For almost 38 years, Cheryl Howell has been a familiar face in the college’s library. Often the first person a visitor encounters at the library help desk, she greets patrons with a warm smile and a genuine willingness to provide assistance. Sometimes the help needed is finding a journal article, but at other times it’s a word of encouragement for a struggling student or a worried patient. Sometimes it’s just being there for the people who walk through the door.
Howell’s dedication and contributions to the college were recently celebrated as she was presented the President’s Meritorious Service Award, which recognizes and rewards staff for commendable service to Texas A&M University. Recipients of this prestigious award demonstrate their commitment to the Aggie core values of excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.
Here’s more about this longtime staff member, in her own words.
Title: Library Associate II in the Baylor Health Sciences Library
Average workday: 6:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. I start my day at the college with a cup of coffee, then I begin greeting students and making sure they have what they need, whether it’s books, journal articles or getting logged onto one of the computers. People usually ask me for advice on library, medical or dental-related issues, but sometimes they want advice on topics outside those areas.
When you started working at the College of Dentistry: September 1981
Favorite part of your job: Talking with the students and people who come into the library. Sometimes it’s not about the library work; sometimes people just need someone to listen. A patient came to the library, and she was struggling with some issues. I had an opportunity to talk with her, and it made all the difference in how she was feeling when she left the library. Sometimes people are lost and I give them directions on how to get to certain places in the hospital and the college. I like to try things in the kitchen, so when I make different desserts, I like to bring them in and share. I also bring in treats for the students during finals.
Something we may not know about you: I’ve started going back to school to get my bakery/pastry chef certification from El Centro College. I’m an elder at my church, St. Luke Presbyterian Church, and I’m an accomplished seamstress. I’ve made and given prayer pillows to many of the faculty, staff and students at the college.
Anything else you’d like to add: I love the fact that I get to meet a lot of people in the library, whether it’s students, faculty, dental school staff, hospital staff or patients from both the dental school and the hospital. It’s really nice to be able to get to know people and interact with them each day.