Office Support Specialist for the Mathematical Science Department: Patty Stoutamyer
Behind the Scenes
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Since 2001, Patricia “Patty” Stoutamyer has been the office support specialist for the Department of Mathematical Science at UIS. She said her favorite part of her job is “actually talking with students. I very much enjoy all of the faculty, we have a great department. I also like being down here in the lower campus because there isn’t so much activity. You can sit and work confidently without being interrupted every two minutes.”
Her job keeps her quite busy as she runs the office, talks to all those who come into the office, helps students, explains the requirements for classes, and looks to see if students have the prerequisites for the class they are requesting to take.
However, Stoutamyer said, “That is also probably one of the saddest parts, because sometimes people are afraid of math, they’ll wait until they’re a senior, and they aren’t qualified to take a math course.
“I always say to students, if you’re afraid of a class or you don’t think you have the qualifications for it, take it early and that way you know if you can make progress or not. … We really are dedicated to students and we want them to be able to be successful in whatever endeavor.”
Stoutamyer is originally from Springfield, but moved to Boston and remained for 34 years. After retiring from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Stoutamyer decided to return to Springfield.
“My family is all here, so it just felt a little more comfortable. You make a lot of friends in 34 years, but there isn’t anything the same as family.”
Being a single mom, Stoutamyer was unable to dedicate the time it took to get her college degree, but took many classes over the years. Instead of going to school, Stoutamyer took various jobs, staying an average of five years each before moving on.
Stoutamyer said, “I’ve had interesting jobs. I was the administrative assistant to the head brewer at brewing company. That was really interesting, because women had never been on taste test panels for beer before, only men. I said to the head brewer, ‘Well, women drink beer, why aren’t we on the taste test panel?’ So myself, the president’s secretary, and the marketing secretary were the first three women on a tasting panel.”
After all the experience Stoutamyer had in the workforce, she retired and returned to Springfield.
Upon coming back to Springfield, it was not long before she decided she did not like being retired. When looking for a new job, she determined she was going to come to the university and come in at a lower level job.
John Snyder, online coordinator for the Department of Mathematical Sciences, said, “Patty is a godly woman who brings a peaceful and joyful character to work every day. She sees the good in each of us and makes us feel good about working together.”
Carol Saltsgaver, a professor in the department, said, “Patty always has a positive attitude and she skillfully takes care of business for the department.”
During her time off, Stoutamyer spends most of her time with family, volunteering or working on her yard. There are multiple places where she volunteers her time, including the St. Martin de Porres Center and the homeless shelter at Kumler United Methodist Church.
She mentions how active in her church, St. Joseph Parish, she has become, and she is also “very involved with my family. I have a daughter, granddaughter, and a great-granddaughter, and we have a lot of fun together.”
She also spends a good deal of her off time with her brother. When she can, Stoutamyer works in her home. “I have my own home and I do all of my yard work. I’m very interested in having a beautiful yard, so I plant a lot of flowers and keep up with that.”
Unlike her other jobs, Stoutamyer has stayed as office support for the Department of Mathematical Sciences for more than five years. Stoutamyer said the reason she has stayed is, “the faculty and students. I really enjoy being here. I find when I’m not working, I don’t have the discipline of getting up on a daily basis. This kind of keeps me grounded. I like being busy all the time and this job definitely keeps me busy all the time.”