Presidential Award of Excellence
Program Support Assistant,
Animal and Nutritional Sciences
“I am one of those fortunate people who loves her job.”
The N.H. Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, housed in the Department of Animal and Nutritional Sciences, is the hub of veterinary disease surveillance and pathology for the state of New Hampshire. Each year, hundreds of veterinarians and veterinary hospital staff, thousands of animal owners and organizations, and the N.H. Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Foods depend on the lab for critical information and testing services for various diseases.
Sitting smack at the center of this great hub of engagement is Cynthia Lewis, the lab's program support assistant, communicating with the public, managing office staff, and keeping operations running smoothly at one of the University's busiest outreach services.
Lewis has come far since she began working at UNH in 1979 as a part-time office assistant for the Elderhostel Program. Over the years, she steadily improved her technical and business management skills. She earned an associate's degree in applied business management from the Thompson School in 1994, and is working toward a bachelor's degree in psychology at UNH.
Today, she manages the business affairs of the bustling diagnostic lab, which actually consists of three labs that handle approximately 25,000 cases each year. Her professionalism, courtesy, and high-level of quality draw praise from all who have the pleasure to meet her.
"Cynthia has set and achieved the highest standards for herself and those who work with her," avers Joseph Moore, clinical professor of animal and nutritional sciences and lab director. "Her friendly, considerate, and concerned manner enables her to interact with people of all ages and levels of authority."
At the same time Lewis began working for the Diagnostic Lab, she began helping the state's Veterinary Medical Association (NHVMA) by assisting with the organization's semi-annual continuing education meetings and publishing its quarterly newsletter. Impressed with her abilities, the executive director, JoAnn Poole, recruited Lewis as an assistant. Today, Lewis continues to work fulltime at UNH and part-time for the NH Veterinary Medical Association.
Lewis says the lab's main goal is to "serve our clients. That is what really guides us all." To help her office accomplish this goal, Lewis implemented a computer networking system that allows her colleagues to better share information. The system keeps them on task, but, says Lewis, it's not the software that keeps everybody together.
"I am one of those fortunate people who loves her job," says Lewis. "It's mainly the people, though, and their loyalty and sense of mission. They have become like an extended family for me. I think that is one of the reasons I have been here this long, and that they have been here this long."
- David Moore