April 5, 2013
By Barbara Baker
Jessica Buckmaster is the latest team player to earn the Classified Employee of the Year title at Northeastern Junior College. (Courtesy Photo)
At the drop of a hat, Jessica Buckmaster can say her ABCs… backwards. When her telephone rings, she picks it up and without even trying, she sends a smile across the line to someone on the other end. And while she thinks that being independently wealthy would be nice, she says she wouldn’t trade who she is to be anyone or anything else. Perhaps it is this self-satisfaction that makes her an awesome team player at Northeastern Junior College and garnered her the title of Classified Employee of the Year for 2012-2013.
Buckmaster became a full-time employee at Northeastern in 2008, but her relationship with the campus started a few years earlier. As a student on campus from 2006-2008, she spent much of her time roaming the halls of the E.S. French Building where she was a psychology major. She was a non-traditional student, meaning she was over age 23, but still she made it a point to get involved on campus. She served as the vice president of Phi Theta Kappa, and received that organization’s Rising Star Award in 2007. She even served as an adjunct part-time faculty member facilitating groups going through the Learning Through Adventure Ropes course which was offered by NJC at the time. She was a work study employee for NJC’s health and safety program and was also a student tutor in the college’s Comprehensive Learning Center.
“Attending NJC was a wonderful and rewarding experience,” she says. “I was apprehensive about returning to school after having a few years lapse after I graduated high school, but found that attending NJC was one of the best decisions I have ever made.” Following graduation from NJC in 2008, she continued her education by enrolling in Colorado Christian University’s local bridge program offered at NJC, and completed her bachelor’s of science degree in organizational management with an emphasis in human resources in 2010.
In October of 2008, Buckmaster applied and was hired to be an administrative assistant in the college’s Extended Studies Department. She has, for four years, enthusiastically handled the duty of registering hundreds of adults and students for various community education classes, including the popular Summer Kids College programming. While some adult learners in the community could register online or by phone, come make the trek up to the Extended Studies office on the third floor of Knowles Hall just to see Jessica Buckmaster. To see her contagious smile.
With the workload in Extended Studies being one of ebb and flow, Buckmaster was asked in August of 2012 to take on the additional title of Facility Use Coordinator for the campus. This means that individuals, both within and outside of the college, who want to use rooms or other facilities on the campus, must go through her to reserve these dates and locations. That same summer, as the college was in the process of hiring a new accounts receivable clerk, Buckmaster helped out in the business office temporarily. She has proven to be an exemplary team player.
“What I like most about working at NJC are the people,” says Buckmaster. “I have always worked in customer service and I really enjoy meeting new people. I get a chance to work with community members and organizations in many different aspects. I like it when it is someone’s first visit to campus and I get to play a role in welcoming them and making them feel comfortable while they’re here,” she says, like the seasoned pro she has become. “I am also very blessed with the wonderful people that I work with, not only within the Extended Studies Department but campus wide. NJC is a family and we take care of one another. Within my department, I work with a remarkable group of women. We complement one another and work as a team.”
As for a personal philosophy when it comes to work, Buckmaster says she follows her faith and practices the Golden Rule. “I don’t think you can go wrong if you treat everyone you encounter with the same respect you would like to receive. I also wear a smile. I believe that happiness spreads and a smile goes a long way.”
When she is not at work, Buckmaster likes to cook, garden and travel to the mountains for camping trips with her husband Brian. She enjoys art, specifically drawing and painting, and she is a diehard classic rock fan.
Buckmaster was honored on campus in January and was recognized at a state-wide luncheon at Denver in late March. That luncheon recognized the various winners from all of the 13 colleges within the Colorado Community College System.