Tonia Maria Cristino is the Assistant Director of Recruitment and Admissions at Stevenson University. She is also an alumnae of Stevenson University.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT BALTIMORE?
I love that Baltimore is centrally located. I’m from Pennsylvania, and the first time I went to an Orioles game, I fell in love with Camden yards. It’s almost impossible not to be a Baltimore fan when you experience the excitement during games, inside and outside the stadiums. I also love the restaurants and bars by the water, especially in Fells Point. I love playing social sports downtown because it allows me the chance to stay active and stay competitive in my adult life.
WHAT IS YOUR PHILOSOPHY ABOUT YOUR WORK?
I love helping others. We care about our students so much and have their best interest at heart. We view everyone as an individual person, not a number. I love listening to the student’s story and playing a role in their educational experience.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
I was a socks salesman for GoldToe in Pennsylvania. I was 16 at the time and honestly learned a lot about retail and it was great sales experience at such a young age.
HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE OTHERS?
I like to lead by example. For the past four years, I have helped chaperon an alternative spring break trip to New Orleans to help rebuild communities. I want to encourage the students to work hard, help others, and stay positive. I played sports my entire life, so I know it’s important to have a balance between constructive criticism and motivation. I want to encourage my students to stick with whatever it is they like to do and remind them that they can have such a positive impact in so many lives. The students that go on the trip are wonderful and motivate me just as much so I truly believe that motivation is fueled by giving and receiving.
WHAT MOBILE APP CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
Yelp. I like to travel and I want to know the best places to visit! I also like providing feedback to help others with their own travels.
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT OF TOWN GUEST TO GIVE THEM A FEEL FOR WHAT BALTIMORE IS ABOUT?
Downtown! Camden Yards is such a nice stadium environment so that’s always a great place to start and then show them around Federal Hill, Canton, and Fells Point.
DO YOU EVER SEE YOURSELF MOVING OUT OF BALTIMORE?
I do not. It’s completely different from Pennsylvania, yet close enough to visit family. Baltimore is centrally located around everything I enjoy doing and it’s not far from other major cities and beaches. I’ve converted into a true Marylander and now bleed crab cakes and football!
WHAT IS A HASHTAG THAT SUMS UP YOUR PERSONALITY?
WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU IN YOUR LIFE AND WHY?
I surround myself with people that make me better so it is difficult to pick only one person. My parents and brothers molded me into the hard-working, independent individual that I am today. My friends and former team mates all inspired me to appreciate being a part of a team and even helping others. I have a lot of caring and compassionate friends that want to help others and that has inspired me to be a better person and recognize that we can all have a positive impact on so many people. Every day I wake up wanting to be better than what I was the day before. Surrounding myself with the family and friends that I have, it makes it a lot easier to do so.
WHAT IS THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER GOTTEN?
Love what you do so it doesn’t feel like a job.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT STEVENSON UNIVERSITY?
What don’t I love? I love the department; everyone is kind, respectful and team oriented. I love coming to work. It’s something everyone is passionate about. It’s wonderful to be a part of an institution that has grown so much in a positive way, even when the economy struggled. I’ve been here since 2004, so I’ve seen amazing progressing and as an employee it’s incredibly easy to be an advocate for an institution that you’re proud to be an alumna. The people here really care about you, regardless if you are a student or employee. You feel at home and I am fortunate to have been blessed with an amazing opportunity to work at a place I love so much.
WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM TO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS OR CONSIDERING OPENING THEIR OWN BUSINESS?
Don’t just talk about it, be about it. If you are passionate about certain things, go out and get them. Don’t just sit there and wait for someone else to live your dreams. You have to start somewhere. Your first job may not necessarily be your career. Stay motivated, never settle, and always work hard. Be the best version of yourself because that is the only version you want people to remember you by.