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Staff Spotlight: Kelly Levander

Kelly Levander photoKelly Levander, the Marketing Specialist in the Department, facilitates promotional projects and promotes faculty and student accomplishments inside and outside the University. Kelly curates the latest news and research for the newsletter, website, and social media.

What is your current position at the Department? 

I work in the main office as the Chemistry Department Marketing Specialist. My role is to curate the newsletter, manage the Department's social media presence, and facilitate additional ways to share exciting Department accomplishments. This position was created to centralize marketing efforts that had previously been taken on by other staff. I came on board in May of 2022 and have been working to streamline and expand our sharing of positive Department accomplishments. Additionally, I provide event planning and execution support to Sophie Tidd in the main office.

I am always happy to have people contact me to share positive news with NU Chemistry's larger audience. This includes recent Department research, awards, or accomplishments.

Is there anything you have learned working in the Chemistry Department that you find particularly interesting?

After working for 10 years as a freelance marketing and event manager in the Chicago theater scene, I was unsure of what to expect when I joined a STEM department at this prestigious university. One of the interesting things I have learned about chemistry is how much creativity and innovative thinking is required. Listening to the top-tier speakers presenting at the named lectures and colloquiums, I am fascinated to hear the innovative ways chemists are solving large problems in our world. Our faculty, researchers, and students tackle environmental, medical, and climate change issues in ways that inspire and excite me. 

Could you tell us about one of the most unusual or interesting jobs you've ever had before working at Northwestern? 

I was a free spirit in my early adult life, so I've had some crazy jobs across the country. The most interesting job I ever had was singing Broadway tunes and waiting tables in an upscale restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. My workday was often spent grating parmesan cheese over pasta for one table, then singing a Broadway song for the next table. Since this restaurant was located within one of the area's most luxurious hotels, my quirky job could have me performing for Oscar winners one night and NASCAR drivers the next.

Where are you from and where did you grow up?

I'm a Southern girl raised in Tennessee. Since my parents made money flipping properties, we moved frequently. My most memorable childhood home was when we lived on a farm for 7 years in Eads, TN. I was homeschooled and spent most of my time reading, riding horses, and raising chickens.

What is a hobby or activity you do outside of work? 

I am the mother of two wonderful preteens which fills up plenty of my time. When I am not a mom or a marketing specialist, I work as a performer, director, and producer in the Chicago Storefront community. My current project involves creating immersive theatrical events combining sketch comedy, short plays, and other artistic elements as the artistic director of a small (but quickly growing) Chicago theater. 

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?

To an audience of scientists, I should probably say Rosalind Franklin, but I would love to meet Bob Dylan. I am drawn to his poetry and depth of reflection on humans' social conditions, religion, politics, and relationships. Honesty though, meeting someone who has had such an influence on contemporary culture would be both inspiring and intimidating. I would probably ask a bunch of silly questions about New York City in the 60’s.