Allow us to introduce Michelle Mussett, our Eligibility and Intake Coordinator. She has worked with us since November 2016 and was kind enough to answer some random questions for us.
Keep an eye out for more staff spotlights in the future!
– Before working at ASA, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
The most interesting job I’ve had was with a university based nonprofit that worked to expunge criminal records…Criminal histories have a shocking impact on your ability to successfully re-enter and make you automatically ineligible for many state and federal programs, including access to student loans. With an expungement, you can start fresh, but it is a process that is really often only known to high-income ex-offenders who have private lawyers to educate them. I had never worked in a legal capacity before, and it was really exciting to learn about this broken aspect of our society and connect with ex-offenders.
– How did you first learn about ASA?
When I first moved to Austin 2 years ago, I was researching nonprofits that I really wanted to get involved with …It’s really important to me to work in a place that is inclusive and reflects my own values and passions.
I was impressed with ASA’s vision and goals and kept checking for open positions. I have social worker friends in the community that always spoke highly of ASA’s reputation, services, and commitment to its clients.
– What’s your favorite thing about ASA?
I love my co-workers and clients! My best days at work are when I get to hear client’s stories and can set them up with the resources they want and need. Being a supportive and compassionate listener is so important, but providing the tools to take action is one step better.
– What book did you read last?
I’m currently reading “A Little Life”, which is a generally devastating book about four friends in NY and all the horrible things that happen in their lives. But it’s great!…I like to get as involved and absorbed as possible, so I mostly stick to multi book series that are 15000+ pages.
– Motto or personal mantra?
I am always trying to push myself to do new things and approach decisions and experiences in my life with an open mind. I really love a line from fearless Emily Dickenson, “If your Nerve deny you, go above your Nerve.”
– Best vacation you’ve been on?
I’m very lucky to have close friends in the Foreign Service, and every year I visit whatever country they are living in. This previous May I went to Ethiopia for several weeks and visited the Bale Mountains, which is home to the rare Ethiopian wolf and the highest plateau in Ethiopia. It also contains some lowlands with amazing jungles chock full of warthogs, baboons, and nyalas (a big antelope). I spend all my free time when possible going on safaris in various places/biomes and hanging out with zoologists.