Title: Associate Director of Graduate and Scheduling Services, College of Arts and Sciences
Family: Amber lives with her partner Michelle, who is a nurse, in Pine Lake, just beyond Decatur. She was raised around Merritt Island, Florida, and her immediate family still lives in that area.
How long have you worked at Georgia State? She started in the A&S Graduate Office in 2002, and has served in several related capacities in the intervening years, including as graduation auditor, international admissions specialist, and admissions coordinator. She began her current position in 2008.
What do you do on a typical day? More than can be believed! Amber plays a leading role in many important functions of the college and university, including graduate student recruitment, admissions, advisement, and graduation auditing; course scheduling and curriculum update processes; student data quality and enrollment management; and much more. To fulfill her numerous responsibilities, she spends many days in back-to-back meetings with department, college, and university staff, faculty, and administrators. As the manager of nine excellent staff members in Graduate and Scheduling Services, Amber works regularly on training initiatives and process improvements. She has been active in the Staff Council for several years, and currently serves as the organization's chair. In this role, she works with the other officers to oversee activities of the council, and she represents staff on several important university committees, including the Administrative Council and Fiscal Advisory Committee to the President. Amber really loves committee meetings!
What's your background? She earned a B.A in Anthropology from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, and an M.A. in the same discipline from SUNY-Binghamton. She originally wanted to be a historical archaeologist and participated in several field research experiences. As an undergraduate, she spent two field seasons in Old Salem, N.C. digging in an ancient privy. Her work paid off when she found an old smoking pipe in the shape of a woman's head, which the town's museum has since featured on t-shirts and other promotional items. She focused her graduate research on archaeology work in Colorado relating to the 1914 Ludlow Massacre.
After graduation, Amber moved north and began her career as a graduate admissions professional at SUNY Stonybrook. After two years of cold weather, she chose to head back south. After settling in Atlanta, she soon found herself at Georgia State, where she has been ever since.
What do you do when you're not working? Amber's house is fond of springing leaks and getting in the way of falling limbs, so she spends a fair amount of her free time on home improvement projects. She generally enjoys being outdoors and playing in the water. She likes kayaking, canoeing, and hiking near water.
What's your favorite thing in your office? She greatly admires her plant, Janet, and its determination to live despite occasional neglect (remember all those meetings!). Although Amber isn't exactly sure what kind of plant Janet is, she loves her nonetheless as a surrogate for her dogs at home.
What don't people know about you? Amber's grandfather was an engineer who worked on the space shuttle. He brought his granddaughter on the shuttle a few times (but not after liftoff) and would regularly bring home experimental astronaut food for her to sample. She says that she may have been one of the first civilians to try freeze-dried beef stew. There could be some connection with the fact that Amber is now a vegetarian.
If you weren't working at Georgia State, what would your ideal job be? Amber says that she loves everything about old books, so "if I were independently wealthy, I'd get a job in a used bookstore."
[Please note that the interviewer, John Medlock, chose to deviate from the usual format of the Staff Spotlight and did not write this in the first person. This allowed him to say many nice things about Amber that she wouldn't have said about herself.]