Virginia Kelly, the division’s new Office Coordinator, brings a wide range of experience, diverse interests, and a wicked sense of humor to the position. Virginia spent 15 years as a communications writer and administrative assistant at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, first in corporate communications and then in provider relations (but she says to please don’t hold that against her!). She then joined Alumni Relations at Washington University, where the team produced 180 events a year, before moving on to Alumni and Development in Development Services. “I loved both jobs, and the people were amazing,” says Virginia.
Virginia’s military family moved around a lot when she was young, but they eventually settled in the town of St. Elmo in southern Illinois. As a child, she remembers “running from bulls, jumping fences, gathering eggs from cranky hens, climbing oil pumps and leaping out of barns.” Virginia has three children: Ian, 30, an artist who specializes in graphic novels; Michelle, 11, also an artist who loves anime; and Mandy, 10, who loves soccer, video games and books and who will make you laugh.
Virginia has a degree in classic music performance (opera) and a second degree in communications. When she lost her singing voice in her late 30s, she went on to study film. She especially loves the “hands on” aspect of the discipline, especially video editing. She took classes and her “very patient, adventurous group of group of friends” helped her produce about eight short films/videos, including a short where an inflatable Santa tries to kill a woman. “I have never trusted inflatable holiday decorations,” she says.
One of her films was a lesbian-cowboy-zombie story, the filming of which sounds like it belongs in a movie itself. “That shoot was a bit of nightmare. We were on site and my producer actually didn’t have permission, so the owner drove up in a jeep and ran us off the property…he actually almost ran us over with his jeep. We drove around and found an abandoned parking lot behind a building in Lafayette Square. It was hot as blazes, one of my zombies had the flu with a fever of over 100 degrees, and the lead actress had fake blood all over her and it stained her skin…and she had a formal party that night. But it turned out pretty good for amateurs,” she says.
Virginia’s experience in film is proving useful for a new project in the division. The “Life of PI 2-Minute Video Project” involves shooting short films of our Principle Investigator research faculty as they discuss their work and laboratories.
“I was lucky enough to get offered a position here at the Division of Nephrology. What a great group of people who are doing incredible things,” says Virginia. She also states that an added bonus to the job is the presence of “El Macho,”
the stuffed rooster that resides in room 7713 Wohl Clinic … but that is another story.
Welcome to the division, Virginia.