Elizabeth Varghese has worked all around the world, but she’s never experienced anything quite like her job as a financial associate in the office of the dean of the School of Education.

“I love my job. I really enjoy working with the faculty and meeting their needs,” Varghese says. “I make sure that they are aware of UAB’s policy on certain expenses and payments.”

Faculty who work with Varghese appreciate the work she does, which is why Varghese has been selected November’s Employee of the Month.

“Being that we work for the largest employer in the state, to be selected was really a shock to me,” Varghese says. “I work very closely with my faculty. And it’s been a blessing. The most important thing I learned over the years is that we must have a strong work ethic and integrity in our job.

“In addition, I always believed that one day the organization would recognize it – and it’s become true,” she says.

Varghese’s job duties are expansive. She aids faculty with the administration of research grants, helps with subcontracts and subcontract payments, organizes workshops and processes payments for consultants, travel arrangements and expense reports.

“Elizabeth is one of the most exceptional employees I’ve encountered in my 34 years at UAB,” says Maryann Manning, Ed.D., professor of education. “She has been responsible for several different grants and projects that I have, so I communicate with her on a daily basis. She explains every aspect of any grant or project to the principal investigator in great detail. She doesn’t just say yes or no, but tells you why your request is acceptable or not legal under the terms of the grant.”

Linda Emfinger, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, was Varghese’s supervisor during her two-year tenure as the Early Reading First (ERF) administrative assistant and has worked with Varghese for four years.

Emfinger marvels at how creative and resourceful Varghese is with her tasks, giving her praise for successfully managing the ERF office and coordinating seven student assistants, graduate assistants and off-campus professionals.

“Elizabeth is a master problem-solver and communicator,” Emfinger says. “No matter how impossible a task might seem, Elizabeth steadfastly takes the bull by the horns.”
Not only is Varghese efficient in her duties, she does them in a personable manner.

“Never is Elizabeth without a smile and kind and thoughtful words,” says Lois McFadyen Christensen, Ph.D., associate professor of education. “Her temperament, dependability, work ethic, sense of helpfulness and ease in describing what is acceptable and what is not within the UAB financial arena are commendable. She knows what she is doing, but most of all, she knows how to do it all in a personable and kind and efficient manner.

“She puts her faculty first, and we all love her as an employee, and, moreover, as a person of the highest honor and caliber.”

Varghese, a native of India who has been a U.S. citizen for 18 years, will celebrate her 10th year at UAB in January. She says she is humbled by the thoughtfulness of her co-workers and thankful for the opportunities she has been afforded at UAB.