Lauren Neal — an academic microcomputer specialist in Tennessee Tech University's office of Information Technology Services — is this year's recipient of TTU's Outstanding Professional Award.
"I work closely with Lauren every day, and she is very professional and hard-working," said Michael W. Wheeler, ITS systems programmer at the university. "She always tries to do the job in the best way possible to make sure that the people she is helping are satisfied. She always goes the extra mile."
Neal, a 1998 graduate of TTU, earned her bachelor's degree in business administration with an emphasis in management information systems.
While still a student, she began developing her professional experience by working as an assistant in the College of Business Administration's computer lab, where she assisted students with hardware and software problems.
That position was followed by an appointment as an academic microcomputer specialist assistant, which included the duties of installing software and configuring computers for use by faculty and staff.
Neal has been in her current post since 1998, where she serves as administrator for WebCT, the university's online course tools program, and is responsible for the faculty's instructional technology needs.
"She has also worked very hard in the creation and development of the new faculty development center, known as the Institute for Technological Scholarship, which should be opening in the near future," Wheeler said.
Neal is also the recipient of a Tennessee Board of Regents Innovation Award, Regents On-Line Degree Program Trailblazer Award and RODP Certificate of Achievement.
"She demonstrates enthusiasm for the job that she does and conveys enjoyment to those around her," said Julia Aucoin, associate professor for TTU's School of Nursing.
Established in 1993, the Outstanding Professional awards program was created to recognize outstanding professional staff, accompanying existing awards programs for faculty and clerical and support staff.