After a nearly 40-year career at UT, Pam Poe retired in January 2020. She began work in the basement of Neyland Stadium as one of five administrative staff and remembers Professor Bill Bass, the department head for many years, telling her on her first day “We’re moving to Strong Hall.” That prediction took 36 years to become reality, during which time she was promoted into each administrative position in anthropology until becoming business manager, the linchpin of the department. During her career, she was central to the growth of the department, working with faculty and staff to transform the Anthropology Research Facility from a shed in the woods behind UT Medical Center into an internationally recognized center for forensic research; supporting faculty in teaching, grant writing, and budgeting; mentoring staff; and helping generations of undergraduate and graduate students. She retired just a month before the pandemic began to spread and admits that this year has not been what she envisioned. Still, she is enjoying the time she spends with her grandchildren and the flexibility that her new schedule allows. One of her favorite parts of her job was getting to know faculty and students and watching their children grow up. She values the many friendships that she formed over the years.
When Poe joined the department in 1981, Charlene Weaver had already been a staff member for more than three years. She left UT in 1987 to raise her family. When her youngest son started kindergarten in 1994, she returned to the department and resumed working closely with faculty on grants and contracts. Last fall, in anticipation of Poe’s retirement, Weaver was hired as the new business manager. COVID-19 has affected all aspects of her job this year and has required flexibility and creativity in learning new skills and transforming her work habits and schedule to meet the challenges of the pandemic. Like Poe, she is crucial to the success and the spirit of the department. We are glad to welcome Weaver into her new role. She looks forward to a return to normalcy, when she can spend her days within the bustle of students, faculty, and staff, and see alumni and friends of the department who she has come to know over her many years in anthropology.
Chris Maguire moved from upstate New York to Knoxville in late 2016 with her husband for a change and the great weather—no snow! She started working for UT in the Department of Public Health in February of 2017 and moved to the anthropology department in March 2020 as an accounting coordinator. She works closely with the faculty and graduate students in developing and submitting grant applications and in grant administration. She is currently working on her BIS online at UTM with just a few classes to go, so is both a full-time staff member and a part time student at the University of Tennessee.