California State University, Long Beach
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Olsen-Cooper Named Top Employee

Published: September 6, 2016


Lane Olsen-Cooper and President Jane Close Conoley (c) with members of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Lane Olsen-Cooper, administrative support coordinator for College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and assistant to Dean Laura Kingsford, was recently named by her co-workers as employee of the month.

Olsen-Cooper, was excited and pleased by her distinction.

“It’s a huge honor to be named employee of the month,” she said. “When I first heard the announcement, I didn’t think it was a big deal. But when President Conoley hands you an award, it becomes a big deal. I wasn’t paying attention because the last person in our college to be named was three years ago. I’ve gotten some very nice feedback and emails from my co-workers.”

Olsen-Cooper was recognized in a special ceremony near the University Student Union that saw Friendship Walk re-named Lane Olsen-Cooper Walk for the month.

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley praised Olsen-Cooper’s contributions to the campus.

“Her co-workers have noted that Lane is always cheerful, helpful and kind, always willing to go the extra mile,” said Conoley. “Lane is the `go-to’ person when anyone has an issue or needs assistance. Lane is an excellent representative of our university.”

Olsen-Cooper’s responsibilities include overseeing the dean’s daily calendar.

“I’m constantly setting up meetings,” she said. “Multi-tasking is a must with all the office responsibilities. I sincerely enjoy interacting with all the college folks and helping the students whenever I can. My job allows me to connect with my counterparts all over CSULB and the other CSU campuses, corresponding with the president’s and provost’s offices as well. Working with the dedicated personnel in the BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity) Program is inspiring. As the other assistants would agree, both the people skills and good organizational skills are required for this position.”

She received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from CSULB in 2013, noting that being a student on campus was a fabulous experience.

“I was very impressed by my teachers in the College of Liberal Arts,” she said. “It was interesting, often but not always, being the oldest person in the classroom. My classmates were very kind. When I walked in on the first day of class, some of the students thought I must be the teacher. But they were always gracious and the teachers were brilliant. I would recommend going back to school for a degree to others. I chose sociology because it is all about understanding people and social norms. I still miss going to class after work but not the stress of exams.

“It is great to be both an alum and a staff member,” she added. “I feel very connected to the university.” Her daughter, Courtney, attended CSULB and son, Blake, just took Emergency Management Technician courses through the campus’ College of Continuing and Professional Eduation.

Having recently graduated gives Olsen-Cooper some insight as to the pressures that the students are under. allowing her to better empathize with their balancing their workload of classes, homework, studies, family responsibilities and work, if applicable.

“This understanding of their circumstance is priceless,” she said. “The CSU students are under a lot of pressure these days.”

When she first joined the university in 2008, she became the key coordinator in facilities management. “I liked it because it was very physical and hands-on,” she said. “I have nothing but respect for the folks in facilities management. From the landscapers to the electricians, they are awesome.”

When she isn’t making sure everything in the Dean’s office is running smoothly, Olsen-Cooper enjoys watching football, baseball, gardening and spending time with her husband Michael and three children, Courtney, Brett and Blake, as well as her granddaughters Brielle, Penelope and Heidi.

Olsen-Cooper was born and raised in Wisconsin and is a dedicated Green Bay Packers fan. She returned this summer for a reunion of her family’s Dutch side with a necessary day trip to Green Bay’s Lambeau Field. Visiting the beautiful new stadium and the Packer Hall of Fame was definitely on her bucket list.

“When the president handed me my plaque, it had a green-and-gold border and she apologized that it wasn’t CSULB’s black and gold,” Olsen-Cooper recalled. “But I told her green and gold are great for a Packer fan. That’s when she told me she’d just gotten back from Green Bay herself.”

Olsen-Cooper wanted to share that “The newly designed street sign is awesome!”

She encourages others to make CSULB their career choice.

“I only wish I’d come to CSULB sooner,” she said. “It’s a fabulous place. I worked for FedEx and LBUSD before joining CSULB. There is always a huge energy boost when the students return at the beginning of the semesters. They bring such positivity to the campus. I would tell anybody who cares about young people that CSULB is the place to be.”

Olsen-Cooper received several gifts with her recognition including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift certificate to Lucille’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a $10 gift certificate to Fern’s Garden and a gift certificate for one Tommy’s Original World Famous Hamburger.