Meeting workers at Fordham
By Andrew O’Grady
Angela Rodriguez, Security Guard
Angela Rodriguez is a Fordham University security guard, who watches over the entrance to Fordham Prep. She has been working as a guard since 2010 when she first moved to the United State from the Dominican Republic. She now lives in the Bronx and desperately misses her old life in the Dominican Republic. She misses her house, the weather and the people most of all. She moved to be with her family and take care of one of her daughters. Angela has three daughters and they are 31, 25 and 23. The eldest is currently a Jet Blue supervisor and the middle child is currently in medical school trying to become a doctor. The youngest is suffering from mild mental retardation and therefore Angela must take care of her so her daughter can try to live a normal life. Angela also told me she likes her job because its clean, not difficult, and she gets to meet new people, but there are some things that do annoy her. She explained to me that sometimes her supervisor would schedule her for a morning shift right after she works a 4-to-12 a.m. shift. She also told me that sometimes she gets pressured into working a double shift when a guard calls in sick, which really bugs her. Lastly she said she loves to travel and in 10 years dreams of being able to go all over the world.
Deborah Russelli, Business Manger
Deborah Russelli. Deborah is the business manger for facilities management at Fordham University. Deborah has two kids and loves working at the University because it is family-oriented and has improved her life greatly. Deborah told me her life wasn’t always so easy she told me that growing up in the Bronx was a challenge and she had to overcome a lot of obstacles. At 15, she and two sisters were kicked out
of their house and forced to live on their own. Deborah therefore has been supporting herself ever since. She told me that “working is very important to me and is something that keeps me going though difficult times.” She graduated from St. Catherine’s High School in 1988 and another program a year later, before landing a job at Marsh and McLennan for six years until she had her first child. Years later, Deborah would work for the Department of Education in the South Bronx. This job was perhaps one of her least favorite jobs. She said, “Going into that school everyday wasn’t enjoyable, I needed a change something that I could enjoy doing.” A couple years later Deborah found a job opening at Fordham, applied, and soon enough got the job and has been working there for nine years. Deborah explained this job was so important to her because of the great benefits. Deborah continued to tell me because she was working at Fordham she was able to get a free education for her kids and herself. Therefore Deborah through Fordham was able to get her bachelors of arts in human development and her masters in business administration in management. In 10 years Deborah sees herself getting more education but still working at Fordham. She also told me she dreams of a being able to get a more executive position at Fordham now that she has her MBA.
John Spaccarelli, Director of Special Projects
John Spaccarelli met me in the administration building at Fordham, where he oversees efforts to change physical spaces. John grew up in the Bronx and lives in Mahopac, New York. John told me he grew up in a family that was always in the construction business — his father, grandfather, and great grandfather where all masons and contractors, which greatly influenced his love for the craft. He told me that he likes his job because it came very natural to him and he told me it is rewarding when a project is complete, saying, “that you can look back and be proud of what was completed.” John told me the only thing that he does not like about his job is when is his not properly funded to complete a project he is very passionate about, “It just bugs me when the university does not give us enough money to get the job done properly” he told me. Before Fordham, John worked for his dad’s construction company. “I just wanted a more challenging workspace in a setting I wasn’t familiar in.” Therefore after seven years with his father’s company he was hired at Fordham and has been there for twenty years. John told me his favorite working experience was the renovation of Hughes Hall. He told me that him and his team took a 120-year-old building that was a residence hall and turned it into the new business school, “We completely gutted out the inside of the building, removed the roof and dropped the foundation 8 feet into the ground to gain head space in the basement, and then outfitted it with a new interior, and new glass mansard roof. If one looks at the building now, you can see how rewarding it is, now that it is completed,” John explained. John also said he has a passion for racing horses, adding ”if I could do that full time I would be a very happy man . . .” In his spare time actually trains a few racehorses and races them weekly, but he also enjoys to work in the garden and fish. Concerning the future John still plans on working at Fordham and hopes to complete one more major project for Fordham. He dreams that he can build a new campus center for the students and continue making unique changes to the University.
Virginia Alter, Assistant for the Vice President of Administration
Virginia Alter works at Fordham as an administrative assistant for the senior Vice President of administration. She told me, “What I like most about my job are the people. Everyone I work with is more than willing to help out whenever possible. There is a strong sense of camaraderie.” Before Fordham Virginia was a stay-at-home mom who wanted to get back to work so she could afford an education for both of her children. Her son went to the Prep and then the University and got his degree in Business Administration and her daughter also got her B.A. at Fordham. Both of them lived on campus and working at Fordham allowed her to remain close to her family Prior to working at Fordham she worked for British Petroleum at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, “I was a scheduler who was responsible for transporting oil through the Alaskan pipeline and loaded onto tankers for shipment throughout the United States.” She quit to take care of her kidsand had to do extensive traveling. Besides working, Virginia likes music. She sings, plays the guitar, and loves going to concerts. Her favorite Fordham experience was handing both her kids their diplomas. She also told me in 10 years she hopes to retire and then be able to travel the world while she is still healthy enough to do so.