If you’ve been in the Science Building, then chances are you know Janet Caruso. Most likely she’ll be in the middle of answering the phone, responding to an email, or taking care of one of her countless other duties, but the secretary of the Department of Biology will always greet you with a big smile and the question, “How can I help you?” Janet always gives exemplary service, so she was a natural choice for the Chancellor’s Award for Staff Excellence in Service, which she received in the spring of 2012. Receiving the award was a highlight in Janet’s career at Rutgers-Camden, and said that “the fact that [I received the award] because of more than one biology professors’ nomination made it really special.”
Janet has a close relationship with her faculty, and said that one of the reasons she likes her job so much is because she gets along so well with the professors in her department. “I’m honored to work side-by-side with brilliant scientists,” she said, noting her faculty’s superior credentials. “I have a lot of respect and admiration for them.” Through her job, Janet also has the opportunity to get to know her department’s Teaching Assistants and Graduate Assistants. She enjoys working closely with them and watching them pursue advanced degrees. “It’s nice to know that a little part of me helped them to achieve their goals,” she said. The students clearly feel gratitude for all Janet does for them, as she recalls that one student included a thank you to her in her thesis defense. “That,” Janet said, “made me feel wonderful.”
After graduating from Haddon Heights High School, Janet went to work for Campbell Soup Company, and was employed there for thirteen years before leaving to care for her children, John and Gina. In 1998, Janet returned to the workforce, and started at Rutgers-Camden as a part-time secretary for women’s studies and the undergraduate and graduate liberal studies programs. In 2000 she became the full-time secretary for the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, and in 2004 she switched to her current position as secretary for the biology department.
Of her time at Rutgers, Janet says the most rewarding experience she has had was sending her two children to Rutgers for their college education. John graduated from Rutgers-New Brunswick, and Gina is an alumna of Rutgers-Camden. Both have benefitted greatly from their Rutgers education; Gina is a Court Liaison for Mobile Response at Robin’s Nest in Glassboro, New Jersey, and John is Assistant Vice President of Investment Solutions at U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management in New York City.
Undoubtedly, the students that pass through Janet’s office door on a daily basis will also do quite well, thanks to their Rutgers education and the help they received along the way from their ever-dependable, capable, and gracious department secretary.
About Janet Caruso
Hometown: Haddon Heights, NJ
Position: Secretary of the Department of Biology