Profile of a Senator May 2021

Meet Stephanie Zeher: Staff Senator and Office Manager/Executive Assistant in the School of Integrative Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Stephanie Zeher, Office Manager/Executive Assistant, School of Integrative Studies. Photo by Creative Services

ROLES: I wear many hats in the School of Integrative Studies (SIS) and love each one. SIS enables students to design an individualized course of study or choose from many concentrations. I help faculty with the promotion and tenure process, run our website and social media accounts, execute all the hiring contracts for full-time faculty and adjunct faculty, and serve on our scholarship committee, among other things!

One of my favorite parts of my job is planning our SIS Degree Celebration Ceremony, annually held in the Center for the Arts. The past two years have been a much different experience but I truly believe the university has done its best to make it as special as possible for the students. The logistics of planning a graduation event range from student awards, live and streamed music, program creation, day-of timelines, scripts, and so much more! I love seeing it all come together and the joy in the students’ faces when they cross the stage.

I’ve been working a 32-hour-a-week schedule since 2015, which contributes to a wonderful work-life balance.

MASON JOURNEY: This September will mark my 15th year at Mason. My first job was in the Office of the Registrar at the ripe age of 21. I spent seven years in the degree compliance section, still some of my fondest memories at Mason. I also took advantage of the staff tuition waiver and completed a graduate certificate in higher education administration. I then spent two years in the College of Education and Human Development as the advising and outreach coordinator within the Academic Affairs Office. I went back to the Registrar’s Office for another two years as the consortium coordinator before taking my current role in the School of Integrative Studies four years ago.

You might say I’ve been around the block! My hope is that the variety of my work experiences lends itself to being a successful Staff Senator. This is my second time serving on the Staff Senate. The first was from 2011 to 2013.

BEST THING ABOUT WORKING AT MASON: The people! I’m always blown away at the amazing things faculty are researching and accomplishing in their fields. I have had the pleasure of working with some of the finest staff around! I’m so grateful for the friendships I’ve developed over the years. I love making new staff connections across campus. The students at Mason are so inspiring, especially during this past year. They are so resilient and carry so much more on their shoulders than I did when I was their age.

WHY I SERVE ON THE SENATE: I am one of the biggest cheerleaders Mason can have! I’m always singing the praises of the amazing environment this campus provides to all its constituents. On the flip side, if I feel as though a process or policy can be done better or is lacking a staff point of view, then I’m also the first to use my voice. I tend to get pretty passionate about issues as well. A few things I’m currently working on are implementing a flexible plastic recycling program (Trex’s “Bags to Benches”), encouraging the university to divest from fossil fuels, increasing child care options on campus for students, making senior leadership aware of the new software platform fatigue that staff are feeling, and bringing my 15 years of experience to the newly formed Faculty and Staff Experience (formerly called the Quality Work Life) Committee.

UNIQUE FACT: I’ve made 464 wreaths since the summer of 2019! I’ve sold 393 and given away 71. I do all the holidays and mostly use burlap and florals in my designs. I am so grateful to have a craft and hobby that has kept me entertained, especially with all the time we spent indoors in 2020. But don’t be surprised if you catch me on the soccer field watching my two boys (ages 5 and 7) play while also building a wreath.

AT THE END OF THE DAY: I have every intention of retiring from Mason. Something that I’d really like to do before I retire is to attend a study abroad trip with Social Action and Integrative Learning (SAIL), housed within the School of Integrative Studies.