Spotlight on Lesley Lundeen, Family Resource Liaison for the Office of Work/Life and Family Resources
Lesley Lundeen, the Family Resource Liaison for the Office of Work/Life and Family Resources, is the central point person for graduate student parents at The Graduate School. She comes to Northwestern from the University of Chicago, where she most recently worked in Faculty Relocation/Dual Career Services.
“I am available to talk about any issue that is related to parenting,” explains Lesley. “I can provide advice on anything from thinking about having children while being a graduate student to talking to your advisor about becoming a parent. I can talk about the processes that are involved in adoption or walk you through the resources that are available to you if you are pregnant, including information about the student health insurance plan.”
Lesley hopes to connect graduate students across campus and to serve as the “one stop shop” for anything related to parenting. In the next year, she believes the most important step is to hear from graduate student parents about their needs and wants to help develop programming in this vein.
“Some graduate student parents might be the only ones in their year or even their entire program, and it can be difficult to find other families in that same situation,” says Lesley. “I would like to help connect graduate student families across the University through informal events like coffee hours, to larger events that may feature speakers on an academic topic.”
Lesley understands the graduate population well because she was once a graduate student in Classical Studies at Bryn Mawr College. Although she loved her research, she found that she enjoyed working with other students directly.
“I really liked my work, but I love being behind the scenes doing mentoring and advising,” says Lesley. “That was the part about teaching that I enjoyed the most, so I left my program to pursue a career in academic advising for undergraduates. I worked at the University of Pennsylvania in that capacity before coming to the University of Chicago. For five years, I was the dedicated career counselor for PhD students in the Humanities division and the Divinity school but I also helped advise and lead programs for graduate students in all the other divisions .”
From there, she moved into the Faculty Relocation/Dual Career Services office, where she supported faculty members and their families, helping them establish their lives in Chicago. During this time, she connected these families with other families across the university and provided access to available resources both in the community and at the University of Chicago.
“I started working with the national College University Work-Life-Family Association,” explains Lesley. “I got to see number of really amazing offices across the country that are making sure their staff, students and faculty are seen as people who have lives outside of the work and research that they do. I’m excited by this opportunity to work with graduate students from a work/life perspective, because I am able to address that personal side of their work and understand that this affects what they are doing in class and in the lab.”
Lesley lives in the city and is a mother of a seven-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter, making her very familiar with the parenting resources and groups in the area. Some of her favorite activities include exploring new outdoor spaces and baking with her children. In her free time, she loves to read and take flamenco and samba dance classes.
Lesley is available for appointments Monday through Friday and holds open walk-in hours at The Graduate School’s Evanston campus on Fridays and Chicago Campus on Wednesdays. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 847-467-1460. The first monthly parent coffee hours will take place on Wednesday, January 25 in Chicago and Friday, January 27 in Evanston, both at 3:30. For more information, visit TGS's Child and Family Resources page.