Chelsea Herrington, a longtime budget analyst in the office for academic resources, emerges from her self-described “Hobbit hole” to help students find their way. She plays a key role in resolving puzzling budget issues. And, as a Rebel whose career began on campus as a student worker, she revels in the good chemistry and love she has found here.
What is your job?
There are two parts of my job. I work on budgets, mainly as a bridge between the academic units and the budget office. And, I work with academic fees, dealing with departments, deans, and budget officers, helping them from proposal to NSHE approval. Working with budgets is a lot like working a puzzle. There’s a certain amount you have to begin with, then you have to hit a target and deal with surprises along the way to make it all balance out.
What is the biggest challenge in your field?
The self-supporting budget cycle is once a year and no small task. Budgets come from departments and on up. Many folks are not familiar with the process, so it takes time and patience to get it done. Other than that, I stay in my Hobbit hole and I’m happy to help out however I can.
I came as a student in 1992. Then in 1996, a friend was leaving her student worker position since she was graduating and told me to apply, so I did. I’ve always enjoyed it here. UNLV is always changing — never stagnant or boring. I think of other institutions that have been around 100 years, and I just think UNLV is a better place to be.
We’re younger, more alive and vibrant, and our students are so diverse and interesting. I love meeting students who come from other parts of the world with different stories, different perspectives, and experiences. Maybe it’s just an assumption, but I think this is one of the best campuses to be on. One of my favorite times of year is when students first come to campus for the fall or spring semester. I always sign up for at least two shifts in the Ask Me! booths. I love helping students find their way and helping them with any information they need.
What was your major?
My degree is in biology with a concentration in ecology and evolutionary biology (’16 BS Biology). But back to UNLV, another reason I love it here is that I met my husband in chemistry class. So, I like to say we had chemistry when we first met! That was in 1993. My husband is Robert Herrington, and he works for the Center for Health Information Analysis, housed in the School of Public Health. We are UNLV long-timers. I remember parking where some of the "new" buildings now stand. Ha!
If you could learn to master one thing, what would it be?
Personal: Singing or cello. Work-related: forecasting and budgets
Do you have any tips for getting through the COVID-19 quarantine?
Remember, this is what it is, and you are not alone. Reach out to family, friends, and additional resources if needed…counseling, therapy, financial. But most importantly, find your smile.
I enjoy music. I always said that when I turn 50 or retire I’d take up violin or cello, which I just love. Lately, I have been into modern cello performances, like The Piano Guys or Two Cellos. I’ll share some of my favorites, maybe something new for your playlist. Here’s one of my favorites, especially for a good laugh, Mission Impossible (Piano/Cello/Violin) ft. Lindsey Stirling by The Piano Guys. I'll say my favorite — The Piano Guys - Code Name Vivaldi (Bourne Soundtrack/Vivaldi Double Cello Concerto), or Beethoven's 5 Secrets - OneRepublic.
I could keep going!
What’s your day typically like right now? What’s the same and what’s different from your normal day on campus?
The commute is great — one minute versus 35 minutes, and no searching for parking! My day is the same as being on campus, all on the computer — Excel, email, and Workday.
What do you miss most about campus?
I miss my coworkers and the grounds — green grass and old trees.
Are you reading any books for fun?
I listen to books. So, currently I’m on Sherlock Holmes read by Stephen Fry. I’ve also been reading a lot of English literature, getting ready for a tour of England in July. A favorite is Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre.
I did listen to the Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (1665 bubonic plague) and The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson, which is about the 1854 cholera outbreak and finding patient zero, and how it is spread — contaminated water. Never expected those to be so timely.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
I had a podcast with my husband: It's "Just Us Podcast." It's not news, it's not tech, it's not…a lot of things. It's just us.
Also, I would love to be a tour guide, playing into my enjoyment of helping point people in the right direction and learning new things.