Social
Location
Wehking Alumni Center 205

First and foremost, I am a wife and mother. My husband Brad and I have three kids and one grandbaby. My oldest step-son is 20 and has a 7-month-old with his fiancé. My younger stepson is 19 and going to school for coding. Our daughter is 10 and in 4th grade at Jackson R2. We enjoy camping, fishing, and spending time with family.

I am a 2004 SEMO graduate. I started my SEMO journey as a dual credit student, taking 15 hours of courses during my junior and senior years of high school. I came to campus as a freshman in Fall 1999 and never left.

In my first semester, I got a student worker job in the Office of the Provost and worked in the office my entire student career. After graduation, I worked as a clerical temp in the Office of Residence Life. That fall, I interviewed and was chosen for an Administrative Assistant position in the then Department of Industrial and Engineering Technology. I learned a great deal in my three and half years in that position.

I then applied for and got a Senior Administrative Assistant position in the Office of the Provost. My time as a student worker in the office was valuable in my transition to the full-time position. I learned a great deal more about Academic Affairs and worked under two University Presidents and five Provosts during my eight and half years in the position.

In fall 2016, I accepted an Executive Assistant position in the University Advancement/Foundation and started in January 2017. Of the positions I’ve held, I knew the least about the Foundation, but I quickly learned under the guidance and mentorship of Susan Burton. After a year and a half, I was promoted to Coordinator for Advancement Services, which quickly melded into my current position of Manager of Stewardship and Donor Relations.

One of my duties is to manage the endowed scholarship process for the Foundation, and I tell donors and recipients alike, that I was once the student that depended on the generosity of donors to attend college. Had it not been for them, I would not be where I am today. I feel I have come full circle from being a first-generation college student dependent on scholarships and grants to helping with the process of making sure those students in need receive the scholarships.

It doesn't matter what walk of life you're from. It doesn't matter what path you've been on. You can change your future. Work hard, believe in yourself, and achieve your goals. I'm from a small town where poverty is high. I grew up in a low-income family. Leaving that small town to come to SEMO wasn't only about getting a degree - it saved my life and broke a cycle that I wouldn't have been able to break otherwise.

Jennifer Smith, Manager of Stewardship & Donor Relations, University Foundation