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Northwestern University

Staff Spotlight- Jennifer Bivens, Business Analyst Lead

Jennifer Bivens is the Business Analyst Lead for Weinberg College IT.

How long have you been connected to Northwestern?

The short answer is twenty-nine years. I moved to Evanston/Chicago in 1990 as an undergraduate and had two different work study jobs: the first was for Rebecca Blank, in the Social Policy and Economics departments, as a research assistant. After I took time off and then returned to NU - and later finished my degree as a comparative literature major - I worked at the NU literary publications office.

My current work at Northwestern began in January 2012 when I started as a Business Analyst in Student Enterprise Systems (CAESAR and other central admin systems) in NUIT. And now I have another new beginning in Weinberg College IT.

What excites you about your work at Northwestern University?

I have had a variety of jobs and personal pursuits based in my love of writing, language, literature, math, and IT and it is pleasing that all of these skills and jobs are linked to Northwestern usually in some way. It makes it pretty easy to come to work on a Monday morning. Both of my kids are at Oakton Elementary in District 65 (two-way immersion program) and they have both benefited from joint D65-Northwestern programs. I ride my bicycle to work, and I see people from all parts and times of my life sometimes during a single morning commute. Even in work meetings I re-meet people from previous Evanston eras.

If you weren't in IT, what do you think you'd be doing?

I can imagine a multitude of things. I have worked as a math teacher, writer, and editor and I would happily do that work again. My husband is an actor and worked on a huge project a couple of years ago, with his theater company Theater Oobleck, to put to music all of the works of Baudelaire. For one poem (“Le gouffre”), I translated it to English and my husband and kids performed the song that my husband composed and arranged. I think that is the ideal job: translator for my family band of Baudelaire troubadours.

What's something you like to do outside of work?

Last year I started a math club for third- through fifth-graders at Oakton Elementary (my kids’ school). During the times when we met weekly, I would spend a lot of free time researching cool stuff to do with the kids that is not at all related to the math they do in school. It has brought my daughter and me great joy and has taught me how much more I want to learn. My son is a bit grouchy about getting up early on Fridays.



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