Employee of the Month - November 2023
Elizabeth “Liz” Alessi,
Bob Murphy Access Center
Front Office Coordinator
Awarded Tuesday, November 14, 2023, via Zoom Virtual celebration. Liz was joined by President Jane Close Conoley, Vice President of Student Affairs Beth Lesen, Associate Vice President of Student Engagement Jeff Klaus, Bob Murphy Access Center Director Mary Nguyen, numerous Student Affairs and campus colleagues, and family.
Although Liz Alessi has only worked at CSULB for just over a year, she has made a profound impression on her Student Affairs colleagues and the students she serves in the Bob Murphy Access Center (BMAC). In her role as the Front Office Coordinator, she exudes empathy, compassion, and a willingness to go above and beyond to serve the campus community.
Mary Nguyen, the Bob Murphy Access Center Director, sang Liz’s praises, saying, “I would like to recognize the endless contributions of Liz Alessi from BMAC. From her start with BMAC, she was able to instantaneously build trusting relationships with students and parents that interact with BMAC in a manner that helped them feel understood, seen, and heard.
“There was a previous negative relationship with some parents that were upset at the difference in accommodation support found at the higher education level. When Liz entered into the department, she was able to build rapport with the parents and identify with their feelings of fear that their son was needing to independently navigate such a large campus environment. She reassured them that she understood as a fellow parent of children with disabilities. In working with them each time they have come into the department, she has provided her own version of counseling support to alleviate their anxieties and also encourage them to allow their son to make mistakes and journey on the road to independence.
“In other situations, students have come to me directly to express their appreciation of Liz's work. Pregnant students said that they knew they were in good hands even though [there was] a processing period of waiting for their accessible furniture to be delivered to the classrooms, and LatinX parents and students have thanked Liz for her innate cultural understanding and encouragements to embrace their parallel yet independent disability journeys within a college environment.
“Liz goes beyond the scope of her duties in our office by volunteering her time to support LIFE Project that supports students with autism with relationship building and educational programming. She has supported the Educational Support Services program, which is the busiest and most complex area of the department that works to provide academic and classroom accommodations in a time sensitive manner.
“She has gone the extra mile by being open to difficult conversations with colleagues that possess differences of opinion in an effort to better understand how to best work together in support of students. In these conversations, I have appreciated her compassion of different points of view and her attitude of not letting it stop the good work that is being done. Liz has melted the hearts of the toughest and most introverted staff within our department as well, getting them to laugh at jokes whenever she is able to catch them in passing. She is truly admired and respected for her interpersonal abilities and care for all.
“[Liz] has been an integral part in promoting and building a culture of Accessibility across the campus. Her enthusiasm and energy are what we need on this campus and I know that under her tutelage, more staff will be able to provide the same compassionate and motivational care to our campus community.”
Liz shared her personal experiences that have led her to be successful in her current role. She said, “My passion for helping others has always been a part of my core philosophy in my personal life. Going above and beyond for our students has given me more joy and self-fulfillment than any corporate job ever could.
“I am a sister, a daughter, an aunt, a wife but most importantly an ally and advocate in the Autism/Disability community since I am a mom of two children with special needs. I celebrate our students’ victories and share in their defeats every time they walk into the BMAC office. Working with students is what makes my job at CSULB fulfilling and rewarding. I am also an active member of the student success committee with the Latinx Faculty and Staff Association.”
In her free time, Liz enjoys being a Disney Adult, reading books about disabilities, and vacationing with her family.