MEM Fills Critical Student-Facing Staff Roles

Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program added three key student-facing staff members within the past few months. The three took time to talk about their new roles and how current and prospective students can connect with them.

Northwestern's Master of Engineering Management (MEM) program added three key student-facing staff members within the past few months. Mandy Hatfield joined MEM as the program's new associate director, while Jenny Grist and Miriam Williams joined as program assistants. 

Hatfield, Grist, and Williams will be interacting with current and prospective students on a regular basis. With that in mind, the three recently spoke about their respective roles within the program, what excites them about being a part of MEM, and the best way for students to connect with them.

What are your responsibilities within the MEM program?

Mandy Hatfield: Mark Werwath is the director and he's the ideas guy, but we need boots-on-the-ground people who can make those ideas happen. That's what Jenny and I do. We're the logistics people, so helping to bring those big-picture ideas to fruition is a significant part of my job. Another big part is focusing on the student experience and working to make their time in the program as easy as possible for them. Both Jenny and I want to make sure they feel they have all the tools they need to make their time in the program a success.

Jenny Grist: Mandy sees her role as supporting Mark, and I see my role as really supporting Mandy and helping her get things done. As the program assistant, I want to do all the little things I can and are needed to make the program a success. I also like being a person students can come and see in the office. I'm a friendly face they can talk to, and even if I don't have the answer, they can know I'm looking out for them and will find someone who has the answer. 

Miriam Williams: I take on everyday tasks that include communicating with students, faculty, and staff about their needs, coordinating events, ordering supplies, enrolling students for classes, and working with Jenny and Mandy to ensure that students have the best experience possible within the program. I also take on additional tasks that revolve around collecting and organizing data to assist with administrative needs, as well as identifying areas where work processes can be improved or streamlined.

What were you doing before joining MEM?

MH: I was at the University of Chicago, where I managed nine international and domestic alumni clubs. I was managing a lot of projects and working with alumni volunteers to put on events. The audience was different, but a lot of the work was similar, and I'll be building on the skills I used there while helping MEM students.

JG: I was a program assistant in the partnership office between Northwestern and Evanston Township High School. The office worked to strengthen the relationship between Northwestern and the high school, and we were able to coordinate about 100 unique partnerships, including in athletics, cultural events, career education, and community engagement.

MW: I moved to the Chicago area this past summer after having worked and studied at Indiana University. I've worked as an office coordinator for the Indiana University School of Art, Architecture + Design, speechwriter for the vice president for student academic affairs at Indiana, and data analyst for Melody Music Shop LLC. Most recently, I worked as a stock keeper for the Bloomington Drosophila Stock Center, which houses the world’s largest collection of fruit flies to be shipped across the globe for use in genetic research. 

What excites you about MEM?

MH: I'm excited to work with students who chose this program to enrich their lives. They picked this program for a specific reason, and they're super excited about it. You can feel the enthusiasm, they're just so excited to be here and be affiliated with MEM. Being able to work for a program like that is really rewarding.

JG: One thing I love about Northwestern is the University has created these different programs to help fill specific needs in the world. MEM exists to help engineers who want to strengthen their management and leadership skills while learning about up-and-coming technologies. I like being able to support students as they pursue those goals. 

MW: I love the energy in the program. The faculty and staff are all dedicated to student success, and the students themselves are motivated, driven, and passionate about their work. As someone who has worked in science and administrative fields, it’s exciting to support a program that aims to develop management skills among STEM professionals.

How are students able to interact with you?

MH: We work closely with both current students and prospective students. For prospects, email is definitely best. They have questions about the program and I'm always happy to answer them or point them in the right direction. For current students, they can email or stop by. We also see them in the classrooms or the hallways.

JG: Email works, but current students should always feel free to come by the office. We're here to help them and support them. 

MW: Students primarily interact with me via email, but in the case of certain events, such as orientation and graduation, I am present to assist with event execution and success.

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