Department secretary Christine Dallas of atmospheric and geological sciences in Shineman Center loves her job, her large family and on-campus activities, including ice skating and Rokerthon teamwork in Marano Campus Center.

Where did you work before coming to the college?

I worked for the New York state prison system starting about 10 years ago, in the department of corrections. I was at three different facilities: I started at Willard, I was at Butler and I ended up at Auburn prison.

Why did you take a job at SUNY Oswego?

I came over here with the idea that I would get an opportunity to move to a higher position. I was here seven months, and I was promoted. I came here in November of '14 and I was an office assistant II in residence life and housing, in Culkin Hall. I liked my job in residence life and housing and I enjoyed working with the great staff there, but the opportunity for a promotion in the atmospheric and geological sciences department led me here. Seven months after I arrived at Oswego, I interviewed for the secretarial position, and I’ve been here ever since – a little over two years.

What do you like best about working in this office?

I think the faculty. They have a real passion for what they are teaching and they really try to work with their students to get them the best education they can in their fields. The environment here is very positive. Everybody that I interact with has been very positive with me, and I get good feedback. I feel I have a very good relationship with everyone who works here.

What do you think about the students you encounter?

We have students coming in and out of the office, and I enjoy working with them and helping them out as much as I can. I try to make their road in education as smooth as possible, because there can be a lot of changes for them. If something is going wrong and I can steer them in the right direction and make them happy, that makes me happy. The students I've worked with have been very motivated and genuinely interested in the field they’re in. They've been very helpful and friendly when they come in here.

What are your duties in the department?

I answer phones and emails. I do a lot of ordering for the office -- office supplies and supplies for classes. Between geology and meteorology, I might order things to do with rocks or it might be thermometers – a lot of things. I’ve ordered weather balloons and things as simple as, "I need some straws for my next class. Can you …?" "Yep, yep, I can get some straws." Things to back up computers, or computer system components. Cameras – meteorology is going to do some time-lapse work on the roof or the observation deck (of Shineman Center). I work in Excel spreadsheets quite a bit. We deal with large numbers of students. I might sort them out by class for field trips – that information has to go over if we reserve state vans for field trips. Faculty doesn't always have time to come in and ask me for things – it’s easier if they email and let me know what it is they need so I can look into it. I manage the department budget, preparing a monthly reconciliation, as well as several other account budgets; arrange transportation for field trips; submit card access requests each semester; process travel paperwork; distribute mail; edit the web page; help with candidate interviewing arrangements-reimbursement, room reservations, itinerary and so on; prepare correspondence whenever necessary; distribute course evaluations and prepare a report for them; assist faculty with copy jobs and assist the department chair, Steve Skubis, with paperwork as needed.

Is there anything you’re particularly proud of?

I feel that the faculty here know that they can count on me to get paperwork in order. I do a lot of reminding for them to get paperwork in as needed, to keep things flowing, if you will. I keep a budget for the department. They know if they ask me to do something, it gets done in a pretty speedy fashion.

Where were you born, raised and educated?

I was born and raised in Red Creek. I went to Red Creek High School, then to Rochester Business Institute to learn secretarial skills. I like the support field. 

Did you work anywhere else before the department of corrections?

I was a substitute teacher for several different school districts and a substitute in some of their offices. I worked in BOCES as a teaching assistant. I did a lot of waitressing. Way back when, after business school, I worked as a dispatcher at Sierra Vista, Arizona, Police Department -- two of my brothers relocated to Arizona some years before and settled there and had families at the time. I got kind of homesick and wanted to move back.

What other things have you been involved with on campus?

I've been in the Corporate Challenge twice. I like to ice skate when they have open skating. It's something I never thought I'd do again. A couple of other friends and I asked Tim (Graber) about some instruction. One of our meteorology graduates (this past May), Lucy Bergmann, ended up being one of our instructors. She was on the (synchronized) skating team. I’ve gotten to know her and it's been great. She's since gone on to good job with a weather station in Colorado Springs. Ice skating led me to become a team leader for the Rokerthon 3 conga line on ice (and we smashed the Guinness World Book record!). I was the 2015 SEFA Bake Off winner for the Shineman Center with my Pumpkin Bars. I do a lot of walking on my lunch break – I walk all over campus, sometimes alone, sometimes with a friend. It's a beautiful campus. I've been to a concert at Sheldon Hall and a play when Tyler Hall just reopened. I feel very fortunate here. It's a great place to work.

What do you like to do off-campus?

Kayaking, with my husband. We recently got a puppy; she's about 11 months old now. We've been taking her to the track, trying to train her a bit. I've done some deer hunting, but I've taken some time off – I don't have enough time. We do some hiking in the Adirondacks and camping.

What can you tell us about your family?

My husband, Jim Dallas, is retired as a sergeant investigator with the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. We’ve been married 17 years. I have two children and he has three children, and together we have 13 grandchildren, all between 16 months and 13 years old. We do a lot of picnics at the house and dinners with family. We've been out bowling with a group. We live in North Rose, and I carpool with two other people, so it makes it a little easier.