Meet Natasha Stracener

Meet Natasha Stracener
Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Employee Natasha Stracener ’98 is UNC Charlotte’s first Erskine B. Bowles Staff Service Award recipient from UNC Charlotte. Learn more about Stracener’s job, her most rewarding work during the pandemic and her unforgettable night singing carols at Miss Bonnie Cone’s home. 

How long have you been at UNC Charlotte

I have been employed at UNC Charlotte for nearly 23 years. However, I came as a freshman in 1994. This year marks the 25th anniversary since I graduated from UNC Charlotte.

Can you describe your role at UNC Charlotte?

I currently work as the Center for Teaching and Learning's instructional media production manager on the media production team, where I lead the filming, planning and production of media for academic courses. 

What is something that people may not know about your work?

Many people on campus know me as the Zoom expert, as I have coordinated Zoom during hybrid or virtual events. What you may not know is that there have always been two sides to my job. I have always loved working with departments and organizations on campus and helping with their virtual events. However, my heart goes into writing and video production. For many years, I was the producer of several shows on the University’s cable channel, then I produced promotional videos for academic affairs. During the pandemic, I had to put all of my team’s production projects on hold while focusing on virtual events. 

Recently, my team moved to the media production team under the Center for Teaching and Learning. This new role allows me the ability to work with t wonderful and gifted faculty and find ways for them to produce engaging content for their students.

What’s one of the most interesting and rewarding projects you’ve worked on

During the pandemic, the University needed my technical expertise and assistance hosting all events virtually. It was a time where I felt I could finally give back to the University, as my whole career I had been volunteering for other organizations instead of UNC Charlotte.

My team was asked to return to campus to help with a graduation ceremony for the College of Arts + Architecture. That was the first of many ceremonies, speaker series, dedications and events that we assisted with virtually. During that time, I was able to use several of my production talents and leadership skills to make the remote attendees feel like they were attending the events in person instead of virtually. I loved getting to know all of the different departments and organizations on campus and helping each of them find ways to continue showcasing the wonderful work of our University. 

What do you like to do in your free time

During the school year, I am the chorus booster club president for my daughter's middle school, a Girl Scout leader, a member of the church guidance council and preschool board at my church, as well as the children's and youth council. 

When I am not engaged in volunteer work, I have a deep passion for attending live concerts. My daughters and I thoroughly enjoy traveling and take the opportunity to explore different parts of the U.S. to catch a live show. Last year, we had a memorable time seeing Harry Styles in New York, and more recently, Taylor Swift in Nashville.

Who inspires you the most

My parents, who raised me to be a kind and loving person, Aunt TC, who taught me to pay it forward, Bill Laukaitis, who gave me an internship on campus my sophomore year with our media department and LouAnn Sellers, who was the campus minister for United Christian Fellowship when I was a student at UNC Charlotte. 

Last but not least is Miss Bonnie Cone. I am one of the very fortunate people on campus who can say that I was touched by her loving and generous heart. My junior year, LouAnn arranged for the students of UCF to sing Christmas carols outside her home. To our surprise, she invited us inside for cookies and tea. It is a night that I will never forget. We sat in her living room while she told us stories about the University, having students visit her house, parties in the barn and how she was able to help build the University that we love today. Since meeting her, I have hoped I can touch at least one person’s life like she touched mine. I live by Miss Bonnie’s motto: “I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. What I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God, I will do.” 

How does it feel to be the 2023 Erskine B. Bowles Staff Service Award recipient

Being selected as the recipient of the prestigious Erskine B. Bowles Staff Service Award is a tremendous privilege. It comes as a surprise to me, considering the multitude of exceptional employees on the UNC Charlotte campus who consistently contribute to the University and the community. This marks the first instance of someone from UNC Charlotte receiving this esteemed award, and I am truly humbled.

I live everyday trying to be my genuine and authentic self. A core aspect of who I am is my love for giving and assisting others, both within the University and the broader community. Whether it's imparting valuable lessons to my Girl Scouts, daughters or Charlotte students I come across, I consistently emphasize the profound impact kindness can have.