Jennifer Robinson-West: 36 Years for Students by Margaret Steeves

Published on: October 24, 2016

Filled Under: Uncategorized

Views: 12364

photgraph-of-jennifer-robinson-west-iiCounselor Jennifer Robinson West has worked at DCTC for 36 years. That’s 36 years. Wow! Jennifer has worked under three college presidents and nearly ten supervisors. She’s also had five different offices. Jennifer began here as the college recruiter for inner city Minnesota high schools and diverse populations, then worked as an academic advisor in the Student Services area, and later became a counselor. Some students know Jennifer as the instructor of DCTC’s career exploration course. I had the opportunity to interview Jennifer in the spring of 2016.

Why did you want to become a counselor?

Throughout my teen and young adult life, friends, family and colleagues were always at ease in sharing stories with me, and I had no problem giving them advice.

What is your favorite part of working with DCTC students?

I love helping students overcome obstacles and seeing them graduate. We as faculty and staff should value and appreciate all that students bring, and we should realize the learning process is reciprocal. Students are all unique and bring their own circumstances to the table.

What is the hardest part of working with DCTC students?

The inability to help some students. Some students need so much, and they lack of resources such as housing, transportation, and employment.

What new challenges have you seen for students at DCTC?

More scholarships are needed to ease the financial burdens and academic support to improve retention. There are more academic, financial, family, economic and personal demands and challenges that I have ever seen before.

What is a memory you have of an experience you had at DCTC?

I acted as Natalie Cole in lip sync-dance duet with Nat King Cole (played by Ted Saunders, former Curriculum Specialist) when we had themed holiday parties. I also performed as Whoopi Goldberg in The Sister Act.

What do you like to do for fun when the weather turns warm?

When the winter is over, I rejoice–everyone who knows me is aware that I have a deep fear of driving in the snow. I love spending time with family and friends and especially with my grandson, Pierce Jaxon. Pierce is 18 months old and is the joy of our lives. I also love spending time with my hubby, Stan.  My two children are also very special. I love traveling, shopping and eating. I absolutely love deserts,  and walking and landscaping are my favorite warm weather pastime.

What is your favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities?

My son is the owner of Dragon Wok in Minneapolis so that is my favorite. The food is delicious, and I must give it a plug. It offers Cambodian cuisine, and they deliver up to a four or five mile radius.

What is your advice for students?

Study hard. Attend all classes. Be on time and ask questions. Know the internal and external resources. Enjoy the subject matter and your time as a student.

Thanks for all you do for students Jennifer!

21 Responses to Jennifer Robinson-West: 36 Years for Students by Margaret Steeves

  1. Cheryl Brogger says:

    This was a nice article and I enjoyed getting to know Jennifer better!
    Great job, Margaret!

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Jennifer West-Robinson is a blessing to so many students at Dakota
      County Technical College. She understands some students may have additional challenges to accomplish their goal of graduation, and achieving their degree. Jennifer has creative ways and contacts to ensure success is accomplished. She makes DCTC look great, and encourages so many to never give up on their goals. We have a kindred spirit and both have a love for the Carolina’s.

      Thank you Cheryl Brogger for you comment! I appreciate all you do as the President of the School Senate!

  2. Michelle says:

    Excellent coverage!! 🙂

  3. Buay says:

    Jennifer is an awesome staff worker at this school. I honestly like she goes out of her time just to help other students out and give them advice.

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Buay, I want to thank you for your kind words and comment. I love writing and highlighting great individuals who help make the world a better place. They leave fond memories and a legacy. Jennifer Robinson-West is obviously one who shines at DCTC. Thank you for the kind words you said to me yesterday. I mentioned Jennifer will be retiring soon and your response to me was, “Why don’t you take her place!” You had a big smile on your face as usual and I smiled as that was one big compliment! I believe my response was, “I don’t have a Masters Degree but I would love to have a position such as Jennifer Robinson-West.” You also said, “There should be more people like Jennifer! What a wonderful world this would be if more were like Jennifer West-Robinson.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment Buay! I am cheering you on to graduate!
      Margaret Steeves
      DCTC President of the Writers’ Club

  4. Thomas Moseley says:

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful
    story about Jennifer. I’m certain that her encouraging guidance to students has a lifelong impact which should not go unnoticed. DCTC is very fortunate to have her on their staff.
    Margaret – excellent article!

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      My dear friend from school Thomas Moseley,
      I thank you for the wonderful comment! I believe, “there are people that come into your life, and the world is a better place because of them!” I thank you for your friendship which has endured almost as many years as Jennifer West-Robinson has been inspiring students.
      Jennifer exemplifies greatness!

      The advisors of the Writers’ Club Wes Jorde and Joe Campbell are amazingly great instructors and help students and facility shine as well.

      Thank you for your comment! Hugs and a lot of love to you!

      Best regards,
      Margaret Steeves

  5. Anthony Smith says:

    Great article. Jennifer, thank you so much for your hard work to support those of us in the community who need it most. You are a terrific role model to all of those who you work so hard to help elevate themselves.

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Thank you for your comment Anthony! Jennifer is an excellent role model and one that may inspire to follow after. I received a message that a radio station would like Jennifer to be on their program. It seems she is being recognized across the country and internationally for what she does to inspire and give hope to others. I salute you Jennifer!

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Thank you for your comment Anthony!
      Jennifer is an excellent role model and one that inspires many
      I received a message that a radio station would like Jennifer to be on their program. They broadcast across the United States. It seems she is being recognized across the country and internationally for what she does to inspire and give hope to others. I salute you Jennifer!

  6. Jimmy Wilson says:

    Wonderful, just love it, great article, good examples are hard to come by and it`s good to share their story and their wonderful works..

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Jimmy Wilson,
      True words Jimmy! I appreciate your comment and it means so very much coming from you as an international writer. I have found individuals who celebrate success, and celebrate helping others succeed. Yes, “Good examples are hard to come by…” Jennifer shines in an office in a building in which less then half the students who enter the building graduate in higher education. Success comes by having a great team and instilling great knowledge to others.
      Thank you for shining and donating the movies you created while traveling abroad. You are appreciated my dear friend and shine brightly in the lives of many. Jimmy Wilson has several websites: and is an amazing Filmmaker, Writer and Photographer
      Best Regards,
      Margaret Steeves

  7. Rodney says:

    Thank you Jennifer for your service. I remember you when I was here back in 1988.

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Great people like Jennifer leave fond memories. I like to say great people leave, “footprints or even fingerprints” in the lives of those they touch! Jennifer is one who inspires and encourages.

      I would like to share a quick story, as a writer I love to share precious moments. After a conversation with Jennifer a month or so ago, in her office Igot up to leave and grabbed the keys on her desk, which had a DCTC wrist band identical to mine. As I was arriving at an appointment I reached into my pocket and found that I had two sets of keys. My first thought, “Oh my God, who’s keys do I have?” As thoughts of panic filled my mind and thoughts of…what the owner of the keys must be feeling. I recalled moments when I have misplaced keys resonated in my thoughts….I suddenly started laughing, knowing things would work out fine. .I quickly called DCTC and left a voice mail. That didn’t seem to satisfy or suffice the situation, as I know the urgency of needing keys and losing something. I knew it may take a while to receive the message. I called another number and received yet another voice mail and decided to email Justin Jones and Jennifer West-Robinson. Justin Jones. is one of the best writers I have worked with in my life. I received a phone call from Jennifer a few hours later asking, “Girl do you have my keys? along with laughter.” My response, “Yes, Jennifer I believe I have your keys and am so sorry. The keys looked like mine.” Jennifer mentioned, you have my house keys, car keys and office, so please return them as soon as possible. I laughed and said: If you pray that I arrive safely back as I am currently driving in heavy traffic expect me to arrive in about 20 minutes. When I arrived with keys in hand to deliver them I was met by Justin Jones and Jennifer West-Robinson who both laughed. Jennifer was in a meeting with Justin earlier in the day and said out loud, ” I can’t figure out what happened to my keys.” Magically, he received an email from me and the mystery was solved.
      I love Jennifer’s confidence in students knowing they are trustworthy, have goals to accomplish, and finds creative ways to help them succeed.
      I was told yesterday that colleges normally have two individuals in Jennifer’s job title. The amount of students dictates how many counselors a school employees. She is a vital ingredient to success. I was told her position will not be replaced upon her retirement. I am hoping and praying that is not the case as she creates success and shines for DCTC and students.

  8. Micheal Zziwa says:

    who else can say it better ! She is really always positive about helping students all the way. “We all desire to get up there, but it takes a step at a time.” Jennifer Robinson.

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      It is great to be around positive people who inspire and share acts of kindness! “We all desire to get up there, but it takes a step at a time.” Great quote from a great lady!

  9. It is such a breathe of fresh air, when you read an interview involving a woman who is very much dedicated to our future young adults in an academic setting. I applaud Jennifer for her great efforts to help improve the lives of those who she has encountered during her many years of public service. The sacrifice to help others usually goes unnoticed to the majority. However, the people affected by your actions positively go on forever. Great job!!

    • Margaret Steeves says:

      Michael Bluemling Jr. Thank you for your comment. The sacrifice to help others is a gift to others and creates a better place for so many, especially those lives in which are touched. Thanks for positively affecting lives Jennifer West-Robinson and great people who create success. Thankful for those that shine at DCTC and around the world.

  10. Margaret Steeves says:

    Today, I received a phone call from Marlo Miller with DCTC Marketing giving approval to have a radio station in North Carolina interview Jennifer West-Robinson! A Big Shout out to a great marketing team. I was asked the question, “Why a radio station in North Carolina?” My reply, “It is a great radio station that is heard across the U.S.A…I went onto mention some of the amazing individuals who have been on the radio station. I added that I have been on the radio station (I love for N.C. and Jennifer has a daughter who attends college in North Carolina). We all appreciate the gift of education. The world is becoming a global place and it is nice to share love and great stories globally. I know a few students who have gone onto attend colleges and received scholarships to other education institutions after attending DCTC. It is always nice to share great things and education. It seems there is SO much love for Jennifer that she has no plans for retiring, and wants to continue to see students graduating successfully.
    A big shout out to amazing advisors Joe Campbell and Wes Jorde amazing advisors who encourage students to write and better themselves!

    Happy Thanksgiving week to you all! Appreciating some of the best advisors, staff and students @DCTC

  11. Margaret Steeves says:

    As we approach a busy holiday season with finals approaching, I am thankful for great staff and instructors who cheer for success. It makes the school look good, and inspires others to take the challenge of adding higher education to their “to do list,” knowing it can be accomplished due to great people @DCTC.

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