A dedicated asset and the glue that holds everything together are just a few of the ways Joanne Zimmerman is described by her colleagues.
Zimmerman is the academic administrative specialist for George Mason University’s Department of Biology, and the university’s Employee of the Month for July.
In accepting her award, which was presented by George Mason President Ángel Cabrera on June 22, Zimmerman thanked her colleagues for their support.
“I appreciate the support on days that I’m not 100 percent, so I can be 100 percent most of the time,” she said.
Zimmerman started in the Department of Biology in 2007 as a front desk receptionist. She now provides human resources support for the department, which includes 22 faculty members, 56 graduate teaching assistants and adjunct employees, and many undergraduate and graduate wage employees.
Most of Zimmerman’s interactions, though, are with students.
“My favorite part of the job is seeing them progress and watching them grow,” she said.
“She definitely makes sure the students come first,” said Lisa Bair, the human resources and administrative specialist for the Department of Environmental Science and Policy who nominated Zimmerman.
In her nominating letter, Bair called Zimmerman a mentor who has answers for just about any question. Zimmerman’s organizational, problem-solving and multitasking skills also come into play as she dons several hats.
Larry Rockwood, chair of the Department of Biology, recalled Zimmerman filling in for a staff member who had left the university. Zimmerman handled all the functions of the vacant job while also doing her regular work.
“Joanne is an extremely valuable member, not only for the Department of Biology, but also for the university as a whole,” Rockwood said.