Home Life Arts and Style For Kelly Hogan, No Two Days are the Same

For Kelly Hogan, No Two Days are the Same

The Senior STEM Lecturer in Biology at UNC dishes on her day-to-day and worth-it moments.

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A Brooklyn native, Kelly has lived in the area for two decades, spending the last 12 on faculty at UNC. She and husband Brian Hogan, a professor in the department of chemistry, have two kids: Jake and Lexi. When she’s not on the UNC campus, you might find Kelly running a Spanish after-school program at McDougle Elementary. The Hogans love to travel, spending six weeks in France as a family when Brian taught biochemistry. This past summer, the couple co-taught genetics in Costa Rica.


Photo by Briana Brough
Photo by Briana Brough
Tell us about your work life.

No two days are really alike, and I appreciate that. I have a regular teaching schedule in which I teach hundreds of students each day. I love thinking about how my lesson will go each day and how this crop of students will learn. I also meet with lots of different faculty throughout the week to discuss teaching innovations or to run workshops and give talks. Some weeks I travel to conferences, give talks or meet with co-authors. I write textbooks, and this often takes me into some evening work at home.

What award or recognition that you’ve received means the most to you?

I do appreciate every award and what they represent from my work – some of which were entirely student chosen. But, I think I feel most honored to have been asked to become the first-ever director of instructional innovation for the College. It recognizes much of the work I have done and allows me to think creatively about how to help lead the College and its many hundreds of faculty to be the best teachers and mentors they can be.

Give us your best “worth-it moment,” a time when all your hard work really paid off in a tangible way.

There are many moments that you look forward to and savor, such as seeing your name in print or holding your first textbook in your hands, or hearing that a favorite student of yours got into medical school, etc. But the moments that really get me are the unexpected emails or thank-you cards from students that articulate what I have done to transform their lives in some way. This is what gets me out of bed each day – knowing that I can transform the lives of people who are just getting started. I have the power of good to help connect them to some experience where they can change the world.


Words of Wisdom

I like this philosophy that actor Mindy Kaling speaks of in her biography; [it] struck me as something I believe deeply, too: Confidence is something you earn. And you earn it, specifically, by caring about things, by trying to get things accomplished, by working. As Mindy says, ‘There is a certain type of greasy hair that you get only when you are writing with no breaks.’

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Jessica is the Executive Editor for Chapel Hill Magazine. As a 2010 grad of UNC, she's happy to be back in town writing, editing and eating around the Triangle.