Monica Reece-Bruya: Secretary Extraordinaire

Reece-Bruya sits at her desk in Dean Hall with a stack of forms and applications that go through her office on a daily basis.

Reece-Bruya sits at her desk in Dean Hall with a stack of forms and applications that go through her office on a daily basis.

Xander Fu

Xander Fu

Reece-Bruya sits at her desk in Dean Hall with a stack of forms and applications that go through her office on a daily basis.

Ryan Kinker, News Editor

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While professors are well-known on CWU’s campus, some of the most important staff members are not as visible, despite having a bigger impact on the success of students and faculty.

By filing paperwork and helping keep students and staff aware of important events, secretaries allow students to focus on class while professors can focus on their students.

Monica Reece-Bruya, the secretary senior for the geography department, is integral to the success of students and faculty in the geography department.

“I just really love working with students and helping them succeed on their path to graduation,” Reece-Bruya said. “It’s very fulfilling to me.”

Reece-Bruya has been working in the geography department since summer quarter of 2014, after the retirement of long-time secretary Marilyn Mason, who gave 17 years of service to the geography department. Reece-Bruya has been in the community for much longer, as her husband, Chris Bruya, has been the director of jazz studies in the Music Department since 2002.

Bruya and Reece-Bruya are both alumni of CWU, and came back to the city where they spent their college years. Bruya took the position as a professor while Reece-Bruya worked in town.

“I graduated and got on the path of working in assisted living homes,” Reece-Bruya said. “I got my Nursing Home Administrator license, and I worked in that field for a long time.”

When the geography department was looking for a new secretary, Reece-Bruya applied because she wanted to be on campus and involved with students.

“The job was open and when I interviewed it seemed like a great group of faculty and staff,” Reece-Bruya said. “I just thought it would be great to be a part of that.”

Since she joined the department, Reece-Bruya has earned the love of her coworkers. In an open letter from May 2015, geography department Chair John Bowen acknowledged Reece-Bruya’s impact.

“Finding a person to take Marilyn’s place was a daunting challenge and we feel exceptionally lucky that we were able to hire Monica Reece-Bruya as our new secretary,” Bowen said. “Monica has already proven to be exceptionally competent and has quickly become a familiar, friendly face to whom students can turn for help.”

Associate Professor of Geography Jennifer Lipton said that Reece-Bruya has more than met the needs and demands of faculty over the past few years.

Reece-Bruya “has been fantastic, we’re so happy to have her,” Lipton said. “She’s been wonderful support for us, she makes everyone feel at home. She has such a great sense of humor and she’s very positive, especially when there are changes at the university. She knows how to roll with it.”

Chris Bruya said Reece-Bruya isn’t one to brag about her own life.

“When she told me about this story, I asked her why someone would want to write about her,” Chris Bruya said. “She’s very humble and can’t even comprehend why someone would want to know about her.”

Bob Bruya, Reece-Bruya’s son who is a senior jazz performance major at University of Miami, said his mom has shown care for others her whole life.
“She grew up with animals and we have some now as well. She views all life as something special, with a high regard for people and nature,” Bob Bruya said. “She’s an extremely loving and empathetic person.”

Chris Bruya said his wife always goes above and beyond for people.

“Our son’s birthday was a few days ago and we had a Skype call,” Chris Bruya said. “She’s sitting there with a birthday hat and a party horn. All she said was ‘I’m a mom, I have to do these things’.”

Bob Bruya knows Reece-Bruya has appreciated working on CWU’s campus as well.

“I know she has really enjoyed working with the wide variety of people at CWU,” Bruya said. “She connects with everyone she meets.”
Editor’s Note: Ryan Kinker is a geography major.

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Monica Reece-Bruya: Secretary Extraordinaire