Everyday Hero: Becky Nemeth

Posted: August 12, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jocelyn Rappaport

Editor’s note: This Daily Gazette feature profiles key people at Mason who “make it happen.”

Becky Nemeth

Name: Rebecca (Becky) Nemeth

Years at Mason: 16 years

Jobs at Mason: Worked with the university bookstore, managed by Brennan College Service; worked in the Registrar’s Office from 1991 to 1994; joined Information Services in 1994.

Current Position: Manages the university switchboard and two information kiosks. “I hire, train, and supervise 25 to 30 student employees. Keeping everyone informed and trained on all aspects of the university at three different campuses keeps me very busy. We’re getting used to change. Bobbie Fuller [director of Information Services] and I take turns teaching GMU 101, a monthly basic class about the university. This requires keeping all materials and the PowerPoint presentation updated. About once a year, I co-teach with several others an HR training class called Working with Student Employees.”

What She Likes about Her Job: “I enjoy helping people and solving problems. Every day at this job is different because of the questions we answer and the problems we help solve. It stays interesting and keeps us alert. I like working with student employees and teaching them about service to others, commitment and responsibility, and the importance of listening and asking the right questions. These are skills they will use in any future career.”

Becky Nemeth
Photos by Evan Cantwell

Frequently Asked Questions Received by the Switchboard: “Questions are seasonal. Right now, how to register, pay, or even get a G number are popular questions. In the winter when we have inclement weather, a frequent question is if we know whether classes will be cancelled—when the weatherman has only indicated it might snow! In the spring, many questions concern graduation—tickets, caps and gowns, hotels, and directions. Other questions are across the board, such as ‘Do we have architecture classes? Who do I talk to about donating something to the university? Who do I talk to if I want to drop my classes after the drop date? How many students do we have from China? How do I get to Mason from Philadelphia?’ And even, ‘What time is it?'”

About Those Funny Questions: “We keep a box in the office, and when someone calls with a really funny question, the operator writes it down and puts it into the box. These questions provide some laughs at our staff parties or staff meetings.” Here are a few of the questions that have ended up in the box:

“Will the university close for the cicadas?”

“Do you know the definition of ‘viability’?”

“I just bought a car from a faculty member, but I forgot his name. Do you know who might have sold a car?”

“I’m graduating on Saturday. Where’s the Patriot Center?”

What She Does for Fun: Ever since her granddaughter, Ava Caroline, was born, Nemeth likes to shop for her and to plan her next visit. “I love going to the San Francisco/Berkeley area. So much to see and do in northern California—and so much good food and wine! I like decorating and doing projects around the house for my friends and myself. Looking at the before-and-after of a successful project gives me such a feeling of accomplishment. Growing flowers, herbs, and vegetables also brings me much pleasure. I will always love to travel to different places and see what the rest of the world is like. Learning about different cultures—the people, the food, and how to prepare the meals is quite enjoyable. I love to cook for people who like to eat!”

About Her Love of Cats: “I have three kitties at home who love me and need me. Cats are people too; at least mine are. Also, I volunteer to feed some of the feral cats on campus that have been living here for a long time.”

Life’s Varied Experiences: “I have a degree in early childhood education and have taught nursery school, kindergarten, and first grade. It really is true that everything you need to know you learned in kindergarten. As a military spouse, I moved a lot, so I had many volunteer jobs that didn’t pay any salary, but gave me interesting experiences.” For example, she volunteered with the American Red Cross to assist Vietnamese refugees in Guam. Her paid jobs included herbarium assistant at the University of Georgia, where she helped a professor mount and categorize all his specimens for a book; tour guide at the Naval Academy; and entrepreneur—with a friend, she made one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories that sold in specialty shops.

What People Say about Her:

“Becky Nemeth has helped me and the ITU Support Center on so many occasions, I can’t count them all. Not only is she the source for information about George Mason University, but also she imparts her knowledge to others through the GMU 101 course she teaches. Becky’s willingness to help and her high standards for providing customer service make her a great role model for others!”

—Kathy Gillette, manager, ITU Support Center

“Becky is really quite remarkable. She has a no-nonsense attitude that is coupled with an always positive outlook. She is always willing to pitch in. For example, she is one of the facilitators for the yearly workshop on supervising student workers. I asked her to be a part of it because she does such a good job of hiring and training student workers and infusing them with a great customer service mentality. Becky pays attention to the details, and you can always count on her. If she says she’ll respond, she does; if she attends a meeting, she comes on time. She is just a joy to work with!”

—Carol Henderson, staff development manager, Human Resources

“If you want to know something about George Mason University, ask Becky. She is a walking encyclopedia of Mason, and the best part is that she loves to share the information with anyone. Becky is dedicated and enthusiastic-always going ‘above and beyond’ to help people find the information they need. She is an outstanding asset to Information Services and to George Mason University.”

—Bobbie Fuller, director, Information Services

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