Returning to Her Roots Jennifer Jovel Ph.D. - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, April 26, 2016.

Dr. Jennifer Jovel, Ohlone College Sociology Assistant Professor, was recently honored by Stanford University, her alma mater, for returning to her roots and giving back in order to further the success of other students. Jovel, a former Ohlone student, says she loves to share the story of her education pathway in the hopes that it will inspire other students who also have to overcome obstacles in order to succeed.

Jovel, who grew up in Fremont, said she never intended to go to college after high school, having been told by teachers that she wasn’t a candidate for higher education. After her senior year, on awhim, she accompanied a friend to his counseling appointment at Ohlone College. At the end of her friend’s session, the counselor turned to Jennifer and asked what classes she planned to take. Jennifer had no luck convincing the counselor that she was not going to college and instead found herself enrolled in classes for the fall.

Aided by counselors and dedicated staff in the Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS), plus financial aid and part time work, Jennifer soon found she had graduated and was headed to Berkeley for a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in Chicano Studies, which later turned into a master’s in counseling at San Jose State. While studying at SJSU, she worked part time at Ohlone working with students who faced a similar experience as Jennifer had once faced, the intimidating process of transferring to four-year universities.

Completing her Masters in 2001, Jennifer surprised herself by continuing on to Stanford University to pursue a doctorate degree. While at Stanford, she again returned to Ohlone, this time as a part-time instructor teaching sociology and Chicano studies. Her dissertation focused on key aspects of the experience of Chicanas/os transferring from community college to four-year schools, something with which she was quite familiar.

Having completed her Ph.D., she jumped at the first opportunity for a full-time teaching position in Sociology at Ohlone College, where she feels she is now able to give back what was given to her, at the very place that had such an impact on her life.

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