Chatting with Director Maria Brown

Written by Tabitha Groelle.

In our fourth edition of the “Chatting With” series, I spoke with Maria Brown, Director of the University Cashier’s Office. The Cashier’s Office has been part of the Finance Division since July 2010. Maria has led this office since 2012. Let’s get to know her a little better.  

Tabitha:      Let’s start with the basics. When did you start working at NC State and in what position?

Maria:         I started here in 2001 as an Accountant in the Controller’s Office, Cash Management Unit. When I started, I didn’t have an office and I worked in the side chair next to Lori Johnson for the first couple weeks.

Tabitha:      You moved to the Cashier’s Office in 2004, 19 years ago. What made you want to switch, and why have you stayed?

Maria:         My idea of working on a campus was to work in a central office, helping and working with students. I wanted the vibrancy of being on a campus. I didn’t get that in the Controller’s Office, so I took a lateral transfer to the Cashier’s Office. I’ve stayed because there are always updates/upgrades and it continues to be challenging and provides new opportunities. We have a responsibility to the students to stay step-by-step with them when it comes to technology. For example, having a mobile friendly portal and website is critical for the success of our students.

Tabitha:      Where did you go to school and what’s your highest degree? 

Maria:         I went to Towson State University (now called Towson University) outside of Baltimore. I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.

Tabitha:      What made you choose that?

Maria:         It was a business degree that didn’t require me to take calculus.  [smile]

Tabitha:      What’s your “escape from reality” activity?

Running! I’ve run four full marathons and I have a half marathon coming up. I’m working on doing a full or half marathon in all 50 states. I’m almost half-way.

Tabitha:      For me, that answers this next question but I’ll ask it anyway. What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?

Maria:        I absolutely love to travel! Staying home is not for me — I like to explore.

Tabitha:      What inspires or motivates you?

Making things better for our students and parents. Being able to explain, listening and being able to improve their experience.

Tabitha:      What have you found most enjoyable about working at NC State?

Maria:        The interaction with students and making a difference that affects the rest of their lives. I worked with a student who had some financial struggles. They were doing everything right but needed additional help. When the student graduated, they invited me as their special guest and when I met their family, they all knew that I was the lady who helped their student. Just recently that student came back to see me and now works as a chemical engineer for an internationally recognized oil company [holds up this former student’s business card].

Tabitha:      That’s an awesome story. I think sometimes we are a little disconnected from our purpose but you brought it back around. Thank you for sharing with me a little bit about who you are.