Jenna (Holzer) RichardAugust 24, 2021
Jenna Richard grew up in a small town outside of Jefferson City, MO and graduated from Truman in 2017. She currently lives in Columbia, MO and works at a private college while her husband (also a Truman alum) attends law school. In her free time, you can find her hiking, reading books about sociology, cooking, traveling, and watching improv or tragicomedy shows.
What year did you graduate and what was your concentration?
What extra-/co-curricular activities did you do?
I worked at the Center for International Students all 4 years, and was an intern there my senior year. I was a writer for Detours and The Index, a member of Lambda Pi Eta, as well as the President of the Catholic Newman Center. I also studied abroad in Costa Rica the summer of 2014.
Did you go to grad school? If so, where? Was it immediately after you left Truman or did you wait? Why?
I graduated from Wilmington University’s Master’s in Administration of Human Services program in May 2021. I waited a couple of years to start a graduate program because I wanted to experience working life before I settled on a graduate degree. I was also a bit burned out after graduating from Truman and had no interest in going back to school immediately!
What was your first job after graduation?
I didn’t want to leave the higher education atmosphere behind, so I got a job as an Admissions Counselor for online students at Columbia College.
What work do you do/What are you doing now?
I currently work as the Office Coordinator for the Division of Student Affairs at Columbia College. I work with the Dean and other offices at the college to promote programming and resources for students, along with managing the day-to-day operations of the office.
How has your Liberal Arts/COMM education helped you?
So many ways, and not just in a professional setting. Flexibility, organized and clear communication, and problem solving are all areas of the liberal arts curriculum I use in my day-to-day professional and personal life. My COMM degree prepared me for a wide variety of jobs!
Additionally, the liberal arts challenges students to think through scenarios, problems, and projects from multiple perspectives. I was encouraged to be curious at Truman, to ask questions. Also, I was taught not only how to think critically, but also what to think about specifically. The act of choosing what to think about in my day-to-day life and how to perceive that for myself makes me more present, more aware, and more curious about the world and how it functions.
Right before graduation, one of my COMM professors told the class that although we are graduating college our educational journey isn’t over; the only thing that will change is that we are now more personally responsible for educating ourselves. That has really stuck with me!
Which class did you dislike at the time you took it, but now you’re grateful you took it?
It wasn’t a class per se, but I vehemently disliked group projects for a variety of reasons. However, almost every COMM class has a semester group project so I was forced to learn how to work with so many types of people on a variety of projects/subjects. Now I am constantly working in groups and I really enjoy the collaborative process! I’m so grateful group projects were a key part of the Communication curriculum.
What was your greatest accomplishment at Truman?
Working with international students! Meeting people from all over the world and helping them experience Truman is something I’ll never forget. Working at the Center for International Students was both my greatest accomplishment and my most rewarding one while at Truman.
What would you say a COMM student should absolutely do while at Truman?
Join the Truman Media Network (TMN) and go study abroad! Each of these experiences will push you outside of your comfort zone, meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise, and challenge you in ways you didn’t expect.
What advice would you give someone who wants to go into the same line of work as you?
Be open to change. Try to be as flexible as you can and roll with whatever comes your way!
What do you miss most about campus/Kirksville?
So many things! The cheap rent, the walkability of the town, having my friends less than 5 miles away at all times, Thousand Hills, AYCD, Sweet Esperessions (RIP), cultural campus events, Tag improv shows . . . I could go on and on!
Why is Truman a good place for a student to study?
Truman combines affordability with high quality academics and personalized attention. There are also so many student organizations and events on campus that there is always something to do! There is truly something for everyone at Truman, and its size makes it easy to meet people and become involved in clubs and organizations you’re interested in.
What tag line would you create for the COMM department at Truman?
“COMMitted to Excellence.” That, or something else that utilizes a pun!
If you could come back to Truman and teach a class for a semester, what would be its title and what would it be about?
I would teach a class specifically for first-generation college/low-income students that focuses on many of the struggles first-generation college students face. Things such as navigating campus resources, personal finances, communicating with family about their college experience, how to find mentors, and adapting to college life. As a first-generation college student, I would have greatly benefitted from a class like this.
(Editor’s note: Truman now has a First Gen Advisory Committee “who are invested in continually improving the experience of First Generation College Students at Truman State University.” BTW, Truman’s President Sue Thomas is a first generation college student as well.)
What did we not ask that you think is important for people to know?
It’s okay not to be a Typical Truman Student (TTS) . Work hard, know your stuff, don’t be the slacker in your group projects, but also learn to draw some healthy boundaries with your schoolwork. Friends, fun events, and college experiences won’t be around forever; don’t let your memories only be the inside of Pickler.
If you would like to learn more of Jenna’s story, you can follow her on LinkedIn.