Friday, January 6, 2012

Happy New Year!

As NKA starts a new semester of activities and classes, it's fitting to thank Shirley McElprang, Management Assistant for Idaho State University's Continuing Education and Conference Services. This department includes NKA, with which Shirley has worked since 2002.

Shirley not only keeps the office running by handling a huge volume of telephone calls, emails, and paper correspondence, but she also manages financial deposits (which she coordinates with the NKA Board Treasurer), sets up classrooms, moves tables and chairs, arranges audio-visual aids for class presenters, and assists class facilitators. She works with the tech support staff to ensure that the NKA classrooms' electronic communication systems function efficiently.

Shirley types the entire NKA Catalog twice a year and prepares it for publication, and performs "all other duties as assigned," an ISU catch phrase that can include almost anything. Shirley is the go-to gal for the Continuing Education building; she says that even maintenance and security personnel ask her where the keys are. She describes herself as a Jack of All Trades and says that she "learned to juggle," a necessary skill for her job, which often entails working extra hours to meet deadlines.

NKA is a self-supporting organization--it receives no funding beyond membership dues--run by its members, and Shirley acts as the liaison between NKA and ISU. For example, she coordinates updates to the official NKA website with ISU's webmaster (see website link to the right).

Preparation for her current job included earning an associate degree in Marketing/Management & Hospitality from ISU's College of Technology. As part of her training, she fulfilled a three-month internship at Walt Disney World in Florida. Shirley's personal motto is "Don't tell me CAN'T." As proof, she recalls her quest to be photographed with all of the Disney characters, a feat that had never been accomplished by anyone working at Disney World, yet Shirley managed to make it happen (see photo below). At Disney World, Shirley earned a "Ducktorate" degree, as well as her set of "ears." Sadly, those significant ears were later stolen during a 4-H event at the Bannock County Fair.
That can-do attitude comes in handy on the job now. Whether she's following up on someone's inquiry or rearranging a classroom configuration to make it more user friendly or helping class facilitators make last-minute contacts with NKA members, Shirley is fast, efficient, and friendly.

Here's to Shirley and to another great semester of NKA activities!