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People & Profiles

Members of the Class of 2024 share their memorable moments, favorite projects and more.

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Grads to Celebrate Hero Final

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.
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.
Northwestern community members share the wisdom they learned the hard way.

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Scissors cutting through a piece of paper that says “I can’t do it.”
Northwestern professor Melissa Foster ’96, ’01 MMus believes rap music should be accessible to everyone. She explains why she finds the genre so inspiring — and why learning its history is critical to becoming a good rapper.

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Michelle Foster leans against a brick wall, wearing a white turtleneck top, oblong hoop earrings and a necklace. She is smiling and holding a copy of her book.

Timeless Threads

Spring 2024
In her senior honors thesis, art history major Elizabeth Dudley explores the influence of technology — from the invention of the sewing machine to the rise of social media — on fashion and aesthetic trends. She focuses on cottagecore, an aesthetic reflecting a pastoral way of life that exploded in popularity during the pandemic.

Learn about cottagecore

Elizabeth Dudley smiles in a forested area wearing a floral crown and an off-shoulder smocked white top with a dark pink spaghetti-strapped dress over it.
Since 2019 Marc McClellan ’81, a resident of Palm Springs, Calif., has served as president of the NU Club of Coachella Valley, a small but active group that has hosted game watch parties and cultural events, receptions for the Northwestern softball team and alumni filmmakers, and joint gatherings with other Northwestern groups to expand the club’s reach and unite Wildcats in the area.

Get to know McClellan

Marc McClellan stands near a body of water in California. He wears a purple polo shirt with Northwestern’s athletic logo on his upper left chest. He also wears a purple baseball cap displaying Northwestern’s athletic N. The opposite side of the water is lined with palm trees and lush greenery, which are reflected in the water’s surface. To McClellan’s left, part of a pedestrian bridge is visible.
When his dreams of directing theater fizzled, Art Johnston ’75 MFA instead took up the fight for queer rights in Chicago. Together with his husband, Pep Peña, he co-founded Sidetrack, an innovative gay bar that’s now the largest in the Midwest, and lobbied for passage of groundbreaking civil rights laws that have made Chicago a welcoming place for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Get to know Johnston

Art Johnston sits on a barstool in Sidetrack. He is smiling and looking slightly away from the camera to his left. Behind him is a neon sign displaying the name Sidetrack.
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.

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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.
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.