Editor’s note: Duck of the Week is a section in Around the O Workplace that highlights UO employees and their work. Each story features an interview with one employee, in his or her own words, with light editing for clarity and length only.
How long have you worked at the UO?
I started working at the UO in July of 1997.
Tell us about your work:
Right now, I am a supervisor for the Corona Corps. I primarily focus on the Care Team, which is a team that supports people who test positive for COVID-19 at the University of Oregon in addition to close contacts when they need additional support.
Before I joined the Corona Corps, I worked in the Division of Global Engagement for many years. I first started at the University of Oregon as an international student advisor and did that for about five years. I also worked with a community organization called the Friendship Foundation for International Students as we arranged homestays, set up conversation partners, and organized events for international students. After several years there, I shifted gears and started working with Global Education Oregon (GEO), the study abroad unit at the university.
What does your typical day look like?
I started with the Corona Corps back in September, and as a supervisor, I work with a team of students who are case managers. Student case managers reach out to all the positive cases that we hear about, and if they live on campus then we typically transfer them to a space or talk to them about moving to a space where they can isolate safely. If the positive case lives off-campus, we talk to them about isolating and determine whether or not they need any resources or support.
My workload fluctuates because it all depends on how many positive cases come through on a particular day. We might have a heavier workload on some days than others. During this pandemic, there is variability in terms of the number of cases that are reported on any given day, not only at the university but state-wide or even nationally.
What do you like about working at the UO?
Working with students is what I love most about working at the UO. I’ve always been student-centered in the way I approach my work. Even though I started out as an advisor and took on different roles in GEO, I always loved being in a position where I felt like I was helping students achieve their academic and personal goals. I really love that.
In my more recent work at GEO, I worked with a team of coordinators who were responsible for developing study abroad programs. I loved working with that team as well as the colleagues I interacted with throughout the years. The sense of collaboration has been amazing. And now with the Corona Corps, I absolutely love working with my current colleagues: Ruth, Angie, Jeff, and all of the students. We’re a great team and I really appreciate working with them.
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated when I feel like I’m making a difference in a student’s life. Sometimes we have difficult conversations with students, or we may encounter them in a very difficult emotional space when we talk to them. When I feel as if I can support them in that moment and maybe make their situation a little bit better, that’s very gratifying to me. I love being in a role where I can support students when they’re in need and when they’re achieving their broader goals.
What is something people may not know about you?
Even though we can’t do it this year because of the pandemic, one of the more fun things that I’ve been involved in is a large community dance party. I work with a group of friends to organize the event every year. It’s in the spring, and we hire a local DJ and invite everyone we know. Over the years it’s grown into a large event, and we hold it at the veterans club downtown. I love to dance with my friends, so that’s something that brings me a lot of joy.
Do you know someone who should be Duck of the Week? Nominate a UO employee.