Meet Patti Whelan
Patti Whelan is the senior secretary for Disability Support Services. She provides vital, day-to-day support for the DSS program and is the first contact for her division.
“Patti is committed to bringing a high level of customer service to students, instructors and staff,” says her nominator Berta Pace, division administrative assistant for Business & Computer Systems.
Whelan has worked at De Anza for 12 years, during which time she has worn many hats. She first began as a student worker at the College Information Desk, a position she reports that she received through the OTI program.
She then worked as a casual employee in several different areas, including Plant Services, Admissions and Records, the Social Science and Humanities Division Office and the Educational Diagnostic Center (EDC).
“I graduated somewhere in the middle and was then hired in EDC as a part-time, permanent receptionist and stayed for a few years,” Whelan says. Her present position as the senior secretary in Disability Support Services (DSS) opened for a full-time position in 2006. With a lot of encouragement from many co-workers, she applied and got the job that she loves so much.
Pace says her skills are exemplary. “Patti actively participates in bringing about quality customer service, with willingness and enthusiasm to DSS and De Anza. Her recordkeeping abilities really help to make the program a success and she continues to work hard to keep the division documentation and daily activities organized, including student file maintenance, using required state guidelines.”
Pace also says that Whelan continues to be a strong advocate for students with disabilities. “She has a calming demeanor when assisting students. In her daily duties, she assists a large population of students with varying psychological, neurological and physical disabilities with tact, patience, empathy and kindness,” Pace says. “Patti’s compassion for others and her innate ability to help students contributes to a feeling of safety and welcome, as many who come in have had negative experience regarding their disability.”
Whelan says the students and staff in DSS make her proud to work hard to help them all. “I appreciate the fact that even if we have had a bad hair day in the DSS office, we always come back as a tight-knit supportive program,” she says.
Pace says Whelan is the mainstay of the department and makes sure that it runs efficiently, and she exhibits a wonderful attitude about life. “I have had personal experience with Patti when I needed to ask assistance with mobility issues and the use of the DSS cart. She arranged for the daily transport while I needed it, treating me with courtesy and cheerfulness, which I really appreciate. These traits help maximize the Disability Student Services program at De Anza.”