In high school, Jenny Kiernan was happy to be part of a team. She spent four years at Burr and Burton Academy in Manchester, Vermont as a two-sport varsity athlete in both ice hockey and softball, and a member of her school’s band. For Kiernan, balancing these groups took precedence over school work.
“I didn’t get good grades until junior year. I decided if I wanted to go to college, I had to get serious. Those things, softball, ice hockey and band defined my high school experience, not really academics,” Kiernan said. “In high school, leadership positions were never really my thing.”
Kiernan is a second-year student studying secondary education with a concentration in social studies and history.
“When I visited [the University of Maine], it felt like the perfect fit for me, which is cheesy but true,” Kiernan said. “When I got here I wasn’t sure that I wanted to become a teacher, but since I got here I realized that I really like working with kids and I felt like it was the right path for me.”
Since arriving at UMaine, she has found ways to get more involved with her passion for teaching.
“Once I got here, I became a part of the Black Bear Mentor and the Black Bear Tutoring program, which means that I get to mentor a student through Big Brother Big Sisters and the Bodwell Center. It’s a great way to make a meaningful connection with a younger member of the community,” Kiernan said.
Outside of the realm of education, she found a passion for being involved on campus. Kiernan is the president of Campus Activities Board, Secretary of German Club, and the representative of her residence hall complex for Residence Hall Association.
“It’s important to be involved on campus because it gives you a sense of purpose other than academics. It helps to make campus feel like it isn’t solely a place where you go to learn, it makes campus feel more like a community,” Kiernan said. “I’ve met some of my best friends through the clubs that I’m in because you meet so many people who have the same interests as you.”
Once Kiernan finishes her studies at UMaine, she hopes to become a history teacher. In the meantime, Kiernan plans to make the most of her time left in college by becoming more involved and expanding her interests.
“I want to try new things. Maybe join Pep Band, Student Gov. I want this to be a time of growth and finding new things I love,” Kiernan said. “That’s what I was focused on last year and now I want to continue that path of growth as I’ve moved into leadership positions of the clubs that I’ve joined. But I still want to find new clubs and make the most of my experience here.”