Jill Scharl Is June Employee of the Month

Posted: May 31, 2011 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: May 27, 2011 at 5:11 pm

By Robin Herron

Jill Scharl

Jill Scharl says the reason she loves her job is that she is passionate about helping students. That’s a big part of why the undergraduate administrative assistant for the Department of Economics was named the June Employee of the Month.

About 50 percent of Scharl’s job is advising students, and she was one of the top 10 finalists for the 2011 Advisor of the Year award.

That recognition meant a lot to her, she says, because “school counseling is a field that I’m most interested in, and to read the things that the students said about me…the fact that they took the time to go in and write really meaningful messages about the help that I’ve given them, it just felt really, really good.”

Although it was no surprise to those who work with her in the Economics Department, winning the Employee of the Month award came as a big surprise to Scharl.

“It was a really great feeling because it reinforces why I work so hard at my job and why I’m here,” she says.

Scharl, who earned a master’s in education with a school counseling concentration from Mason in January, has worked in her current position since 2007.

According to Carrie Meyer, Undergraduate Director of the Economics Department and Scharl’s supervisor, Scharl is nothing less than “extraordinary.”

Meyer says Scharl has taken on more and more responsibility and even “does much of what I previously did.” Meyer adds, “Her dedicated efforts have allowed us to provide much better service to students, as reflected in graduating senior surveys.”

And Professor James Bennett, who has been on the Mason economics faculty for more than 35 years, gives Scharl highest praise: “Ms. Jill Scharl is simply the best staffer that the Economics Department has ever had. She is off the page in terms of her willingness to serve both faculty and students.”

Student Liya Palagashvili, president of the Mason Economics Society, says, “I am in the department almost every day and am just shocked at how much knowledge Jill has about the economics program and about George Mason in general….Jill cares about the interests of students and tries her hardest to provide the means to foster a great learning environment for us and help us to achieve our academic goals.”

Others in the department recognized Scharl, winner of the 2010 Exceptional Support Award, for her promptness and efficiency in attending to requests.

Asked about a highlight of her job, Scharl says, “Absolutely by far the students are the reason I go to my job every day and continue to love it so much. Being able to help a student through their four-year process or however long they’re in college is just an invaluable experience. It can be challenging sometimes, but I really enjoy it.”

She continues, “I also have an amazing supervisor, who is the backbone to our undergraduate program. And our undergraduate advisor, Tom Rustici, he’s incredible. He is so passionate about the field of economics and working with the students, too. I think we just have a really good team.”

Scharl eventually would like to pursue a counseling job. “I think I’ll end up in some kind of education field for the rest of my life,” she concludes.

President Alan Merten will present Scharl with her award in his office, Mason Hall, Room 103, at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 3. Scharl’s family, co-workers and friends are encouraged to attend the ceremony.

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