FYAC Staff Spotlight: Jen Monkman
Posted on November 9, 2017 by Anna Traylor
Ms. Jennifer Monkman is an academic advisor in the FYAC. She is from Springfield, Illinois. She attended Eastern Illinois University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences. She has a master’s degree in college students affair. Ms. Monkman has been with the FYAC since it opened.
What brought you to Mobile?
After I finished my master’s degree, I did a national job search. I interviewed over the phone for a position in the First Year Advising Center and was very interested. I got invited to an on-campus interview and thought South was a good fit. I was so excited to be part of a new thing. I defended my thesis the day after my interview. Then, I had a job. It was the best week ever!
What was your thesis topic?
The financial literacy of college freshman. I had a graduate assistantship in financial aid. I saw a lot of students lose money because of grades or not claiming it. I wanted to ask, “Do you know how much college costs?”
How did you decide on advising?
My first internship was at the local community college in orientation. Orientation was run through their advising office, so I got to work with advisors. I really like the advising piece. That summer, I was in a class with my former academic advisor, and I asked if I could intern with her in the fall. I absolutely fell in love with the profession, and it was fun getting to work with her.
What is your educational background?
I’m like a lot of our students. When I looked for a college, I was looking for journalism. When I got there, I wanted to be in broadcast and did communication. Then, I changed to English education and then to nursing. I finally found my home in family and consumer science. I did an internship with a nursing home and almost decided to do a master’s degree in gerontology. I knew I wanted to help people but decided not to do so in the medical field. It’s all about that fit. Even with my major changes I was able to graduate in four years.
What advice would you give somebody who is exploratory?
Really think things through. I was just jumping into majors without looking at classes. Really do your research and think about how majors line up with your strengths. If I had really looked at nursing, I could have seen it wasn’t something I would really excel at and saved my sophomore GPA.
What was the best piece of advice that you received?
One of the best pieces of advice was from my professor. Sometimes you’re going to get emails that make you really mad. He said you should wait and sit on it before responding. Think before you act. I really took that to heart.
What would you like to tell our freshman?
I would like to tell them not to get so wrapped up in a career. Think about what you would like to do and find a major that fits your strengths. Just because you could make a lot of money doesn’t mean it suits you. You should find a job where you will be happy. I worked at a job where I got paid well, but I hated it. The paycheck didn’t make it worthwhile.
What is a fun fact about you?
I was a camp counselor for two summers in the Poconos Mountains.