Who's Who in HQ is an ongoing series that serves to highlight familiar faces in Chemistry Headquarters.
Academic Administrator Jennifer Weisman has been at MIT for five years, where, as the Academic Administrator for the Department of Chemistry, she oversees the Chemistry Education Office. The Chem Ed office supports the Undergraduate Program, the Graduate Program, and the Chemistry subjects, so she works closely with students, faculty, and staff. In addition to all of the administrative aspects of the job, Jennifer and her amazing team of Chem Ed staff members (Rebecca Teixeira, Jay Matthews, and Grace Kimball) help and support students. In this edition of Who’s Who in HQ, we’ll learn about Jennifer’s greatest joys, what she’d choose for her last meal, and who she’d pick to be her parents.
I’ve been at MIT for 5 years and have worked in Higher Education in some capacity for about 20 years. I originally went to graduate school to become a therapist but quickly got sidetracked into Student Affairs. I started off working in Residential Life at Curry College in Milton, MA and then Barnard College in Manhattan. After five years running residence halls I decided to go back to school and started a PhD program in Counseling & Personnel Services in the College of Education at the University of Maryland. While at Maryland I worked as an Academic Advisor and also as a Research Assistant for one our faculty members. The RA position sparked a real interest in research as a career and after I finished my PhD I was a Research Associate for a small consulting company, doing research and assessment on STEM education, particularly related to gender and racial equity. As rewarding as that work was, I really missed working with students and was fortunate enough to find the perfect spot here at MIT!
2. What was the last television show you binge watched?
I just finished a binge re-watch of Parks & Recreation. I binge watch an embarrassing number of shows since I like to have the TV on while I work on craft projects.
3. Who are three of your favorite fictional characters?
Given the name of my dog, Detective Bunk Moreland from The Wire is an obvious choice. The others would have to be Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights and C.J. Cregg from the West Wing.
4. What would be your last meal?
Gnocchi with Ricotta Pomodoro with a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup sundae for dessert.
5. What is your favorite four-legged creature?
Dogs in general and my dog Bunk in particular.
6. Which two celebrities would you pick to be your parents?
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
7. What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Last summer my husband and I went to Europe with my family and it was truly a trip of a lifetime. We flew to Amsterdam and then left on a cruise that took us to Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Copenhagen. My husband and I wrapped it up with some additional days in Amsterdam, which we loved.
8. What are a few items on your bucket list?
My bucket list is mostly travel destinations. The list is very long but right now the top picks are Alaska, Iceland, Australia, and Japan.
9. What brings you the greatest joy?
Traveling to different places with the people I love, whether it is exploring new places or returning to favorite destinations. I’ve been lucky enough to go on some amazing trips, some with my husband and others with different combinations of family members and friends.
10. What quote do you live by?
“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.” – Audre Lorde
11. What’s one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
Don’t spend time worrying about things you can’t control.
12. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party?
Michelle and Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem, Kathy Griffin, and Carrie Fisher.
13. What will always make you laugh?
Texting or talking to my best friend.
14. What is your go to karaoke song?
Nope…not gonna happen! 🙂
15. What was your first job, ever?
Day Camp Counselor.
16. What is your favorite place in the world?
New York City for a more active trip with lots of things to do and Siesta Key, Florida for relaxation.
17. What song instantly puts you in a good mood?
Anything by the Indigo Girls
18. Do you have a secret talent?
Baking, my specialities include Cereal Killer Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Loaf.
19. What are your top three favorite movies?
The Princess Bride, Top Gun, and Heathers.
20. What superstition do you believe in?
Nothing specific, but I do get superstitious about random and ridiculous things, like having a lucky t-shirt that I’m convinced ensures good weather on vacations.
21. If you could have any job in the world, other than working at MIT, what would it be?
Is professional crafter a job? I would love to spend time working on all of my different craft projects like sewing, cross-stitch, and jewelry making,. I don’t think that job exists though, so I would probably pick librarian. A couple of year after I finished my PhD I briefly considered going back to school for Library Science. Luckily I didn’t pursue that, because then I wouldn’t have wound up at MIT!
Thank you so much, Jennifer, for all you do for the Department of Chemistry on a daily basis!
Stay tuned for more Who’s Who in HQ in the months to come!