In Lynda Hambourger’s more than 12 years at DELTA, she’s interacted with nearly 15,000 students in one way or another.
As the academic advisor for online and distance education, Hambourger has helped current and potential students find their way. Whether it be a quick answer to a simple question or a recommendation for what program would suit their goals, Hambourger has pointed students to the right resources.
In 1982, Hambourger and her late husband, Bob Hambourger, moved to North Carolina when Bob was hired as a faculty member at NC State in the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Hambourger notes that she would be surprised if no one in DELTA took a philosophy class with him as he was a professor at NC State for many years.
In January 1983, Hambourger also started working at NC State as the coordinator of evening programs and the assistant to the dean in Humanities and Social Sciences where she worked for more than 20 years. She then worked in the Scholarships and Financial Aid office for a short time before joining DELTA in 2007.
Hambourger was able to earn a doctorate in education administration during her time at NC State, thanks to the faculty and staff tuition waiver.
“That was certainly a high point — when I got to put on my cap and robe and walk across the stage to shake people’s hands,” she says.
Her degree has helped her in understanding the university structure, history and culture, which she has, in turn, passed that knowledge to potential students.
“I was very lucky to get this job and get started at NC State and stay here so long. It’s been a great place to work,” she says.
How would you describe your position?
“Many degree students, non-degree studies (NDS) students and potential students have lots of questions about academia generally and specifically about NC State and online and DE courses and I try to fill in those gaps,” says Hambourger.
Some of the typical questions Hambourger receives relate to the difference between programs as well as prerequisite courses needed for different programs.
“The students run the gamut which keeps it interesting,” says Hambourger. “The people and situations are different, so the answers are always different.”
How have you seen online and distance education change over the years?
“I see students and potential students who are much more comfortable and familiar with the online and distance education format and tools; it’s not so unusual as when I first came to DELTA,” says Hambourger.
Hambourger notes that people were nervous when it came to using online technology. From VCRs to CDs to the current online environment, the technology continually changed and Hambourger has helped others navigate those changes.
“Online is the native environment now, so the students, even the older students, even if they haven’t taken online courses, they’re still very familiar with how the internet works,” she says. “I’ve been doing this for my whole life, just the technology has changed. Then, it was evening classes and now it’s online.”
What has made your job special? What have you enjoyed most?
Similar to others at DELTA, Hambourger enjoys the great people she gets to work with. She also enjoys working in a forward-looking, innovative unit in the academic environment.
The students she’s been able to help get acclimated to higher education and find the right program or course has been a particularly special part of her job.
“Sometimes I get emails saying ‘you changed my life’ or ‘no one has been this helpful’ so it’s rewarding to fill that role,” says Hambourger.
“I like the idea of being helpful and not feeling that I need to get a lot of accolades for it. The internal satisfaction of knowing I helped someone a little bit,” she adds. “For a lot of students, I was able to help them sort through things and see a clearer path.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?
“I’m a gardener and a beekeeper; I sing with several different groups, including the local shape note group, a gospel group and a madrigal group,” says Hambourger. She’s also trying to learn the ukulele.
Hambourger also enjoys doing yoga and reading. She’s currently reading Harry Potter for the first time.
“I have a house in the mountains near one of my sons and his family, and I visit there often,” she adds.
What are your plans for retirement?
“I have six grandkids with one more on the way due at the end of October, so they are my main retirement plan,” says Hambourger. Her newest grandchild will be born in Minnesota so Hambourger plans to make frequent trips.
“I recently moved from Cary to Durham to be closer to my kids, and I plan to get involved in some community activities there,” she adds.
Hambourger also plans to stay active in the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) at NC State. She’s a current volunteer and leads training and workshops for groups at NC State to educate students and employees about issues of discrimination, harassment, prejudice and diversity.
“I’ve got to sit on my porch for a while, but then I’ll probably find something to do,” she says. She’ll continue doing yoga and have more time to visit her grandchildren.
Ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 10 and 12, Hambourger’s grandchildren are the light of her life. Located in Durham, Boone and Minnesota, she plans to travel and spend as much time with them as possible.
“And, what’s life about if you can’t spend it with your grandkids,” she adds.