Behind the scenes at UIS

Program and Student Advisor Joy Roberts


Photographs courtesy of Tiffany Chin

Jessey Bruce , Staff Writer

Dr. Frank Nation, an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting, said, “Joy is like the glue that holds the whole accounting department together. She does so much stuff for all of us that we couldn’t possibly replace her.”

Mariejoy “Joy” Roberts, who was born and raised in the Philippines, has been working in the accounting department at UIS since 2010.

During her job interview, Roberts said to her interviewer, “I do not need a job, I want to work. I know I’m a fast learner and can do this job well.” She was hired as office support specialist not long after, learning from scratch everything she could about the educational system in the United States, from the semester schedule to how credit hours worked.

As support staff, her job included taking care of administrative needs of the department, as well as providing assistance to students and faculty.

She was promoted to office manager in 2013, and was promoted again to her current position of program/student advisor in 2015. She considers her job to be doing “anything and everything that is related to the accountancy department’s needs.”

Roberts stated that most of a typical day is spent meeting with students. There are many aspects to her job, including meeting the needs of current and prospective accounting students.

Roberts says her favorite part of working at UIS is the students. “No matter how busy my day gets I enjoy working and interacting with students,” she said.

Shannon Manfre is currently a graduate accounting student and a graduate from the accounting undergrad program. Manfre said, “Joy’s the best! She’s incredibly helpful with scheduling and just venting to with concerns. She’s the only one I’ve gone to with scheduling questions!”

During the short amount of time that Roberts has been working at the university, she has seen a number of students finish their journey at UIS and successfully continue on with their lives. “You get a sense of fulfillment,” she said, “because you know that you were a part of that [student’s] journey. It’s even sweeter and more fulfilling, when you know it didn’t come to them easily.”

Roberts finds her job very worthwhile. She said, “I was in a job before where I dreaded waking up in the morning. When you get to that point, you need to re-assess if that job is really for you. Even after six years, I still enjoy getting up and going to work. When you like what you’re doing, half the battle is won.

“Not only do I enjoy it,” she continued, “I feel good when I’m able to help somebody resolve something. Regardless of what the problem or issue may be, I know how good it feels when somebody is able to help you out and offer a helping hand. It’s similar to practicing ‘The Golden Rule,’ I’ll treat others the way that I want to be treated. I get a sense of fulfillment, knowing I’ve done something good for them.”

Roberts did not begin doing what she enjoyed. Even though both of her parents worked in accounting, she said, “It was not a field I considered taking in college.” When deciding on a major from an alphabetical list, she skipped all the A’s when making a choice, because she had no interest in accounting.

However, looking back, Roberts said, “If I could turn back time, know what I know now in life, I would have definitely considered an accounting degree.”

Avoiding accounting, she decided on communications for her bachelor’s degree. Once she graduated, she applied for jobs within the fields of advertising and public relations, which is how she ended up in the business of operations and eventually in human resources. She stayed in human resources for close to 15 years.

There are a few things that Roberts enjoys since coming to the United States. “I like the four seasons because of the different foods every time, different clothing, and different activities to do in the seasons,” she said. “It doesn’t get boring.”

During the four seasons and when she is not at work, she enjoys doing activities outside.

“Maybe it’s because I came from a tropical country, where we only have summer and rainy season, that’s it,” she said. “Twelve months of the year, you can do whatever you want to do outside.”

Some of those activities include camping, fishing, and just spending time with her family.

When the weather doesn’t allow these activities, she takes advantage of her time spent inside by watching Korean shows and Hallmark Channel original movies.