Cassie Boze, an IT specialist in the College of Education’s Learning Resources Center, was named a Spirit of Excellence winner in June. This is the second month in a row the award has been won by an LRC employee. Boze took an unusual route to develop her expertise in and love of technology.
“I was born in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, which is right on the border of The Natural State,” she said. “I often say you can stand in Oklahoma and spit into Arkansas.”
Her two degrees from the University of Arkansas system are both in English. Working toward a Ph.D. in 18th century literature at Auburn, Boze picked up a second Master’s. She also picked up a second academic interest.
“During my graduate program at Auburn, I taught composition and literature courses for the English Department, but I also was working for Dr. Nick Backsheider writing the source code for DegreeWorks here at Auburn. I didn’t really know how to write code but I read the manuals and taught myself,” she said.
“Following my Master’s at Auburn, I was hired to help write the code for the Graduate School’s DegreeWorks plans, as well. Eventually, I started teaching English at Marion Military Institute, but I kept working for the Graduate School, providing support for the tech needs during breaks. That was how I kind of moved from literature into the IT world.”
Boze said she had been thinking about making a switch from teaching to technology for a while.
“I love technology and what it can do for people,” she said. “When students have access to what they really need to do their work it can be a huge help. And tech is available all the time as opposed to a strict schedule. Tech gives students opportunities to succeed, but they struggle without it. Once I had committed to this idea, a friend saw a job posting at the LRC and I felt I might be a good fit. I was hired in 2019 and have been loving it ever since.”
In her job at the LRC, Boze does several things. For one, she helps faculty, graduate students, and instructors learn to integrate robots and the 3d printers into their classrooms. She also reads scholarly articles for best practices in tech.
“Also in my job I schedule the labs and help students and faculty learn to use our makerspace and 3D printers. Whatever component they want, I’m there to help. And we really have lots of options for them.”
A second prong in Boze’s job is helping grad students with their technology needs, particularly in the realm of virtual desktops. A recent major project has been providing access to applications as remote apps.
“In other words, I used virtual desktops to deliver remote applications, which allow students to use certain software and applications without installing them,” she explained. “That allows grad students to access what they need remotely. It allows courses to access apps remotely, as well. One course needs a program called GMetrix. I made that available remotely. Previously students had to access these through a full virtual desktop; they’d log in and get the full desktop. They weren’t able to save files directly to their computers but only the cloud so if they saved it wrong they lost a lot of work. But with remote apps they can save directly. It’s much more efficient.”
In addition to the above, Boze writes knowledge base articles for the LRC’s ServiceNow system.
“During the pandemic, I wrote instructions for the tools people had to use, like Adobe Fill and Sign. I manage our knowledge base. I write and approve articles and develop templates for articles to ensure a consistent style. I am also the manager of our Canvas catalog account. If a faculty member or staff member needs a Canvas course for people outside of Auburn, I am the contact for that. So obviously I have several jobs, but really like that I am able to combine my two academic interests by writing so much.”
When she is not hard at work in the LRC, Boze enjoys garden and landscape work at her vintage home in Opelika. She is also engaged in pottery work at the rec center in town, and she still enjoys reading and studying fiction.
“One thing I love about the LRC is that there is always so much to do!” she said. “I am never at a loss for work. I love that we are there to serve others. I enjoy being able to meet the tech needs for such a wide variety of people. It feels good to know that you have done something to make it easier for others to succeed. And I love my coworkers. We support one another. Dr. Bannon (LRC director) is really good about supporting professional development. She has encouraged me to keep learning and growing.”
“All of the projects I have done have put me in collaboration with other LRC employees and with people in other parts of the university and I really value that,” she said. “The work is challenging and provides opportunities to connect with others and do good service work. It’s a great job for me. All the skills I had when I came to the LRC — teaching, writing, and lots of tech — come together here. Plus, I love working with others and doing so in a context where I am supported. It’s been great time so far.”