It doesn’t take long to recognize why people appreciate being around Leslie Pergament-Nenia.
A quick sense of humor and sharp wit make you feel comfortable. Then she talks about her passion for her work as an office support specialist at NIU’s Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic.
“Reading is the very, very core kernel of a successful life,” said Pergament-Nenia, who has worked at the university for a quarter century. “At the base, I love people. I love children.”
As the clinic’s lone full-time employee, Pergament-Nenia describes her role as the anchor for staffers and graduate assistants who provide tutoring and community outreach programs. From scheduling to being the key point of contact for many people interested in the clinic’s service, Pergament-Nenia brings a personal touch which is among the reasons she recently received an Operating Staff Outstanding Service Award from the university.
“Leslie’s dedication to the (clinic) and to promoting a love of literacy to surrounding communities deserves celebration,” NIU reading specialist Mary Keil wrote in nominating Pergament-Nenia for the award. “Leslie works very hard at keeping the reading specialists in the loop on essential information and clinic happenings. Like the other reading specialists, I have found Leslie’s efforts to be extremely helpful.”
Pergament-Nenia, who professes a love of Harry Potter books, has been with the clinic for five years after serving in other departments during her career. She relishes the relationships that have developed over the years, as well as the perspective she’s gained about the university community.
“It is people who make the institution,” she said of NIU, which she described as being “staffed by such fabulous, dedicated people.”
Former assistant clinic director Susan R. Hinrichs considers Pergament-Nenia to be one of those people.
“Leslie has become a fine ambassador for the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic. She provides a positive environment to all who venture to the clinic,” Hinrichs said. “Our families often told me how they so appreciated being greeted by Leslie when they would arrive. If their children’s sessions were scheduled in the evenings, they would comment that they missed their ‘Leslie’ greetings.”