Skip To Main Content

Paula Sosta

Spring 2013

I am nominating:

Ms. Paula Sosta

Years of Service at Cal Poly:

12

Department:

Disability Resource Center     

Position:

Testing Coordinator & Student Support Services Advisor     

Why are you nominating this person?  Why do you think he/she deserves the award?

Paula Sosta is truly deserving of this award because of her passionate commitment to the success of our students, her excellent work ethic, and her superior knowledge of the laws, policies and statues that govern her work with the Disability Resource Center.

In what way(s) does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?

While Paula is well known for her dry wit and boundless humor, which she uses to put students at ease, she is also a serious and fierce defender of the rights of students with disabilities.  She is equally comfortable using humor and levity to build consensus in a meeting as she is at formally notifying faculty members of their duty and responsibilities to honor the accommodations prescribed for her students. 

 

She is a hard worker who goes “above and beyond” to complete her job duties in a timely and accurate manner, while being willing to step up and take on additional responsibilities as they arrive.  Examples of this include her willingness to Chair the Unity Luncheon Committee; coordinate the Jasen Strand Memorial Scholarship Selection Committee; assist with departmental projects outside of her direct responsibility (departmental brochures and lobby redesign) and in general conduct herself in a professional and approachable manner.

 

Please select 2 of the 6 Division of Student Affairs values for which your nominee best exemplifies:

Student-Centered Philosophy

Integrity

Interconnectedness

Passion

Quality

Richness of Diversity

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #1:

Student’s success is at the heart of Paula’s work.  She strives to create a welcoming and professional testing environment that is conducive to their academic achievement.  Paula provides guidance and direction to students so that they can achieve the maximum benefit from utilizing the services provided by the DRC.  She works hard to assist them in developing the self-advocacy skills they will need to be successful at Cal Poly and beyond. 

Her commitment to student learning is also evident in the quality training and supervision she provides to her student assistants.  These students are among the most professional and responsible student assistants I’ve encountered in my long career and I know it is due to the training, mentoring, support and direction they received from Ms. Sosta.

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #2:

The expression “Quality is Job One” exemplifies the work of Paula Sosta.  The care and attention to detail she provides to ensure the quality and integrity of the testing services provided by the DRC is without compare.  It is not at all unusual for Paula to work long weekends in preparation for the demands that will be placed on the DRC each quarter at the start of final exams.  Her ability to rally the troops, secure appropriate space, organize hundreds of tests and provide clear direction and guidance for everyone involved in the process [students, faculty and DRC staff] is amazing. 

She is able to juggle multiple (often conflicting) priorities to ensure that the anxiety producing experience of exam administration is handled with grace and professionalism.  While a pension for perfectionism can sometimes be a obstacle, in her job it is a necessity and her commitment to quality in all she does is yet another reason she is so worthy of recognition by the Division of Student Affairs for a job well done.

I am nominating:

Paula Sosta

Years of Service at Cal Poly:

10

Department:    

Disability Resource Center

Position:

Testing & Support Services Coordinator

Why are you nominating this person?  Why do you think he/she deserves the award?

Paula Sosta demonstrates a high level of commitment to Cal Poly Pomona and the Division of Student Affairs. She displays a spirit of determination in promoting equality for students with disabilities. She is up for the challenge when it comes to advocating for students and faculty even when it is uncomfortable. Paula fosters a motivating environment, for both staff and students. She is extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of her job and always makes time to assist others.

Over the years, Paula has witnessed several changes in the population of students served as well as department staffing, all the while remaining passionate about providing quality student-centered services with utmost professionalism and commitment to the values of respect and equality.

In what way(s) does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?

Paula Sosta exemplifies the mission, vision and values of the Division of Student Affairs. For the past seven years, she has demonstrated superior performance in job responsibilities to effectively lead the DRC’s testing services, which serve students and faculty by coordinating approximately 1200 tests each quarter in order to fulfill the University’s obligation to provide equitable accommodations for students with disabilities. She leads the Jasen Strand Scholarship Committee, which was established to assist students with disabilities succeed in their educational goals. This year, she led the committee that oversaw the success of the 21st Annual Unity Luncheon, attended by over 300 staff, faculty, and students as a celebration of diversity and unity.  Paula is loyal in supporting the organization’s community activities and takes great pride in contributing to the success of the Disability Resource Center, the Division of Student Affairs, and the Cal Poly Pomona University.

 

Please select 2 of the 6 Division of Student Affairs values for which your nominee best exemplifies:

Student-Centered Philosophy

Integrity

Interconnectedness

Passion

Quality

Richness of Diversity

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #1:  Quality

Quality is what Paula strives for in all the duties she performs.  You can depend on her for a job to be well done and with great attention to detail. She is the go-to person when a high profile job needs to get done.  She thinks critically about each project and every question in front of her, and she approaches each with thoughtful planning and consideration of factors that others would easily miss. She will not take on a task unless she can give it her full commitment and execute it very well. She goes above and beyond to ensure students have the knowledge, skills, and advocacy they need to succeed. 

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #2: Interconnectedness

Paula clearly demonstrates her interconnectedness in her teamwork and attitude that she brings to her interactions with both colleagues and students. She does not hesitate to provide assistance to fellow staff, and I have personally observed her work closely with the faculty, Deans, and Chair of Academic departments to ensure that DRC students are ensured an equitable “playing field” in their education. She believes that student success involves everyone’s participation and collaboration, and she excels in creating a cohesive team to serve our students with disabilities.

I am nominating:

     Paula Sosta

Years of Service at Cal Poly:

     10

Department:

Disability Resource Center

Position:

Testing Coordinator

Why are you nominating this person?  Why do you think he/she deserves the award?

I am nominating Paula Sosta because she is consistently efficient, knowledgeable, helpful, eager to learn, willing to lend a helping hand, and goes the extra mile.  She never says “no” to a task or a project, even when her plate is full. She is focused and determined, with an enviable capacity to multitask while maintaining exquisite organization.  Paula goes above and beyond by staying after hours, not just to deal with demands specific to her area, but also to offer assistance to others with tasks beyond her job duties.  She is diligent, thorough, detailed, and truly cares about the success of our students. 

 

Throughout the years Paula has cheered on her colleagues as they have received awards or acknowledgment for their job well done, yet she has never looked at herself as worthy of being acknowledged and applauded. Because she is a perfectionist and her own worst critic, she readily sees where her work is lacking and can be further improved rather than resting on the praise-worthy outcomes her hard work has produced.  Paula has been an unnoticed star and deserves to be commended for all of the years that she has committed her service and effort to the department, the students, and the University. 

 

In what way(s) does this person enhance or contribute to the Cal Poly Pomona campus community?

      Paula had the title of Testing Coordinator when I first started working at the DRC seven years ago, but her employment at Cal Poly Pomona did not start there. Paula has been working for this campus for over 10 years, starting in the Philosophy Department as a temp, and then transferring to the DRC as the Administrative Assistant. She was later promoted to the position of Assistant to the Director, and later still promoted to her current position as the DRC Testing Coordinator. With the many positions that she has had under her belt, it is no wonder she possesses both broad and specific knowledge and skills that she applies to the tasks at hand.  Paula keeps abreast of University procedures, and whenever new policies are issued or changes to old policies occur, she determines to update her knowledge and has a knack of explaining it to each individual in a way that they can understand. She is constantly mindful of our students, eager to serve and accommodate them as efficiently as possible. Her eagerness to serve our students shows in her work, as she has developed and implemented strategic procedures and work flows to ensure that students and professors are served in a well-organized and timely manner. Even when it interferes upon the role and duties she carries, she always tries to help others and offer a helping hand.  Student and professor demands can be incessant and I wonder how she manages to work in intense, conflict-filled situations while still maintaining her sense of humor and professionalism. The department as well as the University have greatly benefited from Paula’s commitment and talents. Recently she demonstrated her strengths in planning, problem-solving, and responsiveness when she was called upon at the last moment to Chair the committee for the 21st Annual Unity Luncheon, which she dedicated herself to and successfully executed all the while leading the DRC’s efforts to provide testing accommodations for hundreds of students. To me she has been a shining star for several years, but has yet to be acknowledging for all her efforts, support, service to our Department and the University. 

Please select 2 of the 6 Division of Student Affairs values for which your nominee best exemplifies:

Student-Centered Philosophy

Integrity

Interconnectedness

Passion

Quality

Richness of Diversity

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #1:

     #1 Student-Centered Philosophy:  The success of our students is what drives Paula.  She is countlessly interrupted by students, professors, parents, even staff, wanting her assistance because she always puts their need before hers.

So many times I have been aware that Paula has a deadline, project or demand that she is working on yet will stop to sit and hear out a student, or deal with a professor or respond to unique request, or a parent’s concern. She will even stop what she is doing to assist and support staff like myself.  She always makes time to help others.  She has an approach that immediately puts people at ease, from which she is able to direct, encourage, and guide students and parents. Our students and parents are big fans of her, because she thoroughly takes time to guide and assist them, even if it is an inquiry outside of her direct job responsibility or knowledge.  Parents and students feel welcomed to approach her because she reminds them that they matter, they are important, they have a voice, and they are the reason she is here and does what she does with diligence and quality.  She is dedicated to the success of our students and she is a “go-to person” for them.  She has spunk and a powerful way of making students feel at home with her.

Please share how your nominee exemplifies value #2:

     #2 Quality: Paula always goes above and beyond and produces work at a high level of professionalism. She will not quit until something is perfect. Her strong attention to detail, love of learning, and keen analytical skills make her a highly competent and reliable colleague.  Rarely does she not know the answer to something, and if she does not, you can guarantee she will find out the answer and more than just the answer you were looking for.  Paula is always staying on top of things to ensure that she provides the best service to our students and the faculty.  You can never expect less than the best coming from Paula.  She is constantly working on developing and building upon her skills and knowledge to serve her position and ability to provide quality service from her heart.