Purdue Profiles: Jenny Kelly

December 7, 2012  

Jenny Kelly

Jenny Kelly, administrative assistant for Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Keeping Purdue's Global Policy Research Institute (GPRI) running smoothly is no small task, but every day Jenny Kelly rises to that challenge.

As GPRI's administrative assistant, Kelly juggles a wide range of planning and logistical duties while also assisting other areas of campus with their global activities. The enjoyment her job brings -- and knowing the institute is making a profound difference in the world -- makes all the work worth it, Kelly says.

Can you explain more about the Global Policy Research Institute?

GPRI was established in 2010 at the behest of Purdue's faculty, who developed a business plan for it that the trustees then approved. Essentially, GPRI serves as an honest broker that provides Purdue-based research to policy and decision makers at the state, national and international levels. The institute's activities deal with various themes that represent global, grand challenges -- such as food security, health and energy. This distinguishes it from other University policy institutes.

GPRI's director, Arden Bement, also serves as Purdue's chief global affairs officer, and in that role he reports directly to the University's president. GPRI works closely with two governing bodies: Our external advisory council is comprised of 18 world-class thought leaders from around the globe, and our faculty leadership committee is comprised of 15 Purdue faculty members.

What are some of your daily duties?

Beyond the typical administrative duties, every day brings new and challenging activities. GPRI often is pulled in to help with global activities that other areas of campus are coordinating. For example, if one of the colleges has an international visitor coming, we are frequently called upon to help coordinate meetings and events for them. The same is often true when other colleges go on international trips for University business.

For example, in July I helped plan a workshop for university representatives from the U.S. and Ethiopia. A joint effort between GPRI and Purdue's Center for Global Food Security, this effort was a follow-up to the trip that a Purdue delegation recently took to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital. Since this relationship is still developing, it'll be exciting the see the fruits that come from our labor.

How did you end up coming to Purdue to work?

Originally, I'm from Cary, Ill., which is a suburb of Chicago. In 2004, my husband landed a subcontracting job in Lafayette, so we moved to the area. I've loved it here ever since -- it's a great place to raise a family, so we decided to stay.

In 2007, I was hired as a patent coordinator at the Purdue Research Foundation. A few years later, I was hired as an administrative assistant at VACCINE, a center located here on campus. I started my current job in May 2011.

What is the most exciting part of your job?

I really enjoy networking, and I enjoy developing and cultivating the relationships I build across campus. I enjoy planning events, organizing itineraries for visitors and ensuring their visits are great experiences. Overall, I strive to be a positive ambassador for Purdue, and working at GPRI has enabled me to do that on multiple levels.

Through my work at GPRI, I get to see the campus's extraordinary, interdisciplinary connectedness, which may be difficult to experience within an academic unit. To me, being part of such a complex, dynamic University is energizing.

Writer: Amanda Hamon, 49-61325, ahamon@purdue.edu

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