As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Michelle McKeever!
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Michelle.
Primary Role: Program Associate in the Office of Community Engagement and Experiential Learning (CEEL)
Years at GDS: Four years down and halfway through year number five
What do you love about GDS?
I love that GDS is a place where I can be fully myself: the messy, the fun, the passionate, the changemaker (and on and on and on). I have never attended a school or worked in a place where I was so encouraged to speak my mind, share my opinions, and be valued for what I bring to the table. But truly, what I love most is that not only am I allowed to be fully myself but I am called on to help students be fully themselves as well. What a gift!
Why do you do your job?
I do my job because I believe that community engagement and experiential learning should be the cornerstone of the educational experience. Knowing how to navigate the world with real, practical, hands-on experience is a life-changing benefit for our students and sets GDS apart.
A favorite part of your job?
My favorite part of my job is taking students out into DC and showing them parts of the city that they (or I!) have never seen.
Your work style in three words?
Authentic, hopeful, and (delightfully) chaotic
Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
I'm a 9th grade advisor and an advisor to a few High School student groups such as the Body Image Affinity Group, Women in the Workplace Speaker Series, The Glee Club, and the Student Mental Health Collaborative. I also co-lead the Alliance of White Educators Group [a longstanding anti-racist group] for faculty and staff. Previously, Michelle served as GDS’s admissions marketing specialist.
A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
My hope for everyone at GDS and beyond is that they know that they are enough, just as they are in this moment.
I am a huge fan of reading, taking fitness classes (Sweat DC is my current love), and eating at restaurants around the city. I'm deeply spiritual and love to talk about religion and spirituality across all backgrounds and beliefs. I am also very much a fan of Eastern medicine practices such as acupuncture and Reiki and find them an excellent complement to other mindfulness and self-care practices.
A few favorites…?
- Favorite recipe: Ina Garten's Roast Chicken
- Favorite Book: The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
- Favorite Musical Artist: Taylor Swift (duh)
- Favorite Song: “American Pie” by Don McLean
Tell us about your pet.
The most important being in my life has to be my sweet cat, Hope. Her full name is actually Hope-a-dope-a-lope, but I digress. Fun fact: I hated cats and am mildly allergic to them, but during the pandemic, I decided to foster a cat. I figured since I didn't like cats, I wouldn't get attached. Two years later, Hope runs the house and I cannot imagine life without her. Just goes to show you that life is ever-changing.
One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I am an open book, so there are rarely things others don't know about my life!
One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Attended graduate school! I am graduating in May with an MA in Education Policy and Leadership.
One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
I would love to travel to every country in the world, but will settle for as many as I can get in this lifetime!
With a tip from Michelle, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Program Associate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Guyton Mathews said, “Michelle is one of those colleagues that will hop in and help whenever she can...and do the job with excellence. Her vulnerability and willingness to listen without judgment continue to be one of the many reasons students flock to her as a trusted resource. She also has an infectious laugh that brings so many people joy. Michelle is a true gem that GDS is lucky to have."
Director of CEEL Leigh Tait added: “Michelle is a wonderful colleague—and officemate—because she is always herself: warm, supportive, and absolutely hilarious. She loves GDS students more than anyone I know and will always stop what she's doing to entertain a story, a question, or a joke from anyone who comes by. She is the queen of Minimester and the brains behind the Buddy Program. She's improved every program she's touched in the CEEL Office this year, but continues to match her work ethic with humility and a genuine growth mindset. She says "yes" whenever possible. She leads by example. She has boundless energy and enthusiasm for anything that connects her with kids—and somehow without caffeine. Michelle embodies all the good things about GDS, and I feel so lucky to be her partner in crime!”