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Keeping Young at Heart


Sue Mortensen, the executive secretary for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is known for her vivacious attitude and her love of the people she serves.

“Sue, alongside Ms. Erickson, is one of the two most important people in the department,” said Dr. Steve Goates, a professor in the department.

“Sue is the best thing about this job,” said student Shanlee Herrin. “She makes everything so fun and peaceful in the office.”

Photo by Mark A. Philbrick

So when Mortensen received the Outstanding Administrator/Staff Member Award at the annual CPMS College Awards Banquet it came as no surprise to her coworkers. Though they might have given her glowing praise, Mortensen says she feels honored and very surprised that she was recognized for the award at the banquet.

“I love working here,” Mortensen said. “I think there are a lot of people who are equally qualified for this honor, so it’s a little surprising to be chosen for the award. I’m very honored to receive it.”

Mortensen has been working in the department for a little over six years. The aspect of her job she said she most enjoys is working with the people in her department. She wouldn’t be able to do anything without their support, she said.

“I would have to highlight my student staff . . . They are above and beyond excellent in what they do and they are a great support to me,” Mortensen said. “The faculty are amazing to work with in our department, and I’m impressed with their knowledge and their professionalism—working with them is really a distinct pleasure.”

Mortensen is involved on all levels with the department’s activities. She helps with TA training, she works with the Simmons Center for Cancer Research, and she takes care of the special projects that come up throughout the department, along with her other duties.

“I am a point person; people come in and I am able to point them in the right direction,” Mortensen said. “If we aren’t able to help them, we can direct them to someone who can. It’s also been really fun to be involved with the Simmons Center for Cancer Research. We have lots of big, awesome goals for the research center that we are excited to work on.”

Early on in her time at BYU, Mortensen was transferred from the chemistry business office to the department office. Though she wasn’t sure she was qualified for the new position at the time, she’s very grateful for the opportunity.

“This is a great place to work, it really is,” Mortensen said. “I enjoy the excitement of working with faculty and staff and students. I think the students keep you very young at heart.”