Meet Our Team – Marjorie DeRubeis
This is the fifth in a series of interviews with the College Success Arizona team.
Continuing with this feature, and throughout the next year, we’ll be taking a closer look at the College Success Arizona team, the people that make all that we do happen. We’ll be asking the normal “tell us a little about yourself” questions, but also delving a little deeper into each team member’s personality, and what makes them who they are.
This month’s subject is Marjorie DeRubeis, College Success Arizona’s Director of Success Services.
What is your role at College Success Arizona?
I’m the Director of Success Services. I oversee the mentoring and scholarship programs.
Please share with us a little bit about your background.
I was born in the Bronx, in New York. I am of Haitian descent, my parents came to the U.S. in the mid 1960’s. I lived in New York my whole life until moving out to Arizona in 2000.
How did you come to be associated with College Success Arizona?
A friend of mine forwarded me the job description in 2008 when they were looking for a director of the program. I was very attracted to the mission of the program, and also very excited to work with the students, and in a nonprofit organization. I was lucky enough to get the position and watch the program grow ever since.
What is the best thing about working with students (or your job)?
The best part of my job is the gift of being able to watch our students’ progress. There are so many wonderful students that we work with, and it’s hard to imagine that they wouldn’t be going to college, because we have some incredible people that we work with. These students are such a vital part of our community, our society, and our nation – and I’m humbled by just being part of their journey.
Why do you feel increasing Arizona’s College Attainment Rate is so important?
I think that right now we’re at a really volatile time in our nation. There seems to be such a push for looking out for yourself and what can be done for you, and not looking out for the little guy, and for each other. We’ve come so far in understanding how important it is to help each other so that everyone benefits, and I think we’re taking a step back culturally. I think that’s why increasing our college attainment rates is more important than ever. In order to strengthen our economy, we need to make sure that we are attractive to companies and business in general. Arizona needs to be known as a place where there is progress being made, whether it be in science, or other industries. I think the only way we can do that is to have a strong (and educated) workforce.
What is your vision for the Arizona of the future?
My dream for the Arizona of the future is that people will just respect each other and will learn to appreciate what all cultures have to offer. I hope that America is the melting pot that we’ve always claimed it to be, and I think that’s our strength, and I think it’s a little bit in jeopardy these days. For Arizona in particular, which I think is definitely reflective of this new cultural shift, I hope that the vision is that we will get back to a place where respect, and not fearing each other, and working together and appreciating what we have to offer each other, continues to grow.
If you had a message for a student just beginning their college career, what would that be?
The message to that new student is this; it’s not always going to be easy. It’s a lot of hard work, so prepare for that. You’re in college to work hard and get an education that will pay off, and make life better for you in the future. Remember, that it’s okay to fail and that it happens to all of us and not everything goes our way. We can learn just as much from those mistakes as we do from our successes. When you do fail, don’t be afraid to ask for help and ask the right questions, so that you can get back on track.
Can you tells us more about your family and career history?
My family is definitely the high lite of my life. I moved out to Arizona for my then-boyfriend, and now-husband Robert, and we now have two children; Ethan and Isabella. So far as my career, I was lucky enough to go back and work at the university I attended, Fordham University in New York, and I really enjoy academia. In Arizona, I’ve been fortunate to work at different organizations, but all of them have been related to academia in one way or another.
What are your hobbies/favorite pastime?
My hobbies and pastimes right now revolve around whatever activities our kids are involved with. For example, my son is very involved in soccer and passionate about it, so I now know a lot about the sport and its players.
What is your Favorite TV show?
Of the shows that are still airing I would say “House of Cards,” “VEEP,” and “Modern Family.” Of the shows that are no longer running, I like “Lost,” “24,” and “Breaking Bad.”
What’s the one thing you couldn’t live without?
What is your culinary specialty?
I make a really good and tasty turkey.
Do you have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or other!) social media account?
I would say that I’m active on Facebook. I have an Instagram account but I barely acknowledge it.
What’s the band you’d listen to for the rest of your life?
Sting (the Police)
What is your proudest moment?
Anything to do with my kids.