Affectionately known as “Mrs. Z,” JoEllen Zromkoski has affected the lives of students and staff members with her positive attitude and mindset since 2008.
She serves a vital role in Christ College, working as the office coordinator and first smiling face visitors see when they step into the main office of Mueller Hall.
Through her role, Zromkoski has been able to connect with many CC students who go to her with questions and for support.
“The best part of my job is the students because they make me laugh and make me happy,” she said. “Connecting with these students is also important because students today have a lot of stressors and want to succeed, make money and live full lives. I want to connect with them and help them.”
“I would describe Mrs. Z. as hopeful, organized, friendly and perky,” said Michael Bukata, freshman Christ College student. “She is always ready to help and offer her advice. She’s the kind of person that anyone can talk to, and she definitely keeps things running.”
The work that Zromkoski does extends to all members of the Christ College community. She works directly with the faculty and students of all classes to assist them with whatever questions they need answered or problems they need help solving.
“She's sort of the catchall problem solver,” said Abigail Styck, senior Christ College student. “She can help students pick a seminar that might match their interests, help a freshman find their classroom in the super-confusing basement or give advice on how to figure out scheduling.”
This ability to help each person that steps foot into the office comes from her positive personality and determined attitude. Upon entering the Christ College office, one feels welcome and comfortable to ask for whatever they need.
“History has this thing, the Great Man Theory, that explains how things have happened,” said David Western, Christ College lecturer in humanities. “They go, look at people like presidents...these very, very rare great men that rise up and shape everything, and Mrs. Z is an example of how that kind of theory is B.S.”
Christ College isn’t held up by one leader, and Zromkoski proves that by aiding many other leaders in the college, from deans to faculty to students.
“Everybody needs a little help once in a while, and if I can make your life a little less stressful so you stay in college, so you get through all of this, and you do what you want to do and you’re successful in life, then that makes me extremely happy,” said Zromkoski.
Zromkoski had a varied career before coming to Christ College. She began in computer science after graduating from Purdue University. One of her first jobs included working for a plate company where she wrote programs that tested the chemical balance of the metal as it progressed from its beginnings to the final product.
She also has worked at the advertising agency Leo Burnett, managing the spot database for three major TV networks. From there, she went on to raise her family and volunteer at a local Valparaiso middle school, where she was eventually hired as a teacher.
“Mrs. Z gives Christ College a human face,” said Samuel Graber, Christ College assistant professor of humanities and literature. “Her desk is literally the front line of the CC office, and she’s the first person anyone coming to CC sees or talks to. She sweats the details and does it with a smile. I call her a lifesaver because I depend on her every day, and feel that we’ve all — faculty and students — been blessed to have her in that chair. Students aren’t always aware of everything she does for them, but I think you all do know that Mrs. Z always has your back.”