Darlene Tynan, program assistant in the MBA Programs Office, loves traveling the world from her desk, interacting with students and faculty from around the globe.

Q. Where were you born and raised?
A. I was born in Niagara Falls and raised in Oswego. My father had a transfer in his work and moved here when I was very young. I grew up on the West Side and went to Kingsford Park Elementary and Oswego High School, and came here (to college) for a year before I went off and got married and spent some time overseas.

Q. How long have your worked at SUNY Oswego and what jobs have you done?
A. I just had my 11th anniversary with the college this month. I was hired as a cleaner in the housing department, and that's where I spent my first six years. I left there when I was hired into an office position. I split time between two offices. I was part time in the English department and part time in the communication studies department. I would do both departments each day, rotating schedules.

Q. Did you have professional development opportunities in the transition?
A. I had no office experience. I had to learn both offices and two different computer systems -- I had a PC desktop in one, a Mac in the other. I jumped in the deep end! That first year, every moment I got and every opportunity offered to me, I grabbed. CTS offered little breakout sessions to learn Word, learn Excel. Steve Smith offered classes on punctuation, sentence structure, writing a proper email -- I took all of those. Since I've been in this office, the (prospective student) applications go through a special program, from grad studies over to us, so I've had to train on that program, which I think has changed twice since I've been here. We work a lot with Banner, Degree Works. There's always something new to learn, always, and I love that. I would get bored otherwise.

Q. Moving from custodial to office work also must give you an interesting perspective.
A. CSEA has a lot of good people, a lot of hard workers -- people who put in a real strenuous day, day in and day out. Starting out as a cleaner on campus, I make sure that I stop and I get our custodians -- who are doing the shoveling, the snow removal -- hot chocolates when it's storming out, because I know what they do. I've been there and I don't want to forget and I want them to know that.

Q. What are your duties with MBA programs?
A. My CSEA title is office assistant; Irene Scruton (director of MBA programs) calls me program assistant. I do all things office-related. I deal with applications when students come into the program. I'm the front person on processing applications and getting them on to the right reviewers and then moving them on to the grad studies office for final review. I work closely with the Graduate Studies Office as well as other offices on campus. Our program runs year-round, so I feel like we're always in registration mode. We have a rolling admission. We're always reviewing applications and making sure they get processed on time. It keeps me very busy. Anything that Irene or Melissa (Arduini, program administrative aide) or Rachel (Pierce), our adviser, need, I handle -- appointments and so on. We are self-contained. Everything from the initial phone call or email of a student inquiring about the program, straight through to graduation, we are hands-on with them from start to finish. Irene jokes that she's going to get me those sticks that the airline ground crews use -- you go here and you go here. (Laughs.)

Q. What do you like best about the job?
A. This job, in particular, it's the teamwork. We run like a well-oiled machine. Everybody has their area, but we work so well with each other. If you don't know, you can always ask and everybody's so willing to work with you. I love this job. I love being in this office, working with the students, the faculty -- everything about it.

Q. You must be dealing with applicants all over the world.
A. We are. We offer three five-year (bachelor's-master's) programs to students here on campus, so we're dealing with students during their junior and senior years, as well as in grad school. We have hybrid or all-online MBA programs, too. We have a student that is well into his career, we have people in their 50s interested in the program. So we run the gamut. We have students who live in Oswego and people coming from China, and everywhere in between. We have wonderful students from Taiwan and China. We have a few active military students. One of our students started inquiring while he was stationed in Iraq. When he came into the office, it was wonderful! We also have retired military, male and female.

Q. What do you think of the SUNY Oswego students you've encountered?
A. I love them. I know we're supposed to be here to teach the students, but the students teach me. All my interactions with everyone, I like to learn from them, especially from our international students and our faculty. I can live in Oswego my entire life and travel the world by working here. They love to share their stories and I love to hear them.

Q. What are you proudest of in your work with MBA programs?
A. When you ask that, the first thing that comes to mind are the rankings that this program continues to get. Again, that's a team effort. It's led by an amazing leader, Irene Scruton. The product that we offer and the students who want it, we seem to give them what they want and they come away happy. People are bettering their lives and I get to be a small part of that.

Q. What other affiliations have you had on campus?
A. I'm a building representative for SEFA (State Employees Federated Appeal). This past year, we won the award for the basket (of caring) and I'm very happy about that! That was very exciting -- I got the whole building involved. I also served on the (CSEA) Education Committee for a while. 

Q. What do you like to do outside work?
A. My husband and I do a lot of work on our house -- a never-ending project. We bought an old, old home on Seneca Hill near the Minetto Bridge. I love to garden -- that's my passion. When the weather's good, I'm outside digging in the dirt, planting flowers. I like to read, I like to learn. I like to travel, though I never allow myself enough time to do that.

Q. What else can you tell us about your family?
A. We have a daughter (Amanda) in Florida who has been hounding me to visit, so I do need to take care of that. We have a son, Matthew, who just moved back from Colorado. We have "furbabies": a 14-year-old golden (retriever), a cat and my son's dog, as well.