Jennifer Krempin '96
We've all heard of Minnesota nice, but Gustavus students take this quaint charm to a new level. Gusties are happy to help lost families who have strayed from their tour group or let you cut in the Book Mark line if you look like you are late to class. Jennifer Krempin, Class of 1996, hasn't lost this "Gustie nice": not only was she willing to take time out of her schedule to talk with me, but she actually offered to pay for the call!
Drawn to Campus
Maybe this friendly feeling had a part in drawing Krempin to Gustavus, but she also gives credit to a New Yorker article displayed in the admission office that mentioned Gustavus' Writing Across the Curriculum program. This would probably go unnoticed by most high school juniors about to tour campus, but for someone like Krempin who had aspirations to be a writer by the age of four, it was eye-catching.
Deciding on English
Not surprisingly, Krempin's decision to become an English major was not a tough one. She speaks of writing as being "the fabric of who I am," and had no doubts that she would graduate with an English degree when she first arrived. However, she did have a negative experience with an English professor who discouraged her from writing and actually suggested that she find another major. Krempin followed the professor's advice and switched to psychology, though she didn't particularly like the direction her academic life had taken. One day, Professor Florence Amamoto pulled her aside and convinced her to come back to the English department. "Florence rescued me. She's the one who set me back on the right pathway," said Krempin.
Firethorne and Writing Center
She also remembers working as a co-editor of the Firethorne journal with her friend Karen Daas. One night, they set up a "Firethorne Night" at the Chestnut Tree Café and had both students and professors read their works of poetry. "It really added breath into the publication," she said. Other memories are more instructive. Krempin recalls a challenging night working in the Writing Center when a student came in on the eve of his deadline without a single word writtenhe in fact did not even know what the assignment was. Though Krempin patiently tried to track down another student in the class to get the prompt, the tutee could not recognize any of his classmates, and he eventually left empty-handed. At the time she felt frustrated, but looking back she reflects on what the instance taught her: "There are lots of people willing to help you, but you have to be willing to help yourself."
Although she had a job lined up upon leaving Gustavus, Krempin was downsized from the position just three weeks before graduation. Luckily, she was able to return to an internship position she had held the previous summer. She still hadn't found anything permanent by the end of August, but her boss encouraged her to take a position as a "glorified secretary" in another department. Krempin took the job but was skeptical it was meant for her. In just three months, however, the department was restructured and she found herself as the editor of the company's daily newspaper, a position that was much more her speed. After three years, Krempin moved from her home state of Wisconsin to Minnesota and was employed in the Communications/Public Relations Department of Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, where she has worked for five years. Part of her job is to supervise the department's internship program, and just as her mentors encouraged her, Krempin hopes to help and inspire other students in turn.
In keeping with that spirit, the generous Gustie grad has developed some career advice for students about to graduate. Judging by the success Krempin has achieved thus far, her tips should be helpful for anyone looking for a job or further schooling. She urges students to find other Gusties around the country and beyond in order to make valuable contacts, and she herself is a fine example of an alumna eager to stick up for her fellow Gusties.