Janice Erskine - Executive Assistant of Environmental Stewardship
Janice Erskine has been a Columbia University employee for 21 years. In her present position as Executive Assistant in the Department of Environmental Stewardship, she manages accounts, oversees contracts and change orders, assists with communications among department members and scans electronic and print media for their latest sustainability reports. She also oversees the calendar and travel expenses for the deparment.
Two years ago Erskine's longtime professional relationship with Columbia expanded to include a very personal one. She became a Columbia parent of son Curtis Holden, CC '11, whose academic and career goal, she says, is corporate law.
Erskine's father, from the Dominican Republic, and her mother, from Puerto Rico, met in New York. Erskine was born in the Bronx. As a child, she lived in the Dominican Republic for six months, returning as a Spanish speaker - though not for long.
Her father insisted that as an American she speak and perfect her native tongue.
Erskine's commitment to her work at Columbia is reflected in a daily 188-mile round trip commute from her home in Tannersville, Pa. She's accompanied by Nia, her 3 ½-year-old daughter, whom she drops off at St. Jerome's Pre-K in the Bronx.
Erskine agrees she makes "huge sacrifices" with her commute and the delay in finishing two semesters she needs for her own undergraduate degree, begun at Lehman College. "But," she says, "I have so much vested in Columbia University over the past 17 years, and I feel I'm contributing to the community."
She started at Columbia in a medical billing office at Harlem Hospital, then was promoted to Practice Plan Coordinator in the Psychiatry Department of Harlem Hospital. From there Erskine became executive assistant to the assistant director of psychiatry. She moved to her position at Environmental Stewardship about a year ago from Billing Supervisor at Harlem Hospital when that department was outsourced.