PULLMAN- A friendly environment and job variety are among the aspects Theresa Pfaff values most in her work as program specialist 2 in the department of veterinary clinical sciences.
“I come to work and see what needs to be done,” she said. “My tasks vary from day to day.”
She helps graduate and research assistants organize their schedules and coordinates with various students on the application process.
Fourth-year veterinary students — those completing their doctor of veterinary medicine degree — are required to write and present a paper in front of the faculty. Pfaff is the liaison between the students and faculty in coordinating these weekly presentations.
“I get to know and care for these students because it’s usually their eighth year of college, and they are the same age as my own kids,” she said. “I want them to succeed, and I know that sometimes having words of encouragement is helpful. I sometimes feel like their mother.”
Pfaff helps about 45 faculty members coordinate travel schedules, copy exams, do mass mailings and complete other tasks.
“Many of the faculty belong to different societies and need to participate in meetings to maintain their board certification, present abstracts or provide continuing education to peers. I help coordinate their various travel schedules,” she said.
Pfaff started working as a medical transcriptionist in 2001 and gradually took on more duties. Recently she began serving on the dean’s advisory committee. Composed of two people from each department within the veterinary college, the group brings issues to discuss with the dean.
The committee adds variety to her work and promotes camaraderie, Pfaff said. 
Some of the events the committee has hosted are grabber days, when “grabber” ice cream sandwiches from Ferdinand’s are handed out to people in the veterinary buildings, holiday food-bank collections, and pet food and supply collections for local humane societies.
“I love animals and have several of them at home,” Pfaff said.
By working with graduate and research students and faculty, Pfaff has the opportunity to learn about fascinating research, she said.
“I’m always learning something new.”