Meet Barbara Payne, finance and administrative coordinator, Department of Forensic Science

Barbara may have gotten her career start in an elementary school, but she now calls VCU her academic home.
Barbara Payne

What’s the strangest item Barbara Payne has ever ordered for VCU? It’s a toss up. Ammunition, sperm and Delta-8 (a chemical in cannabis and hemp plants) are at the top of the list. “Those things are kind of weird the first time ordering,” she says. But as finance and administrative coordinator for the Department of Forensic Science, that is just part of the job.

Learn more about Barbara, why she loves the Department of Forensic Science and what she does when she’s not managing the money. 

Describe your role as a finance and administrative coordinator for the Department of Forensic Science?

I serve the department of Forensic Science for all of its financial needs. Place orders, process payments, travel and reimbursements. Pretty much anything that involves money, that's me!

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy interacting with faculty and staff; they are a wonderful group of people to work with. I love learning about projects that the research teams are working on. I am not a scientist, but it's very interesting to learn about what they do. 

Barbara Payne stands on a beach holding a small dog

What is your career background?

I started my career 15 years ago because I was a stay-at-home mom first. After sending my kids off to college, I began my career. I started working for Chesterfield County Public Schools. My first job was an instructional assistant at an elementary school. Then, I transitioned to high school as an attendance clerk, then back to elementary as a secretary for ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).  

After seven years, I moved to the city and decided to look for available jobs at VCU, and this is how I landed my first job at VCU. 

How did it feel to win the Excellence in Fiscal Administration award at the 2023 CHS Faculty and Staff Awards?

I felt very honored. It’s always nice when someone appreciates the work you're doing. I receive verbal compliments from faculty and staff, but to have the chair of the department speak on my behalf and convey to everyone else what a good job she thinks I do is amazing. (Shout out to Tracey Green, chair of the Department of Forensic Science – she is the best!) I have been nominated in the past for various awards, but this is my first time receiving an award. It’s a beautiful plaque, and it sits on top of my desk.

Barbara Payne sits on a rock in front of palm trees

What is your favorite hobby?

I am a big foodie. I like to go to restaurants and try different foods. I also like to knit and crochet. I wish I had more time to complete my knitting and crocheting projects because they can take a long time to finish. For my exercise, I go to the gym and swim laps.

What is your favorite local Restaurant in Richmond?

Hard to choose! I love a lot of Richmond restaurants, but my favorite right now is Maggiano’s. I love Italian food and taking my boys there for a family dinner. Maggiano's offers an all you can eat family style special. My favorite dish from there is eggplant parmesan.

What is an interesting fact that someone might not know about you?

I can speak a little bit of Italian because I was born in Italy. I definitely understand more than I can speak. When I was little I would get mixed up and speak both English and Italian together in one sentence. My mother was born in Italy and my dad in America. They met each other while my dad was stationed there at Aviano Air Force Base. Our family moved back to the states soon after I was born.

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