Stephanie Thompson '15 Lonice Wilson Mikayla “Kayla” Teague '18

Nov. 5, 2019

Answering more than 1,000 calls a week, UNCW’s campus switchboard consists of a powerhouse team of just three women: Telecom Services Coordinator Stephanie Thompson '15 and operators Lonice Wilson and Mikayla “Kayla” Teague '18. Working together to field incoming phone inquiries, dispatch technicians and guide visitors around campus, the switchboard staff are truly the “voice” of the university, and often the first impression folks have of UNCW.

“One of the things that makes working in our office unique is that we are often the first interaction outsiders have with UNCW,” said Thompson. “We are the first voice they hear when they call, oftentimes not having any idea which department they need. Our team understands that we are the front line for UNCW to interact with these callers.”

Thompson joined UNCW as staff in 2017, but as both an alumna and current graduate student, her connection to the university runs deep.

“Not only was UNCW the place I called home for four years and where I was molded into an adult, but now I get to watch students go through that same transition,” she said. “I like being part of the university that is creating that environment for them and continuing the UNCW legacy.”

Teague had a similar journey. After graduating in December last year, she found herself missing her alma matter and the campus environment. 

“I have always loved UNCW’s campus,” said Teague. “When I received the opportunity to work here in March, I was really happy to come back. I am so thankful for my role because it allows me to learn and grow professionally, while making a positive impact by helping people.”

A fixture of the university for almost two decades, Wilson’s passion for her job is evident immediately to those she encounters. She attributes the dedication and support of her team as something that makes her job so special.

“I think the most challenging thing about my job is trying to exceed our customers’ expectations. We have a dependable, caring team, and we all work together,” said Wilson. “Being able to help customers, and hear the excitement in their voices when their problems are resolved, makes my role exciting.”

The switchboard team operates on tenets of support, respect and appreciation. The cohesive nature of the team comes in handy, especially on days prone to call volume increases. Thompson says that in times of inclement weather and approaching deadlines (tuition due, registration), the number of calls their office fields nearly doubles. With such a supportive environment in place, they’re able to successfully navigate the tougher days and focus more on things they enjoy.

“One thing I love about being part of the operator services is that we keep a pulse on the whole campus,” said Thompson. “We get to interact with staff, faculty, students and parents, and relay all of the programs, resources and activities that UNCW has to offer.”

-- Christina Schechtman