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As dean of career programs and continuing education and director of apprenticeship partnerships at Olive-Harvey College, Cheryl Freeman-Smith ’92 creates opportunities for students from low-income communities to gain the specialized skills required for the modern economy.

Read about Freeman-Smith's work

Cheryl Freeman-Smith and Brandon Nichols stand beside several Rivian electric vehicles.
Erica Bethe Levin ’05 founded Globowl, a company that creates baby and toddler food featuring flavors from around the world. Diversifying babies’ palates early on can help stave off picky eating and mitigate food allergies down the road, she says.

Get a taste

A jar of Globowl baby food alongside a small spoon and assorted food items.

Good Riddance

Spring 2024
The Metzger family’s efforts to cut down on household waste led Ryan Metzger ’01, ’09 MBA to co-found Ridwell, a multicity recycling operation. Since 2018, Ridwell has helped divert more than 21 million pounds of plastic and other hard-to-recycle materials from the waste stream.

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Ridwell founders Ryan Metzger, Aliya Marder, Justin Gough and David Dawson stand outside holding a variety of recyclable items and a Ridwell recycling container.
Music is integral to the plot of Down Below, an in-progress feature film by independent filmmakers Collin Davis ’11 and Matthew Valdez Litwiller ’11. In October 2023, Davis and Litwiller called upon Northwestern student musicians to record two original works for the film in Galvin Recital Hall.

Dive deeper

Down Below director of photography Travis LaBella operates a camera while Northwestern student musicians perform original works.
Maya-Camille Broussard ’04 MA is the owner of the Chicago-based bakery Justice of the Pies and a star on the Netflix show Bake Squad. In this Q&A, she discusses the inspiration behind her pie flavors, the social issues close to her heart and how she’s worked to make her bakery an accessible place for people living with disabilities.

Read the Q&A

Maya-Camille Broussard smiles at the camera while holding a strawberry basil key lime pie topped with fresh strawberries, on a serving tray. She wears a black and white polka-dotted dress and stands in front of a white and black polka-dotted wall.
After attending a ’Cats Wellness Chat over Zoom during the pandemic, a group of alumni have continued to meet regularly online, forming a lasting connection that spans time zones and continents.

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After reporter Lauren Chooljian published a story on a COVID outbreak at New Hampshire’s Granite Recovery Centers (GRC), clients and employees of GRC began reaching out to her, alleging that GRC CEO and founder Eric Spofford had been sexually harassing and assaulting clients and colleagues — and paying people to keep quiet. Reported and produced by Chooljian, The 13th Step podcast delves into the allegations against Spofford and why sexual misconduct is pervasive in recovery settings.

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Lauren Chooljian wears headphones while sitting at a desk in a radio studio. There is a microphone at her right labeled “NHPR.”
When the Northwestern alum left journalism in 2018, he joked to a friend that he would only come back to news if he could report on Taylor Swift every day. Five years later, his dream is a reality.

Meet Bryan West

Taylor Swift and Bryan West stand next to each other against a backdrop of golden curtains. Swift’s hand is resting on West’s shoulder. They are both smiling at the camera.
Chicago has welcomed more than 35,000 migrants since the state of Texas began busing migrants to “sanctuary cities” as part of his border security initiative Operation Lone Star. A longtime knitter, Margie Chan knew she could rally the crafting community to help keep Chicago’s migrant population warm this winter.

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A collection of colorful knitted hats showcasing a variety of textures and patterns.
Northwestern alum Aspen Buckingham ’23 and senior economics major Steven Jiang are the creators of Intervallic, a new video game changing the way aspiring musicians can practice their skills. Both musicians, Buckingham and Jiang are making practice into entertainment.

Let’s play!

Screencap of the video game Intervallic