Most academic departments on campus require a precise level of organization, but the level of organization and structure that administrative specialist Kimberly Harries brings to the department of music is key to their success.
Harries has served as the administrative specialist for the department of music for nearly 10 years, the anniversary of her hiring date in October. She juggles multiple projects at once at work, and in addition to that, she also runs a small business, Bee Kind Bakery, where she makes desserts and other treats, is an active musician in the music department by singing in the University Choir and Chorale and is a dedicated family woman to her husband Phillip who teaches in the biology department, and her sons, Aidan, a sophomore in engineering at Kansas State University, and Evan, a senior at Pittsburg High School preparing to come to Pittsburg State University to study music.
“I don’t really think about it anymore, because most of it is second nature,” Harries said. “The bakery is more of a side thing that I really enjoy. That, (Bee Kind Bakery) I don’t think about too hard. I do it with lots of patience and help… It’s nice having almost all of us back on campus…”
Harries is affectionately known as the “band mom” of the music department, both by herself and students. She routinely tells incoming students to the marching band that if they ever need anything, they should come see her and she can get it fixed.
“It’s nice to have students that are easy to get things done with,” Harries said. “For the most part, everybody follows directions.”
Harries originally attended the University of Maryland at College Park initially pursuing a degree in marine biology but then switching to a degree in elementary education. She graduated there in 1995 and said that her prior experience in education helps “make the job easier.”
“My prior background in teaching elementary school for 5 years makes a big difference in how I handle everything that goes on here,” Harries said. “Organizing and quieting the chaos is integral in teaching and being the administrative assistant here in such a heavy, active department, and I love it. I get to have a lot of extra babies, children, including some professors, to wrangle.”
Harries has been involved with the music her entire life from her early upbringing in school participating in school choir, band, and theatre where she met her husband, to encouraging her own children to be involved in music. Her son Aidan plays the trumpet and was active in theatre and her son Evan plays both the tuba and guitar.
Harries’ duties as an administrative assistant include sanitizing practice rooms, reconciliation of purchases for music ensembles and professors, taking phone calls, scheduling appointments with the chair of the music department Susan Marchant and showing prospective students around campus.
“I really enjoy showing them (prospective students) everything the department has,” Harries said. “I’ve walked students down to the Bicknell Center just to make sure they saw it… One time I even set up a private tour so that students could see the dorm rooms… I love people…”
Harries said her favorite part about working in the music department is the interaction with the students.
“The students are my favorite thing,” Harries said. “I also love singing. I love being able to be a part of the organization and business side of things, and be a part of the daily happenings, the singing, the music every day. It’s been a passion of mine since I was a little kid…”