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  • Remembering Sofia Mortero 
  • New Colleague: Kyle Catino 
  • CFO Search Update 
  • DFA Profile: Jamie Dias 
Division of Finance and Administration colleagues,

Welcome, everyone, to spring semester and a new year. As we continue to do the things necessary to stay safe in the pandemic, it is good to see signs that we have entered the beginning of the end of the crisis.
Vaccines are flowing into California and the Central Valley, and we’re heartened by the new White House administration’s determination to ramp up efforts to defeat coronavirus. Gov. Newsom last week lifted statewide at-home orders, though strong social and business restrictions remain in place.
The positive signs also are found in our campus community. UC Merced, along with our sister campuses, plan to return to largely in-person instruction this fall. A simpler, less-invasive test for asymptomatic on-campus employees and students is well underway.  
If we watch out for each other – if we all do our part – we can eventually return to normal life.

We want to remain transparent about our efforts to protect the physical and financial health of the campus community. The Division has three virtual open houses scheduled, including one on Feb. 9 (see below). Chancellor Muñoz is hosting campus-wide town halls every two weeks (watch your inbox for more information). 

We are proud to be alongside you as we continue this incredible journey. Take care and be safe. 
The DFA Leadership Transition Team:
Gerry Elizondo 
Luanna Putney 
Kurt Schnier 
Please take a moment to honor the memory Sofia Mortera, a member of the CBS2 team who passed away last month. Services for Sofia were held Jan. 30 in Atwater, where family and friends celebrated her life. Sofia worked as a CBS2 travel and procurement specialist for most of 2020 but spent most of her UC career in the School of Natural Sciences, where she worked for 12 years.
Juana Dumagan, Sofia’s CBS2 supervisor, writes that Sofia “had an infectious smile and laugh that would make you smile and laugh with her. She would brighten the room, or shall I say Zoom, with her smile. She will deeply be missed by all.” Those who knew her will carry sweet memories of Sofia and her tremendous impact on our lives.

The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with funeral expenses. 

In addition to reaching out to friends, family and each other, support is available via INSIGHT, our employee assistance program, at 800-422-5322 or via email [email protected]
The Division will hold its next open house Tuesday, Feb. 9 from 2-3 p.m. These events, held via Zoom, give us an opportunity to check in with each other and receive updates from the DFA leadership transition team. Please make sure you have the latest version of Zoom so you can participate in the breakout rooms. Download the latest Zoom software here.

Additional open houses are scheduled for 2-3 p.m. March 9 and 11 a.m.-noon April 22

DFA Suggestion Box: If you have questions or ideas you'd like to be addressed at the DFA Open Houses, please share them here. All posts are anonymous. 

We’re archived video and presentation decks of our previous open houses. You can find them here
The committee leading the search for DFA’s next chief financial officer continues to meet regularly and to confer with the personnel search firm assisting the process. The committee’s goal is to give the campus an opportunity to meet finalists and ask questions via Zoom in late February or early March. 
Imagine 2030, the initiative to create a university-wide strategic plan that will serve as UC Merced’s “North Star” for the next decade, has entered its next phase. Stakeholder engagement concluded in late January, with hundreds of people sharing suggestions through Zoom meetings and the Imagine 2030 website about what UC Merced should aspire to be by 2030 – the campus’ 25th year of operation.   
The next step: drafting a plan for the campus’s review in late spring, with the goal of having the plan in place in the fall. Please visit the initiative’s website and stay tuned as Imagine 2030 becomes a reality. 
We’re a month into the launch of the broad overhaul of UC Merced’s financial systems. Hundreds of colleagues are getting up to speed on new systems for handling things like budgeting; taxes; timekeeping; and travel and reimbursement. Co-workers are offering training, providing resources and answering questions.

The best way to navigate this assistance is to open the Go-Live Toolkit on the Alpha Financials site; there are links to everything you need.

Another great resource is the new DFA Service Catalog, which is currently processing numerous ServiceNow tickets related to the financial systems. 
Kyle Catino has joined the Financial Systems Support team as an analyst focusing on human capital management systems (UCPath, Cognos, etc). Prior to joining UC Merced, Kyle worked for seven years for Foster Farms, holding several positions, most recently as an IT Service Center analyst. Kyle graduated from CSU Stanislaus with cum laude honors and obtained a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in computer information systems.

In his free time, he enjoys playing video games with friends and listening to metal music (favorite bands: August Burns Red, ERRA and Architects).

Welcome, Kyle! 
Thanks to everyone who responded to last month's question: What do you most look forward to in 2021? There were 24 responses: 
Let’s get our sci-fi on for this month’s question:
If you could travel in time, what would you do?
Visit the past
Visit the future
I’m good where I am
Each month, we turn a spotlight on a Division colleague to learn about their lives with UC Merced and beyond. Is there someone you would like to nominate for the monthly profile? Let us know

What is your job title? Payroll Analyst 2 
What does your job entail? Processing all staff transactions and communications. This includes but is not limited to processing transactions into UCPath, processing bi-weekly and monthly timesheets in TRS, tracking COVID paid leave hours, verifications of employment, reconciliations, and so much more. 
What do you enjoy the most about it? I love the diversity of tasks and being able to prioritize my work to meet our payroll deadlines. I am also enjoying working from home! Although I do miss seeing everyone.  
What’s one thing you want everyone to know about the Payroll Services team? We are a tightly knit team that collaborates well. We are led by some great supervisors who we can go to and who support us individually and as a team. 
We hear you enjoy crafting. What do you make? I love to craft! Mostly I scrapbook, make cards and add vinyl to everything. I am attempting to sew my first busy book for my grandson’s birthday! (That's Jamie with grandson Keegan in the picture.)
What’s your comfort food? I would say my favorite food right now is Dot’s pretzels (original), not really my comfort food but definitely my go-to currently!   
If you could live anyplace in the world for a year, where would it be and why? I would love to go to the Azores as my husband’s family is from there. To be honest, though, I would not be able to be away from my grandson that long, but I would love to go on vacation there!   
Do you have questions? Feedback you want to share? Something you want to put into the next newsletter? Reach out via our Comment Box or by emailing us at [email protected]
DFA Update, a newsletter for the Division of Finance and Administration, is published monthly. Follow these links to catch up on news in earlier issues: