Although she resides in Chicago, Dolly Lemke’s heart belongs to Milwaukee. She moved to Chicago in 2008 with her best friend from high school. “We have matching MKE tattoos on our arms,” she said, a nod to Milwaukee’s airport code. “I just love that city so much.”
After Dolly earned a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago, she founded and co-curated a salon-style reading series that quickly gained popularity. “People from all over the country wanted to come. People crashed on my couch every month–it was pretty rad.”
Dolly eventually decided she wanted to explore career options that highlighted her writing abilities. She heard about an opening for an online course editor at Wiley University Services through a poetry friend. She figured it would be a good fit based on her poetry and writing background, and also her higher ed experience. “I taught a little bit in grad school, so I thought the role would be interesting.”
Her next role at Wiley was as a content producer on the media team where her writing could shine, writing scenarios and scripting. At this time, she was presented an opportunity at Northwestern School of Professional Studies as a learning designer. “I looked at the role and thought, ‘Wow, I’m going to take a leap.’”
After working at Northwestern for two years, Dolly decided to pursue career opportunities back at Wiley. “I missed the community, the people, the leadership. I missed the camaraderie and how well we all worked together. I guess you could say I got homesick.” So, Dolly returned to Wiley in 2017 as a learning designer.
Dolly describes a learning designer’s role in six parts: client management, project management, teaching, problem-solving, researching, and designing. “I love creating a cohesive learning experience that is clear and intuitive. That really sets learners up for success.”
Outside of Wiley, Dolly yoga, roller skating, playing with her two cats, Archie and Batman, and enjoys spending time with her husband. Music is a big part of their life–he plays piano, bass, and sings–and Dolly is relearning to play piano. She also takes lifelong learning to heart and continually educates herself on creating accessible and equitable online learning environments.
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