Alan West has received a warm welcome from the campus community since his start as an administrative assistant for the UVa-Wise Department of Natural Sciences in September.
“I feel like everyone likes me and I really enjoy what I do,” West says.
Some of his duties include posting to bulletin boards, helping plan events, sorting mail, managing finances and coordinating deliveries.
West has also began a new project, which is the creation of a social media presence for the science department. He hopes it will not only be a communication outlet, but also a recruitment strategy, because “we want to do anything we can to get more people involved,” he says.
Currently there are four social media platforms that West is managing accounts on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. He posts updates such as information about events, schedule changes and department research.
West says that he welcomes students to post on these social media pages as well.
“I’ve been on the computer since I was little,” he says in regards to how the social media project has been fairly easy for him to implement.
West describes that he partially uses the social media pages as a “classroom” because he reads and posts scientifically related articles for followers to read.
Another duty of West’s that contributes to his growing scientific knowledge is helping geologist professor Robert Van Gundy conduct experiments. When Van Gundy is out of the office, he performs tasks such as measuring the rain and snowfall.
Though West’s position is currently temporary, he hopes to be placed in a full-time position in the future.
“I’m here if they want me!” he exclaims. He left his previous position at Skyes because he finds more enjoyment in being a part of the UVa-Wise community.
“They told me to make myself at home,” he says when referring to his 1970’s inspired office decor of Beatles albums and Star Trek decor.
Students and faculty seem comfortable with West, given his generous and organized personality. They frequently go in his office not only for a favor, but also for a piece of candy because he jokes that, “I’m also the candyman.”
West wants everyone to know that the door is always open for his help or just to chat with a friendly face.
“If I don’t know something, I’ll find out,” he says. “I’m here is anyone needs anything!”