Jennifer York grew up in South Toledo and attended Bowsher High School. As part of a student project for DECA, she developed a food marketing manual for a local food supplier. The manual went on to compete at a national level and Jennifer went on to begin her career with that company. As time went on, she took on additional responsibilities working with the operating systems and software. She learned many things, but felt like she needed a formal education to excel in her career.
She was inspired to pursue her associate's degree at a local university, with plans to get her bachelor's there as well. She was working full time, over 50 hours a week, and taking classes full time. She realized that she didn't enjoy attending the university and felt like she was just a small fish in a big ocean. In spite of the challenges, she graduated with an associate's degree in marketing and sales.
In November 1989, Jennifer was hired for a position as a Computer Specialist at Owens Community College in the Data Center (ITS). Most of her time was spent on data entry, reports and processes for various departments. Jennifer realized that she had found her niche and wanted to get a computer related degree to succeed in the IT world.
"I wanted to be involved in the decision-making process, the planning and development in order to assist in shaping the future. I wanted to be a part of the bigger picture," Jennifer said.
In 1990, Jennifer decided to go back to school for a degree in Computer Programming Technology. She went on to get her bachelor's degree from the University of Findlay in business management and was able to take most of the classes on the Owens campus. She also earned her master's degree in public administration at the University of Findlay.
Jennifer later moved to a position as Computer Operator/Data Entry Specialist and primarily supported the Student Information Systems and Office of the Registrar. It was during her year as a computer analyst that she honed her leadership and people skills. She was offered the job of Registrar and she accepted the position.
"It was the best decision I ever made in my life," Jennifer said. She now gets to work with students, parents, faculty and academic services. "I am able to put myself in their shoes. As a first-time college student, I felt like I fell through the cracks. I can make sure that doesn't happen to our students. As a mother of three, I know what the parents are going through. In the future, I would like to teach, then I can better understand and support the faculty."
People at Owens were instrumental in providing the support that Jennifer needed to succeed. She attributes her success to the people at Owens who told her she could balance a demanding career in IT and a family. Reflecting back on her life's journey so far, Jennifer says, "I wouldn't be here today without the support system at Owens."