Catalina Wheat Named February 2011 Employee of the Month

Posted: January 27, 2011 at 1:04 am, Last Updated: January 28, 2011 at 7:21 pm

By Aisha Jamil

Catalina Wheat

Catalina Wheat. Photo courtesy of Catalina Wheat

Born and raised in Colombia, Payroll Specialist Catalina Wheat has found that her Spanish skills have come in handy at Mason.

Last January, when Housing and Residence Life transitioned from being managed by a third-party vendor to becoming a Mason unit, Wheat acted as the liaison between the housing management and the employees.

“Catalina helped out tremendously during this transition by attending all meetings and orientations with the housing staff and acting as a translator for the employees,” says Mira Halilovic, payroll supervisor.

Before Wheat joined Human Resources (HR) and Payroll at Mason in June 2008, she was working as a payroll supervisor for a private company in Washington, D.C..

According to Wheat, she was not expecting the Employee of the Month award when she was called into her supervisor’s office.

“I was very surprised when my supervisor told me about this award. I had no idea of what was going on. I was just concerned because we were in the middle of processing payroll!” Wheat exclaims. “But, I really felt happy, and I also was very proud of my team.”

According to her team, Wheat is a determined and consummate team player.

“Recently, due to an unexpected staff shortage, she performed the duties of two people while the search was under way,” says Helga Yunker, office manager in HR and Payroll. “Even with this additional workload, Catalina’s quality of work, as well as her work ethic, remained intact.”

However, Wheat does not take the sole credit for the honor.

“In my department, we only achieve our goals because we join efforts. So, for me, this Employee of the Month award is also a team distinction,” Wheat says.

As for future plans, Wheat is determined to stay at Mason.

“I love the cultural diversity we have at Mason,” Wheat says. “I feel very comfortable working here, and I hope that I can be a part of the Mason family for a long time.”

Wheat will be formally presented with her award by President Alan Merten in his office, 103 Mason Hall, at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3 (this is a change from the previously announced date). All of Wheat’s family, friends and co-workers are invited to attend.

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