Mary Catherine Adams, who goes by MC, is a junior at UNC. She’s a psychology major, is working on a neuroscience minor, and is also an administrative assistant in the administration office and the president of the Carolina Union Employee Forum (CUEF). Learn more about all the great work she does for the Union below!
What do your jobs (administrative assistant and CUEF president) entail?
In the administration suite, we’re responsible for a lot of the organizational stuff that goes on for the Union as a whole, so that means compiling spreadsheets and documents, sending out and creating forms, as well as doing a lot of RPS and invoices and sprucing up things around the admin suite and the Union.
For the employee forum, we serve as the liaison for the student staff and the full-time staff. We’re responsible for creating pop-up events and organizing activities so the student staff gets a chance to interact with each other and full-time staff.
Some things that we’re doing: we brought back a Game of Thrones theme to our office, so we’re incorporating that into a lot of events this year, as well as revamping Employee of the Month, so we’re focusing it more on character traits as opposed to just picking a person you think did really well this semester.
What have you learned?
I’ve learned a lot of administrative stuff; how to be more professional in a professional environment, how to deal with situations that are pretty tough to handle or confrontational, or things that don’t make a lot of sense where you’ve got to really use all of your resources and dig for your answers.
I’ve also learned a lot of long-term planning skills. I see what really goes into organizing all of these events, because on a surface level they may seem pretty simple, like doing a catering order, but then when you get a little deeper it’s like, “oh, I’ve gotta account for this and this and that and I’ve got to make sure that this many people are coming, and that I have all the right stuff.”
I’ve learned that there are a lot more ins and outs to a lot of the daily processes that go on here, as well as just figuring out all of that stuff for regular life too, making sure that I have all the details and taking care of everything that I need to.
How are your jobs preparing you for your future career?
Mainly, working with other people. I’ve done a lot of customer service jobs, but that was when I was working in retail and then working in the food industry, but this is more of an actual office environment. I think something that it’s helped me plan for in the future is working with people, getting all of my communication skills. I work with people that are in positions higher than me or in different positions from me and I have had to find good ways to communicate with both sets of people.
As the president of the employee forum I don’t want to come off as or be this overbearing figure. I want other people to be able to come to me with their opinions and be on a personal level with them, not an authority figure level.
The key is understanding how crucial organization is. I think a lot of the things that we do, you need a lot of organization to make them actually happen.
What’s your favorite thing about working in the Union?
I just really like the people. I think it’s a cool environment, and I know this is something that people say all the time but the inclusivity of this place is so great. I think we really do try our best to make sure that all people are accounted for and feel like they’re at home. I think that’s what I like the most, is that this is the central hub for everyone to go to and feel like they’re a part of something.
Interested in applying to work at the Union? You can find an overview of the careers offered at https://carolinaunion.unc.edu/get-involved/employment/job-opportunities.