October 2, 2019

Meet Lisa Smith, Program Coordinator, Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology

Lisa SmithHow long have you worked at UAMS? How long have you been in your current position?
I have worked at UAMS for 25 years this month – all of my experience has been in the College of Medicine. I’ve been in my current position for the past nine years.

What is your favorite part of the job?

The part of my job I enjoy the most is working with faculty, staff, and students in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology. I love seeing the faculty’s success, the department’s growth, and the graduate students achieve their goals. It’s a great department and I’m very fortunate to be a part of that.

Are there any challenges?

I like to finish my work the same day it hits my desk. You cannot always do that here. There is so much is happening. You have to be flexible and work on those pop-up priorities that can delay your regular departmental priorities.

How does your work interact with other administrative staff?

It takes a village for a department to run smoothly. From light bulb replacements to coordinating travel, I have to communicate with other administrative staff, faculty, and students to get the job done. Coordinating three faculty recruitment visits was the most recent priority. We just completed the visits and one came back for a second visit. We hope to have a new faculty member soon.

As for the social side of the Microbiology and Immunology department, I coordinate departmental events (e.g., faculty retirement receptions, new faculty welcome receptions). I have also helped coordinate College of Medicine events beyond my department.

How do you group handle problematic issues?

I meet problematic challenges head-on and try to find basic solutions that work for everyone. I like to find the reason for the problem, talk it out/work as a team to find a solution, and then figure out steps we can take to avoid future problems.

What does your workload look like on an annual basis?

I process employee trips as part of my departmental responsibilities. In a fiscal year, I process an average of approximately 68 employee trips, which includes gathering travel information and charges to be submitted to the COM financial office.

How about after hours? What do you do for fun?

Reading is my escape. I love a good mystery, suspense, or romance. A Nicholas Sparks book is a good go-to. I also love to travel with my husband and girlfriends. A road trip west and up to Montana is planned with my husband, hopefully in May. A trip to Ireland would be wonderful. (I just need to get over my fear of flying.)

Lisa Smith’s childrenI love to hang out with my kids (Anna-23 and Nick-20) whenever they let me. Anna recently moved to Nashville, TN. I’m not a fan of her moving away, but it’s a great place to visit when I need an Anna fix. With Anna away, Nick has been sweet enough to visit more.

What personal skill or hobby don’t most people know about you?

I’d like to take a pottery or ceramics class. The Arkansas Arts Center is offering a class that I’m looking into. I had the opportunity to take a pottery class in NW Arkansas a couple of years ago and loved it. It felt great to create something with my hands. The pieces I made didn’t look half bad either.

Any last thoughts on your position as a departmental Program Coordinator?

Work hard and be kind.