For Laurie Fullerton, one of the best things about her job as administrative assistant in the College of Engineering is the opportunity to interact with students.
“To see young people entering our engineering programs with strong abilities and a desire to have rewarding careers, watch them develop into engineers who will have wonderful opportunities afforded to them, and then realize the impact they’ll have on our society – it doesn’t get any better,” says Laurie, whose job requires her to be a combination mentor and troubleshooter as she assists the Deans and the academic advisors.
Her days fly by as she monitors students’ class schedules and grades, arranges orientations and induction ceremonies, and prepares recruitment letters, among other things.
Laurie, who has worked at UMaine for 28 years – 20 of them in her current position serving the needs of the more than 800 students in the College of Engineering – says what makes her job even better are the wonderful deans she has assisted over the years.
One of them was former Associate Dean John McDonough, with whom she worked for eight years until he retired in May 2007.
“There’s no bigger fan of Dean McD than me,” she says. “He was just incredible. The students respected him because he never judged them, he was always approachable and he always listened. He was committed to helping them resolve their problems. I so enjoyed working with him – he really respected my role, too. We were a team providing a warm environment and center of support for our students.”
As a way to honor her former boss and show her appreciation to UMaine for a job she loves, she contributes to the John and Claire McDonough Scholarship Fund established by the former associate dean and his wife. The fund provides financial aid to undergraduate students enrolled in the School of Engineering Technology and the School of Nursing who demonstrate excellent academic performance and exhibit outstanding personal characteristics that promise successful careers.
The scholarship fund received a boost when friends, family and colleagues raised more than $3,000 at Associate Dean McDonough’s retirement party.
“In lieu of giving him gifts, we had people donate to this scholarship, which couldn’t have pleased him more. That just shows the kind of person he is,” says Laurie who presented a heartfelt speech at the event.
“Even though your retirement will surely have a ripple effect far and wide within the University community and beyond, it will be me that will miss you most of all,” she told the associate dean in her address.
Pointing out that one of students’ biggest worries often is how they will pay for college, Laurie says she feels good about her gift to the scholarship fund.
It’s just one of the ways that she helps students.
“My job is very rewarding,” says Laurie who often is called upon to simply “be a friend and be someone they can talk to.
“That can really make a difference. Our goal is to have them leave our office happier. And, most of the time, they do!”
Image Description: Laurie Fullerton