Our July staff spotlight is on Kelly Uckun, administrator in the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition.
Kelly oversees finances and operations to further the mission of the division. “My favorite part of this position is recruiting, developing and enabling our truly amazing team of staff members to best support our faculty in their clinical, research and teaching activities,” she says.
At the University of Pennsylvania, she graduated summa cum laude and earned the Robert J. Caridi award “For exemplifying the uncompromising commitment to scholarship, hard work, and the life of the mind, traits the late Ronald J. Caridi personified.”
While at UPenn, one of her professors hired her as the grants manager for the oldest family homeless shelter in Pennsylvania. From there, she went to work for one of their funders, the City of Philadelphia. “This was invaluable experience and informed my understanding of the sponsor’s perspective and good grantsmanship,” she said.
After graduation she was hired by Princeton University as grants manager, and then moved back home to Seattle, where she worked at Seattle Children's for 7 years, rising through the ranks to Director, Office of Sponsored Programs. She joined the UW Department of Medicine in 2019.
She says her favorite part about working in the Department of Medicine is the collaboration and support.
“I have been in many working environments where I was on my own and just had to figure things out, and I so appreciate having so many supportive people to collaborate and brainstorm with. I’m really grateful to work here at UW with so many incredible people doing so much to impact our community and the world.”
"Kelly is focused and committed to her work while maintaining integrity and precision. She is a dedicated leader with a passion for process improvement," says Roseanne Hampton Reich, administrator, Division of Nephrology. "Kelly is a trusted colleague and friend and we are fortunate she is part of the UW Department of Medicine community!"
Kelly is from the Seattle area, but she has always loved to travel, especially with purpose, so she can get to know new places.
“When I was 17, I moved out and started moving around the country, working and going to college. Over the course of 13 years, I lived in Portland, San Diego, Philadelphia and New Jersey before finally returning to Washington."
She also travels to Turkey to visit family. “My husband is Turkish, so that’s where my name comes from," she says. "I am never offended if people pronounce my last name incorrectly, but for the curious, it is pronounced “ūch-kūn”.
She has also traveled oversees to volunteer in a Romanian orphanage and a medical clinic in Zimbabwe.
Taking an approach to avoid debt by working and going to school part-time, she says it took her about ten years to complete her bachelor’s degree.
"I graduated from UPenn three weeks after I gave birth to my first baby, Max. It took me another 10 years to finish my master’s degree because we added another 5 children (two sets of twins!) to the family while I was in that program."
Kelly graduated in May 2021 with her MBA from Colorado State University (distance program).