When she started on at the beginning of February 2020, IT Support Manager Jen Joyce was looking forward to a new professional challenge. She felt welcomed by her colleagues and enjoyed the beauty of Pingree's campus.
A few weeks later, as the story goes, everything changed. While teachers pivoted to remote instruction, Pingree's IT department, Jen included, ramped up the school's knowledge of Zoom hosting, WiFi troubleshooting, and diagnosing technology issues from afar. Pingree Director of Information Systems Bob Ogden said that Jen "has been essential in supporting students and teachers by providing Meeting OWL and other technology training over the summer and in the fall. She has also been instrumental in supporting students, faculty, and staff by holding in-person and remote sessions to provide technology support. To be able to rely on her so quickly was a gift as she was able to adapt and adjust to a different schedule and workload."
Once the hectic pace of the spring slowed minutely for the summer and shifted into planning for the fall, Jen started sewing fabric masks. In the past, she sewed "here and there depending on the project," but a desire to "do [her] part to keep [her] family and the Pingree community safe" led to her making an impressive 350 masks, 200 of which went to Pingree faculty and staff.
Jen shares, "the biggest challenge in making the masks was not all of the supplies were available; I had to improvise to complete the masks. The elastics for the sides were sold out everywhere probably because everyone was making masks, so I opted to use hair ties on each side to go around the ear. It worked out well and I thought it was a cleaner look to the mask." Her advice to aspiring mask-makers is to find an easy pattern—many are available online for free—and start with inexpensive fabric.
As we move toward a "new normal," Jen is enjoying spending extra time with her daughter Jaime is looking forward to being able to socialize with friends and family. In the meantime, she advises us all to "be kind and stay strong."