When asked about her time at the Social Science Research Center, Carol White recalls all of the wonderful people that she’s been able to meet while working the front desk.
“I have met some really awesome people here, just absolutely nice and great people,” said White. “I’m going to miss the daily interaction with people from all walks of life.”
Three decades ago, Carol White moved to Starkville from Webster County and began working for Mississippi State University. White originally worked as an administrative assistant in the Stennis Institute of Government and in the Industrial Education building.
Later, White would start a ten-year career as the Offense and Defense Secretary under both Rockey Felker and Jackie Sherrill for the Mississippi State Football program. White then began work for Dr. Wolfgang Frese in the Survey Research Laboratory at the SSRC on evenings and weekends.
“I would work probably 72 hours per week between working with the football program during the day and coming to work for Dr. Frese during my evenings and weekends,” she said.
White has spent the last almost twenty years working as an Administrative Assistant and currently an Office Associate for SSRC. She plans to retire at the end of December.
Her duties at the center have mainly consisted of handling travel for both the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program and the SSRC as the travel coordinator, ordering and stocking supplies and toner, maintaining office key records, meeting and greeting guests, and serving as a point of contact.
White said that when she first started at the SSRC in 1998, things were different due to technology.
“Back then telecommunications were still a big part of the job,” she said. “We had to actually call and talk to people in the different departments, which was great for getting to know who was on the other end of the line. We also still used typewriters for travel forms when I first started.”
While the technology has come a long way since the late 90s, White still stays busy handling the large amounts of travel by the researchers.
“There are so many people traveling for work on projects, from the MASEP field staff to those working on any individual projects, and that paperwork has to be done. It’s especially interesting and complicated when it comes to international travel,” said White. “Everything has to be converted from other currencies while still being accurate down to the penny.”
Dr. Arthur Cosby, Director of the SSRC since 1985, said that White has been an invaluable member of the SSRC.
“She’s always been the first person that guests see when they visit and is always there to lend a helping hand.”
While at the SSRC, White earned four nominations for the Zacharias Distinguished Staff Award, and was the recipient of that award in 2009.
After retiring, White has plans to return to her love of oil painting, as well as landscaping around her home. She also has plans to travel to Ireland with her daughter to visit the place where her family originally departed for America.
The more than two decades of work that White has done at MSU and the SSRC will be greatly missed, and the impact that she has had can be felt and seen from many around the center.
“I’ve always just thought of it as my job; doing what I’m supposed to be doing and doing it the best that I can. Sometimes I try to do more than my job, but just hearing the appreciation from everyone recently has let me know that maybe I did have an impact during my time here.”