Shaughn Piper, administrative assistant in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) at Plymouth State College, is the 2003 Distinguished Operating Staff Award recipient.
Selection is made from nominations by campus faculty and staff, students and alumni based on criteria such as job knowledge, leadership of campus committees and functions, interdepartmental projects and programs and value and respect for all individuals.
Shaughn joined the PSC staff in 1995, after a number of years in England working for the CIA, and at home running her own business. She explains, “I attended a college in the mid-west with intentions to join the Peace Corp. After several years, however, ‘wanderlust’ took hold. It was a chaotic time in the world and I was restless. My great uncle was in the Merchant Marines and his travel stories enticed me.” In 1968 I took a position with the CIA and a year later was offered two positions at American embassies. One was in Athens and one in England. I couldn’t speak Greek, so I went to England!”
When the CIA assigned Shaughn to Saigon in 1972, she knew it was time to leave “the company,” and went to work as an instructor at a well-known riding establishment, whose clients included Prince Charles and the King of Jordan. After living in England for ten years, Shaughn came home in 1979.
She worked for several local Plymouth businesses while establishing a client base within the horseback riding industry. In 1983, she and her husband Scott purchased a farm in Rumney. There Shaughn taught riding, boarded and trained horses, and developed a saddle fitting and tack business. In 1995, Shaughn felt that traveling 30,000 miles a year doing clinics and being away from the area she loved was no longer fun and looked for something closer to home which would incorporate what she loved most, “working with kids and students,” so PSC was a logical choice.
She began hourly work in College Advancement, followed by hourly and then permanent positions in HPER.
Shaughn says, “I see Plymouth State as strong, progressive and with lots of potential … you can’t become complacent here.” Her greatest praise is for her operating staff colleagues, however. She particularly values her participation as senator and speaker of the Operating Staff Senate.
Colleagues say she has represented them well. One described a photo project Shaughn took on for the University System of New Hampshire Operating Staff Handbook—taking photographs of operating staff members at work, “because she feels very strongly that this is a great opportunity to show what great operating staff we have.” Another wrote, “Shaughn has an all-college view—she’s not just interested in her department (although she serves them extraordinarily well).”
Shaughn responds, “I found a home in HPER and at PSC with the operating staff. Having a home means having a family — that’s what PSC means to me.”