It's all in the family for three WSU employees

2:22:25 PM CDT - Friday, March 11, 2005

By Melissa Lacey

When you see the three women together, their dark hair and eyes provide hints that they are related. But if one of the women were to pass you on campus, chances are you wouldn't know she has two sisters who also work at WSU.

Sherry Hoelker, mailroom supervisor for admissions, Cecilia Hudson, senior administrative assistant for the College of Engineering dean's office, and Carol McCall, administrative specialist to the director of admissions, all work on WSU's main campus and they're sisters.

"Most people don't know we're sisters because our names are different," said McCall. "Some people in admissions know that Sherry and I are related, since we work in the same department, but Cecilia works across campus."


It's all in the family for these three sibling employees at WSU. Pictured are, from left, Carol McCall, administrative specialist to the director of admissions, Cecilia Hudson, senior administrative assistant for the College of Engineering dean's office, and Sherry Hoelker, mailroom supervisor for admissions.

Photo by Melissa Lacey

Hoelker was the first to arrive at WSU, when she took a position with admissions in 2000. She had been in retail for 14 years and said she enjoyed the change of becoming immersed in a campus environment.

"The campus is beautiful and you just gain so much from being here," she said. "There are different things going on all the time, like sports, fine arts, and theater."

  Hoelker said the option of tuition reimbursement for classes is another benefit of university employment. She is working toward her undergraduate degree in communications and has taken classes each semester since 2001.

"A big part of the reason I came here was to go back to school, and the convenience of working on a college campus is great," she said.

With her sisters in mind, Hoelker said she paid attention to other administrative openings at Wichita State.

"I had worked at two universities (in Wichita) before and Sherry kept an eye open for me because I was looking to leave my current position," said Hudson, who came to WSU in 2002.

Hudson said she missed the university atmosphere, where people work to improve themselves through education. She was interested in WSU because she'd had positive experiences while taking classes here as an adult. She also said her job allows her to see her daughter, Amy Behrns, a little more. Behrns is a graphic arts major who will graduate in May.

McCall echoes her sisters' sentiments. After 15 years in insurance, she was ready for something different.

"I had taken classes here before, and I loved being around young people," she said. "I also enjoy going to baseball and basketball games, plays, musicals and other cultural programs."

Are there other siblings to recruit into the Shocker ranks? Yes, but while the women have two more sisters and three brothers, they say it is unlikely any of them will leave their respective fields.
"Our sisters Bonnie and Debbie have joked about coming out," said McCall.

In a large organization such as a state university, there are likely to be family members working together, said Nancy Thompson, human resources records manager.

"I know of several sets of husbands and wives and siblings working here, but I don't know how many," she said.

Hoelker noted that there are advantages to having sisters on campus.

"It's nice because if something comes up, you always have someone you can lean on, like if you're having car problems," she said. "Sometimes you take your family for granted. You don't always realize how much you depend on them, so it's kind of nice to have them close by."

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