Two new department staffers help guide students
December 13, 2017 / by Nanci Hellmich
It’s a big campus with a lot of resources, and I like being that go-to person for students.
I want to give students the sense that they are not alone and that someone will be here to help them.
Navigating a university the size of Mason can be challenging, and Justina Jordan and Verronica Mitchell say they’re glad to be on board to help steer students in the right direction.
Both are administrative staffers who joined departments in Mason Engineering within the last six months. Their jobs include helping students figure out the answers to their specific questions, as well as offering them guidance and encouragement.
“It’s a big campus with a lot of resources, and I like being that go-to person for students,” says Jordan, BA Conflict Analysis and Resolution '13, who became the administrative and program specialist for the Department of Systems Engineering and Operations Research in June. She has held several other positions at Mason over the years. “I’m interested in helping students adjust to college," she says.
Mitchell, who became the office manager and assistant to the chair of the Department of Statistics in July, agrees that one of the best parts of the job is offering support. “If a student comes in and needs something, I try to help them the best I can, even though I’m new here. If I don’t know the answer, I try to figure it out. I want to give students the sense that they are not alone and that someone will be here to help them.”
Both women have impressive academic backgrounds.
Jordan got her undergraduate degree while working full-time at Mason. “I was a nontraditional student, so I had to learn a lot of things on my own. I know how it is to be roaming around campus, trying to figure things out,” says Jordan, who has a master’s degree in higher education from Walden University. She’s the mother of Camille, 16. “You have to learn what opportunities are available here.”
Part of her job description includes doing academic advising so she is working with freshman and sophomore students. At some point, she plans to teach a 100-level course on exploring majors. “I changed my major twice here at Mason. I feel like I can help guide students through that process.”
Mitchell, an Army veteran, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Old Dominion University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. She’s currently working on an Administrative Professionals Certificate from Mason. Her husband, Melvin (her high school sweetheart), is in the Army. They have two children, Nathaniel, 11, and Sophia, 8.
Mitchell wanted to work at Mason because “it’s fun, it’s fresh, and it’s very diverse. I like that I’m always meeting new people from different backgrounds and cultures. It’s a melting pot.”
Working here is “is everything I thought it would be,” she says. “I love the people. I like talking to the students, mingling with the faculty, and getting to know the staff. It’s a true blessing to be here.”