Pamela Breeden worked at Duke University for 23 years, but don’t hold that against her. Though she grew up in Durham in the shadow of Duke’s campus, she is a Carolina fan.
At Duke, she transported patients, developed X-rays and worked as a filing clerk. The jobs required that Breeden be on her feet, moving from one place to the next. Computers would turn her filing job into a data entry desk job. Breeden, who liked being on her feet and interacting with people, grew restless.
After working as a beautician, she brought her love of people to a housekeeping job at UNC’s Spencer Residence Hall. Ms. Pam, as the students call her, has been assigned to three different halls over the years. She knows that treating students with respect means they will reciprocate.
“I try to make them feel like they’re at home,” she says. She helps students move and asks about their classes and families. She does little things such as buying dishwashing liquid for the kitchen. “That’s the way moms think.”
Breeden says she cares for students the way she hopes people treat her daughter and son – with a proper dose of care and respect.
She makes a point to look out for the first-year students, especially girls who walk down the hallway with a lost look on their faces. “I would tell them, ‘Oh, you must be a freshman. It’s going to be all right, baby. I kind of tease with them to make them feel welcome.”
“Every morning when I hear her outside my door, I open it just to say hello and receive some of her positive energy,” Megan Karney, a former resident adviser said of Breeden. “Be it a call from the bathroom, a conversation in the hallway, or a honk as she drives past us on campus, Ms. Pam has greatly contributed to the positive energy and community development between the housing residents.”