Student Profiles - Jenna Craig

Student Profiles - Jenna Craig

Jenna Craig

Year Graduated: 2010
Studied: Bachelor's degree in molecular biology with a biochemistry minor and athletic coaching minor
Hometown: Lewistown, Pa.

Did you attend graduate school?
Yes. I am currently a graduate student at Penn State Hershey College of Medicine pursing a Ph.D. in genetics.

What do you wish to do after graduation?
Upon graduation, the next step is a post-doctoral position, where I'll work under the advisement of another researcher. I am undecided where I would like to go after I further my research experience as a post-doc. I love teaching and the interaction with students; I have often imagined myself back at Millersville as a professor.

What was your favorite memory while attending Millersville University?
My favorite memory was graduation day. All my life, I had short- term goals of getting a certain grade in one class or perfecting a skill on the court. Graduating from college was a huge milestone that some people never get the chance to pursue. It was a day of such mixed emotions and very bittersweet; bitter that it was all over but so sweet that I had accomplished a goal I set out to complete four years ago.

What is one skill that you learned at Millersville which helped you achieve success after graduation?
The greatest skill that I learned and mastered at Millersville would have to be perseverance. I studied in high school, but I was really lucky in that getting good grades was moderately easy. However, in college it was a completely different ball game. I had to develop study habits and skills that helped me learn the material and apply it. It can be discouraging, but learning to persevere through difficult classes and earning my grades was really important to me. Graduate school was another step up from undergraduate, and I'm glad I went into it with the skills set I acquired at Millersville.

How did being a student-athlete (playing basketball) contribute to your success?
Being a student-athlete has benefited me in so many ways it is hard to sum it all up. I learned teamwork, leadership, time management, social skills and adversity. If I had to focus on one aspect that contributed to my success, it would be being a multi-dimensional person. Having more than one skill or trade makes you marketable in life. I was a student and I was an athlete and being both of those at the same time provided other opportunities like committees and organizations. During the interview process, a lot of professors at the graduate school were impressed with my ability to play a sport and manage a challenging major. I was also involved in committees, organizations and internships. What people noticed was that I wasn't just a scientist but a lot of things and that being involved in all those different things made me all the more better at them individually. Being multi-dimensional made me stand out among other applicants, and I believe this really made a difference. I'm sure it will continue to in the future as well.

Were you involved in anything else while attending Millersville?
I was president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee for two years, and I was on a hiring committee for the associate athletic director positions.

Why did you choose to stay involved with Millersville University by becoming a member of the board of directors and an active member of the Athletic Action Team?
I was taught that it's important to remember where you came from and to give back if you can. Millersville was so good to me, and when I heard about the elections for the board I thought the least I could do is donate some of my time, effort and ideas to help make it better for the next student whether he or she is an athlete or not.  The team is a neat idea because it aims to keep alumni involved with his or her sport. I still talk to Coach Fleig on a regular basis and help her with different projects when I can. I could imagine a lot of coaches could use a hand at a golf tournament or organizing an alumni game. That's what the team is designed to do, so I thought its purpose was important.

How has being a Millersville student-athlete continued to shape who you are today?
Being a graduate student is mentally challenging and it sometimes can feel like you're treading water. Playing basketball, I learned how to be mentally tough and persevere even when things didn't seem to be going my way. This applies to my graduate studies, as well as in life. There are going to be curve balls and lots of ups and downs, but the ability to stay tough and keep pushing through has served me well. 

What are you most proud of at your time at Millersville?
I'm most proud of the run we had in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament my senior year. We beat some tough teams to make it to the Sweet 16. Our team was really talented and found a way to pull out big wins when we needed them. It was such a fun trip, and the day we played our last game, I got an e-mail from the director of the graduate program at Penn State Hershey, telling me that I was accepted and good luck in our game that night. Although we lost the game that day, it was as if I closed one chapter and started the next all in the same day.