Taina Bucci, an administrative services assistant in the College of Business Administration, was recently named by her coworkers as Employee of the Month.
“I feel quite honored,” said Bucci, who began her career at CSULB in 1972 as a receptionist in the Office of Staff Personnel. Over the years, she has also worked in the Office of President, Parking Services, Information Systems, and the College of Health and Human Services at CSULB. She worked six years at Cal State Fullerton and two years for San Diego State. She is finally settled in and is happily working in the College of Business Administration Dean’s Office.
CSULB President F. King Alexander praised Bucci for her ability to help anyone in need. “She cares about the students and will go out of her way to help solve problems for them, as well as for faculty and staff,” he said. “She is always willing to volunteer her assistance when departments are short staffed while maintaining her responsibilities in the Dean’s Office.”
Bucci thinks one reason for her recognition as Employee of the Month is her ability to keep smiling and help where needed. “I’m always willing to help and I’ve been here long enough to know how to do that,” she said. “I feel very lucky to work with a wonderful group of people here in the College of Business Administration. I feel very appreciated and loved. I’m a problem solver and when I get calls from people, whether from inside or outside the university, I try to assist them to the best of my ability. And because I’ve been in the system for over 20 years, from San Diego State to Cal State Fullerton, I usually know who to call or where to go to get the answers.”
Bucci is not only a longtime employee but a CSULB graduate as well, with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1998 and a certificate in gerontology in 2001. She is nearing completion this May of her Master of Science degree in gerontology. The topic of her master’s directed project is “Problem Gambling Among Older Adults: A Training Program for California Service Providers.” The project involved developing a curriculum and PowerPoint presentation that proved effective in training California service providers on problem gambling among older adults.
When she isn’t serving the university, Bucci is a committed world traveler. Her globetrotting began when she visited Italy as part of the CSU’s Study Abroad program and wound up marrying an Italian citizen in Florence. (The couple, now divorced, had two sons, Giovanni and Denny.) Bucci wound up living in Italy for 14 years and today continues her travel adventures, visiting Europe frequently and lately exploring countries in South America. “I’ve visited Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and, this year, I hope to see Argentina again as well as Peru and Chile,” she said.
The key to successful travel is flexibility, Bucci believes. “Living in Italy for 14 years changed me,” she explained. “It taught me how to live in another culture. You have to adapt. But I’m still an American through and through. I’ve learned to tolerate differences of opinion and to embrace different cultures and different people. That is the true beauty of travel.”
Bucci is glad she made the choice to join the CSU in general and CSULB in particular. “It was a good decision,” she said. “As I approach retirement, I’m even happier I stayed in the system.”
She encourages others to think about a career in higher education. “It has provided me with security, a good education, and the opportunity to meet lots of nice people,” she said. “I’ve been in and out of CSULB three times and I keep coming back--it has a special place in my heart.”
Bucci received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a Sunday brunch for two at the Queen Mary, a gift certificate for two for “The Theater of Illusion” at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, four tickets for one CSULB home game in the 2007-08 school year, a coupon for an Original Tommy’s World Famous Hamburgers and a coupon for an Original Whopper from Burger King.