Every month throughout the academic year the Staff Council randomly selects a staff member to celebrate in our Spotlight on Staff.  Our recipient for February 2013 is Julie Centurioni, Administrative Assistant for Financial Aid in Brother Jerome West Hall. 

Julie CenturioniIn her five years at Saint Mary’s College, Julie has become an integral part of the Financial Aid team, working closely with students and their families to help make an education at Saint Mary’s more affordable.  Serving students of all means, especially those who need assistance, is a key element of our Lasallian tradition and Julie’s positive attitude helps raise the bar.

Here’s what Julie shared with us:

Tell us a little about your job.

I am the first point of contact in the Financial Aid Office, sometimes even referred to as the first lady.  I answer phones, work with our walk-ins as well as complete many behind the scene tasks.  I assist with our FAFSA reports, a process which often requires additional verification to help us accurately determine the types and amounts of federal funding students will receive.

I work with our Federal Work Study Program providing funds for part-time employment to help needy students.  I train and supervise our Student Workers often working with payroll for accuracy and I assist in planning and executing our annual Student Employee Appreciation Week and Student Employee of the Year.

I open, sort, deliver our mail, assist with Award Letter Preparation, help manage our Federal Loan Defaults and serve SMC as a Building Coordinator.

I enjoy helping with social events such as our annual holiday party.  I influenced our office to attend a True Colors workshop, a model for understanding yourself and others based on your personality temperament.

What do you enjoy the most/find most rewarding about your job?

A couple of things are rewarding to me.  One, is to watch how students grow from the time they arrive as a freshman, to the time they are a graduating senior. The transformation is so gratifying! 

Another reward is helping to ease financial fears from both students and parents.  Applying to colleges and the need for financial aid requires many steps, a lot of patience and a thorough understanding of commitment and responsibility, both for students and parents.

What do you enjoy most about the SMC Community/Campus?

My co-workers are amazing!  So often work doesn’t seem like work when their sense of humor comes in to play.

Outside of work, is there anything you'd like to share about your interests, hobbies, family, or volunteer work?

I live in Concord with my husband; we have two adult daughters, Natalie and Monica; and are members of the Saint Bonaventure Community. We are now proud owners of a beautiful Cocker Spaniel, Gracie.  I enjoy scrapbooking, knitting and crocheting when time permits.

I enjoyed many years as room mother while the girls were in elementary school and then as Girl Scout Leader for our troop.  We were often visitors to Disneyland.  Having family in Southern California was always a good excuse to head south.

My daughters’ call me the recycling police…I am always checking to make sure nothing made it to the garbage that should be in the recycling.  I believe in recycling, reusing and repurposing.

The opportunity to personally hand each of my girls their diploma from SMC was truly one of the highlights of my life.  Graduating from college is a huge accomplishment, giving each of them their diploma, priceless!

What would you like the SMC Community to know about you?

  • I grew up in Oakland; my blended family consists of 5 brothers and 2 sisters.
  • Worked for a specialty printing company for 25 years, took time off to raise our daughters, and went back as a part-time employee for Mount Diablo Unified School District until I was offered a job here
  • I love spending time at home, and am often found in my backyard gardening or just hanging out.  I love to entertain and am always up for new recipes to try.
  • My family jokes about me being the Mrs. Kravitz of the neighborhood. However, I am no stranger to knocking on doors at midnight to tell a neighbor their garage door is open or getting up in the night to stay with a young child when the adults make an unexpected visit to emergency room. I take in mail, feed their pets and water their yards.
  • My husband and I are great SMC Men’s Basketball fans and are proud to be season ticket holders.  We have travelled to Pepperdine, Portland and a little closer to home, USF. Go Gaels!

By Robert Henderson

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