FIYou: Alexandria Pipitone

Name: Alexandria Pipitone

Job Title: Lead Office Assistant at the Children’s Creative Learning Center

Location/Campus: The center is located at Modesto A. Maidique Campus, closest to the 117th entrance of the university. 

fiyou-pipitoneHometown: Toms River, New Jersey

What do you do in your role? In a nutshell: Sometimes I am called the “Director of First Impressions” because I do just that. I greet the children and parents upon arrival, communicate with and give tours to new families interested in having their children attend the center, and facilitate the transition of new applicants and employees. I also am responsible for maintaining licensing documents (you would not believe how much it takes to stay licensed and accredited), planning family events, and developing strategies to make the office more efficient.

Number of years at FIU: Three incredible years but have been a student since the Fall of 2011; I’m finally graduating this Fall with two bachelor’s degrees – English and marketing!

What do you enjoy most in your position? Being able to enrich the lives of not only children but students, staff, faculty, and the community brings me great joy. Seeing children’s aha moments is something I treasure and will truly never forget. Although on much rarer occasions, parents and student assistants have similar moments and I am thankful that I get to experience and even facilitate some of them. It is incredible what you can learn when you experience the world of a child.

What do you think your fellow Panthers should know about your department/college? That it exists; people are always so surprised that we are here! The center provides many employment, volunteer, observation, research and field experience opportunities so it could be beneficial to many students in fields related to children and not just education majors. I feel like I am part of an organization on campus rather than a place of employment. I really enjoy coming to work every day because my coworkers have become close friends and my supervisors have become mentors. It really is a joy to be involved at the Children’s Creative Learning Center and I recommend that if the center has something to offer you, definitely take advantage.

What is it like to work on campus as a student? Being an out of state student that took more than two years to figure out the difference between 87th Avenue and 87th Street, working on a campus, that I am familiar with, is a blessing. Moreover, I have built so many relationships with fellow students and really enhanced my professional skills and expanded my professional network through working with staff and faculty. Working on campus as a student made it possible for me to be involved in multiple campus organizations along with community involvements, all while maintaining a high GPA.

What is your favorite place on campus? The lake behind the Green Library is the most serene place on campus, even though it is surrounded by buildings and college life. Walking through there or taking a seat on a bench (I am particular to the ones between VH and ECS) is a serious breath of fresh air compared to the rest of campus. However, I would have to say that I make it over there quiet infrequently so my most visited, and second favorite is definitely the MANGO Starbucks. The staff there are great and make a mean Caramel Macchiato.

Word that best describes you: Resilient

First paying job: My first paying job was at my dad’s Italian delicatessen as a cashier. I was only 15 so much of my paycheck went to movie tickets or Claire’s accessories, but it was incredible to work with my dad and interact with customers. It taught me the importance of service excellence and time management.   

Favorite TV show: I actually do not watch much TV rather I enjoy watching lifestyle and reality vlogs on YouTube. Most involve children because the baby fever definitely does not stop when I leave work.

Your proudest accomplishment: Moving from NJ to Florida to attend FIU. It was the most difficult transition I have ever experienced as I not only had to get used to college life but I had to work through a culture shock. It is hard to admit, but I was extremely unknowledgeable about Hispanic culture and it was difficult to find myself in this new environment. It is more of an accomplishment for my college roommates, professors and advisors, but transitioning from white suburbia to culture rich Miami, is an integral part of who I am.

What do you do when you are not working at FIU? I am slightly obsessed with my rescued dog and cat so most of the time out of the work-day consists of playing with them. I also enjoy being a tourist in Miami since it is all still new to me. I particularly enjoy going to parks and gardens, new restaurants and attending artistic events.