For 13 years, Josh McKenzie was a Northwestern icon. As the face of Wildcat Welcome, students cheered enthusiastically during his speeches and opened his emails gleefully. When McKenzie parted ways with NU last year, a question arose: Who will take on the title of the University’s slayest employee?

NBN spent the quarter on a search for his successor. We sent a form to undergraduate students across the Evanston campus to nominate who they believe are the slayest NU employees – from captivating professors to iconic dining hall workers.

The form received 35 responses and a wide range of nominations, including professors from a variety of departments, employees at Norris and workers in Allison and Plex Dining Halls. With all the nominations the form received, we decided to pick the top four nominees instead of highlighting only one.

Ms. Mary Flemming, a worker at Allison, received the highest percentage of nominations at 20%. Dr. Todd Gingrich, an assistant professor of chemistry, received the second highest percentage at 11%. Our final two nominees – Dr. Ava Thompson Greenwell, a professor of journalism, and Dr. Daniel Immerwahr, a professor of history – each received 8.6% of nominations.

Our form also asked students to select qualities that they believe make their nominees slay. Of the qualities listed, “kind” received the highest percentage of votes at 57.1%. “Friendly” and “funny” tied for second, each receiving 54.3% of votes. “Inspiring” and “passionate” tied for third, both receiving 48.6% of votes. We also gave students the option to write in other qualities not listed on the form. Their write-in qualities include “scary,” “cool af,” “passionate about teaching” and “diva!!!”

Data Visualization!

We talked to the four nominees to find out what makes them slay. Click on a panel below to read a Q&A with each person and watch them in action in a fun video!

All Q&As have been edited and condensed for clarity.