Melody Kelley: from chemistry to city council

Melody Kelley, Ph.D., is a Detroit native who graduated magna cum laude from Wayne State University in 2007. As an undergraduate, she carried out research in the Kodanko Lab, where she synthesized amino acid derivatives for subsequent ferryl oxidation studies. Professor Jeremy Kodanko stated that Kelley was instrumental in helping him set up the lab, and her work led to co-authorship on a paper in 2009. She went on to become the first African American woman doctoral recipient in the chemistry department of the University of Alabama, where she received her Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2014, and obtained several prestigious fellowships

Kelley is currently an associate professor of chemistry in Georgia State University's Perimeter College and a STEM faculty associate in the GSU Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Online Education. She specializes in operationalizing high-impact pedagogical practices
to serve diverse, underserved and non-traditional student populations.

This commitment extends beyond academia to her service activity, which includes becoming the first African American to hold an elected office in Georgia's seventh-largest city, Sandy Springs.

In her spare time, Kelley enjoys spending time with her 16-year-old daughter, Kiara. We are extremely proud of Kelley and honored that she returned to provide guidance to Wayne State chemistry students at the inaugural Bettye Washington Greene Lectureship and Career Panel on October 28, 2022.

By Christine Chow

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