Spotlight: Positive Energy
By Breanna Thackerson
There is never a dull moment in the office of the Department of Journalism, at least not when Cecilia Hammond is around.
Whether she is excited or genuinely happy, Hammond often stands up from her chair, throws her hands up and does what she refers to as her “happy dance.”
Although Hammond is approaching her sixtieth birthday, her cheerful disposition takes many years off of that age. She attributes the attitude that people remember her for to the students that she works with on a daily basis.
She threw her head back and laughed.
“Working with students keeps me young,” Hammond said.
Hammond came to work for the University 22 years ago and hopes to retire in 2013. She became the program assistant for the journalism department in 1994 after working in the dean’s office for six years.
When she first started working for the department, she handled many responsibilities to ensure that its inner workings ran smoothly. Included in her responsibilities were overseeing the department's finances, budgets, schedules and course curriculums.
In order to successfully accomplish all of her goals, Hammond had to devise a system of organization that would be most efficient in her office. Hammond said she would often place things aside in piles and prioritize according to importance. She wanted to be able to get everything done, but did not have the time or the energy to accomplish it all herself.
The amount of work that the job demanded was overwhelming for one person, Hammond said. It quickly became clear that it was necessary to hire additional help in order to juggle all of the tasks that the department required.
"It was more reactive than proactive," Hammond said. "We did what we had to do to get by until we were able to hire somebody."
In 2008, the Department of Journalism hired Crechale Stevens as the new accounting specialist to handle budget-related matters. According to Hammond, hiring Stevens was a huge improvement for both easing her personal workload and for the department as a whole.
"Now that I'm here, it frees her up to do what she really loves to do, and that's helping the students," Stevens said.
Stevens explained that one of the highlights of working in the department is having the opportunity to work with Hammond every day.
“She is a joy to work with. She always has a positive attitude and sees the good in people,” Stevens said.
Sophomore Haley Namie, a student worker for the journalism department, said Hammond is approachable and always available to help students with anything they need.
“She’s concerned about you personally and not just what’s happening at work,” Namie said.
Hammond said she is happy to be able to work with student-related activities more. Now the main focus of her daily work is building course schedules, planning curriculum and working with parents and prospective students. She said she loves being able to help students in any way possible.
“There’s usually a solution to every problem. We may not always have the answer, but we can sure find it,” Hammond said.
Hammond said she is looking forward to her last few years at the University and is excited to see what the future holds for the department. She hopes the next three years before retirement will be as great as the last 22 have been.
"I hope that we can continue to serve the students to the best of our ability," Hammond said. "We will strive to maintain the great working atmosphere that we already have."
Breanna Thackerson is a College of Communication and Information Sciences student studying journalism.