After moving to the United States from South Africa, Janine Barrett made her home in Las Vegas and at UNLV. She has been at the university for more than 19 years. While earning her bachelor’s degree in management information systems, she served as a student worker with the Graduate College. After a short stint as a software developer in California, she returned to the Graduate College as a systems analyst and went on to earn dual graduate degrees in management information systems and business administration. Today, she serves as the executive director of graduate systems & operations.
What’s the last big project you completed?
Bringing current graduate students into our Grad Rebel Gateway system, which is our online student portal, and going live with electronic forms. My team and I worked on this phase of our system for a long time, and I ended up being due with my daughter around the time we wanted to go live. I prepared as best as I could and left the final pieces and last-minute changes in the hands of my amazing systems team, Maulik Maniar and Payam Ezatpoor. Being able to take maternity leave knowing that the project was in capable hands was a blessing, and I’ll forever cherish those three months I got to spend with my daughter, Makenzie. My team finalized all the details and we ended up going live my first week back from maternity leave.
Is this what you thought you’d do when you grew up?
Not at all. I started horseback riding when I was 11 and was competitive in the equestrian sport of showing. I represented my province in South Africa twice and was convinced I’d end up working with horses as a career.
Fill in the blanks: The place on campus I feel most (blank) is (blank).
The place on campus I feel most empowered is my office. I’m very fortunate to work with some amazing colleagues and to have a boss who allows me to lead my team and set big-picture goals and implementation plans. She is also very understanding and sensitive to my needs as a new mother.
Give us a gear recommendation — an everyday product that helps you do your job.
Dual monitors. It may seem obvious, but I can’t work without them (because that) makes working on a laptop so difficult. I can’t believe how dependent I became on them once I made the switch. If I could, I would have even more.
Tell us about an object in your office and what it represents to you.
I have a little mailbox ornament painted like the American flag that a good friend’s parents gave me when I became an American citizen. It represents the achievement of a huge dream and reminds me of that very special day.
How much UNLV apparel do you own?
We’ve actually gotten more UNLV apparel for our daughter than we have for ourselves. Go Rebels!
What advice would you give your younger self?
I’d quote Dr. Seuss: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
What’s the last celebrity death that really affected you?
It was really a combination of two related celebrities. I’m a Star Wars fan and was very saddened when Carrie Fisher passed away. Then to have her mother pass away days later was heartbreaking. I’ve always been a Debbie Reynolds fan, and having the two of them pass away within days of each other just hurt.
You just won Megabucks and want to give back to the university. What would you support and why?
I’d endow a scholarship for international students. I first came to UNLV as an international student and worked hard to earn scholarships to help pay tuition. It’s very difficult for some of our international students to earn money and pay tuition since they are allowed to work only on campus, so I’d like to pay it forward in the form of a scholarship.