Student Spotlight: Jen La Count '17 on Community Involvement
Jess Ensley ’17: What do you do at the library?
Jen La Count: I’m currently a student worker for the acquisitions department. That means that I unpack, sort, check in, and label (as needed) any book, CD, or DVD that comes to the library. Two summers ago, I helped reorganize and re-label the VHS and DVD collection. I’m currently finishing up our CD project, where we’ve reorganized the CDs by the appropriate genre and given them new numbers.
Jess: What is your favorite thing about working at the library?
Jen: My favorite thing about working at the library is definitely the people! Everyone I’ve met has been incredibly kind to me. My bosses and their colleagues have been instrumental in helping me these past four years. So many of them are willing to listen to concerns I have and give wonderfully wise advice on difficult situations.
Jess: Who is your favorite professor and why?
Jen: My favorite professor is my advisor, Dr. Jacobsen. He’s stuck with me all four years, even from my change in major from Biochemistry to Classics. He’s been understanding throughout the entire process. Dr. Jacobsen is very much a father figure for me and his relaxed attitude and wisdom have been fundamental to my success at Denison.
Jess: What is your career goal?
Jen: Currently, I’m hoping to enter the Speech-Pathology field when I graduate. As a childhood epileptic who had aphasia, I really empathize and relate to children who have struggled with speech difficulties. I want to make a difference in their lives. That is also one of the reasons I volunteer with kids on a weekly basis. It’s incredibly fulfilling to watch the progress a child makes. Knowing that you’ve helped a little bit to make their future brighter is priceless!
Jess: Tell me about your volunteer work and involvement in the community.
Jen: I volunteer with children in the community through Big Brothers Big Sisters and I sit on the committee at Denison that organizes outreach events. Each week I work with my Little on math, reading, or spelling. Most importantly, I make sure that she’s comfortable at school. I’m also very involved with pet-sitting and dog-walking in the Granville community. I’ve always had a passion for animals (especially dogs), so I decided to make what I loved into a job! I dog-sit for numerous professors and community members, and have recently delved into training with my role as a dog-walker. It’s definitely challenging, but like my work with children, I find it really fulfilling to see progress made! I’m also starting volunteer work with the CRIS (Community Refugee & Immigration Services) in an attempt to help relocated Syrian refugees in the Columbus area adjust to life in America.
Jess: What other hobbies do you have?
Jen: A few of my favorite hobbies are jewelry making, designing and sewing clothes, and playing the violin. It’s been about 7 years since I started making my own jewelry, but I’ve found there’s so much freedom of expression in terms of creativity that is unmatched elsewhere. I really got into making clothes from my mom; she always made our clothes when we were little and even though she doesn’t have as much time to do that anymore, she still has a passion for it! This probably relates back to flexibility of expression, but I’ve found that designing clothes for my own body type has been an empowering and unique experience for me, especially as a plus-size woman. Additionally, music has always been an integral part of my life, and I’ve played the violin since the fourth grade (with a two year hiatus at the start of college), so playing in a full orchestra is very normal to me.
Jess: What advice do you have for first years?
Jen: I’m sure there’s a lot to say to first year students, but I would have to definitely say: don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to get questions wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to take a chance and fall. Don’t be afraid that other people are judging you. Take chances and have very few regrets because your experience at Denison will only be richer for it.
Jess: What is one thing you have never done at Denison that you want to do before graduating?
Jen: I’ve never actually been to a football game at Denison and am hoping to make the Denison-Kenyon game since this’ll be my last year! I’ve also never been in the observatory, but that may have to wait for warmer weather!