WHAT DO YOU DO?
I have the responsibility, as students are applying to our program, to maintain documents and get everything in order for them to be reviewed by the admissions committees. Once undergraduate students are admitted, then I’m responsible for reviewing course work and running audits for them so that when they go consult with their advisers, they have accurate information.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RECORDS YOU’RE RESPONSIBLE FOR KEEPING?
Transcripts, letters of recommendation, applications – all the documents that come in during application time, as well as other correspondence.
DOES ANYONE ELSE SHARE THESE RESPONSIBILITIES?
It’s just me (laughs). The undergraduate program just began this fall and this was already a new role for me. Just when I was about to get things figured out, the undergrad program got under way.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU WORKED AT THE UI?
I came in August 1999 as extra help. I was very excited. My first assignment was at the School of Social Work. I got a permanent position when another secretary moved away. I started as a secretary II. Now, I oversee all Civil Service staff members in the Academic Programs Office, which is three staff members and two graduate students.
WHAT DO YOU DO THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT KNOW?
As applications are coming in, I review them for minimum qualifications and prerequisites. That’s one thing that I think is unique. Another thing is maintaining field education documentation, which is the paperwork that documents internship experiences for students in the master’s program. We maintain those documents almost indefinitely. As individuals go to other states to get licensed, licensing agencies sometimes want specific documentation of their experiences. We’re moving to maintaining them electronically.
WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE WORKING AT THE UI?
I worked in early childhood education as assistant director at a preschool here in town, Chesterbrook Academy on Windsor Road. I had been working there for eight years when they sold the building, so I started looking for a new job. The director of the preschool encouraged me to apply at the UI.
ARE YOU HAPPY WITH YOUR DECISION?
Definitely. After coming here I completed my bachelor’s degree. I finished in May. I had completed about a year-and-a-half of my associate’s degree when I started at the UI. I finished my associate’s degree at Parkland College and completed a bachelor’s degree through Eastern Illinois University.
SO DO YOU EVER MISS WORKING WITH YOUNG CHILDREN?
I did like working with children. The interesting thing is that what I did there is similar to what I do here. When I would tell parents of our prospective preschoolers about all the great things our center had to offer and why it was the best, it’s like talking with a student about why our School of Social Work is the best program around. I also had to keep records updated there.
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO STUDENTS WHO ARE THINKING OF COMING HERE?
I tell them that we have a nationally ranked program. In our state, the UI is considered one of the top institutions. I think the one thing that seems to attract people is the environment in Champaign-Urbana. It’s the best of both worlds: It’s not so big that you’re always dealing with traffic and everything like that but yet there are a lot of things you can do in the community so you’re never bored. It’s also a small enough place that someone from a small town won’t feel like they’re in a big city.
DO YOU LIKE WORKING AT THE UI?
I love working at the UI. I think just the diversity of the community and having the opportunity to meet lots of people with lots of different backgrounds is exciting. With the undergrad program coming back to us this year, it’s neat to see enthusiastic undergrads excited about getting an education here.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I’m originally from western Illinois, near Monmouth.
WHAT’S SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR OFFICE THAT YOU’RE PROUD OF?
I think the school in general is proud of its service to the community We have a student group that will do fundraisers to provide additional support to agencies who need it. At Christmas, they’ll do some kind of gift drive for kids who are in foster care. At the Children and Family Research Center, they do research to help assess needs and provide better services for the community.
CHERYL STREET FAST FACTS
Family: She and her husband, Shane, live in Tolono. They have two children, Anthony, 23, and Courtney, 19.
Volunteer work: She volunteers as a youth leader at the First Baptist Church of Tolono.
Travel: This year the family traveled to Colorado; a favorite destination is the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.
Favorite places to eat: Farren’s Pub & Eatery; Old Orchard Bowling Alley for pizza
Favorite books: mysteries
Favorite TV show: “NCIS”