Staff Spotlight: Chantal McWillie
Alongside stories on tremendous faculty and students, this year MSU Chemistry is excited to place the spotlight on our incredible staff. These are department members we know so well, working closely with them throughout the year on everything from building maintenance and laboratory purchases, to student grading and conference travel. Their expertise is an invaluable strength of the MSU Chemistry community, and one we're excited to share.
In this first installment of our Staff Spotlight series, Office Assistant III Chantal McWillie tells us a bit about herself, her fascinating personal and family story, and her journey to MSU Chemistry.
My name is Chantal McWillie, and I came to MSU in March 2013 for a position that was offered to me at the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC). I had just passed my certification exam as a Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT). I spent 9 ½ years in this role, maintaining records, databases, pet insurance, and assisting pet owners with a multitude of inquiries ranging from patient care, prescriptions, pet diets, and anything else you could imagine.
The most interesting thing about this role, besides the people, was finding out how similar animal care is to human care and that they catch just about all the same diseases and mental health conditions as humans. They are also treated with a lot the same medications. The VMC has a cancer treatment center, dialysis, behaviorist, orthopedic department, emergency department, and also a large animal specialty service. Watching deliveries of calves, foals, and litters of puppies and felines was my favorite pastime.
Prior to my first role at the VMC, I worked as a Direct Care Worker for 16 years. In this role, I cared for the elderly and mentally disabled populations in their homes. I loved this profession, and caring for and serving the elderly population.
After 10 years, I decided to go back to college to further my education, and here is where I received my second Associate of Applied Science degree as an RHIT. I chose this profession because you could just about work anywhere, such as hospitals, veterinarian hospitals, jails/prisons, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices while performing record maintenance and billing and coding.
After 9 ½ years at the Veterinary Medical Center, I felt as if I had reached a peak in this role, and once again, I started the search for something more. My experiences had taught me that I have a gift for customer service, and I needed to continue to share it. I applied for the position in the Department of Chemistry at MSU as an Office Assistant III. I would now serve the student population, managing all administrative responsibilities associated with the General Chemistry program for CEM 141, 142, 151. This includes supporting faculty and students with walk-in questions, maintaining student records, as well as coordinating exams for thousands of students.
Coming through the doors of the Department of Chemistry brought such a joy from the newness of it all. The people, the students, the atmosphere, and learning different skills was all very exciting to me. I am enamored with learning new things, and the more challenging, the better. Since joining in October 2022, I've enjoyed every minute of it. I quickly learned that I was in one of the best places I could have ever been while getting to work with some of the best people around. I learned this especially while caring for my father, who had recently been diagnosed with dementia and stage 3 renal disease.
My father, John Henry Glover, Jr., was a songwriter and producer for Motown who grew up on a rough side of town in Detroit, Michigan. Just around the corner from him lived a young kid named Stevie. Soon my dad and Stevie became fast friends, sharing a love for music. My dad and Stevie taught themselves to play instruments. My grandmother, Ruth Ann Glover, believed that my dad and Stevie had a gift. When they were ready, she took them to Motown, where her nephew Ronnie White of the group “The Miracles” was already signed. Motown knew right away that they were talented, but Stevie’s mother was hesitant to sign off on his contracts for Motown, because Stevie was blind, so my grandmother did it for her. We all know him today as Stevie Wonder. Stevie not only wrote and played instruments but could also perform. My father was signed on as a writer and producer.
My dad won a grammy for selling over a million copies of his hit “You Don’t Have To Be A Star To Be In My Show” performed by Billy Davis and Marilyn McCoo. The song also hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles. My father wrote and produced for tons of artists, such as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Tom Jones, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin, and the list goes on and on. He has received gold records for many of his songs including the Temptation’s “I Can’t Get Next To You."
I brought my father to Lansing to be closer to me as his illnesses progressed. On August 17, 2023, two weeks after I brought him here, my dad passed away from renal failure. He was 76 years old.
I could not have been supported and been in the company of better people than at the Chemistry Building. You will soon be able to find some of my father’s works, including his Grammy, hung on the walls of my office in room 185.