Skip to Content - Skip to Navigation

Jenifer Smith '07

Jenifer Smith '07

While attending Pittsburgh’s Taylor Allderdice High School, Jenifer Smith worked part-time assisting with public relations for the Kingsley Association. As a result, she began her studies at IUP in 2003 as a Journalism major and was soon involved with WIUP-FM as producer and host for Lovelines, a call-in show offering sex and dating advice. Jenifer remained with the show for three-and-a-half years.

Jenifer’s experience on Lovelines had a profound impact on the direction of her studies and her career. Although she initially intended to go into public relations, her experience with WIUP-FM led her to switch her studies to Communications, the department from which she graduated in 2007. She also discovered a passion for the relationship counseling that Lovelines gave her a chance to proffer. Since graduation, Jenifer has been writing an online advice column for Jenesis magazine, and she is currently applying to graduate school to pursue a master’s in marriage and family therapy.

Jenifer has remained committed to the IUP community since returning to her hometown of Pittsburgh. She is active in planning and promoting First Thursday activities for alumni as well as sharing her college experiences with high school students during IUP’s local recruitment events.

Let’s start with an easy one. What led you to attend IUP?

To be honest, IUP wasn’t even on my radar when I was thinking about college. I just didn’t know anything about it. Fortunately for me, one of my high school counselors did know, and she encouraged me to take a closer look. She sat down with me, and we browsed IUP’s website together and completed the online application. Two weeks later, I was accepted to the Punxsy campus for my freshman year.

Tell me a little bit about your time at IUP as a student. How involved were you in and out of class?

Besides WIUP-FM, I did a little work with WIUP-TV. I also served as president of For Your Entertainment, a group that sponsored free events to celebrate diversity on campus. Beyond that, I worked with KidsRead, tutoring elementary and middle school children at the Indiana library.

How often do you return to IUP? Have things changed much? And is there anything you miss, or tend to revisit when you’re back in town?

I get back about twice a year—usually for Homecoming, as well as for Greek Week. Although I wasn’t in a sorority, many of my friends were, so that’s a good time to see them all together.

I lived in Scranton all three years that I was in Indiana, so I’m still shocked that it’s gone. It was such a central location on campus and full of wonderful people and memories. So that’s probably the biggest change. The reconstruction was just beginning on the tri-halls when I was on campus, so going back now, things definitely appear different.

I also really miss the camaraderie of the Communications Department. It was more than just an academic community; it was very intimate, more like a family. And, I guess I miss school life in general—all the hustle and bustle. Days felt like they were forty-eight hours long back then.

Talk a little bit about your involvement with First Thursdays in Pittsburgh. What do you do?

First Thursdays are part of IUP’s Pittsburgh Regional Network. I sit in on meetings to help plan First Thursday events, which are essentially social networking events for IUP alumni in the area. By participating, I get a voice in the types of venues we choose and activities that we put on. I also help to promote the events, contacting other alumni to let them know what’s going on.

And you’re also involved in recruitment efforts? How did you get involved with that?

That actually began while I was still an undergraduate. Dr. Rhonda Lucky, vice president of Student Affairs, invited me to sit in on a recruitment committee. They already had fairly active communities for recruitment in Harrisburg and Philadelphia but wanted to build up their resources and reach around Pittsburgh.

After graduating, I stayed involved and have attended two of the regional recruitment events that IUP hosts in Monroeville for high school students and their parents. Basically, I show up and share my IUP experiences with them, answer any questions they have, and, of course, give a push for the Communications Department!

What is the main reason that you stay connected to IUP through First Thursday events and the Pittsburgh Regional Network?

Well, it’s not just me—everyone involved shares a genuine pride in IUP. I’ve heard it said that you can take the person out of IUP, but you can’t take IUP out of the person. We all had wonderful experiences there and maintain a genuine fondness for the university and for one another. I mean, I’m one of the younger members, but there are alumni in their seventies who still turn out.

There are more than 25,000 alumni in the Pittsburgh Region, and we get a turnout for First Thursday events. We’d love to see that circle grow. And for anyone who reads this, I just want to emphasize that these are great networking events. Just come out and have fun!

What would you want other alumni to know about your experiences in these positions, or about giving back to IUP in general?

I was raised to believe that if you’ve been given a great experience, pay it forward. Like I said, IUP wasn’t even on my radar. Then my school counselor mentioned it, I attended, and it changed my life. My work to help recruit new students to IUP is so that someone else can have that same opportunity.

Do you have a favorite moment or memory related to your service in these positions?

It’s gratifying when a student that I’ve been working with is inspired to apply to IUP, and especially gratifying when that student ends up attending. I like to keep in touch with the student throughout the process and offer what help I can. Sometimes, the student shows up at the Homecoming Fifth Quarter event to see me or the other alumni who helped in the recruitment process.

Profile published on 3/16/10

  • Office of Alumni Relations
  • Breezedale Alumni Center
    880 School Street
    Indiana, PA 15705
  • Phone: 724-357-7942
  • Fax: 724-357-7926
  • Office Hours
  • Monday through Friday
  • 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.