Behind the Scenes at Fenwick

A Peek At Some Cool Offices In Fenwick Library


The way someone decorates their space whether it be a home or office can say a lot about that person. Students aren’t the only ones who like to decorate their space. Faculty members do too. In fact, a few faculty members at Fenwick Library shared their space and remarked what made it special.

Jessica Bowdoin, head of the Access Services department, has an office in the “backstage” area of the library. There, a small garden along the windowsill of the interlibrary loan area can be seen while walking past Fenwick. The garden is a staff favorite, along with the new individual shades in each office.

Jamie Coniglio also has a fascinating office, along with a few fascinating stories. Even from the outside, one can tell that the office they are about to enter will be special. Coniglio, a native Iowan, has a few postcards from Iowa hanging outside her door, as well as the iconic “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood, another native Iowan. Coniglio’s job within the library is publicity and engagement. She assists and organizes the programs that the library holds, among other publicity necessities. She has several meaningful items within her office, including an umbrella that her father received on his way home from Japan during WWII.

Coniglio also has other trinkets from all over the world, including some tins from London bought during Prince William and Kate’s royal wedding and a few souvenirs she brought back from the United Arab Emirates. She also has a mini plumber which she hung onto “in case we needed it” and a Buzz Lightyear doll. Additionally, a large corn wreath hangs from the wall in front of her desk. The wreath, Coniglio says, reminds her of home. A picture of the patron saint of lost things, Saint Anthony, is also kept near because she “calls on him daily” to help her help others. In addition, she keeps an Iowan state flag on her windowsill.       

Robert Vay, an archivist for the Special Records Collection within Fenwick, created a mini museum above his workspace, which is personal and important part of his desk. Over the years, Vay has worked with all kinds of cameras and is fascinated by them. It is fitting then that the “museum” displays a few vintage cameras Vay had acquired at yard sales. A picture of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performing at Mason in 1989 rests in the background. His favorite item is a hat he got when Mason made it to the Final Four. “I am probably one of the biggest fans at George Mason because I went to school here,” Vay said.

By decorating their workspace Bowdoin, Coniglio and Vay transform their plain offices into a reflection of who they are.