Five Questions with Spencer Gee
Spencer Gee has so many hobbies and so little time.
Name: Spencer Gee
Position: IT support specialist, Department of Epidemiology
Years at Gillings: 17 years
What I do at Gillings (and why I love it): I provide end-user support for faculty, staff and students in the department. The short version is that I do computer stuff! The longer version is that I handle anything technology-driven, act as the content editor for our web pages, fix people’s devices, take photos for the department, troubleshoot printers and sit in on planning meetings so I can help researchers implement digital solutions.
I like my job because the work is always interesting. I have a problem-solving personality, and this role gives me new challenges all the time. I grew up in a house full of computers – my dad worked in IT as well – so this is a nice blend of my comfort zone and a steady stream of new things to learn and solve. It’s the people in the department who really keep me here, though. I love the friendly culture and laidback mindset of our work community.
When I’m not at work: I wrangle my kids! My wife and I have two daughters, who are four and seven years old. I also like outdoor activities and working out. Back in the day, I played a lot of tennis and Ultimate Frisbee. I have less free time now, but I still get out regularly with a group of work friends and run stadiums. (That means we go up and down each set of stairs – all 24 aisles!) It really helps me stay motivated when I have a group to exercise with. I also daydream about a someday second career of being a baker, a chocolatier or maybe a food truck owner… I have a lot of hobbies, and not enough money or time to pursue them!
If I could wake up tomorrow with one new ability: it might be the fulfillment of my childhood fantasy of stopping time so I could get more done. Actually, though, being able to read music and play more instruments would be cool, too. I do play guitar already, but I just play what feels good and pick up some songs by ear.
The first job I ever had: was at an interactive children’s museum in Charlotte called Discovery Place. I was 16. When I started as an intern, my job was to make rats “play basketball” by giving them the positive reinforcement of a treat every time they’d put the ball in the basket. Later on, when I was an employee, I helped run activities for sleepovers that the museum hosted for groups of kids. I was the DJ – although that mostly involved switching CDs between “Jock Jams” and “Now That’s What I Call Music!” I have to say, it was pretty great to get paid by the hour for sleeping most of the night.
A memorable day I’ve had at the Gillings School: is the day they started blasting for the construction of Michael Hooker Research Center. They set up the dynamite and when it went off, you could feel tremors in all the existing buildings. We pretty much had a full summer of explosions.