Security with a Smile: Katrina Mathewson

Last week, we asked several Trocaire students who deserves extra recognition for his or her daily duties. The answer was unanimous.

If you go to Main Campus, you probably already know her. If not, meet security guard Katrina Mathewson.

Katrina Matthewson

Katrina, a Buffalo native, has worked at Trocaire since April 2013. She — like many of our students — has a passion for nursing and emergency services.

“The medical industry is something that I’ve always taken an interest in,” she says. “Having a job that I enjoy — in the healthcare environment that I enjoy — is pretty rare to come across.”

Katrina starts her workday at 6:30 in the morning when she opens the doors at Main Campus and monitors the building. Her desk is located in the main entrance, so she is the first person students and faculty see each morning.

“When I was new here, Katrina always made a point to smile and converse with me, probably because I didn’t have many friends” laughs nursing student Michelle D’Amico-Bulera. “And now, I don’t ever walk in without chit-chatting with her. She’s the first person you see in the morning, and she really sets the tone for your day.”

Katrina loves the student interaction at Trocaire.

“My favorite parts of my job are due to the students here,” Katrina says. “I love watching them grow from their very first day to graduation day. It’s amazing.”

Rachel Baumgart, nursing student, compares Katrina’s role to a teacher’s outside-the-classroom duties.

“Anybody appreciates when teachers go out of the way to help outside of the classroom, and that’s how Katrina is,” she explains. “She isn’t a mall cop who walks around the building. She gets to know you, helps you out. We appreciate that.”

Focused on helping others

Helping people has always been Katrina’s top priority.

“People might not realize it, but our jobs as security guards extend beyond monitoring the building and handing out tickets,” Katrina says. “Behind the scenes, so much of our time is spent helping others – and that’s why I do it.”

Her involvement extends beyond work hours. Katrina has spent the last three and a half years as a Cheektowaga volunteer firefighter.

“About five years ago, my neighbor had a small house fire, and I immediately went over to help,” Katrina remembers. “The whole situation was eye-opening. The Cheektowaga firefighters were on site, so I asked how I could start helping out. The crew brought me on board and I’ve been volunteering ever since.”

Katrina spends her weekdays at Trocaire from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is on call for the fire department 24 hours a day.

Oh — she’s also a mother of three boys.

“My schedule can be hectic sometimes, but I wouldn’t give up either job,” Katrina said. “If anything, the skills I’ve learned volunteering have crossed over to my position at Trocaire. I’ve had extensive medical training and taken emergency medical services classes — that’s really important. I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life.”

Ready to help at a moment’s notice

Mary Przepasniak, a Trocaire receptionist who works alongside Katrina daily, had a scary moment last fall.

On a dark morning, she moved off the shuttle bus outside Main Campus. She missed a step, fell on the concrete and needed help.

Katrina was there right away.

“She didn’t come outside and panic, like I’m sure anybody else might have,” Przepasniak says. “She has proper training and experience in first-aid that she was able to help me directly. We feel safe with her here and the school really benefits from having somebody so versatile.”

Emily Hillery, radiologic technology student, admires Katrina’s willingness to go the extra mile.

“She has the role to tell us when we’re doing something wrong, but she has a way of being on a personal level with us, too,” Hillery says. “Katrina isn’t here to just monitor and protect. She does things every day that are outside of her job description. She doesn’t have to do them, or go out of her way, but we notice.”

Katrina will continue to find new ways to help. Trocaire, she notes, has been a great experience. She hopes the joy continues for a long time.

“Trocaire has been so welcoming,” Katrina smiles. “Everyone here is so friendly. It’s great to be a part of it. I can only hope that I mirror that.”

Know someone who you think deserves special recognition? Share the person’s name in the Comments section or let us know on Twitter at @TrocaireCollege.