Coming from a small, rural town, Jen grew up with limited awareness of higher education and job options. She pursued college as a ticket out of rural life with little understanding of what career possibilities existed. Being a musician and having an inclination to help others, she enrolled in a music therapy program but was persuaded by her advisor to major in education and become a teacher. During her student teaching assignment in a poverty stricken section of inner city Baltimore, her eyes were opened to a multitude of psychosocial issues among the students, families, and community. With a desire to affect these issues more directly, she enrolled in the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research where she discovered oncology social work during an internship.
Jen began working at Fox Chase Cancer Center as a young social worker and developed a passion for oncology work with its fast pace, often intense patient needs, and never-ending learning opportunities. However, she left this position for a more flexible schedule that better fit her life as a working mother with special needs children. Her social work degree provided her with several opportunities, and during this time she worked as a therapist and adoption social worker before returning to her undergraduate world and entering education as a guidance counselor working with special needs children. At another turning point in her career she was offered the chance to work as a research coordinator for patients with traumatic brain injury. Missing oncology work, Jen eventually joined the National Comprehensive Cancer Center as a guidelines coordinator before returning to Fox Chase Cancer Center in the same social work position she left several years ago and is very thankful to have returned to what feels like her professional home.