How often do NIU students mention an office manager as they say goodbye?
If it's Kenlyn Bialas, the answer is "all the time."
"Her professional and pleasant way of working with people, regardless of how challenging the situation, is impressive," ACCESS Director Shevawn Eaton says. "Kenlyn makes a great impression on all who work with her. Even students at the CHANCE senior luncheon would mention her in their speeches, speaking of her kindness and her smile."
That never surprised Leroy Mitchell, her longtime boss at CHANCE.
"One of the many great things I loved and respected about Kenlyn was her love for our students," says Mitchell, who's now retired. "Even though CHANCE students came from a very different world that Kenlyn was used to, she loved them."
Bialis joined ACCESS in 2001 after several years working with CHANCE.
She adapted so well into her new position that the Office of the Provost asked her to help train new office managers and secretaries in forms, procedures and processes.
For the 30 student Supplemental Instruction leaders in ACCESS, she is a support system who books rooms for them, relays information to their supervisor and makes sure they comply with mandated ethics training and signing of timesheets.
"The students do things for her because of the way she works with them – with kindness and care," Eaton says, "which I believe is a reflection of the way she treats them."
Outside work, she volunteers with 4-H, Indian Creek FFA and by riding horses in parades.