Mary Rose Gallego, Administration

When Mary Rose Gallego joined Rensselaer’s IT Department in 1997 as an applications developer, her children were young and she needed the flexibility the part-time position provided. Although she only worked 30 hours per week, at the time that qualified her for full-time benefits on a prorated basis, which to her was a real plus.  Ending her workday at 2:30 p.m. enabled her to be home with her son and daughter in the afternoons, which was another attractive feature of the job.

She said recently that she stayed at Rensselaer for 22 years – eventually being promoted to senior applications developer – because of the work environment and the collaboration she found there.  Also, she said, “The work was challenging and fulfilling and I knew I had a good thing going.”  

“I was fortunate enough to be exposed to a lot of different departments and that made the work more interesting,” she said. “I learned the functional side of many things working with people in HR, payroll, financial aid, the bursar’s office and many other departments.”

Mary Rose said she took full advantage of the many benefits offered to employees, including the salary continuance benefit program that preceded the current PTO (paid time off) plan that now exists. Following a serious back injury in 2006, she was out of work for three months and yet still received her full salary as part of the program. After returning to work, she reinjured her back and then missed another month and a half of work, all without losing her income, which she said was a tremendous help to her family.

Also, she praised the flexibility her department director gave her in adjusting her schedule when her father, who lived out of state, was terminally ill. “I felt like my employer cared enough to help me with the work/life balance when I really needed it,” she said.

By taking advantage of an additional Rensselaer benefit program, the 403(b) defined contribution retirement plan, Mary Rose said she was able to retire early, at the age of 60 in June of 2019. She made individual contributions, received the college’s additional contribution and then made supplemental contributions up to the maximum allowed by the federal government to boost the amount she had saved for her retirement.

As a retiree, Mary Rose said she now has the time to help her mother with home maintenance projects and organizing her household and is spending time gardening, working on her own home improvements, reading and knitting. She continues to utilize Rensselaer’s benefits by purchasing discount movie passes and utilizing the Enterprise Rental Car discounts as she and her husband begin to travel more. 

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