Unsung heroes of NSU

You see them every day on campus. You pass by and might not even think about what they do.

They are the assistants to the big wigs. They are the ones who work behind the scenes. They’re the thread that holds it all together — the essentials to a successful mix at NSU.

Lucy Mawhinney, Chartwells retail operations director at the main campus, Kendall Ramsijewan, accounts coordinator for the Office of Residential Life and Housing and Abubakr Elnoor,  graduate assistant for the Office of Information Technology, are a few of these people.

Lucy Mawhinney Chartwells Retail Operations Director at Main Campus

The best word to describe Lucy Mawhinney is passionate. Strike up a conversation about her job and you will see the sparkle in her eyes. You’ve probably seen Mawhinney behind the counters of the Don Taft University Center food court, rushing to fill orders or stopping to help employees with the cash register. She’s the retail operations director at the Main Campus and has been with NSU for almost three years. She took the job as an opportunity to work with a large variety of brands after leaving a teaching position at a culinary school.

Mawhinney said she likes the bustling atmosphere of working in the food court.

“I like the craziness,” said Mawhinney. “It’s nonstop.”

She arrives to work at 8 a.m. and leaves campus around 5:30 p.m. Though it’s not part of her work schedule, Mawhinney also pops in on the weekends to make sure everything is running smoothly. She attributes her weekends off to “awesome supervisors” who are able to keep the team motivated.

“It’s more than just a job for me,” she said. “I’m one of those people who always wants to be a star. I like to do a good job. I want people to be happy. I want their food experience to be good. I want it to succeed and do well.”

Mawhinney said her favorite part of her job is when the food court is the busiest – “around 12:10, when it’s crazy full of people, seeing everyone here happy and seeing everything running properly.”

Mawhinney works by the grin-and-bear-it philosophy and trains her employees to do the same because she wants her customers to be happy.

“[When a problem comes up] you just have to solve it and keep a smile on your face as much as you can,” she said.

Each day involves solving problems and implementing solutions. She also coordinates events and menus for the food court.

“No day is typical,” said Mawhinney, grinning.

As a full-time mother to a six–year-old son and a member of the faculty club, Mawhinney keeps herself busy, which is just the way she likes it.

Kendall Ramsijewan Accounts Coordinator for the Office of Residential Life and Housing

Between phone calls and drop-in visitors, Kendall Ramsijewan could barely get a sentence in without being interrupted.

Ramsijewan is the accounts coordinator for the Office of Residential Life and Housing. He is used to the hustle. He was a resident assistant for two years and has been working in the Office of Residential Life and Housing for four months.

You may hear Ramsijewan’s voice when you call the office, but his responsibilities go beyond answering the phone. He conducts payroll for roughly 60 employees, schedules meetings, runs reports and budget transfers, makes room reservations, issues receipts and takes care of email correspondence. And, he manages six front-office employees.

“It takes a lot out of me,” he said. From 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., his day is about the students.

“I enjoy helping them on a day-to-day basis and making sure they’re happy and comfortable in their rooms,” he said.

Outside of work, Ramsijewan co-advises Nova Nine, a student organization that recognizes student accomplishment at NSU. He also attends commuter assistant program meetings.

He attributes his success to a disciplined background in Trinidad and Tobago.

“The circumstances I grew up in helped define me,” he said. “I didn’t grow up from a lot of money. Now, I value the opportunities provided.”

As the first in his family to earn a college degree, Ramsijewan has no plans of stopping. He will begin graduate school soon, adding another full-time job to the one he already has.

“I want to set a precedent for my family members,” he said.

Abubakr Elnoor Graduate assistant for the Office of Information Technology

You might enter and exit the Division of Performing and Visual Arts computer lab in the morning or early afternoon hours without noticing Abubakr Elnoor, a graduate assistant for the Office of Information Technology. As a lab monitor, his responsibilities are to keep chairs and computer screens lined up, to load the printer with paper or toner when needed and to assist students who need technological help. He also sets up technology for special events.

Elnoor said, “[My favorite part of work] is the people I deal with students and professors — not the public. It’s easy to communicate with them because of their educational level.”

He said that the job has taught him more about sophisticated technology and using various platforms, both PCs and Macs.

“I was not computer savvy before this job,” he said. “But now it adds more flavor to my résumé.”

Elnoor enjoys learning new things each day.

“I love what I’m doing,” he said. “That motivates me, but let’s also be realistic. We’re students, and we need money.”

As a fourth-year graduate student studying conflict analysis and resolution, Elnoor spends his days after work in the library writing his dissertation on international terrorism.

Leave a Reply