True joy is unmistakable. It radiates to those around it. Of Maria Catig, supervisor Sandy Plenski says, “She’s short in stature, but 10 feet tall with joy and personality!”
Maria has worked at UC Hastings for 23 years. Though at UC Hastings, Maria says time flies: “Seems I just came in to greet everyone ‘Good morning!’ and in no time, it’s time to say ‘Goodbye!’”
Throughout her time working in Fiscal Services as Accounts Receivable Accountant—answering emails and voicemails, running daily reports, servicing the front desk—Maria’s joy manifests in loving service to those around her. Controller Debbie Tran says,
“I suggested her for this series because she is one of the many employees behind the scenes at UC Hastings who proudly and effectively services the students. She personalizes every interaction with them through her genuine concern for helping to answer their question and resolve the issue.”
For such help and personalized attention, she receives thank-you notes from students and even gets invited to graduation parties. She’s a big hit with the students. UC Hastings student Samantha Acuña describes her experience with Maria:
“I was in the Philippines during my first correspondence with Maria. It was quite difficult for me to pay for my tuition and fees and figure out the international wire transfer from abroad. She helped me throughout the entire process, providing me with prompt answers and bank details. I will be studying abroad for one year, starting in September, and she has been so helpful in ensuring my UC Hastings account is good to go before I leave.”
For her part, Maria says, “I love the students because they keep me going and make me feel young!”
She recalls a fond memory of the students:
“I had the privilege of serving for three months as a juror in a criminal case. I saw the judicial system in action. And in the courthouse, I saw some Hastings alumni practicing law. I was so proud to see them. I felt like a parent boasting that my child is now a successful lawyer.”
Within her own family, Maria has gone through some tough challenges in the recent past. A few years ago, her father passed away. She keeps a small white feather she caught floating in the air to symbolize him. She feels she can call on him whenever she needs guidance.
And last year, Maria donated a kidney to her son. She credits God for the success of the procedure that saved her son’s life—and thanks UC Hastings for providing the best benefits for its employees.
“I am always excited when I see all my children and grandchildren gathered in one place,” she says. “To me, they are the summation of my life’s experiences.”
Maria’s joy manifests in loving service and sacrifice—but also in her spunk. She loves to dance and sing karaoke. Some of her favorite songs are “Just the Way You Are” and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars, as well as Pharrell’s “Happy” and 80s Tagalong songs. Maria loves to have fun.
Sandy says, “There is never a time when she’s not supportive, happy, and DANCING!”
Likewise, Samantha remarks, “Maria is one of the most cheerful staff members at UC Hastings. Seeing her friendly smile and warmth just makes my day.”
Maria’s very best day working at UC Hastings was when Sandy was hired as her boss. Maria thanks her for welcoming and valuing her ideas in the office—as well as Debbie Tran for believing in her: “Her nomination of me for this series marks the highest honor of working for and being a part of Fiscal Services at UC Hastings College of the Law!”
Maria loves every workday at UC Hastings with all its successes and challenges: “This is indeed a good life!”