors to grad students. We presently have a
very diverse group of grad students who come from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Iran,
Philippines, India, Indonesia, Ecuador and Romania. We also have an
undergrad exchange program with Dublin City University in Ireland and we
have from Germany grad students who enter our grad program for only a year.
In this sense, our department can also be considered a ďlittle part of the
melting pot,Ē which makes it very fascinating, challenging and appealing in
the way we interact with one another in a very family oriented style in
making everyone ďfeel welcomed and at home.Ē
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: Dancing and self improvement. Iíve taken several self improvement,
leadership and communication classes including a Self Expression Leadership
Course, Relationship Seminar, Communication Access to Power, Communication
Performance and Power, Being Extraordinary, a breakdown course and
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection