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Chauncey’s Champion Someone making a difference.

Tammy Parker serves as 'mom'of marine science department

by Nicole Pippo Bookmark and Share
Tammy Parker is the administrative specialist for the Department of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University and is nicknamed the “Mom” of the marine science department.
Tammy Parker is the administrative specialist for the Department of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University and is nicknamed the “Mom” of the marine science department.

It takes a lot of organization and planning to keep the Department of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University running smoothly. Tammy Parker, the administrative specialist for the department, always serves students and faculty with an upbeat attitude.

“We’re one of the biggest departments in the University, so there is a lot going on all the time,” said Parker. CCU’s program is the largest undergraduate marine science program on the East Coast. “There’s never a slow moment.”

Parker has been the administrative specialist for the department for three years. Besides addressing a never-ending flow of emails and paperwork, Parker schedules about 175 field trips per semester, supervises and makes schedules for student workers, and handles every other request that a faculty member or student may have.

She admits that her job can be overwhelming, but she always keeps a smile on her face and appreciates how friendly everyone at CCU is. “I would never want another job in this county other than being here.”

Parker is a native and lifelong resident of Horry County. When she’s not working, she enjoys being active and spending time with her family. She and her husband have one daughter and two sons, and she has four granddaughters. She enjoys walking either on the beach or in marathons. So far, Parker has completed a half-marathon and several 5K and 10K races by walking.

Even though Parker said she did not have much previous knowledge about marine science, she has learned to love it. She even caught a baby shark on a boat trip she went on with a marine science class, and there is a photo of her holding it in her office.

Previously, Parker was employed at the Horry County Council on Aging for 18 years. She left that position to get a job with benefits that would support her for retirement, and Coastal was the perfect fit; she had always wanted to be in an administrative position.

The opportunity to help students is the part Parker loves most about her job. She enjoys the cheerful interactions she has with them, even when there is a line outside her office door.

“Some days are good days, they come in and bring paperwork that needs to be signed by the faculty,” Parker said. However, she said some days are “bad days,” and she has to console students and advise them on what path they should take when they are doing poorly in classes.

“Usually when they leave, they feel better,” said Parker as she pointed out the box of tissues she has on her desk for when students shed tears. She has no problem telling students that they should have stayed home on Friday nights and studied for their tests. “I’m the mom of the marine science department.”

Cecilia Krahforst, visiting assistant professor of marine biology, nominated Parker as a Chauncey’s Champion. While they have only been working together for two semesters, Krahforst finds that Parker’s positive attitude has made an impact on her.

“It is not uncommon for Tammy to respond to emails and phone calls outside of her work hours" said Krahforst. "She goes over and above her job description.This includes counseling students who walk into her office crying and faculty who have never-ending questions and requests that need to be handled." She also said faculty members go to her when they are having a bad day because she is easy to talk to.

When the chair of the Department of Marine Science had to take a leave of absence, Parker’s job became even more demanding. She answered phone calls from potential students and their families, scheduled departmental tours for visitors, and even drove to the chair’s home to deliver paperwork multiple times a week. She went out of her way to help the department stay organized and to ensure the students and faculty received paperwork in a timely fashion.

“The average person wouldn’t go to the length that Tammy does in order to get her work done,” said Krahforst.

“All my life I was taught to take pride in your job and do it to the best of your ability,” said Parker. She does her job well because it’s in her nature.

Currently, Parker is taking classes as an accounting major at CCU. She hopes that once she earns her bachelor’s degree, she will be able to move up within CCU. She is looking forward to earning her degree and proudly displaying it on the wall on her office.

Chauncey’s Service Excellence Champions are University employees (faculty or staff) who perform service-oriented actions that go above and beyond their job duties and that meet at least one dimension of service quality. These employees are recognized for outstanding performance and embody the Feel the Teal initiative. To nominate someone for Chauncey’s Champion, visit coastal.edu/feeltheteal, fill out the form and submit it. Approved nominees will receive an exclusive Chauncey’s Champion gift as well as consideration for additional recognition. View all the Chauncey’s Champions at coastal.edu/feeltheteal/champions/champs.php.

Related Photos

Tammy Parker is the administrative specialist for the Department of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University and is nicknamed the “Mom” of the marine science department. 
Tammy and her husband completed the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon on Oct. 23, 2016 It was their first half marathon. Tammy Parker poses with marine science student workers. Abigail Chaney, right, and Juliane Caughron graduated in May. Chaney was the first student worker Parker hired when she started working at CCU three years ago. To celebrate the CCU's baseball team win of the National Championship in 2016, Parker enjoyed a teal frosting donut.
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