Mari-Elaine Triolo Is the February Employee of the Month

Posted: February 1, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: February 1, 2010 at 2:32 pm

By Rashad Mulla

Mari-Elaine Triolo. Photo by Evan Cantwell

Mari-Elaine Triolo. Photo by Evan Cantwell

In less than three years, administrative assistant Mari-Elaine Triolo has evolved from an undergraduate psychology student to an indispensable member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy — and February Employee of the Month.

Triolo graduated from Mason in 2007 and started working as an administrative assistant in the department in November of that year. Her responsibilities include monitoring purchasing and grant spending, handling all the food, beverage, catering, parking and textbook requests, hiring wage employees and organizing specialty programs and conferences.

Michael Summers, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, notes Triolo’s expert handling of a recent NASA conference held on campus.

“Mari did everything from making arrangements for the attendees, catering, audiovisual hookups, [wireless Internet] accessibility and advertising the meeting,” Summers says. “And she did everything perfectly. It was so well organized that all I had to do was show up and start welcoming the participants.”

Triolo also handles student academic forms and serves as the department’s grading coordinator. Students in the department who want to initiate force-adds go through her. As the grading coordinator, she checks to see whether grades for physics and astronomy classes are up to date.

Now more than two years into the job, Triolo has found that her responsibilities have gradually increased.

“I went through a lot of training when I first got here,” Triolo says. “We rearranged responsibilities within the department over the summer. I’ve done ongoing training as needed since.”

Triolo makes it a personal goal to respond to all e-mails within a day, to let others know that she is working on their task. Consequently, her colleagues laud her work ethic and efficiency.

“Very shortly after she arrived, she became indispensable for the department and for my group,” says Merav Opher, an associate professor in Physics and Astronomy. “She is always very precise and ready to investigate in matters in which she is unfamiliar.”

In addition to her full-time job, Triolo is a graduate student in the Counseling and Development Program. She expects to finish in the spring of 2012 and pursue a career in counseling and family therapy, a field she has had her eyes on since her undergraduate career. She worked in the Counseling Center at Mason as a work-study student, and she spent a few months after graduating teaching preschool at the Williamsburg (Va.) Montessori School.

“I want to be a counselor and work with families and children,” Triolo says. “I believe to make families healthier and happier, everyone has to be involved.”

Originally from Williamsburg, Triolo now lives in Fairfax. She enjoys running in her spare time.

She is also a founding member of the Mason chapter of the Lambda Theta Alpha sorority, and she remains active, attending events when she can.

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