Alexcia Mazahreh

Good evening/afternoon/morning, profs! This week I bring to you a campus celebrity so headstrong, so determined, and so accomplished that if you have not heard her name I will swear off coffee forever.

She’s one of the three most powerful students on campus, she has the brains to fund an entire student body, and she’s got the personality to boot. I’m talking about senior finance major, Alexcia Mazahreh. Also known as the Chief Financial Officer of the Student Government Association.

Alexcia has her roots, like many people do, coming from high school like most of us did and facing four, daunting years of mystery. What classes are there to take, what clubs are there join, what oh what am does the future hold?

Well, when Alexcia entered Rowan University, she did not immediately jump the gun and sign up for every club like a lot of freshman do. Instead, she focused her energy on school and spent what little spare time she had dabbling in writing for The Whit, a passion she had carried from her high school days from Cherry Hill, NJ. She spent the first year of her college career adapting to college life, and learning to live away from home. A rough start, like it is for most people. To help her adjust, her then advisor Karen Siefring suggested Alexcia look into getting involved on campus. Taking her up on her advice, Alexcia looked into SGA and decided to run for class senator her sophomore year and she secured the position, and thus her entrance to SGA. As soon as she got a taste of the work the then CFO Mike Medina did, Alexcia knew “this is right for me,” and worked to learn anything and everything she could about the position. She applied and was accepted to work for the CFOs committee, and the Student Financial Control Board. Working on the SFCB is a highly coveted opportunity, with only a few select spots available for students; 3 Assistant Vice Presidents from SGA and 2 class senators. But, as a class senator, Alexcia sat in on the meetings. She continued her efforts and become the treasurer of ProfPack to expose herself to the paperwork and financial regulations clubs must work through each semester, and realized that the CFO was the go to person for almost all things related to finances, and therefore had a lot of responsibility to oversee. During his time in office, Mike had secured a budget of $1.103 million dollars for the SGA, and in her second year in office Alexcia raised that number to $1.2 million – holy dollar bills! She has managed to raise that number even higher, but we – like the rest of the student body – will need to wait a few more weeks to find out what that is!

As a finance major, Alexcia enjoys working with numbers – especially ones with a dollar sign in the front. She knew that Chief Financial Officer would be the perfect job for her, and it appealed to her in ways that no other position on the SGA Executive Board could. Her motivation to become CFO was not fueled solely by her love for numbers. No, Alexcia found another reason to work for the position; according to Mike Medina, there had not been a female CFO for Rowan’s SGA in at least seven years – maybe even fifteen! This, “did not sit right with [Alexcia] and fueled [her] motivation even further to go all-in in [her] pursuit of this position.”

Being the student CFO has exactly as much weight on it as you think; $1.2 million dollars’ worth.  According to Alexcia, “There is no shortage of challenges in this position. First and foremost, the amount of work I have is not reasonable for one person. As the university has grown, the number of clubs have grown, which in turn has [led to an increase in the amount] of accounts I have to oversee, the higher our budget has grown, and consequently, the overwhelming increase in paperwork for me to review and approve. I have 10 minimum required office hours a week. I am there at least 25-30 hours a week, easily.” Alexcia spends these hours – which admittedly are more hours than the average student spends in class –meeting with the treasurers, presidents, and advisors of various clubs, answering countless emails, sorting through endless paperwork of varying categories, managing the actual money, attending to her regular e-board responsibilities, attending University committee meetings, hosting at least eight workshops each semester,  chairing the SFCB, running over 100 budget hearing meetings in the Spring for all chartered organizations, ALL WHILE maintaining her grades and health as a college student. Somehow, she manages to stay sane and well put together through all of that. Another challenge Alexcia faces is having difficult conversations with clubs over their money. When money is the topic, the conversation is already more serious.

As you can imagine, this job is not easy, and it does not get the recognition it deserves. Finances work in a way that unless something goes wrong, the work put into keeping things running smoothly is hardly taken note of. The trouble is, a lot of time and effort goes into making sure things are running smoothly, and in preventing things from falling apart to a point that people notice. “Unless I am introducing something new or pitching a supplemental to senate you won’t see the effects of my work. Finances are virtually the heartbeat of every club with an account; as long as there are no abnormalities in its beating, you won’t notice a regular, rhythmic beat that is pumping blood safely to all your organs, so you won’t really feel the effects of what I do.”

Through all of this, Alexcia finds the motivation to continue with an unwavering drive to succeed. In return for her parents sacrifices for their children, the “least” Alexcia can do is succeed at all that she does.

As mentioned earlier, Alexcia is the first woman to take on the role of CFO in several years, and that showed during her elections; it was her up against two men. During her elections, the then elections commissioner stated that the qualifications were for a one year term, representative of a calendar year, not an academic year. This, deemed each of the applications unqualified for the position and a special circumstance had to be made, in which the only hurdle to become CFO was to give a speech at the biweekly Monday night Senate meeting, and win a majority of the vote. Alexcia, as a then sophomore and female running against two male juniors, had all the reason to be nervous. Both her competitors had more experience in some aspects, but only Alexcia had attended the SFCB meetings, worked with Senate, and had the unwavering and overwhelming desire to win.

“From the first election, the one thing that will always stand out to me was my speech. I was last to give my speech. In 2 minutes, I had to persuade senate that I knew what this position entailed, I was qualified enough to do it and that I had the greatest desire to fulfill those duties. At the end of my speech, I could not resist adding something along the lines of “…I also feel it’s important to note that the position of SGA CFO has not been held by a woman at Rowan University for over 10 years and I would love to and be honored to be the one to change that trend.” The applause carried that one home before I finished my sentence and I never felt more empowered. Senate agreed with me that night and I had the majority vote.” Way to go, Alexcia!

Alexcia had no competition for her second term in office, and she has a few guesses as to why; “I did a good enough job in my first term to warrant a second. Some said it was because the job was too time consuming and difficult. Others were that I would ‘hunt down anyone who tried run against [me].’  I like to believe it was a combination of the first two which helped ‘kill the competition early.’  Although I ran unopposed, I still campaigned a bit with Anthony and Christine. I visited SGA clubs, Greek organizations, posted on social media, etc. Sure, I was unopposed, but I still wanted to make sure I learned the financial needs of the undergraduate student body as far as their organizations were concerned. It was also important they know who has been and will continue to be controlling the management of their student activity fee.”  The student activity fee is the fee students pay that helps fund their use of the Recreation Center, RAH, SUP, and OSA events, and goes towards the budgeting for clubs.

As CFO, Alexcia loves the empowerment she can give clubs and the huge responsibility she has of overseeing such a massive budget at this age. One of the highlights of her accomplishments in this position was getting the automated monthly reports to go directly to treasurers, as opposed to having to visit the SGA office to receive a printed out version of their bank statement. Alexcia also enjoys fighting for students rights and making sure that we all gain as much as we can during this time in our lives. “I can’t tell you the number of vendors I have been on the phone with or met with to establish a relationship with to have them trust SGA and our clubs to have them accept a Purchase Order. A purchase order enables students to pay for something for their club without ever having to spend money out of their own pockets. I have had the pleasure of helping this list grow immensely and encouraging treasurers to continue to establish those relationships as well. We are all college students so if there is an opportunity to spend less out of pocket, I am ALL for it!”

Even though Alexcia named the paperwork as a challenge, it is also one of her favorite parts. Monitoring the clubs’ spending gives Alexcia the inside scoop on what everyone is up to, and she loves to be “’in the know’ on what amazing things our clubs are doing.”

Alexcia also loves the responsibility of managing such a huge budget at such a young age. And, as the treasurer for the SGA, she helps the organization function and lead important quests such as the acquisition of ProfLink, Haven (a sexual assault awareness software for freshmen), and cosponsor the Student Title IX Summit this April. “It’s amazing to know I can help, within our own budgets, make these things possible to bring to campus.”

Don’t forget, through all of this Alexcia is a student first and foremost. In fact, a typical day in her life consists of classes, just like yours. For example, she is in class at 9:30am on Tuesdays. Form there, she goes to office hours at 11:15 until 2:15pm. If she can, she’ll duck out of her office for a brief moment to grab lunch, but then will be right back at her desk from 3pm until her night class at 6:30, tackling paperwork, responding to emails, and conducting and organizing workshops. If she’s on track for the day, she will head back to her apartment, eat dinner, shower, and crack down on that homework we all must face. But, during busy seasons for SGA, Alexcia is sometimes in her office until 1am!

Other than running all the student finances, Alexcia is also the president of the Financial Management Association (FMA), sits on the Dean’s Student Advisory Board for the Rohrer College of Business, and on the Advisory Board for the Rowan Innovative Venture Fund. And, prior to her undataking of this hefty position, she was also a Calculus, Statistics I and II tutor in the Math Learning Center in Robinson, a member of Math Team, and the treasurer for ProfPack.

As mentioned, Alexcia is a finance major and her work and experience as the CFO helps her a lot. She has become very comfortable coming up with budgets, rates, financial policies, etc. Allocation time during budget hearings will prove especially beneficial to her future career should she go down the investments path. More indirectly, however, [Alexcia has] gained some negotiating skills which will truly prove invaluable in any job [she may] hold in the future. “I know how to say no gently, I know how to make a no into a yes, and I know how to be the only woman in the room talking money and speaking with confidence despite it. I’d say I’m ready for the business world and then some.” Rock it, girl!

Career wise, Alexcia is headed to an Investment Management Firm in July. After getting some work experience under her belt, Alexcia wants to return to school for her MBA. She may take the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam, but is still undecided as this involves three years of studying, testing with huge odds of failing each of the 3 levels multiple times and losing a social life so. Regardless, Alexcia has always dreamt of being an officer in a fortune 100 company, and maybe someday going from CFO to CEO! She has even toyed with the idea of working in the White House….

It is not a sign of weakness if you need to ask for help, and if Alexcia had to change something about this entire journey it would be to do just that. “Asking for help is something I needed to learn to do. I’m a first generation born American and my family is all 100% Jordanian. Asking for help is something of a rarity in my culture... Call it pride, I guess. There are administrators and advisors and even students who are there to help- you need only ask, it turns out.”

Alexcia would like all you dear readers to know that “it’s OK to slow down. If you postpone one meeting, one assignment, one email to give yourself a moment to you, it won’t be the end of the world. You don’t know who you’ll meet or what you’ll see in that moment. For your mental health, that moment’s break will always be worth it, so take it! And remember, you only undergrad college once!”

Wow Alexcia, thank you so much for sharing this huge part of your life with us. As you finish up your time as CFO, we wish you the best of luck and congratulations on a great experience here, and on graduating. We know big things are coming your way. Good luck at the Investment Management firm, and best of luck in all that you set your mind to – you’re going places! #ProfPrideForLife