Terri Vanderberg is April Employee of the Month

Terri Vanderberg 330 dpi
Terri Vanderberg. Photo provided

Terri Vanderberg, senior associate director of admissions at George Mason University, admitted she’s a little nervous about being chosen as the Employee of the Month for April because “being in the spotlight feels a little odd.”

Vanderberg said she prefers concentrating on building other people up and making sure that members of her team are confident and feel heard.

“I absolutely love building a well-oiled, efficient, happy and productive team where everyone feels like they are valued and knows how to find the answers for any questions,” Vanderberg said. “I like building a team where people feel free to voice their opinions, where we support each other, where we are like a family.”

Vanderberg supervises the undergraduate transfer admissions processing team. She ensures that the admissions process goes smoothly for transfer students and that prospective students know what information they need to submit. In addition, she ensures that undergraduate transfer students get answers to their questions In a timely way.

Those she supervises said Vanderberg is supportive and understanding.

 “[She] has restored my faith in workplace humanity,” said Catherine From, transfer admissions coordinator, noting that Vanderberg is “extremely patient, especially with new people who are learning the ropes.”

“The first thing you notice about Terri is her exceptional work ethic and her deep commitment to the students with whom she works,” said Andrew E. Bunting, interim executive director of enrollment management. “It is not an exaggeration to state that she has been instrumental in assisting thousands of students” to find their home at Mason, he added.

Vanderberg has been at Mason since 2004, when she started in admissions as what was then called a processor and is now called a coordinator. At the time, Vanderberg said, she had no experience in higher education.

“I was shocked that Mason chose me,” Vanderberg said.

She said she enjoys knowing that by helping admit transfer students, she is providing opportunities for growth, just like Mason gave her.

Vanderberg started off processing transfer applications, then moved into specializing in international documents and applications. She was promoted to assistant director and now has her current position.

Vanderberg said she loves Mason and often compares the not-quite 50-year-old university to a teenager.

“As the youngest state university in Virginia, Mason is still not quite an adult, still figuring things out, and still so full of potential,” Vanderberg said.

How did she get to Mason:

I was living in Ohio and working two part-time jobs, one training horses. It didn’t really cover things financially, and my sister and friends were in Northern Virginia, so I decided to move here. My sister found the job opening at Mason, and I applied for it, along with other jobs. When I heard back from Mason, I was working at a vet, but I went to the interview, and then they hired me.

Best day on the job:

Those of us in Admissions have very little opportunity to know how we have affected someone’s life by what we do.  An amazing thing happened to me one day when I got an email from a student I’d worked with years before. He found our old emails and thought to tell me of his success in graduating Mason, going on to grad school and finding the profession he wanted. And he thanked me for starting him on that path. It just filled my heart to know of his success.

What she likes best about working at Mason:

I love being on campus and seeing all the diverse students, how beautiful it is, and how it seems to work. That’s the thing that Mason does best – it brings people together and gives them a chance to see the world through one another’s eyes. I love the optimism here. It’s filled with enthusiasm and hopefulness.

What she does when she’s not working:

I spend time with family, especially my granddaughters. I ride horses and read. I read constantly. There is never a time I am not engrossed in a book.