California State University, Long Beach
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DSS’s Iapello Named Employee of the Month

Val Iapello, a front office coordinator in the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS), was recently named by her coworkers as Employee of the Month.

“I was excited, honored, and very thrilled,” said Iapello, a Long Beach resident who joined the university in 1996. “It’s wonderful recognition that ought to go to the whole office instead of just one person. I want to share this with everybody I work with.”

President F. King Alexander applauded Iapello’s selection. “Val always goes the extra mile for everyone, bringing light into the office,” he said. “As far as her coworkers in Disabled Student Services are concerned, she can walk on water.”

Iapello began her university career working in Enrollment Services for nine years before moving into her current position in Disabled Students Services. She came to the university at the recommendation of her mother, Bette Iapello, a 23-year member of the university. “I practically grew up on and around the campus,” she said. “I started out temping at the windows in Enrollment Services, which led to a full-time position. The window positions are the first line of contact for many at the university.”

Her time at the windows served as excellent preparation for her current position. “The key to the windows is patience,” she recalled. “You need to be a good listener and assess a situation quickly, then provide the necessary service, or direct the person to the right place that best serves their needs. Working in Disabled Student Services is similar in that I am the first point of contact, but am able to interact more with individual students and the campus community."

Iapello received her recognition around Commencement, which she described as one of the best times of year at CSULB. “We go to all the ceremonies, where we cheer on the graduates, plus we recently had our own separate awards recognition on May 9 where we honored our graduating students’ accomplishments. DSS students are highly motivated and driven. They have different challenges than other students, but their great attitudes and determination lead to their success, and we all celebrate their achievements. It is the most rewarding feeling I’ve had since I used to hand out diplomas at the Enrollment Services windows. Commencement is a special time of year when the whole campus seems abuzz.”

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When she isn’t working hard on campus, Iapello enjoys white water rafting on the American River. “I’ve gone with the same group of people for years. The camping and food are second only to being on the river” she said. "I enjoy working as a volunteer at the Special Olympics held on campus every summer. Plus, I enjoy playing squash and going on scenic hikes.”

Iapello is glad she chose CSULB. “Considering the students, staff, and faculty I work with, I wouldn’t trade it for the private sector,” she said. “You don’t get the environment there that you do here and that is key for me. I would encourage anybody to work for CSULB.  Thank you DSS and Student Services.”

Iapello received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, dinner for two at Naples Rib Company up to $50, gift certificates for four admissions to the Museum of the American West, two tickets to the Hop Old School Night, two coupons for Tommy’s World Famous Hamburgers and a coupon for a Whopper from Burger King.