This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Pauline Trinkle Diaz, fiscal technician, who has been with the University since 1993.
Q: What is a fiscal technician?
A: If you would have asked my daughter when she was younger, she used to tell people that, “My mommy takes people’s money.” LOL! We have fiscal technicians and fiscal assistants in our office. I started out as a fiscal assistant in December 1993 and was promoted to fiscal technician in November 1999. When you use the term fiscal, it’s mostly associated with finances and revenue. The fiscal assistants in our office are primarily responsible with the cashiering duties on a daily basis. The fiscal technicians in our office handle more of the detailed work: billing, collection, reconciliation.
Q: What are your main responsibilities as a fiscal technician?
A: As a fiscal tech, I mostly work in the back of the office and handle the telephone calls. A few of my main duties, other than handling student accounts and payments, are banking, waivers, non-student accounts and the monthly installment plan. Non-student account is the term we use for accounts that are set up for customers other than our students. These accounts would include organizations holding events on campus or at the Ware Center, as well as individuals having weddings/receptions on campus or at the Ware Center. I coordinate all aspects of creating accounts, monthly billing and collection. In addition, I deal with the monthly payment plans for students and make sure that process runs as smoothly as possible.
Q: What is an average day like for you?
A: I take care of the bank deposits first thing in the morning. Other than that, it depends on the time of the year. During fall billing, I’m mostly answering phones all day and trying to “clear” accounts. It is an extremely busy time of the year in here. When we are not in a billing phase (fall, spring, winter and three summer billings), I work more with the non-student accounts and making sure those accounts are resolved. I am in the process of learning new programs and trying to master them. On a daily basis, I deal with students, other offices and external customers.
Q: What is most stressful about your job, and what is most rewarding?
A: It’s never fun having to collect money, especially during hard economic times. So I would have to say that the most stressful part of my job is fall billing. In a three to four week span, we are trying to clear over 8,000 accounts. As we get closer to the due date, there are many students whose bills we are unable to clear for different reasons; some are waiting on financial aid that isn’t approved or processed yet, and others simply cannot afford to pay or are not prepared to pay by due date. During that time, we have a lot of frustrated callers, and we do our best to try to help them resolve their accounts. It can be difficult sometimes dealing with bills, money, due dates and deadlines.
The most rewarding part of my job is when I am able to spend the extra time and really listen to someone’s needs and when I am able to help them find a solution. Over the years, I’ve been able to have conversations with students and parents who have shared some intimate stories. I have laughed with some students and parents, and I have cried with some as well. It’s not always the bill that is making them cry, but something else and the bill was just “one more thing.” When I can listen, be sympathetic, let them vent, and then help them find a solution that is going to work for them and for us, it is really rewarding.
Q: What quality, virtue or skill would you account for your success?
A: I am very detail-oriented. I am also very honest and loyal.
Q: What made you choose MU for employment?
A: I am very grateful MU chose me. I saw an ad in the paper, and the job description was perfect for me. It allowed me the opportunity to combine two of my favorite skills: working with numbers and working with people.
Q: What do you like most about MU?
A: I love the fact the Millersville is so culturally diverse. I love the fact that there are so many different races, religions and groups here that anyone should be able to find a “place” to fit in.
Q: What is your fondest memory of MU?
A: My daughter graduating in May 2012.
Q: If you could change one thing about MU’s campus, what would it be?
A: Parking! Although it does seem a little better this year. A little! Nothing personal MUPD. I love you guys!
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I was born in West Chester, Pa., lived in Oxford, Pa. until I was in seventh grade and have been in Lancaster County ever since.
Q: Will you ever go back to school?
A: I’ve raised my daughter on my own since she was 3 years old. Now that she has graduated from college and is recently married, I plan to start focusing on me, which includes going to school and pursing a degree.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I am a movie fanatic. I love all genres, especially romantic chick flicks and dramas. I also love to read and I love to act. In the past, I was very involved in the drama team at the church I attended. I like to get together with friends and family and play cards and/or trivia games.
Q: What is your favorite book?
A: This one is sooooo easy! I am a huge Twilight fan, so my answer will be the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyers. Team Edward! =)
Q: What’s your favorite quote?
A: Someone once sent me a quote that really stuck with me. I’m not sure who wrote it, but I keep a copy of it posted at my work station. “Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens, not by what life brings to us, but by the attitude we bring to life. A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results.”
Q: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you choose to go?
A: Jerusalem. I would love to walk where Jesus walked.
Q: Tell us about your family.
A: I have an older sister and three younger brothers. My family is really close.
Q: What would people be surprised to find out about you?
A: I wrote a book a few years ago called “Humbled Treasure.” It is not published yet, but I have shared it with people, and they seem to enjoy it. I’m really proud of it. It’s Christian Chick Lit that’s part fiction/part non-fiction. My book’s tagline is: “That’s what I asked for but can I get a refund? Talia Sloan’s life was boring and blah, but it was about to take a turn for the… best? Join Talia and her friends as she reinvents herself, rediscovers love and recharges her life. With this single Christian mom in the driver’s seat, you never know what to expect as she navigates through obstacles from her past and present. In the midst of life’s twists and turns, she realizes that sometimes it’s better to let someone else take the wheel.”
Also, I was married May 25, 2013, to my old high school sweetheart. In 1987 he went off and served in the Army for 23 years. Life went on for me too. We reconnected on Facebook in March 2011. If I would have known 27 years ago what I know now, my life may have been so much more different. Everything happens for a reason, though. I am at a really good place in my life right now.
Q: Is there something you would like to mention that we missed?
A: Friends and family call me Joy. That’s been my nickname since I was born. When my mom saw me, she said, “Oh what a Joy.” LOL! My nickname actually came from my paternal grandmother.