About

ShirleyBlakePhotography (1) (2)Jennifer moved to the Pacific Northwest at just four years old. She felt most at home when exploring the neighboring woods, filming short movies, cozying up indoors to draw and write, and asking her mother questions like, “How is it possible that God was never born?”

In high school, Jennifer wrote two YA novels — both inspired by personal events. Although she knew little about publication, she believed in her stories and began the long journey of sending them into the world through editing, querying, and (hopefully) publication.

2011 – Opinion Editor for The Commuter Newspaper

With a strong interest in controversial subjects, Jennifer became the opinion editor for her college newspaper, The Commuter. She later took on a weekly opinion column and was commissioned to co-write a humorous advice column. By working with the advertising department to promote student readership and participation, Jennifer discovered a passion for marketing and publicity.

2012 – Writing Assistant for College Writing Center

While writing for her college paper, Jennifer read an inspiring story by a self-conscious student, sparking her desire to motivate young people to feel empowered by their voice. She began tutoring at two college-level writing centers and eventually co-developed weekly staff training modules and learning materials. Her commitment to staff development and working with student writing motivated her to create The YA Publication Project, a literary video series dedicated to inspiring young adults to pursue writing, literature, and publishing.

2014 – Lead Teacher for Child Development Center

Many college students told Jennifer that their self-doubt came from a lack of creative freedom and security during childhood. She chased the source of their struggle and began working as a lead teacher for two child development centers. She researched the constructivism learning philosophy, as well as psychologist Ellis Paul Torrance and his findings on creative thinking. As a teacher, she aimed to create a gracious space for ingenuity (what she believes takes creativity, risk taking, and abstract thinking).

2017 – Program Assistant for the Early Learning Hub

After a toddler in-need was abruptly pulled from Jennifer’s classroom due to inadequate funding, she began assisting the Early Learning Hub in coordinating agencies that offer community resources and supports to children and families at-risk. In collaboration with the Health Care Integration and Data & Evaluation work groups, she developed a medical referral guide that connects children with developmental delays to medical providers and designed a regional data book to assist the governing board in strategic decision making. She also works with Boost Oregon to educate parents and the general public about childhood vaccinations, as well as train partner agencies on database management for the Pollywog Project. In the future, Jennifer plans to train social/emotional curriculum to teachers and child care providers, as well as facilitate Parent Cafés within the community.

Other

Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, completing coursework in grammar, creative writing, literary analysis, and conversational American Sign Language. She completed a 6-month editorial and marketing internship with Ashland Creek Press. Her duties included identifying print, online, and radio promotional opportunities; designing materials to be published; creating press releases; evaluating manuscripts for accurate content and grammatical correctness; and collaborating with authors and editors to ensure quality and timeliness of publications. In order to connect readers to thought-provoking works, she spent 6 months volunteering with CALYX, Inc.