Jenny Taylor, Coordinator of Academic Success
What is your background?
I’m a lifelong Oklahoma girl, living in the little town where my family has been for 6 or 7 generations. I put my traditional college student path on hold when I got the opportunity to work in oil and gas. I spent 6 years in the energy industry before the layoff wave finally got me – Okies, you know how that story goes! At 30 years old starting over in my career, it seemed like a good time to finally finish that degree. I came back to UCO in spring 2014 to meet with an advisor and found out I could be a summer 2014 grad if I got enrolled ASAP, so that’s exactly what I did!
I went from unemployed with no college degree, to finishing my undergraduate degree and securing a new career path in about a year’s time. That new career path brought me right back to UCO, where I started working in Undergraduate Academic Advising in October 2014. In May 2018 I graduated with a Master’s in Adult Education. Today I work for our TRIO programs in the Office of Student Support Services as the Coordinator of Academic Success. I am part of an amazing team and feel lucky every single day that I get to do this work.
Tell me how you first got involved at UCO.
My earliest memories of UCO start at childhood. My mom was a first generation, non-traditional college student. Sometimes she would bring me to campus with her, so I remember when the Lillard Administration building was where students enrolled and everything was filled out with pen and paper! I was also there to watch her graduate, which is a moment on our campus I’ll never forget. When I attended UCO the first time around, I was very involved on campus and loved my time here. I made so many friends I still keep in touch with today. I also had US History since 1877 with a guy I’d never seen in my life, but would later become my husband. We got married in the NUC Ballrooms in 2011. To say that UCO has had a huge impact on multiple areas of my life would be an understatement!
What would you say your strongest beliefs are about your contributions to the university?
Anything I’ve been able to give to UCO is a direct result of how much UCO has given me. Some of the most important moments and accomplishments of my life have happened right here on this campus. The most significant growth I’ve experienced as a professional has happened here, too. I feel so grateful my job gives me an opportunity to serve others, learn about other belief systems and cultures, and connect with students, faculty, and staff from every corner of the globe. That is an immense privilege and I strive to carry it with me in everything I do, whether I’m at work or out in the world.
What do you do when you are not working?
I am the chauffer, snack fetcher, and shoe finder of two little girls – Sadie, 9 and Palmer, 3. That age gap gave me just enough time to forget why they’re called THREE-nagers, but oh, how I have been quickly reminded! Outside of mom duties, my other great love is the work I do as a content creator. I began casually sharing fashion content on Instagram in 2016 and today I regularly partner with brands to create content on Instagram, YouTube, and my blog. I have the incredible opportunity to partner with national brands like Walmart but I love supporting small businesses, too.
My social platforms focus on fashion but I everything I do is grounded in a mission to help women live a beautiful life at any size. I spent my younger years feeling like I would never be good enough, because I could never become thin or beautiful enough for society to accept me. Today I’m able to embrace and appreciate one of the things I used to dislike about myself, and use it to connect with and encourage other women. I never dreamed in a million years I would be paid to talk about fashion, and I wake up each day with so much gratitude for this part of my life. And if you see me out buying another pair of shoes I don’t need – no you didn’t! Haha!