Get to Know: Penny Ames, Admissions and Records Supervisor

Penny Ames
Penny Ames, Admissions and Records Coordinator

Our School is grateful for talented and dedicated staff, who contribute greatly to our teaching and research excellence. This "Get to Know" series highlights our staff, sharing their friendly faces and stories of professional success.

Where did you grow up?

I was born and raised in Sussex, Wisconsin, a small town about thirty miles northwest of Milwaukee.

What year did you begin working for the iSchool?

I began working for the iSchool in October 2006 as extra help. By November 2006, I was hired to work full time as a secretary III (now known as an office support associate). I worked at the front desk, where I was responsible for planning special events and executing special projects requested by faculty and staff as well as providing clerical support for the School's assistant and associate deans. By August 2007, I upgraded to office support specialist and moved into admissions for the School, where my responsibilities included processing applications for all degree programs; working with the Admissions Committee and practicum coordinator; reviewing student theses; and assisting with student records. In September 2012, my duties expanded to include maintaining academic records for all degree-seeking students within the School. In March 2013, I was upgraded to admissions and records representative, and in July 2016, I was upgraded to admissions and records officer, where my duties expanded to include assisting the director of enrollment management. My job responsibilities grew to include supervising in 2017, and I eventually upgraded to admissions and records supervisor in July 2018.

Where did you work prior to the iSchool?

Prior to working at the iSchool, I worked for a local merchandising company that serviced various retail outlets (Walmart, CVS, grocery stores, etc.) in central Illinois. For this job, I merchandised checkout lanes that had candy and magazine displays as well as various displays throughout the stores. I also worked for a realtor in Champaign as an office manager and bookkeeper. This job entailed managing the realtors' umbrella of real estate-related businesses, which included a realtor and appraisal company, real estate and appraisal courses, and many rentals throughout Champaign. Prior to moving to east-central Illinois, I worked as an office manager/bookkeeper for a Lutheran church and then a parochial elementary school. I also worked for a few years as a store merchandiser at an upscale women's clothing store in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. That was exciting, as I got to travel to the other store locations (in Chicagoland) and train store managers in merchandising their stores.

What do you do at the School?

I oversee the entire admission cycle process, which consists of engagement with prospective students, applications processing, communication of admission decisions, and enrollment in degree programs. Additionally, I supervise three people within the iSchool—two in admissions and one in student records. I also oversee the management of all degree-seeking student academic records within the School from the time of admission through degree conferral.

What do you like best about your job?

What I like the most is working with students, from the prospective stage when they are just thinking about applying all the way through their student lifecycle here at the iSchool. I enjoy listening to their stories and the goals they want to achieve and letting them know how being a student at the iSchool can help them achieve those goals. It is exciting to see the students grow throughout their studies, and I am honored to be a part of that.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy reading, jigsaw puzzles, baking and cooking, taking photos and scrapbooking, Illini sports, traveling, and walking. This community has so many great places to walk!

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