Counselor 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!