By Mary Mone
Photos by Chris Swann
Always on a mission, Melissa Allen, the records coordinator for the School of Humanities, Communications, and Fine Arts at Tyler Junior College, seeks to make a difference in young lives.
A mother to three children and a mother figure to many students, Allen’s days are often busy with her work responsibilities, sharing life lessons and generally being a help around the office.
Allen has worked at TJC for over a year. She began as a temporary employee, but when that position was finished, she decided she wanted to work at the HCFA office. She was hired by the dean, Dr. Linda Gary, who is now a department chair for humanities, philosophy, and general studies.
Gary enjoyed Allen’s presence in the workplace, and what qualified Allen for the job was that she, “was clearly intelligent, professional and amiable,” Gary said.
They were looking for a worker who they thought would be able to tackle the job, and like they thought, “She stepped into an important and demanding role and quickly proved herself to be a terrific colleague,” Gary said.
Now, as the records coordinator, Allen’s daily tasks consume a lot of her time. Her tasks include scheduling appointments for the dean, copying and filing paperwork from faculty who comes through the office, and filling out paperwork that’s needed at the administration building.
“Times like that remind me that no matter what job we have on campus, we are making a difference in young lives…”
“In every circumstance, Melissa is a ‘go-to’ person,” Gary said. “She’s reliable, skilled and always pleasant.”
Having an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. workday every day can be tiring to some, but Allen holds the people she works around as an inspiration.
“I love the people I work with at TJC. The atmosphere is wonderful,” Allen said. “Everyone is always helpful and happy to be at work.”
Her coworkers shine as positive influences in her work life, but so do the student workers she interacts with.
“I love the student workers in our department. They remind me of my children,” Allen said.
Many opportunities to help the student workers learn about day-to-day life present themselves, and Allen enjoys being a part of the student’s growth in this way.
“One of our workers had a pair of pants that a button had fallen off. Instead of letting her get rid of the pants, I brought needle and thread from my house and taught her how to sew a button back on,” Allen said.
She described how situations like that remind her there is room for making a difference in young student’s lives and helping them develop their minds for the future.
“Times like that remind me that no matter what job we have on campus, we are making a difference in young lives and giving the students lessons that they will take with them as they grow and move on,” Allen said.
Not only is she focused on her job tasks, but Allen is also in her first year of taking classes at TJC in order to earn a degree in accounting. Allen said she was initially interested in accounting because of the encouragement of a “wonderful teacher.” She studied accounting in high school and competed in the University Interscholastic League, which is an organization that makes the rulebook for competitions concerning athletics, music or academics in Texas.
Allen began college immediately out of high school, but she took time off in order to raise her children, Jessica, Austin and Adison. After beginning working at TJC, she restarted her goal of earning her accounting degree for two reasons.
“First, because college has always been something I wanted to do. I waited until my children were grown because I wanted to be a hands-on Mom while they were growing up,” Allen said. “Second, I want to show my children that it is never too late to do something if you really want it (Age is just a number).”
Regardless the situation, person or bump in the road, Allen is ready to grow and help the people she’s around grow.
“No matter who you are or where you come from, if you want something and you are willing to work hard for it, you can achieve it,” Allen said
Because of her work tactic, her relationships with the people she works alongside and her inspiration in life, Allen has been a positive addition to the TJC family.
“The good Lord smiled on us when He sent us Melissa Allen,” Gary said.