Sunday, December 23, 2018

Co-workers call tech specialist 'an inspiration' | Business - Lewiston Morning Tribune

Debbie Scharnhorst is described as a visionary who anticipates change and plans accordingly.

Her dedication to the Clarkston campus of Walla Walla Community College has earned her recognition as the educational institution’s employee of the year.

Scharnhorst, an information technology specialist 2 for the college, became a full-time employee of WWCC in 2004. She originally planned to pursue a degree in nursing but decided to instead pursue her interest in information technology.

“I had worked in the medical field since I was a senior in high school, starting out in the radiology department at St. Joe’s,” Scharnhorst said. “But I found technology, fell in love with it and was hired by the college before I even graduated.”

Scharnhorst was 49 years old when she began taking classes at WWCC.

Considered the “heartbeat of our campus,” Scharnhorst ensures the college’s systems are running properly.

She is in charge of the hardware, software and networks for computers at the Clarkston campus. She also provides technical support and assistance for the Clarkston Campus Test Center, among her many other responsibilities.

She’s described as a hardworking, reliable and dedicated employee, with a selfless approach.

“Debbie always has time to help and assist,” according to her nomination from WWCC. “She will spend countless hours assisting people, supporting staff and engaging in college activity. She is integral with procedural development to ensure the college performs at high levels of efficiency and effectiveness.”

Outside of work, Scharnhorst is involved with her church and volunteers in the community. She has participated in Spokane’s Lilac Bloomsday Run for several years. Scharnhorst also enjoys spending time with her family and crocheting.

“Debbie is an inspiration to those who know and work with her,” her nomination says. “Debbie is well respected amongst her peers and those who come into contact with her.”

Debbie Scharnhorst

Title: Information technology specialist 2

Employer: Walla Walla Community College, Clarkston campus

Education: Associate degree in computer network support.

Family: Five children, nine grandchildren.

Career history: Scharnhorst began her professional career in health care, working in radiology, pathology and dialysis. She considered pursuing a nursing degree, but discovered her passion for information technology, earning an associate degree in computer network support from WWCC where she is a full-time employee.

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