Meet Management: Project Coordinator, Audrey Searles

To be a part of a team is to be collaborative, communicative, and open to new ideas. These qualities are exemplified in the role of Project Coordinator, our new hire Audrey Searles demonstrates these qualities with fervor and an eagerness to learn.

Audrey in Marquette

Originally from Flint, Michigan, Audrey moved to the Upper Peninsula to attend Northern Michigan University (NMU) in the fall of 2017. As a child, Audrey spent vacations in the Upper Peninsula, camping in the Porcupine Mountains with her family and immersing herself in the nature of the Southern shores of Lake Superior. Audrey felt a magnetic pull to the small city, big nature environment that Marquette offers. As a lifelong learner, she has been able to foster her diverse skill set in Marquette and continues to build connections, community, and creativity in her everyday life. During her undergrad, Audrey learned skills from a variety of positions, including being a Home Health Aid, a teacher and student mentor, a nonprofit worker, and even a phlebotomist. Post-undergrad, she worked as a librarian and a project manager at NMU.

Student of Life

Growing up, Audrey loved to learn and wanted to be a student for as long as she could. Not just as a student at school, but as a student of life. When asked what her “dream job” was, she said, “Being a student. I wanted to be a lifelong learner. I thought it would be amazing to go to college forever.” Audrey studied psychology at Oakland University. She transferred to NMU to continue her education, studying Community Health Education and Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS). Her interest in science and community health guided her in the direction of this major. Audrey’s enthusiasm for learning extends to teaching, steering her to become a teaching assistant for Clinical Laboratory Science classes during her undergraduate studies. She also taught a Community Health Worker (CHW) certification course at her previous position at Northern. 

Why Project Coordinator?

After graduation, Audrey became a project manager for the NMU Center for Rural Health and assisted in their Rural Workforce Innovation grant. Now, as an Innovate Marquette Project Coordinator, Audrey helps lead meetings, coordinates task planning, works with students, and communicates with clients. Also as a Project Coordinator, Audrey makes new connections every day. She loves listening to the product and business ideas of community members who come to Innovate Marquette. Audrey’s role is like a “liaison between local entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial resources.” Some goals she has at IMQT are to have a better understanding of entrepreneurial business models and to make more community connections!

Envisioning an Innovative Environment

After gaining a well-rounded background from previous jobs, Audrey had an idea of what the optimal work environment looked like. She says, “I wanted to work somewhere dynamic, that would welcome fresh ideas and I wanted to work with a passionate team.” Something that stood out to her about the role of Project Coordinator was the opportunity to work with the Invent@NMU students, especially since she loves helping and learning from others (she also loves their energy and enthusiasm!). Other components she found valuable were staying involved with the community in Marquette and working in a collaborative atmosphere at the IMQT office. In Audrey’s eyes, a healthy work environment needs communication and teamwork to thrive. She says, “I appreciate that the IMQT team is good at communicating with each other kindly and with understanding. IMQT makes such an effort to keep everyone involved. I appreciate the coordination it takes to make sure all departments are kept on the same wavelength.”

Audrey’s Artistic Endeavors

Just as important as one’s work in an office, is one’s work outside of the office. Our passions, crafts, hobbies, and comforts make up a huge part of how we perform during a workday. When Audrey is not working, she is most likely enjoying the fresh air by hiking, kayaking, or cozying up inside with a book and her three cats, Juno, Tatum, and Twyla, and doing art projects like collaging or fused glass. Audrey emphasizes the importance of incorporating art and intentional design into everyday life.

About the Author: Originally from Minnesota, Sarah Gimpl is a senior at NMU studying Environmental Studies and Sustainability with a minor in Art and Design. Sarah has worked at Invent@NMU as a marketing assistant since her freshman year.