Campus News - December 10, 2001


George family opt for UNM careers

By Carolyn Gonzales and Laurie Mellas-Ramirez

(From left) Donna, Leslie, Jennifer and Robert George. Photo by Laurie Mellas-RamirezThe Georges will tell you that the family that works together stays together.

UNM employees Robert and Donna and their daughters Leslie and Jennifer share with us this holiday season a story steeped in love for education and one another.

Representing four distinctive UNM departments – Radiology, Student Affairs Special Programs, Psychiatry and KNME-TV, the Georges embrace lifelong learning as a family value…

Donna George
Administrative Assistant III
Special Programs
Student Affairs

Donna demonstrates great organizational skills by getting all the Georges together in less than 24 hours to be interviewed. Not surprisingly, they gathered at “Mom’s” place.

Donna started as a work-study student in 1994. “I worked for a long time with no degree,” she says, noting that she and Robert are both first generation college graduates. She earned a bachelor’s degree, but once engaged in learning, she didn’t stop. After completing her master’s degree, she joined Special Programs in January 2000.

Currently working on a PhD in Parks Recreation and Environmental Education in the College of Education, Donna encourages all to aspire to the highest levels of education.

By continuing to learn, she sets a good example for students. “Many of our students are first-generation, not sure about school, non-traditional. The best part of the program is the students. They are the best of the best. They just need to be encouraged to know they’re the best,” she says.

Donna says the academic environment at UNM is “inspiring and rewarding.” She soundly advises, as a mother would, “The University provides tremendous educational opportunities that every employee should take advantage of.”

Robert George
Lecturer III
Radiologic Sciences

Robert, head of the family, also stands at the head of the class. Serving as program advisor in Radiologic Sciences, Robert teaches courses in nuclear medicine and radiography. He helped implement a bachelor’s program in Radiologic Sciences at UNM and says he’s learned more from teaching than from being a student.

A man who went from working sales to nuclear medicine, Robert is atypical of most faculty. “Where are you going to be a year from now?” is a question he frequently poses to people. A strong supporter of continuing education, he encourages people to make career changes, noting, “You’ll be a year older whether you go to school or not. Make the best of your time,” he advises. He earned his master’s in counseling at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, and is currently pondering a PhD program.

Robert continues to work in the hospital to make sure he’s kept abreast of new information and techniques in the field.
Committed to the students, he tells them they won’t have a life during the yearlong Nuclear Medicine program.

“Teaching is the only thing better than working in the field. I recruit students for the program whenever possible. We can only take about five or six a year. I’ve recruited two from coffee shops,” he says.

Being a good father means showing his daughters he’s also a good son. He and Jennifer will travel to Louisiana to visit his mother during the holiday.

Jennifer George
Administrative Assistant III
HSC Psychiatry

After earning her bachelor’s from Harding University in 1995, Jennifer worked as a UNM work- study while taking sociology classes for a second degree. While serving as a temp in the College of Pharmacy in late 2000, she landed the psychiatry position with the help of continuous recruitment.

She assists nationally recognized faculty Dr. Laura Roberts and chair Dr. Samuel Keith. “I take away the daily annoyances so they can focus. I enjoy helping to make a difference by helping them to make a difference,” she says.
The room for advancement, benefit package, non-corporate environment and talented colleagues keep her happy at UNM, she says.

“I’m surrounded by great people. The psychiatry department has been rated one of the best departments to work in,” says Jennifer, noting that she hopes to boost her role in the department as she furthers her education.

She is taking a statistics course in preparation for a master’s degree in public administration.

Another plus is having Dad two buildings away. Jennifer says the two share a love for “hot, strong coffee.”

Leslie George
Database Administrator

Leslie was the last “to join the family biz,” she says, launching her career at UNM in 1996 as a work-study at University Hospital. In July 1997, she joined the data entry staff at Partners in Research in the Health Sciences Center. After earning her bachelor of university studies in May 1999 she moved to KNME-TV.

Asked about her favorite part of the job, she replies “The cause. I’ve always supported by just watching, but now I have the ability to introduce change and help the station function more efficiently by streamlining the databases.”

Leslie is creating a new underwriter database combining four older programs that had been manually calculated. “And then there are the ‘other duties as assigned,’” she jokes, referring to her work as software/hardware trouble shooter.

Her goal is to develop an IT department for the station.

Donna is quick to note that all four departments benefit from Leslie’s computer expertise.

Leslie also advocates for education whenever possible. “I encourage people to go back to school, especially women in their 40s who say ‘I can’t do it.’ I tell them ‘both my parents went back, it’s the best thing you can do for yourself.’”

She hosted Thanksgiving and the family will gather for dinner at her home during the holidays. The girls are looking forward to Christmas Eve at their parents’ home where stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

The sole George not employed at UNM is Leslie’s son, Kenneth Robert, age seven. According to grandma, the little fellow intends to stick with tradition.

“He says, ”When I grow up I want to work at UNM,’” Donna proudly reports.

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