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Mari Meyer

Associate Director, Regional Programs (DC's go-to staff personnel)

How long have you lived in DC (or the surrounding areas)?

I’m a Chicago gal but will have the privilege of visiting the wonderful alumni community in D.C. about 4-5 times a year. If you have any must-sees & must-eats while I’m in town, please send any recommendations my way!

Where was your favorite place to study on campus? 

I went to Earlham College as an undergraduate, and University of Pennsylvania for graduate school. My favorite spots to “study” were almost always my favorite spots to schmooze—so I had to learn early that if I actually wanted anything to get done I’d have to get away. My greatest discovery? Laundromats. The clean socks were just a bonus!

The Onion or the Washington Post?

Depends on my mood. Both have the potential to force me to erupt in either laughter, or tears, or both at once—always publicly. I do my best to contain myself (there are just so many feelings to feel!) but generally, a good combination of the two is all I need to be prepared for my duties as a civically engaged member of society.

Which is your favorite DC metro line (i.e., Green, Red, Blue)? 

I’ve now taken three, and I’ve got to say I really like the Blue Line. The hustle of the airport comers and goers, the tourists stopping off at Arlington Cemetery and Pentagon City, the locals who are annoyed at all of us: priceless. I will add that the metro’s carpeted floors and seat cushions make my favorite Chicago El rides feel a little colder and lonelier now…

What activity would you recommend to those new to the city? 

That’s a great question! What activity would you all recommend for me? If it helps to know a little more about me when determining suggestions: I love to eat, I love to walk through new neighborhoods, and I have a profound love of my plan to teach aqua aerobics after retiring one day.

What is the last book your read? 

I just finished Jonathon Franzen’sFreedom, and I would highly recommend it. Did some laughing, did some crying (this is becoming a theme, I think), and it was all around a powerful, thoughtful, and engaging read.

What is your favorite restaurant? 

In Chicago it’s easy: Belly Shack. It’s Korean & Latin fusion—managed by the famous local chef who also owns Urban Belly and most recently, Belly Q. Next time you’re in town, don’t miss it!

On my recent D.C. trip, I went to a bistro called Zest (Barracks Row) and it was absolutely deelish! They gave our table a free S’mores pie, and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds.

What was your favorite class?

In college my favorite class was Anthropology of Gender—or Urban Studies and Education—or Mediation and Conflict Resolution, which I took while studying in Northern Ireland. At Penn I took a phenomenal organizational dynamics and higher education leadership class called Faculty and Academic Governance, and another focused on racial disparities, identity and education reform. I am a self-nominated nerd and continue to love to learn.

Who was your favorite professor?

His name is Stephen Butler, Professor of Sociology & Anthropology, and Professor/Department Chair of the African/African-American Studies Department at Earlham College. He is retiring this spring and I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of learning from and working with him years ago.

What is on your DC bucket list?

Getting to know as many UChicago alumni as possible, and having a great time doing it! Looking forward to meeting many of you soon!

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