Office manager, who has worked on campus 24 years, is advocate for inclusion


Lindsey Staff Spotlight son
Ellen Lindsey is pictured with her son Joe. (submitted photo)

Ellen Lindsey is the office manager and graduate contact for the Department of Plant Biology within the School of Integrative Biology in Morrill Hall. In all, she has spent 24 years working for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in a variety of capacities, but she has been a visitor to campus throughout her life.

Briefly describe your responsibilities:
I am the graduate contact for my unit. I work with grad students who are applying and who are here studying. I enter information into Slate, GradApps, and track the students so that we can assist them as they are nearing graduation. I do anything from bringing a speaker to campus with all travel arrangements to helping new students with questions about campus, helping set up funding for the summer with the fellowship office to ordering supplies. Each day is different!

What do you remember of your first visit to campus?
I have been coming to campus all my life. My mother worked on campus when she was pregnant with me. My aunt worked at Florida Avenue Residence Hall (FAR) for over 35 years. We would come and see her when we were in town. I remember FAR’s towers being some of the tallest buildings in Champaign/Urbana.  

Do you have a favorite memory from your time on campus?
I have a passion for inclusion and special needs. My son, Joe, has Down Syndrome so I am a strong advocate for him. I have worked with the special education classes in the past on projects and mentoring. I think it is always a good idea to pay it forward and share our struggles and accomplishments with future teachers, therapists, and medical professionals. The first time I spoke to students in a special education class, it was a small class of 300. I am not a public speaker, but I can talk to about anyone about Joe! That day I spoke to three classes, two at 300 and one about 100.

What is the best part of your workday?
The people I work with during my day. I work with a great group of people here, and the staff at my last office were great. We work hard, but we can take a minute and joke or laugh. We are all part of a team and we can get anything done, as long as we work together!

Editor's note: This LAS Staff Spotlight profile is part of a series that features College of LAS staff and the important work they do to support units across the college. Visit here to learn more.

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Kayleigh Rahn