New staff member seeks to increase financial support for graduate students

Boris Escalona Photo

SUMMARY: “I love the environment here at the Graduate School, because it is really cohesive.”

By Laureta Ramaj, Graduate Student, M.A. in Communication & Advocacy

The Graduate School is pleased to introduce our new Director of Graduate Student Financial Support, Boris Escalona Berbetty.

1. Where did you work before coming to JMU?

I worked as a Business Services Coordinator for the North Carolina New Teacher support program at East Carolina University. For more than a year, I managed the finances of the program and dealt with many stakeholders within the state of North Carolina.

I have also worked at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Central Florida, and Florida International University in financial management, student affairs, and human resources during the 14 years that I have been working in higher-education administration.

2. How do you like your new position and the environment at the Graduate School?

I love the environment at the Graduate School because it is really cohesive. Everyone wants to be part of a team, and everyone is willing to go the extra mile to support one another. They treat each other as a family, and they’re willing to support one another no matter what. I am honored to be a part of a team that functions as such.

3. What are your responsibilities as the Director of Graduate Student Financial Support?

My main responsibility is to manage the graduate assistantship program for the university community. I assist faculty, staff and other university personnel by answering questions regarding graduate assistantships. I also analyze data for the leadership team to help with strategic planning and collaborate with stakeholders in various units across campus. 

4. What part of your job do you enjoy the most?

I enjoy interacting with students the most. Each of them has a unique personal experience, and I enjoy hearing about their individual journeys to JMU. It is satisfying when I can help them attain their personal and professional goals.

5. What are some interesting facts about you?

I have had the opportunity to participate in study abroad several times. I studied in Japan, China, South Korea, and Ireland. I love to learn about different cultures. I love learning about the culture and history of each country. I would love to be able to find a way to include this sort of activity within my current role. 

I am a first generation college student, and I am proud to have achieved a master’s degree. I would love to be able to show my family that I can continue with my professional growth by pursuing a doctoral degree.

I see myself working at JMU for many years, understanding students’ needs and being able to expand my position. I definitely hope to continue to promote graduate education, which is something that is very important to me.

This article is the second in a three-part series introducing staff in new roles in the Office of The Graduate School.

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Published: Thursday, November 14, 2019

Last Updated: Thursday, November 14, 2019

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