Irreplaceable, departing faculty and staff reminisced by students

Published by Rachel Arceo on

The Mainstream

Much of UCC’s staff has spent years, if not decades, working directly with students, often more for the desire to help than the paycheck. Since many students rely on staff and faculty’s help and care, retirements and job changes make strong impressions when the inevitable times of change come.

Some UCC staff who are leaving or changing jobs are Marjan Coester, Hanna Culbertson, Destiny Hunt, Mike Matteo and Charles Young. Students were asked to share the impact some of these individuals have had.

“I am sad, but happy for them as well. Charles Young, Hanna and Marjan are all wonderful people, educators, communicators, listeners and leaders,” said ASUCC student government business manager and soon-to-be graduating student Nakaela Hunt in an email. “I’m sure many people who have had them throughout their college experience will miss them. The knowledge and experience they have go deeper than words.”

Marjan Coester, director of student engagement

Marjan Coester, director of student engagement, dedicated 18 years to working directly with key student organizations on campus.
Mason Ramirez / The Mainstream

Coester has worked with UCC for nearly 18 years. She can often be found working late hours in her office in the student center. Her duties include advising ASUCC Leadership team, providing administrative support, guidance and oversight for their programs, activities and services, including student clubs and organizations. She also supervises the peer navigators, resource navigators and the STEP success navigators while coordinating the UCC Scholars Program.

She is leaving UCC at the end of spring term to focus on her personal health.

“Words cannot express the impact working here has had on my life and how humbled I am to have been a part of so many students’ journeys,” wrote Coester in her resignation letter.

“Stepping away from something that I am passionate about is difficult. However, it is time for me to do something that I have said to many students and that is ‘take care of you.’ It’s time for me to prioritize my mental and physical health and my relationships outside of the college.”

Many students have expressed that Coester’s influence has significantly changed their time here with multiple students crediting her as a factor in their persistence and academic success.

Amanda Cerda, former ASUCC president and current program assistant to Trio, says Marjan’s commitment to a student engagement program during COVID made a valuable impression on her.

“In an attempt to increase engagement from a virtual perspective, the school had tried to put together things like ‘Monday Morning Motivation’ or throughout-the-week check-ins, so if you wanted to connect to your peers, you could join us on Zoom,” Cerda says.

“I know it was very, very hard on Marjan, but she continued to show up every single morning at 9 a.m., even though I was the only student that showed up week after week after week, until I decided to run for ASUCC. Her presence and the fact that she kept it going even just for one student, made an impact on me to the point that I think I wouldn’t have been quite as engaging in my connection with my return to school, if it wasn’t for that.”

Graduating soccer player Vitoria Marocci agrees that Coester’s commitment to helping students is noticeable and impactful. As an international student who has experienced the shock of a foreign environment and new system of learning, Marocci believes Coester has helped students become comfortable and improve their chances of success.

“She is a wonderful woman and a hard worker,” Marocci says. “She will always try to do her best, even when you yourself are late; she will keep you on track.  She is a person that thinks of students first before herself, which is good, but I think that is why she is leaving because it can be overwhelming.”

To read more about the other leaving staff, click here.

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