Bronco Spotlight: Jenny Steiner, Ph.D.

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Bachelor of Arts, organizational communication, 2009

Current Job Title:

Coordinator, Student Academic Success Services

Current Employer:

University of Minnesota -- Twin Cities

Describe your current job:

Student Academic Success Services (SASS) is a program that promotes academic success at the University of Minnesota through the offering of academic success classes and academic skills coaching. In my role as Coordinator, I hire, train and supervise a graduate instructor staff, am responsible for maintaining curriculum for three academic courses (approximately 12-15 sections offered each semester) taught for credit, managing program budget, data and reporting, and marketing and outreach efforts.   

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

Our work in SASS is incredibly rewarding because we have the privilege of supporting students on their academic journey. Some of my best moments is hearing from former students about achieving milestones in their academic programs, or reaching graduation. The University is a large institution and one challenge can be ensuring students are aware of us and our work, as there are so many amazing programs and opportunities. Since beginning this role in 2017, I have spent a lot of time building partnerships with other offices to get students connected with our program so we can serve as many students as possible. This has led to continual growth in our services.

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

I began my time at WMU as a student in the College of Health and Human Services (I graduated with a minor in holistic health). Although my classes were rewarding, I felt drawn toward switching to the School of Communication after I spent a summer as an orientation student leader. Getting to welcome new students to campus was such a rewarding experience, I knew one day I could provide that experience as a professional. I spent a lot of my time as a student working for First Year Experience and after being selected as a student orientation coordinator, I knew that working for my university was not meant for my four years, it was meant for my entire career. Since graduating from WMU, I received a master's degree (2011) in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University and a doctorate (2019) from the University of Minnesota in Organizational Leadership and Policy Development -- higher education track. I am confident WMU provided an excellent foundation for the me to pursue further education that has allowed career advancement within my field.

What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path? 

Be open to new experiences and opportunities. Internships are extremely important and these experiences can help you determine your desired career path. I came to WMU thinking I was headed down one path, but because I was open to opportunities, I am now in a field that allows me to excel personally and professionally.

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