Ayush Saxena is May Employee of the Month

Ayush Saxena, receiving his award from Mason President Ángel Cabrera, has a game design degree from Mason, but said helping students kept him in the Office for Student Financial Aid. Photo by Lathan Goumas.

Ayush Saxena did not intend to follow a career path in financial aid. In fact, his bachelor’s degree from George Mason University is in game design.

But there was something about the work-study position in Mason’s Office of Student Financial Aid he held after his freshman year that was appealing, and that part-time job turned into a full-time position as a financial aid coordinator after he graduated in 2015.

He said helping students made him want to stay in the Financial Aid Office.

“I received financial aid as a student, and seeing people in a situation similar to myself and having the ability to help them made me want to continue working here,” he said.

“Luckily for me, my major required a lot of math, and so did the work in the Financial Aid Office,” Saxena added. “These skills helped a lot with my work in the office, and I quickly gained more and more responsibilities.”

He is also the May Employee of the Month.

Saxena manages nearly $200 million worth of loans, disbursing the funding to students and resolving any issues in a timely manner. He helped his office develop better ways to process grants for transfer students, and as an undergraduate, he was in charge of training all new work-study hires.

“We are one of the biggest recipients of transfer students, and therefore, transfer student grants.  Speeding up the program and having all the students together to receive their grants efficiently is something I’m very proud of,” Saxena said.

Saxena said he was surprised when he learned he is Employee of the Month.

“I was under no impression that this was happening,” he said. “I’ve only been a full-time staff member for three years. Being selected as Employee of the Month made me feel proud that I have done worthwhile work for the university.”

Jane Moore, information systems coordinator for the Office of Student Financial Aid, said Saxena “contributes on a daily basis to making the Financial Aid Office a more enjoyable place to work. His demeanor and attitude make him an approachable and engaging person. He is always eager to share ideas and work with everyone in the Financial Aid Office.”

How he got here:

I started out in a work-study position in summer 2012. It started off as just a normal office job with filing, answering the phones—typical basic office duties. Eventually, I started getting more responsibilities that required more in-depth knowledge of financial aid and its processes, and after graduation in 2015 I took on a full-time position.

Best day on the job:

Much of my work involves back-end processing for financial aid, and, for the most part, I am not in a position that is as student-facing as our financial aid counselors. However, there are many funds that I manage for students whose only contact for issues regarding those specific funds is myself. A lot of these funds are deciding factors on whether a student is able to pay their tuition for the semester or not, and any day where I am able to aptly address and resolve a problem for a student in such a scenario is a good day.

What he likes best about working at Mason:

I love this campus. I always enjoyed working with students when I was a student, and I was able to get a good sense of the student body we have here. Now, as a member of an office that is integral to helping sustain a large number of students at the university, I can assist that same population of students that I had the privilege of being a student with.

What he likes doing when he’s not working:

Typical for a guy in his 20s, I spend a significant amount of my free time playing video games with friends, reading comics and watching movies. I’m a huge foodie, so any chance I get to go anywhere and try cuisine I haven’t had before, I’m there. Currently this month, along with what I am sure is a large chunk of the Mason population, I’m anxiously awaiting the final episodes for “Game of Thrones.”