Jodie Shappley: essential support in times of unknown

Published by Emile Creel on

By Bethany Deuel

Jodie Shappley has served as the administrative assistant to the director at the SSRC for 11 years and three directors. Now, she is ready to retire and plans to do so in June of this year.

After moving to Starkville in 2005, Shappley held a few different administrative jobs at MSU. When she came to her current position, however, she was brand new to the world of research and quickly learned about the expanse of the SSRC’s projects.

“It just keeps growing. It’s just amazing how our research professors can continue bringing in the grants and the recognition and the publications,” Shappley said. “I just see it getting better every year!”

Shappley was also surprised by how quickly she was welcomed into the organization from the very beginning.

“You come in as the new person and you’re a little bit hesitant, but everybody was so accepting and welcoming and it made a very easy transition,” Shappley said.

In the past decade of Shappley’s work, many changes have come to the SSRC including most recently the COVID-19 pandemic and Dr. Art Cosby’s retirement after directing the center for over 30 years. Interim Director Dr. Devon Brenner said Shappley has been a vital part of helping through the changes.

“During these months of transition, Jodie has provided calm, supportive, knowledgeable support to researchers and staff across the SSRC. She truly cares about the people who work here and the mission of the SSRC and that shows in every action,” Brenner said.

Shappley is quick to credit the commitment of other SSRC staff for the easy transitions over the past few years.

“It runs like a well-oiled machine! I think that’s because people that come here, especially support staff, stay. If you go talk to any of them, they’ve been here a while,” Shappley said.

Shappley feels confident that now is the right time for her to retire. She most looks forward to cooking and travelling to see her grandchildren during her retirement. Still, she is quick to mention the thing she will miss most from her time at the SSRC—the people.

“I just want to thank everybody who I’ve touched and interacted with, everybody I’ve become friends with. I just want to thank everybody for being wonderful colleagues, coworkers, and friends,” Shappley said. “It’s just a really good group of people over here. A really good group.”