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Meet Melissa Elder: Administrative Assistant at PennDOT's Materials Testing Lab

Tags: Employment
May 14, 2021 09:00 AM
By: Suzy Atkins

​A Veterinary Assistant. A Trekkie. A crazy cat lady. A gamer. A chocolatier of bon-bons and truffles. Renaissance Faire participant. Melissa Elder is not your stereotypical PennDOT employee.

Melissa Elder remembers her first day working for PennDOT. Her manager at the time, Joe Robinson, gave her a tour of the lab where she remembers thinking that it had to be one of the coolest places to work. "I wasn't wrong," Melissa said.

Ten years ago, Melissa started as a Clerk Typist 2 and worked at the Materials Testing Lab. She has moved to a couple of other locations after receiving promotions but returned to the lab as an Administrative Assistant.

"The lab is my home away from home and has some of the greatest people I've ever had the pleasure to not only work with, but just to get to know in general. I've even made friendships with some of my coworkers that I cherish deeply," Melissa said.

Presently, she supports Chris Norris, the Construction and Materials Division Chief, and says it is a blessing to have her as a manager. Melissa loves what she does mostly because she is a great multitasker and feels she is able to create order from chaos.

In 2014 Melissa earned her Associate Degree and would like to continue her education in the future. She has an interest in Psychology and said she strives to constantly grow.

With everything Melissa loves and does, she seems to enjoy a challenge, whether it is at work or home. Melissa and her fiancé are installing a kitchen backsplash and made their own sauerkraut this past fall.

"PennDOT has given me the opportunity to hone my talents, find my work family, and establish myself at the place I would love to work my career and retire from," Melissa said. "And that's an opportunity that I recognize not everyone gets in life, so I am very thankful for it."

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