Patton Named Employee of the Month for December

Posted: December 1, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Megan McDonnell

Sarah Patton
Sarah Patton

Ordering books, arranging appointments, answering questions, copying exams, supervising work study students, maintaining files and directing foot traffic are just a few of the responsibilities of Sarah Patton, undergraduate program secretary in the Psychology Department. This month her smooth juggling of a multitude of tasks has earned her December Employee of the Month honors.

“I interact with a lot of students and faculty, so I come to work each day not knowing what might happen,” says Patton. “It is nice to have that variety and to be presented with a new challenge each day.”

Patton’s supervisor, Michael Hurley, undergraduate faculty advisor in the department of psychology, has seen seven different secretaries come and go. “Sarah has been the strongest person that we have had in that position. Her unmatched ability to handle each and every one of her responsibilities in such an efficient and professional manner makes it much easier for our faculty to spend more time and attention on their students.”

Students come to Patton with questions that are frequently repetitive, according to Bob Smith, chairman, Psychology. “Most prior staff have frankly been driven a little crazy by that at times. Not Sarah. I have never heard that she is anything less than completely professional when dealing with the students.”

Recently, Patton worked to ensure that a mix-up in fax numbers did not leave a student hanging. When Patton realized that a fax was intended for the undergraduate academic affairs office, she quickly faxed it over to that office as well as the student’s teacher, thinking it might be time sensitive.

“Many staff members would have simply put the papers into campus mail with the hope that they would get to the right destination, but Sarah went to the extra trouble in order to provide a student with excellent service,” says Doris Bitler, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs. “It is notable that this student was not associated with Psychology, but that didn’t lessen Sarah’s desire to help.”

Book orders for the Psychology Department are among the largest in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Patton handles the orders with ease, getting all of them in on time or early. The Bookstore awarded the department a pizza party for being on time every semester.

“My confidence in her abilities and, just as importantly, her good judgment is without limit,” says Hurley. “A good support person has a strong ripple effect on the overall effectiveness of an entire department – just as a bad one does – and Sarah’s ‘ripples’ have been all good in the Psychology Department.”

Before coming to Mason, Patton worked at the Fairfax City Regional Library. She is currently attending Catholic University in her pursuit to become a librarian. She received a BA in writing from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 2000.

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