Where were you born and raised?
I was born here in Oswego and raised in Volney. I graduated from G. Ray Bodley High School in Fulton. 

When and where did you start at the college?
November 2000. I started as a cleaner in academics on the afternoon shift. Then I went to housing eight months later. I stayed in housing for about 12 years. I got a Grade 7 and went back to academics, then back to housing.

How did you get started in building trades?
I've been doing this since I was a kid. I used to take things apart and put them back together. I helped my Dad with remodeling -- whatever tool he needed next, handing it to him. Once I got to SUNY Oswego, I took the CSEA Partnership (training) classes that they offered.

How do you get promoted through the grades?
You just have to work your skills and demonstrate qualifications that the state requires to step up, and make sure you qualify for the next step and have so many years in doing those services, to show that you have worked in that area. You learn more from other coworkers as you step up (to the next grade), the new qualifications. I just got my Grade 12 on May 18. I've got a helper who works with me and I'm training him.

Do you ever get asked what it's like to be a woman in what's historically a field filled with men?
Every day. (Laughs.) I'm the only girl in the department, so they are like my big brothers. (People ask) "How is it to work with all these guys?" and I go, "It's fine." It's like being a little sister with older brothers. You learn things from them. The teach me. They play pranks a little here and there -- "My radio's on the wrong channel!" (Laughs.) They have tried to teach me each step of the way and showed me how to do things right and the techniques for the skills I need to keep moving up. I've worked my way up from a (Grade) 6 to 9 to 12.

Do you have a specialty, a go-to skill?
We do it all. It's never enough to have one skill. The more you know, the better you are and the better you can train someone else to see what they're good at. We've done concrete slabs, we've fixed doors. We put up walls, do roof repairs, wall repairs, repointing concrete, fixing steps, pouring concrete to fix sidewalks. We are jacks of all trades. We have a carpenter and a mason, but it seems they're (the college is) stepping more to general mechanics -- you're supposed to learn electricity and plumbing and all of that. I'm a hard worker. I like to get things done and be there to help others out.

Do you work all over campus? What are your hours?
Yes, all of the buildings, including the Village and dining halls. We go downtown (to Oswego State Downtown) and some of the guys even go down to (SUNY Oswego in) Syracuse. We have five Grade 12s. Mark Dixon is a 14; he's the boss. I work days during the summer. I will go on the night shift, 11 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., when the school year starts. I haven't worked on it yet, but I have no problem. My old company used to work swing shifts, so I'm used to nights.

Is there a job you find really challenging?
I worked on a ceiling grid, learning to do drop ceilings. I'm not really that good at it -- that's probably my most challenging thing right now. I'm supposed to be doing a door in Lanigan that's going to be a tough one; it was somebody else's but it got handed to me. They want to see if I can do it myself for the first time. I'm getting there!

What do you like most about working for SUNY Oswego?
The people. Everybody around us. The kids, the coworkers, the faculty. We have a job to do day by day. When you have good people around you, it makes your job easier to enjoy. I have a few students I still keep in contact with. One friend was so small, but she joined the Marines and is now in Japan with her husband.

Do you have any other activities on campus?
I'm a union grievance officer for CSEA Local 611. I give out information, and if there are issues that need to go to arbitration or department meetings, I'm in there to learn what to do to protect our people.

What do you do off the job?
Mostly helping my mom out. She's been sick. Whatever she needs done, I help her out. Some of my friends who have some problems, I help them out, too. I'm also a certified massage therapist -- not licensed, certified, so I can't charge for it. I graduated from Onondaga School of Therapeutic Massage in 2008. Whenever a friend has an issue, I help them out with massage. My brother-in-law has a company and I work with him part time on dry wall, painting, construction on the weekends. Otherwise, mostly, I'm on the water. I'm a water person, so I jet ski and do other things by the water.

What else can you tell us about your family?
My husband, Brian Norris, and I live in Granby. We're saving up for a house. My husband is a truck driver. We do remodeling, landscaping around my parents' house. My brother works at SUNY Oswego. I have a younger sister, too.