Terri Johnson

Jon Gilbert Fox photo.

Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award

Administrative Assistant, Counseling and Human Relations Center

“When I came to Plymouth State as a student, I immediately felt very comfortable,” Terri Johnson ’79, administrative assistant for the Counseling and Human Relations Center recalls. So comfortable was her fit with Plymouth State that she eventually returned as an employee, working in the Office of the Registrar. “I missed the community that surrounds and supports PSU,” Johnson says. “It felt great to be back on campus and working for the University.”

Over the course of her 13-year career at PSU, Johnson has worked in the Office of Public Relations, Financial Aid, the Department of Health and Human Performance, and the Department of English. She has also served on a number of committees, including the Professional Development Committee, which allocates funds used to help staff members build their skills. In 2004, Johnson found her niche working as an administrative assistant in the Counseling and Human Relations Center, a safe haven for students, faculty, and staff to find support and guidance. For Johnson, the most gratifying part of her job is seeing students overcome difficulties and succeed. “Often we see students when they are dealing with a problem or issue that they are having trouble handling alone,” she says. “The staff at the Counseling and Human Relations Center helps students successfully deal with their issues. Once issues are dealt with, we often won’t see students again until they are ready to graduate. The fact that we’re here for students can make a difference between whether they succeed or not.”

While she has worked in many departments during her career at PSU, Johnson says, “I hope to remain working at the Counseling and Human Relations Center for the rest of my career. I want to help the center prosper and grow in every way I can. The larger the network of support we can offer, the more successful and happy PSU students are. I love to think that I am in some way part of that outcome.”

For Johnson, who is the first recipient of the Sara Jayne Steen Operating Staff Service Award, the University’s close-knit community is one of the school’s greatest assets and the chief reason she would never consider working anywhere else. It’s a community that both she and her husband, Phil Haskell ’81, who works in PSU’s Information Technology Services, enjoy. “To live and work here, take part in the activities, plays, concerts, sporting events … it feels very much like my family,” she says. “Plymouth State has become such a big part of my life. It is the foundation that my husband and I live and work around.”

Riane Herlihy ’09