On the Job with Melissa Puckett
What is one project or innovation you’re proud to have helped implement?
I’m really proud of the student employment programs we offer. With the support of my department, I had the opportunity to develop unpaid internships into paid student employment positions in graphic design and social media support. I lobbied hard for this change, and it was a vote of confidence to see my colleagues offer up parts of their budgets to make it possible. The change has allowed me to keep students on staff for more than one semester, which has been a gamechanger in terms of productivity and the continued development that students are able to get from their experience.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned working in the profession?
I had one or two life-changing training experiences in my previous career as a journalist, but now I have almost constant access to developmental opportunities. At UWF, I had the chance to be a member of the university’s LEAD (Leadership, Enhancement, Activities and Development) staff program, a yearlong leadership program with 15 other staff members from across campus. It helped me see the extent of how interdependent we all are in higher education and how deep our shared commitment is to supporting students through our various roles.
When working with events, what factor is most likely to make or break its success?
The pressure to keep up with the rapid pace of technology is a real challenge. There’s just so much out there that it’s impossible to master all of the current technologies and keep up with every emerging trend while also doing my day-to-day job and trying to be a good supervisor for my student employees. I’m also in a master’s program for strategic communication and leadership, so I have had to cut a lot of things out of my life temporarily in order to better manage my work/school/personal life and not overextend myself in an unhealthy way.
Describe a memorable day on the job.
Recently, a previous intern contacted me about serving as a job reference, which I was happy to do. I just found out the other day that she was hired for the job she wanted. That kind of moment makes my day. It’s so rewarding to know that I can make a positive impact in someone’s life at such an important time. There’s nothing else like it.