DaKayla Grayer

Recently-hired as the events and communications coordinator for the Departments of Chemistry and Biophysics, DaKayla Grayer is a born-and-raised Michigander and lifelong fan of the Wolverines football team.  “My family takes Michigan football seriously,” she said with a laugh. “We have a van covered in Michigan for tailgating and we never wear red or green with white,” she explained (referring to the colors of rival football teams from Columbus and East Lansing).

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and a minor in marketing from Ball State University, Grayer worked as a graphic designer and marketing manager for several years. She began the position at the University of Michigan in July of 2021. Her job entails organizing seminar series and ensuring that speakers’ visits run smoothly. She also oversees the social media for the Michigan Chemistry and creates the posts for LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

Handling Seminar Logistics

One part of Grayer’s job involves organizing a multitude of logistics for seminar speakers when they visit the University of Michigan. With highly organized weekly checklists based on the timeline of a speaker’s visit, she ensures that meetings between the speaker and faculty members are scheduled (up to ten meetings in a single day!). Graduate students might receive an email from her with details about meeting a speaker for lunch, or see her emails publicizing the information about the seminar.  After a year where visiting speakers were limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she is now also facilitating hybrid seminars. She ensures that attendees who virtually stream the talk are receiving the correct audio and visual information as the seminar speaker also delivers it to a live audience.

Grayer enjoys that this position includes working on the department’s social media presence where she can share the exciting research advances conducted throughout the department. Her background in marketing gave her skills specific to promotion using social media platforms. She encourages current students or faculty members to reach out to her if they are posting about chemistry or research on social media. “I recently found a student who’s really big on TikTok and shows all of her experiments there, and it’s great content. Things like that are really easy for me to just repost on our page.” With so much digital recruiting, promotion, and even interaction between research groups taking place digitally over the last few years, this position is important in sharing the day-to-day achievements of folks throughout the chemistry department, she .

Generating engagement on social media

Grayer explained there are so many ideas that could generate engagement on social media. “Even if students don’t think it’s something that could be on social media or might be interesting enough, send it to me because I might be able to work with it in some sort of way.” The major way that she hears about content is through department members, so she encourages folks to send her an email with information if they feel there is something interesting to post. While her office is located in the Chemistry Building, she said that, because she isn’t in the labs on a daily basis, it’s difficult to see what kind of research is being done or the awards that faculty are winning. “I really rely on students to reach out to me when they do want something posted,” she said.

Grayer’s favorite parts of her job involve learning about so many different chemistry or biophysics topics. “Just getting to work with the faculty and staff here has been so amazing. These are such brilliant people that I get to work with,” she said. With so many different topics being researched, she explained that “every day is enjoyable because I’m learning something new.” 

DaKayla & her dog shows their "Go Blue" spirit.

In addition to appreciating the work that she does, Grayer enjoys being a part of the university. “I was born and raised a Michigan fan, went to football games since I was a kid, came on campus as a little girl to see these huge immaculate buildings and now I get to work in one… It has definitely been a dream come true. I really love just being here.”

Contact DaKayla Grayer via email (dgrayer@umich.edu) for more information about social media, seminars, or symposia in the Departments. of Chemistry and Biophysics