As a child Jennifer moved frequently, due to foster care placements and multiple family moves. She lived in 4 states and attended over 15 schools by the time Jennifer graduated high school. Living arrangements were often stark, including a period of time where the family of 6 lived in a field behind a relative's house.
In high school Jennifer became very involved in leadership and sports. Through these activities and academics she graduated as the valedictorian of her high school. After high school Jennifer went to college at Valparaiso University and tried to leave her past behind her. She was 2000 miles away, which helped. Jennifer also began to get closer to her maternal extended family, which provided emotional support through college.
After college Jennifer worked in a group home and then enrolled in graduate school. She became involved in the Youth Empowerment Strategies for Success (YESS) program. Now able to be a productive part of the foster care system, Jennifer uses her past experiences to better understand her students and relate to their lives every day.