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This month’s Staff Spotlight features S&T couple Mark and Susan Potrafka. Mark is the director of Havener Center and hospitality services and Susan is the assistant director of Equity and Title IX. With a combined service record of six decades, they have left an indelible mark across a span of 12 different job titles in their time at S&T.
Mark and Susan consider themselves from Rolla because they met here, married here and raised their son here. Rolla is home to them, and they love being a part of such a wonderful community.
Mark is originally from Canon City, Colorado, and graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri with his bachelor’s degree and Illinois State University with a master’s degree. He moved to Rolla 34 years ago and began working at S&T in December 1989. He has been in six different roles and currently supervises operations in the Havener Center and works closely with dining and catering operations.
Mark’s favorite part of working at S&T is the students because they touch his heart and motivate him to come to work every day. Mark is most proud of working with the student leaders who helped to make the Havener Center a reality and has seen the way it has transformed our campus. A few of his favorite memories include the dedication of the Havener Center in 2005, S&T hosting the 1996 NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional, and the launch of the Starship robot deliveries in 2022.
Susan moved to Rolla in 1989 and met Mark. She is originally from Harrison, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree. She has also worked in six different roles and currently works with students, employees and guests to the S&T campus to address concerns related to discrimination and harassment under university equity policies and Title IX. She also is the ADA coordinator, helping to assist employees and guests to campus with accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Susan’s favorite part about working at S&T is the people she has met along the way. She says the students are amazing and she has had the pleasure of working with many people who helped her grow both personally and professionally. Susan is most proud of her time in international affairs in which she worked with several programs that helped to bring new groups of students to campus.
Susan’s favorite memories include her time working in international affairs, which provided her with the opportunity to meet people from around the world and the different cultures that she was able to experience through them. She traveled to 11 different countries to recruit students and to meet with alumni, sponsoring agencies and international partners. She says it was satisfying to welcome students to our campus that she met during her travels.
Mark and Susan have been married for 30 years and have a son, Nate Potrafka, who graduated from S&T in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. Their daughter-in-law, Nora (Dunn) Potrafka, earned her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in technical communication at S&T in May 2021 and May 2022, respectively.
Mark and Susan are both retiring this year. Mark’s last day is Friday, Sept. 1. His retirement reception will be held 2-4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, in the Carver-Turner Room of the Havener Center. Susan’s retirement date is planned for November. Please join them in celebrating the many years of service they have given.
Thank you, Mark and Susan!
Mark enjoys physical fitness and aviation hobbies.
Susan enjoys working with Rotary Youth Exchange programs, traveling, sewing, crafting and spending time with friends and family.
Mark’s favorite food is Mexican (and food in general.)
Susan, who has a bit of a sweet tooth, loves chocolate but hold the nuts, please.
Something that people would be surprised to learn about you:
Mark says people are surprised to learn that he is the campus director for Ignite Campus Ministry for the Methodist Church and has operated the scoreboard for basketball for over 30 years.
Susan says people are surprised to learn that she was an exchange student to Rauma, Finland, for a gap year between high school and college. Mark and Susan have hosted four Rotary Youth Exchange Students from Switzerland, Mexico, Indonesia and Brazil.
Advice to other S&T employees:
Mark’s advice to other S&T employees is to “do your best to not take it home. Choose joy!”
Susan says, “S&T has given me opportunities in three very different areas – procurement, international affairs, and equity and Title IX. Don’t be afraid to stretch and try new things.”
Missouri S&T’s Staff Council launched the staff spotlight feature in February 2019 as a way to highlight staff members throughout the university. Legends Bank sponsors the staff spotlight. The articles are published in eConnection and shared on Staff Council’s Facebook page.
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