Staff are Often the Least Appreciated

I want to use this opportunity to recognize some of the amazing staff members that support the work we do at the Annenberg School for Communication.  Staff are often the least appreciated group of people at a university, even though teaching and learning would be impossible without their personal and professional commitment to these spaces.  Here are three people at Annenberg who have provided incredible support since I first came to the University of Pennsylvania.

Kelly Fernandez is the Executive Assistant to Annenberg’s Dean and she is a rock star of awesomeness and capability.  From the moment of planning my visit to interview at Penn, Kelly has been outgoing and capable, welcoming and reassuring.  She manages to support people in a way that recognizes we’re not just scholarly output machines, but human beings with everyday lives.  She is super smart and super funny (and also has great taste in music).  Kelly is invaluable to my department, to our students and faculty, and to my personal sanity. 

Sharon Black is the Librarian at Annenberg.  She goes out of her way to support students and faculty with research projects, but she also has her own interests in scholarship, and is a regular at talks and lectures around campus.  No matter what the topic of a talk was, I can always count on a follow-up email from Sharon to share her thoughts and reactions.  Sharon is also committed to different volunteer activities that blow me away – for years she has worked with women who are incarcerated to develop life skills and support their creative writing efforts.  As a former librarian myself, I can say that Sharon embraces the best components of library work: intellectual curiosity and a commitment to her community.

Deb Porter is the Senior Building Administrator at Annenberg and she is a badass.  There’s no other way to say it.  The building runs smoothly in large part because of her and when I plan an event at Annenberg, no matter how big or small, Deb always takes a lot of pride in making sure that it happens seamlessly.  Somehow Deb also has the energy to stay on top of *every* current political issue, and I’ve come to count on her commentary on current events.  Deb is committed to Annenberg as an institution in ways that are all too easily ignored, and my respect for her is tremendous.

submitted by
Jessa Lingel
February 28, 2018