Staff Name: Viviana Pérez
Position: Administrative Assistant
Alma Mater: California State University, Long Beach (B.A. Political Science ‘21)
Office Location: Swenson Hall, Dean’s Suite N118
While most of the administrative staff at Fowler School of Engineering (FSE) set their focus on the students, Vivana Pérez, Administrative Assistant, lends a helping hand to Fowler’s incredible faculty. Whenever professors need resources and technology for their exciting research—like parts for Fowler’s supercomputer—Pérez ensures everything is accessible to them. Because of her efforts, Fowler’s faculty is set for success in the classroom, their own research, and during office hours so professors can give Fowler students their very best.
Pérez graduated from California State University, Long Beach where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science with a concentration in Global Politics. Before taking her place at FSE, Pérez worked for the city of Placentia as a Clerical Aide. Now, Pérez is available to manage FSE’s student workers and help students jumpstart clubs and organizations within Fowler. Pérez also shares the ultimate resource students need to optimize their time at Fowler.
Q&A with Viviana Pérez
What’s your favorite part of working at Fowler School of Engineering?
Pérez: I think my favorite part would be just the fact that it’s so easy and approachable to start dipping your toes or start learning all the new equipment. Miyuki and Ashley are really great; the student workers in that space are so knowledgeable, creative, and talented that it makes it really approachable. It alleviates gatekeeping. Because sometimes tech can seem unapproachable for some people–it’s not that way at all here. And if you work with the faculty long enough they kind of just open up to you. They tell you different stories and different things that they’re doing with their research. So, it’s also really cool to work with a bunch of people who have totally different strengths, perspectives, and outlooks.
What are some of your responsibilities as an Administrative Assistant? What do students typically come to you for?
Perez: So my position mainly supports faculty in helping them purchase very expensive and very, very interesting research equipment. And everything that’s involved with that including contracts, approvals, budget checking, and working with different units on campus to get all that submitted and approved. A big part of my job is managing student workers for the entire Fowler School of Engineering. I create their position, I hire them, and I guide them through the onboarding process if they have any questions. And I also assist with program and event development and coordination. So, all of the big events like commencement and homecoming. I mainly assist Adena Hamlin with it, because she oversees all events across the school.
Students mainly come to me if they need help obtaining permission numbers, or if they have any questions about student clubs or any funding for their student events. I also help students with any school-funded travel like conferences or research presentations.
What were some of your favorite events for students, alumni, and/or faculty, and why?
Perez: I would say my favorite is probably Commencement because I feel all of the end-of-the-year events we do here in the college may be a good way to kick off the summer. That also might be a personal bias because summer is my favorite season of the year. But it’s really cool because it’s not only for students, it’s a way to kick off the summer for staff and faculty because it’s sort of a break from all the crazy, hectic chaos of the semester.
If you could choose one person to do your job for a day, who would it be?
Pérez: Zelda Fitzgerald or Salvador Dali! Dali was a Spanish surrealist painter. I’m very much arts and classical literature inclined, and I think these two people are just very different from me—like polar opposites. Although I feel like the way our brains work we’re very similar but they’re very scatterbrained, very surrealist, very maximalist. It would be interesting to see how these big personalities are confined to such a strict protocol and such a strict structure. Because although we do have a lot of fun here [at Fowler School of Engineering] there is still some structure.
How can students get more involved on campus and best maximize Fowler’s resources? For example, what are some things students may not know about services/resources available to them?
Pérez: I think they really need to pay attention to Slack. And I say that because there’s so much really important information that’s sent out in Slack. It spans literally everything! Whether it be class cancellations, class schedule changes, registration, or event info, if students have quick questions they can go to Slack and pose those questions. Also, I feel like this is really under-utilized, but there are a lot of links that Sam Lee provides like internships and job opportunities which I wish I took more advantage of when I was in college. So I think that would be beneficial to students here only because from what I can tell, big companies like Google and Microsoft really value new grads who already have experience in the field or already had internships, jobs, or volunteer situations. It’s all for their benefit in the long run.
What is the most memorable experience you’ve had working at Fowler School of Engineering?
Pérez: Disneyland! We went a couple of months ago to Disneyland as a team for staff appreciation. That was pretty cool. That’s not something that I think I would’ve had the opportunity to do elsewhere. So I super appreciated that! But also, just the fact that whenever there’s like a holiday party or a going-away party–whenever we have the opportunity to gather outside of the workplace, outside of campus, and like to eat, drink, and share a beer, that’s really cool too. It’s cool that here at Fowler, upper management is not like these unapproachable people that just exist in the ether you don’t really interact with. It’s not that way at all at Fowler.
Fowler students interested in student work or navigating clubs can contact Pérez at email@example.com or swing by her office in Swenson Hall located in the Dean’s Suite, N118.