We Are IT | Meet Kristina McDowell

Friday 08/05/2022

Photo of Kristina McDowell hiking by river in fall

As a service desk manager, Kristina McDowell encounters something new every day. It is her job to make sure phones are covered and everything is running smoothly for the level one team, or first line of support people encounter when they call the ITS Service Desk. She often brags on her team, who assist with and support projects across the organization. When she isn’t juggling phones or helping customers, you’ll find her out enjoying nature or watching the latest Marvel or X-Men movie.

Where are you from?

I am originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Where did you attend school?

Florida State University. I went for editing, writing and media with a minor in communications. I am working on my second bachelor’s degree in gender studies with a minor in psychology.

Why did you choose to work in technology?

Honestly, I kind of fell into it. I worked for the FSU Bookstore in the computer department for three years selling MacBooks and computer accessories and that’s how I fell into technology. Through that position I made a lot of connections—some in ITS. Eventually, I was kind of looking for something else to do, and somebody recommended that I apply for the ITS Service Desk Manager Level II position. I didn’t get that job, but I told Suzanne if she had anything else ever open up to let me know. She eventually contacted me about the level I manager position. I went in and interviewed. And here I am!

How long have you been at FSU?

With ITS, it’s going on four years as of November 26 this year, but I have been at FSU for more than five years now. I have been in so many various positions with FSU, it helps with my current role when some calls come into the Service Desk.

What is your role at FSU?

It really depends on the day and what we have going on. As mentioned, I field the team that takes our tech support calls, so I make sure everything is running smoothly—making sure the phone lines are covered and the work queue is getting done. If we are working on projects for the university, then the phone lines are going to be busy. If it is really backed up, I make sure we have coverage for that. I also have little side projects I work on. I am currently working on a semester prep guide as a quick reference for the 1,000 to 2,000 calls we receive the first two weeks of the semester.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I really can’t say enough about my team, so I am going to brag a little bit about them. We have high turnover, but every single co-worker who I have supervised has been a joy to work with and has been amazing at what they do. Both Service Desk teams we have make my day enjoyable. We are all about teamwork, and that really helps to resolve a lot of issues quickly. Other than my amazing team, I honestly love working with everyone in ITS because there is so much knowledge to gain. We have an amazing group of people, and it’s fun to learn things. There is something new every day.

What is the most rewarding project you have worked on at FSU?

It is hard to pick just one. I would say all, because it takes all of us on the Service Desk to assist with projects. Being the front line for calls that come in, we are always working on projects. We have over 200 procedures in our SharePoint to help us assist users who call in for help with anything from 2FA to the Office 365 migration we just did in May.

Other than your cellphone, what is your go-to, can't-live-without piece of tech?

That would have to be my iPad. I am starting to get used to not having a physical book in my hand. I have been reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and it has been great to sit there at night without having a light on to read it. The iPad is also nice in classes, not having to lug around a heavy laptop.

If you were to invent one piece of technology, what would it be?

An environmental simulator. It would be awesome to generate a program where you can be in the Milky Way with all the galaxies and stars.

What is a fun fact about you?

I guess I would say I am a closet nerd. I feel people wouldn’t guess that. My husband pokes fun at me for being nerdy. I have Funko Pops. I adore the Marvel universe. I have been really into the new He-Man cartoons. I enjoy anime, like Inuyasha, Sailor Moon and Cowboy Bebop to name a few. Storm is my favorite of the X-Men, but that is also because I am a weather geek too. If I could chase storms I would.

Talk a little bit about your family.

My husband and I have been together now for a year. We just had our anniversary in February and got to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have a dog, his name is Bandit. He is a golden retriever chow mix, and he likes to snore every time I am in meetings. And I have family all over—up in Vermont and Massachusetts and down in south Florida.

What do you do in your free time?

Is sleep a good answer? Haha! I enjoy going to the beach. I enjoy kayaking. I really got into hiking when I was in North Carolina. I got to hike a bit of the Appalachian Trail, Pilot Mountain, Hanging Rock and Chimney Rock.