November 10, 2023
The PSD November Spotlight is Miranda Redenbaugh, Assistant Director of Communications for the Department of Computer Science. Originally from Whiting, Indiana, Miranda joined UChicago in March 2022, working in a temp position for the office of advancement at Booth, helping with communications and events for their alumni. That October, she joined the Department of Computer Science and has recently celebrated her one-year anniversary. We interviewed her about her interests and experiences below.
People can come to me for …
People can come to me with story pitches related to computer science, help promoting an event or opportunity for our students, organization hacks, or a collaborative brainstorming session about strategy. I’m also particularly savvy with finding cheap flights and planning fun itineraries for trips.
What do you enjoy about being a part of the PSD community?
I enjoy working within PSD because, in general, this field is outside of my traditional wheelhouse. I feel like I learn something new every day by reading research, speaking with colleagues and faculty, and watching the amazing things that our students do. I’m constantly blown away by the sheer talent we have at this school.
Tell us a bit about you.
Some days I feel like Barbie because I’ve done so many things in my life! I have a bachelor’s degree in advertising and a master’s degree in rhetoric. I’ve worked in television production as a producer, I was a teacher, I worked at casinos, car dealerships, bartending gigs… you name it. I moved to Germany for a short period of time in 2016, and since then I’ve been making travel a priority. I’ve been to 24 countries and 5 continents since then.
Who inspires you?
Women who are out there breaking boundaries. Any woman who isn’t afraid to speak their mind, go against the grain, or speak their truth is an inspiration to me.
What is the most interesting thing that you are working on right now?
I love anything that allows me to get creative. One of the tasks I’ve taken up recently is updating all of our PhD profiles on the website, which includes wrangling students into taking new headshots. I always find it funny when they come into my office for a headshot, and I put them against this plain white wall but send them back a photo with a totally different background. They think it’s a magic trick.
Who had the most influence on you growing up?
My mom had a pretty big influence on me growing up. She was a hard worker who was dealt a rough hand, but she always maintained positivity. You could often catch her singing in the kitchen, in the car on a long drive, or in public (even though it’s rough on the ears). She didn’t care what people thought about her because she always stayed in that positive mindset. Now that’s me. I try to find the blessing in everything. Plus, you can find me singing out of tune just about everywhere I go!
Do you have pets, and if so, what are their names?
I have two cats: Luna, who I lovingly call Fish, and Brutus, who is the dinkiest, non-Brutus-looking cat ever.
What three words best describe you?
Adventurous, humble, hard-working.
If they made a movie about your life, what genre would it be and who would play you?
Action! I’m always doing some sort of crazy activity. I think Kate Hudson would be a shoo-in for my personality.
What is your favorite restaurant in Chicago?
Depends what I’m in the mood for. I think Bongiorno’s has the best Italian beef sandwich out there. I’m also a sucker for a good fondue, so I really like Geja’s Cafe.
What hobby do you spend the most time on?
Traveling 100%. I have a literal bucket list that I’m set on finishing before I die. I’ve crossed off about a third of the items so far, and I’m approaching it like my time is limited. There are some pretty big items on the list left (hiking to Everest Basecamp, go to space, fly a plane, etc.) but I’ve already crossed off a good amount of equally big ones (hike through the Amazon rainforest, paraglide off the Alps, cage dive with sharks). I find time wherever I can, so even if it’s just a long weekend I’m going to make the most of it! Someone once told me that you can’t let your dreams be dreams, and I’ve made it my mantra.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Or, what do you want to do when you retire?
My first dream was to be an astronaut. Space has fascinated me since I was a young child. Unfortunately, I found out you have to have great vision and be good at math (I got the short end of the stick on those genes). Now I guess I’ll just go for fun one day. Secretly I’d love to write about cutting-edge space research one day—astronomy department, I’m coming for you!