February 6, 2024 | Erin Bluvas, firstname.lastname@example.org
“It’s kind of a conjunction between problem solving and customer service,” Natalie Askew says as of her job as an IT Services Specialist for the Arnold School. “So much relies on computers these days, and people can get really stressed out when their computers aren’t working the way they should be. I enjoy being able to help people when that happens.”
Originally from Aiken, South Carolina, Askew moved to Columbia in 2006 to attend USC. As an undergraduate student, she studied studio art – completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the field in 2010.
When a friend recommended Askew apply for an IT position with her alma mater in 2015, she decided to go for it. She spent the next couple years supporting the Facilities Department, which oversees the maintenance and preservation of the entire campus. Their services include landscaping, design, environmental, custodial and energy as well as major projects (e.g., restorations, utilities updates).
“That position is what sparked my interest in IT in general and is what inspired me to start working on my computer science degree,” says Askew, who re-enrolled at South Carolina and is halfway through her second bachelor’s degree. “I learned a lot in that first job, and when I saw an opening with the Arnold School, I applied.”
As a member of the Information Technology Core, every day is different yet contains many themes that overlap and build on one another. Askew spends her time responding to the help tickets that members of the Arnold School submit via her group’s support site. The tickets describe their requests for assistance with various IT issues.
“Sometimes I’m assisting with audiovisual equipment to make sure lectures and meetings go smoothly,” she says. “Other times, I’m helping someone select a new computer or printer and setting them up when they arrive.”
"Natalie is, and has consistently been, a valuable contributor within the Information Technology Core," says her supervisor, Information Technology Consultant Errol Tisdale. "She brought good customer service and issue resolution skills with her when she joined us and has proven to be a resilient worker who can shift to meet the changing needs of the Arnold School."
In her free time, Askew takes advantage of Columbia’s outdoor opportunities. She has found many places close to the capitol city where she goes hiking and birding.
The Staff Spotlight Series is sponsored by the Arnold School's Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.